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November 19, 2018
A Simplified Skincare Routine & The Products That Made My Skin Happy Again

A Simplified Skincare Routine & The Products That Made My Skin Happy Again

Hey there! It's been awhile since I've popped up a proper skincare update post, and with the recent changes I've made to my routine, I thought now's a better time than ever. About a month ago, I was having a bad hormonal breakout and and my all-over-the-place skincare routine seemed to aggravate the problem even more. I was testing new products, using multiple different serums every day, and pairing up all the acids in hopes I could just dry my skin up and scare the bumps away. Well, needless to say...that didn't quite work out for my skin. Instead of clearing up, it got angrier with me and flared up even more.

I wouldn't say that I'm someone who has sensitive skin, but my combination skin seems to know what it likes. However, in the name of #bblogging I sometimes get carried away with trying out popular products that I sort of already have an inkling won't work for me. More often than not, this ends up in a bout of bumps that weren't even there to begin with. So, after my last skin nightmare, I realized it was time to strip back my products to ones I know my skin is happy with...and then I'd allow myself to add a few key products back in to combat discoloration, clogged pores and dullness.

Less than a month into my simplified routine, here we are! While I'm still battling a few scars from blemishes I poked and prodded at (wish I could turn back the clock and stop myself from touching my face too much!), my skin feels and looks so much better. I thought I'd share the tips I've learned along the way and the products I've been using steadily to help bring things back to a balanced state. 
Skin Needs Balance!
This is probably the biggest skin mistake I've made continuously throughout my adult life. I've always had combination skin that can get quite oily in the t-zone, so I've had the tendency to layer up acids and drying clay masks in hopes that the oil would just evaporate away. Boy, was I wrong. Instead, I was dehydrating my skin to the point that it was producing even more oil to bring itself back to homeostasis, thus causing unnecessary breakouts.

Part of the problem was that I was using the wrong kind of moisturizers; thick creams that sit on top of the skin may work wonders for those with dryer skin types, but my skin can't breathe when I use them. I ended up realizing that I do need moisture still, just nothing too heavy.

 Instead, I've found my new go-to moisturizer in serum form; I've been using the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum every morning and evening for balanced skin that feels soft and looks just the right amount of glowy without leaving a film on the skin. At night, I've been combining this serum with the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (just a pump of each mixed together). This way, I get some exfoliation action from the acids alongside the moisture from the Hydra B, which my skin has been really happy about. And, in the spirit of being smarter and more in tune with what my skin needs, if I'm feeling tight or dry I won't use the acid, and instead will add more moisture where necessary. I've been loving the Dior Hydra Life Hydration Rescue Intense Sorbet Cream when my skin feels dehydrated, and sometimes I'll even add a few drops of the Rodin Olio Lusso into the cream to amp up the hydration. I've been using this oil on and off for a long time, and it's one that has a lower viscosity than others, so it doesn't cause congestion. I can't speak enough to how much of a difference finding a moisturizer crew that works for my skin type has made!
Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest
I've always been on top of the double cleanse method; my eye makeup refuses to budge with just one cleanse, so it sort of forced me into this routine. However, it really has made improvements to my skin over the years as I used to get breakouts from leftover makeup sitting on top of my skin. (Am I the only one who likes to pretend that my past college habit of using face wipes (!?!?!?!) didn't happen?) Since I know how well this whole routine of ensuring I had the cleanest possible skin has worked for me in the past, I decided it was time to go a step further and become diligent in the toner department. 

I've been swiping my skin with a Sisley Floral Toning Lotion-drenched cotton pad both morning and night after cleansing and my skin has been loving it! It's actually a toner made for sensitive skin, and it contains witch hazel, corn flower and rose, which sooth and soften my skin while preparing it to receive other serums/treatments. When I use this, I can actually see the small amounts of makeup residue being wiped clean, so I believe it has helped keep my skin clear of dirt and makeup-related breakouts.

Tailor the Extras
Prior to this new routine, I was going overboard with what I liked to call my "skincare extras" - which include masks, eye creams, or serums that I use once or twice a week - and my skin was getting irritated by the frequent change of ingredients being slathered on it. By asking myself which products actually provide my skin with a certain benefit that it needs, I've been able to streamline this edit of extras to a few items that give great results.

