Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Ultimate Brownies

Time for a non beauty post.  To say I like dessert is an understatement.  I love dessert so much I could eat dessert after lunch and dinner everyday of the week.  However, I know that isn't healthy and I've been doing a much better job at rationing my dessert indulgences recently.  That is until I bought a cookbook called 'The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook'.  I literally want to make every single recipe in the book (which I don't think I can say about any cookbook before).  The book lasted two days on the shelf before I broke it out and whipped up a recipe.

I decided to make 'Cheryl's Brownies' and I thought they were fantastic.  I brought them along to tailgate before a country concert and they were a big hit.  Be warned though: these aren't boxed brownies and they don't taste like them.  They are rich, dense, crumbly and moist at the same time. They are intense.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Talk Sunscreen

Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 (for face)
Coppertone Clearly Sheer for Sunny Days SPF 30 (for body)

Let's talk about sunscreen.  Not technical talk, just personal experience (I'll make it short and sweet).  I have a hard time listening to people who say there is no point in wearing sunscreen, they don't like wearing it, they want a tan, etc. You see, I've had skin cancer removed... from my nose.  If I could go back in time and slather my face in sunscreen everyday of my life I would.  I've never been a sun person; I've never sunbathed or used tanning beds.  However, as a teenager I was a cheerleader and spent a lot of time outside. Even though I've used sunscreen fairly religiously since my early twenties, I believe my sun damage, and cancer, came from childhood and teenage time in the sun. So although I've had far less exposure to sun that some, I still saw consequences from it.  Now I can only take steps to prevent any future damage/cancer.  My dermatologist recommends using sunscreen everyday, regardless of how much time you are spending outside.  If you think you are protected from sun rays while sitting in your car during the morning commute, think again.  In fact, the doctor who removed my skin cancer said that is a big contributor for skin cancer on the left side of your face.  I also make myself reapply sunscreen every two hours if I am spending time in the sun, especially during the hours of 11-4. I also invested in a nice floppy, large brimmed sun hat to protect my face.  None of this is glamorous but I'm scarred for life and want no more skin cancer. 

Moral of the Story:  Wear sunscreen.  Reapply.  Invest in protective clothing.  Increase your sunscreen knowledge  (Caroline Hirons' recent video is really great for that).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly Wants #6

1. This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray.  This is one of those 'everyone has talked about it' products that I want but never buy.  I saw it in Space NK around Christmastime and it seems to have recently reappeared as a product they carry all the time. Tempting...

2. Dierks Bentley Riser.  I'm a huge country music fan and am actually seeing Dierks in concert tonight.  I love the single Drunk On A Plane so maybe after the concert tonight I will download the whole album.

3. Anthropologie Rose Gold Stapler.  Totally unnecessary but so beautiful to look at.  This would make my office nicer immediately.

4. Alterna Cavier CC Cream. I got a sample of this cream in the current Sephora 500 point perk.  I've only used this once but it made my hair super soft and bouncy, yet still polished.  If this continues as I keep using it, it is safe to say the full size will be purchased.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

(UK) Blogger Inspired Purchases

On a daily basis I read far too many blogs for my own good.  Wish lists keep growing and my back account keeps dwindling.  Of all the blogs I read, British bloggers are my favorite.  I love hearing about British products, even though most aren't available over here, and I love seeing photos of their daily lives as it reminds me of my time spent living there.

Since I love British blogs the most, it is no surprise that the majority of my blogger inspired purchases are from the lovely ladies across the pond.

Blogger: Anna from Viviannadoesmakeup
Worth the Purchase: Yes.  I love most of Anna's recommendations and I think we have similar ideas when it comes to makeup.  I'm almost finished with this container so that is a testament to how much I like it.  The natural dewy finish helps combat any pesky dry patches than I am prone to.
Worth the Purchase:  Probably.  I've seen this product and read about it countless times before.  Up until a few days ago I never considered buying this product mainly because I like fairly light makeup.  But my nose is still really red from surgery and by early afternoon any concealer I put on in the morning is completed gone.  I've only used it a few times so far but it is high coverage and does last.  I'm also loving that it dries to a non-tacky finish, unlike a few other high coverage concealers I tested in Sephora.

