Home » STYLE

Category: STYLE

Recent Skincare Favorites

recent skincare favorites

Winter is on its way out, which means swapping out skincare routines. I thought now would be a good time to document my recent skincare favorites before I switch them out for more spring and summer friendly products!

Recent Skincare Favorites

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

I use this toner year-round because it’s non-irritating (thanks to the absence of alcohol) and doubles as an eye makeup remover. It doesn’t hurt the packaging and smell are sublime!

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

This is a cleanser I keep going back to every winter. It’s non-drying and gentle, and has kept my breakouts at bay over the past few months.

DIY Face Elixir Spray

I can’t stop spraying this stuff! If you’re looking for a Caudalie Face Elixir dupe, this is a great substitute. You won’t mind spraying it on your face, pillows, or anywhere really! Click on the link above to learn how to make your own!

Murad – Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

I decided to try this to get rid of hyperpigmentation (thanks, birth control). So far, I haven’t seen a lot of change in my skin tone, but the texture of my skin is much better since I started using it. I guess I’ll have to be diligent and patient with the pigmentation.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre Moisturizer

When I first purchased this, I thought it would be far too thick for my already oily, sensitive skin. Boy, was I wrong! I slather this on every night after my serum, and I wake up every morning with soft, glowing skin. The French know their skincare, that’s for sure!

Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar 4-In-1 Foaming Clay

I found this at my local Ulta last fall, and loved it because of the smell, mostly. However, after using it as both a mask and exfoliating scrub, I am now on my third tube! It’s a great multi-use product that smells great, and leaves my skin feeling smooth without being too irritated. I loved using it this winter because it’s not as harsh as my other exfoliants, and as a mask it’s not too drying.

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Beauty DIY Face Elixir Spray

Living on a budget often means giving up your favorite luxury products. One I miss terribly is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir. It doesn’t do much for my skin, per se, but I love the relaxing, clean smell. At almost $50 per bottle, it’s an expense I can’t justify to myself.

Recently, I researched to see if I could make a face elixir spray comes close to the original. After looking at ingredients in the original elixir, I went to Whole Foods in search of the ingredients.

I am new to using essential oils, so I started with the main scents (rosemary, lavender, rose, & peppermint). I could go back and add the pricier oils later, but that defeats the purpose of a budget-friendly DIY. I spent around $30 on the ingredients, which will yield enough face elixir to last years.

After playing around with the recipe, I found a ratio of essential oils to come close to the original elixir’s scent. The rosemary scent is key – as soon as I took a whiff of it in Whole Foods, I knew that was likely the main ingredient in the Caudalie version. You can play around with the ratio based on what you like – just go easy on the peppermint. It can be irritating to your skin and eyes if spraying directly on your face.

For all you drugstore beauty lovers like me, check out this recipe for a luxury-grade face elixir that won’t break your budget!

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Ingredients:

Small glass spray bottle

Spring or distilled water

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

Essential Oils*: Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, & Grapeseed

Directions:

  1. Fill your glass bottle 2/3 of the way with water. Add the rose toner until it almost reaches the top.
  2. Add your essential oils: 10 drops each of grapeseed, rosemary, and lavender; 5 drops of peppermint (You can always play around with this ratio – perhaps start with 5 each and go from there!)
  3. Place the cap onto the bottle, give it a good shake, and spray!

This oil isn’t just good for the face – I use it as a room spray, aromatherapy spray, and fabric freshener. Just go light on fabrics, since there is oil in it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you give it a try!

*Caudalie’s spray also includes essential oils like myrrh, wild/bitter orange, neroli, rose and others. They’re super expensive, and I’m not sure they add much to their spray anyway. I got around using rose essential oil by having it in the toner. If you use a regular witch hazel toner, add some rose oil.

4 Pretty Nail Colors for Fall

4 Pretty Nail Colors Fall

While I am painfully aware that trends exist, I don’t always follow them. So when it came time to choose some new nail colors for fall, I ignored what I read in magazines and went with colors I knew I’d actually wear. For example, I keep seeing pastel blue everywhere? It’s not a color I associate with fall, and one I probably wouldn’t wear anyway. To me, fall is about adding a little brown or gray to shades I already wear – nothing too far off my normal routine.

Since I am trying out some new colors for fall, I thought I’d go with the Sonia Kashuk line at Target. They’re only $4.79 per bottle, and they come in some on-trend shades for fall. Here are the 4 pretty nail colors for fall, whether you’re a trend-setter, trend-follower, or neither! Click on the names below if you want to buy them for yourself!