As I mentioned earlier, I use the Rodin Olio Lusso when I need a serious dose of hydration, but for sloughing away dead skin cells and clearing out pores, I rely on the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. At 25% AHAs, this stuff is potent; I believe I read that the results it gives are some of the closest you can get to getting an in-office peel. I tend to get red if I use it for the recommended full 20 minutes, so I am easing my way up to that. Really, I just listen to my skin and remove the mask when it feels as though it's done enough sloughing, and let's just say, it has done the job. This mask makes my pores appear smaller, has helped decrease breakouts, and gives me a soft rosy glow after each use.

And, last but certainly not least, I have been using the La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex as my eye cream. It's hard to even call this an eye cream, as it is more like an eye "serum" in terms of texture. I've talked about this product extensively in the past, but it cannot be beat in terms of its lifting, brightening and depuffing qualities. When I use this, I don't need anything else for my eye area, which makes the investment worth it!

What skincare routine works for you? Share your tips below!

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October 11, 2018
Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana

Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana

Do you ever just come across a new fragrance and know that you are going to have a long and happy relationship together? That's precisely the first thing that came to mind when took my first whiff of Jo Malone London's Honeysuckle & Davana Cologne

While I am an avid fragrance lover, not every scent in my collection makes it onto the "everyday rotation" tray that displays my all-time favorites prominently atop my vanity. I'll admit right away that there are quite a few Jo Malone London products involved in my daily routine, but this new release really blew me away for its ability to perfectly transition from warm to cooler months. 
"the wildness of honeysuckle, winding through the English countryside. Climbing. Twisting. Ever more alluring after dark. Fresh with rose and the aromatic, fruity twist of davana. Woody with moss. Warmed by sunshine."
I personally fell in love with the scent because it really is the perfect balance of fragrance notes that I love. After each spritz I smell the freshness from the davana, the warmth of the honeysuckle, and the green element from the moss note. Imagine a burst of vibrancy that settles into a warm scent with a floral edge that remains close to the skin throughout the day - that's exactly what this scent leaves the wearer with. It's perfect for all seasons, and can be layered for added intensity, which I know I'll be doing as we move into colder days.

What's more? The corresponding Honeysuckle & Davana Candle that creates an ideal ambience and fragrance in the home, thanks to the inclusion of the same beautiful notes. I love this on a brisk evening with the windows open and breeze flowing in, as it meshes perfectly with the green notes, yet offers a bit of warmth as well.
Have you tried Jo Malone London's Honeysuckle & Davana Cologne and Candle yet?

SHOP THE SCENT:


October 08, 2018
Self Care: Changes I'm Making This Season

Self Care: Changes I'm Making This Season

When a new season begins, I always find myself inspired to make changes to my everyday routines -  whether that means streamlining things, or beginning new rituals - it is the ideal time to start fresh. Not to mention, after buying my first home this summer and with a busier-than-ever work schedule, I've been feeling like I'm burning the wick at both ends. So, I took the start of fall as an opportunity to edit my life a bit, thus making time for more self-care. Here are the three major changes I've made in an effort to feel refreshed, healthier and less stressed so that I can enjoy the upcoming cozy month's and holidays without feeling burnt out.

1) Back to Healthy Habits
Who else is guilty of letting their eating and exercising habits slide a bit when their busy? *Raises hand* Overall, I tend to eat healthy, and because I'm someone whose body just requires me to do so, I can really feel a difference if I slip off the bandwagon. And by that, I mean that I feel it physically, but also mentally; I'm even more tired, don't feel as good in my clothes, and my skin doesn't feel its best.

Over the past few weeks, I've been making a effort to be better, both at exercising and eating healthy. I've found that just small adjustments make doing this so much easier; for example, preparing meals ahead of time, or even just planning out what I'll make for each meal, really helps me to stick to my plans versus making something quick and unhealthy. In turn, this helps me to free up time to exercise and get more active - even when I'm too tired for intense cardio, I'll make sure I get out and walk. I've regained energy and feel so much better already.
2) Take Care of My Body
Eating healthy is only a part of taking care of my body; I'm talking inside and out! I'll admit I'm the first to let my skincare routine slide during the summer months when it comes to body, simply because I want to spend every last drop of my free time out in the sunshine while I can. However, when the temperatures drop, so does the humidity, leading to dry skin that simply can't be ignored any longer. 

