Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Review

Hello there! First of all, let me give you my sincere apologies on my sparse postings lately – between vacation, preparing to move, and just general busy-ness, it’s been crazy around here! But here I am now, and I’ll do my best to make up (ha, that’s a pun… get it?) for it!

Alright, let’s get to it! First – a small caveat – I consider myself to be somewhat of a makeup newb. I never really was that into it growing up, and when I did, I pretty much taught myself how to wear it. Then, I went through a phase in later high school/college where I rarely wore anything at all. In my adult life I’ve worn it regularly, but I’ve only recently (the past 1-2 years) really gotten into experimenting and investing in makeup. Hence I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, so just be warned that any review from me will be from a regular makeup wearer with an average to experimenting level of experience.

A few weeks ago I had a moment of weakness stroke of genius and stopped by Sephora to check out some makeup I’d had my eyes on for a while. I sometimes find the stuff in Sephora to be slightly high for my budget, so I typically do lots of research before buying products from there. One such product that I couldn’t help but read good things about is Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Palette (Sephora).

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette
I kept reading about these Hourglass powders from many of my favorite bloggers, so I finally decided to give them a shot. As I was standing there wondering which powder to try, an associate walked up and suggested I try the palette. I was a bit wary due to the price ($58), but considering that you’re getting 3 different powders in pretty generous sizes that can be utilized in many different ways, I decided to pull the trigger.

Swatches of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
Swatches of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
And I have not been disappointed! I love how velvety the powder is, and the amount of shimmer is perfect. I find them to be very blendable and versatile. I typically use the middle shade (Incandescent Light, exclusive to this palette) as a highlighter, touching it onto my brow bone, middle of my eyelid, inner corner of my eye, cupid’s bow, and chin with a tapered eyeshadow brush to reflect a bit of light there. I use the left shade (Dim Light) with a powder brush either as an all-over setting powder or to get a very slight strobing effect (middle of forehead, top of cheekbones, bridge of nose). Finally I use the right shade (Radiant Light) as a bronzer, touching the hollows of my cheeks and my temples with a blush brush.

I am so pleased with this palette, and I’m glad that I invested in it. Also, a little goes a long way, so I imagine they will last for quite a while. Even though the price was a bit steep, in my opinion, you get what you pay for! I’d like to try one of the Hourglass blushes next, so we’ll see how that goes.

Thanks for reading – let me know if you use any of the Ambient Lighting Powders and if so, how you apply it and if you love it!

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Stitch Fix Review (Box #4)

Hey y’all! How’s it going? Things have been busy lately for me, but also great! I wanted to take some time today to introduce you to Stitch Fix (although you’ve probably heard of it by now). I’ve had friends and family compliment me on clothes I’ve gotten from there, and a dear friend suggested that I review my next box on my blog. So here goes!

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First, the obligatory information: Stitch Fix is a personal styling service provided through mail subscription. Here’s how it works (yay, a list!!!)

  1. You sign up online and fill out a style profile (and a Pinterest board, if you’d like).
    1. There is a $20 styling fee, but that will be taken off any pieces you decide to keep.
  2. A stylist will send you 5 items that they think fits your style.
  3. You receive the box at your doorstep and have 3 days to try things on and decide what you’d like to keep.
  4. Check out online, including specific reasons for why you are keeping/returning it.
  5. Return items you don’t want using a provided pre-paid envelope, which can be dropped at your post office.
  6. If you would like to try it and this review has helped you, please use my link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3748291. [End shameless plug 🙂 ]

I have generally loved most of the items I’ve received in my previous 3 boxes. I look to Stitch Fix for unique items that I can’t find in traditional stores. Because of this, I’m willing to spend a bit more money on clothes from Stitch Fix than I would in a traditional store, but that also means I’m more picky about what I keep.

Okay, moving on to the fun stuff! Let me tell you all about what I got in my box this month. First of all, I’ll explain that I asked for very specific items in my style notes this time, as I’m still kind of trying to do a capsule wardrobe, so I was hoping to fill some holes in my closet. Unfortunately, what I was sent didn’t quite fit my preference, but I’ll share with you anyway in the interest of full disclosure. (Also, spoiler alert: this story has a happy ending, as Stitch Fix has excellent customer service).

