Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts


 Sephora's annual holiday savings event begins today for all rouge members, with VIB and insiders shopping the sale next week. The tiers for members are as follows: rouge gets 20% off their entire purchase, VIB's get 15% off, and insiders get 10%. I did a little more damage this year so I'm officially back to VIB status. I look forward to this event every year because it's the perfect time to either stock up on my favorite products or try something new at a discount. The code is YAYHOLIDAY

What I'm Buying:

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Liner in Iconic Nude: I absolutely love Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk lip liner (I wear it every day), but I want to try a more nude shade. It seems just as wearable and a lot of people I know swear by it. 

Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Hair Spray: This is holy grail for me. My hair gets frizzy no matter what time of year it is, and this spray provides incredible shine and smoothness without it being stiff, sticky, or weighing my hair down. Plus it smells so luxurious, and the scent lasts until the next wash! 

Farmacy Honey Harvest Hydration Kit: Farmacy has quickly become my go-to skincare brand. Not only is it clean, but it is also effective. I have the honeymoon glow serum already, in fact, I'm on my third bottle! This set includes that, along with their newest plumping serum and their hydration mask that feels so good to use at night. It warms up as you apply it to the skin and leaves it soft and hydrated. If you haven't tried Farmacy beauty, this is a great way to start. 

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm in Vanilla Beige: I used Summer Fridays coconut body lotion all Summer long and loved it. I've been curious about their butter lip balm after seeing so many positive reviews of it so I'm giving it a try. Overall I just appreciate the aesthetic of the brand. 

Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum: I need a new vitamin C serum but they are all quite expensive. I like the one that Drunk Elephant makes but I just don't feel like spending the money (even with a discount). I'm hoping this serum will be a cheaper alternative! I'll keep you guys posted. 

Other products I would highly recommend are: 

Necessaire Body Lotion: Works like a charm on dry, sensitive skin (and I have problems with eczema)

Sunday Riley Good Genes: I use this on the nights that I don't use the Farmacy Honeymoon glow. Instantly leaves skin looking more plump and bright.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask: This is also holy grail. My husband uses it too and often steals it from my nightstand. Best moisturizer I've tried for chapped, cracked lips. 

Charlotte Tilbury ANYTHING. Really though, it's my favorite makeup brand for a reason. Treat yourself!

Will you be shopping the Sephora sale this year? 


Now that I'm well into my 30's, I've become extremely diligent about taking good care of my skin. I wear sunscreen religiously, I moisturize and exfoliate, and I drink a lot of water! A couple areas that I've been guilty of neglecting though are my chest and neck. They were always afterthoughts during my daily skincare routines, when really they should be just as important as the face.

I've had horrible lines on my chest since I was 21, and although I find them terribly embarrassing, I wasn't sure how to treat them or make them disappear. As a side-sleeper, I knew that they were going to be chronic unless I changed my sleep position, but no matter what I try at night, I always end up on my side. Every morning I wake up with embedded lines and wrinkles down my chest.

I've tried silicone patches as a quick fix, but I want results that will last. I've even thought about getting botox for my chest wrinkles, but I know it will be expensive and I don't want to go that route if I don't need to. When I was contacted by a local beauty brand that specializes in products for the chest and neck, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Lola Collective produces 3 key products with ingredients that target lines and wrinkles in the delicate chest and neck area. The goal is to repair, plump, and rejuvenate.

Good Night Decolletage Sleep Mask: This is a thick, rich cream that I've been using every night before bed. I'm pretty generous with it. I'm convinced that this layer of hydration is what really helps with the lessening of the lines. I still end up sleeping on my side, but this at least keeps the skin moisturized and the next day, the appearance of the lines isn't as severe as they were without using this.

Damage Control Vitamin C Primer: We know vitamin C is good to incorporate into our daily skincare routine, so it offers the same benefits to our chest and neck. I use this every morning and it instantly (I mean instantly) firms and tightens.

Bright Morning Decolletage Smoothing Cream: After the primer, I then apply this super thick smoothing cream. Out of the 3 products, this is the one that shows the most dramatic difference in my chest lines. It took a couple weeks, but after using it every day I'm no longer as self conscious about wearing a low-cut top or even my bikini.

The results are pretty great in my opinion. The before was taken when I first received the products and had not started using them yet. These photos are all in natural light with no retouching. What you see is what you get!


Also After (about 3 weeks into using the products)

I'll definitely continue using these products as part of my regular skin routine. These products were sent to me, but I will absolutely buy them on my own and am so happy that a local southern California company is behind them! For a complete list of ingredients and to learn more about Lola Skincare Collective, go to their website. 

If you have any questions, let me know!


In my well-documented struggle with hormonal cystic acne, I think I've finally found two products that are actually effective in treating these embarrassing, painful bumps!

For a brief summary, I was on birth control pills during the entirety of my twenties, so my skin was mostly clear. I would get the occasional breakout here and there, but nothing major. However, once I went off of birth control a couple years ago, my hormones went crazy. I expected as much, but I had no idea how often I'd be dealing with cystic bumps on my chin. Add on extra stress from the pandemic, and this past Spring caused my skin to break out like I've never experienced before. I was diligent about my skincare routine, I changed my eating habits, I drank a lot more water, and I definitely kept my hands off my face. I also tried switching to oil-free products, but I was still getting one or two cystic bumps every month, usually a week before my menstrual cycle. I almost made a dermatology appointment in May, but I decided to try one last product first. If I didn't see any improvement, I'd go ahead with the dermatologist.