In an effort to prevent my skin from losing precious moisture, I've decided to be proactive about my body care and diligent about my routine so that I experience less seasonal irritation as the temps continue to get even cooler. Palmer's recently launched a body care line with Coconut Oil as the star ingredient, and because it's super moisturizing, while also managing to be fast-absorbing and non-greasy, it makes my routine an effective and speedy one. 

The range features four products perfect for nourishing the skin this season (and thanks to its non-greasy nature, year-round too) and includes a Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion, Body Cream, Body Oil and Hand Cream. I love how healthy and radiant these make my skin feel, but I also really appreciate that all of the Coconut Oil Formula products are free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs and harsh chemicals. And, being someone with sensitive skin, I'm thrilled to have found an affordable body care line that's non-comedogenic, dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, and made with fair trade ingredients. I swear that this is no small feat!

The two products I've been using non-stop from the range are the Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion and the Coconut Oil Formula Body Oil. I love the Body Lotion, as it contains rich, skin-conditioning coconut oil and coconut milk that infuse the skin with deeply penetrating moisture and an instant hydration boost. The Body Oil, on the other hand, actually contains raw Coconut Oil alongside a blend of other natural oils - including Grape Seed, Argan, and Macadamia - to deeply penetrate and rehydrate skin on contact. I love applying this product right out of the shower to prevent that awful tight and dry feeling so many of us experience during the winter months!
3) Get Organized
When I moved a few months back it was difficult to find the perfect place for all of my things right off the bat, but, after months of living here, I can finally get a sense for the space and tell what should go where. I also have come to realize the areas of my life that are in need of a serious declutter...read: my closet. When things get out of hand and I accumulate too much of any one type of item, I find it difficult to choose anything to wear. So, a few weeks back I tackled the massive project that is going through every bit of clothing I own, and I can't tell you what a difference it's made in my routine. Not only am I able to find items that were buried within stacks before, I now use more of what's left because I only kept what I truly like. My next task will be a beauty product sort-through...wish me luck!
What changes do you make each season to help prepare for the coming months?

* I participated in this sponsored campaign for Palmer's® on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.
September 25, 2018
Powder Room Planning

Powder Room Planning

Coming at you from the trenches of a home update; if you read this post, you'll know that I bought my first home this year and moved in at the end of May. While the townhouse I purchases is relatively new at just 8 years old, there were some choices made by the previous owners that just aren't my style. So, after a busy summer, it's back to decorating and updating I go...this time, I'm going in full swing. I began by painting the horrendous creamy yellow trim, a clean, bright white and have now begun painting the previously brown walls a near-white gray. I like the idea of opening up the space with a lighter hue and creating a more calming space with a cool tone as the main color. 
My next project will be tackling the small powder room on my main floor, just off the living and dining areas. I'm going with oil-rubbed bronze finishes and a transitional vibe with an industrial edge. I am obsessed with everything that the Soho House does with its interiors, so I've been looking to them for inspiration; they totally nail the farmhouse feeling without making it look cliché or try-hard, which it can quickly become. I also love what Joanna Gaines does on Fixer Upper with powder room decor, as well as blogger Kat Tanita's relaxed, yet elegant Venice Beach House. What do you think about my inspiration images; what styles are your favorite and what elements would you like to see paired together?

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (unknown), and bottom

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Ten Luxe Products Worth The Splurge

Ten Luxe Products Worth The Splurge

When it comes to splurging on beauty, there are few products that make the cut time and time again. As someone who has tested so many products in so many categories, I can attest to what works and what doesn't stand up to the brand name. Here are the ten products that I think are TRULY worthy of a serious splurge...
1) La Prairie Essence of Caviar Eye Complex - The fact that I'm including an eye product on this list means something; I am an über critic when it comes to eye creams, as I tend to feel like they don't provide any noticeable benefits. This one from La Prairie is different in that it shows instant effects, but has also made a difference long term. Upon application, the serum-like formula tightens and brightens, providing an ideal base for concealer, and after a longer period of use my under-eye area feels less dehydrated, and instead, lifted. I have never experienced results like this in the past, so trust me when I say that this is a rare gem.