Worth the Purchase: To be decided... only because I haven't use it yet.  On Jessica's recent June Favorite videos she mentioned that this has really helped her dehydrated skin, and because Jessica's skin looks so fantastic, I had to run out and get a sample of this at the Clarins counter because it sounds like something I need in my routine.  Can't wait to try it.

Worth the Purchase: Yes, Yes and Yes!  This is the best of the blogger inspired purchases. So many bloggers talk about this but I first heard about it from Suzie.  The texture of this is very weird, and sort of off putting, but Suzie was right when she said it is super hydrating and lasts longer than any other lip balm.  A little goes a long way. 

Worth the Purchase: Yes, but I don't think I would repurchase.  The color is great for everyday and the packaging is beautiful and luxurious.  However,  I think I can find a lipstick/gloss in a shade close to this at a better price point.  

Worth the Purchase: Yes.  I actually own very few highlighters so this filled a gap in my collection. While it does take quite awhile to blend in, once fully blended it gives a natural effect.  It also isn't too shimmery and isn't messy.   

Sunday, July 20, 2014

J.Crew Sale Haul

J.Crew.  The store where I buy 90% of my clothes.  Also the store where I shop exclusively in the sale section because it is always oh so good.  There was a particularly great sale around the 4th of July where the sale section was an additional 50% off (plus I have a student discount that gets me another 15% off.)  As Amelia Liana says, I was #feelingspendy.

Apologies for the awkwardly staged outfit photos.  Taking them by myself was quite the challenge and definitely more difficult than I imagined.  I also have no idea how to pose in photos.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekly Wants #5

1. T by Alexander Wang Classic T Shirt with Pocket - Raise your hand if you are always on the search for really good fitting classic t-shirts??  I know I am.  I'm so tired of ill-fitting shirts that shrink and feel like cardboard after the first wash.  I've read some good reviews on the T by Alexander Wang shirts but I definitely want to try them on before I splurge on such a pricey item.

2. Fig + Yarrow Pink Love Salts - I love taking baths but I've never actually tried bath salts before.  I can't imagine how these would not be amazing, especially with that gorgeous color.

3. Lush African Paradise - The idea of an shower moisturizer really interests me because I dread moisturizing when I get out of the shower.  It is just so boring and time consuming.  I'd love to see whether this a) actually moisturizes, 2) how long it lasts and 3) if the time involved in less than usual.

4. L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush  - I saw Anna do a GRWM where she used MAC pigment in Tan and it looked fantastic.  When I looked up MAC pigment in Tan on google, I saw a bunch of posts about this shadow being a near exact dupe.  I want the look of the MAC pigment, just like in Anna's video, but I don't want the price.  Hopefully this works.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Face Mask For Every Skin Problem

Mostly reserved for Sundays, or when skin is acting bad, here are my current skin saviors


Use for: decongesting pores or when skin is too oily
Use for: mild decongesting or for stressed skin that craves something cool and refreshing

Use for: exfoliation or to brighten up skin tone


Use for: removing grime and gunk from skin, especially after spending time in the city or on public transport

Use for: skin purging without stripping moisture

Use for: banishing simple spots to ugly under the skin painful blemishes (especially great on hormonal acne)


Use for: anytime skin needs additional moisture or to add moisture back in after a cleansing mask (especially great if left overnight)


Use for: injecting life back into dull and drab skin

Sunday, July 13, 2014

High Tech Beauty Treatments??

As I've mentioned on here before, in April I had a skin cancer spot removed from my nose.  I won't go into the gory details, but it ended up being quite large underneath the skin.  Thankfully it is all gone now, but I did have five layers of skin removed during Mohs surgery and I had fairly extensive reconstructive surgery right after.

Now my nose is looking pretty much back to normal two months on (though I can tell the difference) but one of the main concerns I have is how much redness I still have, especially on the bridge of my nose.  Both the plastic surgeon who did the reconstructive surgery and my dermatologist agreed that it is redder than it should be two months on.

To combat the redness, my lovely dermatologist suggested I try IPL Photorejuvenation and even offered to do a series of treatments for free, bless her.  "IPL (intense pulsed light) is a light-based treatment that is extremely popular and effective for treating sun damage, brown spots, age spots, facial redness, red blood vessels and improving overall skin texture and tone.  An IPL photofacial is gentle and non-invasive."  I recently had my first appointment and opted to do a full face treatment once and subsequently just do my nose.  Of course my first, and only question, was does it hurt?  I was told no.  I beg to differ.

