#ootd

My current outfit is on major repeat!! Raise your hand if you love a good workout outfit! These shorts are my very favorite pair! They’re great for everything from downward dog pose in yoga to running after cute kiddos! The waistband is wide and sit at a very comfortable mid-rise position. They also have full pockets! How awesome is that? The top is one of my new favs as well! It’s long enough to tuck and can easily be worn with shorts or leggings! Linking my favorite sneakers too! For reference, I’m wearing a medium in the top and bottoms. Hurry only a few sizes left and marked way down!!

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Shorts | Top | Shoes

 

Today’s top was a nursing friendly find from my favorite online store! I love how cool it is in the summer with its waffle weave, and button front! It’s a little hard to tell, but I tied the bottom into the cutest knot! These shorts are also a favorite. High rise and you’ll definitely want to size up one since they run a bit small. My slides are super comfy, and super affordable! I love how they give just a little sparkle to my outfit! My ring sling is sold out, but I’ve linked other options for you as well!

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Top | Shorts | Slides | Ring Sling

Continue reading #ootd

Dresses for Spring!

The weather has finally warmed up here, and we’re heading to the beach soon to celebrate the end of busy season! So that means its time to start looking for dresses! Many of these would be great for weddings, bridal showers, Easter, Mother’s Day or just to take on vacation!

I’ve tried to select reasonably priced dresses, all of the dresses are under $100, most are under $50! I love all of these dresses and rompers, they remind me of winter melting away with their bold colors and fresh floral patterns.

 

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Floral Dress | Nude Pumps | Bamboo Bag | Statement Earrings

 

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Side Plunge Halter Dress | Pump Sandals | Statement Earrings |Neutral Clutch

 

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Romper | Sandal | Earrings | Clutch | Earrings

 

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Striped Maxi |Neutral Clutch | Earrings| Slip on Sandals | Earrings

 

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Romper | Caramel Sandals | Hat | Bag | Earrings

More fun spring dresses…

 

Floral | Stripes |Purple

 

White Floral | Blue Stripes | Green

White mules and sandals are perfect for this time of year, here are a few fun styles.

Greece Sandal|Bay Cutout Slide Sandal | Mule | Clara Mule

 

I love these neutral handbags to pair with the bold stripes and lots of pops of color of the dresses and rompers this spring. I’d recommend a liner with the bamboo clutch.

 

Leather Clutch | Small Round Bag | Larger Round Bag | Bamboo Clutch

There are so many affordable statement earrings to choose from, its so hard to pick only one! Which is your favorite?

 

I hope you’ll enjoy being outdoors this spring! If you try any of these outfits, be sure to tag us and use the hashtag #delightfulsouthernmoments

 

xo,

Christine

 

My Favorite Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day!


We are so ready for Valentine’s Day!

One of my very favorite gifts I received when my husband and I first met was a box of chocolate covered strawberries from one of those fancy retailers! How could he already know me so well to pick such a wonderful gift? I felt like such a lucky girl.

Fast forward years later, chocolate covered strawberries might still be one of my favorite treats. I’m sharing my super easy recipe so you can make them at home too!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

  • 12 Large Strawberries
  • ¬Ĺ Package of White Chocolate Chips, Carob Chips, or Dark Chocolate Chips; plus 1 tbsp of contrast shade for decorating
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Sprinkles, Edible Pearls or other Edible Decorations

 

  1. Wash strawberries, patting dry or allow to air dry
  2. Reserve 1 tbsp of chocolate chips (for drizzling)
  3. Combine chocolate chips and 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl
  4. Heat in microwave on melt or 50% power for 1 minute, and mix; add additional 30 seconds until melted (can also add more vegetable oil for carob chips)
  5. Dip Strawberries, one at a time into the melted chocolate and place on cookie sheet or parchment lined tray

Repeat until all strawberries have been covered in chocolate

  1. Melt the reserved contrasting color, and drizzle onto the covered strawberries, or sprinkle on edible decorations
  2. Place strawberries into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving

 

Consume within 3-5 days for best taste!

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These would go really well with our favorite Valentine’s Day date ideas, espeically a cozy night in with your significant other!