2) Sisley Express Flower Gel Mask - Who here has experienced hangover face? Puffy eyes, sallow skin...you get the idea. Well, it's almost as if Sisley answered our prayers with this mask, which practically cures tired looking skin by infusing it with moisture and providing an instant tonight effect. I am sold when a product works within 5 minutes and proves itself time and time again in emergencies 😉

3) Creed Love In White for Summer - This summer, Creed launched a lighter version of its best-selling fragrance...and I absolutely fell in love with it. With notes of rose, iris, cedarwood, apple and jasmine, it sparkles with memories of the French Riviera.

4) La Prairie Foam Cleanser - I know...face cleanser, you're wondering? I swear, there aren't many that I stand by in terms of formula...but this one is different. This pink mousse requires just a small dab of formula in order to create a thick foamy lather that can easily sweep away all traces of makeup, meanwhile leaving your skin soft and comforted. I've truly never experienced such an effective formula that doesn't irritate my skin, and this tube lasts me ages.

5) La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream - The newly relaunched Skin Caviar Luxe Cream contains the latest incarnation of caviar, resulting in amplified lifting and firming power. I have always been such a fan of these skincare products, and I say that if you're going to splurge big on any brand...let it be La Pairie. The formula of this cream is nourishing and truly impacts my skin in the best possible way, brightening, firming, lifting and practically glossing over pores. I think of this cream as the ultimate skin investment and will never stop touting its many transforming abilities.
6) Lilah B. Glisten and Glow Skin Illuminator - The creamy, yet lightly whipped texture make this the ideal cream highlight for people with combination to oily skin types as it doesn't slip or slide on the skin. Not only is the sheer candlelight hue perfect for most skin tones, it also provides a lit-from-within glow that is seemingly natural. I love that it also contains ingredients that skin actually benefits from, meaning you're doing cosmetic and physical good for the skin all at once. 

7) Rodin Olio Lusso - This luxury facial oil has been one of my very favorites from the very beginnings. I typically shy away from oily products during the summer months, but this one is like a drink of water for the skin, balancing things out but never leaving them oversaturated. I love how soft and poreless my skin feels after a few days of using this, it really can be used as its own little routine in a bottle.

8) Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel - A cult classic luxury product, and for good reason. With a whipped formula that offers the perfect amount of sunny-bronze pigment, this cream product can be used as a base to give an overall deeper hue, a bronzer, contour, or even as a blush or eyeshadow. It may be large for travel, but bring it along and it will surely get its use; it's one of my favorites for warm-climate trips!

9) Bastide Huile Seche Epatante Dry Oil Mist - The ultimate French-girl beauty secret - it's all in the dry oil sprays. This one from Bastide has recently climbed the ranks in my stash, as it lends an incredible glow to the skin without feeling like oil, and also smells dreamy.

10) Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color - This is my favorite duo product for creating effortless, yet sultry metallic eyes. If you're into the wet lid look...this one's for you! The base contains an über pigmented cream that can be smudged in with fingers, while the lid houses a compacted glitter topcoat that can be pressed into the center of the lid for an intense metal look. My personal favorite color is Naked Bronze - it's a year-round classic.
What are your favorite luxe products that you feel are worth the splurge? Share your thoughts! 

*pr samples included.
August 19, 2018
My 'Retro Summer Nights' Look with Charlotte Tilbury

My 'Retro Summer Nights' Look with Charlotte Tilbury

When one of your all-time favorite makeup brands asks you if you'd be willing to create your very own "Superstar Look" to celebrate their Sephora launch, do you hesitate to answer "YES, PLEASE!!"? Well, I definitely did not. Not only was I excited to hear that Charlotte Tilbury was launching in select Sephoras; I couldn't wait to put on my makeup geek cap and get thinking about what type of look I wanted to create. 

Let's just say, this wasn't a difficult task. Immediately, when I think of Charlotte and her namesake brand, my mind wanders to glamorous highlights, sultry cat eyes and overdrawn nude pouts. I also knew I had to incorporate my three favorite products from the brand: the Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillowtalk, the Filmstar Bronze & Glow Palette and the The Feline Flick Liquid Eyeliner PenTogether, these three gems create the basis for this glowing, doll-eyed, bronzed look with nude lips. It reminds me of a modern 60's summer look and I absolutely love that it flatters all skin tones!

