Sunday, April 3, 2016

Current Obsessions | Beauty




I love using these facial pads as part of my nighttime skincare routine.  I’ve noticed a vast improvement on my skin texture and believe they have helped keep my acne at bay.  Saturated with lactic, fruit and glycolic acids, they exfoliate and brighten at the same time.

Con: Packaging.  The active ingredients become less effective after each use as they’re stored in a jar.


This is one of my go-to masks when I want fresh, plump skin.  If I know I’m going to be photographed, I use this mask.  If I’m going sans makeup or on vacation, I use this mask.  My pores are considerably tighter after using and my makeup goes on flawlessly.  I keep it on for 20 minutes and rinse off with water and a warm wash cloth.  There is a slight tingle but nothing unbearable.  It diminishes discoloration (sun damage) and smooths dry patches around my eyes (personal problem area).   


Finally, an affordable cleaning water that actually removes waterproof makeup.  I have stubborn lashes, by default, I’m a waterproof mascara girl all the way.  I always look for an eye makeup remover that’s gentle and effective.  I saturate a cotton pad and place it over my eye for about 30 seconds, I gently rub and every trace of mascara wipes clean (shake before using).  It doesn’t sting, thank God!  Look no more, run out and grab this.


On nights when I feel my eyes need a pick me up, I use the Etude House eye mask to help my eyes from looking tired and dry.  This mask is great at hydrating and helps reduce the look of fine lines, although the results are not permanent.  The patches come packaged in a plastic container which helps keep them fresh and ideal for traveling.  They’re cooling and perfect for an at home pamper session.     

Homemade Deodorant

After reading about the harmful toxins found in deodorant, I felt the need to make the switch (not just deodorant, I know).  I started looking into natural alternatives and mentioned it to my mom without knowing she had been making her own for months.  It feels wet at first but dries to powder within minutes.  It’s great at keeping odor and sweat at bay with moderate activity, little physical activity.  I wouldn’t go to the gym wearing this.  Please let me know of any natural deodorant you’d recommend below.  I don’t cook and even I can make this.  Here is her recipe:

Coconut Oil (room temperature) - 4 tbsp.
Baking Soda - 1 tsp.
Lime - 1 tsp.

Mix it all up and refrigerate.  Use once hardened.


If you’re a fan of light, musky scents, you’ll love this!  With notes of coconut, lemon and cedarwood, this fragrance is perfect for summer and spring.  I don’t own any perfumes with notes of musk – Replica does it right!  You get 3.4 ounces and only need a couple sprays.  It’s long lasting and not offensive, people always ask what I have on when I’m wearing this.  I purchased mine at Nordstrom.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Music | What I'm Loving Right Now

I'm always looking for music to listen to as I make my way through SF or while at work. Please leave music recommendations below, I love all genres! Meanwhile, here's a list of songs I have on rotation at the moment.

Contents of my "You Know All The Lyrics and Moves" Playlist

Music Sound Better With You - Giraffage
Tear In My Heart - twenty one pilots
Cake By The Ocean - DNCE
Ocean Drive - Duke Dumont
Music (feat. Marvin Gaye) - Erick Sermon
Get Money (feat. Notorious B.I.G.) - Junior M.A.F.I.A.
Paradise - Girls’ Generation
G.O.M.D. - J. Cole
Strip It Down - Luke Bryan
Gooey - Glass Animals
Party People - Marco Carola
Formation - Beyonce
Promise (feat. K. Flay) - Kaskade
Bang That - Disclosure
There He Go - ScHoolboy Q
Terry - Action Bronson
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Feed Me Diamonds (Oliver Nelson Remix) - MNDR
I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses
Look Right Through (MK Vocal Edit) - Storm Queen
Love & Appreciate - Murs
Miserable Lie - The Smiths
Mr. Blue Sky - Mayer Hawthorne
Slam - Volkoder
Easy - Soul Glitch
Spiritualize & Bubonic Tonic - Lotus

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Top 3 Products I Discovered Through Ipsy

I’ve been a long time subscriber of Ipsy and look forward to receiving my Glam Bag each month.  My Glam Bag is a monthly subscription service that delivers beauty products for $10 a month, nicely packaged in a cute reusable bag, right to your door.  It’s the perfect way to test products without the commitment of purchasing in full size whilst being exposed to new brands.  A lot of the products I receive are from well known brands ranging from luxury to drugstore quality.  As a blogger, I find receiving products from brands I’ve never heard a great benefit.  With so many new launches and brands, this is a great way to weed through more products and talk about what I’m really loving.

