August 30, 2016
AUGUST FAVORITES

AUGUST FAVORITES


Hey guys! It's that time of the month again (no, not that kind); it's August favorites time! This month saw the introduction of so many new favorites into my routine, I can't wait for you to see them all. Of course, let me know what your favorites were as well in the comments below, and I hope you watch and subscribe to my channel here. Thanks so much for your support!

August 29, 2016
ANNICK GOUTAL DOLCE VITA COLLECTION

ANNICK GOUTAL DOLCE VITA COLLECTION

Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie is one of my all time favorite fragrances...one that transcends season and makes me feel my best. To me, it smells clean, fresh, light, and whimsical, which is what I love in a fragrance. So, when the brand released a new collection of EDT's perfectly tailored to a summer getaway - Italian style, nonetheless - I jumped at the opportunity to get a whiff. The collection features three of the brand's classic scents inspired by Italian gardens, all packaged in beautifully colored frosted glass bottles. As you can imagine they're all I've been wearing since...

Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio - Inspired by a garden crossed by the Ninfeo river in Rome, this fragrance sparkles with bright citrus fruit, but remains warm and close to the skin with a woody fig note and a touch of calming lavender. Fig-based scents are some of my favorite, and I love how this one is uniquely fresh and green, instead of milky and overly sweet like some tend to be.

Notes: Sicilian Lemon, Citron, Bitter Orange, Fig, Extract of Galbanum, Lemon Tree Wood.

Annick Goutal Eau D'Hadrien - Sun ripened fruit in a Tuscan orchard was what inspired Annick Goutal to create this universally loved fragrance in 1981. This is one of the rare citrus scents that has staying power, and a beautiful masculine edge thanks to the Cypress base.

Notes: Sicilian Lemon, Citron, Grapefruit, Green Mandarin, Ylang-Ylang, Cypress, Bergamot.

Annick Goutal Eau Du Sud - This green aromatic citrus fragrance is spiked with Verbena, Lime, and Basil, which are reminiscent of the dry but blossoming Italian coastline during the summer months. I love how it's fruity, but maintains its very fresh, citrus focus. Such a beautiful scent that lingers on the skin with a mossy, patchouli base.

Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Persian Lime, Verbena, Peppermint, Basil, Patchouli, Oakmoss.

*pr samples included.


August 24, 2016
ONLY THE ESSENTIALS: PACKING JUST 10 MAKEUP PRODUCTS

ONLY THE ESSENTIALS: PACKING JUST 10 MAKEUP PRODUCTS

If you read yesterday's post, then you'll know how well I managed to go bare bones with my travel beauty products (for me, at least) this time around. I usually overdo it a bit, but with pricy checked-bag fares and fear of losing luggage, I decided to embrace my inner minimalist as best I could and go carry on only. I removed almost all liquids from my makeup routine and am sticking with my tried and true favorites. There's no time like travel to realize the versatility of products and find out what your true loves (and leaves) are. I brought:

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation Stick - I went the stick route to avoid excess liquids, and I'm a fan of this particular soft matte formula. Swipe on coverage where you need it and go - so simple!

Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Crème - A newer addition to my concealer lineup, I like that it has super high-coverage without being drying, and how a tiny dab on the inner corners of the eyes brightens and stays put all day. 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder - To set makeup, and also to mattify overtop sunscreen when I'm going makeup-free at the beach. Powder is a must, but this undetectable formula is something special.

RMS Lip2Cheek in Illusive - This rosey plum dual-purpose cream makes for an equally beautiful blush and lip stain. The texture is moisturizing but not greasy, so it provides a beautiful lit-from-within glow wherever it's applied. 

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Days - This creamy gradient-effect powder can be used as highlighter, bronzer, and eyeshadow in one. My favorite part about it is how it glides over imperfections and brings serious glow

Kat Von D Tatoo Liner in Trooper - My favorite eyeliner for creating a cat eye, ever.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon - You know how much I love this formula. It stays put in even the hottest weather and creates the ultimate smudgy wet-effect smokey eye in a swipe. 