Let me explain the process.  Remove makeup.  Weird jelly all over face to protect skin.  Red pulse of light.  Sounds simple right?  Well personally I think that red pulse of light is very painful!  It felt like I was being zapped/pinched all over and after each "zap" very hot heat would radiate from the pulse point.  I've talked to people that don't think it is painful at all, but I would definitely categorize it as not pleasant.  Luckily the whole face treatment only takes around 10 minutes and the sunburned/radiating heat feeling subsides after just a few hours.

Let's talk results, because I can deal with not pleasant and discomforting if it makes a difference. Initially the IPL treatment made all of my dark spots, and nose redness, noticeably darker/worse.  After several days these dark spots flaked off.  And wouldn't you know it, after just one treatment my skin tone really did look more even and my face properly glowed for the first time ever.  As for my nose, the redness was lighter but not gone.  I do believe that after several more treatments the redness will be significantly lighter and less noticeable.

First high tech beauty treatment gets a thumbs up for me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly Wants #4

1. Alex and Ani Blush Rock Candy Beaded Bangle.  I see the Alex and Ani display every time I walk through the Santa Monica Bloomingdales.  I'm always intriqued but I never really stop and look. However, I've been browsing their website recently and this bangle is really calling to me.  The rose gold color of the beads is the real selling point.

2. Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner.  Just another spray toner to add to the list.  The ingredient list looks pretty natural and the packaging elegant, so this has skyrocketed to the top of my "spray toner to try list."

3. Tory Burch Robinson Mini Bag in Watercolor Botanical Print.  Simple: Tory Burch. Mini crossbody.  Floral print.  On sale.

4. Tanya Burr Lipgloss in Picnic in the Park.  When will this ever be back in stock at Feelunique??

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why I Reach For: Benefit Hoola

1. Sheer.  Even though I wear bronzer pretty much every day I still have a fear of putting on too much. Thankfully, Hoola is beginner bronzer, it applies very sheer and can be built up for a more intense look. This is true regardless of the brush I use.

2. Blendable.  Not only does it apply sheer, it is extremely blendable.  I hate when products leave a noticeable line on your face, or a patchy area with more product than anywhere else.  While I think the product itself is quite blendable on its own, I do like to spend a good bit of time blending it in.

3. Color. Not too warm, not too cool.  Doesn't make me look orange, nor does it give a contour effect.  Just the perfect color to give your complexion a little pick me up.

4. Packaging. I'm pretty sure when I bought this I owned several other bronzers, but the packaging was just too much to resist.  When I look at this box I automatically think of Hawaii and being in the islands. What's not to love?

5. Long Lasting. Hoola is long lasting both in terms of how long it stays on the skin and the amount of product you are getting.  At the end of the day, even if my blush and foundation are starting to wear a bit thin, I always have some sort of color and glow left from this bronzer.  As a result, I don't have to reapply so of course the product doesn't seem to be going down in the pan at all.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What I Loved: June 2014

A monthly favorites where I love shoes the most and not skincare or makeup.  Whats happening?

Kate Spade Wallet - super clearance sale at Bloomingdales.  I have an unhealthy wallet collection and this is shiny, gold one just had to be the latest edition.
Kohls Sandals - I usually only shop in Kohls for things like towels, but these sandals were a great find and I get so many compliments on them.  Bonus - they were only $20.
Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 - No nice Canon photo for these as they are currently sitting extremely dirty in the corner of my room, which is what I get for wearing brand new shoes up in the mountains fishing.  I really wanted a pair of these after seeing them on Anna's blog so many times.  Still getting to grips with styling these, as it isn't something that comes natural to me, but I do love how comfy they are.

Revlon Brow Fantasy in Brunette - This is a great dupe for my favorite eyebrow product of all time, the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, and at a fraction of the cost.  The only downside is that the color range is fairly limited and even though I am also the shade brunette in the Hourglass pencil, the Revlon brunette is a bit too red.  I can blend it in some but for the really defined and clean brow that I like, the color does look off.