When you sign up, you are asked to take a quiz in order to tailor your bag to fit you.  I.e. skin tone, eye / hair color and a series of questions that describe your style and makeup brands / products you currently enjoy.  Once confirming contact information and method of payment, you will start to receive your monthly Glam Bag.  

Here are my top 3 products I’ve discovered through Ipsy:


  1. Make Up For Ever Artist Liner - This is a great option for those of us who are looking for a precision liner with a matte black finish (comes in different colors too).  I tend to shy away from liquid liner as I don’t find it practical for my everyday looks.  This twist up liner helps avoid the fear of all fears, being scratched by a dull pencil that needs to be sharpened.  It’s very long lasting, highly pigmented and does not transfer.  I wear contacts and find some liners bleed into my tear duct making my vision go blurry, eek!  I use black liner on the upper inner rim of my eye to help fake a thicker lash line.  When looking for a smokier look I apply on my lid, close to my lash line and smudge with a pencil brush.  It blends seamlessly and doesn’t tug on my eyelid.
  1. OFRA Cosmetics Eyeshadow & Highlighter in Bliss - Yes!!  This is seriously so good!  I use this as a highlight on the tops of my cheeks and cupid's bow.  Since I started using this product, my makeup doesn’t look complete until I’ve dusted this on my face.  I’m an oily skinned girl so I can easily look like a disco ball if I'm not careful.  With the strobing trend being at its peak, I was looking for a product that didn’t accentuate my oily skin but rather give me a conservative glow.  A little goes a long way, I repeat, a little goes a long way.  I promise this will be love at first application. 
  2. Vasanti Brighten Up! - Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator - Paraben & sulfate free, this vegan cleanser / scrub cleans and brightens your face with just one use.  Tested and tried, this removes all traces of makeup and leaves your skin feeling smoother and hydrated.  I have big pores (oily skin) and I saw a visible reduction in size after using this product for a week.  It made my skin very smooth and kept my acne at bay.  I didn’t have a negative reaction and I really felt it helped keep my face clear of acne.  My only complaint is that it can be a little abrasive.  I use a small amount and work the product into my hands before using it on my face.  My makeup applies a lot better, dry patches are buffed away and I can feel the quality of my skin improving after each use.  Major thumbs up!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Obagi Nu-Derm Toner & Foaming Gel



6.7 fl. oz. - $35.70

6.7 fl. oz. - $35.70

Fellow bloggers and friends of mine have raved about Obagi as a brand since my earliest memories of watching beauty vloggers.  I finally bit the bullet when I strolled into my local MedSpa and began to browse through their skin care.  As mentioned in other blog posts, in my early days of reviewing beauty products, I've always had a hard time finding a toner that works for my skin.  I tend to opt out of toning my face because every toner I use breaks me out.  Breaking out is putting it lightly.  My skin is always covered in cystic acne the day after I tone my face.  My complexion turns into a mountainous disaster, eek!  Not to mention the pain, agony, the horror! drama queen  

Through my research and speaking to numerous estheticians, salicylic acid is indeed the culprit.  As a teen I suffered from acne and found my skin took to liking benzoyl peroxide.  It helped combat my spots and helped nip them in the butt before they became monstrosities.  On the contrary, my skin hated acne fighting creams, gels that contained salicylic acid.  Salicylic acid had a reverse effect on my skin, it aggravated my spots and I broke out even more.

After having a laser treatment on a particular weekend morning, the spa receptionist and I started talking about my skin care concerns.  I mentioned I was looking for a toner that didn't contain sal acid and was open to trying a new skin care range.  She immediately directed me to their Obagi Nu-Derm line and was immediately sold.  I was excited that her staff and clients had started a cult following for the line at this particular spa, the cleanser and toner were the star products. Ring me up!

