My Empties

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Ever since I started focusing on my skincare routine, I've been trying to hone in on products that I love, use over and over again, and produce tangible results. But it's a lot of trial and error to get to that point. This month was a combination of products that will consistently become part of my routine and a few that won't make it into the rotation.

Don't forget about Nordstrom's Beautycycle program. Nordstrom now accepts a variety of empty beauty containers that are often difficult or impossible to recycle through your local municipal recycling program. Look for containers in Nordstrom stores, and simply drop your empties in the boxes. Nordstrom works with a third-party vendor who cleans and recycles the containers, turning them into park benches, watering cans, and more.

So, now let's see what I used and loved (or didn't!) recently.

As soon as I learned that you should apply hyaluronic acid to damp skin, I bought this water for spritzing my face prior to applying my hyaluronic acid. While you can use plain, old tap water to dampen your skin, this water had a fine mist that evenly coated my entire face and felt very refreshing. At less than $11 per bottle, it's a very reasonably priced indulgence that I will definitely purchase again.

Speaking of hyaluronic acid, I gave this one from The Inkey List a try, mostly because of its price point. At $9.99 for a 1.0 fl. oz. bottle, it's hard to beat. It wasn't bad, but it was slightly sticky, and I prefer a hyaluronic acid that's a bit thicker than this one. And I didn't love that it doesn't dispense via a dropper. It's a flip cap that pours into your palm. I prefer a dropper so that I can apply the product directly to my face and then spread it around. I'm most likely not going to purchase this again unless I'm in a pinch.

As far as a moisturizer, I loved this nutrient-rich cream. It left my skin completely hydrated without feeling heavy. As for its anti-aging properties, I can't say that I saw any significant reduction in my wrinkles and fine lines. I would definitely purchase this cream again for use as a nighttime moisturizer, but I know not to expect much in terms of anti-aging.

I am a devotee of Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, but when this cleansing balm from Elemis was half-priced at Ulta, I jumped at the chance to try it at that price point. I was disappointed. Elemis has such a great reputation, and I have friends and family who swear by their products. But this cleansing balm just didn't knock my socks off. I didn't like the thick and gooey consistency, and the scent wasn't strong, but it wasn't entirely nonexistent either. I'll be sticking with my tried and true favorite from Clinique.

This makeup remover has long been a part of my nightly skincare routine. I use it to mainly remove eye makeup. With just a few swipes of a cotton ball, this remover takes off stubborn mascara, eye shadow, and eye liner. Many eye makeup removers tend to be oil-based, it is what makes them effective. But this one doesn't leave an oily residue behind. It would take a really stellar remover to make me switch this one out of my routine.

Shop "My Empties" here:

What To Wear To a Winery

Saturday, May 20, 2023


dress (similar) or this one  | tassel necklace (similar) | thong sandal | straw tote | fedora (similar) | sunglasses

It's wine season here in New Jersey. Local vineyards are gearing up for summer events including wine tastings, vineyard tours, and outdoor concerts. If you are unsure what to wear on a warm summer afternoon or evening while sipping tasty local wines, read on.

Slipdress - You want to be casual, comfortable, and stylish for a wine tasting. An easy slipdress is perfect for the occasion. This one is another inexpensive but cute option.

Tassel Necklace - Kick the dress up a notch by adding a fabulous necklace.

Straw Fedora - Hats are stylish and functional. Protect your skin and look good in the process with a straw fedora.

Sandals - Chances are you'll be doing some walking at a vineyard. If you're planning to tour the grounds, a flat sandal is your best choice.

Straw Tote - A wine tote is a must-have accessory. With room for a bottle of wine, acrylic glasses, a wine openera wine stopper, and more, this chic tote will hold all of your essentials.

Sunglasses - Vineyards aren't known for their shade, so be sure to bring your sunnies with you.

If you plan on staying in to the evening, grab a blazer or a denim jacket for later.

The key is to be comfortable while still maintaining your style. Simplicity is the focus of this outfit. Wine is easy. Your outfit should be as well.

Tips To Be Roof-Ready For Spring

Friday, February 25, 2022
photo via

It's been a doozy of a winter here at the Jersey Shore. We've had a little bit of everything from snow to sleet to high winds. Any one of those weather elements, much less the combination of all three, is a recipe for disaster for your roof. In the aftermath of our recent storm, we woke to find roofing shingles scattered throughout our property. 

High winds had wreaked havoc on our roof, and we had no idea how widespread the problem was since we could see only random shingles that had blown off rather. It was time to call in a professional. We turned to Peter's Roofing to get a better idea of the extent of the damage, an estimate of repairs, and a timeline for getting the work completed.

