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Thursday, September 7, 2017

August/September Love Goodly Box Review

I'll be honest, I'm loving the Love Goodly boxes! It's a great cruelty-free and toxin free subscription. The value for money is great, the products are from brands I've never heard of and seem to be high quality, and the variety is pretty awesome. See my last Love Goodly Review here.

And this month (2 months?) was no exception, there was some pretty cool stuff to test out.




Ok enough gushing, let's see what I got in the August/September Love Goodly Box.

Red & Howling

Custom Frenchie Print


Can I just say that when I pulled this print out of the box I literally LOL'd. I don't say that lightly, but it's true, the dog on the end with the rose... adorably hilarious! I will be looking for a frame for this for sure, I need this in my life. The funniest part is that I'm really not all that into french bulldogs. But hey if it's cute and funny who am I to argue?

Garden of Life

Organic Plant Based Protein Bar


Confession time: I ate this bar before I was able to take a picture :( What? I was hungry, you would have done the same. But I can tell you it wasn't bad, though it did have a Cliff Bar taste and texture. I think I'll stick to the RX Bars or Larabars - my faves!

KINDri Los Angeles

Organic Beauty Oil



I love a good oil. I use one religiously at night in place of a moisturizer (at least during the warmer months) my skin just drinks it up. I just bought an oil before I received this box (only if I had known!) so I've been switching back and forth between the two. 

I would say this is a nice oil that sinks into the skin well (not quickly, cause it's an oil) and leaves my skin nice in the morning. I wouldn't say it wows me but it's nice. And I'm not a huge fan of the very citrusy scent.

I do like this oil though for my hair as a mask (do not use on dry hair if you hate oily clumps!). I run it through the ends and put my hair in a bun for a few hours and then shampoo and condition as usual. It left my hair soft and with less frizz. So I think I may turn this into a mask only kind of product.


Johnny Concert Glamour

Eyeshadow - Radioactive



Oh man, I love the duochrome nature of this shadow, it's gorgeous! I just with the product peformed better. The shade is a bronze-green duochrome with a metallic finish. The shadow is very hardly packed though and is hard to get on your brush.

To get it on my lids I first started with a flat brush and swiping it all over my lids. This left a really light wash of color with more of a shine than the duochrome or metallic. Then I tried wetting a brush and using my fingers to pack on a more intense color. I have to say the find works the best, but you have to add a few layers. It is pretty on though still pretty subtle. 

Unfortunately, I have to say I want to love this more than I do.

Z Natural Life

Deodorant



Ah natural deodorants... out there is some mythical unicorn of the deodorants that works, smells nice, is easy to apply, and doesn't break me out. This, however, is not it. But I really want it to be! 

The packaging is genius, take notes every other natural deordorant. The cream product comes out a whole in the top of this oddly phallic packaging and you swipe it on your pits. It also smells pretty nice. But I did find after time out in a hot day I started to smell. I would recommend this for inside, easy-going days. My biggest trouble though, was after a few days of wear I started to break out. Grr... what is in these things?!

Overall, I'm still very happy with this subscription box, even if I wasn't into everything in it. I'm excited every other month to checkout the new products that are coming!

Be sure to watch my InstaStories (@amberbutbetter) for the next Love Goodly unboxing and first impressions!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Life is Hard - An Honest Talk



When I started Amber But Better just over 3 years ago, I just wanted to talk about going cruelty-free with my beauty products. Since then, it's become so much more than that and I've begun opening up more and more about my life. This is really hard to open up on the internet, especially for me as this is a problem for me all around. But because this space is really all about becoming a better version of myself I will continue to talk about my life with you all. We're friends... maybe a little one-sided, but friends none-the-less.

When I have shared in the past though has been only half the truth. I think I've put a positive spin on my stories; I got a divorce but I'm stronger for it, dating is hard but I'm doing it and am successful, etc... Today I want to share the other side of the story, the side many of us hide when we throw that plastic smile on our faces.
























Things Get Tough


And this truth is that things are not always positive and rosey and going to be okay. Sometimes things just suck! They're shit and awful and you want to cry and scream and give up. This is what happens before all of the other stuff and we dismiss it. At least I do, it's the stuff I have to get over to move on. I'm learning that there is so much to learn and gain when you're in these moments. 

After my separation and divorce I felt awful, like an udder failure. I spent days numb and watching sad movies just so I could cry. It was ugly and difficult.