Mauving On Up:

I’m not a light pink polish kind of gal, but this one seems perfect for fall. It’s mauve with a grayish tone to it, which I think will look perfect with all the grays I wear in fall and winter.

Rich Girl:

I wear orange polish frequently, but the orange polishes in my collection are bright and cheery. This is a straight-up pumpkin shade that’s perfect for fall. It looks less pink in real life, and will be a great shade to add a bit of pop to my fall wardrobe. I would love to wear this on my toes instead of my usual red or pink.

Forbidden Fruit:

This is a deep magenta that I think will be a color I wear year-round! I looked for something similar for years, but most shades were too purple or red. This is a great in-between that would look great on toes too!

Gray Matter:

I have been wearing OPI’s “Metro Chic” for years, which is the perfect muddy gray-purple shade. It’s since been discontinued, but I do love the look of grey nails in fall. It’s a great alternative to black polish (which I wear a lot in winter), and this one has a slightly bluish tone.

So there you have it! Head on over to Target to check out this collection, and I hope you find a shade or two that are perfect for your fall nails!

Fall Beauty Updates

fall beauty updates

(Sorry for the crap quality photo. Sometimes things just don’t go your way!)

Fall is finally here!

I’m looking forward to updating my beauty routine to reflect the new season. Summer is easy, with little makeup and simple updos. Once the weather cools, I get excited about the new beauty trends I can try out. It must stem from my years as a teacher. Instead of stocking up on new school supplies, I’m focusing on new lip colors and some old favorites I still love.

Fall Beauty Update

L’Oreal Preference Hair Dye in Medium Chestnut Brown (5CB)

For many reasons I should probably write about in another post, I chose to stop dying my hair around Christmas last year. It turns out that while I don’t really have any grey hair yet to cover (yay genetics!), my natural hair color is boring the shit out of me. So I’m excited to mix it up for fall with a deeper, warmer hue.

Not Your Mother’s “Love for Hue” Shampoo & Conditioner

Since I haven’t dyed my hair in almost a year, I want to make sure what I do sticks. I used other products from them in the past and they were all great, so I look forward to using these too!

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation (Classic Ivory 120)

I have been using the “Dewy + Smooth” version of this all summer and loved it. For fall, I wanted to switch it up and go with the matte version, which is just as great. My skin gets stupid oily in the winter, so this should help.

NYX Butter Gloss in Red Wine Truffle

Okay, this was a total impulse buy. I don’t own a dark red lipgloss, and this shade is perfect for fall. The best part of the butter gloss is that you can really customize the look. I usually wear a little of it more like a stain, but it also looks amazing piled on too!

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black Brown

This is my all-time favorite mascara. Nothing new – just bought a new one after I got pink eye and had to throw mine out.

NYX Slim Eye Pencils in Charcoal and Light Brown

I have these in black and dark brown, but I like going a bit lighter on the eyes if I’m going darker on the lips. These are a great because I don’t have to be super precise when applying them, and on lazy fall days that’s just perfect.

Earth Therapeutic’s Triple Butter Intensive Foot Balm

I’ll gladly admit that my feet get absolutely wrecked in the fall/winter months. Changing out sandals for boots leaves them pretty dry and gross. So this year, I’m hoping to keep on top of it with a nightly ritual of foot balm and cozy socks. This one smells and feels amazing, and not at all greasy.

What are you planning to stock up on this fall? I’m still looking for a good hand lotion, so if you have any good suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Fall Fashion Trends: Love/Hate

I’m sure I’ve said it a million times this month, but fall is coming. Today, I thought I’d round up my favorite fall trends for this year. While doing this, I also found a few trends I think we should all pass on this year. So for your amusement or inspiration, here are some trends I loved and hated for this fall.

fall fashion trends love hate

Sources: Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3 / Photo 4 / Photo 5

Trends I Love:

Navy-inspired Overcoats

Every French woman out there is probably groaning right now because they’ve known that Navy-inspired coats have been cool forever. So get out your old navy peacoat and freshen it up with some gold buttons. That’s what I’m doing, if I ever get around to it!

Pumpkin-spice Orange

Orange is always a big fall color. This year is no exception. Get out your pumpkin-hued clothes and pair them up with any of the other 4 trends here, or go monochromatic for a glamorous effect.

Tartan Plaids

Plaid is also a traditional fall staple, but this year think outside the flannel shirt too. Tartan plaids were huge this year at all the fashion weeks, from coats to skirts to dresses. You can still rock the flannel shirts too…but maybe grab a midi skirt for days when you want to look more fashion than basic bitch.

