Finally, some exciting new purchases!

November 19, 2014 in LOOKBOOK

Mmmmm, back to the diurnal life. I actually prefer working in the hospital at night. But night shifts mean 70 hour work weeks, and that gets draining pretty quickly. I just finished my last shift on Monday morning, and spent Monday catching up on “life things” (finally!). I though if I stayed awake on Monday I could fall asleep and stay asleep Monday night… no such luck. I managed to fall asleep at 8pm but was wide awake at 2 am. Bummer. I did get some amazon shopping and house cleaning done, though. I guess it was a half win? But coming back to work on Tuesday was rough. Coffee. Lots of coffee.

Burberry Olive Trench Coat
Burberry Coat, Majestic Shirt, Mother jeans, Jimmy Choo Shoes, Celine Bag
I’ve made some awesome new additions to my closet recently, which has partially made up for life being so blah. For one, I picked up my pants from the tailor. Six new (well, pre-owned, actually) perfectly fitting pairs of pants! Yay! I’ve also been impressed with a few J. Crew offerings recently, and I’ve made a few items permanent residents of my closet. I mentioned in my previous post that J. Crew was likely going to put out some new Elsie Pumps… and they did (you know how in love I am with my suede versions, which seems to be selling out crazy fast!). J. Crew just came out with a black and white pattern version, which is going to be perfect to dress up my basic black outfits… I plan on wearing these tomorrow. :) They also came out with a full leather version. I have to say, these are gorgeous, and I anticipate they’ll be quick to sell out, too.  I got the gossamer peach ones, which are more pink than the blush stone version, but are just as stunning. I bought the misty green color too, but I’m not sure I’ll keep them. They are so so pretty, I’m just not sure they would get enough wear. Instead I got the light gray ones to compare. Aaaaaannnndd, I’m still debating getting the metallic camo pair. Gosh, they’re pretty. But what to wear them with? I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing. This is a ton of new shoes. Its pretty ridiculous, but after wearing another pair of these all day today and having no foot pain, these shoes are worth it to me. Honestly they’re the most comfortable pumps I’ve found.

Jimmy Choo Pumps
Beyond my excessive shoes additions I have made just a few other purchases. While in store the other day making returns I came across the boyfriend flannel shirt. I was instantly won over by the softness of the flannel. The fit is oversized, but I stuck with my regular size 0 (sometimes I size down to a 00). This top is surprisingly flattering for being a boyfriend fit. I’m looking forward to wearing it all winter! The same style also comes in a dark bluegrass colorway, which is unfortunately sold out in my size. I’ll be on the lookout for it if/ when it pops back into stock! Two soon-to-be purchases are the oversize stripe turtleneck and the brushed wool funnelneck sweat shirt. I just have to decide on what colors to get!  Mmmmmm, so cozy.

Burberry Trench Coat
Alright, enough shopping talk. I should really take some ambien and try to get to sleep before I really turn into a daytime zombie. I can’t wait to take some outfit pictures again with the new stuff! I haven’t been this excited about purchases in ages… it was about time!

J. Crew Elsie Suede Pump Review

November 9, 2014 in J. Crew Reviews

I’ve been raving about these J. Crew’s Elsie Suede Pumps in nearly every post for the past few months. Its about time for an actual review post! I’ll go over the typical topics, but feel free to ask if you have any additional questions! Note that this review is only for the suede version of the Elsie’s. They also come in a leather camo version, a leopard calf hair version, and a printed fabric version (and likely a solid leather version in the near future!).

J. Crew Elsie
Aesthetics: I love the look of these shoes! They have a sleek, classic design. They feature a modestly pointy toe and medium-high heel. They come in a variety of stunning colors. If you’re a more adventurous type, perhaps the bright red, bold violet or neon pink would be your pick! I’m a neutral lover, so the beiges and black were calling my name.

Sizing: The sizing on these is, well, interesting. The first pair I got was the kraft brown. I got them in a 6.5, my usual J. Crew size (I’m a tts 6). They were a little bit big, so I put a cushion in the toe box. I still have a little extra room in the heel, but not so much that my heel slips out when I walk. When the next batch of shoes came out I decided to compare the 6 and 6.5 (I bought the black and the blush stone). I’m not sure if this second batch ran a slight bit bigger or if its just my feet, but it seemed like the 6.5 was just too big, even with a foot cushion. The 6 fit absolutely perfectly. Snug, but not too snug (and I’m sure they’ll stretch out a bit). So, while most J. Crew heels are 1/2 size too small, I’d say these are running pretty true to size.

Comfort: There are very few pairs of pumps that are comfortable enough for all day wear, but these are one of them! They have a few things going for them. First, the toe box is on the wider side, which eliminates the typical pinching of the toes (and allows room for my foot as it swells slightly throughout the day). Next, they’re a super soft suede and are lined in leather. The suede eliminates any potential painful rubbing at the edges (note this is not true with the fabric versions) and stretches just enough to conform perfectly to the foot. The leather foot bed is slightly padded, which is comfortable enough for casual wear (but I add some extra cushion in the ball of foot area for even more support). Last, the heel is advertised as 3 7/8″ high (with no platform). I was a bit nervous about the height (I typically don’t go above 3 1/2″), but they don’t feel so high… not sure why. Maybe its the placement of the heel?

