Skincare for Autumn

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As you may be able to tell, I play around with skincare products quite a bit. I have just recently begun to try out different products, serums, creams, gels, etc. This post is a round-up and a quick review of each product I am using at the moment to care for my skin in this autumn season.

With the weather moving toward colder temperatures, I’m focusing on really making sure my skin is hydrated and moisturized. I have oily skin, but in the winter I do tend to get pretty dry on my cheeks and forehead, so I try to make sure the products I use are hydrating, yet still effective at keeping oil away and my face acne-free. For my morning routine, I begin my skincare regime with the Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser I am thinking this product might be holy grail status. Seriously. This face wash is the best cleanser I have used, ever. In my life, hands down, the best. It’s like a gel formula, but it is moisturizing. It’s very herbal-ly smelling, and it is very gentle. For someone who is very prone to break-outs, especially in the last few months, this cleanser has been wonderful for keeping my skin clear and smooth and clean. After I cleanse, I use the Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion (not pictured), for my toner. Again, Mario Badescu makes amazing, gentle, but super effective products and I am a big fan of this toner. For my serum, I am still loving the Lanoline Rosehip Skin Renew Firming Serumwhich is just light enough to wear under my makeup, but effective at keeping the moisture locked in. Since using this serum, my skin is more youthful looking and brighter. To combat any acne, or to clear up any spots, I use The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, which is amazing at quickly clearing up acne. For the last step in the morning, I use the Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll On. This has a metal roller ball, which is nice and cooling, combined with cucumber to wake up the under eye area. Really nice little product. (My husband loves it!)

At night, to remove my makeup, I have been using the Lumene Finland Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover. I don’t wear waterproof eye makeup all the time, but this remover is fantastic at removing any makeup residue. It’s one of those oily-watery combinations that really helps to remove makeup, without drying out my skin. This brand is a new one to my local drugstore, and I am interested in trying out some of their other products, like their Bright Now Vitamin C+ Daily Moisturizer. I’ll keep you updated on that when I try it. After removing my makeup, cleanse, and tone my face, I use the Estelle and Thild Rose Otto Night Cream. I’ve already spoken about this cream before, so I won’t go into too much detail, but this cream is amazing for restoring moisture to the skin. I love this brand. Lastly, I apply a face mask. Now I don’t do a face mask every night, but a couple times a week, I reach for The Living Source Hydrating Face Mask with hyaluronic acid. This face mask is freakin’ amazing. It’s a clay mask with hyaluronic acid in it, which gives my skin such a beautiful soft, moisturized feel. It also, somehow, clears up my skin too. I used a new foundation about a week ago that completely destroyed my skin. It was awful. I had about a million tiny red bumps all over my face, and it was so painful and sensitive. I applied this mask, along with a heck of a lot of tea tree oil, and by the next morning, my skin was completely cleared up. Needless to say, I returned the foundation, and I am in love with this mask!

So these are the products I use for this autumnal season, to keep my face normal and clear and hydrated. Let me know if there is anything you have tried lately that you love for the autumn season!

Steffanie xo

Birthday Bags

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For my birthday, I picked up two beautiful bags and I thought I would share them with you! Using a gift card from my work girls (thanks ladies!!), and some birthday gift money, I chose to update ny handbag situation. I actually don’t own too many purses, aside from two Vera Bradley Hipsters, and a Kate Spade “Eat Cake for Breakfast” tote, which I love. I was on the hunt for a nice everyday carry purse, preferably black. I also wanted a sleek clutch or a small bag to carry to weddings, parties, and dates, that wasn’t too fussy. With that in mind, I went on a browse.

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I am a huge online shopper, so naturally I chose to check out the sites first. I happened to find myself on ASOS, drooling over their bags, when I saw it. On a major sale. The Whistles Rivington Clutch in the most beautiful, bright coral. Now, I have been dreaming of owning a Whistles clutch for some time now, ever since I saw Anna, from viviannadoesmakeup.com with her gorgeous Whistles collection of leather goods. This clutch was marked down like 70% or something crazy, and I may or may not have had a mini freak out, before quickly submitting an order. I am so happy with this clutch. Not only is it bigger than I though it would be, it came with a chain to be able to worn as a small bag. It’s sleek, bright, and incredibly roomy for a clutch bag. Whistles does a great job of creating beautiful bags and I am so excited to be the owner of one! Sadly, I can’t seem to find this exact one on the ASOS site anymore, but they do have other beauties on their site. If you are in the market for a nice clutch, I highly recommend this brand.

Next up, the handbag.

