This weekend I splurged on a variety of products at Ulta that I consider staples, especially for summer. It didn't hurt that that I had a 20% off coupon, including "prestige" brands, which only come along once in a blue moon.

Here's what I got:

*Blow Pro Jet Mini Kit (2 ounce bottles of Heat Is On Daily Protective Primer, Blow Up Thickening Mist and Beach Blow Texturizing Mist).
*All purpose cotton pads
* 24/7 Lavender blotting sheets
*Tarte primer sampler (Maracuja oil GWP)
*Ulta Extreme Wear Gel liner in Perfection
*Ulta Lipstick in Just Peachy
*Ecotools Buffing Brush
*Essence Gel Liner Brush
*Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray
*The Cool Fix

My Target Beauty Bag came in the mail this weekend! This is a really fantastic *FREE* sample program. Just "like" Target Style on Facebook and new bags seem to be up for grabs seasonally.

Here's what I got:

Very cute cloth bag (I was surprised at how durable this feels)
Tresseme Split Remedy Shampoo
Garnier Fructis Color Shield Shampoo and Conditioner
Aveeno Living Color Shampoo and Conditioner
Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock SPF 70
Target Coupons

The selection here is heavy on the hair products, but during the summer when I go swimming these will come in handy for showering afterwards when I don't want to carry big bottles around.

I've been wanting to try the Lip Butter in Peach Parfait FOREVER, but it is always out of stock wherever I go. I purchased a Lip Butter in Creamsicle a while back and while I like the formula, found the color far too light for my skintone. Looking forward to trying this.

The Ultra Sheer Sunblock is by far my favorite sunblock: no heavy sunscreen scent, non- greasy, and it soaks in fast. Very happy to have this in my purse for unexpected forays into the sun!

Have you received any of the Target Beauty Bags? What do you think of them?

This past weekend I, G, and our friend S went to King's Island, which is an Ohio amusement park. I really liked the outfit I wore, so here 'tis:

Cami: Forever 21
Cardi: Old Navy
Skirt: Maurices
Sunglasses: Forever 21

Maurices is quickly becoming my favorite clothing store. I was in the mood for something sort of light, comfy, and casual country shabby chic. I am in LOVE with this skirt, and know I will wear it alot this summer. It's lined, and the outer layer has a neat burnout pattern. It also comes with a tan braided belt. And it is long enough that I didn't have to worry about it revealing too much when I was on rides. Considering how a lot of people dress at the park, I am in the minority in that I actually care about such a thing, lol. I like that Maurices clothes come in sizes that a curvy gal can rock and not feel frumpy or excluded from cute styles. I am not introducing an OOTD trend here, but I do have a few more outfits to share soon.

 Sizing at Maurices can be a little hit-or miss. I've tried on XL tops that I can barely get over my head, and then with other styles a Large fits perfectly. So, trying things on is ideal, though I'm starting to get an intuitive sense as to how things will fit. I've been able to order online a few times with no sizing disasters, and for me, that is saying something!

Here I am after doing the log flume, so I look quite a bit more disheveled and sweaty ( I don't glisten or glow, honestly). We had been walking around for about 8 hours by this point, so this is to be expected.

This is one of my favorite rides, the Windseeker, which is a huge, 301 foot tall swing.  This ride doesn't scare me, because you're very secure in the seat, and all you have to do is go around and around. The ones the flip you upside down or are so rickety that you feel like you're going to fall out, I just don't do. I can do the Drop Tower, which is a 67 MPH free fall from a 315 foot tall tower. This is because all you have to do is fall straight down, no twists and turns to navigate. You get an awesome sensation of leaving your stomach hanging in the air while you are long gone! G and S think I'm crazy that I love that ride, but other roller coasters confound me. I'm getting better though!

The weather that day was odd, with periods are rain and thunder and then perfect sunshine. The sunset was fantastic!

Did I mention that I really, really like Haus of Gloi's Beguiled? I did? Well, in case I somehow appeared wishy-washy in regards to my love for this scent, let me share with you just how inspired I was by it: I made a Beguiled cake!

The first time I smelled Beguiled, I was overcome with an overwhelming desire for cake. Overwhelming. Desire.
And not just any cake. The cake suggested in the scent description:

Lemon cake made with the tang of fresh buttermilk, raspberry coulis - an otherwise innocent cake corrupted by cardamom and deceptive pink peppercorns.

I wanted to will this cake into existence. I wanted to merely recite the ingredients like a spell into a replicator a la Star Trek TNG and have it magically appear before me (if only it was that easy!). I wanted my cake lemony, tangy, tart, and just a little dangerous. So, I set out to concoct a cake that would satisfy the sweet tooths of all those who ever wished they could eat a Haus of Gloi fragrance.

Having never used cardamom before, I went to the health food store and purchased some of the seeds. I think the flavor is much more potent if you grind it yourself instead of buying it pre-ground (EDIT 4/7/15: a couple of years later, make it easy on yourself and just use pre-ground!) Ideally you could get the whole pods and crush those as well. They were a little expensive, $5.50 for 1/10 of a pound, the smallest amount I could get. I have a ton leftover I can use for other recipes. I don't even own a real spice grinder (what kind of foodie am I?), but I happened to have one of those spice mixes that come in their own grinders that was pretty much empty, so I cleaned it out and ground the seeds that way. This spice is incredibly fragrant and almost floral-perfumey, quite unique. I can totally understand why this element was included in the Beguiled scent.

Pink peppercorns are actually little dried berries, also with a fruitier spiciness than basic black pepper. On short notice (I wanted my cake pronto) they didn't seem to be readily available on their own, so I purchased a little "peppercorn medley" grinder that contained them, so I figured that would suffice for my purposes. The peppercorn and cardamon are simply accents that provide intriguing little pops of unexpected spiciness, not an overwhelming flavor.

With the specialty ingredients out of the way, it was time to get to some serious
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