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The Happiest Place On Earth: Your Guide to Disneyland — Anaheim, CA, USA

{ This is NOT a sponsored post in any way. I love Disneyland and all things Disney and personally have my own annual passport so this post is simply sharing my favorite bits of Disneyland. I am not affiliated or associated with anyone from Disney. All opinions stated are  my own honest opinions, as always. }

This is the first of a series of “wanderlust” or travel type posts I’ll be doing for the Summer as a way to share the places I’ve been to and really love with you all.

I hope that, if you’re traveling to any of these places this Summer, these posts will help make the most of your experiences!

One thing that my boyfriend and I share a huge mutual love for is all things Disney, but more than that, Disneyland, and I think many Southern California natives share this same sentiment with us!

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. 

No, really. It is.

I actually think one of the happiest moments in my adult life was my 20th birthday gift – an annual passport to Disneyland.

If you haven’t been to Disneyland, you really ought to and here’s why: 

  1. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
  2. Disneyland allows you to be a child for an entire day, no matter your age.
  3. Disneyland has the best rides for all ages and is a great place to spend a vacation with your family.
  4. Disneyland is not just an amusement park – It’s an adventure of the imagination and the senses.
  5. Disneyland inspires hope, whimsy, and pure unadulterated joy from ALL of it’s patrons.
  6. It is literally impossible to be angry, sad, or upset at Disneyland. EVER.
  7. You can go on many adventures all within one park!

Now that you know a few reasons why Disneyland is amazing, here’s my unofficial guide to my favorite amusement park!

FAST PASSES

Just as a bit of a side note, since I’ll be mentioning these quite a bit in this post. A Fast Pass is a ticket that you can get for some rides (not all) at Disneyland, usually the more popular ones like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones have them. They have a few kiosks near that specific ride where you can go and insert your Disneyland park ticket and it will spit out a fast pass for that ride. The fast pass ticket gives you times at which you can return to get on the ride and wait in the significantly shorter “fast pass” line as opposed to the “stand by” line. The “stand by” line is just the normal line (or queue for UK) everyone can stand in and just wait to get on the ride. The “fast pass” line is for those who get the “fast pass” tickets and this drastically shortens the wait time, especially for the more popular rides.

One thing to note about fast passes is that you can only have one at a time so choose the ride you want to get on the most. It used to be that you could have fast passes for all rides all at once, but they stopped doing that so now you’ll have to get one at a time. I know it’s kind of confusing so if you want me to explain further, comment below and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you may have.

THE RIDES YOU HAVE TO GO ON

Rides at Disneyland are not the fastest, scariest, or the biggest you’ve ever seen, but they are the most fun you’ll ever have. They have a certain timelessness about them that can’t really be explained, only experienced firsthand. Here are the ones you must go on when you pay Disneyland a visit!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN {In Frontierland} :

Second to Space Mountain, this is my favorite ride at Disneyland. It has a lot of character. Everyone wants to be a pirate, right? This ride takes you on a boat ride through the world of plunderin’ gold and other piratey things, plus they’ve updated it now to reflect characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films so Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbosa both make appearances. They feature some really awesome pirate music and the entire thing is a ton of fun.

SPACE MOUNTAIN {In Tomorrowland}: 

Space Mountain is pretty much my favorite ride at Disneyland and it’s really difficult to choose a favorite one because there are a lot of really fantastic rides. Space Mountain is kind of difficult to describe, but it’s basically like going on a roller coaster in space. Like, if you were inside a planetarium with stars and constellations all around you and you were on a roller coaster inside that, then that would be what this ride is like. It’s quite fast, but in a fun way. It’s not scary at all. The line is almost always ridiculously long so I recommend when you get into the park that you get a fast pass for Star Tours (that is always ridiculously long wait) and then go straight to Space Mountain because the later it gets, the longer the line and if it’s hot out, you’ll be waiting in line in the super bright sunlight. 

HAUNTED MANSION {In Frontierland}:

Although it has a spooky name, this ride is not scary at all. It’s actually really kind of dated looking, but that’s a big part of what makes it fun, in my opinion. It’s like riding through an old spooky “Haunted Mansion” and just sort of observing all the spookiness…erm, to spooky fun music. The ride is very slow so you can really take everything in and enjoy the awesome props they’ve put into this one. The line is actually one of the lesser busy ones and usually doesn’t take long to get into, even if you’re there on a busy day so you can go on this at any time – no need to get a fast pass.

STAR TOUR {In Tomorrowland}:

This is a newly renovated ride and features characters from Star Wars in it. It’s completely “virtual simulation” so you don’t actually go anywhere; you’re in a room with seating of about 20 ish people (like a plane sort of) and the seats move back and forth and react to what happens on the screen. This ride is VERY popular and you will need to get a fast pass for it VERY early on in your day or just get in the “stand by” line (queue) for this straightaway when you get into the park otherwise, you won’t be getting on it. It’s very busy and crowded and the wait can be up to 2 hours long, depending on how busy the park is that day. The ride is totally worth it, though, because it features Star Wars characters and a really cool space flight simulation of sorts. The really cool thing about it is that there are over 200 different scenarios you can experience on the ride so you can literally ride it 200 times and never experience the same thing. I don’t recommend this ride to anyone who gets motion sickness easily as the seats do quite a bit of jostling around, but it’s not overwhelming, and the ride is only a few minutes long so it’s up to your own judgment.