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The next bag I picked up was from TJ Maxx. They have a great selection of high-end, brand name bags for a good deal less than their original price. I picked up an Olivia + Joy black handbag with gold hardware. It;s a beautiful, roomy, heavy bag, with lots of pocket’s and an envelope style pocket on the bag. It’s a nice size, and my Whistles clutch even fits inside of it! This bag is perfect to carry everyday, to keep all my contents organized, and it is just a great bag to carry all around.

I promise this is the last birthday related post I will post. This year. Let me know what you think of the bags!

Happy weekend!

Steffanie

Birthday Blog

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This past Monday I turned 24, and it was such a lovely day, that I thought I would share a little about it! I ate lots of carrot cake, had a lovely dinner with my husband outside under fairy lights in our backyard and another dinner with my sister (we are twins, so naturally we had to go to dinner), and my brother in law at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. Lovely.

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This year, for a gift I asked for our bedroom to look more like a lived in, loved space, and less like a university dorm room haphazardly put together. We have lived in our house for a little over a year, and we had saved up some to be able to fix the room the way we wanted. With a little paint, a little (alot) of muscle, and a few new touches, our room became one of my dreams. The result is so us, and I am so in love with it!

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All birthdays tend to make me nostalgic and reflective. I start thinking about who I am, where I’ve been, where I’ll be, and at 24, I have a few things figured out, I think. I know what clothes I like to wear, how to properly apply blush and lipstick, and I know what wine I like to drink. I know that I love to write, and that published or not, I am a writer, through and through. I know how to workout by myself, how to budget well, and how to prioritize my time slightly better. I cook more. I am married, I have a dog, and a house. I get really happy in the homewares section of any store. I know myself a little bit better, and I am almost (just almost) starting to feel like an actual adult. I know what football (soccer) team I like to root for, and I know that I am incredibly, insanely blessed, and that I have a God that is so good to me. I don’t know where I’ll be in the next five years, and I’m finally okay with not knowing, not having a finite plan. I have a feeling 24 is going to be a good un’.

So that’s it! My birthday was a beautiful, chill, lovely day, and I am so thankful for another new year. Here’s to 24 more!

Steffanie xo

PS. I’m going to do a whole post over the process of redoing our room soon, so look for all the details in that post.

Food for Fall: Chicken Pot Pie and Scones

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I am a big fan of what the British call, nursery food. Pies, casseroles, breads, puddings, the lot. My husband is the opposite, opting for more of a fresh cute piece of meat and potatoes type of meal. We have found a happy medium between the two of us, but sometimes, when the weather is cold and dreary like it has been this weekend, he’ll switch to the side of the pies and request chicken pot pie. I’ll share this recipe, along with a scone recipe that made its lovely introduction to my kitchen this morning.

I used to be completely disgusted with chicken pot pie. I hated the soupy inside and I hated peas. The chicken always tasted fake, and it was always too salty for my liking. When I discovered Dinner A Love Story about 2 years ago, this chicken pot pie recipe was one of the first listed in the book. I ignored it, obviously, until about a year ago when we moved into our house. It was a dreary day, much like today, and we were both in the mood for a comforting dish. So I gave it a whirl. I peeled and chopped one small sweet potato, added some carrots and peas (gasp!) and shredded the meat of one rotisserie chicken, popped it in the oven, and voila! a recipe that forever changed my attitude toward the poultry pie. Delicious, comforting, hearty, and perhaps the best thing: not soupy! I’ve made this pie over a dozen times in the last year, for dinners with friends and family, and for a freezer meal for my sister in law when our sweet nephew had surgery. They’ve all loved it. This pie is perfection. Super easy to prepare, and freezes beautifully. Pot pie for the win!

I love scones, but I sometimes find them too sweet for my liking. British scones are ones I had yet to try making, so I pulled out my Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, some eggs, flour, and dried cranberries, and got to work. They were surprisingly easy to make, took less than 30 minutes, and are so delicious. I paired these with a hefty spoonful of blackberry jam that I bought at the Farmer’s Market, and a bit of whipped cream. I definitely prefer these to the sweeter scones, and put half a dozen in my freezer to save for a tasty breakfast or treat. (To convert measurements to US measurements, click here.) Both recipes linked above!

Let me know if you like nursery food, too! Also, any favorite recipes that you crack out in the fall? Comment below!

Steffanie xo

A Serum & A Cream

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Serums are the big thing now when it comes to skincare. I’ve never had any interest in using one, but with the weather changing, a lightweight, revitalizing serum sounded like the exact thing I needed for the upcoming cooler weather. Also, I was on the hunt for a good night cream, to give my skin a good moisturizing when I sleep. I have found two products that I have fallen in love with, and funnily enough, both were found at TJ Maxx.

