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Skin Care Junkie | Current Evening Skin Care Routine – 2021

After adjusting my skin care routine during pregnancy to exclude potentially problematic products and ingredients, I was excited to reintroduce some of my favorite products that I hadn’t used for nearly a year.

You can check some of my recent favorites as well in these posts – MCLV Pregnancy | Pregnancy Safe Skin Care, Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Cleansers 2020, and Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Sunscreens 2020.

Here’s my current evening wind-down routine. Now that I have a four month old I don’t have long, luxurious evening routines any longer. I find time for self care, but it’s quick and to the point!


If I’ve worn sunscreen or makeup (and I should have at least the former on every day) I will do a double cleanse at the end of the day. My current favorites are Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm followed by Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser. I absolutely adore both of those products and have been using them for over a year and a few months respectively. And for days when I (gasp) forget sunscreen, I keep Belif Aqua Bomb Jelly Cleanser in the shower and just do a single cleanse.


I try not to go overboard with my skin care routine, my skin generally does better with a less is more type of routine. However serums is where I like to make sure that I’m getting in some powerhouse ingredients to help keep my skin in fighting condition.

I use The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum 3 times a week in the evenings and The Inky List’s Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum 2 times a week.

And on the weekends I usually use The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution once on either Saturday or Sunday evening.

If I can’t be bothered with a treatment serum or I’m running out of something, I fall back on my favorite overnight serum – Farmacy’s Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum with Hydrating Honey + Gentle Flower Acids. I’ve been using this one for YEARS and love it.

Moisturizers/Night Cream:

Nighttime is the perfect opportunity to slather on a rich moisturizer so that you skin can heal and rejuvenate while you snooze. I have normal to dry skin and usually prefer a thick, hydrating formula, but I do sometimes want something a bit lighter. Here are the current favorites:

REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm – This one is SUPER rich and I usually only use it during the winter or if my skin needs some TLC. You have to give it time to soak in otherwise it’ll be hydrating your pillow. 馃檪

I also really like the Honest Hydrogel Cream, it has great ingredients and soaks in really quickly, so it’s a great option if you have oily skin or don’t need much moisture in the evenings.

And a newer favorite is the First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream – Great formula and makes your skin feel so silky.


I probably didn’t use a face mask for 5 or 6 months of 2020. Between the end of the pregnancy and bebe sleeping through the night, my skin care routine was purely utilitarian. No time for fussing.

But I do love a good mask and I was excited to bring them back into my routine when I had the energy and desire to play with products again. I brought back my all time favorites as well as trying something new.

The Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Sheet Mask is my all time favorite sheet mask {well, maybe it’s tied with the Kiehl’s Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask which is amaaaazing} but only for special occasions. I don’t love the waste involved with these single use products, but I keep them around for the occasional home spa day.

Another long time favorite that I’ve brought back into my routine is the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask Extreme Detoxifying Hydrator. This is a great, light mask, perfect to put on a few minutes before you hop in the shower.

The new kid on the block in my mask drawer is the Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask with Vitamin C. I love love love their cleanser, listed above, so I wanted to start trying out some of their other products. So far this one is lovely, but it has only been a few weeks so stay tuned for a longer term review.

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MCLV Pregnancy | Minimalist Approach to Baby “Essentials”

The MOMENT you find out that you’re pregnant you’ll feel like you’re being inundated with online recommendations, emails filled with lists, and perfect Instagram pictures telling you about all the products you need. What will be essential for your future child to survive.

Initially, I was overwhelmed. By halfway through the first trimester, I was suspicious. By the end of the first trimester, I was annoyed.

I vowed to ignore the advice and just start with the basics. In the age of Amazon, if I needed something later on, I could have it arrive within 24 hours anyway, so why drive myself crazy and go on a buying spree before I even knew what was necessary?

My plan was to ask my three best friends, all mothers of two, what their most essential products and gadgets were. Once I had a full list, I sat down with le hubs and decided what we actually needed, what made sense to wait to get, and how we wanted to handle the nursery set up.

So here’s my minimal-ish approach to baby “essentials” for a new mom.