INDIANA JONES {In Adventureland}:

This is another personal favorite of mine. It’s also another pretty popular one so I recommend trying to get on this one early in the day as the wait for this tends to get really long or the ride breaks down. You can get a “fast pass” for this one and, if you’re trying to get on it in the afternoon, I recommend it because the line (queue) is in nearly direct sunlight at the beginning and it’s pretty hot if you go in the Summer. It’s definitely worth waiting, however you do it (stand by or fast pass), because it’s really fun to go on! It’s basically a reproduction of the Indiana Jones films (the older ones, not the newest one) and you ride an old jeep through an underground lair of sorts with really fun music, pyrotechnic effects, animatronics, and other bits. It really feels like being on a fun “Indiana Jones” adventure.

Other awesome rides include Thunder Railroad, Splash Mountain (great for really hot days), The Matterhorn (one of the oldest rides at Disneyland), Alice in Wonderland, Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Peter Pan, Roger Rabbit in Toon Town and many many more

INNOVENTIONS:

This is not really a ride, but it’s still really awesome to see and they update the displays frequently. This is basically a walk through exhibit of sorts in Tomorrowland that is a couple of levels. They have a lot of futuristic technology on display as well as current smart phones, video game systems, and others that you can pick up and check out or play. They have a live robot show that is really cool to see, a display of futuristic looking kitchens and living rooms to walk through, and a closer look at the animations of Disney characters as well. You can also check out Disney songs and even record yourself singing them. I think this is a fun place to cool off from the outside and relax a bit, in between rides, and see something really interesting. Aside from the displays that are always showcased, they also have more current Disney items there like the photo shown above as they are currently displaying all of the Iron Man suits from Iron Man 3. This changes a lot and I remember back when Tron came out they had the Tron Cycle there so it may be something totally different when you come visit!

THE BEST PLACES TO EAT 

This is a big one! There are a TON of awesome places to eat at Disneyland. One thing to be said about the food is that it can get pretty expensive so, if you prefer not to spend on food, I recommend bringing a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks and leaving it in your car ( It’s not allowed in the park ), but you can go out to your car to eat lunch – just be sure to have one of the attendants at the gates stamp your hand so you can be re-admitted!

If you do plan on eating the delicious food at Disneyland, read on!

BLUE BAYOU RESTAURANT:

If you can get in to enjoy this food, definitely do because it is some of the best food! You have to make reservations to eat at the Blue Bayou which you can do by calling in the day before or that morning. Otherwise, you can also go to the Blue Bayou in the morning when you first get into the park and place your reservation for the evening at that time. This restaurant is in Frontierland and is actually inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride so it looks like it’s constantly late evening in New Orleans inside the restaurant which is SO COOL! Aside from the ambiance, the food is DIVINE. The meals are about $20-$40 each, depending on what you order, but it is totally worth it! Most meals are inspired by traditional New Orleans type food – Jambalaya, Seafood, etc. The service is pretty impeccable and while I wouldn’t eat there every single time I visit Disneyland, it is definitely worth doing at least once.

TURKEY LEGS:

This is what my boyfriend and I eat when we are being cheap, but in spite of that, these are one of the best and most delicious snacks at Disneyland! They’re slow cooked so the meat rolls of the bone easily and the flavor is brilliant. They cost a massive $9 each, but that’s kind of cheap in Disneyland prices, and if you like turkey legs and meat, this will be one of the best you have ever tried. The main little vendors that carry these turkey legs are in the center square that’s right out of Main Street before you go into the different “lands” on the left hand side.

BENGAL BBQ:

This is a healthier choice for those who are looking for more balanced meals, though still really great. Located right inside Adventureland, they sell meat and grilled veggie kabobs as well as tropical themed dishes, and drinks. Right next to it, they also have a slushy type drink bar that’s tropical jungle theme as well, though I don’t go there much.

CAFE ORLEANS:

This is another lovely restaurant in Frontierland that’s really good. It’s more affordable than Blue Bayou and still has similar food options with a few more dishes as well. It’s almost like an old style cafeteria, in my opinion, but the food is pretty decent. I personally don’t go here too much because it’s always packed with people. If you want to avoid the tourism rush, try another place.

REDD ROCKETT’s PIZZA PORT:

This is another favorite place to eat, though it’s kind of overpriced for what they give you. They serve a variety of mostly pizza, pasta and salads at exorbitant prizes, but everything tastes pretty good. It looks like a buffet when you walk in, but don’t be fooled, every item is individually priced from your drink to your salad to your entree so check the prices! This one is located right next to Space Mountain and is pretty popular, but it’s a more affordable option for those who want a place to sit down and eat as opposed to snacking on vendor cart food.