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We love to hear from you! Share with us your favorite treats for Valentine’s Day, is it something you buy, or something you make?

 

xo,

Christine

10 Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas for a Memorable Valentine’s Day

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Before we started a family, and before we got married, my husband and I dated. We went on a wide variety dates including a few very special trips overseas. These days our dating budget is a little more limited. But having a family budget, doesn’t mean couples shouldn’t stop dating!

I’m sharing a few of our very favorite budget friendly date ideas, just in time for Valentine’s Day! I hope these inspire you to enjoy the company of your significant other, no matter what your budget!

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1 // Cozy date night in: Discover Your Love Languages

I wouldn’t recommend this as a first date, but if you’ve been seriously dating your significant other, engaged, or married for any number of years, you can’t go wrong with this cozy date night in idea. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts is such an amazing book, but you don’t have to purchase the book to have a cozy date night in together! You can take the quiz here¬†and talk about your individual love languages. It’s a great way to get closer.

2 // Classic Date Night: Wine and Art Museum Tour

We love our local art museum, it’s such a treasure. On Friday nights they have a wine bar, and once a month do a docent lead tour of the permanent collection. Even if you can’t catch a tour, most museums have options for self guided tours, and visiting exhibits!

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3 // Twist on the Classic: Champaign and Chocolate Tasting

You can stick to a budget, and still enjoy a high end date. Often smaller, local restaurants will let you bring your own bottle of wine, including sparkling wine. With a small corking fee you can enjoy your favorite bottle of bubbly with your restaurant dinner! We have a local Chocolate Factory that offers bean-to-bar chocolate, delectable sipping cocoa, and silky ganache! Its the perfect place to enjoy a date night!

4 // Volunteer Together at a Food Pantry

Volunteering at a food pantry is a great way to spend time with your significant other! If you’ve never volunteered before, give it a try. My hubby and I use to spend a lot of time volunteering at our local food bank, and I always felt like we grew closer together after our time volunteering. We enjoy volunteering at this food pantry.

5 // Take a Cooking Class

If you’ve never taken a cooking class, it’s something you should try at least once. Learning a new cooking skill can be fun and challenging. You can learn to cook with wine, or date night meals from Paris, French desserts or even brunch meals! There are so many options to choose from! Check to see if you have a class near you!

6 // Head to the Batting Cages

Looking for a different kind of date night? Guys love to do activities with their significant others, including hitting the batting cages. Even if you’re not a Babe Ruth, it’s still a really fun way to get out of your comfort zone and connect with your partner.

7 // Compete in your own Go-Kart Race

Ready, set, go! Are you and your sweetie the competitive type? Reve your engines and let loose at closed course go-kart racing track! We love this track.

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8 // Plan a Hike at a Local Park

One of our favorite ways to spend time together while we were dating was to go on group hikes. Spending time outside in nature is such a great way to relieve stress and get some much needed fresh air for those of us stuck inside all day! When the days are shorter, like in winter, parks tend to close a little earlier than in the longer summer days. As long as you plan around this it should a a really fun date! Bonus points if you pop into a local brewery after to share a beer!

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9 // Picnic in a Botanical Garden

Another favorite date of ours that never gets old is visiting our local botanical garden! Bring along snacks, or even a meal for dining¬†alfresco, or eating outside to linger a little longer in the gardens! We’ve been enjoying a bit of a warm spell in the south and now’s the perfect time to take your meals outside while there are no bugs!

10 // Game Night

Did you have game nights in college? How about during camp, or on retreats when you were younger? Why not do it again? Many of us met our significant other while in college, or shortly after. Dates don’t have to be expensive to be fun, pull out a pack of cards and play poker or Blackjack. There are tons of great two player games too that you can play while the kids are in bed for a date-night-in!¬† We love to play this quick and easy game, this one that’s a bit more challenging or even this classic one that always brings on the giggles!

 

Budget Friendly Date Night

 

We LOVE hearing from you! Comment below if you tried any of these date night ideas, or if we missed one of your favorite ways to spend time with your significant other!

xo,

Christine

What I’ll be Packing in my Hospital Bag for Baby #2

What do you do first, pack your hospital bag, or prepare a nursery? Get ready to pack your bags mama with these essentials!