Quality: To be honest, J. Crew’s quality is totally hit or miss. Sometimes the suede doesn’t totally match, or there are marks on the suede, or the leather lining is bumpy… you get the idea. I’ve already returned a few pairs of these due to defects. But the pairs that I’ve kept are perfect. So, good pairs do exist, but just be aware that you may potentially have to exchange a defective pair. I’d advise avoiding final sale, if these ever make it there.

Overall: Its already quite clear that I love these shoes. I have them in three colors already and will likely buy more (I’ve seen a leather version in the J. Crew catalog that I’m super excited for)! The price on these is middle-of-the-road ($245). Its definitely not designer price, but definitely not cheap, either. I’m a little bummed that J. Crew keeps increasing the price of their pumps, and I’m especially bummed that these have been excluded from every single sale. Oh well, I can’t blame them, I guess. If the shoes are selling out at full price, why put them on sale?

Beauty Favorites Old and New

November 8, 2014 in Makeup / Skincare, makeup essentials, Makeup Reviews

I’m not a huge beauty guru. I try to keep things as simple as possible! Most of my daily products are long-time favorites. I only trial new products twice per year during Sephora sales. Sephora just held their friends and family sale a few weeks ago, and now they’re currently running their VIB sale with 20% off (and MrRebates.com has 12% cashback, too).

sephora favorites

There are a few products that I bought about a month ago now that have made a permanent home in my daily regimen. They’re amazing… I really don’t say that often!

New Favorite #1: Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads. I’d been curious about these AHA/BHA pads for quite some time.  I’ve been a retin-a user for years and have tried to find substitutes countless times to no avail (retin-a is not pregnancy-safe, which will be an issue in the not-too-distant future). This is a great product and is the first product that seems to be a potential permanent retin-a substitute! After I wash my face at night I use (half of) one of these pads and exfoliate my face and chest area (it also takes off excess makeup so I don’t have to use a separate toner). I allow my skin a few minutes to dry and then apply a thick moisturizer (currently using La Mer’s overpriced cream). Every morning I wake up to clear, smooth, hydrated skin. I haven’t once broken out, which is pretty amazing considering my schedule right now.

New Favorite #2: ALTERNA Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist. This hair oil mist is just what I’ve been looking for for my dry, color treated hair. There are so many hair oils out there, but I love this one for a few reasons. First, I love that this is a mist. I had been using a basic argan oil for years. The product worked great, but the application process wasn’t my favorite (oily hands, uneven application, etc). The mist solves that problem. I just spray this stuff all over my hair after showering (after I spray on my root lifter… I’m a fan of sprays!), and that’s it. Blowdry. Done. It doesn’t weigh my hair down at all, even after a few days. And it smells amazing!

New Favorite #3: Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush. This was a surprise love! I’ve tried  countless blushes over the years and I always end up going back to NARS (and apparently so do others… 4.7/5 stars and nearly 15k reviews on Sephora, wow!). NARS ‘deep throat’ blush is the most natural looking color I’ve found… until now. I’m not sure why I added the Dior blush to my F&F order… it looks obnoxiously bright online! In reality it looks just the same, but I tested it out anyway (I’m working nights, nobody cares how I look).  Whoa, talk about looking different on the skin than in the container! This blush gives the most natural flushed look! So pretty. And it lasts all day (or all night in my case).

Old Favorite #1: ALTERNA Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo. Finding a dry shampoo that works for brown hair is not easy. I’ve tried a fair number of dry shampoos and this Alterna version is the only one that’s worked for me. I use it on day old hair or occasionally two day old hair. It gives me a good amount of volume and freshens up my roots. No white or gray residue (as long as you shake well!!). And no yucky smell (it actually smells quite nice).

Old Favorite #2: Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment. I felt so guilty splurging on this lip treatment in medical school. Seriously, $25 for what is essentially a fancy lip balm seems kinda crazy. But I keep coming back to this stuff. It works great. Its so hydrating and protects my lips in the winter. It looks beautiful, too. Just a little shiny but not like a gloss. Perfect for work. And it doesn’t taste funny. Sigh. At least the price is fairly reasonable during sales.

Old Favorite #3: Shiseido Eyelash Curler. I’ve essentially stopped using mascara. It takes too long to apply before work, and it melts off into my eyes during my daily hot yoga (you should see the number of girls that have racoon eyes after yoga). Instead, I’ve gone back to just curing my lashes. There are many curlers out there. I like this one for its broad curve shape. I get all of my lashes at once and haven’t had any pinching or pulling problems. Pretty basic, but can’t really ask for more.

Other items worth mentioning?

  • Dior’s brow pencil is wonderful. Easy to apply and looks totally natural (and no worries about picking the right color). There are likely other cheaper alternatives, but I don’t go through this product fast enough to mind.
  • Lancôme’s effacernes concealer has been my go-to undereye concealer for years now. It has decent coverage, doesn’t smudge, doesn’t change colors, and doesn’t crease. It doesn’t 100% cover my circles, but its the best I’ve found (and I’ve tried many).
  • YSL’s touche eclat is another great product. I used this product more when I had more red spots and imperfections on my skin. It covers small blemishes flawlessly, it can’t be beat. I don’t use it too often anymore, but I’ll occasionally reach for it if I have some redness around my nose or if I’m ambitious enough to highlight.

Have you tried any new products recently? Share any recommendations :)