STAGE DOOR CAFE:

This is one of the cheapest places you can eat, but it’s very fast food. It’s located inside Frontierland and it’s not as busy as some of the other places, but you can literally go up and order and then sit down in the tables area and eat. Meals per person are around $10-$12 and they have limited options of chicken strips, french fries and soft drinks and I think maybe some hot dogs or burgers, but if you’re on a budget, it might be worth checking out.

TROPICAL IMPORTS {Healthy Snacks!}:

This isn’t a place to eat so much as it is a good place to get a healthy snack. They offer packaged fruit, various nuts, juices and bottled water and it’s one of the few vendors that actually offers it so if you have dietary restrictions or want to eat healthy, this is a great place to grab some snacks. It’s right to the left of Indiana Jones in Adventureland.

MAIN STREET SHOPPING

There are a TON of options in Main Street (where you first walk into the park) so I’m not going to focus on specific shops because there are too many to name. They all have much of the same merchandise and souvenirs so just have a look through them. Instead, I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite things about Main Street in terms of items, goodies, etc.

THE CANDY, ICE CREAM, & OTHER GOODIES:

First up, Main Street has some pretty extravagant candies and baked goods. They have candy apples in all manner of toppings from basic caramel apples to chocolate apples with sprinkles and more. They have rice krispies, handmade chocolates, and massive packaged lollipops. They even have a small sugar free section as well as flavored popcorns and things. One of my favorites on Main Street is the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor which smells incredible and the ice cream is really great as well. They have a nice selection of flavors and it feels very old fashioned. It’s a great place to get a cone if you love ice cream.

MERCHANDISE & OTHER SOUVENIRS:

There are so many places to buy souvenirs and things in Disneyland. You will pretty much be constantly surrounded by things to buy. One thing I think it somewhat worth buying are the Minnie Mouse Ear Headbands and the Mouse Ear Hats which come in all manner of designs. The hats can be custom embroidered with your name on them and the headbands come in many themes from mardis gras to traditional to purple sequins. Most of these are on display in Frontierland near Pirates of the Caribbean, but they have them in various places around the park. Another worthy souvenir is a t-shirt or sweatshirt, in my opinion, with the Disneyland logo as they’re a fun way to remember your visit. They have tons of candy and things, but these are more lasting souvenirs.

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

The last thing I wanted to mention is Downtown Disney. This is another place in itself that’s basically a shopping area right next to Disneyland. There are many shops, including clothing shops and a Sephora, as well as food vendors and it’s worth a look if you really want to enjoy some shopping, otherwise stick to Disneyland. This is a fun place to browse if you just want to get in some shopping, but it’s not a part of the park; they just have some souvenir shops in this area with Disney related merchandise as well as other conventional shops.

So those are some of my favorite things about Disneyland! I hope this unofficial guide helps you if you’re planning a visit soon!

Please let me know in the comments if you want more “travel” type posts like this one for the places I’ve been to (and will go to in future) in my area and others such as hotels, spas, and other vacation spots and I can do more for you all in the future! 

What did you think of this “travel” wanderlust type post?

I’d love to know your thoughts!

♥ Tianna 

Eye Studio® Color Tattoo® 24HR Cream Gel Shadow

{ Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow – Bad to the Bronze }

I know my blog is not typically about drugstore beauty, but I really had to mention these as I have been using the ones I got recently quite a bit and loving it!

They are the 24Hr Color Tattoos by Maybelline. I’ll be honest and say I initially thought all the buzz online about these was pretty stupid. It all sounded pretty market-speak-y and I’m not a huge fan of that crap, but then I did actually try some of my friends and really liked how pigmented and wearable they are so I picked some up at target for myself.

Eye Studio® Color Tattoo® 24HR Cream Gel Shadow

What I know about these cream shadows so far is that they have amazing color payoff and they’re shimmery instead of glittery, unlike many cheap drugstore eye shadows. They have a huge range of colors for a very low price ( $6-$10 USD, depending on where you shop ) and my favorite use for them is to apply as a base for any eye makeup looks because they really do help powder shadow adhere to your eyes for hours and hours. Not only that, but it’s definitely the first I’ve experienced where my eye makeup did not crease at all on a hot day (95 degrees F in California) and when it finally started to wear off, it faded really nicely so it still looked nice on my eyes instead of all creased and caked like most.

Eye Studio® Color Tattoo® 24HR Cream Gel Shadow

As I’m not a fan of wearing eye shadow primers, I find these work really nicely as a replacement or alternative if you prefer to pass on expensive eye primers or want something that can double up and multi-task as both cream shadow and a base. This is a really multi-functional makeup product that is pretty affordable for nearly everyone and helps streamline eye makeup application and longevity of your eye makeup looks overall. I highly recommend these if you can get a hold of some to try out. They are super affordable and the quality and uses for them is well worth the value to me.

Check them out at your local pharmacy/drugstore, Target, CVS, etc. or you can also find them online at Drugstore.com, Beauty.com, Target.com and loads of other places.

Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way to post on this nor were samples sent. I purchased these with my own money and of my own free will. My opinions and thoughts are honest and, as always, entirely my own.

