Sunday, August 31, 2014

Travel Packing - Adventure

Usually when I pack for vacation, I spend a lot of time thinking about what makeup I'm going to bring and what looks I might want to wear each day of the vacation.  However, by the time this post goes live, I will be in Alaska exploring the great outdoors.  This time I am much more concerned with having the necessary essentials while hiking and exploring nature instead of the perfect shade of lipstick.  The number one thing I made sure to pack was my sunscreen of choice, Coppertone Clearly Sheer SPF 30.  Although this product has a lower SPF, I make sure to apply it every two hours to ensure protection.  I headed to the travel section in Target before I left to get a travel size OFF! Insect Repellant, which I am sure will come in handy as I am especially prone to insect bites.  I usually use Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer but I don't think that will cut it on this trip.  Instead, I need something a little more heavy duty so I also picked up some Wet Ones antibacterial wipes.  I think one, or more of these, will get the job done after I've spent the day hiking, fishing and gold panning until I get back to civilization to clean up.  To keep my lips moisturized after changing climates, and to protect them from the sun, I'm relying on Blistex Five Star Lip Protection SPF 30.  I'm putting all of these products, plus water, snacks and lots of camera equipment into my new Jansport + Madewell Compadre backpack.  

Time to explore!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Wants #10

1. ASOS Daisy Street Sweat Dress with Pockets. This looks like the epitome of casual.  I love that this dress can be thrown on for a casual look or dressed up slightly for the evening. 

2. New Balance for J.Crew 620 Sneakers.  Right now I have a thing for sneakers.  The color of these sneakers also makes them extremely versatile. 

3. GHD Classic Professional 1" Styler.  My old straightener finally died after 12 years.  I know I want a GHD and I think this color is really different. 

4. Louis Vuitton Pallas Monogram. This is a total wishlist item.  The Louis Vuitton store window doesn't usually catch my eye but this purse was in the window in South Coast Plaza recently and it slightly rekindled my love for the brand.  If I ever get another Louis Vuitton, it probably will be this one.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mini Sephora Haul

I once again stepped into Sephora and walked out with items I didn't intend on purchasing.  I browsed the Bite Beauty stand with my mom because she wanted to pick up one of their lipsticks.  I saw a section devoted to lip care and instantly picked up the Whipped Cherry lip scrub.  I currently use a Christmas lip scrub from Lush that I'm not thrilled with.  This product feels luxurious, oily and moisturizing on the lips and smells amazing.  Of course when I walked up to pay I got distracted with the travel/trial size products.  After much debate I decided to get the Ole Henriksen nurture me cleansing cloths to take on vacation to remove my makeup at night.  I'm on the fence about these as I don't normally use face wipes and I don't want my skin to freak out.  I also couldn't pass up a 100 point perk, especially because they had some great products to choose from.  I love the L'Occitane Almond collection so I'm sure this oil won't disappoint.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Birchbox August 2014

I've been a Birchbox subscriber for quite awhile.  There is always something I like in every box... but I've never been excited about everything in the box.  As I picked up each item in the August box, I got more and more excited.  I can see myself using all of these products. 

1. Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo - I'm leaving for vacation soon and a mini dry shampoo was on my "to purchase" list.  No need now.  

2. Supergoop Hand Cream -  The last Supergoop product I tried was love at first use and I'm hoping this will be the same. 

3. Dr. Jart+ BB - I love using samples like this when I don't want a full face of foundation.  I plan on trying this on the weekend for an easy and relaxed look. 

4. ModelCo Bronzer - I will probably try this product last, only because I am so attached to other bronzers I use. 

5. Nugg Face Mask Soothing - I saw these little one-use pots in Target recently and almost picked up a few.  I plan on using this after I get back from vacation, after a cleansing mask to soothe my skin and bring it back to normal.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekly Wants #9

1. Tarte The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer.  While I'm not super interested in adding to the time it takes to do my makeup routine, I think it might be worth it if this delivers what it says it does.