Experts recommend to have your bags (one for you, and baby) packed and in your car by¬†35 weeks. (Taxi-taking moms ‚ÄĒ stash your bags in the front hall closet.) This list is meant to be helpful, so please don’t think you have to have everything on this list! Since this is our second baby, we’ve got a much better idea this time around of what to bring, and what to leave behind!

Also, a tip for the thrifty: Ask your hospital what they provide for babies and mothers, and take those items off your list.

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Must-Haves for Mama:

[ ] Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)

[ ] A warm robe or sweater (you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause if need be)

[¬†]¬†2¬†maternity bras¬†‚ÄĒ no underwire, with no padding, we love this one

[¬†]¬†Toiletries and personal items ‚ÄĒ hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)

[ ] Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips)

[ ] Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)

[ ] Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size; an open front cardigan, nursing camisole, and / or nursing top and flat shoes

[ ] 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks and slip-on hard sole slippers that can get ruined (for walking the halls indoor before and after labor)

[ ] Eyeglasses and/ or contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)

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What to Bring For Baby:

[ ] Approved car seat

[ ] Nursing pillow (your lactation consultant can help you position baby if you plan to nurse)

[ ] A coming-home outfit

[ ] Warm blankets (for the ride home)

[ ] Outdoor gear like a snowsuit and hat, as seasonally appropriate (remember, babies are extra sensitive to cold)

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Hubby’s List:

[ ] A gym bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner

 

Optional Items it for Mama:

[ ] Very light reading (think magazines)

[ ] Your MP3 player (loaded with your favorite tunes, of course)

[ ] Massage oil and tools like rolling pins or tennis balls, and lucky or inspirational objects for labor

[ ] Pen and paper

[ ] Lip balm (hospitals tend to have dry air)

[ ] Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger

[ ] A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human) how cute is this one?

[ ] Nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you might appreciate the support and leak-protection)

[ ] Your favorite brand of face wash, shampoo and conditioner (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky) makeup (as if), lotion

[ ] A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs that can be worn)

[ ] Protein bar or other favorite snacks

 

Leave at Home:

[ ] Any clothes or nighties you really like (they could get ruined)

[ ] Stopwatch (your nurse or a monitor will take care of timing contractions)

[ ] Heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re super picky)

[ ] Fluffy Slippers (they will get dirty)

[  ] Extra pillow (unless you’re ok with one that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)

[ ] Your own bathing towel (of course the hospital will provide small towels)

[ ] Hairdryer (the hospital will provide, so leave at home unless you absolutely must have your own, this one is really awesome)

[ ] Breast pump, (the hospital should have one you can borrow)

 

Did we miss any of your ‘must haves?’ What would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

 

xo,

Christine

 

 

 

The Best Gender Neutral Toys for Toddlers & Young Children

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t believe toys should be looked as “for girls,” or “for boys.” Toys don‚Äôt have a gender.

Toys are Gender Neutral

I hope you’ll agree that the toy list I’ve put together are¬†GENDER NEUTRAL (as all toys are). Everything on this list is wonderful for girls and boys. Loved by both, and equally NEEDED by all.

I hope you’ll consider the ways all children will learn learn through playing with,¬†whether Legos, a doll house or kitchen.

Toy List

Best Toys for 1 Year Olds

Best Toys for One Year Olds

Best Toys for Toddlers

Best Toys for Toddlers

‚ÄúPlay Is The Work of the Child‚ÄĚ Maria Montessori

According to Montessori, the essential dimensions of play are:

  • Voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous
  • Creativity expanded using problem solving skills, social skills, language skills and physical skills
  • Helps expand on new ideas
  • Helps the child to adapt socially
  • Helps to thwart emotional problems

 

If play is the work of the child, toys are the tools. Through toys, children learn about their world, themselves, and others. Toys teach children to:

  • Figure out how things work
  • Pick up new ideas
  • Build muscle control and strength
  • Use their imagination
  • Solve problems
  • Learn to cooperate with others

 

Toddler Toys

Wooden Blocks

These are the absolute best open ended toys for young children. Even elementary aged children love to play with blocks.

