If you’re going to spend money on either skincare or makeup, I think you’ll get a much better return on investing in skincare. Taking care of your skin is not only important so you don’t have to use as much makeup, but it also helps keep you looking fresh and healthy.

Since Sephora is having 2x the points on skincare right now, I wanted to round up some of my all-time favorites, many of which won’t be a surprise. For reference, I have dry, sensitive skin and am prone to blackheads. These are all products that I have used in the past, although some of the pricer ones I’ve only tried through deluxe samples. Here’s the roundup:

If you want to know if something is included in the promotion, check the top of a product page for this banner:

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 9.23.35 PM.png

I have about 5 of these under-eye masks in my drawer at all times. They are great for prepping your skin for a long day of makeup, refreshing after a long day at work or helping to subtract that last drink you had the night before. I’m stocking up.

The It! Cosmetics CC+ Cream is my everyday tried-and-true base. This CC Cream gives you the coverage of a foundation with all of the skincare benefits of a moisturizer. I’m a little surprised to see this in the promo since I’d call it makeup rather than skincare, but I’m not complaining.

While your CC Cream or foundation may have SPF, it’s important to have a face sunscreen. This Clinique Pep Start SPF 50 sunblock is super lightweight and dries down to a natural finish. It has the slightest yellow tint to it so it blends with your skin rather than leaving a white film on your face.

I’m waiting for Olehenriksen to realize that .5 ounces of this Truth Serum costs $15 and 1 ounce costs $48…needless to say, I buy two of the smaller bottles at a time to save $18. My skin simply looks better when I’m using this product. I can’t entirely explain it, but it’s changed my skin.

Eye cream is tricky because you’ll never really know if it worked until you’re older. In the meantime, I judge eye cream by how well it de-puffs, hydrates and sits under makeup. Right now I’m using the It! Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream but am so tempted to get the Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate. I had a deluxe sample of this and have never felt more boujee. Not sorry. I genuinely saw an instant “firming” effect so I’m not sure what magic is in this eye cream, but it’s amazing.

Origins has some of my favorite masks and right now they have a great deal at Sephora. Masks are $27 but online you can build your own kit that also includes a face wash and moisturizing gel for the same price. I’m picking up the Drink Up Overnight Mask because it locks in intense hydration while you sleep during the cold winter months.

All four of these moisturizers are gorgeous. The Fresh Glow Face Cream smells delicious and leaves your skin silky soft. The Sunday Riley CEO and It! Cream are definitely thicker ones, so oily skin beware. The Belif moisturizer is very lightweight and plays well with makeup, ideal for oily skin and summertime.

 

If you don’t feel like you hit the new year running, there’s still time to start! Sometimes the new year can feel daunting, so I thought I’d share 5 easy things you can do to help you feel like you’re getting a fresh start without over-hauling your life.

1. Have a spa afternoon: Chances are you had a busy New Year’s Eve and didn’t get a chance to throw yourself a Sunday Spa Day. I am a firm believer in Sunday Spa Day. It helps me recharge after a busy weekend and reset for Monday morning. It’s important to take some time, even if it’s just 15 minutes for a mask, that is dedicated to focusing on you.

If you’re new to an at-home spa routine, I think there are three must-haves: bath salts, a great mask and a fresh-colored polish.

Mojo Spa Bath Salts Detox Mask Review.png

Girl take a bath. Warm water, suds it up and throw in some bath salts. The Mojo Spa Detox & Weight Loss Bath Salts are great because it has sea salt and essential oils to help detox and relax. Their Ultimate Detox Face Mask is gentle enough for sensitive skin. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean without drying it out.

Side note: If you’re browsing around Mojo Spa’s website (they’re based in Chicago but ship worldwide), some of my other favorites are their body lotions and body scrubs.

OPI Mod About You is my all-time favorite nail polish color. It is a super-opaque, gorgeous pastel pink that makes my nails feel like they’ve been to the salon even when they haven’t.

2. Clear Out Your Closet: Right before Christmas I took boxes and bags of clothes and old things I had lying around to Plato’s Closet and Goodwill. Clearing out your closet will visually help decrease the clutter and make getting ready so much easier. Focus on investing in good basics and classic staples for 2018. It’s better for your wallet in the long run and the environment. If you want a great cardigan for winter and to help you transition into spring, I highly recommend anything from Barefoot Dreams.

I’ve lived in this sweater all winter long. If butte were a fabric, this would be it.

3. Start Using An Oil: I love me some oil. If you have dry skin, oil is your best friend because it will help to hydrate. If you have oily skin, oil is ALSO your best friend! One of the reasons you might have oily skin is because your skin is actually dehydrated and is overcompensating by producing more oil than you need.

If oil scares you, start by just mixing a drop into your moisturizer during the day and apply a thin layer at night. Before long, you’ll be like me and just slap that stuff allover. I’ve only been using this oil for a week and I’m already completely obsessed. It smells fresh, herbal and really feels like it’s hydrating my skin, not just making it greasy.

Two other oils I really like are the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Oil (thinner consistency and smells like Pez) or the Tarte Maracuja Oil (the sample size is plenty).

4. Get a New Phone Case: If the new iPhone wasn’t in your budget, you aren’t alone. A new phone case can really help you feel like you’re getting a fresh start though and can be a fun way to change things up. After all, you use the thing everyday, so you should like the way it looks.

I’ve had a few Sonix cases before. They hold up really well and have super cute designs.

5. Buy a Great Water Bottle: My theory is, if I like my water bottle, I’ll drink more! TBD on whether or not I can prove this theory true in 2018, but I’m sure as hell going to try.

I just purchased this one from Target last week and so far, I’m a big fan.