2. Uniqlo Round Neck T-Shirt. Going through my wardrobe has made it clear I need plain, basic t-shirts with a good fit.  This one looks promising and I would love to try it at the new Uniqlo LA store.

3. Caudalie Facial.  Must save up for this one.  While reviews on the spa say the facials are amazing, they come with a steep price tag.

4. Bath & Body Works Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding Candle. Asked a sales associate what candle was burning in the store because it smelled so good and it was this one.  Too bad when I was in the store 3-wick candles weren't on sale.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Best Beauty Spots in LA

Space.NK is my go to store.  Though the stock doesn't change much, I always enjoy browsing around and looking at different products.  I especially love the store in Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza, as the staff at that store is incredibly nice and always willing to give out lots of samples.  The store in Bloomingdale's Century City is bigger and has more stock; on occasion I will venture there but I just love talking to the staff in Costa Mesa.  There is a stand alone store in Brentwood, however I have a Bloomingale's credit card so I prefer to shop where I can get Space.NK points and Bloomingdale's points.  Pick up: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, Oribe.

Head over to Pasadena for the best bath product store.  All products are locally made and are packed with natural ingredients.  They sell skincare, body care, bath products, aromatherapy oils, soaps, etc.  The staff is incredibly helpful without being pushy, the store smells amazing and is super calming.  Before the store opens you can schedule a little party to shop privately with friends, try products and have a few snacks (or adult drinks).  Pick Up: Coconut Creme body wash, Glow On The Go, Natural Sea Wool Sponge, Clear Head Balancing Balm

Walgreens Hollywood

I wish more Walgreens were like the Hollywood store.  Inside the store is the standard drugstore beauty section as well an expanded section called Look Beauty.  What's great is that Look Beauty sells a lot of brands from overseas that are usually hard to get your hands on.  Pick up: Nuxe Reve De Miel, Avene Cicalfate, Gosh Cosmetics


Everyone loves a trip to Sephora.  I prefer to frequent the Santa Monica or South Coast Plaza stores as they carry a large variety of brands.  Both are always busy though.  I enjoy shopping at Sephora more than I used to because they now make samples of almost any product you want to try.  You can also get just about every hot beauty blogger item here.  Pick up: anything

Frederic Fekkai Melrose

Haircare time now.  I can't afford to go to Fekkai regularly, but they do have a program where you can be a "hair model" and pay $10 for a haircut or $20 for color.  When I first signed up I was a bit hesitant as to what hair model would mean.  Luckily the stylists asks you about your hair, your routine, what you want done and then works with the senior instructor from New York before doing anything to you hair.  I've had great results and so have friends.  You essentially get the same service as if you booked a stand alone appointment; all in a beautiful salon without breaking the bank.

Caudalie Spa 

This one is a bit of a cheat.  I haven't been here yet but I am dying to go!  Recently I was driving home on a Abbot Kinney, a route I don't normally take, and saw a Caudalie spa and boutique.  I literally let out squeals of joy.  My mom and I have been looking into having a facial/spa day and I'm so undeceive as to where to go.  Decision made as soon as I saw the sign... that is once I've saved up some money.  Facials are pricey!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Empties #4

I get way too much joy out of writing empties posts, especially this one because it is massive empties time!  First off, I used up a lot of skincare products recently.  I ran out of my trusty morning cleanser, the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel.  This cleanser feels simple and luxurious at the same time and does a great job of brightening my skin.  I do have a stash of cleansers to go through but I can definitely see myself purchasing this again.  Another luxurious, pricey skincare bit I recently ran out of is the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist.  I love this as a hydrating toner, both morning and night, but the price is too hard to justify when similar products do the same thing.  Unless it was massively on sale, I wouldn't repurchase.  On the budget side of skincare, I ran out of a second tube of La Roche-Posay Toleraine.  I used this moisturizer in the morning and it is simple, both in terms of use and ingredients, and didn't aggravate my skin.  I find my skin is a little more on the dehydrated side now so I've switched to something formulated for extra hydration.  