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Rainbow

Another favorite open ended toy, this rainbow has endless possibilities for play.

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Small Animals

A set of small animals, or two or three, can be used for sensory bin play or endless imaginary play. The Schleich animals have exquisite detail, and will keep interest of older children with their life-like quality.

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Vehicles with People

Community helpers are so big with toddlers, and these vehicles are perfect for pretend play.

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Duplo Legos

Legos are a open-ended toy that every household needs to have. Duplos start young children in the early years to develop building skills.

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Play Kits

Vet Kit Shaving Kit Scarves

Children love to play make-believe, and these kits explore grown-up skills and group play. If you don’t have scarves yet, they have so many uses. From dancing to learning signals, they truly are an open ended toy!

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Baby Doll

Boys and girls benefit from playing with dolls, empathy and nurturing are not just skills for little girls. I absolutely love this new born doll is anatomically correct! Available in Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and African, boy or girl.

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Doll House

We have gotten so much play out of our doll house. Excellent pretend play for boys and girls! In my daughter’s preschool class the boys often play rescue games with the the dolls and the girls jump right in. This particular house is the most gender neutral one I’ve seen.

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Kitchen

There are hundreds it seems, of play kitchens on the market, and for good reason. Boys and girls love to role play mommy and/ or daddy preparing meals in the family kitchen. This kitchen from Ikea is a good value, but check your local market for resales,  you can often find one for a great price and most can last through several children.

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Pots & pans, cookie cutters, mitts, spoons, ladles, spatulas

We love our Ikea play sets for the kitchen. These are the perfect size for little hands!

Play Food & Shopping Basket

Grocery shopping is another favorite role play of young children. And these soft foods are our favorites!

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Fruits Veggies

Puzzles

Shapes Tool Puzzle Community Helpers Puzzle

You can never have too many puzzles (although my husband might disagree with me on this one). There are so many amazing teaching puzzles on the market today, these are just a few of ours that we love.

Cash Register

A tried and true favorite, this retro toy is making a come back. I love the simplicity of this one and I’m so glad they brought it back!

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Alphabet Toys

Alphabet toys are a great way to introduce letters. Organically the child can explore the shapes, and we like to make the sound of the letter, not specifically the name of it yet. I love that this set has upper and lower case letters, and the wood pieces are in the actual shape of the letters.

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Train Set

Perhaps traditionally thought of as a toy meant for boys, little girls love to play with trains. Building a track with a grown up, and moving pieces around give endless hours of fun.

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Play Tools

Our little girl loves building things with daddy, and tools are a great way for bonding with parents or “fixing” the child’s own toys.

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Spill Resistant Paint Cups

As children get older, they crave opportunities for independence. You want a clean house- these spill resistant paint cups help us meet them somewhere in the middle.

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Tea Set

Equally loved by all children, the right tea set teaches caring for others (offering drinks) taking turns, and introduces some basic etiquette (sitting at a table together).

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Color Sorting Toys

Color sorting are one of the most favorite games of toddlers. Toddlers love order, and color sorting gives them an opportunity to practice those skills. Its amazing how fast children learn to sort.

Color Sorting Shapes

Music Instruments

Music is such a critical piece of development, I could write an entire post just on music and music therapy. A few good quality pieces will bring hours of joy to your children. And I love the simplicity of these instruments that require the child to do all of the creative work.

Band Piano Percussion

 

One Year Old Toys

Stacking Toys

We love these stacking toys, the cups are a steal at $3 and have given so much joy from such a simple toy. The imagination of children is just amazing. From playroom, to tub, to traveling on a plane and flying to see grandma- our stacking cups have some serious miles on them!

Stacking Cups  Stacking Rings

Baby Doll

Baby’s first doll should be soft, sweet and have a friendly face. We love playing with our soft doll and remember- they’re not just for girls!

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Shape Sorting Toys

Another toy that has brought joy not just to us, but our playgroup friends as well. Babies and even toddlers love this sweet little house!

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Balls

The ultimate baby toy, but these texture balls are one of our favorites. Eager young children love to put everything in their mouths, and these little balls are so easy to wash. Another favorite of our little ones, and all the children at our playgroup gatherings.

