Exfoliators I Love

01
19

Using a facial exfoliator with a little bit of grit feels *SO* good on my flake-prone skin. It may be one of my favorite skincare processes, well other than slathering on the thickest moisturizer I can find.

I recently added Ole Henricksen’s Lemonade Smoothing Scrub into the mix and have been really pleased with the results. It’s a fine-textured exfoliator that polishes the skin and leaves it feeling clean and smooth. A grittier exfoliator is the Ole Henricksen Transforming Walnut Scrub that I don’t use daily (usually once a week!) for a really deep exfoliation.

If you are looking for a drugstore version of an exfoliator that feels gritty without being too weak, the No7 Total Renewal Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator is fantastic. I grabbed it on a whim when looking for some drugstore options and have been really pleased with how well it works!

As far as body scrubs go, I’ve used a handful of different ones in my adult life and am currently working through this Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub. It’s great! I’m not terribly picky when it comes to body scrubs and this one is a really nice option. It has a lot of great reviews too!

Lastly, that little sponge you may have noticed above the Kopari product is a sponge that came in an Ole Henricksen purchase. You can find them easily on Amazon. I like using it for removing exfoliator, whether in the shower or doing a bit of skincare at your bathroom sink!

In this post:

links + loves

01
15

How was your week? Mine felt like it was moving extremely fast until yesterday when Thursday actually felt like Friday so this morning feels like groundhog day.

Regardless, it was a good week and I’m looking forward to a chill weekend with very few plans!

If you are looking to freshen up a space in your home, I highly recommend using Modsy. I’ve used this service in the past for help in a room in our old house, and to help lay out my current office.

I love this blazer! It comes in 3 colors and I am totally tempted by the white one.

In the late fall, I ordered a few family photos from Mpix and am extremely pleased with the quality. If you are looking for high-quality photo printing, I’d recommend Mpix.

I love the color of these knee-high boots.

If you have started this year with a plan to incorporate more green smoothies, try this one from Kate at Naptime Kitchen! 

I am not loyal to any particular brand of sock for working out, but I have to say I just picked these up at Cole Haan when I was getting another pair of the laser cut liners and I am really pleased! I love that the logo on the bottom is rubbery so they are kind of non-slip.

One of the things I love about Instagram Stories is the casual mention of the things I’m using, new products, old favorites, etc. But I can guarantee that the morning after a day I share a few things I’m met with many questions from followers who cannot remember what it was that I shared. In an effort to provide answers to those questions on a weekly basis, Amanda and I are compiling as thorough a list as we can about all the things I mentioned on stories from the week prior. I hope the list below is helpful.

Items Mentioned on IG stories:

Pink Gap sweatshirt – I wear a medium in this and love how bright it is!

Old Navy Fleece Quilted Zip Hoodie Jacket  – I wear a medium in this and think it’s a great lightweight athletic-style jacket.

Blue fleece jacket from Gap – I wear a “small tall” in this and find it to be super cozy and the prettiest blue color.

Blue athletic tank from Gap – This tank is a nice length to partially cover your bum when wearing leggings and the cross back is a pretty detail as well.

Madewell Perfect Vintage Jeans in Vintage Canvas – A pretty pair of cream denim.

Dolce Vita Chelsea Boots – Such cute winter/waterproof boots!

Grande Cosmetics Mini Lash Lash and Brow Set – I’ve seen nice results from Grande Cosmetics on my lashes and brows, and this is a good intro set.

Ole Henricksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub – I’ve been using this scrub for about a week and REALLY love it.

Fresh Kombucha Cleansing Treatment – A gentle and calming cleansing water.

Apple AirPod Case from my sister – My sister gave me this customizable case for Christmas and I love that the clip on the back is removable.

Madewell Back Button Top – A pretty sweatshirt with button details.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder workout spray – One of my favorite products to use on a day I don’t want to wash my hair.

Maya Brenner Necklace – I’m so happy to have my necklace back from being repaired!

 

This week’s discount codes:

GIMME Beauty – For a limited time, these amazing bundles and brushes are 10% off!!  If you use my code KATEB you get an ADDITIONAL 25% off everything in your cart!!

Home Chef – If you order now using code KATE90, you can get $90 off and cook along with me in 2021!

Tommy John – Use code KATEBRYAN20 for 20% off your purchase for the next 72 hours

Loopy Cases – Use my code smallthings10 for 10% off

Q & A from Instagram Stories:

 

I have trouble keeping foundation on my nose. It never seems to blend well and it wears off or turns really flakey. What can I do? Be sure to use primer, and set the makeup on your nose with a setting powder, translucent or not!

