by gillian claire

9.06.2017

My Current Favorite Night Creams!

*This post is NOT sponsored but does contain affiliate links!*

     Oh hey, it's time to talk about my favorite thing again: skincare! I've been interested in night cream and "anti-aging" products since I used my grandma's free eye cream jars that she got from department stores as a kid. People usually think that I'm a lot younger than I am so, thanks Namaw! jk :) In reality, I'm 31 and it's kind of exciting that I can actually start benefiting from these products that I love!
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     Between things I've picked up myself and products that brands have sent me, my nightstand is pretty jam packed with night creams right now! I grabbed a few of the products that I gravitate towards every night to share with you guys including my two all time favorite ever EVER night creams so read along to find out which ones they are!
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I actually won this No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Night Cream in a giveaway on the Kiki Blah Blah blog! I was so excited because I never win anything but I ended up winning this No7 skincare package and these awesome pants in the same week! (best week ever...)  This night cream is pretty standard- nothing outstanding about it, nothing horrible about it. The smell is nice and fresh, a good grandma smell not a flowery grandma smell.. (does that make sense to anyone else?) I love that it's made for sensitive skin + that it's inexpensive. I also use the Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum underneath. This is just a nice easy night cream to have on hand and I like to use it between nights where I use a more targeted treatment.



Ok guys, here's the first holy grail night cream that I'm going to recommend and it's super inexpensive! This Rite Aid "Quick Wrinkle Repair" is a dupe for the well-loved Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair. (I love their play on words here- hah!) I can't remember exactly how I ended up using the Rite Aid version over the Neutrogena one but I love it so much + keep going back for more. I don't really struggle with true wrinkles yet but any lines I do see starting to form always plump up with this stuff! I definitely recommend trying this one out if you haven't already!




I have gone through some weird phases where I struggle with redness on my face. I grabbed this Eucerin Redness Relief Night Cream off Amazon during one of those times and really liked it! I still use it occasionally if my face feels like it's flaring up a little. I also bought the Eucerin Redness Relief Daily Perfecting Lotion which has a green tint to it for combatting redness! Also these are inexpensive-yay!



Well, this is the me I never thought I'd be.. I am totally a drugstore/amazon girl and this HydroPeptide Nimini Cream is fancy AF and costs over $100. It was sent to me in exchange for a sponsored Instagram post, which I did months ago. Mentioning it in this blog post however is in no way sponsored; I just ... freaking LOVE IT. I thought I was sooo cool when HydroPeptide offered to send me this expensive product but jokes on ME  now because I'm hooked and will definitely shell out the money to repurchase this... :)


This Nimini Cream is liquid gold. First of all, it smells fabulous. Second of all, your skin will glow in the morning after using it! It contains Retinol + Vitamin C and is a targeted "collagen support" complex. Any little wrinkles you might have plump right up with this Nimini Cream and it leaves your skin looking so fresh and youthful. Sometimes I'll see myself in the mirror in the morning and be like wow, I look SO refreshed today and yeah, it's always because I used this HydroPeptide Cream the night before. I highly, highly recommend this one if you're looking to try something higher end that works. 








Ok, I'm seriously obsessed that I figured out how to link all of these products for you guys like this! I'll definitely start doing for my beauty posts, it's so easy! Sometimes I feel like such an old person, it takes me forever to start doing all the "trendy hip" blogging things. Anyone else with me there??


Have you tried any of these night creams? I'd love to know! Of course, if you have any of your own holy grail night creams please let me know in the comments; I'm always on the hunt for something new to try!


Happy Hump Day!

xoxo, Gillian

8.25.2017

5 on Friday!

Happy Friday, friends!

How was your week? My boys started back to school on Wednesday and I've done things like: catch up on work without distractions, leisurely stop by the store to pick something up without anyone whining for anything and wonder why my house is SO quiet for 7 hours a day now! :)

Here are 5 quick things I have to share:

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1. 

Roman started 4th grade and Asher started 1st! I know everyone says this but: how are they this old?? I can't believe that this is the 5th year that we've been in this school routine. I have to say this week didn't go off as seamlessly as I'd hoped. Roman was very sad about summer being over and really bummed out after his first day. Asher was ecstatic after his 1st day but experienced some bullying on the bus after his 2nd day. This mama bear went straight to the principal about it because, I know kids will be kids but this went too far; trust me. Luckily, the school handled it really well and made both kids apologize and made Ash feel much better. Roman has also perked up and I feel like both kids are ending the week feeling positive about this year- fingers crossed!


