Life has been really serious lately, hence, all of my very serious and deep-thought filled posts. I don’t think I need to apologize for that but I do feel like things were getting a bit heavy. I don’t want to come off as a sullen, bitter, overwhelmed mom all of the time. That’s only the occasional, I-want-to-feel-sorry-for-myself day. And I think those are okay. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, is that those are the days I feel most like writing. But that’s okay, too (I hope).

I also think that frivolous posts about beauty items are more than okay. So, I wanted to share my favorite budget beauty buys. As a mom on a budget, sometimes it can be hard to justify my needs and wants when it comes to beauty products. Some things are frankly totally worth the $80 price tag and some things are just not. Here are my personal favorite beauty buys that won’t break the bank (say that a few times fast!).

Best Budget Beauty


Best Budget Beauty by jennifer-corum featuring Organix
  1. St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer is all about bang for your buck. I mean, it should be with a name that long, right?! But really, it is a powerhouse for skin and gives amazing results for a fraction of the cost of most moisturizers, even drugstore ones. What is also CRAZY, is that you get a whopping 10 ounce tub for jut a couple of dollars. I’ve posted about this one before so I won’t ramble on.
  2. Real Techniques makeup brushes are just frickin’ amazing. They stand up to and often out perform my more expensive ones. I used to think that I had to have all MAC brushes for the best makeup application. These blow those, and most others, out of the water. The Pixiwoo gals behind these are also the most lovely and talented makeup artists. You must check out their YouTube channels.
  3. I also used to think that I had to use only salon quality hair products, and then I found OGX, and OMG, they are amazing. This is the best drug store hair care line. I get amazingly soft, manageable hair and that is really hard to do for my damaged, dry and thick mane of hair. They have endless varieties so find one that suits your hair type, and fall in love.
  4. I hate my legs. Hands down, one of my worst features (if you ask me). I refuse to wear shorts. However, I love dresses, so when I have to bare my stems, I turn to Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. Yes, I know. It’s makeup for your legs. But… one try and you will be hooked. It covers up ugly veins, scars, and other unsightly bits and gives just a slight warm glow. Note: not waterproof, so don’t think you can sport this poolside. You’re on your own there.
  5. Oz Naturals products are incredible and are an insane value. Serums can run up to the $100 mark or more and though I do think your skin needs it once you’ve hit age 30, it’s hard to shell out that kind of cash for something that just sort of lightly applies to your skin and doesn’t make you instantly look like a fairy princess. However, their Vitamin C serum is super comparable to the one from Ole Henriksen but for less than half the cost.
  6. Oh if I could sing the wonders of Rosebud Salve. I’ve loved this stuff for years now. Quite possibly for a decade or more. It does everything and it does it well – lip gloss, acne treatment, brow tamer, burn soother, moisturizer and more. It is truly a wonder product.
  7. Nothing beats NYX. I just discovered this brand a few years ago and have been really impressed. One of my faves is their lip glosses. They are shiny but not sticky or tacky, lightly scented but not overwhelmingly sweet and the color range is incredible. My fave is the cult favorite shade called Beige (which is not beige at all but more of a pinky mauvey tone).
  8. Step aside MAC eyeshadows, as you have met your match in Inglot! I just cannot even believe how amazing these are and the incredibly huge color range. They apply and blend like silk, they last all day and then some and they are totally affordable at $7 a shadow. That may sound like a lot but the pans are huge and they last forever and this stuff is seriously high quality. Their freedom system is a really great way to build your favorite palette on the cheap.
  9. There is just something about that pink and green tube of Maybelline Great Lash mascara that I love. You just can’t go wrong with it. They nailed it with this formula. No wonder it’s been a consistent favorite of makeup artists and women in general for over 40 years.
  10. I think I’ve already posted about this stuff but I love Avene’s Thermal Spring Water mist for freshening up when it’s hot as can be outside. But I may have failed t0 mention that it’s also great for setting and refreshing your makeup as well. It just takes that powdery look from the face away and gives you a boost.

**I tried out Polyvore for the first time to create the board of beauty products, so they are not linked above because you can click through to access on Polyvore. Hope you guys like it. I just don’t have the time or energy to spend in Photoshop to create the boards, however adorable they might be. It was so easy and so cool in Polyvore. I could see myself getting addicted to that site!

I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw someone pop open a big bottle of champagne and pour the golden bubbly liquid into a tall sparkling glass, but I remember being dazzled. I pressed my warm nose up to side of the cold glass, watching the tiny bubbles dance and rise to the top in a steady stream, while the warmth of my nose caused a fog of condensation to form. I fantasized of how that sparkly liquid must taste and in my mind it was something like cotton candy and Seven Up… sweet, sparkly and special. Of course, being just a kid I wouldn’t get a taste for quite a long time, but I just couldn’t wait to be a lady and sip from a crystal champagne flute.

Over the years, I watched many bottles of champagne open with a exciting and also terrifying pop and enjoyed the smiles that would fill the room as glasses were poured and passed and the ceremonious “tings” that would chime as glasses were clinked together in cheers. Champagne was for celebration. It signaled a moment. A memorable occasion. Somehow it was important. And I started to build it up in my mind as the ultimate drink, like a taste of heaven in liquid form. I felt like I would “arrive” into the adult world the minute I got to partake in the champagne pour and pass routine.