The Serum: Lanoline Rose Hip Oil Skin Renew Firming Serum. This product was made in New Zealand and apparently, after doing some research, is very hard to find. Normally around $20 a bottle, I found mine for $7. Steal. It’s a lightweight, nourishing serum, that gives my skin that much needed boost of moisture. It’s meant to be a firming, filling serum, and it has Vitamin C, E, and Collagen. One pump after I cleanse and tone my face, and my skin feels so nice. I love this stuff. It smells like rose and works very well. This bottle should last quite a while, because a little goes a very, very long way. If you can find this product, I highly recommend it!

The Night Cream: Estelle & Thild Stockholm Rose Otto Night Cream. I actually heard about this brand from Estee, over at essiebutton.com. She used their Rose Facial Oil, and I remembered hearing the name when I saw the night cream at TJ Maxx. This night cream is so nourishing. It smells like rose, and moisturizes and calms my skin. After the first night that I used it, my skin felt brand new the next morning. It’s all organic, and I love the story behind how the company was started. This is also a great little product, and I think I’ll have to go back and pick up the day cream as well.

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Both work very well to keep my skin hydrated and moisturized and healthy-looking. I highly recommend both products, and also encourage you to keep an eye out when at TJ Maxx. I go there for everything from my favorite English tea, to biscuits, to skin care and hair care, to clothes. I have also found some Le Creuset baking pans and The Body Shop Body Butter’s there. Absolutely love that store.

Let me know in the comments what your autumn skin essentials are.

Happy Saturday!

Steffanie xo

Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers

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                                                             From left: Big Bang, Apocaliptic, Comet.

Recently, in this post, I mentioned that I was in love with a new lip product from Rimmel.The Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers. In the UK, I believe these are called Apocalips (and they just released matte versions there!). I have since picked up two more since my last one (they’ve been on sale at Walgreens for ages it seems, which is great beacause they’re already so cheap!) and decided to do a review of them. These products are so nice because they are like a combination of a lip stain, a lip gloss and a lip stick. The finish is a medium gloss, so it’s a perfect product for those who need a long-lasting, opaque lip. The only thing I will say about these is that the bolder ones are a bit messy. Because it’s such an opaque color, they are a bit all over the place if you don’t apply them well. Always use a mirror, is basically what I’m saying. They also have a slight perfume-y smell to them, like most of Rimmel’s products, so keep that in mind when purchasing. It’s not unpleasant, it’s just there. I have the shades Apocaliptic, Big Bang, and Comet. They’re so nice and I have been wearing Apocaliptic loads, lately. Comet is a perfect neutral, that is beautiful for everyday, and Big Bang is a true red, so I save that for when I really want a dramatic lip.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these. And if you are in the UK, let me know if you have tried the Rimmel Apocalips Velvet Matte yet. I can’t wait for them to come here! Thanks for reading!

Steffanie xo

On the Menu: Crepes with Berries & Vanilla Creme Mascarpone

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Last night, I was thinking about what I was going to make for my breakfast. This happens often, as I am typically very obsessed with food. I like to plan meals ahead of time, giving myself a creative something to look forward to everyday. I thought about making a heaping bowl of porridge, with lots of berries, trail mix and brown sugar thrown in. But, I eat porridge almost everyday, so I tried to come up with something different. While trying to dream up a meal, inspiration struck as I was watching Mr. Morgans Last Love, a beautiful film that I recently discovered and was watching for a second time. It’s set in France, home of good wine, love, skinny pants, cheese, pastries, and crepes….crepes! I love to make crepes. Thin, European style pancakes, perfectly paired with a good French press, and a good squeeze of fresh orange juice. Yum. Usually, this is how I would make them, maybe even sprinkling the tiniest dusting of powdered sugar. But I didn’t have any oranges and I knew had an early morning, so I wouldn’t be able to pick any up. What I did have, was a small tub of mascarpone.

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese, made from cream, so it tastes less like cream cheese, more like ricotta. But it’s oh so creamy. There is this underlying nuttiness almost, which makes it perfect for adding to sweet dishes or to savory dishes. Think Tiramisu filling. I mixed up about three tablespoons of it with a tablespoon of sugar and a good tablespoon of vanilla, and voila! A vanilla-y mascarpone filling, that paired amazingly with my crepes. I also thawed a handful of berries and poured them on top. Guys.

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These are a little indulgent for a weekday breakfast and certainly not a meal to be made everyday, but it was a nice little creative moment for me this morning. And did I mention how heavenly these were? Make these on a late Saturday morning, with a side of scrambled eggs, some fresh French press, and enjoy. These would also be perfect for a birthday breakfast in bed, indulgent and delicious.

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Bon appetit!

Steffanie xo

Date Night!

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My husband and I are big date night people. We try to go on a good one, to a restaurant that we really love, or to one we have never been to before, a couple times a month, with the odd lunch dates thrown in. This month, we visited a couple old favorites, and a couple new ones. I thought it would be fun to do a review of the places we went, in case you were in need of some ideas for this beautiful Saturday. I know I’m always looking for good restaurants to try and I figured you might be too.

Note: Obviously, these restaurants are in Oklahoma, local to my area. 

Firstly, let’s start with a favorite. Iron Starr Urban Barbecue. This restaurant is the most perfect place. Picture a dimly lit, candle-heavy space, with hard, original wood floors, antique hanging lights, a gorgeous chandelier, and waiters who have more tattoos than a tattoo artist does, you have Iron Starr. It’s a delicious urban barbecue, serving up your traditional ribs and brisket, but with a little more class than your average potato salad with mayo. Their dutch-oven sweet potatoes are to die for, and their cornbread, literally has chunks of corn and jalapeno peppers in it. Delicious. The decor combined with the food, makes this restaurant a favorite for date night.

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Next up, we have a favorite sushi place to discuss. GoGo Sushi Express & Grill, a fairly new sushi place put up in the heart of Moore. I can’t even count how many times we have been here for lunch/dinner/etc. It’s a great little place, with a friendly staff and some of the best pork tonkatsu. They offer a vast array of sushi, and also hibachi style meals. Our favorite roll is the Sunset Roll (pictured below), a tempura California roll with avocado and spicy mayo. Drool. Also, I love their Bento Boxes, which come with four pieces of a California Roll, tempura veggies, rice, salad with the most amazing sauce, and your choice of a meat. I always get the pork tonkatsu. Did I mention that it’s cheap? $8.99 for a Bento Box and $5-$12 for for a roll, depending on what you get. Definitely a good date-night spot. They’ve also opened up their own sweet shop next door, which we have yet to try! Dinner and dessert, all right there.

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Another on the cheap place that is super delicious, resides in downtown Norman. My husband and I discovered it when we were out and about, and a little hangry for some lunch. We thought about going to GoGo, but decided to go for something new. He mentioned that a gyro sounded good, so we stopped in a Ole Town Gyros & Kabobs. Let me just say, these gyros are huge! Huge! The one we got was about the size of my face, and left us both giggling as we tried to work out a way to eat it. Do we cut them? Dive in? For about $7.99, be prepared to be stuffed for the next five hours after eating one of these babies. But man, they are so worth it. While Ole Town may not be the nicest, fanciest restaurant, if you are looking to impress someone with some authentic Mediterranean food on the cheap, this place is for you. The service is quick, and the food is lovely.

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And last but certainly, not in any way the least…German food. Holy. I am a big German fan. I love German food, German beer, German football players, etc. I lived there for a small time of my life as a little kid, and though I only remember about three things about it, I know I am still a German lover at heart. Knowing my love for the Deutschland peeps, my husband took me to Royal Bavaria this past week. What do I even say?! I am in love with this place. First, let’s talk about the building. It’s like a barn turned restaurant with a very old-timey look to it. Hard, stony floors, lots of traditional German decor, and waitresses in their dirndl, this restaurant stole my heart right away. Onto the food. First, let’s talk beer. I love a good German beer, and on the tap that night, was the King’s Weizen, a wheat beer, which is personally my favorite style of beer. Royal Bavaria has their very own brewery, which you see inside the restaurant. It was the smoothest, most satisfying drink I’ve ever had. So impressed. Highly recommend trying a weizen if you haven’t ever had one. Moving on to the food, they have everything from a traditional weiner-schnitzel to a half rotisserie chicken with fries, which is what I ordered. (Oddly, I wasn’t really feeling beef that evening). Hubs got the meatloaf, which was delicious. Every meal comes with a traditional house salad, which included vinegary green beans, leafy greens, and a homemade dressing that was amazing. That night we also ordered the cheesy dip with the pretzels imported from Munich. Plates usually run anywhere from $14-20+ dollars, making this a bit more on the expensive side, but worth every penny. The atmosphere and the food made for a perfect date night. Royal Bavaria is definitely one of my favorites. (Fun fact: They own Das Boot Camp, a more casual German restaurant in Norman, which I also really like. Cheaper, less food options, but still good beer and good food.)

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Let me know what your favorite date night restaurant is, and what type of food you like most, in the comments!

Happy date night!

Steffanie xo

Drugstore Finds

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Recently, I found my self in Walgreens, browsing the makeup section, which if I am honest, happens way more than I’d like to admit. Drugstore makeup is just so darn cheap and most of the brands carry dupes for higher end products. I am a young, married, beauty product lover, so that means anything on cheap that works well, makes me a very happy person. I’ve found a few products recently that have made their way to my daily makeup bag, so I thought I would share them!

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Let’s start with foundation. I have mentioned before that drugstore foundations always break me out. Always. Of all the ones I have tried, every one has left me with a very angry face. Except, this one. The Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Sunscreen Foundation in 330 Sand. Now, I can’t lie and say that I haven’t had one single breakout with this, but it’s nothing compared to the ones I usually get from drugstore foundations. This foundation is a great everyday foundation: light, with medium coverage. It’s not greasy and gives the perfect amount of dewiness to my skin. I was fully expecting to have to give this foundation away to a friend, but I really am liking it so far. And for $6, I’m impressed at how well it works. To set my new foundation, I’ve been using the NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder in Colorless. This powder is very similar to BareMinerals mineral veil, which I used religiously through high school. I like this powder better, because for one it was less than $10, and you only need a tiny bit to give your skin a shine free finish. It’s not cake-y, very sheer, and works well to keep the oil at bay.

I’ve also picked up a new concealer that I am in love with! The NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in 04 Beige is so good. It’s similar to the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer, which I loved, but I always found that to be too creamy for my oily skin. This concealer (less than $5) leaves more of a matte finish when applied, which I like because I haven’t found that it creases at all. It covers well, and a little goes a long way. I love the cute packaging and it’s very handy to carry in my purse for a spot touch up if I need one. Another product from NYX that I am really liking is the Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Natural. I love this lip gloss; love the color, the scent, the formula, the packaging. Everything. I hesitate to say it, but I think I like it more than my Maybelline Color Elixirs, which I used to be obsessed with. Another lip product that I am a huge fan of is the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Apacoliptic. The formula of these is so perfect. A mix between a stain, gloss and lipstick, it has an amazing staying power, the color payoff is opaque, and hallejuah! the color in the tube actually matches the color that it gives off. This shade is a perfect bright berry-red, more on the pink toned side than red, and I love it for a bold lip. I’ve had it on all day today, and it has barely budged.

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On my face: Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in 331 Sand; NYX Brand HD Concealer, Finishing Powder in Colorless, and Powder Blush in Dusty Rose; Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige; Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Eyeliner in Black; Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Mascara in Blackest Black; Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Apacoliptic.

For nails, I thought I would try out one of the Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polishes. These are supposed to scented when they are dried, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shade Lavender Soap actually smelled so good! Sweet and lavender-y. I love color also, which is a sheeny pale lavender. It is such a unique product!

Let me know in the comments if you have found any good drugstore products recently! I’d love to know!

Steffanie xo

The Body Shop Tea Tree Skincare

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I am a huge Body Shop fan. I use their body butters almost everyday, and love their shower gels and creams. And I also love their skincare. Very recently, I switched back to an old skincare favorite of theirs, their Tea Tree line. My skin was looking a little less than great, so while in Ulta, I picked up The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish KitI used to use this line pretty religiously for a while, before I started oil cleansing. My skin is pretty oily and acne prone, with the odd dry patches here and there. I’m pretty sensitive to almost all foundations, and have to be pretty choosy with products if I want to avoid a massive breakout.

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This kit is a lifesaver for my skin, providing just enough acne prevention and moisturization for clearer, cleaner skin. This kit is an Ulta exclusive I think, and it was a huge bargain. Included in the kit is a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash, a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner, a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion, a tiny bottle of Tea Tree Oil, and a sachet of Tea Tree Face Mask. Normally, if you were to buy all of these products separately, they would equal about $46.50. For the kit, I only paid $29! Normally, I would just order it online or pick up what I need from the mall, because The Body Shop literally always has a sale going on. They also have the Body Love program, which allows you to receive 10% off your order/purchase, combined with the sales and offers they already have going on. Big yes!

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Compared to the higher end skincare products out there, I am seriously a fan of the price and the quality of The Body Shop Tea Tree products. In the past two days, my skin is clearer and smoother, and a few scars that I have had are almost invisible now. If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, I seriously suggest giving this line a go, or any of the other skin care products they produce. The Vitamin E moisturizers are a favorite of mine too. (My husband is even a huge fan of the line!)

Have you tried the Tea Tree line? What’s your favorite skincare line? Let me know in the comments! 

Steffanie xo