May Budget

May 2016 Budgeting Bloggers | Shades of Sarah
Forever 21 Hooded Utility Jacket (similar pictured), $42.90 $34.77 (10% off sale)
Duke & Winston Victory Brewing Tee, $32.00 $12.80 (50% off sale + extra 20% off)
Pixi Beauty Natural Brow Duo (in Deep Brunette), $16.00 $12.80 (20% off)
Pixi Beauty Summer Glow Palette, $28.00 $11.20 (50% off + extra 20% off)
Pixi Beauty Eye Bright Kit, $18.00 $14.40 (20% off)

Total Spent: $85.97
Total Saved:  $50.93 ($136.90 – $85.97)

So I thought I had done pretty decently this month until I realized I forgot to include my Pixi purchases! Oops. They got me good though, since I had some points that were expiring and it was their Friends and Family sale. I think I’ll review those purchases in a separate post if anyone is interested! (Not included in the above list is the Valentia clay mask that I received from BrandBacker, which you can read about here.)

As for my clothing purchases, the Victory Brewing Tee is a total novelty purchase and I don’t care. I’ve had my eyes on it for months, and then when I was ready to buy it was out of stock. Then D&W had another sale, with free shipping, and the tee was in stock so I did not hesitate. It’s still in the mail, but I think I’m going to love it.

I’ve needed a hooded jacket since I outgrew my old one (seen here), but had only purchased another cargo jacket. While it’s a great casual piece to alternate with my denim jacket, it was useless during all the rain we’ve had in May. Since we’re planning a trip to Seattle this summer (!!), I figured it was about time to restock. I’m really happy with it, but I’m definitely glad the rain has calmed down!

Anyone else have a mix of fun and practical purchases this month?

~ Sarah

Linking up with Franish and Budgeting Bloggers.

Review: Valentia Detoxifying Clay Mask

I received this samples to test and keep from BrandBacker and Valentia, but the opinions in this post are honest and entirely my own. Besides the product, I was not compensated in any other way. Read my disclosure policy here.

Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask | Shades of Sarah

I didn’t start experimenting with face masks until last year, but I was quickly hooked. They’re fun and effective, but the drugstore ones I was trying are so full of not-so-fun ingredients. I was excited to try Valentia, a new-to-me cruelty-free brand that specializes in natural and organic ingredients. I tried the Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask, which is available on Amazon and their website. It’s made with kaolin clay, hibiscus and cranberry fibers, and is made in the U.S. (another bonus!).

Valentia Clay Mask | Shades of Sarah

When I first applied the mask I was a little nervous because there was a tingling sensation, but it didn’t last long and I didn’t experience any other discomfort as the mask dried. I tend to use masks before hopping into the shower, and I liked that the mask is made with some natural exfoliators for scrubbing action. My skin felt nice and smooth afterwards (I have relatively low-key oily/combination skin, so I don’t need nor expect a dramatic transformation).

I’ve been using it about twice a week or so, and I haven’t found it to be overly drying or anything. It’s keeping well, which is something I worry about with more natural-based products. Although the packaging isn’t anything special, I actually like the mask coming in a tub versus a tube (whereas I prefer pumps for eye creams). I’m definitely interested in trying more Valentia products, so it’s a good thing they’re having a sale for the rest of May! Use code REFRESH35 for 35% off your order on (free shipping on orders $30 and over). Let me know if you try anything! You can also follow Valentia on Facebook and Instagram.

~ Sarah

Link Love

Link Love

We finally made it to Friday! I swear, every day this week I woke up thinking it was Friday, and now here we finally are! I don’t even remember the last time we had sun in Philadelphia, so I think the week especially dragged. It didn’t help that I ended up getting sick either. The highlights? A fun and informative PHL Bloggers social media presentation hosted by Amber from Ember + March and a fun dog training session (Zamboni and Arya slept the rest of the night, it was wonderful). Anyway, let’s get to the links!

Why a post-breakup haircut is so empowering.

If you haven’t read Selena Gomez’s GQ interview or Taylor Swift’s Vogue interview yet, you should get on that.

Super interesting: how Philly neighborhoods got their names.

Why are we so obsessed with adult coloring books? (Also, I haven’t even tried this trend yet.)

This is fascinating: the truth behind athletes and dating apps.