#1: Pixley Ohara Faux Wrap Tie-Waist Dress

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I asked for a cute work dress and this is what I received. I really wanted to like it, but I thought it didn’t do anything for my figure, and I didn’t love the color on me. Plus, the fabric didn’t seem to be a particularly great quality, and I thought it was a bit too short and casual for work. So, at the price point (I think it was roughly $50 or $60), I returned it.


#2: Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket

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I requested a springy blazer I could wear to work, and was sent this jacket. I hated it as soon as I saw it. Although I liked the stripes, the material is terry – yes, you heard me right, like the towels. Besides that, the asymmetrical zipper looked hideous on me, and it was too small to zip. Definitely returned.


#3: 41Hawthorn Rosa Tab Sleeve V-Neck Blouse

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I requested patterned blouses for work, so my stylist Alex sent this. I loved the deep blue color on me, and the sleeves have the tab option to make them ¾-sleeve. It’s also a fairly heavy, material, although the sleeves are sheer and the bodice is lined. I kept this one, although I must admit it was partially not to lose my $20 styling fee.

#4: Margaret M Emer Printed Cropped Straight Leg Pant

I was looking for a dark khaki ponte pant, which Alex said they didn’t have, so they sent these instead. Printed pants…. I don’t know, I just can’t. I kind of liked them, they fit fairly well (although strangely they had no fly or button at all), so they were more leggings style and stretchy material. But I couldn’t get over the idea that I could really only wear them to work, and likely not very often. Plus, the number of items I could pair them with that I already own were minimal. Finally, my husband HATED them. So, at the price point ($90-something, I think), I sent them back.


#5: Urban Expressions Lyla Woven Crossbody Bag

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Honestly, this was the biggest disappointment of my fix. I specifically asked for a bag that I’ve seen all over the place on Pinterest and the internet, in lovely spring/summer colors. They sent this instead. It was too small for me (I carry a lot and prefer larger bags), I already have a similar black bag that I like, and honestly all of the frills and details aren’t my style. I’m guessing they sent it because it matched the pant-blouse outfit so that the box had a “theme,” but it was nothing like what I asked for. As you can guess, I sent it back.

As to the aforementioned happy ending, I was both surprised and impressed to receive an email last week from a Stitch Fix representative, with an offer of a $20 styling credit for my next fix. I hadn’t expected this (although I’d read online that it was occasionally offered), but I was so thankful to receive it. My other 3 boxes I’ve kept at least 2 or 3 of the items (even all 5, as if you keep them all you get a 20% discount), so I was definitely disappointed with the box, and apparently Stitch Fix could tell. To make a long story short, I have another box coming at the end of May with a “seasoned stylist” who requested some more specific input from me about my style, so I’m very hopeful to get some awesome items soon. Of course, I will be sure to review it for y’all here, so stay tuned my lovely readers!

That’s all for now… I hope you all have a fantastic Mother’s Day and an awesome weekend. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 6: Capsule Wardrobe Thoughts

Wow, it has been a minute since I’ve written on here – I’m such a slacker! I’ll try to be better.

I figured in the interest of completeness I should wrap up my winter capsule wardrobe with some pros and cons. I wish I had some cute outfit pictures to post, but all of mine are bathroom selfies on my iPhone, and that ain’t cute. So instead, here’s a list:

  1. Pro: My pared down wardrobe definitely made picking out what to wear easier, but…
  2. Con: I grabbed the same pieces all the time, and…
  3. Con: I felt like I chose pieces instead of outfits. As in, there weren’t many ways to mix and match my clothes into different outfits because so much of it was just pants and sweaters. But…
  4. Pro: This led me to realize that my winter style is more sweater and jeans than elaborate outfits (especially with the mild weather where I live).
  5. Pro: I LOVED the no-shopping rule. It taught me to wear what I had in different ways and to be content with my (still full) closet instead of feeling like I needed more. Plus it saves money! (This pro counts for, like, 3 pros!)
  6. Pro: I got rid of a lot of clothes, and donated them all to Goodwill. This de-cluttered, and helped me save some money off my taxes!
  7. Pro: At the end I could pinpoint what I didn’t wear at all, which again helps me pare down my wardrobe as well as identify my style.
  8. Con: I did lose a bit of variety in what I wore, but I actually didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would.