Clothes: Since little ones grow out of clothes so quickly and we had no idea what size baby we’d be taking home, I wanted to approach clothes in a very minimal manner. Only one or two newborn pieces and just the basics for the first 6 months – Sleepers, rompers, onesies, some separates, and a few layering pieces. Since I was due in mid-September and temps start to decrease in mid-October, I did about 25% warm weather pieces, 25% separates and layering pieces, 25% sleeping gowns, sacks, and swaddles, and 25% cold weather pieces for once it got chillier. My go-to brands were Hanna Andersson and Kyte.

Supplies: Similar to the clothes, I wanted to focus on the first 6 months for supplies.

Large Investment Pieces: Rather than try to buy a ton of products without knowing what kind of baby we’d have, we wanted to just get the essentials ahead of time. After talking to my parents, the inlaws, and my friends, this was the first list of investment pieces.

  • Chicco KeyFit 30 – I did a ton of research and talked to many moms, and opted for this infant carseat with a base that stays in the car.
  • Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard – Rather than getting a stand alone bassinet that would be grown out of and discarded quickly, we decided to use this Pack ‘n Play system that included a changing table. We could use it in our bedroom for the first little bit, use it around the apartment while we’re home, and travel with it.
  • Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib – This is a crib to toddle bed to day bed. Sustainable wood, super safe. Was a big fan!
  • Infant Optics DXR-8 – This gizmo was actually my husband’s only request. I had no interest in a camera, but he was adamant.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of multi-use products. The amount of kids junk that ends up in landfills is horrifying and I didn’t want to over-shop and end up contributing to that problem. Another reason to skip a baby shower or just have a celebration sans-gifts!

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MCLV Pregnancy | What’s In My Hospital Bag Part II – What I Actually Used

In the first What’s In My Hospital Bag post I talked about what I was planning to pack for our hospital stay. Now that some time has passed and I’ve slept, a little, I wanted to do a follow up post on what I actually used in my hospital bag. And what I wished I brought that I didn’t bring.


What I packed:

Conclusion: A carry on sized roller was perfect. Enough space for everything, easy to pack/unpack, and easy to travel with upon arrival and departure, and when there was a room change.


What I packed:

Conclusion: I WAY overpacked. I stayed in hospital gowns until 30 minutes before we left. I was constantly being checked by the doctors and poked & prodded by nurses, so the gown offered them the access they needed. Plus – TMI – I honestly just didn’t want to destroy my clothes. The gowns were simply easier to wear and they offered me an endless supply, so I could change them as often as I needed/wanted. The slippers, socks, and nursing bras were all definitely needed, plus one going home outfit, but that’s it for me!


What I packed:

Conclusion: I used everything except the ear plugs and sleeping mask. Definitely recommend mini sizes of everything though, there’s not a ton of counter or storage space in hospital bathrooms.

Postpartum Essentials:

What I packed:

Conclusion: I needed and used nothing. Your milk hasn’t come in immediately post delivery so you don’t need nursing pads yet and the hospital provides everything else you need in that moment. Plus you can ask for anything they don’t automatically provide. You DEFINITELY don’t need a pump.

For baby:

What I packed:


While I was never explicitly told how big le bebe was going to be, she turned out to be much smaller than I’d anticipated. At 7 lbs 4.8 oz, she didn’t fit in the 0-3 month outfit I’d packed and we were so nervous about dressing her that we didn’t want anything too complicated. I HIGHLY recommend bringing a sleeping gown. They’re easy to put on and most babies will fit in them. Easy peasy!


What I packed:

Conclusion: I definitely used my phone and the long charger, plus we ate alllll the snacks, and the gift cards were very well received by the nurses. We did NOT use the speaker {or my playlist!} or essential oils. My delivery was an intense 2 hours so there wasn’t really a good time for scene setting or trying to stay relaxed – It was work, work, work. I also didn’t use the headphones or listen to books on tape as I’d planned, I did however read a lot. Definitely recommend downloading some books if you have a Kindle/Nook, or bringing a physical book.