In my incessant research, I came across Renee Rouleau's blog and was happy to see that she has products that specialize in treating cystic chin acne. There are so many acne products on the market, but they're mostly for "normal" breakouts like blackheads and whiteheads. Cystic pimples are deep in the skin, and are much harder to treat. You really have to baby them, otherwise the risk of further damaging your skin and causing massive scarring can occur.

I was only going to buy the Anti-Bump Solution, meant as a spot treatment as soon as you start feeling the cyst coming on, but I noticed that she actually makes a chin breakout treatment kit. Hello! These two products feel like they were made for me. Used together, they are a powerful duo.

The Rapid Response Detox Masque is formulated with key ingredients like tea tree oil (which is a natural microbial that deep cleans and eliminates bacteria within minutes). It also contains lactic acid and salicylic acid. I use this masque once per week and leave it on for about 15 minutes. It feels nice and cooling.

About a week and a half before my menstrual cycle, I begin using the Anti-Bump Solution (which is clear) all over my chin and jawline before bed every night. What I find especially beneficial is that this serum doesn't dry my skin out whatsoever like some topical treatments do. If I feel any slight pain (a sign that a bump is forming), I use the solution right on that specific area, morning and night. I actually felt one the other night, and by the next morning, it was completely gone!

You can also use these products on other parts of the face, but my acne is concentrated on my chin. Sometimes I'll get a pimple in between my eyebrows, but that doesn't occur very often.

I'm not claiming my skin is perfect now, but since using this kit I haven't had a single massive breakout and these products are the only things I've changed in my routine. I'm going to continue to monitor everything. The safest bet if you do have any skin issues is to go see a dermatologist, and I'm keeping that in mind if the problem returns or worsens. But if you've tried other acne treatments and nothing has worked yet, try this!

This post is in no way sponsored...just my honest thoughts. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you enjoyed my review.


I bought most of these products in April, and since I've had time to put each of them to the test, I wanted to share my feedback. From now on, I will do monthly reviews on the beauty products that I have purchased from either a month or two before. I love sharing my honest opinions, and hope that some of you will find them helpful in case you are thinking of trying them too!

Tatcha The Silk Peony Eye Melt Cream:
I really wanted to fall in love with this eye cream, but after using it every morning and evening for two months, I don't think I'll buy it once it runs out. The formula feels thin, and I prefer a thicker, richer consistency. It absorbs very quickly which makes it ideal for daytime, but it doesn't provide enough lasting moisture. I also haven't noticed much of a difference in my under eye area, and for the price, I expected at least some change in puffiness and dark circles. I absolutely love my Tatcha silk canvas primer and was certain that an eye cream by the brand would blow me away, but I'm disappointed. I plan on going back to Origins or Kiehls in the Fall when I really need extra hydration.

Recommend: No

Drunk Elephant Time to Wake Up: 
These serums are bundled together and I use them as such, so it's hard to tell which makes more of a difference in my skin. I use one small pump of each, mix them in on my fingertips a bit, and then pat them onto my skin before my moisturizer/sunscreen. The C-firma is very sticky and smells unpleasant, while the B-hydra is smooth with not much fragrance. Once applied, the scent goes away and the texture of my skin immediately softens. They do provide some sort of a glow as well. I really love the idea of a "time to wake up" serum in the morning, but I wouldn't say that it's absolutely necessary. A good eye cream and an allover moisturizer with SPF does the trick!

Recommend: Yes, if your skin is dull and needs something extra

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo: 
I initially loved this shampoo, but after a few weeks, I am now on the fence! It makes my hair incredibly soft, adds a ton of moisture, and smells like candy. You also need the tiniest pea sized amount! The only downfall is that because it's so thick, you really need to make sure that you rinse it out extremely well or otherwise it will leave a film. You also need to use a clarifying shampoo a couple times a month in order to get rid of any buildup, but I do that anyway because I've had some issues with my scalp in the past. It would be amazing to find a shampoo that takes care of every problem, but I have yet to discover one. I think if you have super thick, damaged, or color-treated hair then you will enjoy this shampoo. I'm going to keep using it.

Recommend: Yes, but don't use too much and rinse well

Blossom Nail Polish Remover Spring Bouquet: 
Since I'm back to doing my own manicures (even before Covid really), I was down to the last drop of my previous polish remover and was wanting one that didn't contain acetone. My cuticles are always dry, and acetone makes the dryness and peeling worse. I spotted this at Target and decided to give it a go. It's organic, acetone-free, and doesn't smell like a typical nail polish remover. The floral scent is okay, but the reason why I like it so much is that it feels like a cuticle oil! It's actually moisturizing which totally surprised me. It does take a little more patience to remove polish, but it does the trick! I haven't tried it on real gel polish (only gel-like such as Essie's gel couture), but I'm really happy with this safe, non-toxic formula.

