5 Must Have Beauty Products

Ever since I hit puberty, I have constantly been struggling with my skin.  I have that annoying combination skin that is highly prone to break outs – despite all of the different products I’ve used. However, over the past few years, I have become laser focused on perfecting my skin care/ beauty routine.  While my daily skin care routine involves a variety of products and steps, there are five products that, without a doubt, have made a major impact on the quality of my skin.

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1. La Mer The Cleansing Foam

In the past year, I have been told repeatedly by my dermatologist and several beauty professionals how terrible it is to exfoliate every day.  The way that they explained it to me was this – exfoliating daily is the equivalent of taking microscopic sand paper to your skin each day – YIKES!  Exfoliating should only be done around once or twice a week (if you have oily skin like me) or less if you have dry skin.  Of course, here I am using a Kiehl’s exfoliating face wash morning and night! However, it took me years to find a face wash that worked on my skin without causing me to break out.  So I decided to do some serious research which lead me to La Mer.  Now, I know La Mer is extremely expensive and for years I have always wanted to give it a try – to see if it really is worth the amazing reviews.  So, after saving up some of my Nordstrom notes, I took the plunge and bought The Cleansing Foam face wash – and man oh man is this stuff amazing! I now only use my Kiehl’s in the shower (about two to three times a week) and I stick to La Mer for my morning and nightly routine.  Unfortunately, now I have to ration this stuff out to make it last!

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2. Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence

Another product that I had heard about for years is an essence.  I always thought the concept of an essence sounded silly, but everyone kept telling me it was worth a try.  What finally convinced me to take the plunge, was reading about how Asian women have been using an essence as a part of their beauty routine for years now and they consider it a critical step to maintaining youthful and healthy skin.  I have always thought that Asian women have the most amazing skin, so I decided to give it a try.  You can see in the picture above that I have only used about a quarter of the bottle – despite having bought it close to five months ago!  I pat this onto my skin, twice a day, after washing my face and applying my toner.  Not only does it give your skin a boost of moisture, but it also helps to activate whatever products you apply afterwards. Basically, by adding an essence into your beauty routine, your other products will work better and last longer!

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3. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM

I have been using retinol for almost a year now, but I didn’t discover this stuff until this past July.  I was previously using a Sunday Riley retinol and I had every intention to continue using that product.  However, when I went into Sephora to buy another bottle, the man working there started to tell me about Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM.  I must add that he had amazing skin.  He told me about how this was the strongest retinol formula on the market, without a prescription, and that you only had to let it sit for about two minutes before adding your moisturizer.  With the Sunday Riley retinol, you have to wait 15 minutes before applying anything else on your skin – which is a pain in the a$$ when your routine is already 20 minutes long!  I have now been using this retinol formula for about 10 weeks and it has made a tremendous difference in my skin.  Not only does it keep my breakouts to a minimum, but it also gives me firmer skin and an even skin tone. This is truly a must have product!

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4. MAC Prep + Prime

I have never worn a ton of makeup, so I never cared much about using a primer.  When I was given my first set of makeup in high school, a primer was included.  I went to the Bare Minerals counter and they showed me how to apply each product in the kit.  I remember being told how important primer is and that it would help your makeup go on smoother and last longer.  However, I never felt as if it made a difference for me so, I eventually stopped using it.  Years later I wanted to give it another try – so, I went to Ulta and bought the latest and greatest Bare Minerals tinted primer.  Once again, I wasn’t a fan.  After trying my hardest to make it work, it slowly faded to the back of my makeup cabinet.  Then, this past Spring, Nordstrom sent me a deluxe sample of this MAC Prep + Prime.  I wasn’t expecting much, but I was thrilled to discover what an impact it made!  There is no oily glow associated with this primer and my makeup still looks great at the end of the day – it may have taken years, but I finally understand the importance of a good primer!

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5. The Beauty Blender

As I previously mentioned, I don’t wear much makeup.  I simply use a primer, a touch of concealer under my eyes, foundation, bronzer, and a highlighter, if I am feeling fancy.  Well, maybe that is a lot – but it’s all relative!  Anyways, I have always applied my concealer with my fingers, which I know is not the best idea.  Not only are your hands covered in germs, but they aren’t meant for evenly blending makeup.  I had tried makeup brushes in the past but I never felt that they made any noticeable difference.  Then last week, for some reason, I decided to try this Beauty Blender that everyone seems to be so obsessed with.  I now totally understand the obsession.  You are supposed to get the blender wet and then towel it dry before you blend your concealer, or whatever liquid product you are using.  I swear to you that this little blender is the most important product that you can add to your makeup routine.  I never knew that my makeup could look so natural.  It really does blend your makeup into your skin – whereas without it, your makeup just kind of just sits on top of your skin.  Whatever the science is behind this perfect pink blender, it is amazing!

I truly believe that taking care of your skin is essential to aging gracefully and each of these products is a must have addition to your routine.  Regardless of your skin type, I know you will love each product as much as I do!

XO

Sweater Weather

 

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How is it almost October, already?! Fall is here and I can’t believe it.  My bikinis are all packed away and it is time to break out all of my comfy sweaters.  However, it can be a real challenge deciding what to wear this time of the year, since the weather is all over the place.  I have found that chunky cotton sweaters are the best solution.  It is still too warm for wool or cashmere, but a good cotton sweater is the perfect weight for this awkward Fall weather.

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I have more sweaters than anything else in my closet – primarily because they are so versatile!  A great sweater is the perfect addition to any outfit.  Of course, the classic combo of a cozy sweater and a great pair of jeans is my go to outfit.  However, you can also throw a sweater over a slip dress or pair it with a cute mini skirt on those warmer Fall days.  Chic and comfy, yes please.

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The best part about fashion is how much fun you can have with clothes that used to be super boring.  I am all about the different trendy sleeves and cuts on sweaters these days – it is a total upgrade from my boring prep school cardigans!  I have linked a few of my favorite cotton sweaters, as well as my outfit pictured above!

XO

1. Lovers & Friends

2. LA Made

3. Michael Lauren

4. Free People

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Sweater (John & Jenn) Jeans (Mother) Booties (Schutz)

The LWD – A Summer Staple

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While everyone is always singing praises about the classic little black dress (LBD), it’s Summer sister, the little white dress (LWD), never gets enough credit.  For some reason I always forget how easy and cool a perfect mini dress can be in the heat of the Summer. I, like most people, have always reached for a cute top and some denim shorts when getting dressed in 80 degree weather – however, after this Misa dress arrived in my closet, it quickly became my new go-to outfit.

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I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this dress. It is light and airy in the best way possible, yet it still has that ability to make me feel effortlessly chic.  I had been stalking this dress for a few months before I pulled the trigger and brought it home with me and I am so glad that I did.  You can take a great LWD like this and dress it down as I did, pictured above, or easily pair it with a fabulous pair of shoes and instantly elevate your look for a night out (pictured below)!

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Of course, I will always love all of my LBDs, but the LWD has become my new Summer staple.

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XO

Dress (Misa Los Angeles)  Gold Sandals (Madewell) Sunglasses (Sunday Somewhere) Ring (Kendra Scott)

My Turquoise sandals are Jimmy Choo from last season but I have linked a few other great options!

Valentino Rockstud Mules

Manolo Blahnik Suede Heels

 

Shorts of the Summer

Now that the weather is consistently warm and I can wear shorts everyday, my love for One Teaspoon denim has become an obsession.  I wear my One Teaspoon jean shorts all the time. I have already bought three pairs – with a fourth pair en route! I have never had great luck with denim shorts in the past, but that all changed once I discovered One Teaspoon. They are stylish, they fit me perfectly, and they are extremely well made – check, check, and check!

Since I have already blogged about where you can buy them, this go around I am going to show you how I have styled mine so far this Summer.

blue buoy

Although the One Teaspoon bandits are a bit short, you can still make them look like more than just a pair of cut-off booty shorts.  This was actually today’s “fourth of July” outfit – which I wore to work.

bb 2

These are the exact same shorts from the first picture, just styled a bit different, since this outfit was for date night.

free love

These bandits are the same exact style as the ones above, just in a different color. Unfortunately, these ‘le surf’ bandits are practically sold out everywhere. Which is no surprise since they are so awesome! You can hardly see in this picture, but the left side has “Free Love” embroidered above the front pocket.

white

Since I love the bandits sooo much, I have decided to get them in white.  It was clearly meant to be because I just found the on sale via ShopBop!

bonitas

These One Teaspoon bonitas were beyond difficult to get my hands on.  Not only have they been sold out for months, they also appear to have been discontinued.  However, I recently stumbled into a local boutique and found one pair left – that just happened to be my size!!  Oddly enough, it was my first time at Bungalow Seven and I had no clue that they even carried One Teaspoon.  These shorts were clearly meant for my closet!