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I put up a blog post sharing some cool PR packages that I've received lately! Am I the only one who is really nosey about blogger mail? For all you skincare junkies like myself, you may see a product that you have to try out. :)

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THE ECLIPSE. Guys, I was literally waiting for this eclipse like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I'm obsessed with the sky. It is so meaningful + powerful to me so this day was big. I'm thankful that I had my sister in law here to enjoy it with me and make it even more special!

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Oh hey, just a reminder that you can use code: bygillianclaire for 20% off any purchase over $49 from Nano clothing! I'm really picky about the clothing brands that I share with you guys + I was definitely impressed by Nano. This peace sign shirt is my favorite thing in their shop right now and it's on sale!

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5.

This quote from @cleowade. The events in Chartlottesville broke my heart. I'm white and there is so much adversity that I've been blind to and spared from because of that. The past year has shown me how much racism is still existing under the surface and I feel more than ever that it is so important for us to fight against it!

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I hope you all had a great week. I'm about to go pick the boys up from school and we have plans to go to the trampoline park + order Papa John's tonight. The trampoline park is kind of the best y'all. These wild boys get out crazy amounts of energy and in return they think I'm the best mom ever.
 Also, have you tried Papa John's gluten free pizza? I'm currently doing a gluten + dairy free trial and their gluten free pizza with no cheese is like my favorite thing right now...


Ok, I'll stop rambling! Ramble to me about your week + weekend plans in the comments!

xoxo,
Gillian



8.22.2017

Sharing a Few Summer PR Packages!

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The world of blogging is a weird and wonderful place that I've become part of within the past 6 (eek!) years. Being an Influencer is kind of a misunderstood place to be right now and I'm constantly analyzing and figuring out my feelings about it and the direction I want to go.


Some people think that bloggers will just do anything for free stuff when in reality there is a lot more behind blogging than that for a lot of us. Free stuff can certainly be a perk but simply trying to get a ton of free products isn't really the end goal in blogging. I turn down offers constantly from companies that want to send me things. I've been focusing my efforts more on paid opportunities that allow me to put in my time and creativity with brands that I admire while being able to support my family!


Having said that, sometimes I do get boxes of "free stuff" which gives me a chance to try out new products and share them with you all - and yes, it's fun!


I don't often see bloggers do a post strictly about PR packages but I thought it would be fun to show you a few boxes I've received lately and share my truthful feelings on the products inside! I was not required by any of these brands to do this blog post. :)


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Imagine Dermatology


You may remember Imagine Dermatology from this skincare post where I talked about some of their anti-aging products that I tried. They sent along this bubbling charcoal mask recently and you guys, I AM OBSESSED WITH IT. I'm not kidding; this is a staple in my skincare now. It tingles and feels extremely relaxing. Also, it actually works + pulls out blackheads like you wouldn't believe. I will definitely repurchase this, can't live without it!


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Pacifica

I was so excited to receive a PR package from Pacifica, because well, Pacifica- duh! The box is the prettiest thing I've ever seen and I feel like I need to keep it forever. They sent along a couple packs of their new cleansing wipes


I am a big believer in removing your makeup at night and I actually like to double or triple cleanse my face to really get everything off. I love to have  wipes on hand though for nights that I'm just too tired for my normal skincare routine. I usually use baby wipes so these seemed extra luxurious + they are really reasonably priced at $6 each!


To be honest, the face wipes stung a little. I have been having some seriously sensitive skin lately though so this may be a personal problem? They smelled fruity and fun and of course the packaging was adorable. 


The Cherry Kisses Hydrating Lipstick Wipes surprised me though. I honestly didn't know lipstick wipes existed and didn't fully understand the point until I read that these also hydrate + exfoliate your lips! My lips felt so soft and smooth after using these and I will definitely use them again! (Both of these products are sulfate + paraben free and Pacifica is a cruelty free brand-yay!)


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Derma E

I was also pumped to receive something from Derma E, another totally awesome company that defines themselves as "Ethical Skincare". Derma E sent along two of their cleansing products. 


The Vitamin C Micellar Cleansing Water, again, stung my face! What is the deal with my sensitive skin right now guys? Micellar water is the bomb though and I've used another one happily in the past. 


However, winner winner- I LOVE the Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil that they also sent me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved using an oil cleanser. Like the name says, this stuff felt extremely nourishing. It has argan + jojoba oils as well as vitamin E; such wonderful natural skincare ingredients. Pick some of this stuff up guys, you won't regret it. (Side note, I have recently switched completely to the oil cleansing method of face cleansing. I'll share more about that soon but this would be a great product to try out first if you are interested in using oils to wash your face!)