Have You Tried These 24Hr Color Tattoos by Maybelline?

What do You think of them?

If yes, what’s your favorite color?

♥ Tianna

All-in-One Snail Repair Cream

The winner of the Mizon Snail Repair Cream Giveaway is Asha! Congrats!

Please email me at StorybookApothecary@Gmail.com with your postal information so I can send your prize out to you.

Thanks so much to everyone who signed up and tweeted, followed, liked, etc. – I really appreciate all of you following my blog and stay tuned for more giveaways coming very soon!

Special thanks to the awesome ladies at PeachandLily.com for sponsoring this giveaway

♥ Tianna 

8 Beauty Picks for Earth Day

Troubled Skin Serum With Frankincense and Tamanu

Troubled Skin Serum With Frankincense and Tamanu

This Troubled Skin Serum from Rainwater Botanicals is one of my favorites for treating acne, but better yet is the fact that all Rainwater Botanicals products are super affordable (some are $10 or less), produced in the USA from organic and wild crafted ingredients, and they use recycled packaging and sustainable materials. They have loads of products that I love and you can learn more about them in a post I did here.

The Problem Solver Face Mask

The Problem Solver Mask by May Lindstrom is my favorite face mask to date and with good reason – it’s made with all natural ingredients including cacao, bamboo charcoal, and various natural minerals and clays so it literally comes from the earth. Also, all of the products by May Lindstrom come in reusable glass containers so there’s no plastic waste. Aside from the fact that it’s completely naturally formulated, this face mask works seriously well at clearing, calming, and toning the skin. It’s better than any mask I’ve tried yet. You can see my review for it here. Aside from this mask, they also have other fantastic products including The Good Stuff Radiance Oil which is amazing for getting that dewy glow look. You can see a post I did on how to use it here.

Karen Murrell lipsticks are some of the most sustainable lip products I’ve ever seen. They have some serious high standards set to them and they’ve really held up against them. The lipstick containers themselves and the packaging are all made with biodegradable, recycled or plant materials. The lipstick tube itself starts biodegrading back to the earth in 100 days which is something I’ve never heard of for any product let alone a lipstick. The lipsticks as products are not only extremely hydrating, but they smell amazing and have lovely, trendy colors that look great on any skin tone. I actually haven’t met a KM lippie I didn’t like. They are cruelty free, sustainable, locally sourced and traceable, ECOCERT, green house gas neutral, and made with all natural and organic ingredients. They are my favorite HG lipsticks. You can see the original post I did on them here.

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Konjac Sponges are make facial cleansing simple, clean and green. They’re made from konjac, a kind of potato found in Japan, and various clays so they are entirely biodegradable. In fact, after a few months they actually begin to fall apart and literally degrade. They work really well to cleanse and soften skin without stripping it of it’s natural oils while also brightening, gently exfoliating and calming. Plus, they’re super cheap at only $9 each. You can see my original post on them here.

The Suti Cleanse Organic Balm is, hands down, the best cleansing balm I’ve ever tried. It’s super hydrating, cleansing, calming, and doesn’t clog pores. It comes with a muslin cloth so you can even use it to gently exfoliate skin without drying it out or irritating it. Made with all organic plant oils and butter, this balm can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer, face mask and exfoliant. The balm is made with a certified organic formula and comes in a reusable glass jar. You can see my original post on it here.

Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set

ECO Tools have some amazing brushes and they’re super sustainably made from bamboo and other sustainable materials. They work really well for applying makeup and even skincare products. I’ve used their smaller eye brushes to apply eye cream before and that works really well. Also, their shower gloves are amazing as well for body exfoliation.

Travel Set

 

Living Nature products are some of the best natural products I’ve tried. They offer a wide range of skincare and cosmetic products which are all really nice. They use exotic ingredients found in New Zealand and other naturally sustainable plant oils and extracts in order to soothe, hydrate and heal skin. I love how gentle their products are and they can definitely be used on any skin type, including sensitive. You can see my original post on their products here.

Antonia Burrell‘s Natural Glow Cleansing Oil is the best cleansing oil I’ve found for acne prone skin types, but it will definitely work well for any other skin type as well. It’s very gentle, calming and nourishing without being heavy. Aside from that, it comes in a reusable glass jar, is made from all natural and sustainable plant ingredients that actually work for skin without harming the environment.

What Are Your Top Eco Beauty Picks?

I’d love to know in the comments!

♥ Tianna

All-in-One Snail Repair Cream

All-in-One Snail Repair Cream – peachandlily.com

{Disclaimer – This cream was sent to me for review from PeachandLily.com}

This is going to sound bizarre to those of you who haven’t heard the latest Korean beauty craze.

That’s right, I’m talking snails.

Okay, not snails, but snail extract on your face.

{ I’ll give all you newbies a second to let that sink in… }

Yep.

Don’t you dare click away and let me cope with this weirdness on my own! 

If you’re completely new to this Korean beauty craze, then let me enlighten you all to a whole new world of beautiful strangeness. The Korean beauty industry has recently released a host of creams from various brands featuring an odd new ingredient – you guessed it – snail mucus extract. According to those headlining this new beauty trend, they claim that the mucus from snails has the power to heal, rejuvenate and hydrate skin in a powerful way.

