Month: June 2016

Stealing the Spotlight: Reviewing bareMinerals Bare Beauty Makeup Kit

BareMinerals Bareskin Review

{Left: Stila || Right: bareMinerals}

Do you remember that I told you I was trying a new, lighter makeup for summer? Well, as promised, here is the full review of the bareMinerals Bare Beauty kit I purchased from Ulta.

I’ve been using the makeup for a couple of months now, and alternating between my Stila Stay All Day Liquid Foundation (which I love) and the bareMinerals Bareskin line when it is hot and humid out.

I found the Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation (in Bare Shell) a great lightweight option and perfect for those days when you are trying to achieve the no-makeup, made-up look.

BareMinerals Bareskin Review

– The kit came with trial sizes of everything you need to get started (for a refresher of what’s in the kit, click here)
– The foundation is lightweight
– It’s not greasy or heavy and my skin reacted well to all of the products
– The makeup does a good job of staying on all day
– The shade matched my skin tone perfectly (which is rare for me)

– The foundation provides minimal coverage. My skin has improved over the years, so this was not an issue for me. However, the kit contains a great concealer, so if you want additional coverage you can try using the concealer underneath.

– I found the Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara a little flakey. I loved the exclusive ProTwist 180 Wand, which dramatically lengthened my lashes, but the staying power left much to be desired.

– The makeup has a mild fragrance to it, and while it did not irritate my skin, I found it unpleasant as it failed to dissipate during the day.

Favorite Product(s) in the Kit:
– The Correcting Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF (in Light 1). It was velvety soft to the touch and provided excellent matte coverage. I would definitely buy the regular size of this product and continue using it. It was so good that I felt that I could just dab some on and head out the door sans foundation!

– The two brushes (one for the foundation and the other for the pressed powder) were worth the price of the whole kit themselves. The pressed powder brush (soft focus face brush) was the gentlest brush I’ve ever used, and the brush for the foundation (perfecting face brush) did an amazing job applying the liquid makeup evenly.

– The Stroke of Light Eye Brightener (in Luminous 1) was something I would not have tried on my own, but I’m glad it was included in the kit. A few dabs under each eye once my makeup was in place, and it brightened up my whole look.

Least Favorite Product in the Kit:
– I received the Bareskin Sheer Sun liquid bronzer as a free gift for trying the kit and I thought it would be perfect for giving me additional color on my face once I got a tan. But it was disappointing. It added no color and I discontinued use.

Overall, the Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation is a good choice for the summer months as it doesn’t weigh your skin down. It was a bit of an adjustment after using Stila’s Stay All Day line for so long, which is a full-coverage makeup. I was happy enough with the kit and glad I could try everything in a trial size first before committing to the larger (and more expensive) versions. The sticking point for me is the fragrance of the foundation and pressed powder, which after a whole day on my face began to be overwhelming. But I would happily try other products from the bareMinerals line after my experience with the Bareskin Foundation.

June Jaunts

It may only be Wednesday, but I’m looking ahead to the 4th of July already. The weather is supposed to be near perfect, and I have some time at the beach and fireworks penciled in for the long weekend. I know I’m jumping the gun a little, but I just can’t help myself — the Fourth really kicks off the summer for me. And who doesn’t love a good fireworks show?

Since we are still in June, I thought I’d share snaps from how I’ve spent the last few days of the month:

Connetquot State Park

{Made a friend on my hike though Connetquot State Park}


{The lightest Mascarpone cheesecake}

Bright Blooms

{Bright Blooms}

Rescued Necklace from Scarlet & Gold

{“Rescued” necklace from Scarlet & Gold — coming to the blog soon}

Coffee Break

{Coffee Break}

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to keep up with all of my musings!

Becoming a Bibliophile

Becoming a Bibliophile

Am I the only person on the planet sans library card? I admit, the last time I made use of the library was when I was a college student. And before that, most of my visits to my local public library usually revolved around a school trip or research project.

Nowadays with technology there are so many ways to read — be it on your Nook, iPad, or audio books. Places like Borders and Barnes & Noble have closed many a store due to lower sales and skyrocketing rent prices. But there is a tactile element to reading that I just can’t ignore. While it’s great to be able to read on multiple devices and platforms, I miss the feeling you get when you hold a good old fashioned book in your hands. The smell of the paper as you turn each page and the sense of accomplishment you get from reading cover to cover can’t be replicated on an iPad.