So there ya go, a few favorite packages that I've received over the past few months! Did you enjoy seeing what was inside? Also, I'd love to know if you use any of these products or brands! 



xoxo, gillian 




8.09.2017

6 tips for working *Better* from home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DDIcedCoffeeToGo #CollectiveBias


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     I've mentioned a few times here that I'm working from home now. It has been a huge transition for me! I feel very blessed to be back to working for myself, running my own online creative business ( + blogging part time! ) but I have to say that it has been a pretty rough transition. Along with feeling grateful for the opportunities that have come into my life, I been feeling overwhelmed with the unique difficulties that come with working from home!

I wanted to put together a list of the tips and tricks that I've learned during my 9 months of working for home that are necessary for me to stay focused and be more productive. I'm so excited to be partnering with Dunkin' Donuts® + Kum & Go® for this post because if you know me in real life, you already know that coffee is going to make this list!

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6 Tips for Working Better From Home!

1. Make a Plan! Being scatterbrained and unorganized are huge struggles for me especially now that I'm working for myself. Making a plan for my day is crucial to staying focused. I like to use an actual paper planner because it helps for me to physically write things out and check them off as I go. I also find myself using the "notes" app in my iPhone to make lots of quick lists when I think of things that need to be done.

2. Take Coffee Breaks! Just because you aren't working in an office doesn't mean that you should forget about designated breaks! Sitting at a computer screen all day can literally make me feel a little batty especially since I don't have other coworkers around to chat with! One thing that I do every work day is run out to grab a coffee. Yes, I have a coffee maker at home and I use it to make coffee in the mornings, but taking a break to get out of the house and grab a little treat makes a big difference for me. At home I make hot coffee, but I always get iced coffees on my "coffee breaks". My new favorite is the Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee from Kum & Go. (French Vanilla is my go to but they also have Mocha, Original + Espresso!)

3. Listen to Music! After I posted this post and talked a little bit about my struggles working from home, a friend shared with me that listening to music through headphones can really help with focus. I have taken this to heart and it definitely helps me! My current favorite work music is the Indie Folk Revival Radio station on Pandora. :)

4. Create a Workspace! Ok, this is one that needs a little work on my part. I live in a 900 square foot condo with 4 people (including two crazy little boys) so when everyone is home, it is very difficult for me to stay focused on work. I eventually would like to get an actual desk and create a designated workspace in my bedroom but I haven't gotten there yet! This summer, I have been working on the porch which has been perfect! I can just shut the door and have my own little outside office space. (All of the photos in this post were taken on my porch!)

5. Find Support! Once again in my life, I have found that my alternative lifestyle is hard for other people to relate to. I have found some great Facebook groups that have helped me to network with people who do similar work and who are also working from home. Check out Facebook to see if you can find some good groups to join especially if you are in a creative field!

6. Get a Change of Scenery! This is another huge one for me. Guess what, you don't always have to work from home if you work from home! Mind blown? This is what God created coffee shops for! Ok maybe not but seriously, I try to get out of the house at least once a week and find another spot to do my work. This is crucial for me and sometimes if I have a heavy work week or extra hard time focusing I try to get out to work several days a week. Look for some cute coffee shops in your area, head to the library or even look into a local shared workspace! 


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Be sure to check out the Kum & Go reward program so that you can save money on all those Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffees like me! :)_MG_0433 
I'd love to hear from YOU if you also work from home + learn your tips as well! 
I can use all the help I can get right now on staying focused and getting organized!
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xoxo, Gillian

8.02.2017

Little Style // with Nano!

*This post is in collaboration with Nano and includes affiliate links. I only partner with companies that I truly love! Thanks for supporting my family by reading along.*

I'm back with another little boys' style post and I'm so excited to introduce you to a new brand! Asher has always been really into clothes and shoes which has been so fun for me! He's my baby and I love that I still get buy him ALL the cute little boy things. Everyone seems to think that girls are the only ones who are fun to shop for but I've truly enjoyed clothing my little boys and looking for companies who celebrate the fun of boy clothes as well!

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We had so much fun looking through the Nano site and deciding on two new outfits for the end of summer that will carry us into back to school! I swear Asher has been wearing some of the same things for two years now and his wardrobe definitely needed a little refreshing. 


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Of course Asher had to have this hammerhead shark shirt and he thinks it's pretty much the coolest thing ever. He loves that the back has fish bones because "the sharks ate them all!" I love the feel of these shirts; the material is a little thicker and stretchy and I can tell they will withstand lots of little boy mischief! These seersucker shorts are absolutely adorable and I like that they are a touch nicer than Asher's typical cotton shorts that he usually wears.