 

Happy 2018! I wanted to get this post up yesterday but the flu decided to take over my body in the worst way possible. My accomplishments so far this year include drinking a water bottle, juice and almost sleeping through the night.

In other news, I wanted to share some of the goals I have for 2018. A lot of them are small but they’re tiny steps to taking better care of myself. I’d love to hear your resolutions as well, so leave those down below:

Bolt Blogs 2018 Resolutions.JPG

  1. Dairy-free diet: This one is rough and is going to be pretty difficult. I’m going to try and cut out dairy to see if it helps with any of my ongoing throat/stomach issues. Dairy has acid in it and that’s something I’ve been trying to cut out of my diet. This is not going to be easy for someone who loves ice cream, cheese, yogurt…just listing this out is hard. I’m excited to try and get creative and find dairy-free alternatives though. Here’s hoping it helps with my health.
  2. Read 1 book a month: This goal is very small, but I’m coming out of 2017 only having read one book. I’m going to try and turn that around and read one book per month. Hold me accountable!
  3. Yoga once a week: I am a much happier person when I’m going to yoga. 2017 was not the year I took the best care of my physical or mental health. Yoga helps both, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be going.
  4. Working out: There is a gym right by my work that I was going to join later in the fall, then one thing lead to another with life (surgery, the loss of my grandpa) and I never did. I have a nice long vacation coming up this summer and want to feel good about the trip, versus another round of a wonky carb-cutting, sugar-restricting diet that just leaves me unhappy.

That’s it! Those are my goals for 2018. They’re things that I should be doing all the time just as general maintenance for my body and mind, but it feels nice to step into 2018 with a clean slate. Plus with the flu, things can only go up from here.

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy new year.

Today is my final work day of the year and I could not be more excited. I can get on board with two four-day weekends in a row. This year feels like it has sped by and played out in slow motion all at once.

2017 had its challenges. I had my tonsils removed, which I thought would be the end of my relentless throat issues, but now am trying to tackle some wicked heartburn. There were some struggles at work, but they are challenges that I’m grateful to have encountered in the company of an amazing team who helped me learn and grow.

We also lost my grandfather just a few weeks before Christmas. It was pretty unexpected and it’s still been hard to process. The holidays felt a little different this year but I’m happy Jacob and I got to have our first Christmas together.

One of my goals for 2018 is to be more kind. After my grandpa’s funeral, Jacob and I were driving back to Chicago from the suburbs when a man cut me off merging onto the highway. His wife thought it was hilarious, so they spent the next 15 minutes repeatedly cutting halfway into our lane, laughing wildly as they saw how upset I was getting. I rolled down my window to yell but before I could, he shouted, “grow up, kid!” and sped off as traffic finally moved. It’s astounding that these adults took so much pleasure in doing something so dangerous and then called me the child. My point to the story is to do as Ellen says and be kind to one another. We all need to be a little more kind in 2018. I want to work on being kinder to myself and to those I may not understand.

2017 also had some pretty incredible highs…

It was a wild one to say the least. To celebrate the good, here are my Top 5 Highest-Performing Posts of the year as well:

#5: Fall Clothing Haul

Plaid Fall Flannel Bolt Blogs

#4: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Public Access | Bolt Blogs

#3: Best Places to Eat & Drink in Cleveland

Where to Eat in Cleveland | Bolt Blogs

#2: Marc Jacobs Gel Highlighter Review

Liquid Highlighter Swatches Marc Jacobs and Becca | Bolt Blogs

#1: Tarte Shape Tape Review

BOLT BLOGS Tarte shape tape swatches

 

So, there ya have it. The best and the worst of the year, from personal to professional to blog. I hope all of you had an amazing year. Tell me about your year below in the comments, from significant to silly.

 

I truly wish Christmas happened in July because I hate winter. I dream of white Christmases, if you’re referring to a white sandy beach. Since I live in Chicago though, I have an arsenal of cold-weather essentials that I use to keep cozy when it’s freezing out.

Faux-Fur Blanket: This blanket is what keeps our heat bill down. It is heavy, warm and super luxurious. It’s a little pricey but it is absolutely gorgeous and makes a great gift.

Moisturizing Mask: When the heat is on, your skin is drying up big time. This mask not only smells like a tropical delight, but it’s also super hydrating and makes your skin look gorgeous when you wake up.

Pom Hat: This hat comes in a few different colors and is super soft. The pom is also just really fun for winter.

Sweatpants: Splendid apparel is definitely a splurge but these sweatpants are amazing. It’s the perfect loungewear and holds up beautifully in the wash. Pro tip: keep an eye out at Nordstrom Rack – Splendid pops up there all the time.

Barefoot Dreams Cardigan: If butter were a fabric, this would be it. If you haven’t touched Barefoot Dreams fabric, you need to. I live in my cardigan around the house. I purchased a L/XL and it’s slightly long in the sleeves, but that’s how I wanted it at home. If I were to buy another for the weekends, I’d get the S/M. They also have extended sizes here.

Pine Candle: This is my all-time favorite pine scent. It smells just like a real tree but isn’t overpowering when you burn it. The jar is also beautiful and looks great with holiday decor.

Fuzzy Socks: Earth Therapeutics has my favorite fuzzy socks because they are infused with shea butter to help moisturize your feet plus keep them warm.

Bolt Blogs Wreath Christmas T-Shirt.jpg

Details: Pom Hat || Wreath Christmas Tee || Sweatpants || Fuzzy Socks ||  Knit Blanket || Faux-Fur Blanket

While I’m not huge on winter, I still try and make the most of it. Fuzzy blankets, twinkly lights, hot chocolate and of course the most festive tee of them all 😉