Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

Hi everyone! Did you have a great week? The kids have been enjoying time with their grandma this week while Robert and I took care of school work and house projects. We've gotten to have a few date nights, too! I have a random assortment of favorites for you today - let's go!

1) Garnier Fructis 10-in-1 Rescue Leave In Spray

If you've been reading here awhile, then you know that Ari and I both have crazy manes! I purchased the new 10-in-1 spray from Garnier that we call "cactus spray" due to the cactus extract. It doesn't do much for my hair, but it is perfection for Ari's tangly waves. We use this spray to style her hair, when she gets out of the shower, and to protect her hair when she swims. If you or your daughters have similar textures to Ari, give this a whirl! I've included some before and after pictures to show how it works on Ari:

2) Garnier Whole Blends 5-in-1 Green Apple Spray

While the cactus spray didn't do much for my ultra-fine strands, Garnier's green apple and green tea spray has been a better match for me. When I use it and let my hair air dry, it helps create volume- something I'm desperately lacking! I also use it with my Garnier Smooth Blow Dry before blowdrying my hair, and it helps reduce my flyaways. 

3) Brain Quest Workbooks

As a teacher, I'm on the final leg of my summer, but the kids still have a month to go. I always schedule time during the weekdays of summer to have the kids do a few pages from their Brain Quest workbooks. I'd recommend having your older elementary kids work on the next grade level book so they can prepare for the new school year. And don't worry- there's an answer guide at the back of the books for days when you don't feel like reading the entire story or calculate every problem yourself! 

4) Face mask recommendations please

I kind of have an obsession with face masks and cleaning every possible pore on my face. You guys know that I love all of my Pixi products, so I thought their Glow Mud Mask would be a perfect addition to my skincare regimen. I can tell where it is trying to be like the Glamglow mask, but for me is just dries and doesn't clear anything out of my pores. 

I read about Aveeno's 60 Second In-Shower Facial, and since I love their lotions, I thought this would be a good scrub. It definitely feels nice to use, but I think it is too moisturizing for my face and leaves it oily. 

So, then I tried L'Oreal Paris Exfoliate & Refine Pores Pure Clay Mask since I had an Ibotta deal. It is nice, but I'm still not getting the whole rip every possible piece of dirt out of my pores kind of feeling that I'm going for. Help me please! What face masks would you recommend I try? 

5) My blogiversary giveaway

If you didn't read my post on Tuesday, I'm celebrating my 1 year blogiversary! Head to my Tuesday post, and answer all of the questions in the survey to be entered to win a $50 gift card to Target! The survey closes Sunday night, and I'll announce the winner on Monday. Thanks so much for being a reader of A Gal Named Al! 

What are some new products you've been trying out lately? Tell me about them in the comments below!

In case you missed any of this week's posts:
Life With the Lees: A Summer's Week Recap
Tuesday Training: Week 29 
What I Wore Wednesday: Sephora Play! June Box Review
Ladies Who Link: Travel

Follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin', and Pinterest!

Robert and I are going to relish our final days of being child-free with a couple of date nights and continue prepping for our big road trip! I hope that you have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, Narci, Della, Tif, Katie, Amanda, Christina, Lauren, and Paula 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post contain Target affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ladies Who Link: Travel

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by for this month's Ladies Who Link party! I'm linking up with Holly, Tara, Lisa, and Trina & Sara to talk about travel.

A few months ago, I shared about our favorite family trip to Dallas! We are planning to venture to Disney World next summer and are hoping to do an American history road trip the summer after. Our bucket list consists of France, England, Italy, San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and my personal favorite, Oregon - to watch the Olympic trials for track and field! Anywhere else I need to add to my list? Tell me in the comments below!

Earlier this year, I also talked about how I plan for a vacation.

Although we drive down south to Robert's hometown a few times each year, we haven't traveled outside of Texas as a family of 4 just yet. That's about to change very soon when we road trip to St. Louis to visit family! Since I'm in planning mode right now, I thought I'd share what we're packing to survive the 14 hour drive.

Neck pillows

The kids don't last long in a moving vehicle, and they are known to fall asleep in the oddest positions. They each have a neck pillow, and instead of lugging around a big pillow for myself, I have one, too.


Even though it's hotter than the surface of the sun these days, I get cold very easily. Instead of bringing a blanket, I always pack a sweater or hoodie to use. I broke the zipper on my favorite Hurley hoodie at the end of the school year, so I'm on the hunt for a new one. I love this basic one from Old Navy, but $30!?! Find me a more affordable option please, ladies!


I wear glasses, but when I'm driving, I have to have sunglasses on. Y'all- I was on the aviator band wagon forever but I hate the way I look when I see myself in pictures wearing them because they are way too huge for my face. Since I have a round face, I need more rectangular frames, and I am so happy that I found these surfer glasses at Target. I had my eye on them at the beginning of the summer and then finally pulled the trigger last week and love them!


We're definitely going to need sunscreen when we start visiting the sites of St. Louis, but I think it is important to remember to put it on in the car, too. If you're the main driver in your family, your left side is very susceptible to skin damage, and if you're the passenger most of the time, then your right side is in danger. I'm going to be both this trip, so I'm either covering up or slathering on my favorite sunscreen from Hawaiian Tropic.

Lip balm

Piggybacking off of sunscreen, I always have lip balm in my bag. If you're not using one with sunscreen in it, please start! Trip's favorite is the Carmex Cherry Clickstick - just make sure to not leave it in the car on 90+ degree days!


I love non-fiction, and I have so much respect for our military. My friend recommended that I read Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Basically, the author is described as a humorous science writer and the book examines the ins and outs of the military- the food they eat, the fabrics used to make uniforms, etc. Robert and I are hoping to borrow the audiobook from the library to listen to together, and if you're into non-fiction, then I'll let you know what I think in the next few weeks.


Summer and Christmas break are the only times that I can sit around and read all day, but I usually only get two books in each year. I'm happy to announce that I've actually taken care of 3 so far! (Most of you are rolling your eyes right now because you read 3+ a month! I promise- I'm working on it!) I picked up Colleen Hoover's It Ends With Us for my upcoming trip, and then I packed Lauren Graham's Talking As Fast As I Can in the rare chance I can read 2 books at once or that I need one for the ride home. What have you read lately that I should put a hold on at the library?


I got so far behind in my magazine reading this school year and then did an awesome job catching up once summer started. BUT, I had to save some issues to read in the car, so I have quite a few stocked up to take with me. My favorites are Food Network, Redbook, Woman's Day, and In Style. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for outfit ideas to wear to school this year!


So Robert is more of the podcast listener in our house, but I have been trying a few out. I'm open to just about anything- I've listened to topics ranging from Disney World to being more efficient in life. Katie at Cup of Tea recently wrote about her love for podcasts. What do you like to listen to?


Thankfully I have Bluetooth in my car, so it's easy to connect my phone to the radio to play tunes consistently instead of having to deal with finding a new radio station every couple of towns. When we're not listening to an audiobook, you can bet I've got Pandora on! My current favorite stations are 60s, 70s, and 80s Hits Radio, Today's Adult Hits Radio, Queen Radio, Aerosmith Radio, 90s Pop Radio, 90s Summer Classics, Katy Perry Radio, and Disney Radio.

Blankets & stuffed animals

Of course the kids are allowed to pack a backpack of toys, games, and coloring supplies, but a stuffed friend and a cozy blanket will hopefully help make the drive a little more bearable. 

Travel binder

I told you last week that I can be a Pinterest mom when I want to be, and with the kids out of town this past week, I worked on travel binders for the trip. Cara at The First Grade Parade did an Instastory about putting binders together for her road trip, so I got to searching on Pinterest. Jen at The Suburban Mom has awesome resources to print out for the binders including license plate spotting and restaurant bingo! I also did Google searches on coloring pages for Lego Nexo Knights for Trip and The Descendants for Ari. I'm also going to add in some puzzles and state pages for the kids to keep them occupied.

Movies & Netflix

We have a tablet that is basically only used for traveling, and before a trip out of town, Robert has the kids pick a few movies and shows to download. Apparently, you just have to have the Netflix app on your tablet and then find the show you want in your account and if it is available for download, press the download arrow on the bottom right. I assure you my kids won't be watching 14 hours of movies, but having a couple of options is nice to have. Who knows? Maybe mom will pick a show or two to bring this trip!


The kids usually watch a movie together on the tablet but when they want separate game time or if Robert and I want to listen to an audiobook, headphones are a necessity for each family member. I'm bringing my MPOW headphones in case I need them in the car, but I'm also hoping to get a run or two in to keep off some of my vacation weight gain away.

Leap Pad 

Our Leap Pad is probably almost 6 years old by this point, but what a great investment it has been! Trip is too old for it now, but it definitely still entertains Ari. Oh, who am I kidding? He sits down with her and still tries to get a turn or two in! We collected quite a few games over the years, and if your kids are still young, check your Target Cartwheel app for deals. I also found a lot of games on clearance. If you're already thinking about Christmas, this is a gift that will be used for years to come!


To avoid paying for overpriced gas station snacks or getting stuck in long fast food lines, we are planning to pack a small cooler to keep drinks cold and bring fruits, cheeses, sandwich meat, and my overnight oats.


We absolutely love our Ozark Trail tumblers from Walmart! We plan to bring them iced up to add water bottles to throughout the day. Don't splurge on a Yeti- save some cash and get a great product for a better price!

Snacks & drinks

When I was a kid, I ate junk food from the gas stations and nuggets and fries from the drive thru during most family road trips. That strategy is going to A) cost me too much money and B) make me uncomfortable for such a long trip. I'm planning to portion out snacks for everyone and keeping them up front so that the kids don't eat everything in the first hour. Robert and the kids love trail mixes, peanuts, pecans, and beef jerky. We all love granola bars, Boom Chicka Pop, pretzels, graham crackers, etc. 


When the chocolate chips in the granola bar start melting or the juice box explodes, wipes are definitely needed. I picked up a pack of Huggies travel wipes to keep on hand for any spills or stickiness that could occur.

Hand sanitizer

Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I practically bathe in hand sanitizer after touching anything out in public. While I'm usually pro-Target for everything, I'm a die-hard Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer fan. I stocked up on a bunch of scents last year and am so sad that I can't find my favorite scents in store any more - Japanese Cherry Blossom and Sparkling Limoncello. Are there any new scents that I need to try since my stock is almost out?

Phone chargers

With two adults comes two cell phones that will need charging. Instead of fighting over the charger, we have an Aukey car charger that allows us to both charge at the same time. We'll also pack our fast wall chargers to have when we're at my aunt's house. 

Battery charger

My old school's PTA gave all of the teachers portable chargers one year as a gift, and it gets used all of the time! We won't be needing this in the car, but it definitely is getting packed to have on hand when we're out and about at the parks and museums all day. 

We're hoping to have a fun, painless, and incident free trip! Please tell me what I'm missing to keep everyone happy on a road trip-  I still have some time to get things prepped, so steer me in the right direction!

Thanks for joining us today! Next month, we're sharing all about how we prep for a new school year. Have a great day, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post contain Target affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What I Wore Wednesday: Sephora Play June 2017

Hi! I'm so missing doing What I Wore Wednesday posts, but I really don't have much to share during the summer since it's usually shorts, tank tops, flip flops, and repeat! Makeup totally counts as something I wear, so today I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy and Andrea at Living on Cloud Nine to tell you about the products in my fourth and final Sephora Play! box. More about why it's the last box in a minute...If you want to read about the products from my first box, click HERE! I reviewed my second box in THIS post, and then I gave my thoughts on my third box HERE.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

What Sephora says: Black Opium is the highly addictive feminine fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent. Fascinating and seductively intoxicating, the opening notes of adrenaline-rich coffee and the sweet sensuality of vanilla recline into the softness of white flowers for a modern, young, and vibrant interpretation of addiction. Get your dose.

My verdict: Y'all know that I can't wear perfume anymore, but I went ahead and sprayed this to test out on paper. For the first 2 seconds, I thought it was nice, but then it quickly turned grape cough syrupy. That scent definitely came out of left field! I would also describe this scent as "mature." So if you're not going for a great-grandma vibe, steer clear of this!

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

What Sephora says: Inspired by the international jet set, Rich Kid’s moisturizing properties give you the hair you’ve always wanted. Reap the nourishing benefits of coconut oil in a weightless formula that moisturizes and conditions, leaving hair with a natural luster and softness. Ideal for fine to normal hair, it replenishes lost nutrients that could cause hair to be weak, dry, or damaged.

My verdict: This stuff smells great, and I was super excited to try something that would help tame my mane. While it smells awesome, it is certainly not weightless as it claims. If you have fine hair like me, this will definitely weigh your locks down, but that might come in handy if you straighten your hair a lot. A 1.7 ounce bottle costs $15, but if you're looking for some frizz-free creams, try Garnier's Smooth Air Dry for just $3 instead.

Ouai Rose Gold Hair & Body Oil

What Sephora says: This luxurious, rose-gold Hair & Body Oil is a silicone-free fusion of nutrient-rich oils from all over the world. The perfect multitasker, the fast-absorbing formula illuminates hair and skin as it restores moisture and repairs damage. Absinthium oil rehydrates dry skin and hair, rose hip oil reduces the appearance of scars and redness, and shea oil nourishes dry, dull skin and hair.

My verdict: Wow! This was SO bad! I only tried it on my hair, but it was so greasy that I looked like I had not showered in days! There was absolutely no way that I was going to try this on my skin after that! It retails for $30 for 3 ounces and has a 4 star rating on Sephora, but this is going to be a hard no from me.

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

What Sephora says: Makeup meets skin care with this two-in-one moisturizer and makeup-gripping primer. Formulated with superfood ingredients that are rich in vital proteins, electrolytes, and minerals and infused with a natural coconut scent, this priming moisturizer hydrates and smooths skin as light-reflecting micro-pearls impart a dewy luminosity. The result is beautiful, healthy-looking skin when worn alone and long-lasting makeup when used as a prep step.

My verdict: Franziska and the girls at Eleventh Gorgeous have always had great things to say about First Aid Beauty. I definitely wanted to like this product, but I just can't jump on the bandwagon. It definitely can be used as a moisturizer, but it does not do anything similar to a primer. I also started to experience breakouts when using it, so I don't think this moisturizer is a good fit for my skin. A 1.7 ounce bottle will run you $28, but why pay that when you can get a great moisturizer like the one I use from CeraVe for twice the product and half the cost!

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

What Sephora says: Quickly minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines and help makeup stay put with this priming phenomenon. The silky and lightweight formula can be worn under makeup to create a smoother-than-smooth canvas or used throughout the day to mattify shine and touch up problem areas. It’s so translucent, no one will know you’re wearing anything!

My verdict: I had heard that this product was basically a holy grail product for most makeup mavens, so I definitely was happy to receive this in my box. With Houston summers consistently in the 90s and 100s, a primer is a must have. I felt like it did blur my pores, but I also felt like the product dried out my t-zone so much that my makeup ended up looking chalky. I think the price is decent- $12 for a mini tube and $31 for a .75 ounce tube, but I don't think this can compete with Smashbox's Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in K-Dub

What Sephora says: Now in 42 creamy shades, this breakthrough liquid lipstick gives lips long-lasting wear and high-pigment color. Its creamy, color-rich formula glides over lips as effortlessly as a gloss, but dries to a true matte finish that feels weightless all day long. It’s infused with natural comfort-enhancing ingredients, including vitamin E and sunflower seed so you can flaunt lasting matte color.

My verdict: This color was SHOCKING to me at first, but I have always wanted to try Kat Von D's products because I've always heard great reviews. The lipstick is definitely creamy and feels really great. This particular color as is was definitely not a match for me. I did however find that I really liked it when I blotted it all off and put a clear lip balm on top of the stain left on my lips. For $20 a tube, I'm not going to be purchasing a lipstick to then wipe the majority of it off. If I had received it in a different shade, I might feel differently because of the quality of the product. I am going to try out Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink to see if it will be a dupe for this product and find it in something more my shade.

So, while this box was one of the better Sephora boxes I received, I ultimately broke up with Sephora. They kept sending me hair and skin products even though I had expressed strong interest in eyeshadow, mascara, and nail polish. I think Sephora is really just 2 different sets of boxes each month and sent out at random with no regard to subscribers' profiles. So I made a switch, and I just got my first bag from Ipsy. I'm SO much happier! I'll be doing a product review once I've had more time with the products, but if you're thinking about joining a makeup subscription service, so far, I'm much happier with Ipsy. I feel like they're paying a lot better attention to my profile than Sephora, and it seems as if the bags are more personalized than those from Sephora.

I'll see you back here tomorrow for our monthly Ladies Who Link party! We're talking all about travel tips and vacation suggestions. I want to know the best places that I need to add to my travel bucket list, so link-up and tell me! See you maƱana!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post contain Target affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Training: Week 29

Happy Tuesday, and a happy 1 year blogiversary to ME! Thank you so much for following along with me in blogland! There are definitely days when I don't want to blog and it feels more like a chore than an outlet, but having you cheer me on makes it totally worth it! You can read my first post HERE, and after today's workout, please take the survey at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a $50 gift card to my motherland, Target! 

Onto the workout! A lot of times, I think people see a workout described as "low-impact" and automatically assume that it's easy and/or for people with injuries that can't run or do full cardio. My, my, my! How wrong those people are! You may not be sprinting or doing jumping jacks for 20 minutes straight, but you will definitely get in a good workout. Anna and Popsugar just released this 15 minute low-impact cardio workout in June, and it will definitely get your legs tight and mind right!