Recommend: Yes

I hope you enjoyed these reviews, and let me know if you've tried any of the products! I have some good stuff to review next month.


I always pare down my makeup routine during the hot Summer months, and now with staying at home, I'm using even less products on a daily basis. It's a funny thing really - I've played with makeup ever since I can remember, have even collected it throughout the years. But when it comes down to it, I prefer a very minimal, effortless look. Especially as I get older, I find that wearing less makes me look and feel younger instead of layering or covering my skin with a bunch of different products. Sheer, buildable powders and creams are what I look for when buying anything new, and now with Summer right around the corner, it's the perfect time to embrace our natural beauty.

Before we start applying any makeup, don't forget the SPF: I go for a lotion that's oil-free and absorbs quickly, but it depends on your specific skin type. I also frequently use sunscreen as my regular body lotion and slather it on from head to toe pretty generously. Whatever brand you like, just make sure you use something to protect your skin.

Cheeks and Brows: Every women's magazine I've read recommends switching to cream blush during Summer, but it wasn't until I found cloud paint from Glossier that I happily bought into the idea. I use my finger to dot a small amount and blend out. It adds just the right amount of color, looks incredibly natural, and lasts all day. You can also top it with powder for even more color and lasting power, but I prefer not to. As for brows, I like a tinted gel that fills in sparse areas and keeps them in place. This doesn't create a defined brow, but it does help brows look more polished.

Eye Cream: I'm a big fan of eye cream in the morning, as it instantly adds moisture and therefore makes eyes look refreshed and awake. If you wear concealer, it also goes on more evenly if you apply an eye cream first.

Glossy Lips: Sheer, glossy lips are quintessential Summer aren't they? Easy to reapply, flattering on everyone, and just feels so good on.

Curl Lashes and Add Mascara: I've been skipping these steps on some days, but a little curl and a light coat of your favorite (waterproof) mascara is a must for many people.

Finish With Fragrance: This may sound ridiculous, but spraying perfume is my favorite part of my daily routine. Brushing my teeth, washing my face, applying makeup...the grand finale is being instantly uplifted by this beach-inspired fragrance.

With the long Memorial Day weekend coming up, maybe you can try a more minimal routine and take that extra time you'll save to enjoy some sun! I'll be back next week.


In keeping with this post on my blog last week, I just want to reiterate that nobody needs the beauty products I'm about to share. I'm not even sure I need them. But I did run out of eye cream and shampoo, so I decided to replenish them with products I've never tried before. Anything to add some excitement these days, right? I took advantage of Sephora's Spring sale to get a discount, and I bought the shampoo directly through my wonderful hair stylist who was kind enough to drop it at my door.

I've been using all of these products for a little over a week, which isn't enough to write full reviews. I do have some initial thoughts:

1. Tatcha The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream:
 I don't have any fine lines or wrinkles around my eyes just yet, but I am concerned with dark circles, puffiness, and overall hydration. I see why this is called a "melting" cream, as it is extremely cushiony and smooth, sort of like a balm. A little goes a long way. I pat some underneath my eyes using my ring finger, and then a little on my lids as well. It's very hydrating without being too slick, and my concealer has been applying seamlessly afterward. So far, I like it a lot, but I wouldn't say it's any more moisturizing than other eye creams I've used for years from Kiehl's and Origins.

2. Drunk Elephant Time to Wake Up:
I've used Drunk Elephant's Protini moisturizer and have sampled their vitamic C serum. I really enjoyed both, so I picked up this duo that includes the C serum as well as the B-hydra serum. You mix both and apply all over the face in the morning for a fresh skin boost. I really love the result. They combine perfectly, and absorb quickly into the skin without a greasy, oily residue. I'm very impressed with this line of skincare.

3. Peace Out Acne Healing Dots:
My struggle with hormonal acne continues, and it's probably been made worse due to stress. I'm being extra diligent and barely wearing makeup, so why the crazy flareups? I think a visit to the dermatologist is in my future, but in the meantime, these acne healing dots have made a noticeable difference. Overnight, the spots I had on my chin were significantly reduced in size, and they dried up fast. I can't say peace out completely, but I'm just relieved they did something. Good to keep in my medicine cabinet!

4. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo:
I mentioned in my low maintenance hair routine that I was in search of a new shampoo, and after weighing some options and researching a few brands, I decided to go with Olaplex. So many people (including my hair stylist) rave about it. After using it only a couple times, I can see why. It's the thickest, richest formula I've ever tried, it lathers well with the smallest dime size amount, and the scent is lovely. I'm in desperate need of toner and a good healthy trim, but at least I have a nice shampoo to hold me over.

I'll keep you posted on all of these as I use them more, but this has mostly been the extent of my online shopping (in-between groceries, Etsy birthday gifts, and organic cotton bed sheets).

Have you tried any new beauty products during this crazy time? Linking up with Straight A Style.


When it comes to hair, I'm all about low maintenance. It's not necessarily because I don't have the time or desire to do more, it's because I don't have the patience. Like all of my beauty routines, I prefer a simple, more natural style. I want to enhance what I like, conceal what I don't, and above all I want to look and feel my best. Beauty doesn't have to be complicated - in fact, it really shouldn't be.