Overall, I really enjoyed my capsule wardrobe. I think the pros far outweighed the cons, and it taught me about my style. I’ve concluded that I’m far more likely to just grab an easily wearable top and jeans than to fuss with layers. I think much of this is due to my low-maintenance nature, in that I don’t want to spend 15 minutes picking out what I’m going to wear. The capsule wardrobe helped with this because it was far easier to see what I had to work with and remember what I wore in the past few weeks.

Here’s the really interesting part: when it came time to plan out my spring capsule wardrobe, I wasn’t feeling it at all. While I was looking forward to pulling out my spring clothes and even, to some extent, the purging process, I found that the decisions weren’t nearly as clear-cut as they were in the winter. I think the main problem is that I just don’t have as many spring clothes that I love. So I ended up with a very small love-it pile, and a HUGE maybe pile. What’s a girl to do???

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

Unfortunately indecision won out, and I ended up putting a lot more in my closet than a typical capsule wardrobe would warrant. I did that two weeks ago, and I’ve been living fine with it so far. But I think that in another week or so, I’ll be able to pull some more things out to donate, and pinpoint what I really wear most often. I’m also making a concerted effort to wear more skirts and dresses to work, as I have a ton of them that I don’t make good use of.

I think one other challenge is that where I live, there’s only a few weeks of spring weather, and then we go straight into summer. So, instead of picking out clothes for 3 months, I find myself facing putting 6 months of clothing into my closet, which seems much more daunting. What I ended up doing was picking only my favorite sleeveless and short-sleeved shirts, and I figured I could add to them in a few months if needed (or purge the ones I don’t find myself grabbing regularly).

http://memegenerator.net/instance/57977815

Okay, so there’s my wardrobe musings of late! I should have a few more posts coming up, as I’ve signed up for another Stitch Fix coming soon, and I may have some new love-it makeup products that I’ve tried recently. Time will tell!

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you’ve tried the capsule wardrobe and if you’ve had any realizations or tips for switching between seasons.

Chapter 5: how i learned to stop worrying and love my skin

So, you know that saying: “you learn something new every day?” I’ve found this to be especially true in my life lately. Allow me to explain:

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Remember how my second blog post was about the Arbonne brand, and how much I like their skin care and makeup? While this is still a true statement, I’ve learned that my skin is much more sensitive than I previously thought. Case in point: after using the Arbonne FC5 line for over 6 months, my skin had some sort of reaction to it. Now, to be fair, it wasn’t an all out allergic reaction or anything – nothing that flagrant. But it was enough for me to ask myself: “What is up with my skin right now?” – so I switched up my skincare routine in an attempt to clear it up (unsuccessfully) and scheduled a (long-overdue) visit to the dermatologist.

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A caveat: I do not go to the dermatologist… like, ever. The last time I was there was probably in high school. So, when I developed a rash on my face that persisted for a few months (yeah, I’m kind of stubborn), I made an appointment with the dermatologist.

… For a month later! And for those of you that don’t know me, I can be a bit impatient at times. So I called up my general physician, who could see me right away. Unfortunately,that turned out to be a mistake (we’ll call that Lesson One), as she misdiagnosed the rash and prescribed medicine that largely made it worse. Luckily, I had kept my appointment with the dermatologist, so I decided to tough it out and persist with the meds I had (recall the stubborn comment above) until I could see the expert.
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Let me tell you – I am so glad that I didn’t cancel that appointment. The dermatologist was quite helpful on a number of issues. Here’s what I learned:

  1. I have rosacea, which was not a big surprise as I often have irrationally red cheeks and flush terribly (the bright side: free blush!). To treat it, she prescribed a mild antibiotic cream for daily use. Lesson Two: It’s not just acne that causes facial bumps.
  2. Leave the skin care questions to the professionals, as her medical opinion completely negated every article I’ve ever read about the subject. Here was her expert advice:
    1. Despite the prevalence of a million different recommendations in the beauty world, in your late twenties your skin really only needs a good gentle cleanser, a day moisturizer with sunscreen, and a hydrating night moisturizer. Lesson Three: Less is more.
    2. Sunscreen is the most important thing to put on your face for anti-aging. Even if you only see the sun in the car, on the way in and out of the office, and through the window… Lesson Four: Sunscreen is essential.
    3. Eye cream isn’t necessary unless you have super dark circles, heavy bags, or irritation. Even with those things, even the best ones can only do so much, as many of these issues have specific causes (lack of sleep, sun exposure, genetics, not washing off makeup, etc.) and can’t really be fixed. Lesson Three (and a half): No, really, less is more.
    4. For sensitive skin (or just in general), the brands she recommended were: CeraVe, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, and Aveeno. She did note that she didn’t recommend the generic versions of those brands, but I find myself wondering if that’s a legal thing instead of an effectiveness issue. Lesson Five: More expensive does not necessarily make a product better.
    5. When trying a new skincare regimen, you should really give it 3-4 weeks to see how your skin adapts. Since your skin is like an organ, it can occasionally take quite a while to see the effects of new products. Lesson Six: Be patient!
  3. She diagnosed some irritation under my wedding rings as just that – irritation from soap/water that gets trapped under the bands when washing my hands. She said all of the internet remedies (boiling the rings, cleaning the rings, coating them in clear nail polish, etc.) don’t really work. The best thing would be to take off your rings while washing your hands, or just be sure to dry underneath them and the inside of them very thoroughly. Note: my physician said I was allergic to nickel – which is a load of baloney. Lesson Seven: Even doctors make mistakes… twice.