With spring on the way, we wanted to be sure the repairs were completed before the rainy season sets in, potentially creating an even bigger problem. We also have a skylight in our kitchen that we wanted to have inspected to be sure we aren't on the verge of a leak.

photo via

Weekend Dispatch

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

After a looooong 15 months, things are slowly starting to feel normal again. That's not to say that it all hasn't been slightly anxiety-inducing for me. The thought of crowded restaurants where people are standing shoulder to shoulder while they wait for a table is not my idea of an enjoyable night out. While I'm happy that we can finally pony up to the bar and order a drink, I'm not thrilled about being barstool to barstool with an overly enthusiastic patron who's had just a few too many. For me, moderation is key to re-entry. So, I'm taking things slowly and trying to re-incorporate the things I've missed most about my pre-COVID life with the things I enjoyed doing during COVID life. I spent the weekend focusing on my own mental health by taking a long 6-mile walk on Saturday morning and catching up on reading and preparing for the week ahead on Sunday.

Here are a few other ways I recharged this weekend:

Playing Favorites

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. Here's what I am loving this month.

1. Libby App

After COVID lockdown went into place last March, I found myself feverishly reading to distract myself from the pandemic. I was reading two to three books per week some weeks, and quickly found that the cost of buying books was mounting. Even with discounted books from BookBub, I was still spending too much on books that I whipped through in 2 days. That's when I read about Libby, the app that is basically your local library but in e-book form. Once you download the app, you connect your local library membership to it. You can browse all the e-books and audiobooks that your local branch carries and "borrow" them directly from the app. Libby has been a money-saver for me. Not only can I download books at no cost to me, but I can also read new releases for free! There is often a wait time to borrow new releases. I recommend hopping on the app the day the book is released to put it on hold. While you wait for it to become available, read other books that are available. Libby is so convenient, and I love that I can enjoy my favorite hobby without spending a ton of money.

The Best Memorial Day Sales

Friday, May 28, 2021

Happy Friday, friends! Today started out as beautiful and sunny, albeit a bit chilly for the end of May. By late afternoon, it was cold, gray, and drizzly. More of the same tomorrow, I hear. But I'm bringing the sun in the form of some fantastic Memorial Day sales. Lots and lots of good deals happening this weekend, and all my favorites are outlined below. Let's get shopping!

The Benefits of Homeschooling

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
photo via

Last year when COVID shut down most schools, many kids had their first experience of being educated at home. While the situation that prompted this was by no means normal, it did open many parents' minds to the possibility of homeschooling. Statistics show in 2019 2.5 million children were being homeschooled in the United States, but during 2020, interest in home education has risen significantly, and this number is expected to increase.

While online learning via your child’s school is not the same as homeschooling your child yourself, it did demonstrate that it was perfectly possible to educate kids at home. If you like the concept of teaching your child at home but would prefer to do it in your own way, then homeschooling could be ideal for you. When you homeschool, you need to comply with local home-learning requirements for your state, but you will still enjoy a greater level of flexibility and freedom. This flexibility can enable you to put greater emphasis on learning outside the classroom and to spend more time enjoying the other benefits with your child.

There are many positive aspects to homeschooling. I recently had a discussion with a friend about her experience with home schooling her children and what a few of the benefits to it are.

Fab Finds Under $50

Monday, May 24, 2021


bracelet | straw tote | maxi dress | beach towel | sneakers

Happy Monday, friends! Today I'm coming at you with fun, fab finds to add to your summer wardrobe. OK, so maybe the beach towel can't be worn, but you will use it over and over again. Doesn't it feel great to actually get dressed and go somewhere again? It feels even better when you're wearing (or carrying) something cute. So, let's get shopping!

My 5 Favorite Mocktails

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A little more than a year ago when we were tossed into COVID quarantine, my alcohol consumption pretty much ground to a halt. To be fair, I really only drank when I went out (either to dinner or a party or to a friend's house). I stopped drinking at home a while ago, and when it finally dawned on me that the after-effects of drinking weren't doing me any favors, I stopped drinking altogether. Every once in a while I will have a very short glass of wine or some prosecco to celebrate a special occasion, and sometimes if a new flavor is introduced, I'll try a spiked seltzer. Otherwise, I stick to non-alcoholic versions of my favorite cocktails.

I don't miss the taste of alcohol or the way it made me feel the next day, but I do miss some of the rituals around alcohol. Pouring a glass of wine signaled that my workday was over, and what a great feeling that always is. I can still enjoy those rituals, but now it's with a mocktail.

Here are 5 of my favorite mocktails that show that all the fun isn't just for cocktails.

5 Ways To Ready Your Home For Summer

Monday, May 17, 2021

The unofficial start of summer is just two weeks away. You may be preparing for longer days, shorter work weeks, and quite possibly, a much-needed getaway. But have you thought about preparing your home for the summer months? The warm summer months present a different set of challenges than the cold winter ones, but it's still important to be prepared.

Here are 5 steps to take to get your home summer-ready: