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 :)

More Night Shifts

October 30, 2014 in LOOKBOOK

Night week #1/3 – done. It wasn’t so bad. For me, the worst part of working nights is the lack of quality sleep… I’m the worst daytime sleeper ever. And after a few days of crappy sleep I go into a constant state of zombie, stumbling around, tripping over my own shoes, running my shoulders into walls… that sort of thing.  Today I was walking home with groceries and I somehow tripped and kicked the paper bag in my right hand. The whole bag ripped in half. My groceries scattered. And my artichokes vanished (no artichoke chicken tonight… sad). Similar acts of embarrassing clumsiness have happened at yoga (especially during inversions), but at least there have been no injuries.  Yet.

Graphic Print Tee
Prada Cardigan (pre-owned), Givenchy Top (pre-owned), Barbour Scarf (pre-owned), Faux Suede Leggings (old), J. Crew Shoes, Fendi Bag (pre-owned)
I posted a while back about my first retail purchases this fall. I don’t have a lot of keepers so far (only one, actually), which is good! I knew I was going to like the J. Crew Elsie pumps in blush stone (the same style pump that I’m wearing in these pics), but I didn’t realize how much I would like them! Their color is absolutely perfect for me (more nude than pink), they’re stunning. I can’t decide if I want them in a 6 or 6.5. The ones I’m wearing are a 6.5, but the new colors seem slightly larger (or maybe its just my pair?). I’ve ordered a 6 to compare. Honestly, I love these pumps so much I might get two pairs of the blush stone, as crazy as that sounds. Its so hard to find pretty pumps that are comfortable enough to wear all day at work.

givenchy top
The only item I still haven’t received is J. Crew’s Chateau parka, but some reviews have popped up saying this runs large. I’m assuming my usual 00R will be too big, then. If that’s the case, I might exchange for a 00P and see how that goes. Or I might totally switch gears and look for a puffer instead. I love the classic look of wool coats, but I almost always reach for my synthetic jackets over them. My Arcteryx winter coat doesn’t make it on the blog, but I wear it almost daily in the winter. Its the warmest coat I’ve ever found (I’m always cold), and its comfy, non-restrictive and easy to clean. Perfect for now, but one day I’ll upgrade to a Moncler coat similar to this one. But not soon. I’ve decided that there will be no big purchases until my car fund is >10k. Maybe I should moonlight more… :)

givenchy shirt
Back to work again tomorrow after a couple of days off. Just in time to for Halloween at the hospital (aka, people getting too intoxicated –> fighting or passing out –> being brought in by the cops)! At least costumes will make it more entertaining. Have a fun Halloween (just not that fun).

My First Retail Purchases (in a looooong time)

October 22, 2014 in New Buys

fall purchases

I’ve finally found some purchase-worthy items this fall! Who knows if they’ll be keepers, but even better if they’re not (much happier bank account).  I popped over to J. Crew this morning for some pre-night shift shopping. I’ve been hoping that they’d add some new Elsie pumps since I bought my first pair a few months ago (worn here, here, here…), and they finally did! I’m a nude shoe fanatic, so I bought the new blush stone color. They also added a beautiful blue and a pale pink suede version, which I passed on for now, because I was won over by the patterned versions. I’m not a huge camo fan, but their metallic camo is stunning! I was sooooo close to getting them, but opted for the black floral version instead. These will look perfect with my typical black pants and sweater look.

While I was browsing J. Crew’s site I also (accidentally) stumbled upon one of their new coat styles, the Chateau Parka. J. Crew does outerwear well, and I usually try a few of their coats every winter. I love the subtly elegant vibe of the dusty ginger color, so that one will be on the way here soon! And the one last-second add on to the (expensive) order was the Buffalo check flannel shirt jacket. This one has potential, but if its too boxy it’ll have to go back. We’ll see.

The last two items I’m trying are this Dsquared2 tee that has been sitting in my Yoox dreambox for ages. I don’t know why, but I think its adorable. And this John Richmond sweater was my absolute last purchase. I adore the style and color, but it’s a wool/alpaca blend, which might be too irritating on my overly sensitive skin. Allergies. Yuck.

Ok, back to studying. If you’ve read all the way to the bottom here, thank you, and please share your favorite fall finds!