Anyway 🙂

So, it’s my very first “snail cream” beauty experience and, as much as I seriously hate admitting to it, it’s been awesome! First of all, I just want to clarify a bit for those of you who might think there is straight up snail mucus or ground up snail shell in this cream because that’s definitely not the case. It’s actually all very scientific. The cream simply includes a 92% concentration of “snail extract” which is from the mucus of snails (gross, at first look…), but is dried, purified and turned into a powdered extract before it ever gets near your finished cream so I suppose it’s not all bad once you get down to it.

Is it weird? Only when I think about it.

I was actually expecting this cream to have a bizarre scent or texture ( or maybe bits of snail residue in it ), but this cream is seriously nice and also, thankfully, pleasantly scented in an inoffensive way. In many ways, this cream feels much like any other when applied, though it is seriously hydrating without being heavy and sinks in near instantly. It does have a slight stickiness to it, but that goes away in 30 minutes or less after the cream sinks into the skin. Once it does, there’s no residue left behind or anything.

Once you get passed to fact that this includes snail mucus in the formula, it really is lovely. The cream itself comes in a very luxurious glass jar and a little bit of this cream goes quite a long way. Although it’s marketed as a repair cream for aging and things, I really think any skin type could use this safely, even sensitive and acne prone skin types. My advice is to exfoliate properly before applying this and to only use it at night as it may cause a bit of oiliness if you have oily to combination skin.

I’ve been using this cream for nearly a month now and I can honestly say it’s improved my overall skin texture, smoothed some fine lines, improved the hydration levels of my skin, and even diminished some acne scarring. I don’t think it does anything for acne, really, but it doesn’t exacerbate any existing blemishes nor does it cause any new ones so that’s a major plus for me when it comes to creams. I highly recommend this cream as one to consider if you’re new to this whole snail cream phenomena and you want to give it a go.

You can check out this Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream at Peach & Lily – here.

SURPRISE GIVEAWAY TIME!

The lovely ladies of PeachandLily.com have very generously sent me an extra jar of this Snail Repair Cream by Mizon to offer up for giveaway so any one of you can get the chance to try it out for yourself and get in on this Korean beauty craze!

The giveaway is open to all subscribers of Storybook Apothecary so you have to be a follower via email, bloglovin’ or wordpress. It’s open internationally so anyone can enter, wherever they are in the world, as long as they follow my blog.

This giveaway ends on April 23, 2013 ( this coming Tuesday ) and I’ll announce the winner here on the blog.

Hurry & Enter while you can!

Sign Up for the Giveaway & Enter to Win Your Very Own Snail Cream!

Good Luck!

♥ Tianna

 

I’ve gone through a bit when it comes to the whole Beauty Box subscription service thing.

I really love the idea of it, but I feel like, most of the time, the value just isn’t there.

I realize the price is quite low, but I’m a thrifty gal who wants her money’s worth and if the product is good, I’ll buy a full size.

Also, I’ve often times found myself subscribed to services which I mostly like, but which mostly seem to offer samples of products I’m not that interested in.

Aside from that, I’ve been wanting to subscribe to a new beauty box subscription service which offers natural products that are also appealing and fun to try.

The Conscious Box seems to be a really great deal, though it is slightly more expensive than others I’ve tried ( $20 / month , and it seems to have more value to it.

That being said, I’d love your feedback on this if any of you currently subscribe or have subscribed to the Conscious Box in the past – I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences with the service!

Learn more about the Conscious Box Mission & How it Works.

Otherwise, you can Subscribe to the Box – here.

If you’ve never tried Conscious Box, I’d love to know what your favorite subscription box service is, whether beauty or otherwise, and why in the comments!

Thanks for your help!

MyTopFavoriteMakeupProducts2012-TheBestofEyesLipsandFace_StorybookApothecary.com

 Happy New Year Lovelies!

I hope you all had a lovely New Years celebration and are gearing up for a fantastic 2013! I wish you all the best this year with your goals and dreams and adventures in beauty and life!

I’m back again with another post in my top favorite beauty picks for 2012 mini series of posts ( I have a few more coming your way for skincare & body care so be sure to check back if you’re interested in those product recommendations!).

Primer: For primer, I’ve been pretty obsessed with the KORRES silicone fre primers and I’ve still been using those frequently as well, but I recently discovered this facial primer and brightener by Jane Iredale and it is AMAZING! I have been using it for special occasions when I’d like an extra soft airbrush type finish because it is a silicone primer so it definitely fills in pores and creates an incredibly even base to work with. The big difference for me with this silicone primer is that it does NOT break me out. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may know about my horrible luck with silicone primers and how they’ve broken my skin out a million and one times. This primer is NOT one of them! It works brilliantly and includes loads of botanical extracts in the formula to brighten and correct the skin while you wear it. Check out my full review on it here.