Don't forget that you can view all of my favorite Tuesday Training videos HERE

To be entered to win the $50 Target gift card, please answer all 9 questions of the survey shown below. The survey closes this Sunday, July 23rd at 10:00 p.m. central time. Please answer all questions honestly- you will not hurt my feelings! I want your feedback to improve A Gal Named Al for this second year and beyond. The winner will be announced and contacted on Monday, July 24th! Thank you for reading my blog, and good luck! I'll see you back here tomorrow for my final Sephora Play! subscription review! See you soon!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life With the Lees: A Summer's Week Recap 7.17.17

Hi! We had a great week of celebrating our now 8 year old! We started the week off learning to jump rope.

We bought a new mattress for the guest room on Amazon Prime Day, so I'm hoping to get my act together and actually decorate the guest room. We have a light blue quilt in there, and I like the idea of bringing in corals and oranges. These curtain panels have a little bit of gold shimmer in them! 

I love that I can walk out into my living room and see my kids kicking back and relaxing with a game, Legos, or a book.

I slept in one morning and had to bribe the kids with a playground visit if they rode their bikes with me on my run. They were pretending to be monkeys in the zoo!

On Wednesday, I assembled Trip's family birthday cake. He requested a Boston Cream Pie cake, and it was awesome! I'll share it with you in a few weeks.

I got my first Ipsy bag on Wednesday, and I love it! I'm going to share my final thoughts on the Sephora Play! subscription service with you all this Wednesday, and then I can't wait to tell you all about my Ipsy products!

Producers at Wheel of Fortune still haven't called me to come play, but I'm still practicing nightly! Last week was a bunch of reruns from their Disney couples week, and it was so fun to watch. The one lady had us dying of laughter when she asked to solve the puzzle for the category of "Living Things." Her guess? "Popsicle bike!" What!??!?! We now randomly shout that out during other puzzles! 

On Thursday, we celebrated Trip's birthday! 8 is great!

 He was super excited to test out his remote control boat!

The kids and I ventured out to Color Me Mine and had a really relaxing afternoon. Before:

Sorta-after since they still have to be fired:

I am going to be a Bengal this year, so I had to get in on the painting fun and made a new tiger striped cup to hold pens and desk supplies. I can't wait to see everyone's ceramics when they're complete!

On Thursday night, the boys went to a Chinese buffet and then came home to have cake with Sue-Sue and Grandpa.

 On Friday, we ventured to a new to us playground.

After a hot hour at the playground, we ventured over to the Pearl Fincher Art Museum. It's a very small gallery, but we really liked cooling off and looking at all of the paintings and photographs. If you're local, it's a nice little museum to stop into, but be warned, the girl that is in charge of "security" yells at anyone and everyone about anything and everything!

We then ventured just a bit further north to a mall that I hadn't been to in almost a decade. We stopped into a pet store and watched a guy play with prairie dogs. I can't believe pet stores are still a thing in malls, and I really can't believe they're selling prairie dogs and pigs! 

While the boys played at the Microsoft store, the girls ventured into Build a Bear. Ari found the Hot Topic bears and loved them. Speaking of, the kids had a lot of fun looking around Hot Topic! 

Trip found a new drawing desk at Arhaus. Just slightly over budget!

The kids liked window shopping at Lego.

And then we finally got what we came for- treats from Carlo's Bakery! Sadly, they weren't worth the 45 minute drive. The boys liked the cannolis but the cream puffs were super dry and the cupcake was fine, just nothing to write home about. I have one of Cake Boss' cookbooks, and he definitely does not give out his actual recipes. The cookbook calls for a LOT of lard in the icing, and the icing on Ari's cupcake was definitely lard-less. I'll for sure keep watching his show, but I won't be back for dessert. 

I finally got around to season 2 of Fuller House, and the kids and Robert even came in to start watching with me. It's super corny but definitely will make you chuckle and remind you of the original. 

We had a rainy Saturday, and Robert and I headed to an engagement party that evening. On Sunday, the kids played with Legos and had a pet fair. They went swimming with their grandparents, and I packed them up for their week away.

We are headed to Trip's 8 year check-up today and then dropping them off with their Lea-Lea for the week. Robert and I can't wait to catch up on our shows, go on date nights, and tackle some more house projects. Have a great week, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Tuesday Training and a special celebration! 

Don't forget that some of my favorite blogging friends and I are hosting our monthly Ladies Who Link party THIS Thursday. I hope you'll link up with us to share your favorite travel tips and your ultimate travel destinations. I can't wait to see what places you tell me to add to my travel bucket list! See you soon!