It's no secret that I love beauty products. From the time I was a teenager, I had quite a collection of makeup, skincare, and haircare items. It almost filled our entire linen closet in our tiny apartment when I was in high school! Now, as a middle-aged lady, skincare is where I spend most of my time, energy, and money. 

These are skincare items I started using in the winter, and finished up this month. I love empties reviews, because I feel the best way to get to know whether or not a product works for you is to use it all up.

Pacifica Skincare

I enjoy Pacifica products and have used several items from their skincare line. I love that they are all-natural and cruelty-free, plus the packaging is just so gorgeous! Here are the three I used up this season:

  • Dreamy Youth Day and Night Cream - This will be the fourth bottle of Dreamy Youth I have gone through this winter/spring. It's a great all-purpose moisturizer for anyone looking to soften the signs of aging along with adding moisture to their skin. It absorbs quickly, looks great under makeup, and I love the pump applicator. The only thing I don't like about this product is that I go through it so fast! I wish it came in a bigger bottle.
  • Glow Baby Salvation Walnut Scrub - This was a coarser-grained physical exfoliator, which I mostly used on my chest and arms/shoulders, because I have super sensitive skin and prefer a chemical exfoliator for my face. 
  • Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash - A great all-purpose cleanser that removes dirt, oil, and makeup without drying your skin or causing irritation. I used this as the second step cleanse in my double-cleanse routine, right after my cleansing oil.

Caudalie Skincare

I received these deluxe samples as a Sephora points perk. I was so happy about that, because I discovered my new favorite serum after Nuxe broke my heart and stopped selling their line in the US. 

  • Instant Detox Mask - This mask really does what it says it will do. I have a big issue with clogged pores on my nose, and this mask pulls everything out without being uncomfortable or irritating. As soon as I work through some of my other masks, I will be repurchasing.
  • VinoPerfect Radiance Serum- This is my current serum. I repurchased in the full size after trying this and noticed a marked difference in my larger "freckles" and my melasma. It helped brighten my skin and has age-supporting properties as well because of the high concentration of grape polyphenols.
  • Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet - I love the texture of this moisturizer. It is light and fluffy and absorbs quickly. A great all-purpose moisturizer for all skin types. 
Sunscreen empties


Sunscreen is a must-do here in Southern California. With my fair skin, I can barely go out to check the mail without getting a bit of a burn. I've been an avid sunscreen-wearer since I was a teen, and I really think any grace I've received in the aging department is thoroughly the result of being diligent!

  • CeraVe InvisibleZinc Face Lotion SPF50 - This is a great facial sunscreen if you don't want to wear makeup over it. Because of the high zinc content, it will show underneath your foundation. For that reason, I mostly wore this on hikes and outings and on my hands. It is also very water-resistant, so I will be repurchasing for when our pool is ready and warm enough for swimming!
  • Burt's Bees Firming Day Lotion SPF30 - I didn't really care for this one, which is unusual for me with Burt's Bees - a line I really enjoy and typically have good results with. The scent was a bit off-putting - kind of sour - and this showed under my makeup as well. 
  • Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF50 - My current daytime moisturizer with sunscreen. This is perfect - great texture, absorbs well, and does not show under foundation. I will repurchase, over and over - although I have heard great things about the La Roche Posay Anthelios as well.

Various Skincare Extras

  • Lorac Lightsource Primer - This is very similar to the Becca Backlight primer. I have combo skin, so if I use an illuminating primer, I can sometimes look a bit too dewy, but this was nice under a matte, full-coverage foundation. I think if you have dry skin and like a lot of luminosity, you will love this.
  • Tony Moly Chok-Chok Green Tea Watery Cream - I really enjoyed this. I received the sample in my Ipsy bag and I think this is a great, soothing, lightweight moisturizer. Even seemed to calm my omnipresent redness.
  • Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer - Wow did I love this! I have pores the size of the Arizona meteor crater on my nose, and this filled them in and made my makeup seamless. I'm working through a few other primers before I repurchase, but this is fantastic. 
  • Korres Cucumber Eye Mask - I enjoyed it went bad. I had it for almost a year, and it takes such a minuscule amount that I wasn't able to use it up before it turned yellow and rancid on me. Anyone else have issues with eye creams and other eye products going bad before you can use them up? In any case, it was soothing and hydrating and felt great on mornings and evenings when the eyes were just a little tired

That's everything I used up for the past three months. If you had any skincare favorites this winter, I'd love to hear what you used up and enjoyed! 






It occurred to me that I've never posted my biggest news of the year on the blog. We moved to California!

This past year has been exciting, terrifying, and so busy that I've neglected posting here. From the whirlwind process of my husband interviewing in LA, to rebranding my photography business, getting rid of more than HALF our things, and selling our house in Springfield - the move to Southern California? It's been a lot. 

But we're so happy here. Apart from missing our friends and family back in Missouri, we have settled in nicely here in California. We're even putting down some roots and staying awhile. We close on our house in two weeks, and I'm looking forward to doing lots of decorating projects in our new home.

I'm taking a break from shooting weddings for awhile, and I've decided to do some personal work to get to know my new environment before I dive back into shooting full time. I'm excited to make some art for my own enjoyment, which is the one thing I miss about being an amateur. I'm still homeschooling Avery, so it's nice to take a bit of a breather for a few months and focus on her as well. 

I've also missed writing personal posts and blogging about lifestyle stuff, so I'm going to be doing more of that instead of only posting about the sessions and weddings I've done. I think it's great to get to know more about the person behind the camera, and I'm looking forward to letting you into our new life here in California.

So here's to a year of making art for art's sake - most of it unpaid - and sharing more of the jaw-dropping beauty I'm surrounded by.