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso - To define my brows and keep them in place, of course. I'm also a fan of the ashy tone of this dark brown pencil. 

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara - To give me dark, fluttery, separated lashes.

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in 09 - The ultimate 'my lips but better' lipstick shade. It's a muted, nudey raspberry pink that perfects my lip shape and moisturizes at the same time. Love this.

...all in a Violet Grey makeup bag. What ten products would you pack? 

August 23, 2016
IN THE (TSA-APPROVED) BAG

IN THE (TSA-APPROVED) BAG

So, I'm off today and will be traveling the remainder of the week. But that's not what I'm here to share; it's this TSA-approved (bane of my travel-existence) bevy of liquids I managed to pare down so well. One word: minis. I'm giving myself a pat on the back because I managed to edit down my essentials and overall, pack quite lightly. I'm breaking this down into a two-part post (next up, makeup!), so here goes my liquids roundup and what I couldn't leave behind:

Davines MINU/Shampoo - A travel size of one of my favorite shampoos. I love the clean ingredient list and how light and swishy my hair feels after using this. They sell small sizes of most products on their website.

Davines MINU/Conditioner - Again, a favorite. This is nourishing without weighing down my strands and helps repair split ends like nobody's business.

Davines Oi Oil - I can leave most hairstyling products behind, but not an oil or conditioning mist. This one is super tiny, but only a few drops are necessary to detangle, add softness, and protect strands from heat-styling.

Dove Advanced Care Deodorant - Unsexy, but essential. Especially for a beachy locale. 

Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 - I swear by this SPF for the face. It's scent free, feels like nothing on the skin, and never makes me break out. I even think it makes a great makeup primer. I will pick up a more generic body SPF once I reach my destination, because I'm much less picky about those. 

The Somme Institute A Bomb Moisturizer - From this kit. A lightweight Vitamin A-rich cream that my skin drinks up like a glass of water.

The Somme Institute Serum - Also from this kit, which always proves perfect for travel. This serum is chock-full of vitamin C, and helps to clarify and brighten skin tone. 

Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream - Lightweight, comforting moisture that instantly de-puffs tired eyes.  

Colgate Clean Mint Toothpaste - Also unsexy, but because dental hygiene

Byredo Blanche EDP - A clean, fresh cotton and white floral-inspired fragrance that's one of my favorites for the summer months. It's easy and classic, sort of like the perfect t-shirt. These 12ml travel sized perfumes also last surprisingly long. 

De Bruyère Paris After Sun Lotion - Lightweight lotion, scented with monoï oil to hydrate sun-parched skin. I received this perfect sample-size moisturizer in the most recent Glossybox. 

You may be wondering how my skincare edit became so, well, edited. I thought ahead this time and purchased this super clever non-liquid stick cleanser from a Korean brand called Su:m 37, which is deliciously creamy and filled with rose petals (it's called Miracle Rose Cleanser for a reason, people). For makeup removal I opted for wipes, specifically the Bioderma Sensibio Wipes because they come presoaked with micellar water and remove makeup like a dream. Having these two items in solid and wipe form made fitting the rest of my essentials so much easier. Highly recommend!

August 22, 2016
RODIN LIPSTICKS

RODIN LIPSTICKS

You may have noticed I've been making a conscious effort to keep a tighter rein on my beauty collection lately, especially when it comes to color cosmetics. If you're familiar with the eponymous line Rodin, you'll know that her beautiful essentials fall right into that category. It's a well-edited product lineup if there ever was one and doesn't include anything unnecessary whatsoever. I'm sure by now you've heard that there has been a long-awaited addition - 5 lipsticks in unique, essential shades that feel very "Parisian" to me. I have two here and haven't put them down since I got them. 