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I may have gently nudged Asher to choose this peace sign shirt because you know it makes my hippie mama heart so happy! These camo cotton shorts are perfect for him also and are now his favorites because they are so soft!


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...and can we talk about the dire cuteness of these shoes?!
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Overall, I'm very impressed with Nano! The clothes are great boutique quality and of course meet my cuteness expectations! If you're looking for some unique back to school clothes for your kiddos, be sure to check out their site! I like to buy summer clothes for back to school since it will still be warm for a little while but Nano also has their Fall Look Book out!

Nano is offering my readers 20% any purchase $49 or more 
with code: bygillianclaire 
Yay!

Have you started your back to school shopping yet? 
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Be sure to share your favorite kids' clothing shops with me below!
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7.28.2017

Portraits of my boys, Summer 2017.

It's becoming so much harder to get pictures of my boys now that they are a little older. It pains me because they are my muses and my absolute favorite thing to photograph. On the last day of our stay in Somerset, KY I convinced them to let me take some photos in town. It was about 15 minutes of absolute bliss for me. It sounds dramatic, but that is truly how dearly I love to photograph my boys and I'm sure that some of you can relate! I'll have to split the photos up into two photo heavy posts but they just mean everything to me. 

Old painted walls + snapshots of two growing boys in the summertime.

Enjoy. :)

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xoxo,
Gillian

7.27.2017

Our Road Trip via Instagram + Snapchat.

I feel like I have so many photos + ideas for summer blog posts that I just haven't gotten to yet! I hate only throwing out sponsored blog posts to you guys and I know that lately I've been a little guilty of that. I hope you know that I truly feel so blessed when I get a chance to work with companies. When I am paid to create content with a brand while making memories with my boys, I am living the DREAM! I could probably write a whole blog post about that in and of itself. I am officially working from home FULL TIME now running my own creative business and blogging part-time and working hard to find a balance!
I really, truly 100% appreciate you guys for reading along, sticking around and supporting me! <3
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Ok, I'm getting back on topic now, which is to share photos from the beginning of our summer when we took a road trip to Kentucky! We have driven across the country with our kids so many times now that it's honestly like "oh hey let's just drive 21 hrs, no big deal." Ha! We tried to break up the trip a little bit extra this time around to make it more tolerable and enjoyable.

 Here are some highlights from Instagram + Snapchat!

Why is hotel coffee so good? It's one of my favorite parts of traveling. Also, hotel breakfasts! // We ran into some car trouble in Kansas so that was an adventure. This photo was taken at one of 2 car shops we had to stop at to get things back in order.

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When the boys are sleeping during the car ride... praise Jesus! I'd also like to note that on day one of this road trip, Asher threw up ALL over the car. So yeah, stopping literally on the side of the highway while trying to clean out the car with baby wipes was also an adventure...

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We made a stop in Ohio for 2 nights so that I could see some of my favorite people! // I had a fun evening with one of my best friends, Angee, drinking wine + looking through old photos. We've been friends for almost 20 years now! // I also got to spend some quick but good quality time with my sisters, mom + grandparents! :)
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We stayed in a big house in Kentucky with some of Aaron's brothers and childhood friends. // This was a working vacation for me and my first time working from the road which I have to say I was pretty excited about!

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Vacation coffee! (I know, awful nails- story of my life!) Somerset had the best coffee shop: Baxter's Coffee. Their caramel lattes were perfection.

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I loved all the old painted brick buildings in Somerset! // Probably the best part of the trip for me was taking the boys for a quick photoshoot on the last day. I can't wait to share more of the pictures I took with my DSLR!

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Aaron, Asher and I took a day trip to Knoxville, TN! We've tossed around the idea of moving to Tennessee but honestly we didn't fall in love with Knoxville. The drive home through the foggy mountains was absolutely beautiful though!

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I stopped on the side of the road to catch this perfect view! I'm kind of (ok, extremely) a snob about the Rocky Mountains, but the Smoky Mountains did alright this night :)

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We stopped for 2 nights on the drive down to KY and 2 nights back which really made the trip more enjoyable, although still pretty miserable by the end! On the way back, we decided to splurge one night on a fancier hotel. Our hotel was lovely and we got to enjoy walking around St. Louis and going out for a nice dinner but the kids for whatever reason were horrible this entire stay. Just goes to show you that kids don't really care about spending extra money. They are just as happy with Day's Inn and a Papa John's pizza!
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Overall, it was a pretty good trip but I was definitely happy to pull up next to the foothills and be home by the end! What's the longest road trip you've done with your kids?
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I hope you are all having a great summer!
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Keep up with me on Instagram at @bygillianclaire :)

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