Turtlenecks Under Dresses

Leandra Medine has been telling us for years to wear turtlenecks under our dresses – and we’re finally listening. It’s a great way to transition your summer dresses to fall. I like the look of a turtleneck that matches the dress, but hey, the whole point of this is you can mix it up however you want. Turtlenecks are cheap as shit (try Uniqlo), which means you can find one to go with every dress you own.

Leopard Print

I’m not sure leopard print ever went away. Whatever, it’s back and ready for fall. Don’t be afraid to mix it with other prints (like the photo above) or treat it like the neutral it is (thanks Jenna Lyons).

Okay…on to the things we should leave to a Kardashian or tweenster…. fall fashion trends love hate

Sources: Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3 / Photo 4 / Photo 5

Trends I Hate:

Tailored Sportswear

I’m not a fan of the whole “sportswear as fashion” thing, mostly because it can fail so easily. This look seems perfect if you’re 16 and rocking abs – not so much if you’re over 30. Too much shiny fabric and puffy coats just remind me of Ali G, and if you go the other direction, you just look like you’re trying to rock your gym clothes in the real world. Not into it.

The 80s

I can’t. I just can’t. Leave the gold lame and power shoulders in the 1980s where they belong.

Chokers

This trend pisses me off because it hits too close to my childhood, and that means I’m old. Chokers were all the rage when I was in high school, and I’m not ready for them to come back. That, and were chokers ever comfortable? Nope.

Renaissance/Romantic

Thanks to Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and pick your Tudor-era television shows, this look is a thing now. I’ve never understood the Ren-Faire look outside of, well, a Renaissance Faire. I get that this trend showed up at more couture shows than ready-to-wear, so it’s not supposed to be realistic (though this photo did come from a RTW line…which is…odd). Either way, I’m not liking this one. Unless you’re into LARP-ing, then dive right in.

Dusty Pink & Yellow

I’m convinced this “trendy” color combo happened because designers got their Fall and Spring lines mixed up. Who the hell wants to wear their Easter best in October? I’d be fine if this was mustard yellow and a deep-red wine color combo, but nope – it’s not. I don’t like the combination even for spring, so it’s a no for me.

Well there you go – my yearly assessment of what I’ll be wearing, buying, and ignoring for fall 2016!

Summer Beauty Cleanout

Summer is coming to a close, and our September magazines are already telling us what to buy for fall. As seasons change, it’s always a good idea to do a summer beauty cleanout. This is a great time to go through our beauty arsenal, noting what we’d love to keep, what needs to go, and what to stock up on for the future.

My beauty stash isn’t nearly as large as others, but I still need to take stock to make sure the products I have are safe, loved, and useful. It also keeps me from buying things I don’t need, which is a huge bonus!

Here are 5 tips I use to do my own summer beauty cleanout each year. Whether you have a small stash like me, or a giant one, this should be easy to do in an afternoon!

Summer Beauty Cleanout

summer beauty cleanout

1: Get it all out

I find that when cleaning, it’s best to just get it all in one place to start. This helps you see what you have and take note of how you feel about it. Do you feel okay with how much you have? Overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? If you are overwhelmed with how much you have, it’s a good sign that it’s time to pare down.

Before you begin, grab a notepad and pen to take notes of what to buy/replace when you’re done. I never remember what I tossed out, so I always do this!

My beauty products were stored in my bathroom, office and bedroom. Once I got it all out and looked at it, I realized I shouldn’t have it divided among 3 rooms. There isn’t that much, and I don’t know why it was spread out all over the apartment.

My goal for this project became simple – try to get everything in one room!

summer beauty cleanout

2: Check expiration dates

The first thing you should do to start your summer beauty cleanout is to grab everything with an expiration date and check that it’s still good. It’s also good to go through your medicine cabinet and travel kits too. Anything that’s past it’s prime, toss it – no excuses – and jot down anything that needs replaced!

For anything without an expiration date, you can check out this handy guide for how long to keep common beauty and makeup products.

summer beauty cleanout

3: Be brutal with makeup

Many women I know agree that makeup is tough to pare down. We keep things well beyond their shelf life, buy duplicates of products over and over, and keep things we don’t like. Being ruthless with your makeup stash will ensure your products are safe, effective, and will actually get used.

My biggest issue with makeup is that I buy duplicates. Do I need two bronzers that are basically the same? No – especially since I know the Sephora one is at least 4 years old. I also got rid of all the nubs of eyeliner I was holding on to. I bought new ones months ago, but never replaced them because the nubs still had product in them. It felt wasteful to just throw them out – until I noticed I kept stabbing my eyes every time I tried to use them.