The texture is smooth, satiny and hydrating, but packs a serious punch in the pigment department. I couldn't be more pleased - because this is the way I love my lipsticks - and I've become a bit sick of the ultra-drying matte lip trend (though those products have a time and place, I don't believe everyday is one of them) so these are a welcome update on a classic texture. 

As for the shades (all shade names inspired by family, and memories), I have: 

So Mod - Created to emulate that always-stylish 60's mod lip look, worn by the likes of Brigitte Bardot. Who doesn't want to steal that look?

Winks - A true, classic hot pink that instantly brightens the face. Linda's inspiration was her dog, Winks.

Have you tried these yet? Which color should I try next?

*pr samples included.

August 18, 2016
TIPS TO STREAMLINE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE

TIPS TO STREAMLINE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE

Lately, I feel like I'm swimming in an endless, deep sea of skincare products. And quite honestly, I'm drowning. There are a few fast-working, no-questions-asked products in my routine that I do continuously use - no matter what other products hit my bathroom shelf. But, aside from those, how can I tell which products work, which ones I truly need, and which ones are just duplicates that are getting in the way of my true routine's efficacy? I've finally decided to be more ruthless in the skincare category. I don't need 179 different skincare products to maintain my skin, when in reality I use just a few each morning and evening to get the job done. I streamlined my skincare routine and have since found my skin much happier, the overall process of choosing products much less stressful and wasteful. So, I'm sharing just how I went about doing this and how I've reached routine nirvana.

First, categorize products by mapping out when you use them and what you need them for. Then, figure out what they specifically do. I found it easiest to break it down like this: 

Morning Routing Focus = Protecting Skin. A solid daytime routine should include a gently cleanser, toner, essence, serum, and moisturizer/sunscreen. Of course, target each product to your skin type, making sure it contains ingredients compatible to your skin's needs. 

Evening Routine Focus = Treating Skin. A solid nightime routine should include a makeup removing cleanser (if your morning one does this, stick with it), toner, essence, serum, moisturizer, and prescription products (retinoid, salicylic acid treatment).

Extras = Targeting Concerns as Needed. This arsenal of products is for a once-weekly boost, and, of course, skin emergencies and is very much situational. Read your skin and it's needs and you'll be able to choose from the products you have on hand when necessary. This includes masks, spot treatments, peels, exfoliators, pigment lighteners, etc.

Of course, as a beauty blogger, I'm still finding ways to streamline the mass amount of products I'm always testing. What, with weekly favorites it's quite hard to do. But all in all, I've found that my daily routine really only needs to consist of a few really hard-working products that work for me. Sometimes trends only get you so far, you've got to tune yourself into your skin and listen to what it needs...and you're halfway there.

What are your tips to streamlining your skincare (or makeup) routine?

*pr samples included.
August 16, 2016
SUPPLEMENTING BEAUTY

SUPPLEMENTING BEAUTY

You heard right - we're talking about beauty from the inside, out

I have to admit, when it comes to all the possible areas of my beauty routine, the one lacking most in consistency is vitamins and supplements. Even that statement is generous; there is no routine. So when I heard about the new easy (and tasty) way to get the nutrients I need to improve my skin health, I was all ears. Olly gummy vitamins are available for a variety of purposes, but the one I'm most interested in is skin. Can these babies really improve the condition of my skin? Let's find out...

The Olly Vibrant Skin Plump Berry Vitamin Gummies contain a blend of nutrients to hydrate skin from the inside out, including Hyaluronic Acid (duh!), Marine Collagen, and Sea Buckthorn. If you don't already know, Hyaluronic Acid is known for its ability to plump and moisturize the skin, Marine Collagen strengthens your skin structure, and Sea Buckthorn provides antioxidant nourishment for healthy skin. 

I've been snacking on taking the recommended 2 a day since I received them and have noticed a real difference in my skin. It looks smoother, and feels plumper and more moisturized. I will definitely continue use as well as my path to better skin from the inside...and am definitely interested in trying other formulas. 