Liquid Foundation: I love the look of liquid foundations, but many of them do seem to break me out, make me look too oily or too dry, and just generally don’t work out for me. This foundation by Living Nature is absolutely lovely! It gives a decent amount of light to medium coverage (medium to full if used with the aforementioned primer!) and a very nice, soft velvet finish. It is super breathable, natural looking, and the formula includes manuka oil and other exotic botanical ingredients from New Zealand which work to heal, hydrate and protect the skin. You can see my full review on this (with swatches!) here.

Powder Foundation: I love all manner of loose powders, but I could never seem to find one that was both natural, non-cakey AND that gave my skin the coverage I wanted. This satin matte powder foundation by Alima Pure is all that and more! It has such a great finish which looks very natural, but covers redness and spots incredibly well while also letting the skin breathe. The major selling point for this one, in my opinion, is that not only is this natural mineral powder free of pore clogging elements like talc and bismuth oxychloride, but it gives the much-coveted medium to very full coverage similar to that of MAC’s Studio Finish powder, but without all the heavy ingredients. Check out my original review on this powder here.

Spot Concealer: This spot concealer is a dual ended concealer made to treat and cover blemishes, but I’ve personally found that there are a TON more uses for it on top of that. First, yes, one end has a treatment balm which you can use to treat blemishes and small spots before applying the concealer end and it works very gently over time to heal your skin. The other fantastic use I’ve found which is excellent for traveling is that I can apply this concealer in lines or dots to conceal bits of my entire face if I want to completely forgo using foundation or powder that day and it still looks great! My skin looks fresh, dewy (note – NOT oily!) and clear when I apply it like this and it does NOT break me out. That alone makes this a must-have. Check out my original review on this concealer here.

Under Eye Concealer / Brightener: I have been trying my damnedest to find a natural concealer which gives me the brightening effects and light, hydrating coverage of this under eye concealer for my dark circles, but I have yet to find one that doesn’t look entirely too heavy, cakey, orange tinted (yuck!), or that does not break out my under eye area. the RMS Un-Cover Up does hold some real potential (will have to try that this year!), but until then, this is my absolute favorite. It has salicylic acid in the formula so maybe that’s why it doesn’t break me out, but it also has a fantastic light-diffusing effect on my under eyes which brightens without looking white cast and it includes a hydrating eye cream formula AND sunscreen in the formula! This certainly makes a morning routine easier and quicker. Although I am not a big fan of drugstore products, this one is a keeper until I find a more natural option that gets the job done as well as this! Check out my original post on this here.

Eye Shadows: I LOVE eye shadows, but I have a difficult time finding loose mineral eye shadows that are both pigmented and soft, yet without being too heavy or cakey and without that ugly chalk look that some of them have. This Black Tie Gala for Eyes holiday collection by Alima Pure is absolutely lovely; I’ve been using the Minaudiere and Bijou quite a lot lately for light contouring of my eyes and highlighting the brow and inner corners of my eyes. It looks super natural, beautiful and not over done. They have some lovely eye shadows aside from this and they are definitely worth a try. You can check out my swatches for this collection here.

Eye Liner: Although I have not officially reviewed this liner, I did feature it in my favorites last summer and I’ve kept up using it all through winter as well. It’s not the most natural formula unfortunately, but it certainly works really well and looks beautiful on! It’s quite long lasting as well and creates a fantastic smooth line or cat eye with very little effort. I’m not too accomplished at eye liner application, but even I can do it with this so that’s saying something. Also, this liner doesn’t peel off like many of the liquid liners often do; instead it gradually fades after a few hours (around 6) which works for me! Check out more on this liner here.

Mascara: I have near constantly raved about this mascara I discovered in a Birchbox shipment last summer and which has really changed the look of my lashes entirely! Although I’d prefer a more natural formula, this one is out of this world in terms of lengthening, curling, and separating lashes to the point of near falsies. My boyfriend’s sister actually asked me if I was wearing false lashes once when I had this on and nope! Just this fantastic mascara at work! I do hope I can find a more natural one that’s comparable, but until then, this is definitely worth a go if you want a mascara that’s actually worth the steep price tag! Check out my original post on this mascara here.

 How was your New Years celebration?

Have you thought of any New Years Resolutions yet?

What Are Your Top Picks for Makeup for 2012?

BestMoisturizers2012_StorybookApothecary.Com

Hello! I’m back again with the second in a mini series of posts I’ll be doing on my top beauty picks for 2012 in all things skincare, makeup, nails, body care and personal products. Today’s post was really difficult to do as I’m quite obsessed with using serums and moisturizers and I have tons of favorites for different purposes so this was REALLY hard to choose. Even though it seems like I’ve chosen a lot, it took me ages to cut it down to this so I hope you’ll find this helpful when choosing the best serum or moisturizer for your skincare needs!