Supergoop CC Cream in Light to Medium - I've always wanted to try to this brand and I am so happy I did.  This stuff is great and true to its name it definitely self-adjusts.  Sometimes when my skin is feeling too dry for a full layer of foundation (no one likes the cakey, dry patch look) I use this to even out my skin tone and then apply concealer only where I really need it.  I am very tempted to pick up the full size version.
Diptyque L'eau - This little sample will most definitely be an empty before long.  The names and packaging of Diptyque products are so luxurious and so are the scents.  This is a really spicy and strong scent and smells very grown up.  I think what I like most is that when I put it on I feel more French and sophisticated because it isn't floral, fruity or in anyway childish. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekly Wants #3

1. Diptyque L'eau - I don't lean towards one particular type of perfume, which sadly means I don't have a signature scent.  It does mean I have a vast variety of perfume scents in my collection.  I'm loving this bold, spicy scent from Diptyque and think it is the perfect addition to my collection.

2. Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Intense Hydration Night Cream - As I mentioned last week, I've really been liking the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer and Cream.  I saw this Yes to Carrots product while browsing Target, as per usual, and think it may be a good dupe for a fraction of the price.

3. Rifle Paper Co. iRapido! Notepad - Nice stationary makes to-do lists much more fun.  I've heard of this brand from several blogs and really want to pick up some of their products to spruce up my new office space.  Not exactly the type of paper you would expect to see in an attorney office, but I like being different.

4. 22 Jump Street - I don't seem to go to the movies as much as I used to so my list of movies to see keeps growing and growing.  I'm hoping I can see this one soon without having to wait for it to come out in Redbox.  I'm kind of disappointed in myself for not seeing this opening weekend, it is a Channing Tatum movie after all!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Empties #3

Soap & Glory Hand Food - Wonderful scent, nice and moisturizing, non-sticky and all for only five dollars.  Third empty tube and counting.  Repurchase: Yes

Dermophil - Can't say I really used this product up.  However, I most definitely would have except for the fact that I left it in my luggage, in a car, in Sacramento for about five hours in 100 degree heat.  Of course it would melt! Why didn't I think of that before I left it in the car??  I love this lip balm and need to research where I can get it in the US since I picked this up in Paris in the Spring. Repurchase: Yes

L'Oreal OleoTherapy Shampoo & Conditioner - These did absolutely nothing for my hair.  Points for being sulfate free but if doesn't do anything then it's not even worth it.  They don't have a particularly great smell, they don't moisturize, the shampoo is gloopy.... I could go on but I will refrain.  I ended up using the conditioner as shaving cream because I couldn't take washing my hair with it anymore.  Repurchase: No and No

Nip & Fab Detox Blend - Mentioned on here before.  It's love.  Repurchase: Yes!!

Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist - Mini size finished, regular size almost finished.  I love the concept of a spray toner; it feels great on the skin and I don't feel wasteful using another cotton round.  This smells amazing, the packaging is luxurious and it dries into the sink nicely.  However, I am sure another product can produce the same results at a much less painful price.  Repurchase: No

Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 - Recommended by my dermatologist (who I love) and does not cause breakouts.  I'm religious in applying this since I've already had skin cancer removed from my face and it is most definitely something I never want to go through again.  Repurchase: Yes

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara - Price- great.  Product - eh.   It is extremely liquidy.  When you remove the wand from the tube you literally have to scrape so much excess product off beforehand or when you run it through your eyebrows they will have a bad wet, gel look going on (which isn't flattering at all).  Repurchase: No

Whish Shave Cream - Birchbox sample that affirms my love/hate relationship with monthly boxes.  I like trying new products, and getting products delivered in the mail, but well over 50% of the time I don't like the samples.  This smells really bad to me, but I could get over the scent if the product was good.... which it isn't.  When I applied it to my legs, instead of the razor gliding over the product (and thereby moisturizing and protecting your leg from the blade), all of the product is collected by the razor blade sort of like when you use a scraper on your car windows to get snow off.  Because of that there is literally no point in using it, it doesn't do anything.  It also left a sticky, tight, film over my legs that I did not appreciate.  Repurchase: Most definitely not

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil - After I just ranted about samples and Birchbox, here is a sample that I actually really liked.  I found myself reaching for this oil over my Moroccan Oil every time I washed my hair.  Gorgeous scent, cute glass packaging and the oil really sinks into your hair.  You can feel softer hair before you even blow your hair dry.  If an oil can be considered 'creamy' this one definitely would, it literally melts into your hair upon use. Repurchase: Yes

Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Dry Shampoo - Nothing fancy here, just dry shampoo.  Worked well enough and didn't make my hair too crispy or sticky when applied.  Repurchase: Probably