Next up is quite a few body products.  First, I used up a massive tub of First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream.  Since putting on body lotion is one of the most boring beauty tasks, and because there is nothing luxurious about this product, I will not repurchase.  It has no scent (specifically formulated that way) and takes a super long time to dry, at least on my skin.  Another body lotion I ran out of is the Bath & Body Works Cashmere Glow.  This lasted me through multiple weekend trips before running dry.  I love the scent of this product and it provides enough moisture, but is not long lasting on the skin. I wouldn't repurchase the full size but the travel size is a great value.  I think lip products take an especially long time to finish... probably because I have so many.  I was very excited to finish the Nivea Milk & Honey lip balm.  I thought it would be a good dupe for Nuxe Reve de Miel but unfortunately it isn't.  It looks similar but is not nearly as hydrating.  I will stick to searching for Nuxe instead of repurchasing this.  Within a day I ran out of both my bedside hand cream and handbag hand cream.  One the one hand, the L'Occitane Almond Delicious Hands is fabulous both in scent and moisture and I would definitely repurchase.  On the other hand, the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream is okay on scent but far too sticky for my liking.

My last two empties are fairly random.  I finished a Boots Deodorant I bought in London some months ago.  I loved the slight, fresh scent and would buy it again if I lived in the UK.  My beloved Stella McCartney perfume bit the dust just a few days ago.  I honestly can't remember if I've used up a full size perfume before.  I bought this several years ago as my first grown up perfume.  I really do like the scent, but because I don't have a signature scent and prefer to try so many perfumes, I don't see myself repurchasing it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Wants #8

1. J.Crew Petal Top.  If you've read my blog before, you probably know my go-to store is J.Crew.  I'm on the hunt to add some delicate, thin pieces to my wardrobe and this definitely fits the bill.

2. Pai Anywhere Essentials Travel Kit - Pure Hydration Collection.  I'm loving Pai right now, especially their Rosehip oil, and I love mini sizes, so this kit sounds like a win-win. 

3. Whistle Clutch in Ice Blue. I love investing in bags that I will use for years.  This is such a great classic shape but with a slight edge that won't go out of fashion for awhile.

4. H&M Suede Pumps.  These look beautiful and very versatile but I'm hesitant as to whether they will actually fit my feet and not hurt too much.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Birchbox Book Club: July 2014

Time for a review of the July Birchbox Book Club book - The Bridesmaids: True Tales of Love, Envy, Loyalty... and Terrible Dresses.  Better late than never, right?  I was super excited when I found out I was getting a copy to read and review from Birchbox.  Especially because this book isn't something I would normally pick up.  I also haven't read a "real" book in quite awhile, which was entirely weird after reading on my Kindle for so long.  

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and finished it fairly fast.  I can't remember the last time I read a book that was broken up into small, individual stories.  (I'm partial to the latest young adult book, even though I'm probably too old to be reading those).  Some of the stories made me laugh, some made emotional and some just down right scared me.  Now I've never been a bridesmaid, or a bride, and not many of my friends have gotten married even though we are fast approaching our high school reunion.  In a sense it was hard to relate to many of the stories in this book.  But what I did take away from this book was many lessons of what not to do, both as a bridesmaid and as a bride.  Of course there were extremely touching moments and examples of love you can only hope you experience on your big day. 

My particular favorites were stories of under $20 bridesmaids dresses bought on clearance at a mall chain store that didn't flatter anyone (because I've witnessed that one before) and the bridesmaid who danced with a cat at the reception (because just imagining that is amazing.)

Thanks Birchbox for the book!  I can't wait to read next months book. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The (New) Morning Cleanse

The other day something happened that I was dreading: I ran out of my beloved Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel.  After putting it in my growing empties pile, I went to my rather large stash and chose another cleanser to insert into my morning routine.  After much consideration I went with the Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser that I picked up at TJ Maxx a few months back.  If first impressions are anything to go by, I will definitely be disappointed when I run out of this cleanser too! Here's what you need to know: 

* Creamy, Creamy, Creamy - I've tried cleansers that claim to be creamy but aren't.  This is not one of those.  This is incredibly creamy and my skin literally soaks it up. So much so that when it comes to removing it, not much is left on the surface of my skin.