First in the list is the Alpha-H Balancing Moisturizer and Gentle Exfoliant. I’ve written again and again about Alpha-H as a brand because I love their products. They are so effective and though they aren’t as natural as I’d like, they are a brand that will give you the results you want, especially if you have spots, scarring, pigmentation or acne. They use a high concentration of ingredients so these products don’t just sit on your skin and waste time – they do what they’re supposed to do and you will see results with continued use. This moisturizer is my favorite for keeping breakouts at bay, keeping my skin smooth and bright, and even helping diminish some minor scarring I have on my cheeks. When first using this moisturizer, you WILL feel the tingle, but your skin will adjust over time and you will see results, especially if you have frequent breakouts or pigmentation issues. I definitely recommend gradually transitioning into using this and maybe using it once a day every other day to help your skin adjust a bit, but it does work really well. It uses a high concentration of glycolic acid (similar to their Liquid Gold exfoliator) around like 12% or something in order to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores and encourage cell turnover. I can’t recommend this one enough, but it’s not for those with sensitive skin so if you have sensitive skin, I would advise you to use something gentler. For my full review on this moisturizer and other Alpha-H products, check here.

Second in the list is the Rainwater Botanicals Sea Buckthorn and Pomegranate Intensive Treatment Serum. This serum is incredible for dry skin and for giving you a bit of a faux glow due to the tint it has from the pomegranate seed oil. I don’t recommend this to those with oilier skin types, but if you have combination skin, dry skin, or maturing skin, you will definitely benefit. It works to heal your skin, encourage cell turnover and diminish the appearance of fine lines. I don’t have many wrinkles at the moment, but it certainly helps soften lines and hydrate the skin to it’s optimal level. I especially love this one in the winter as it keeps my skin from becoming dull or flaky. Another reason to stand behind this brand is the fact that their products are organic, wild crafted, made in the USA, and super affordable (think around $10 for this one!)  You can learn more about the specifics on this serum and other Rainwater Botanicals products here.

Third in the list is the Living Nature Extra Hydrating Toning Gel. This is absolutely amazing for those who suffer from dry skin or oily skin AND acne because it hydrates without feeling oily or leaving a greasy residue behind. It’s so easily absorbed into the skin and it smells amazing. It keeps skin hydrated, soft and helps calm redness. This one is also great for those of you who hate the oily, greasy feeling and enjoy the gel type moisturizers because this is a super light formula, but unlike those cheap, oil-free drugstore moisturizers that hardly hydrate and have questionable ingredients, this one includes tons of beneficial ingredients for your skin and will hydrate very well without feeling heavy. You can check out my original post on Living Nature here.

Next on my list is the Suti Organic Purity Moisturizing Balm. This balm is very similar to their Cleanse Balm only the scent is a bit different and it’s a bit less moist (if that makes sense) and soaks into the skin more easily than the Cleanse Balm. Although a bit pricey, it’s well worth the cost and will last you a good few months because you need a dime size for your entire face each time. Your skin will feel softer, more hydrated, and heal broken capillaries and other lesions (if you have them). This would be especially beneficial for those who have dry skin, combination skin, and overly congested, oily or irritated skin. I also think someone with sensitive skin or eczema or rosacea could benefit as there are many healing benefits in this super simple, but effective balm. Check out my full review on this balm here.

Moving down the list, we have the Rainwater Botanicals Skin Repair Serum for Acne, Scars & Wrinkles. I love this serum because it’s such a cure-all serum/moisturizer. It hydrates the skin, has ingredients such as wild crafted frankincense to combat breakouts and valuable plant oils which heal sun damage and soften the appearance of fine lines. Another reason I love this one so much is the scent. It smells absolutely incredible and reminds me of something, but I can never figure out what it is. Plus, I can get a 1/2 oz. of this (which lasts around 3 months) for around $10. All of these products are organic and wild crafted, made in the USA, and super affordable so I feel great purchasing them. Check out my full post on Rainwater Botanicals products here.

Last in the list is the Pure Marula Oil from the Leakey Collection. This is a fairly new discovery, but I really wanted to include it in the list because it’s a fantastic basic moisturizer that hydrates skin, heals damage, calms redness, and soaks right into the skin without leaving a residue. Although it’s quite pricey, it’s profits go toward supporting fair trade, employing women in Africa and developing their local economies in order to help their community and lives thrive. I really love what this oil stands for and I feel a lot better about paying the high price because of how it actually benefits women in Africa. I’ve used this as a moisturizer and even mixed a bit of it with my Vive Sana sunscreen (see how I apply my sunscreen here) because it helps thin the sunscreen formula a bit so it’s more easily blendable (white cast anyone?) plus marula oil includes many antioxidants and a low level of spf which adds to your sun protection. Although I don’t recommend using this alone to protect you from the sun as the levels would be too low to be sufficient ( around SPF 5 or lower, depending), it may help protect you along with your sunscreen. Check out my original review on this marula oil here.

So those are my top picks for the best face moisturizers of 2012 – stay tuned for more posts on my favorite beauty products of 2012 coming soon!

What is your favorite moisturizer for 2012?

Please share in the comments!

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Happy Boxing Day Everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, enjoyed some time off from work and school and things  with your family and friends and that you received some great gifts this year!

I know some people hate haul posts or whichever, but personally I love them a I’m nosy and I love to see what others own or buy for some reason so today’s post is a bit of what I received this year from friends and family (scroll down if you’d like to see the Boxing Day sales only!)