And more recently I've been trying the whole dating thing online (an app) and at first it was exciting, then it was fun, and then it became harder and harder; like work. When I don't get matches, or some guy ghosts on me, or some guy I went on multiple dates disappeared on me I feel like shit. I feel like I am somehow inadequate and not worthy. It's not a good feeling. I've been anxious and depressed and finally had to uninstall the app from my phone to take a break for a while (I may write more about this in the future). 

Sometimes life just sucks and it's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I would love to tell you all how I'm doing great now and so excited for the future... blah blah, fucking blah. But this is the real real and I'm being honest. Right now I'm not feeling very good about myself. I question my weight, looks, personality, future, everything! And yes, I'll get out of it one day and I know that I'm really a good person and a total catch.





































All the Emotions are Good


But I've also come to realize that these moments of suck are just as important as the moments after. I'm trying to beccome more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, sad, angry, and frustrated and all that stuff. Because they're emotions that make me human and allow me to feel all that other good stuff too. I'm allowing myself to feel lonely and sad right now, but I also am trying to move beyond it. No dwelling in these feelings, I just feel them as I need to and continue on. I am also analyzing why I feel this way and working to change my focus on dating, from need to want to date (again, let me know if you want a dating update post).

I know this has been a difficult post and not the normal postivity we all have come to expect from bloggers. But I think this kind of honesty is important, especially on the internet. Things aren't all good all the time. And that's ok because we all go through it! We're all down in the shit together, and I don't know about you but that's actually a comforting thought.

Let's Be Honest Together


I will continue with beauty, style, and confidence posts but I hope to use this platform as an honest space for us to discuss life issues. I hope you're all with me!

On this theme I chose pictures that made me feel uncomfortable, exposed, and out of my element. We're tackling it all on Amber But Better today!

For More Honest Confessions Follow Me @ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'


Thursday, August 10, 2017

June/July Love Goodly Box Review


I thought I'd try a subscription box again, because you know I'm crazy like that. I've tried Petit Vour and the Sephora Play boxes before (see what I thought of Petit Vour). The Sephora Play box was nice and I highly recommend it, but there's no option to choose cruelty-free only, which means it's a crap shoot on whether or not there'd be products I would use.

I liked the idea of the Love Goodly box because it's every other month and all the products are cruelty-free (of course!) and full-size. Keep reding for my review of the Love Goodly box for June/July!


Kat Von D

Everlasting Liquid Lipstick - Lovecraft


I'm sure you're all sick of hearing how I don't like lipsticks but still for some reason keep trying them all. I know blah blah blah... but recently, let me tell you all, I think I've been converted! This formula applies smoothly and is so easy to get the shape you want. I usually apply a thin layer and it covers so well without any streaks. And, of course most importanly, the staying power. It's amazing, this has lasted through drinks and meals and when it does wear off it's pretty even and doesn't look funky. 

I've actually been reaching for this on weekdays (the true testament of a good lipstick)! For the other liquid lipstick that's changed my mind check out my post here.


Faby

Nail Polish - Save the Drive-in


This color is right up my street, it's a metallic dark gray-ish blue and really pretty. I love a dark color for my toe nails... makes me feel sassy I guess. This has to be one of the best formulas I've tried from a cruelty-free nail polish. It's smooth and spreads easily and the color is opaque after one coat without streaking. Though I still used 2 to get a rich color.

And the color is gorgeous! The silver metallic finish makes it unique and shiny. Yay!



Gemtye

Custom Heart Bracelet and Hair Tie (black and turquoise)


I was really excited about these! I'm always wearing hair ties on my wrists or carrying them with me. And I thought it was a cool idea to turn them into jewelry as well. They're cute and simple but functional, yes please! I would say though that they are best for smaller wrists, at least until you stretch them out a bit. I have tiny child-size wrists and they do aren't too tight, but barely. Just something to think about.

Fred + Far

Trillion Pin


A cute pin that supports self-love, I'm down. I'm not really a pin gal but I did put this on my jean jacket and it adds a little bit of fun, or personality or pizazz. I like it. 

New Chapter

Perfect Hair, Skin & Nails

I'll be honest, this was not my favorite product. It's not that I don't think it's a good products or won't work. I just am not really into vitamins as you have to take them with food and I eat at funky hours and blah blah blah excuses. But for me these weren't my favorite part of the box. But I'm going to give them to a girlfriend to try because I hate to waste them.

Overall Thoughts


For my first month of Shop Goodly, I was pleasantly surprised. The Kat Von D lipstick was almost worth the price of the box itself. I think value for money on this is amazing! I like the mix of products that come in the box. But I do hope future boxes have fewer accessories and more beauty (makeup, skincare, haircare, body stuff). So I'm excited for the August/September box, I can wait. 