Once I pared down my makeup, I took notes on what needed replaced, and some ideas of things to freshen up my makeup routine for fall.

summer beauty cleanout

4: Toss / Keep (and what to do with each)

Once you’ve gone through everything, now you have to deal with the “toss” pile. Do you throw it all out? Give some of it away? Sell it? Here are some simple rules for how to get rid of things:

  • Throw away anything that’s past its expiration date – no exceptions!
  • Throw away any used makeup that didn’t make the cut. I know it’s tempting to give it away to friends or family, but it’s too risky – especially if the product is old and/or used.
  • If you have any makeup that was never (and I mean never ever) used, and it’s still relatively new, see if you have a friend you can give it to. If not, toss it.
  • Don’t sell makeup online. I know some people do that, but it just seems…shady to me.
  • For those almost-empty bottles of lotion, shampoo, soap, etc.: Decant them into travel-sized bottles and toss into your travel kit! Why spend money on a travel-sized bottle of shampoo when you have 2 ounces of it sitting in a bottle in the back of your bathroom sink?

After doing my summer beauty cleanout, I was also left with a small box of “things to use later.” It’s a great place to keep things that I haven’t used in a while, but should work on finishing before buying new stuff. Keep it under the sink so you don’t forget about it!

summer beauty cleanout

5: Stock up on essentials

The last thing to do is easy – go shopping! Take your notes of what to replace or stock up on, and head on out! Fall is a great time to stock up on essentials like cotton pads, cotton swabs, sunscreen (lots of end-of-summer sales!), and other basics. With everyone heading back to school, or moving off to college, stores are having crazy sales right now. I hit up my local Target and grabbed a few things I knew I’d need soon, and a few things just for fun!

I met my goal of getting all my beauty products in one room, and feel more confident that nothing left will go to waste. I’m also looking forward to stocking up on some new fall makeup soon too, whenever it’s not 90 degrees out anymore!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to pack up the bulky fisherman knits (okay, maybe leave out a couple) and bring in some freshness to our closets! For some reason, this spring I’m more inspired to update my wardrobe – probably because spring and summer here kind of blend together, so I’m killing two birds with one shopping trip!

Anyway, here are some spring fashion trends that I’m looking forward to adding into my closet this season, and some styling ideas thanks to my Pinterest feed!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #1: Marled Knit Sweaters

I have a ton of lightweight sweaters, but I’d love to add a cozier one to the mix for chilly spring days and summer nights. Marled knit sweaters are so soft and cozy, which makes them perfect to throw on with jeans and nice flats in the spring, and toss on with shorts and sandals in the summer.

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #2: Orange

Sure, we all wear a ton of orange in the fall (due to Pumpkin Spice Fever, I assume). However, orange is such a universally flattering color that we really can rock it all year! To keep it more spring/summer ready than fall, keep the orange bright and cheery! I love that it works well with denim and other neutrals, and bright orange accessories add a nice pop to any outfit. I don’t look good wearing yellow unless I have a serious tan, but I can pull off orange any day!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #3: Soft Pinks

Soft pinks are clearly a nod to one of the Pantone colors of the year, but I have to say they should be a staple in our wardrobes for years to come. I’m not usually a fan of pink, but I love the subtly feminine twist this can have on both casual and work outfits. It’s a great change-up from the white tee, and matches damn near anything in your closet. Consider it your new neutral!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #4: White Shirt (with a twist)

White blouses have existed since the beginning of time – and this year is no exception. Spring is calling for crisp, white shirts with unique details. I have a feeling the basic white tee is going to fall out of fashion if this trend catches on. I love seeing white blouses with unique details that flatter almost any body type. As a woman who struggles to fit into blouses (thanks to my button-popping DD boobs), I love that this look is structured but not tight-fitted. For the first time in years, I might actually find a white shirt to keep for years to come!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #5: Flats

Flats are making a major comeback this year, in new colors, fabrics, patterns, and designs. I blame (and praise) Olivia Palermo for inspiring us all to leave the heels for date night, and elevate our everyday outfits with some seriously amazing flats. Your feet will thank you!

For more spring fashion inspiration, head on over to my Pinterest page to see more!

Spring Ready Hands & Nails

spring ready hands & nails

I don’t know about you, but winter is absolute hell on my hands. The dry air and constant hand-washing (no cold/flu germs here!) leave my hands and nails in bad shape come springtime. I also have the most sensitive skin on my hands – I suffer from contact dermatitis, which means I’ll get rashes/blisters from almost anything (soaps, moisture, my wedding ring, etc).