Scroll down for the entire product list!
For Base:
Magic Foundation in shade 3

For Face: 

For Eyes: 
Luxury Palette Color-Coded Eyeshadows in Dolce Vita & Golden Goddess
Color Chameleon in Bronzed Garnet

For Lips:
Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillowtalk
K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect
What are your favorite Charlotte Tilbury products, and what kind of look would you create with them?

*pr samples included.

Shop my "Retro Summer Nights" Superstar Look:

August 08, 2018
Wish List Wednesday

Wish List Wednesday

After seeing so many tempting new beauty releases, I decided it was time to start sharing my wish lists with you all. So, welcome to my series "Wish List Wednesday." For years I've been creating these types of lists in the "notes" section of my phone, and have used them as a way to keep on top of the beauty releases and trends because - let's face it - there are so many. Here is what I'm currently lusting after and will consider picking up, so let me know if you've tried any of these products for yourself yet!
  1. Giorgio Armani Beauty Neo Nude A-Line Blush - This water-based liquid blush looks right up my street! I love creamy products, but in the summer, certain cream blushes seem to slip and slide all over my face; this seems like the idea solution to that problem, offering a stain-like texture that stays put.
  2. Ilia Silken Shadow Stick - If you have been around for awhile, you'll know I love shadow sticks. This new one from Ilia is natural and looks absolutely beautiful; the shade range is filled with perfectly muted mauves and nudes.
  3. YSL Glossy Stain Holographics Lip Color - I am riding the glossy lip wave right now, however, I don't like gloss that remains sticky on your lips all day. These YSL stains have always been a favorite for exactly that reason, and this new range of holographic shades promise to illuminate and plump your pout.
  4. Tom Ford Sole di Positano All Over Body Spray - Described as "brillian. sunlit. invigorating.inviting." I can't help but dream of a trip to the sunny Amalfi Coast. Shhh...there may or may not be one happening this coming Spring. Already cannot wait!
  5. Guerlain KissKiss LoveLove The Heart Catching Lipstick - This is one of those times that the packaging and overall design sells the product. Don't you just want to apply that heart-shaped lipstick in public? I know I do.
  6. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer - This isn't exactly brand new, but I'm finally starting to think it may be worth the investment. My current hair dryer seems slower, louder and more damaging than I'd like it to be and I've heard such great things about this one from Dyson.
  7. Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Hydrating 3-in-1 Setting Spray - A mist loaded with nutrients that preps skin, sets makeup and acts as a toner? Count me in.
  8. Tom Ford Soleil Contouring Compact - These Soleil releases from TF are always some of the best; this compact offers a gorgeous peachy blush, contour and golden-pearl highlight all in one. I can already see this being the ideal travel compact for tropical destinations.
  9. Windle & Moodie Intense Treatment Mask - Straight out of Covent Garden comes this new(ish) haircare line that has celebrity hairstylists raving. I have my eye on this treatment mask for damaged hair...as that's precisely what mine is after a summer of sun and styling.
  10. The Hotel Couture 'A Place in the Sun' Body Lotion - This new range of body care and home fragrance products is made up of scents inspired by the beauty kits of some world-famous hotels. I love the idea of this one, which was modeled after the scent of Il Pelicano Hotel in Italy. When someone describes a scent as being reminiscent of a "mediterranean breeze"...I'm all in.
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August 05, 2018
The 'Summer Weekend Essentials' Edit

The 'Summer Weekend Essentials' Edit

Unless you live somewhere it's warm year-round, the summer months seem to fly by. For us New Englanders, we're lucky to get a good three months of nice weather, so when the weekend rolls around and last minute jaunts to lakes or beaches present themselves as opportunities, I like to have an edit of summer style essentials that I can reach for without wasting precious time. This means a capsule fashion & beauty wardrobe containing standbys that I already know will never fail me in warm-weather scenarios. This is also a great way to start your packing for any summer getaway; I already went on summer holiday to Puglia (headed back to the Amalfi coast in the Spring - eek!), but will be referencing this edit when it comes time to pack for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica! 
Here's what every 'Summer Weekend Essentials Edit' needs...
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