What is your favorite piece of jewelry? I really cherish my rings. I love my wedding bands and my engagement ring, and Justin gave me a ring after I had Emily as an heirloom to pass down to her one day.

Do you feel bad taking back makeup you’ve opened? No. I try my best to do as much research as possible and try to get the color that will match me the best, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Makeup isn’t always cheap, so I have no discomfort in returning what doesn’t work for me.

What is your favorite wireless bra for every day? I loooooooove the Tommy John Second Skin Triangle Bralette

What are your favorite Aera fragrances? White Tea, Home Hygiene Mint + Citrus, Deep Relax, De-Stress Mind, Lavendar, and Happy Green.

What is the best low budget curling iron? I have a post about my favorite hair tools under $100 here!

If you and Justin could go anywhere on a trip, where would you go? No question I would go skiing with him at Deer Valley in Utah.

Do you have a house tour? No. But I’ve shared a few rooms in my house. You can see my kitchen here, and watch my master bedroom tour here!

Giving Back: My Cause for the Year

01
13

When I was able to monetize this website back in 2011, I was thrilled to be able to sign up to sponsor a child through Compassion International due to the earnings from the site.

I shared that with blog readers because I thought it was important for the readers to know that they too were contributing to the support of this child through visiting my website! My only revenue stream back then was being paid monthly from small shops that had an ad on the sidebar, so high website views were what I needed to stay valuable to those small businesses who wanted a feature on my site!

Since that time, and as my business has grown, I’ve found numerous additional ways to give back. I’ve donated earnings from Poshmark sales, sent boxes of items to a company who ran a closet consignment sale, set up automatic monthly donations to causes that are near to my heart (you can read about that here), and much more.

I’ve also taken you along with me and the kids when we drop off donations. We enjoy getting them involved as well!

There have also been various other ways that my family and I have given back that haven’t been published. We bought a car from a former neighbor and donated it, and for a long time, I’ve been able to gift products or gently used baby items to a pregnancy support home in my area.

Giving back is important to me, and it’s also important to me that my heart for giving back is accurately conveyed when I speak about it. I would never want to come off like I’m looking for affirmation for what we do, as it’s something I would continue to do whether I had a public life or not!

The thing is though, this year I want to be a little bit more forward and open about the cause I’m choosing to focus on because you are a part of it.

My business operates in a way that your views, clicks, activity, etc. provide me with income. If no one is looking at my website, then there isn’t any value to placing an ad on it.

My hope is that when you come here, you gain something because I work hard to provide relatable, educational content for you to consume at no charge!

Throughout my life, the causes and missions that stir my emotion have changed as a reflection of where I am in life. Before children, I felt drawn to supporting cat rescues and volunteering to help clean the cages for the cats at PetSmart.

Before I was married, when I was single in college, I volunteered to lead a craft activity for an after-school program.

Since having small children, Justin and I have given financially more than of our time, simply due to the challenges of finding childcare, but we both agree that it feels different (more impactful?) when you give your time and energy to a cause. I know very well that both things matter, but the effect it has on you is different.

So, last year when COVID19 caused the world to essentially shut down, there were innumerable ripples that caused difficulty in so many aspects of life. The one that made my stomach flip, though, was thinking about all the children who were not able to get lunch anymore at school since public schools closed down.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long for organizations to pivot and create drive-through lunch programs for families who receive lunch for their kids at school. And as I’m certain many families were able to receive lunches, I’m also sure there were some that weren’t able to make it to the pick-up for a number of reasons.

So hunger-relief is a cause that I feel deeply convicted to do something about. I was thrilled to hear that Home Chef, a long-time partner of mine, collaborated with Feeding America to support hunger-relief. I am proud to be working with a company that aligns with my convictions as well!

There are also local organizations that I/my business supports and I am hopeful that when volunteer restrictions are lifted I will be able to participate in some in-person giving back this year.

Brown Bag Ministry is a local cause where kids and I dropped off items in December so they could fill bags with essentials and hand them out to homeless men. They also have a weekly time where they fill over 1k lunch bags to hand out at various sites in my area. It is my plan to attend one of those Saturday in-person events as soon as I can. I believe they have opened up spots for volunteering now, with safety precautions in place, of course.

One thing I would love to do is partner with Feeding America or a local hunger-relief organization to raise money. I have absolutely no idea how to do that, and Amanda and I started that process last year only to run into a few legal constraints.

What you can expect from me going forward is that I will regularly share about this cause being something I support, and I have such gratitude that your support of my business allows me to give back.

When I’m able to get on the schedule and volunteer in-person at Brown Bag Ministry, I’ll tell you about it! And if you have any affiliations with local hunger-relief organizations, I would love to hear about those so please e-mail me or leave a comment below.

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