A hair routine does involve some trial and error. It's taken me years to figure out what types of products I like, what I'm willing to budget for, areas where I can cut costs and corners, and a hair stylist that really knows my preferences. It wasn't always this easy; I've tried so many different brands both from the drugstore and higher end. You have to figure out what you're really aiming for and you have to be realistic. I'm a naturally dark brunette, so going platinum blonde or even a honey blonde just isn't in the cards for me. I could try, but I'd ruin my hair and that's the last thing I'd want! So I stick with my brown locks, try my best to work with my natural wavy, frizzy texture and I focus on adding lots of moisture and shine. I do have some lighter balayage at the crown, but I do very little color treating and am planning on going a bit darker again. I also trim my hair every few weeks to get rid of any dead ends. I had to cancel my appointment right before the quarantine began so it's not in the best shape at the moment! Once it's safer to leave home, I'm hoping to get in to see my stylist for a refresh.

Until then, this is my low fuss routine. It won't work for everyone or every hair type, but I hope some of you find the tips useful.

My hair type: each strand is fine, but I have a lot of it. It is naturally wavy and very frizz prone.

1) Shampoo every three days or twice per week. 
I currently use a shampoo called Clear but I believe it's being totally discontinued. I used to buy it at the drugstore, but can barely find it online. Are any of you familiar with it? Heidi Klum was the spokesperson ages ago. The idea is that good hair begins at the scalp and I am a huge advocate for that. My scalp tends to get very dry, so I focus on its health every time I wash. Unfortunately I also have oily hair, so that's a winning combination. Shampooing every three days seems to be the lucky number for me.

2) Use a scalp scrub or mask twice a month.
I've written about this scalp therapy here, and I've noticed a difference. My scalp is less itchy, less flaking occurs, and less congested. Remember, your scalp is still skin! It can get clogged and irritated just as your face can.

3) Deep condition once a week. 
A nourishing deep conditioning treatment is vital to maintaining healthy hair. I usually leave mine on while I shave and cleanse my body so it can really work its magic...the longer it stays on the better. I also use an overnight mask when my ends are especially brittle, then wash and rinse it out the following day.

4) Air dry when possible. Otherwise, limit heat styling.
Now that many of us are staying home, why not give the heat styling a rest? I've completely taken a break from straightening and curling. I can't quite give up the blow dryer, but I use a low heat setting and then seal the ends with a blast from the cool button.

5) Don't overdo dry shampoo.
It's tempting to slap on the dry shampoo when you want an extra day to avoid washing it, but dry shampoos cause so much buildup. My hair stylist has told me some truly disgusting horror stories! I won't share here, but let's just say she's seen an increase in awful scalp issues over the last couple years because dry shampoo has skyrocketed in popularity. Now there's nothing wrong with it per se and we all want to simplify our daily hair routines by washing it less. Just be careful of how frequently and how much you're using.

6) Limit the amount of styling products you use. 
Less is more. Piling on different products to achieve certain results seems like a great idea, but it all can end up doing more harm than good. I know that my hair looks weighed down very easily, so I use a leave-in conditioner while my hair is damp, then follow up with an anti-humidity/shine spray once it's all dry. You really don't need more than two or three products max, and a little goes a long way. It also cuts down on cost. I can't afford to be buying Oribe or Ouai every other month.

What's your daily or weekly hair routine? Do you like to experiment with yours, or are you low maintenance? If you're someone who loves playing with trends and color, how do you care for your hair? I could talk about it all day!


*Quick editor's note: I will not be using affiliate links for the next month or so. I personally am not concerned with shopping for unnecessary items during a crisis, and I'm sure most of you aren't either. Besides, I suspect you already own similar things! I will still list where they came from, but for now I'm taking a pause. Things will go back to normal with regular links after this extended period.

I'm usually very particular about the clothing I feature on my blog. I can't explain why, because what you see here is what you'll see if you know me in real life too (although a little editing helps). I just try to be thoughtful about my choices so that I can hopefully provide you with ideas you can incorporate into your own wardrobe. I love mixing brands, showing you ways to style everyday basics, and featuring pieces that are polished, fun, and flattering. So when I think of dressing to either lounge around in or work from home, that's just not something I'm familiar sharing with you! To me, indoor or home outfits equal comfort. Home has always been my sanctuary, the one place where I can be totally relaxed and myself. I don't worry about wearing lots of makeup, doing my hair everyday or putting on jewelry. I used to consider it freeing! But after being at home for several days and weeks during California's mandatory shelter in place order, I'll admit that I can't wait to put on a dress and heels again. I'll never take it for granted.

In the meantime, these are the type of outfits I'm living in. I would say lately, but we have no clear idea how long remaining at home will last. All of these looks are extremely comfortable, cozy, and dare I say...appropriate for Zoom meetings and FaceTime? At least two are!