Once spring comes around, and my skin finally clears up, I make sure to treat myself to some new skincare for my hands and nails. Here is what I’ve been loving this past winter, and continuing to use well into spring!

Spring Ready Hands & Nails:

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Lotion

I’m a huge fan of Vaseline’s hand lotions, which I use before bed to make sure my hands are baby soft in the morning. I also like that they’re pretty inexpensive, so I don’t feel bad slathering my hands in tons of it each night!

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Before bedtime, I also add some of the Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream to my cuticles and any other parts that are extra dry (like my knuckles) to soothe the dry, cracked skin and keep my nails healthy. I’ve had the same tin for, like, two years and it’s still going strong!

Que Bella Moisturizing Hand Mask

As an extra treat, I’ll occasionally use masks like the Que Bella Moisturizing Hand Mask before painting my nails a nice, happy color. Que Bella makes these amazing glove masks that you just put on and chill out – and you can find them for only a couple bucks at Target!

OPI Nail Lacquer in My Chihuahua Bites

I’ve been hooked on OPI’s nail polishes for years because they don’t contain formaldehyde – an ingredient that commonly irritates people with sensitive skin. It’s the perfect cheerful color to throw on any time of year!

My regimen is something I try to keep up with year-round, and while it doesn’t totally fix my issues with irritation, it has kept me from breaking out in blisters like I did in the past. If you suffer from sensitive skin like me, these products are all definitely worth checking out!

Spring Thrift Shop Haul

spring thrift shop haul
It’s strange to think that spring is coming soon – it’s felt somewhere between fall and spring for the past several months. I don’t think the temperatures are going to change much, but I still wanted to update my wardrobe to reflect the changing season. One afternoon, I headed out to my favorite thrift store haunts to add some much-needed color to my closet.

On my first trip, I was looking for a handbag that I could adjust from a shoulder to a cross-body bag. In true thrifting form, I came home with 3 – all of which will be perfect for the spring/summer months! I also found a few scarves that I can’t wait to find a good use for. I’m thinking about framing and hanging the red one, but we’ll see – finding frames is next on my list….

About a week later, I ended up at another store to find they were having a 50% off sale on all of their long-sleeved tops, and I went a little nuts. With the exception of the short-sleeved top, all of them were around $3-4 each! After a winter of wearing mostly black and navy, I can’t wait to add some softer pastels and ivory into my wardrobe.

Now, if only it would warm up a little around here, I’d be all set!

My Perfume Collection

my perfume collection

Perfume is one of those things I didn’t get into when I was young. My perfume collection wasn’t much of a collection, nor was it usually perfume in the traditional sense. I always had some form of it around, though, whether it was a lavender perfume I bought in Paris when I was 17, or the vast collection of Victoria’s Secret body sprays and lotions everyone hoarded while I was in college (I was a Sweet Pea addict). I rarely wore them, and they usually went bad long before I could use them up. I didn’t get into “real” perfumes until I was well into my 20s.

As you can probably tell, most of my perfume collection falls into the floral category. I’ve never liked musky perfumes (they remind me of my grandmothers), and I absolutely hate anything that smells like food (no vanilla ever). I’d like to branch out more someday, but for now, this is what I wear on a regular basis:

J’adore by Christian Dior

As you can probably tell by the half-empty bottle, I wear this one a lot. It’s my go-to scent for winter, and I love that it’s not too heavy. Weirdly enough, I didn’t like it originally. My husband spray-attacked me (and my coat) with it in a Sephora years ago, and after “wearing” it around the store for a while, I ended up going home with a bottle. Then I went to get my coat dry cleaned…

Clean Outdoor Shower Fresh

This is the scent I pick up mostly during the summer months. It reminds me of a green tea body spray I had in high school, and it’s a great, clean scent for warmer months. I’m not a huge fan of their other scents, but this one is perfect! It also weirdly pairs well with the smell of suntan lotion – a must given I wear it religiously at the beach!

Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One

This has to be the most “grown-up” scent I own – it’s very strong and heady. I bought it to wear at my wedding, and it’s the perfect “special occasion” scent. I don’t wear it very often, and hope that I can keep it for years to come.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White

This is a scent I pretty much wear every day, all year round. I tried this as a rollerball scent to take on trips, and bought a full-size bottle almost immediately. It’s a pretty, flowery scent that really does smell different on everyone. I’ve complemented women on their perfume, often to find out it’s this one – and it smells totally different on them! It’s the kind of perfume that starts out flowery, but has a bit of a musk scent after you wear it for a while. I consider this my gateway into musk scents – and so far, so good!

There you go! I hope to keep adding to my perfume collection over the years, but for now these do well to get me from season to season!