What beauty supplements do you recommend?

*pr samples included.
August 15, 2016
FRENCH-GIRL SUMMER BEAUTY STAPLES

FRENCH-GIRL SUMMER BEAUTY STAPLES

French-girl beauty is always in style. But what better time to adopt their "less is more" mantra than in the midst of a super hot summer? In an effort to shed a few layers of unnecessary product without having to compromise on a beautiful end result that looks like a better version of myself, I tried out a few Orlane products that I just can't get enough of. Here's what your current beauty kit is missing:

A Creamy Matte Bronzer - Orlane's Sun Glow Compact Foundation is quite possibly the best way to add natural (and of course, effortless) sunkissed color to your skin while protecting it from the sun (SPF 50). The texture is creamy, but once it's blended into skin it sets and doesn't slide around like most cream bronzers do in the heat. The formula is light as air while managing to pack a major pigment punch - so just a swipe or two of this universally flattering matte tan shade will work wonders.

An Airy Powder Bronzer - If you're still a powder girl despite the season, the super-natural Orlane Compact Bronzer is the way to go. I love the beautiful shade; it's the perfect light tan shade with no red tones whatsoever. The texture will, however, quickly rise to the top of your product ranks. Brushed gently across the cheeks, nose, temples, and chin - this gives the illusion of smooth skin after a day spent at the beach. Perhaps, St. Tropez?

Glossy Eyeshadow Crayons - Cream shadows are no doubt my favorite (and foolproof) way to apply color and definition to the eyes. I love swiping them on and heading out the door, but the Orlane Eyelid Balm Ensoleillé definitely raises the bar. These creamy pencils are smooth and so easy to blend, and come in an already curated variation of summer goddess colors for you to bring on holiday with you. They brighten the eyes and the color sticks around for quite some time. Talk about beauty packing made easy.

*pr samples included.
August 10, 2016
IS "DRAPING" THE CHICEST WAY TO APPLY BLUSH?

IS "DRAPING" THE CHICEST WAY TO APPLY BLUSH?

I have been pretty devoted to using a combination of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes and cream blushes (I have a few favorite formulas) in recent months, due to their second-skin nature. That was until I discovered the Marc Jacobs Air Blush Soft Glow Duo thanks to an Influenster box. I had seen it prior to it landing on my doorstep and had already known that I would get on with it pretty well. I love a good finely milled powder blush that offers a customizable result - which is exactly what this is - but better.

I have the shade Kink & Kisses, which is described as a mixture of petal peach and peachy rose. The two shades can be used individually, swirled together, or used for contour and highlight. It basically does the job of 5 different products, while creating a flushed glow that lasts for 24 hours. The texture of the blush is also so light that it almost feels creamy, creating a natural satiny 'your skin but better' finish.

In the photo above I employed the recommended "draping" technique with my application. I took the blush up onto my temples, my cheeks, and even my eyes to add a certain glow that one can only otherwise achieve through dancing or other physical activities. I am definitely addicted to this very French look; only mascara, a nude lip, a light base, and the blush created this barely there face. 

Have you tried the Marc Jacobs Air Blush Soft Glow Duo yet?

*product provided by Influenster.
August 09, 2016
CHRISTOPHE ROBIN RESTORED LIFE TO MY HAIR

CHRISTOPHE ROBIN RESTORED LIFE TO MY HAIR

As I patiently await the day my hair reaches prime length (it's been almost a full year since my last hair cut - yikes) I've been more into my hair care routine than ever before. I've always had a few standby hair products that I repurchase, but over the past year I've become a big fan of the cult Parisian haircare line developed by Catherine Deneuve's hairstylist, Christophe Robin. The range is focused on using nature-derived ingredients (like prickly pear seed oil, rose water, lemon, and lavender) all while protecting the integrity of a woman's hair color. While I don't dye my roots, I do have a bit of color through the mid-lengths that I like to protect while keeping my hair healthy and nourished so it can grow longer. These products have been doing just that...and more.