Nectar Clothing striped top, LOFT belted knit wrap, Hue leggings

Express one eleven tee, Old Navy joggers

Barefoot Dreams cardigan, Revolve camisole, Hue leggings

Since I was in desperate need of a pedicure last week, I dug back into my favorite Spring nail polishes and picked a cheerful, happy pink. This color is by Essie and it's called "Cascade Cool." I don't have any top coat at the moment, but a quick spray of this rapid dry solution did the trick and even added some shine. My friend Kristi kindly sent it to me all the way from Oregon a couple years back, but because I was so addicted to gels, it was neglected until now! Honestly, anything bright and pink is what I'm reaching for beauty-wise this month. Pink nails, pink blush, and of course a pink pout. I bought this Charlotte Tilbury gloss at the end of February and it's all I've worn since. It's in the shade "Pillow Talk." I'm such a fan of this color as it's incredibly wearable.

I've long believed that style is an extension of who you are, a way to send a message to the outside world. In times like these when we are so isolated, it can often feel pointless or even wrong to bother. Some days, I don't bother. But on the days when I do, there's this little inkling of hope that sometime soon I can once again express myself in the way that makes me happiest - back in a flowy dress against the backdrop of my favorite wineries in town.


After a fairly rainy 2019, I had high hopes that this Winter would be similar. Unfortunately, much of the season has been extremely windy and dry. Most people dread humidity, but I'm the opposite and dread the desert-like climate of my area. I also have mild eczema that flares up in Winter, so I make it my mission every year to try and avoid the symptoms of dry, red, itchy skin. Thankfully, relief can be found in the skin care aisle. There are so many more options these days than there used to be!

Here are my current favorites.

People with dry skin usually have a dry scalp, and there's nothing more irritating than that! I've heard a lot about scalp treatments and exfoliators, so when I saw this product at Target I decided to give it a shot. My scalp has been in pretty good shape over the lasy year, but I do get occasional boughts of itching and flakiness. I've used this treatment a handful of times and it's worked well at soothing my scalp. The treatment has a nice cooling, tingling sensation that rinses squeaky clean. I think because so many of us go that extra day now without washing our hair, our scalps need more attention and extra nourishment. Dry shampoos can also cause buildup and congested pores, which definitely affect the health of both the scalp and hair. If you have any sort of dryness, definitely try this treatment! If you don't, try it anyway! Trust me, you'll love it.

The rough, dry patches and bumps on my lower legs have been intense this Winter. I'm talking itching that feels more like burning. Just super uncomfortable, even unbearable at times like I want to crawl out of my skin. At the beginning of the month, I'd had enough and stalked the internet for help. So many reviews gave this balm by Aveeno an A+ rating, so I quickly purchased a jar. This treatment is super thick, almost sticky. It kind of reminds me of vaseline, only richer. Containing colloidal oatmeal, it soothes on contact but really takes effect after a few minutes on my skin. I really don't know what I'd do without it now! I use it mostly in the evenings as part of my nightly routine. In the mornings, I use a regular body cream and then lightly put this on any obvious dry patches. This also comes in a version for children, as I know eczema is common in kids. Go figure I just never grew out of mine. 

Hydration is key to any Winter skin regimen, but so is exfoliation. In order to get rid of dry, dull skin, you really need to exfoliate. Some people do it daily, but I do it two or three times per week. These facial radiance pads from First Aid Beauty make it so easy and convenient. After cleansing, I sweep a pad across my entire face (especially around my nose and chin) and it instantly reveals brighter skin. It also helps to improve the texture, so my foundation applies more evenly and my overall complexion just looks healthier and more glowy. 

Let me know if any of you struggle with eczema or dry skin in general. I would be happy to do more posts on this if you're interested!


Now that we are into February, I'm really beginning to feel Winter's harsh effects on my dry pale skin. I don't know about you guys, but this time of year really takes a toll on my self confidence. I've written about this before with some clarity, but I'll admit that at the moment my eczema is the worst it's ever been and I blame the ridiculously dry climate I live in. I want to scratch my legs off!

In an effort to distract from all that, I've been enjoying some rather romantic looking products to bring life to my face. With Valentine's Day in exactly one week, I'm using rosy-toned hues on my eyes, lips, and cheeks. Products with a slight sheen or hint of shimmer are my go-tos this month to add some warmth to my complexion, and also to remind myself that Spring will be here before we know it! Each item is listed below.

1. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter: I love mixing this in with my regular foundation, concentrating on my cheeks for a "lit from within" glow. It's far too glowy for my preference on its own, but when mixed with other foundation it really is a lovely product for instant dewiness.

2. Ouai North Bondi Perfume: I can't get enough of Jen Atkin's The Ouai line, and this soft, beachy scent takes me back to Summer where I always long to be - when my skin isn't dry and itchy!

3. Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette: I've used this palette so often that I forced myself to take a break from it last month, but now is the perfect time for these warm buttery shades. A little goes a long way because they are so pigmented, but they certainly add just the right amount of definition to the eyes.

4. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Creme: I keep this in my bag and apply to my hands throughout the day. It's very nourishing without feeling greasy. I linked the large size because the set mine came in sold out during the holidays.

5. Sara Happ Lip Slip: I really can't decide which I prefer more, this or the Laneige Lip Mask, but for the moment this is what I'm reaching for to tame dry lips. It glides on smoothly and just feels SO LUXE. Bonus - it smells divine and lasts for hours.

