Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last Empties of 2014

Apologies for extremely sporadic posts over the last two months.  I've been busy working my day job and haven't been blogging much.  However, I have been busy using up products.

1. Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser. The best drugstore cleanser I have ever used.  Used as a morning cleanser this perks up your skin, takes off your nightly skincare, and provides hydration for the day ahead all without irrating, stripping or costing a fortune.

2. La Roche Posay Cicaplast Mains. I know I've talked about this before.  It is the best hand cream I have ever used.  I don't understand why it isn't available in the US.  With so many bad hand creams on the market, it would be a welcome change to see this in the store. 

3. Lush Hot Toddy. Another "best" product.  The scent of this shower gel makes it my absolute favorite: cinnamon and ginger combining to make a super cosy Christmas scent. I wish I had purchased a few backups because it was limited edition and there is no guarantee it will be back next year.  

4. Lush Sympathy For The Skin. I was hesitant about this at first but I got used to the banana smell and appreciated the hydration it  gave my skin.  However, I can't get over how much a full size container of this costs.  Too much.

5. Trilogy Hydrating Mist Spray.  At first the scent of this is quite strong and off putting but eventually all you smell is rose.  I liked this but I am not in love with this.  It didn't hydrate enough so it ended up just being a refreshing spray and another step in my skincare routine.  

6. Cavair CC Cream. I've raved about this before so no need to go on.  Just do yourself a favor and pick this up.  

7. Cavair Moisture Milk. Same as the CC cream.  Another wonderful addition to your haircare routine. 

7. Lush Santa's Lip Scrub.  Also mentioned on here before, this scrub is actually really disappointing.  Unlike other Lush scrubs, it isn't very effective at eliminating dry skin.  The red color also leaves an unattractive stain on the lips. 

8. Origins Super Spot Remover.  I used this for awhile to combat spots before going to the dermatologist for assistance.  Helpful when treating a few random spots but for the hormonal acne I suffer from it isn't the right type of treatment. 

9. No. 4 Reconstructing Mask.  Simple mask providing moisture, sleekness and shine.

10. Perlier Lavander Shea Butter Body Balm. A good product if you use it as intended.  However, I read "body cream" not body balm and couldn't figure out why it was so thick and why so much was needed.  The "balm" part explains a lot.

11. Vichy Purete Thermale Micellar Solution.   This took a long time to go through because I used it only when I got home super late (i.e. past midnight) and was too lazy to do a full skincare routine.  It removed makeup and while it didn't strip my skin it didn't provide any moisture either.  The real downside?  The fact that it barely removes eye makeup (and I don't wear a ton of it or waterproof).  

12. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black. Yes, it is long lasting and very black but I just do not have the skill to apply this and have it look good.  This isn't so much of an empty as it is a product I've had for a long time that never got any love and dried out.

13. Nars Light Optimizing Primer.  The good: great sun protection.  The bad: did not extend the life of my makeup.

14. The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink In Moisture Mask. Good but not great.  Moisture but not enough.  Helpful but not life changing.

15. Nip + Fab Moisture Fix. The best drugstore moisturizer that I have ever used.  Very basic with a strong herbal scent.  I haven't found anything else at the price point that delivers hydration, a smooth base for makeup and doesn't irritate my skin or cause breakouts.  Unfortunately, Ulta does not stock it anymore. 

16. Mac Cremesheen in Deelight. The best my lips but better shade! I love the consistency and color of this easy to apply lipgloss.  As a bonus it is not too sticky nor too drying.

17. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. I blame myself for not loving this product.  I really think you need consistent daily use of these pads to see a difference.  I want to purchase these again, and use them consistently, before I make a definite decision on them.

18. Nivea Pearl & Beaty Deodorant.  A spray deodorant. Why does this not exist in America?  This feels so much more refreshing than stick deodorant, and much colder!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015 Travel Resolutions

New Year, New Travel Plans! Here are the trips I hope to take in 2015:

1. New York City - In February I am going to New York with a friend and can't wait!  I'm already making a list of things I want to see and do, even though I know I won't have enough time to get to everything. I'm hoping for snow too!

2. Denver - I almost went to law school in Denver, but since I didn't it is still on my must visit list.  Luckily, I have a friend living there now so I hope to visit before the end of winter to experience some cold weather and gorgeous scenery. 

3. Stockholm (or somewhere in Europe).  I love traveling abroad and ideally would like to travel somewhere new every year.  I think this year I might just be able to swing an international trip and plan on joining some sort of group tour with young professionals full people who are like me and want to see more of the world.  Ideally I want to go to Stockholm, as I've wanted to visit Sweden since I was kid, but in theory anywhere in Europe would be great.

4. Chicago - My mom and I like to take Mother/Daughter trips and I think Chicago is our next destination.  We love watching the Steve Harvey show, so going to a taping is a high on our list of things to do when we visit.  I also really want to take a river architecture cruise that I missed out on last time I was in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Traditions

1. Christmas Decor

My family decorates the whole house - inside and out.  Our Christmas decor tends to change from year to year as we get rid of things and add new things in.  This year, I'm loving this Christmas Tree I saw on A Thoughtful Place blog, so I've purchased supplies to make the "Baby It's Cold Outside" garland... though it never is cold in California.

2. Christmas Eve Dinner

As kids we ate dinner at home and went to church.  However, the last few years we've eaten out, choosing a different area of Los Angeles each time.  This year we are going to Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles and I'm very excited.  The food is fabulous and the location and glittering lights should definitely get everyone in the Christmas spirit.

3. Christmas Stockings

While presents are great, stockings are my favorite.  We open stockings bright and early Christmas morning and put just as much thought into stocking stuffers as we do regular gifts.  Needless to say, they are generally bulging at the seams.  To make it extra special, we wrap each stocking stuffer so everything is hidden ahead of time and there is more to open on Christmas Day.

4. Christmas Day Movie

Christmas Day, after the presents have been opened and our non-traditional dinner eaten, my family heads to the movies.  This year we've decided on Night at the Museum 3.  Unbroken looks great but not cheery enough for Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Unite Haul

A few weeks back I got an amazing haircut at Brambila Salon in Santa Monica.  I searched on Yelp for days, reading review after review on salons and stylists.  I finally decided on Brambila because of excellent reviews, beautiful salon pictures and convenient location.  My stylist, Jam, used all Unite products on my hair and I could not get over the scent.  Unite products are the best smelling products, ever!  Although I had absolutely zero intention of buying products to take home at the end of my appointment, I ended purchasing quite a few.... setting my bank balance back quite a lot.

Here's the rundown on what I got: Unite Luxury Shampoo, Unite Luxury Conditioner, Unite Luxury Argan Oil, Unite 7Seconds Condition and Unite Lazer Straight.  So far all of the products produce great results and are super luxurious to use, but I love the oil and straightener best because they smell like candy! I'm not sure I can ever justify buying these products on a regular basis, because of the price, but I will enjoy the scent and the results for a little while.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Gift Exchange

Last night I attended my first holiday party of the season.  In addition to great food and drink, the night concluded with a holiday gift exchange.  Seeing as I love all things beauty I had to bring a beauty related gift.  I saw the Rituals Ancient Beauty gift set on the Gilt website and decided it would be a great gift to bring.

Well, it just so happens that I managed to win my gift back in the holiday gift exchange and I couldn't be happier.  The set includes mini versions of Yogi Flow, Brilliant Bliss, Honey Touch and Ayurveda Scrub.  Though all of the products smell amazing, I'm looking forward to trying Yogi Flow first because the concept sounds so cool - foaming bath gel!  I love foaming hand wash so I imagine foaming shower gel will be just as great.