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Push Toys

Every single child loves to have a toy they can push- moms and dads, you’ll love how compact this one is! This zebra is another well loved toy, and makes just enough sound as you push it along. You’r little one will love it!

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Pop-up School Bus

Another timeless classic, we have one from my husband’s childhood. The peg people pop up when you push them down- baby’s first lesson in cause and effect! The cheerfully painted school bus and little people make this a hit with all children!

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Ramp Toys

Toys are amazing things, did you know this is a first lesson in reading? I know! What? Yes, this simple little toy in which cars are dropped at the top of the ramp and drive down, yet allow full visibility, train a child’s eye to love down the page of a book! See, I told you toys are good for learning!

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Big Knob Puzzles

Big knob puzzles are a great first introduction into the world of puzzles. The over sized knobs make it easier for tiny hands to firmly grasp, and friendly pets, and fruits give little ones a good practice for things around the house.

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Mega Blocks

These are perfect for tiny hands, just learning how to put two blocks together!

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Animals

All children love animals, and if you’re going to get small animals, I would highly suggest starting your collection with Schleich. Younger children may not yet notice all the fine details, but older children will. These are great for sensory bins, playing with blocks and other toys, the possibilities are endless. Starting your little ones with some of the larger animals, then slowly adding to the collection will be toys you can grow with.

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What are your favorite toys for little ones?

Remember, we don’t have to have every toy- just the right ones! Toys that entertain our kids are one-and done. We don’t want that! Look for open ended toys that let the child play, use their imagination and can grow with them!

 

xo,

Christine

 

Glowing Cool Weather Skin!

I’m so excited to share my beauty routine for glowing skin in the fall / winter months! Keeping skin hydrated is key to healthy,¬†radiant skin! Let’s face it, as we age our skin needs more TLC, a lot more TLC.

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I am such a Target girl- I love the price point and that I can count on them to carry one of my favorite, and recommended by my dermatologist, brands, Neutrogena. Introduced several years ago, the Hydro Boost line has really taken off in the last year, and for good reason!

 

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My absolute favorite under eye moisturizer¬†Hyaluronic Acid Gel Eye Cream, which you all have heard about me mention before is amazing! It is specially designed to help smooth the skin around the eyes, boosting skin’s hydration level and locks it in all day! I also love this super gentle, non- pore clogging 12 hour¬†Oil-Free Daily Facial Moisturizer. With a broad Spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen, it also helps prevent premature signs of aging caused by the sun! And did you know it’s recommended to wear sunscreen even in cooler seasons? My last favorite Neutrogena skin product is the¬†Hydro Boost Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser. I use this each morning to really wake up my face and give it a fresh glow.

But what about my secret night-time skin care routine? This is something I’ve been working on for the past year! Before I go to bed is when the real magic happens- and I hope you all are excited as I am! On Amazon Prime Day, I finally took the leap to try the¬†Clarisonic Mia 1, Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush System. This amazing little tool removes makeup, dirt, oil, and sweat 6x better than hands alone!! I use it with my other amazing secret, a small amount of¬†TULA Probiotic Skin Care Purifying Face Cleanser, Deep Pore Cleansing Wash¬†applied right on the brush head. My face has never felt cleaner, and been clearer since I started using these two together.

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My last two beauty items are a bit controversial, but stick with me. I’m really excited to share a¬†Vitamin C + serum¬†that was recommended to me by a friend. Vitamin C + Collagen helps brighten and visibly firm the skin. It really does create a youthful glow! The Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol help to banish dark circles, and get firmer, that also works as anti-wrinkle serum. See? I told you this stuff was pretty awesome! And finally, my¬†Alo Verra Derma-Roller. While perhaps this one might get the most reservation from you, hear me out. As we age, our skin looses its elasticity, and firmness. Also if you have any acne scaring, you might notice those take longer to heal. I LOVE the roller for this very reason. It works so well, you’ll just have to try it and let me know in the comments what you think! After washing my face, I continue to use this¬†Night Cream.

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I’ve been loving my recent beauty finds and sharing them with you! What products are you currently into?

xo,

Christine