* Smells like a baby - I know the scent of a product shouldn't make a difference if the product is doing its job, but it is always a bonus when products smell nice.  I happen to love the smell of baby products, specifically baby lotion, and while this doesn't exactly smell like that it sure is close.  

* Incredibly soft skin - Instantly after this using this cleanser, my skin looks perkier, healthier and feels so much softer.  The skin softening ingredients and honey combine to really brighten and nourish the skin. 

The only downside is that this cleanser isn't readily available in the United States, which is such a shame as it is a super budget buy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Wants #7

1. Jansport & Madewell Compadre Backpack.  Going to Alaska at the end of the month and I think this would be perfect to carry lug around all of my outdoor essentials and camera equipment.

2. H&M Sneakers. I've wanted a pair of slip on sneakers like this all summer.  I must go in and try these on before they are all gone.

3. Fotostrap.  Another thing I want to pick up before I leave for Alaska.  The only problem is I can't decide what color to get.  Let me know which color I should get in the comments!

4. Anomie Kelly Jumper.  I'm guilty of lusting over this for quite awhile... and now it's on sale!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What I Loved: July 2014

I like to shop.  I also like to collect beauty products.  Those two facts alone pretty much guarantee I will have some sort of new product love each month.  This month I shopped my stash a bit and gave some love to products that were sitting on the shelf collecting dust.  First up is the super hyped Pixi Glow Tonic.  When I first tried this I didn't get the hype and stopped using it.  I recently felt an urge to use this again and it is when I started using it consistently that I noticed results.  I'm particularly happy that it helps get rid of dry patches on my face, which means my foundation looks better when applied, and throughout the day.  Another skin favorite this month is the Nip + Fab Moisture Fix.  I've been loyal to La Roche Posay Toleraine for some time.... but this Nip + Fab moisturizer is better.  The cons: strong natural scent and a lot of natural ingredients (which can sometimes be problematic).  The pros: gives me the moisture my skin needs and dries to the touch almost instantly after applied and it's cheaper.

I told myself I was going to attempt to use up my primer sample stash and the first one I reached for was the Nars Light Optimizing Primer.  It was love at first use.  The stark white color quickly and seamlessly blends into the skin and all you are left with is skin that actually feels like skin.  No pesky layer of film on the skin and not tacky to the touch.  My foundation applies nicely and actually does last a long time.  If I put makeup on around 8am, it stays in place until late afternoon.  Also from Nars, this month I loved using the Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover.  One day when I couldn't decide what lip color to wear, I reached into my lip container and picked one at random.  I put it on and thought why haven't I been wearing this more? It is summer in lipstick form.  A really great, and easy to wear, pinky-peach with a hint of shimmer. The only new product this month that completely caught my attention is the Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer.  I've talked about it before on here so I won't go on but I absolutely love this because it almost completely covers the scar and redness on my nose.

Friday, August 1, 2014

(Almost) Time For A Summer Vacation

No weekly wants post today, but I'll be back with one next week.  Since it is August 1st, I thought I would share with you what I am most looking forward to this month.  At the end of the month I'm going to Alaska with a friend from law school.  I'm super excited because I've always wanted to see Alaska.  While we will be spending a good amount of time visiting my friend's brother, wife and kids, we've also allocated some time to explore the area around Anchorage.

Although I've been assured I won't run out of things to do in Alaska, here is what I already have my eye on:

1. Glacier Cruise.  Reviews says the views are breathtaking and you might see whales and sea otters. Sold.

2. Alaska Zoo.  I love the zoo!  Any zoo.  I'm going to the zoo with small kids, but I've let everyone know in advance that I will most likely act more like a child than the children.

3. Hiking.  I'm not one for strenuous hiking, but a nice leisurely, flat surfaced hike in nature sounds great to me.  I've found one that promises you pass by beavers and salmon!

Can you tell I'm all about the animals?