As I grew into drinking age, I started to do my research and find the best possible champagne… in my budget, and somehow settled on Veuve Clicquot. My first taste of champagne just had to be from that dark green bottle with the orange label. It was elegant. It was considered “the good stuff”. I just couldn’t wait. Days, weeks and months came and went and it actually wasn’t until the glow of the age of 21 and all that it brought kind of wore off when I finally got around to buying that bottle of Veuve. I saved my money and purchased a bottle for some special occasion. It’s funny that I don’t even recall that occasion now. Just that it cost me nearly fifty bucks!

I chilled the bottle until it was icy, carefully popped the cork and poured it into some non-crystal glasses that I had procured from my mother’s house. I took a sip.





I absolutely hated it*. My visions of cotton candy laced with Seven Up were suddenly rudely awakened by the taste of… dried grass, barn doors and sour grapes. At least those were just some of the images that flashed through my head as I choked down that first sip. I just couldn’t believe it. YEARS of fantasizing of this moment and how glorious it would be were instantly squelched. I was devastated. It was a very long time before I thought of champagne again, but there was a little part of me that just didn’t want to give up. It just HAD to be better than that.

I don’t remember the next occasion or even if it was a special moment at all, but I got another “redeeming” taste of champagne. Though it wasn’t the heavenly taste I had always dreamed of, this bottle was GOOD. I loved it and enjoyed every lost drop in my pretty crystal flute. I’ve tried many different kinds of champagne since then. Some good. Some bad. Some during very special moments. And some, just because.

I have come to really LOVE champagne. I am still drawn, like that little girl in me, to its golden, sparkly bubbles and to the precious moments that it usually celebrates. It was not what I expected, but still truly good and worth celebrating with.

I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately, with my mother, my friends, my husband and just to myself. The stage that we’ve been going through the last few years has been tough and I’ve often find myself wondering or even saying out loud, “Is this my life now? Because this is not what I expected.” I don’t mean to sound ungrateful at all, but things have just gone very different from how I imagined and being an adult is about a million times harder than I thought. Being a parent is about eleven billion times harder than I expected. There are days where I am downright disappointed. There are days when I am indifferent, even numb. And there are days that overflow with joy and wonderful times. That’s what life if like I suppose. Not what we expect, but still overwhelmingly beautiful and precious.

The key for me has been in never giving up, and pursing my joy every day. If I had given up on my dream of amazing champagne, I might never have found the very special brand that I got to sip during my wedding reception while sitting next to my Mr. I will never forget it. It made the disappointments along the way, literal and figurative, worth it. Though wrought with twists and turns I sometimes feel like I could deal without, I am utterly and truly in love with my life. And that is worth celebrating.

Champagne anyone?

“Well you wouldn’t understand because you work.”

“I wish I could stay at home all day and do whatever I want too, but I have to work.”

“No one gets what an insane balancing act it takes to work from home.”

I’ve heard every single one of these statements. Every single one of them have actually been uttered to me, and about me. You see, I’ve done it all. I’ve been a working mom. I’ve been a work-from-home mom. I’ve been a stay at home mom. In my just over 3 years of parenthood, I have spent at least a year in each of these arenas. Every single one has been HARD work. Every single one has been EXHAUSTING. Every single one has been a BALANCING ACT.

When I was a working mom, I never felt like I was doing enough and I never felt truly successful in any arena of my life. I either wasn’t giving enough to my career or I wasn’t giving enough to my son and husband. I constantly felt pulled in 10 different directions and I struggled to find balance, in career achievements, motherhood and personal health. I was constantly overwhelmed and found it hard to take care of myself (inside and out). Often, I was the last one to get cared for, if at all. There was never any free time.

When I was a work at home mom, the balancing act felt even more futile. I felt guilty for being at home, but not being with my kid. I had 40 to 50 hours of work per week and I couldn’t achieve those with my toddler around, so he went off to the nanny. I was distracted by the home environment and struggled in my career to market my value to the company, because I wasn’t in the office to show them my value, skills and talents. I didn’t achieve growth in my career because of those limitations and still felt as if I wasn’t accomplishing much in my home, despite being there all day, every day. It was also a very lonely and very isolating existence. I was an island. And there was very little free time.

When I became a stay at home mom to the toddler and a newborn baby, the feelings of loneliness and isolation were overwhelming. I was consumed by motherhood and felt that I was losing my identity. I felt that I had no value besides “caretaker of children” because often, the only things I accomplished were keeping them alive, a few loads of laundry and dishes. Alone and lonely, and slowly unraveling from the inside out. Besides being both anxious and depressed, I started dealing with bouts of anger that I had never experienced before. And again, there was zero free time.

Before you think, “well you are just never happy, are you?” I want to hammer down the point of all of this. The battle of stay at home mom vs. working mom just needs to stop. Because honestly, no one wins. We all do what we do because we have to, or because it’s the best choice for us and for our families. There are no awards or accolades on either side. No one is better than anyone else. Employee of the Year awards mean very little to your home and your kids. Mother of the Year awards do not exist and even if they did, shouldn’t mean anything to anyone other than your family. So lets just keep doing what we are doing. Lets do it to the best of our abilities. Lets lift each other up and encourage each other. Lets cut each other a little slack! No one wins unless we all do.


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