6. Tarte Exposed Blush: This made all the beauty blogger rounds a few years ago, and it's still one of my favorite Winter blush shades. It brightens up dull, lifeless skin and looks great no matter what other products you use alongside it. Exposed is a timeless neutral blush.

What beauty products are you currently using? I'm always interested to hear what you're loving in Winter. I need all the help I can get!


I'm a big believer that looking your best doesn't have to cost a fortune. Part of the reason why I continue to blog is because I want to share my experiences using products that actually work. There's no "one size fits all" of course - what works for my skin or hair or coloring may not be the best option for you - but I always do my best to give thoughtful, honest reviews. I've used five dollar cleanser for my face and I've also used much more expensive facial cleanser. And you know what? Both equally worked.

I will admit that there's just something so exciting about treating yourself to luxury beauty, especially this time of year. During the Sephora sale a couple weeks ago, I did just that and I wanted to briefly mention what I bought and what luxury beauty brands I'd absolutely recommend. Keep these in mind for your holiday shopping! You don't have to be a beauty junkie in order to appreciate them either.

1. Jo Malone luscious & lively trio: For me, Jo Malone is the ultimate in luxury fragrance. I remember when I bought myself wood sage and sea salt a few years ago for my birthday. I loved it then and although I consider myself a Kai girl (and most recently, a North Bondi by Ouai girl) I didn't want to pass up this lovely trio of perfume, body wash, and cream. This would make the perfect gift! It's also a great way to try the brand and see if it suits you.

2. Sol de Janeiro set: Unfortunately this little gift set is already sold out, but I've been a fan of their bum bum cream for a long time and highly recommend their other gift sets. If you suffer from the winter blues, these products are sure to serve as a mood boost and transport you to a tropical paradise. I plan on giving jars of the cream to friends and family for Christmas.

3. Ouai treatment masque: This is my second tube and my only complaint is that it doesn't come in a giant tub! Even with my lightening and balayage, my hair has never been healthier and I think this masque is part of the reason why. I use it once per week for nourished, silky soft hair. Bonus - like all of the Ouai products, it smells divine.

4. Tatcha the silk canvas primer: How many times have I raved about the silk canvas primer? Too many to count! I was never big on primer until I discovered Tatcha. I'm still not convinced primers are necessary (a daily moisturizer does the trick) but this one is different. I wear it every single day regardless of what I'm doing or where I'm going. Heck, I wear it on days I don't even leave the house. It conceals the appearance of large pores, evens out my skin tone, and moisturizes without feeling greasy. Wear it under makeup or wear it alone. It's amazing.

Other brands and products I wanted to mention:

Charlotte Tilbury is probably my current favorite makeup line. Her products are so wearable, especially her iconic Pillow Talk lip kit. I feel bad for neglecting all of my traditional holiday plums and reds, but honestly Pillow Talk has been IT ever since Summer with no signs of stopping. Her other products like her eyeshadow palettes, bronzer, and Hollywood flawless filter foundation are perfect for getting holiday ready. I wish I could meet Charlotte Tilbury in person and thank her for these gorgeous products!

As for hair, I have three brand favorites: Aveda, the Ouai, and Oribe. This travel kit from Oribe is what I use on vacations, as well as I keep the anti-humidity spray in my handbag for touch-ups. If you want soft, manageable, tousled hair, then Oribe will surely please.

Overall, I think the holidays are the perfect time to try some new beauty. There are so many limited edition sets that are not only great for gifting, but also a relatively easy way to try some things out for yourself.

Have you tried any of these brands or products?

Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style


I'm so excited because as you are reading this, I'm on a plane en route to New York! I can't think of a better way to celebrate Fall than with a trip to the east coast! We don't have any set plans, but I'll be sure to share everything we did once we get back next week.

In the meantime, I wanted to put together a round-up of all the beauty products and treatments I've been using for the last month (some products I've been in love with for much longer than that). I think a lot of people switch up their beauty routines for the changing season, and Fall is the time where I really like to focus on hydration to combat dryness and dullness, as well as a more sophisticated and polished makeup look. In the Summer I just wing it and often go without much makeup at all!

Let's start with nails though. I've always loved doing my own. Growing up, my mom was a manicurist and I learned a lot by watching her do her clients' nails. A couple years ago, I decided to try gel polish for the first time and I enjoyed the results so much that I unintentionally turned it into a bi-monthly habit. I never experienced any issues or had any concerns until my nails started breaking more frequently over the Summer and they even became sore to the touch. The last time I got the gel polish removed was painful, so I knew it was time to give my poor nails a break. It's been exactly one month and I'm just now beginning to polish them myself again (just regular polish). They look fine, but I'm keeping them very short and applying this nail strengthener a few times a week to get them back into good condition. Honestly, it's been fun rediscovering all the lovely colors I'd been neglecting. I'm sticking to light, neutral shades until I feel confident wearing darker colors again. I will probably do gel nails at some point, maybe for Christmas, but letting my natural nails breathe is my focus this season.

Normally around this time, I like to start wearing bolder lips in shades of plum and wine. Since buying the Charlotte Tilbury pillow talk kit during the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I haven't had any desire to put anything else on my lips! It truly is the most wearable, sexy, flattering shade I've ever worn, and it lasts long too. That's not to say I won't pull out some of my other Fall favorites, but it's not going to be easy! I keep the liner, lipstick, and gloss in my bag so they're always on hand. You really need to try pillow talk if you haven't already!