Christophe Robin Antioxidant Cleansing Milk - This reconstructive cleansing milk contains 10% plant oils and blueberry to help strengthen and cleanse the hair. I have never used another shampoo like this before, and love how the milky formula foams gently without stripping hair of it's natural oils so that it remains perfectly balanced. The fresh scent is incredible, but I was most impressed with how soft and bouncy my hair felt afterward - this is a new must-have in my routine.

Christophe Robin Antioxidant Conditioner - This nourishing conditioner contains 2% plant oils, detangles hair, and brightens highlights without weighing the hair down. I love that this doesn't over-moisturize my hair, so it leaves it with much more volume than I typically get with other conditioners. The Antioxidant Conditioner can be left in for just a moment before rinsing; so there's no leave-in time necessary for optimal results. Who doesn't love to save a little time and still be left with amazing hair?

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask - This cult mask is so for a reason. Even after one application I noticed my damaged ends looked healthier, more smoothed, and much more moisturized. My hair is also difficult to please with masks because with too much moisture, it becomes flat and dull. This one contains rare prickly pear seed oil to help protect and repair damage (it's rich in Vitamin E), and it's creamy formula sinks into hair completely so that you're left with lightweight, shiny hair, and a protective antioxidant barrier that prevents further damage. 

Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon - I've spoken about this in a previous post, but the longer I use it, the more I come to love this product. I use this to banish product buildup and give my hair a deep cleanse about once a week. This lemon-scented foaming mask is safe for all chemically treated hair types and boosts volume in my heavy locks like nothing else. I love that, unlike with moisturizing hair masks, this one can be left on longer for a deeper clean...and rinses away in a foamy lather leaving your hair bouncier, shinier, and with a fresh start for styling.

What's your go-to hair cleansing routine?

*pr samples included.
August 03, 2016
SUNDAY RILEY'S LATEST ADDITIONS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD

SUNDAY RILEY'S LATEST ADDITIONS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD

Sunday Riley is a brand that pops up quite frequently in my must-use daily skincare edit. I'll admit I'm not the most loyal when it comes to skincare products, but there are a few I do continually repurchase, and those include her Luna Oil, Good Genes Treatment, and Tidal Moisturizer. These are some of my all-time favorite products that really work wonders on my skin, in a matter of days - not weeks. So you can imagine my excitement when the brand released two new products targeted for oily/breakout prone skin, U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Face Oil and Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner. 

If you're new to my blog, I have combination skin. It can be dry in the winter, oily in the summer, and sometimes it's oily in the t-zone and dry in other areas. My skin seems to do best with chemical exfoliation in the form of lactic acid (that's where the Good Genes Treatment comes in), easily absorbed oils, and lightweight moisture. I used to deprive my skin of moisture thinking that it would keep oil at bay and my skin its clearest - but it actually caused my skin more harm than good. So now I stick with feeding it lightweight hydration, brightening and exfoliating serums, and I spot treat when needed. I do, however, need to treat my skin often to help it maintain clarity, or else it seems to become a bit congested. That's why these new products have been working for me and here are my thoughts...

U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Face Oil - As I mentioned, I used to be scared of feeding my skin too much moisture, but over the past couple of years I've realized it's what my skin needs. I just have to be careful of overdoing it, so in the summer my skin can't take as much oil as it can during winter. I typically use Luna Night Oil as a retinol treatment, and I love the results it gives my skin. However, I've definitely had to cut back on the times I use it per week because my skin can become a bit over-oiled with all the humidity we've been having. That's why U.F.O. is the perfect addition to my current routine. I've been using this to keep my skin clear, as it's slightly less viscous due to the fact that it's a dry oil that and it absorbs instantly. It also contains 1.5% Salicylic Acid to keep breakouts and blackheads at bay, but isn't too overpowering for my skin; it's exactly what I need to banish the monthly few breakouts that occur (during that time of the month), keep my pores clear, my skin smooth and bright, all while giving it just the right amount of moisture it needs. 

Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner - This is such a unique product and a very welcome one in my routine. Of course, it's a toner, but it feels and looks light a lightweight moisturizing gel when it's pumped out of the tube, and then instantly turns into liquid when applied to the face. I love how refreshing it feels on contact - it's a definite pick-me-up for tired skin. It contains Marshmallow and Green Tea to soothe the skin and calm redness, Cucumber and Witch Hazel to tighten and tone, Manuka to naturally balance oily skin, all while keeping my t-zone matte thanks to the inclusion of Bentonite Clay. This has quickly become something I look forward to using for the ritualistic factor, but also something that keeps my skin so comfortable and perfectly balanced throughout the day.

Have you tried Sunday Riley's newest additions? 

*pr samples included.
August 02, 2016
TWO PRODUCTS YOU NEED TO TRY FROM MILK MAKEUP

TWO PRODUCTS YOU NEED TO TRY FROM MILK MAKEUP

Makeup in convenient, "off-duty" style is becoming a big trend. Why wouldn't it, though? We're all after easier-to-use, more portable, and effective products that give us that cool-girl, yourself but better look. Maybe I'm late to the game with these products, but while perusing the Urban Outfitters beauty section these two particular gems from Milk Makeup stood out to me. A dual purpose berry lip and cheek stain and an iridescent highlight stick? Count me in...

Milk Makeup Holograph Stick in Supernova - Just look at that swatch. I have amassed quite a few highlighting products over the past months, but none more otherworldly than this one. The name Holograph Stick is really very appropriate; when swiped on the skin the gel like formula glistens and morphs from silver, to periwinkle, to lavender and radiates a glow that looks not unlike you've just stepped out of a sci-fi fairytale. I love how this melts into the skin and really makes cheekbones stand out without any noticeable shimmer - just iridescent glow.

Milk Makeup Lip & Cheek Color in Quickie - This blush and lip color stick is a standout amongst my collection chock full of similar products. It's hydrating and uber-pigmented, yet looks sheer on the skin. You'll look like you've just eaten berries that stained your lips naturally...or just went for a run on a crisp autumn afternoon and were left blushing. It's the best kind of color in my opinion, and I'm obsessed with it to the point that it's become a handbag mainstay already for its' multitude of uses.

Any other Milk Makeup products you've tried that are must-haves?
August 01, 2016
MAISON FRANCIS KURKDJIAN A LA ROSE SCENTED BODY CREAM

MAISON FRANCIS KURKDJIAN A LA ROSE SCENTED BODY CREAM

One of my favorite ways to wear fragrance during the summer months without it being too overpowering is by using a fragranced lotion. There are loads of options out there, but if you're looking for something with a bit more staying power that's not far off from perfume, then choosing the matching lotion to one of your favorite scents would be your best bet. I've been using Maison Francis Kurkdjian's A La Rose Scented Body Cream and have to say it's the best scented body lotion I've yet to come across...

If you've never sniffed the A La Rose Perfume, allow me to recap the scent for you. It's described as a "tribute to femininity" and is comprised of a mixture of the Damascena Rose from Bulgaria, the Centifolia Rose from Grasse, and also includes notes of Bergamot, Orange, Violet, Magnolia Blossom, Cedar wood, and Musk. It's feminine a floral, but still fresh and yet a bit musky at the same time - I would consider this a perfect year-round fragrance and one to layer under other fragrances with similar notes for extra staying power as well. 

The lotion itself is the perfect texture, as it's nourishing and intensely hydrating, yet manages to remain light in texture so that it sinks into the skin quickly and comfortably. I love using it right out of the shower for moisture and lightweight fragrance that lasts all day.

Have you tried this scented body cream before?

*pr samples included.