Don't forget to watch my Instgram stories (@amberbutbetter) for the unboxing and first impressions. Then I'll do a follow-up blog post to give my review.



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Natural Suncare for Summer Fun

Orginally posted for Denver Style Magazine

It's Summer, the sun is out, the clothes are shrinking, and skin it's making it's appearance all over the place. Summer is the perfect time for swimming and beaches and barbecues; but it's also a good time to think about suncare. I know many of us want to get tan during these warmer months, but it's not worth it (at least the sun-rays way) to your skin and health. I'm a pasty girl so I know the allure, but the science of beauty has given us other options. Or you can keep it pasty!


Either way, sunscreen is crucial on sunny or cloudy days. Remember UV rays aren't bothered by clouds, they can get you either way. I just got back from a vacation in Costa Rica where I layed and played in the sun and the clouds. To protect myself I brought a lot of sunscreen - all of it natural, green and cruelty-free... even better!



For the Body

I need a spray for body sunscreen... I don't know about you but I don't have time to play around with rubbing a cream in. This Alba spray was great to get to (almost) all my nooks and crannie. It doesn't have a "sunscreen-y" smell, which I appreciate!



For the Face

I bought a Coola travel pack from Ulta with tinted and non-tinted options. Both worked well and my face never burned, though they do have weird texture you might have to gete used to. It almost feels like a mineral makeup is mixed in with the cream... odd but effective. Also, if you're buying the full size I would suggest the one that's  not tinted as the tint doesn't show up on the skin at all.

For the lips, I used this tinted lip balm by Coola with an SPF 30. I've never burnt my lips but it doesn't sound fun so I don't think I will. This gives you a little color, a nice slip, and is moisturizing, so overall it's just a great lip balm.



For After the Sun (aka when you're burned to a crisp)

In Costa Rica I made a dumb move and didn't but sunscreen on my legs (ah! The shock and horror) so I got burned. It was lame and hurt and I totally learned my lesson. But luckily this Coola Environmental Repair Plus makes the healing process better. It feels nice and cooling on the burn is moisturizing and does help with the pain a bit. Much more comfortable to put on than lotion. Love this stuff!

All these products helped me enjoy my vacation safely and I would recommend them to anyone. I hope you all get to have fun in the sun this Summer. And if you do, remember your protection!



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Anti-aging Skincare Routine


One day I woke up, looked in the mirror and realized, "Shit, I'm getting older!" It's subtle things I noticed; Like my eyes are more hooded, my eyebrows aren't quite as high, and my skin is not quite as taught. So it's nothing major but I notice it. And if you all are anything like me you're noticing the changes too. 

I've started researching more about anti-aging skincare and applying them to my routine... at least a little bit. According to Reviews.com (an amazing beauty resource btw), the most important ingredients for a great wrinkle cream (aka anti-aging products) are retinol and hyaluronic acid. And the great thing is, we've heard about these for years so they're easily accessible in the products out there at any price range. 

Good news! Reviews.com did reseach on the most effective wrinkle creams with these ingredients and they came up with the top 3 (read more here) one of which is cruelty-free! Yay for cruelty-free anti-aging. 

I haven't tried any of the top 3 yet, but I have been including those ingredients in my cruelty-free skincare routine. I use a hyaluronic acid serum in the morning and a retinol serum at night. 


Daytime Skincare


I keep my morning skincare routine pretty simple because, let's face it, I'm sleepy and don't want to deal with a million steps. But I make sure to get in a few power products with hyaluronic acid and SPF.



Nighttime Skincare


My night skincare routine is more involved as I feel my skin can absorb more overnight. I want a clean slate and lots of great ingredients for my skin to soak up.




Skincare Tips for Anti Aging and Beyond


Over the years of trial and error I feel that I have developed a pretty good cocktail of skincare. I have a few tips to help your skincare routine work it's best at any price point, complexity, or type.


  • Be gentle - this is your face afterall, it's been nice to you. Try to be gentle as you wash, put on products and apply eye creams. 
  • Press in your heavy-hitting produts - After I lightly swipe my serums, oils, and/or moisturizers over my face I got back and press it all in all around my face. This helps the product sink and and ensures you get it all off your fingers.
  • Take your time between steps - some products (serum especially) should settle in before you move on. That's usually when I do the eye cream.
  • Don't forget your neck and decollete - all of the serums, oils, and moisturizers I talk about I'm also applying to these areas.
I hope this post has been helpful to you! I know skincare can sometimes be complicated and confusing. But I swear it gets better - talk to professionals, do your research, and keep trying different things until something works.