I just bought the bonitas a few days ago, however, I’ll be sure to share how I styled them once I break them in!

XO

Outfit #1

Top (JCrew), Shorts (Blue Buoy Bandits), Mules (Stubbs & Wootton), Sunglasses (SMU)

Outfit #2

Top (ASTR), Necklace (Anna Beck), Shorts (Blue Buoy Bandits), Sandals (Schutz)

Outfit #3

Top (Sanctuary), Shorts (Le Surf Bandits), Sneakers (Comme des Garcons), Sunglasses (Quay)

Hanky Panky

Finding the right under garments can be such a challenge these days.  With all of the different style tops and pants out there, it can be quite difficult to find under garments that give you the appropriate amount of coverage and comfort.  One of the perks, of being a lifetime member to the itty bitty titty club, is that I can get away without wearing a bra – most of the time.  However, whenever I find a great top that is sheer or has an open back, I am at a loss.  Luckily, I have discovered a few brands that have made getting dressed so much easier!

shapers

These Breast Shapers are a game changer.  Not only do they provide full coverage, but they actually give you some lift.  On top of that, they are reusable up to 25 times.  I love them.  When it comes to a low back top or dress, these are perfect.

FP

Free People bralettes are another favorite of mine.  They come in a variety of great colors and they have so many fun designs.  I actually haven’t worn a real bra in years because these bralettes are so stinkin’ comfortable!

HP

If the Free People bralettes aren’t for you, then check out Hanky Panky.  The one pictured above is my absolute favorite bralette.  It is so unbelievably comfortable and the colors are great!

undies

I actually first discovered Hanky Panky underwear back in high school and was instantly hooked.  I have just about every color they make in the boy short.  The thong is one of their most popular styles, however, I am a huge fan of the boy cut.  You can wear these under anything and you won’t see an underwear line. Not only will you love how comfy they are, but you will love the fact that you can wear the light colors under white pants and not worry about color showing through!  I haven’t owned any other brand of underwear in years and I doubt I will ever find another brand that I love as much.

cami

As far as a camisole goes, Nordstrom’s has the best selection.  The Nordstrom brand cami is my favorite because it is reversible from front to back and it is seamless.  Most camisoles dig into your collar bone or are cut wrong so they keep riding up, but not these! This cami is perfectly cut and super comfortable.  To top it off, they are well priced!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t worn a real bra in years, but I have grown up watching my sister and mom struggle to find the perfect bra.  I must say that Nordstrom’s has the absolute best selection of bras.  I highly recommend going into your local Nordstrom and get properly fitted by one of their specialist.  They will help you find exactly what you need and, as always, the customer service is excellent!  One of my mom’s favorite brands is Wacoal, which she was introduced to by the Nordstrom’s lingerie specialist.

I hope this helps getting dressing a bit easier for y’all!

XO

Beach Bag Essentials

Although the official start of Summer is still a month away, I’ve always considered Memorial Day weekend the start of Summer.  So in preparation for the weekend ahead, I want to share my beach bag essentials!  I always have my beach bag on standby so I can scurry on up to the beach at a moments notice and these are my must-haves for any beach day.

kayu-st-tropez.jpg

For as long as I can remember I have always used either a Billabong back pack or a Vineyard Vines tote as a beach bag.  However, this year I am buying myself a woven tote because it is much easier to dump the sand out of than a bag with pockets.  It is also way cuter! I have narrowed my choices down to the following three bags.  The Kayu St Tropez tote (above) which comes in a handful of great colors.

sundry bag

This fun Sundry bag.

giselle

Or this Giselle tote. Each one is so cute but I have yet to make up my mind!

beach people

When it comes to beach towels, I am always trying to find a huge blanket style towel that actually will absorb water. The Beach People towels have been on my radar for a few years now and this guy is officially mine.  They make a variety of great towels in tons of patterns and colors – which makes it hard to only buy one!