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MCLV Pregnancy | Practical Third Trimester Checklist

I was a little disappointed when I started searching for a practical third trimester checklist. While there were millions of lists out there, cleaning the nursery and scheduling maternity photos weren’t what I was looking for exactly. So I finally just cobbled together my own pre-baby checklist!

Get nursery ready – This includes cleaning, decorating, putting together furniture and gadgets, and all the shopping. We started midway through the second trimester and worked through it all slowly. The goal was to be totally ready by 2 weeks before my due date just in case I was early. Plus we were both working from home and stuck inside during quarantine so it gave us some activities to do. 馃檪

Wash clothes – They recommend washing all the clothing, accessories, swaddles, burping cloths, washcloths, and towels ahead of time with a baby-safe detergent. I didn’t buy a baby-specific product, rather I used the non-toxic, hypoallergenic, fragrance free detergent that we already had on hand – Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder. It checked all the boxes that the baby-specific soaps did and the whole family could use it.

Stock up on household goods – I treated this similarly to the start of shelter-in-place and made sure that we were fully stocked on toilet paper, paper towels, soap, dish & laundry detergent, cleaning supplies etc. The goal was to not need to go shopping for home supplies a few weeks to a month.

Prep the Pantry – As the household chef, I wanted to make things as easy for my husband as possible. That meant stocking up on pantry basics for easy meals like pasta and marinara sauce, getting some boxed mixes so he could make baked goods, and I prepped and froze some meals ahead of time.

Birth Classes – It was like pulling teeth, but I got my husband to join me for three classes. One on pregnancy and birth through Bundle Birth {I’m a huge fan of her YouTube videos!} and a newborn class from Taking Cara Babies {found her through Instagram}. Plus an online infant first aid & CPR class through the Red Cross.

Hospital Prep – Get hospital bag together, prep diaper bag, watch the virtual hospital tour, and register for delivery. Also, on a related note, find a pediatrician. The pediatrician, or another doctor from their practice, will visit at the hospital after the birth and you’ll need to list them when you register.

Decide on Help – We decided to do a night nurse for a few nights a week to help us learn about and develop a nighttime schedule, so we had to interview and pick one. We also started the discussion about childcare when I returned to work and came up with a general plan with set dates for taking the next steps.

Life Insurance – We’d been talking about life insurance since we got married but getting pregnant finally got us moving on this. We asked our parents about their policies, did our research, and talked to providers before deciding what would work best for us {right now}.

Medical Power of Attorney – We wanted to have the appropriate documentation in place to ensure that my husband could make medical decisions on my behalf if I became incapacitated. And vice versa. Check on what’s necessary in your state.

Figure out the Car Seat – We won’t get into how long this took us, but I can confirm that we’re both able to put it in and take it out. With minimal cursing.

Enjoy Together Time – I definitely get the appeal of a babymoon, even though we opted out of this {we’d been quarantined working & living together for 6 straight months, going away to spend time alone didn’t seem necessary}. Enjoying the end of your time just the two of you is important as you’re heading into parenthood!

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Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Sunscreens 2020

After sharing my favorite cleansers of 2020, I thought I’d share my suncreen picks as well. The number one thing that you can do to protect your skin and reduce the signs of aging is wear sunscreen every single day. This was one of the lessons that my mom taught me and which I learned the value of over the course of my 20’s and 30’s.

There are two types of sunscreen – Mineral and chemical. And there is A LOT of news and information out there on which is better, what they do differently for your skin, and what product you should choose.

The truth of the matter is, however, that you should pick whatever sunscreen you will wear. If you don’t like the formulation or the white caste or the smell, you won’t wear it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s “better” than another sunscreen.

That being said, I do have fairly strong preferences and I like lightweight formulations that don’t feel oily or greasy. Below are my current favorites:

Tinted Sunscreens:

A few notes on sunscreen:

(1) Be sure to spread it on your neck and bring the product down to your decollete. Also, be sure that you cleanse those areas at the end of the day!

(2) I know the eye area is sensitive, but it’s also the thinnest skin on the face, so you want to be sure to get your sunscreen under there.

What’s YOUR favorite sunscreen?

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