Here Are Gifts Received this Christmas!

I received this custom made ornate jewelry box from my boyfriend. Isn’t it beautiful? It looks like an old vintage trunk and the outside is leather material with embossed rose design. I really love this old fashioned style!

He also bought me my very own French press which can be used to make both tea and coffee. I’m super psyched about this one as I love both and I enjoying serving drinks in pitchers like this one. I’ve been using a friend’s french press up until now so I’m happy I finally have my own!

My mom got these amazing wedge boots for me! I really love the colors on them and they fit like a glove so they’re very comfortable and chic.

She also got me this amazing Ninja Blender + Food Processor! She has one herself (we both enjoy cooking) and I had the pleasure of using hers yesterday while we cooked Christmas dinner. It is AMAZING. This thing sounds like a jet engine blender, only not so loud, of course. It just sounds very strong and efficient and it blends things very quickly. I’m beyond thrilled to make my own smoothies and soups and things! I previously had to use this mini food processor which was quite horrible as it could only processor around 1.5 cups of anything at one time. Plus, it was one of those which you have to hold the button down on so it had recently begun to smell like burning plastic. Ew. Thank goodness for moms who know exactly what you need!

My step mom and Dad actually got me this lovely purse and it is SO adorable! It is by Bettie Paige ( the brand) and so the inside fabric is all black and white photo print of her modeling which looks really beautiful! Loving this handbag!

Lastly, I received a Coach clutch from one of my very best friends ( Thanks girl, if you’re reading this!) and I absolutely love it! It’s a really sleek design which I love for clutches and the burgundy wine color is amazing – it’s just my taste exactly.

I had such a wonderful Christmas and I’m so thrilled I was able to give and receive some amazing gifts this year and enjoy some lovely food and quality time with my friends and family.

Anyway, onto Boxing Day!

If you’re unfamiliar with Boxing Day, don’t feel bad. I only found out what it was last year. Basically, it’s the equivalent of Black Friday shopping only it’s mostly done in the UK, Canada, Australia and possibly Europe (anyone can confirm or deny this? not sure?). Many shops offer great bargains and discounts and there’s a chance to get some amazing deals and free GWP’s. I am a bit bummed come this time, but there seem to be a few Boxing Day sales going on online and a few after holiday or end of the year sales which you can take advantage of if you are in the USA or someplace else which doesn’t have Boxing Day.

Here’s What I’ve Found!

Hip Apotheca Boxing Day Sales:

Adore Beauty Boxing Day Sales: 

Boxing Day SaleGift Sets4020ClarinsLaura MercierFragrance

Beauty Bay January Sale:

Sephora 20% Off Sale:

Sale On Sale Extra 20% off sale items. Enter code EXTRA20 at checkout. Shop Sale > Online only. Limited-time offer. Ends January 2

 

FeelUnique Up to 50% Off Sale: 

Winter Sale

 

SpaceNK Sale: 

 

What did you all receive this holiday ?

Do you plan to Shop the Boxing Day or After Holiday Sales today ?

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways 2012 - StorybookApothecary.com

* As a side note, I meant to post this up last night, but in my exhausted state, I stupidly saved it as a draft instead of scheduling it so I’m really sorry if anyone waiting up for the results and then didn’t get them because of my error  – I promise to get more sleep! *

Before I go ahead with announcing all the winners, I just want to say thanks so much to everyone who signed up for all the giveaways – the event was super successful so thank you so much to everyone who tweeted, re-tweeted, commented and generally participated in each and every one of the giveaways. You all contributed to it’s success and it’s meant a great deal to me! 

Okay, I’m done rambling on now – Here are the winners!

{Please Note – each number corresponds to the giveaway day. For example 1 = On the first day of xmas giveaway, etc. }

  1. Lisa Shen  – You’ve won the Tan Organic Sunless Tan Spray + Mitt!
  2. Nizy – You’ve won the Max Green Alchemy Shampoo and Conditioner Set!
  3. Fiona Naughton – You’ve won 2 Rainwater Botanicals Face Serums!
  4. Ashley L – You’ve won 3 Living Nature products in their NEW True Colours packaging!
  5. Hannah Ackroyd – You’ve won 1 Liz Earle Limited Edition Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser!
  6. Naomi Willett – You’ve won 1 Alpha-H Tinted Moisturizer!
  7. Fiona Naughton – You’ve won a Massive pot of Sample minis!
  8. Sophie G – You’ve won 2 Naruko products!
  9. Kimberly Laymon – You’ve won the Jane Iredale Simply Magical Collection!
  10. Lisa Shen – You’ve won 3 Bella Graciela Accessories!
  11. Marcella Tam – You’ve won a $50 e-gift card for BeautyHabit.com!
  12. Brittany Carson – You’ve won the Korres Goddess Beauty Color Collection!

Congratulations to all of the lucky winners!

Please contact me through email at StorybookApothecary@gmail.com with your mailing information so I may ship your packages to you. Please keep in mind that it’s unlikely I’ll have a chance to ship out your prize to you until after Christmas as I’m quite tapped out until then!