As for hair, as soon as I discovered the Ouai this year, I have been completely hooked on their products. I really don't put much in my hair, but their leave-in conditioner is a must before blow drying. It leaves my hair soft and manageable, and the smell is incredible. So much so that I bought the corresponding perfume last month and have been wearing it daily. I also wanted to mention these hair ties called invisibobbles. Have you guys seen these? I put my hair up a lot now when I'm at home, and these hold it all in place without leaving any kinks or marks afterward. I keep one in my bag and the rest are scattered throughout my house! I just hope I don't end up losing them all, which is inevitably what happens.

Lastly, I know you've probably seen these products before on the blog in some capacity, but these are hands-down my must-haves in my makeup collection. I use them daily!

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation: full to medium buildable coverage that looks natural and beautiful especially in photos. I've been wearing it for years.

Tarte Shape Tape concealer: The only concealer you need! I dot some under my eyes, as well as on any spots I may have going on in the chin area.

Tatcha The Silk Canvas primer: I use this with or without makeup for an even complexion and less noticeable pores. It glides on so smoothly and feels very moisturizing. Clearly I need another one asap!

Fenty Pro Filtr Powder in lavender: I'm convinced this is why my makeup lasts much longer than it used to. Just a few swipes to set everything in place and I'm good to go. Also, don't let the shade fool you - it's translucent.

Does your beauty routine change in the Fall? What are some of your favorites?

I'll be back later next week with another post. See you here!


I approach trends in beauty the same way I approach them in fashion - cautiously. I prefer looking natural, not because I'm super busy all the time and can't make the extra effort, but really because I just favor a more natural look in general. Even when I go out at night or attend a special event, I don't pile on the makeup or fuss much with my hair. Just clean and put-together is my M.O. and it's something I've become increasingly comfortable with. Contouring my face every morning? Not gonna happen. Acrylic nails? Ouch!

That doesn't mean I don't like having fun though! It's good to switch things up every once in awhile, especially in the beauty department. A new lipstick shade or shorter haircut can be the simplest way to get out of a beauty rut. And please, if you're one who does enjoy keeping up with all of the latest treatments and trends, then that's great! Do what makes you feel confident and beautiful.

Anyway, my friend Nicole does eyelash extensions and after months of admiring her work on clients I decided to just go for it as a birthday treat to myself.

Eyelash Extensions:

I'll admit that I was a little nervous to try eyelash extensions, mostly because I thought it would be such a tedious process and I'm not great at being still for too long. I obviously can only speak of my own experience, but the process was much easier and faster than I thought! I arrived for my appointment at 10:00 a.m. and was done by 12:30 p.m. I found it very relaxing. I wore loose, comfortable clothing so that I could enjoy lying on her table (the same you've probably experienced if you've ever gotten a massage or facial). I had clean skin with zero makeup on. From there, my friend explained what she would be doing, including showing me the tape she would be using to prevent my lower lashes from sticking to my upper lashes during the process. Every lash extension has to be individually applied to your natural lashes and that's no easy feat! My natural lashes are incredibly short and sparse so she used lash extensions that would just enhance them and add a bit more length and fullness without looking obvious. I'm telling you, natural is key for me. We chatted most of the time, and I had to keep my eyes closed until she was completely done.

I must mention that I often deal with seasonal allergies. I have dry eyes which ironically makes them water all the time, and I was so worried that these factors would have a negative effect on extensions. Now that I've had them for over a week, I feel comfortable saying that my eyes and lashes are great! I haven't experienced any discomfort, no itching, swelling, nothing. I can hardly feel them. My eyes still water throughout the day, but I just make sure I don't rub them. I use a lash comb as needed, mostly in the morning, and I can still wash my face and do my normal skincare routine.

I'll have my first fill next week. I'm not certain how long I'm going to keep them on (probably just a month), but I'm so happy that I decided to try them because they really do enhance the face. As always, I just recommend that you do some research on professionals in your area, including pictures and testimonials. I've read some terrible stories! Honestly though, my natural lashes are almost non-existent, so my level of fear that they will become even less so is pretty low.

Fresh lash extensions. These are known as the "classic" set.
If you have any specific questions I didn't mention, let me know! I'm sure my friend has the answer.


Aside from getting lash extensions right before my birthday, I also freshened up my hair color. It had been months since I had any color done, and it was starting to look really brassy in areas and the ends were pretty blonde. My stylist brought me back to the darker side, albeit with some lighter pieces melted throughout. I've had balayage for a little over a year now and I still enjoy the dimension and warmth it brings. I'm tempted to go back to completely dark sometimes, but this type of color is so easy to maintain that I don't find it to be much more upkeep than my natural hair.

I'm really happy with the products I'm using on my hair so I'm putting together a separate post!

Do you update your beauty routines often? Have you tried eyelash extensions, balayage, or other  beauty treatments? Please share!

Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style


There's nothing more frustrating than getting a giant cystic pimple on my face. It seems that every month like clockwork, one pops up overnight. This normally happens around my menstrual cycle so although I can carefully time it, there's still a feeling of helplessness. There's only so much I can do to prevent and then ultimately treat a cystic pimple.

That doesn't stop me from trying.

If you're unfamiliar with cystic acne, consider yourself lucky! Those who've experienced them know what I'm talking about - red, swollen, painful bumps that form deep in the pore underneath the skin's surface. I get them on my chin, around my mouth, and along my jawline which is a classic symptom of hormonal imbalance. They're so stubborn that I typically get them in the exact same spots as previous flareups. So even though I can expect them every single month, there are a few steps I take to prevent "a big one." Some bumps are more manageable than others.

A little backstory on my skin: I had combination skin as a teenager with occasional breakouts on my t-zone. My chin was the home of cystic acne, especially around my period. I went on birth control pills when I was 18, and my skin was quite happy about that! The tone and texture evened out. I still would develop occasional bumps, but instead of getting them monthly, they would occur maybe yearly. In fact, my skin became pretty dry during my late twenties, and acne was no longer an issue until I went off of birth control two years ago. The progression was fast. My skin immediately began producing more oil and I tossed out my thick moisturizers and heavy oils in favor of lighter weight products more suitable for acne prone skin. I've read that if you had problem skin before birth control, then you will likely deal with it after stopping birth control. Of course every case is different, but many women take birth control pills to regulate their hormones so once they stop, hormones can go haywire.

My skincare routine isn't perfect just yet, but I've found that these steps have indeed made my monthly visitors less painful and more tolerable:

Girl, wash your face! I don't have to remind you that it's the single most important step in any skincare regimen. My most used cleanser is Cetaphil, and you can easily find it at your local drugstore. It's gentle enough for all skin types, and it cleanses without stripping your skin of essential oils. Lately I've been using this cleanser by Kate Somerville, but any basic oil-free face wash is just fine. It's not about the price or brand, but about the ingredients.

When you have acne flare-ups, you realize how crucial it is to exfoliate your entire face at least once per week. There are two types of exfoliants - physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation such as a scrub is the most common way to slough off dead skin cells. I use the Vasanti Brighten Up! Cleanser about twice a week in place of a regular cleanser. The little grains are just effective enough to work into a slight lather and rinse clean. You really need to be mindful of avoiding abrasive scrubs though - too harsh (or larger grains) can cause the reverse effect and can damage/tear your skin! Chemical exfoliation uses - you guessed it - chemicals to remove dead skin cells and create cell turnover. I personally feel that this form of exfoliation is the most effective. Not only does it remove buildup from the pores, but it also instantly brightens the skin. I use my favorite Kate Somerville ExfoliKate once a week, concentrating on my chin and jawline. 

The week before my menstrual cycle, I make sure that the lower half of my face gets extra attention every night. I use a clay or charcoal mask to deep clean and detoxify the entire area around my mouth and on my chin. I rinse with cool water for a squeaky clean finish.

I don't care how oily your skin is, moisturizing is a must! A non-greasy, oil-free lotion is what I prefer daily, and then I use a serum by Glo Skin Beauty at nighttime. It contains salicylic acid which gets rid of excess oil and deep cleans the pores. It helps prevent future breakouts.

Okay, now here's what I do when I first begin to feel a big red bump coming on. I wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and then hold it to the affected spot for a few minutes. This helps to reduce the redness and swelling. After that, I mix a bit of benzoyl peroxide (it kills the bacteria) with some hydrocortizone cream and apply a thin layer to the pimple. This works best overnight! I usually notice a decrease in size of the pimple the next morning, and the hydrocortizone helps eliminate much of the redness. I do this for a couple nights until the pimple disappears or starts to come up to the surface where it dries out within a few days.

I've tried so many different acne clearing products over the years but this system has worked the best for me. Like I said, it isn't perfect and I'm still in the process of figuring it all out. If you have any advice, please let me know in the comments or send me an email! Hormonal acne isn't fun, but it also doesn't have to control your life either. I hope some of you found this helpful!

Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style.


The thing I love wearing most during the Summer are little lightweight dresses in various colors, silhouettes, and prints. They are just so easy to throw on and go, seemingly appropriate no matter the occasion. They're also just really feminine and pretty.

I ordered this red ruffly number while I was on the road in Utah, and it was waiting on my doorstep upon our return. It's unfortunately already sold out so I can't link it, but I've had some great luck with the boutique I bought it from and you should definitely check them out for similar dresses. The store originates in northern California so a lot of their pieces have that breezy bohemian feel. By the way, I'm not being sponsored by them! I found them on social media and immediately loved their selection of fun clothes, especially with hot Summer nights in mind. I try not to miss an opportunity to dress up a little.

 Considering it's almost August, we are officially in the thick of Summer, although our weather in SoCal sounds downright mild in comparison to what some of you may be experiencing back east! Nate and I leave for Ohio on Saturday, so I'll be joining in on the humid, sticky heat soon. It'll be a quick 5 day visit, but just enough time to enjoy family in another part of the country. I hope your Summer is going just as well! Honestly, mine has been incredible so far. More thoughts on it in my next post...

In the meantime, I'm linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style