Here are some more things that I’m lovin’ these days –
Blog reader Erin is a Scentsy consultant. Knowing how much I love good smells, she asked if she could send me a Scentsy light and a few scents to try. She surprised me with Newborn Nursery (!!), Peony Petals and Thunderstorm.
If you aren’t familiar with Scentsy, the heat of a small bulb works to melt a scented wax pod. It’s a light and a home fragrance all in one. Newborn Nursery is my favorite, but the other two scents are really nice too. And there are a million to choose from in the Scentsy store! Super fun if you love good smells wafting about : )
Paula’s Choice Skincare
A few of you have asked me to follow up on my skincare choices after my consultation with Anna Lise a while ago. After debating the price and availability of the products she recommended, I ended up choosing the Paula’s Choice line. I have been SO happy with everything I got as well as the company itself – in every order you can choose some free samples of other products (which is how I got hooked on a few more of their products.) I pretty much got the whole RESIST line (about $160 all in) and have been using it faithfully (after washing my face!) at night. If you don’t want to commit, you can do what I did and buy a sample kit of the line first.
My very two favorite products are the Resist Anti-Aging Toner and the RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid. I tried the Clinique toner years ago for my wedding, but I didn’t buy it again when my stash ran out. I always thought you had to use a cotton ball with toner, and for lame logistical reasons that made me an inconsistent user. But then I had the light bulb moment that you could just sprinkle some on your hands and dab it onto your face and I have since loved toner again. The Daily Smoothing treatment smells really good and tingles a bit when you apply it. I also love the Weekly Resurfacing Treatment, but that one with a higher acid concentration burns a lot more! Both of them really feel like they are working when I apply them and I will definitely get more when they run out (although I use such a small amount I don’t think that will be anytime soon).
The Perfect CC Cream
Also on the beauty front, let’s talk about CC creams. I used to be 100% faithful to Bare Minerals, but when I discovered the Supergoop CC Cream in my Birchbox, I have been a convert. It makes my skin tone so even and leaves it glowing!
As much as I love it, when it was time to restock I went to Sephora to see if there was something a little less expensive (the Supergoop is about $30). I came home with a $26 Sephora brand CC cream and a sample of a $48 brand that slips my mind. After trying them both, I can confidently say that NOTHING compares to the Supergoop! The $48 one was actually the worst, and the Sephora just doesn’t blend in like the Supergoop does. What I like most about it is that it blends in so well that I don’t have to worry about “foundation lines” or streaks. So Supergoop it is for now!
Samsung Galaxy S5
Lastly, my dreams came true when Samsung offered to send me a Galaxy S5 in exchange for a blog review. I’ve had an S3 and the S4 and wondered if the S5 was worth the upgrade (which I was coming due for soon). After using the S5 for a few weeks now, I can say that YES there are several features that I love so much they are worth the upgrade alone. But the thing is: they aren’t the features you hear about in the S5’s promotional materials (like the heart rate monitor, water resistance or Kids Mode.) They are little usability features that you have to see in use to know about. Here are some of those features:
// Pop-up text messages. I’m not sure I would have even known about this had I not been exploring the settings area of texting. I enabled pop-up messages to see what that was and suddenly my texts were coming through as pop-up windows (obviously!) instead of just status bar notifications. This means if you are in the middle of writing an email and you get a text the text pops up and you can either reply on the spot without switching windows or ignore it until you are ready to respond. SO helpful if you need to write a quick response (like YES or NO) and need to keep working in another app.
// Text Sticky Favorites. At the top of the text messaging app you have the option to select favorites – those you text most often. Usually when I go to text someone I just search for the last text I sent them and click through to that. But that requires some searching and scrolling. The sticky favorites stay at the top of the app and you can find them oh-so-quickly.
// The camera improvements are outstanding. It’s definitely better than the S4 and miles better than the S3. All of the photos in this post came from my S5 and I can hardly justify taking my DSLR in public anymore. While I would if I wanted to take very artistic photos or extremely low light shots, the S5 is pretty darn good for lifestyle shots around town. I am thrilled to have one less giant thing in my diaper bag, purse or carry on. In addition to a crisper and more colorful camera, the photo editor has options for collages, adding text, pretty detailed editing and even stickers (like banners – not just smiley faces). The built-in editor does the job of a lot of extra apps.
// Incoming calls interrupt less. Just like the pop-up texts, when you’re working on your phone and you get a call you now see a window with the option to answer, ignore or close right there. Again, since so many people are actually being productive on their phones now, the call interruption is so much less intrusive than it used to be. You can also sort your phone app in different ways – like All Calls, Missed Calls, etc.
// The menu button shows all open apps. This button used to lead to extra settings, but settings have now been consolidated to the three dot options and the button next to home allows you to easily switch between open apps. This is super handy when you’re working between a few apps at once.
// These aren’t changes from the S4, but my two favorite things about Samsung/Android are the widgets and the keyboard. Widgets let me check my email, calendar, texts, etc. Without opening an app. I’ve had iPhone fans tell me that opening an app is “just one click!” but I still think it’s so much easier just to glance down and be able to see what’s going on in the home screen. And I also love the Samsung keyboard. The numbers are sticky at the top so I don’t have to open a second layer of keyboard (something that drives me nuts when I type on iPhones!), and I use Swype text all the time. I love that they keyboard learns my most common phrases (like my email address) and can predict them for me. Less to type is more!
// Other small improvements to note: better clean fonts, folders can be colored, app list can include folders, the Gallery is organized much smarter, the battery lasts longer, and shared apps are in a grid not at list so you can see more at once.
I’ve been loyal to Samsung for years now and still think the Samsung Galaxy is the best phone on the market! As a Google-obessed, widget-loving, multitasking, daily Instagramming, big-screen loving, smart-phone dependent gal, it works for me.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet with the founder of Lumi Juice here in Cville. Hillary is a Darden Business School grad with a passion for…everything! Lumi, which stands for Love You, Mean It, makes 100% organic cold-pressed, high pressure processed juice. They have a bunch of amazing flavors that you can buy in stores in the mid-Atlantic states (and growing) as well as online (to a select list of states).
Hillary gave me a sampling of their flavors to try at home. Mazen loves them!
My favorite is the Mountain Mint – truly the best juice I’ve ever had! Mint is magical.
I feel lucky to have Lumi juice at my fingertips…I mean lips!