To make good on my goal of reading more, today is the day — the day that I get my very first library card since childhood (at the tender age of 29, in case I need to remind you). I am looking forward to embarking on a whole new genre to me — fiction. If there are books on your summer reading list that you can recommend, I’m all ears!

How do you like to read? Do you utilize your local public library or download books onto your device?

*Image courtesy of PicLab Studio

Monday Mantra: Life is a Journey, Not a Destination

Monday Mantra:  Life is a Journey, Not a Destination

Have you ever reflected on your life and wondered how you got to where you are now? Or thought, this isn’t where I’m supposed to be by this point in my life. I know I have. I often think about life choices and how they have brought me to certain places. Some of them have been good and well-thought-out, while others were rash and perhaps led me off course. Then there were those that were completely out of my control.

As humans, we want to be in control in all aspects of our life. For me, I am lost when something is out of my control. But as I start to think about future goals and paths, I’m reminded that life is a journey. There will be setbacks. There will be heartaches. There will be failures. But as long as you have goals that push you, drive you, and force you out of your comfort zone, you will be successful.

It’s easy to be consumed by where you are now, and perhaps you feel stuck in your current routine — like you are on a hamster wheel. We’ve all been there. The great thing about life though, is that it is constantly changing and through change you can find a new perspective.

So the next time you fret about your life’s choices, direction, or progress, remind yourself that life is a journey — and it is one that needs to be enjoyed and experienced with your eyes open.

Cheers to the Weekend!

This week came and went, and I’m having a hard time believing we will soon be welcoming July. Summer feels like it is flying by right before my eyes. Aside from a minor setback with my anxiety (and my goals to eat less sugar, as evidenced in my Instagram recap below), this week was uneventful — albeit the usual busyness still ensued. I’m hoping to take some calmness with me into the weekend and spend as much time outdoors as I can. Cheers, friends. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

{Seriously chocolately chocolate chip cookies}


{Backyard Blooms}

LOFT Sunglasses

{New sunnies from LOFT coming to the blog soon!}

Fish and Chips

{Fish and Chips at the Post Office Cafe}

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert

{Can’t forget to leave room for dessert}

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to keep up with all of my musings!

3 Things to do on Long Island for the Fourth of July


Long Island boasts a lot of attractions, especially in the summer. Whether you’re a local or just visiting for the weekend, here are a few things you might want to add to your itinerary for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend:

1. Grucci Fireworks: With plenty of dates and places to see the spectacle, Grucci shows are wonderful. Be sure to check the full schedule of events!

2. Have a picnic at Coindre Hall: A great place to visit with your four-legged canine friend, this huge park sits on the water in Huntington, next to Gold Star Batalion Beach. If you start feeling restless, head up the block to Knutson Marine and rent a stand-up paddle board from Huntington Stand Up Paddle. From there, make the trek (it’s totally worth it) out to the Huntington Lighthouse.

3. Enjoy a BBQ: Grilling not your thing? No problem. Long Island has plenty of good burger joints to keep you satisfied. Should you find yourself in Nassau County (which isn’t too far from NYC), head to Dirty Burger in Plainview or GM Burger Bar in Rockville Centre.

What do you have planned for the Fourth?

Sandal Staples

With the arrival of summer, I had expected to get lots of use out of my favorite C. Wonder sandals (seen here). Unfortunately, my gold summer staples had other plans. Just last week, they broke. But this crafty blogger grabbed the hot glue gun in a last-ditch effort to prolong their existence. Whether or not they can be salvaged remains to be seen — the glue is still setting! If they do need to be retired, below are a few substitutes that I’d be thrilled to sport this summer.

Sandal Staples

Do you have any favorite pairs of footwear that you just can’t bare to retire?

Summer Reading

Summer Reading

In case you’re looking to up your reading game this summer, I thought I’d share some of my favorite daily reads from other bloggers. These are the sites I regularly visit while enjoying my morning cup of coffee (and consider my daily fashion/lifestyle/survival guides!). I’ve done a similar post in the past, but here are all the sites I visit daily (in no particular order, of course).