So, I’ve been using the medication prescribed and I’ve minimized my skin care routine to just cleanser and moisturizer with a recommended brand, and I do think that my skin is already starting to clear up. I’ll follow up once I’ve been using everything consistently for a month or so – but I have high hopes that this will do the trick.

Lesson(s) learned, for sure.

Have any of you had “rough patches” with your skin? (See what I did there? That’s called a pun, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll be here all night.) If so, what have you tried that’s worked for you?

Chapter 4: my new nephew!

For those who may not know me, my family is very close. We all live within a few hours of each other, and one of my favorite things about that is that I’ve gotten to be involved in my niece and nephew’s lives quite a bit, and I’ve treasured watching them grow up.

Today we welcomed a new nephew into the family: Cohen. This is my older sister’s second child, and is so loved already. When my niece Carlyn was born, we were living 500 miles away, so there was no way I could make it to the hospital for the festivities. So this time I really wanted to be involved in Cohen’s birthday, as well as help out with Carlyn so that she still feels special.

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I got the call after work yesterday that Cohen would be arriving earlier than planned, so I hurriedly packed and we arrived at my sister’s late last night. After a whirlwind of getting Carlyn ready this morning, Stephen and I went to the hospital and waited for our peek at the new little one.

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And he is so perfect and tiny and adorable and loved! You can probably tell from the picture how excited I am -let’s just say it’s not every day that you get a new nephew.

I hope and pray that you have the opportunity to share such a love-filled day in your life. Are you an aunt or an uncle? How has it changed your life? My heart is so full, and I feel so blessed!

Chapter 3.5: capsule wardrobe challenge completed!

Why hello there, friends! Betcha didn’t think you’d hear from me so soon, eh? I’ll bet you thought I’d be buried under mounds of clothing for the rest of the weekend. Am I right? Because if you thought that, you weren’t the only one.

My side of the closet before (no judgment, y'all!)
my side of the closet before (no judgment, y’all!)

To be completely honest with you, I was terrified of the capsule wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, it sounded like a great idea, ideally. But in practice… whittling down my entire winter clothes accumulation into a finite number of countably wearable pieces* seemed like a daunting task. I dreaded it. I thought it would take forever.

But it didn’t! The fantastic Caroline (check her out at Unfancy) really knows what she’s doing, because I followed her instructions and I had it completely done (put away, bagged up, the works!) within 3 hours. To be fair, I did change up the rules a bit to work for my situation. Here’s what I did:

  1. I took everything out of my closet and stacked it into 4-5 piles on my bed:
    Lady the cat was "helping"
    Lady the cat was “helping”
    1. Love it
    2. Maybe
    3. Definitely not
    4. Seasonal
    5. Seasonal maybe**
  2. After this step, I split my Love pile in half: casual clothes for the weekend, and business casual work pieces. Because I work in an office environment, I felt comfortable keeping a larger wardrobe with the distinction between the two types.
  3. I went through my Maybe/Seasonal piles and pulled out layering pieces to wear under sweaters, vests, cardigans, etc.
  4. I took a very critical look at my Loves to be sure that I could actually pick something out and wear it immediately***
  5. I re-organized my closet, stashed away the Maybes until the end of the season, stored Seasonal pieces in the guest bedroom closet, and packed away the Nopes to donate (including a TON of hangers).