S&L

My other choice for a nice and big beach towel is Serena & Lily.  The aqua color is perfectly beachy and the size is great for sharing!

bain

Now, being born and raised by the beach has given me years to test out all of the tanning lotions out there and there are only two that I use – and swear by.  Bain de Soleil Orange Gelee has been an integral part of my tanning routine for years now and it is amazing.  This stuff not only helps you tan it also seems to prevent me from burning.  Of course, it only has SPF 4 in it, so if you have fair skin then I recommend using a much higher SPF.

maui

Maui Babe is my other favorite tanning lotion.  This one literally smells like coffee beans, which I love!  It does a great job of helping you achieve a dark tan.  The only complaint I have is that the color gets all over your swimsuit when you apply it.  The color washes out, but I would recommend the Bain de Soleil on the days that you are wearing a white swim suit!

nuetrogena

As much as I love a deep dark tan on my body, I never play around with my face and neck.  My sister always makes fun of me because by the end of the Summer by body is ten shades darker than my face. However, I am trying to protect my face and prevent any sun damage – which could lead to premature aging.  Neutrogena makes my favorite face sunscreen.  I have been using this for several years and not only does it work well, it also doesn’t make my skin break out. I also use their Ultra Sheer Stick for my lips.

hat

To provide additional protection and to help keep the sun out of my eyes, I found this perfect cotton sun hat from JCrew.  They have several great hat options – each for a great price!  I particularly love this hat because it is soft and made from cotton which won’t make my head itch.

shades

One thing that you will never catch me on the beach without, is a pair of sunglasses.  I typically like my Ray-Bans the best for the beach because they are polarized and sturdy.  However, I also love a cute pair of shades that match my bikini, so sometimes fashion out weighs practicality.

The most important item in my beach bag will always be my water.  I am honestly not a fan of the Swell water bottles because they don’t hold more than a bottle and a half of water.  I drink a ton of water each day – especially when I am out in the sun.  I recently discovered these awesome BKR water bottles which actually hold a liter of water.  The little spiked guy is so cool, but, at the moment, the spiked collection only comes in the 500mL size.  So for the time being I’ll stick to this pretty blue bottle and stay hydrated!

Two additional items that I keep in my beach bag at all times are It’s A 10 leave in conditioner and Off bug spray.  The conditioner helps prevent my hair from turning into dreadlocks and of course, the bug spray always comes in handy when the wind suddenly switches and sends the bugs right at you!

I know this was a long post, but these are truly the essentials when it comes to packing a bag for the beach.  Fingers crossed the weather is nice this Memorial Day weekend so I can grab my bag and head off to the beach!

XO

Summer Denim

I cannot believe that Memorial Day is only a week away – which means it is time to bust out those white pants!  I know white denim has been super on trend lately and it’s no longer considered a fashion faux pas to wear white during the colder months, however, for me, white pants are meant for Spring and Summer.  Perhaps it’s because I have always associated white pants with warm, sunny days and a dark tan, but regardless of when you decide to wear white, these are the pants you’ll want in your wardrobe.

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I have posted about these jeans a few times now – they really are that awesome.  They fit like a glove, yet have so much stretch to them.  I am a big fan of skinny jeans that truly are skinny from top to bottom and these Frame ‘Le Skinny’ jeans are perfection.  Now the rips may not work for everyone, so if you prefer a milder version, than these JBrand jeans are another favorite of mine.

avedon

If you are looking for a classic pair of white skinny jeans, then look no further.  These Citizens were the first pair of white jeans that I bought many years ago and I still love them.  The quality is great and so is the fit.  I actually have this exact pair in black as well!  Being 5’9″, sometimes it is super difficult to buy a ‘crop’ or ‘ankle’ pant because they look like capris on me – however, these jeans are the perfect length which is probably why I love them so much!

These Hudson jeans are a new addition to my closet and I looove them.  I would have never picked these out online, but when I saw them in person at South Moon Under I had to have them!  They are so stinkin’ cool and unlike any other pants that I own.  Hudson’s tend to stretch out a bit over time, so I recommend buying down a size.

shorts

One Teaspoon is most certainly my favorite brand for denim shorts.  The cut is exactly what I have always wanted in a pair of shorts and the quality is excellent!  I bought the ‘Bandits’ in the buoy wash a little while ago and fell in love.  So, of course, now these white ones are going to join them!

Summer is officially creepin’ up on us, so check back tomorrow for my Beach Bag Essentials!

XO