Long story short, beta hydroxy acid (BHA) equals salicylic acid.  Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin, an anti-inflammatory which is why it works wonders on those who suffer from acne.  It helps combat irritation and fight bacteria build up on the surface of the skin and in the pores.  It works great as an exfoliator among other things.  After a week of using the toner I knew my skin didn't get on with it and that this toner in fact contained salicylic acid.  I was let down but figured I should have done more research before making the purchase.  I'm seriously every salesman's / saleswoman's dream customer ha!

As for the cleanser, LOVE!  Once I stopped using the toner and my spots began to subside, the texture of my skin was unlike anything I'd ever felt.  I have oily / sensitive skin.  My skin felt soft, clear and the hyper-pigmentation had begun to fade.  It was great at removing makeup (which I rarely did) and cleansing without making my skin feel stripped or overly dry.  The foaming gel had a non offensive smell and felt cooling on the skin.  I highly recommend this product, without a doubt one of my favorite skin care discoveries of 2015.                  

As for the hunt for my perfect toner...it's still going strong.  Even my boyfriend has started helping me, bless his heart.  If that ain't love, I dunno what is.  There has to be a toner out there suitable for my skin.  I'd love any recommendations or suggestions, please feel free to comment below :)

GR†

Friday, March 4, 2016

Inspiration: How to Let Go.

 I’ve always been a go-getter, never afraid to break the rules or push any boundaries.  If someone told me I couldn’t, I did.  My poor parents, I was quite the rebellious teen growing up.  The daughter of two liberally conservative lovebirds, I’ve always been a dreamer, the doer and never afraid.  My younger brother thinks I’m crazy among other things and my sister… always sits at the edge of her seat, anticipating my next move or awaiting to hear what comes spilling out of my mouth next.  Inspiration wasn’t something I ever lacked.  Whether it came from the books I read, pop culture or the people I met or had encounters with; my inspiration fueled me.  It kept me feeling alive and encouraged my confidence, allowed me to be the better version of myself.  Waking up each morning wasn’t so bad, investing in relationships that meant a lot to me came naturally and believing the energy I put into the universe would come full circle...that I never doubted.

Months back I found myself feeling confused, stuck and anxious.  Bad things happen.  Bad things happened.  The days became long and I lost the ability to see the beauty that was around me.  I went through the motions, shut down and began isolating myself from everyone and everything.  It was the first time I had ever felt this way.  I didn’t know how to make it better but most importantly, didn’t know how to ask for support.  

I had many regrets and was angry with myself.  Angry that I gave people the power to break me down which in turn enabled me to feel this way.  Upset for trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be and forgot about my own happiness.  Who was I?  It dawned on me, I forgot about myself.  I wasn’t reading for pleasure, writing, traveling… I had stopped doing all the things that ignited my creativity.  Why? …because bad things happened.


Through the chaos, I was lost.  What helped me get over this hurdle was when I started asking myself questions.  Why did this happened?  How could I avoid this from happening in the future? Why was I obsessed with the bigger picture?  I reevaluated my life and focused on the things that were making me upset and unhappy.  I learned to set realistic goals and take things as they come, day by day.  Stressing or obsessing over something not going right wasn't going to solve the underlying issue.  I stopped sweating the small stuff and started spending a lot more time outdoors.  I did all the things that made me happy.  I reminded myself that it’s ok to not know.  It’s ok to not have it together all the time.  It’s ok to feel uninspired sometimes.

I'm a fan of TED Talks and recently ShondaRhimes.  Remarkable and inspiring in every way, Shonda spoke to an audience in Vancouver about what it takes to be a titan, how saying yes made her learn and grow in more ways than she ever imagined.  With so much success, it was humbling to hear her speak in a way which I was able to relate to.  I'm a newly converted "yes" person too.  I do things that make me uncomfortable or voluntarily wouldn’t do before.  The confidence I’ve gained in return, knowing I did something I normally would've passed up has been transformative.  Inspiring and professionally satisfying. 

Ultimately, bad things will happen and I hope to never get lost in the commotion going on in and around me.  Staying focused and surrounding yourself with positive people is good for the heart.  I’m now in a new city, working with the most loving and encouraging colleagues, living life happily and free.  I'm optimistic, less hesitant to change and accepting of everything that has or will come my way.