To be completely honest, I was so anxious about this whole process that I anticipated it taking me the rest of the weekend, so I was really pleased when it didn’t. I was also pleasantly surprised by my decisiveness – it was so easy for me to put everything in piles and leave them there.

Winter Capsule wardrobe
after: my 2015 winter capsule wardrobe (and roomy closet!)

2015 Winter Capsule Wardrobe: the bottoms, layering, and shoes
after: 2015 winter capsule wardrobe

I think this process was so easy for me because I needed it – badly. My new, more open closet makes me so happy – my inner predilection for particularity has been satiated****. Of course, it’s only been two days, so we’ll see how the outfit-creation process goes.

I could give the particulars of my wardrobe, but I think I’ll wait and make sure I actually wear everything first. Fortunately, the results are pretty evident from the pictures, and I’m looking forward to seeing how fewer clothing options impact my morning routine.

Have any of you ever considered doing a capsule wardrobe? Have you had success with it? I’d love to hear what you think! Comment below or message me to let me know.

*See what I did there, math nerds?

**This was not included in the original instructions, but because I had so many season-specific clothes (mostly summer, because it gets hella hot down here) I wanted to pare down the amount of work I’ll have to do for the next 3 seasons.

***Excepting crazy weather variations, of course… let’s not forget that I live in the South, where it is often 65 degrees and rainy on Christmas.

****How’s that for vocabulary from a math nerd? Actually, my husband the writer helped – thanks Stephen!

Chapter 3: Coming soon to a closet near you

Y’all, I am so excited. I have an awesome post coming up for you, even though it’s going to challenge my indecisive mind to carry it out. Are you ready for this? Drumroll, please!

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I have decided to do a capsule wardrobe for the 2015 winter season, and I am pumped about the possibilities.

What’s a capsule wardrobe, you ask? Let me tell you all about it with a handy, dandy list!

  1. Capsule wardrobes spawned from the Paradox of Choice notion. This posits that while many think that lots of choices equates to happiness for the chooser, what actually happens is that the more choices a person has, the more likely they are to have stress and anxiety about making those choices.
  2. The hope is that fewer items in your closet means a smaller number of things for you to choose from. This leads to:
    1. more creativity in your fashion sense (you can make more outfits from less things)
    2. disabling your shopping addiction*
    3. guarantees that you love everything you’re wearing, considering that you chose to include it in your 37-item (ish) wardrobe

[Note: Alternatively you could (and should) go read about it from the master herself Caroline at http://www.un-fancy.com/, because she’s awesome.]

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Here’s how it works: you pick a finite number of clothing items (a mix of tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes) and make your outfits for 3 months only from those items. The number of items is not important, and there aren’t many hard and fast rules for it: you control what goes in and which outfits you wear. It does not include accessories, workout clothes, underwear, etc. The big thing is that, once you plan the wardrobe, you don’t shop at all for those three months, and you only wear the items you chose.

“But Ashley, why are you doing this? You love shopping and putting together outfits and variety. Why torture yourself?”

I’m so glad you asked, anonymous reader!** I recently realized that I hadn’t integrated my sweaters into my closet yet, because there was no room. I had no space on my side of our master closet (which is approximately 80% of our closet… which isn’t small). And what’s even funnier was, except for a select few items I hadn’t missed them. So I realized that if I hadn’t missed these 20-odd items, what else was I not wearing in my (overflowing) closet? And why was I keeping stuff I didn’t wear?

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And, why was I still shopping? And buying multiple things each trip that I don’t need. And maybe even that I don’t like all that much, but that fits me, so sure, throw it in the cart.

So here’s what I hope to get out of this:

  1. A pared down, more complete wardrobe that fits my style exactly
  2. A more organized and roomier closet (duh)
  3. The ability to get ready quicker in the morning
  4. A substantial pile of clothes to donate and/or sell to consignment
  5. A manageable shopping budget
  6. An all around better sense of what I like to wear, what I look good in, and what I shouldn’t throw my money away on.

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So I plan to put this wardrobe together this weekend, hopefully with items that I already own or can buy quickly and cheaply on the fly from my favorite stores. I will take pictures during the experience and afterwards and share with you how everything is going.

Be on the lookout!

*What’s that you say? You don’t have a shopping addiction? Okay, well I do. My closet is stuffed with clothes and yet I walk in it all the time and get so annoyed that I have nothing to wear.

**aka voice in my head that I use for explanatory exposition