Musings of a Mom: Lifestyle/Beauty/Fashion
Cupcakes and Cashmere: Lifestyle
The Fresh Exchange: Lifestyle
Camille Styles: Lifestyle/Fashion/Entertaining/Decor/Beauty
The Darling Detail: Fashion
Elana Lyn: Career Advice
Poor Little It Girl: Fashion
Taffeta and Tulips: Lifestyle/Fashion
Kathrine Eldridge: Fashion
Treats and Trends: Fashion
Wishes and Reality: Fashion
Gold Coast Girl: Lifestyle/Fashion
Straight A Style: Fashion
The Style Contour: Fashion
Seeking Sunshine: Fashion
Musings on Momentum: Lifestyle/DIY/Beauty
Touch of Curl: Lifestyle
Le Stylo Rouge: Fashion

I’m always looking for new blogs, so leave the links in the comments to any you think I should check out. I’d love to hear which blogs are on your reading list at the moment!

Hello, Summer!

Long Island, NY

Today is one of my favorite days (no, it’s not my birthday!). It is the first official day of summer. While I may have been acting like summer started weeks ago, thanks to lots of sunny and warm days, I am looking forward to all that this season brings.

Here are things I hope to tick off my summer checklist:

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: If you’ve been following along, you know how much I love to go out stand-up paddle boarding. It’s so relaxing to be out on the water and to check out some Long Island towns that are nestled by the sea. It makes me feel like I got in a workout on those days that are just too hot to do much more than sit by the pool!

Herrell’s Ice Cream: I may have already indulged, but here’s hoping that there are many more post-beach stops at Herrell’s this summer.

Long Island Ducks Baseball Game: I’m not much into sports. But there is something about watching a baseball game on a warm summer night that I just can’t pass up. The company of a good friend and fireworks make it even better. I’ll be rooting for the L.I. Ducks on July 3rd!

A Day Trip to Fire Island: One of my favorite things about living on Long Island is the proximity to beaches. Last summer, my friend Fran and I headed out to Ocean Beach on Fire Island and we had a blast. We are definitely planning a few short trips out there this summer.

A Summer Picnic: In case you can’t tell, I try to spend as much time outdoors in the summer as possible. And what better way to do that than by having a picnic. Any good menu recommendations? A pitcher of sangria is a must!

Beach Yoga: I was hoping to take advantage of the free Summer Solstice classes happening today (if you are, too, check out Athleta to see if there are any free classes going on in your area). But my schedule is pretty packed, and escaping for a yoga class is not in the cards. I’d like to get back to my yoga practice (I say that a lot and it just hasn’t happened), and I’m thinking the beach is the perfect location.

What are you most looking forward to doing this summer?

My Three-Year Thyroidversary

My Three-Year Thyroidversary

Can you believe it’s been three years? I’m not sure where those years have gone, but for the last three years I’ve been surviving. They say after you battle cancer you are not cured — but you are a survivor.

These past few weeks have been so busy for me that I almost forgot today marked my three year thyroidversary. On June 17, 2013, a New York City surgeon removed my thyroid and several lymph nodes in a three-hour procedure. A lot has happened in the last three years. I got a new job, left a job, followed my passion, and wound up here. Sometimes it feels like I’ve done so much in three years; other times I feel as though time has stood still.

I had to acknowledge this significant day. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person and a survivor over the course of three years — things I’d wish I had known when I was first diagnosed. So here is what I would’ve told my scared 26-year-old self if I could go back in time.

Dear Thyroid Patient,

You may think this diagnosis is the end of the world — that your life will never be the same. It’s not. But your life will never be as it is at this very moment. This diagnosis will test every fiber of you — from your reasoning, determination, inner strength, mental capacity, and spiritual being.

You may feel that you are totally and completely alone, misunderstood, and minimized.

You may have friends and loved ones who are incapable of understanding the physical and mental battle that you will come to know so well.

You may have good days and bad ones.

You may cry yourself to sleep.

You may question why this is happening to you.

You may feel as though you can’t get through it.

Each time you feel this way, remind yourself that this is a marathon and not a sprint. It may be a long battle for you, but it’s one that you will win with a positive attitude. Please know how strong you are. How beautiful you are inside and out. And how loved you are. Even if you don’t feel this way now, you will.

Cancer can take a lot from you — if you let it. But it can never destroy a positive spirit, optimism, hope, and your determination to survive.

At the end of the day, a scar is a sign that you are stronger than what tried to hurt you. Each time you look at your scar in the mirror, you should see a line that represents character, strength, and resilience. And when you feel less than in life, let that scar lift you up and tell you otherwise.

You are not defined by your illness, so allow yourself to redefine it.

A Thyroid Warrior