Recent Beauty Buys

I’m always adding to my beauty wardrobe because you can never have too many beauty products. While the majority of my products are Josie Maran, I’m always branching out to find my new favorite brands. Here are a few of my recent purchases (both Josie and not).

Argan Lip Sting Plumping Butter

This  combines my two beauty loves – Josie Maran and Kylie J – the benefits of argan oil with the results of plumper lips. Here’s how Josie describes it – “The subtle sting and proprietary immediate and long-term lip-plumping complex visibly enhance lips and increases circulation for a voluptuous, juicy pout.” While my lips haven’t grown to the size of Kylie’s, there’s a small plump but an even softer pout that results from Josie’s latest argan creation.

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Nest Frangrances – Midnight Fleur

Ever since my Michael Kors fragrance was discontinued (wah wah), I’ve been on the hunt for a new scent. I first experienced the brand of Nest fragrances when I was in San Antonio for work and the bathroom products were all from Nest. They smelled amazing so I looked up their website and chose the fragrance Midnight Fleur. Here’s how it’s described  on their website – exotic woods, patchouli and black amber are blended with sensual notes of night-blooming jasmine and vanilla orchid. YUM! Plus their packaging is gorg.

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Pearl Essence Coconut Water Face Mist

This face mist is a great way to set your makeup and also make it look dewy (I hate the “I just put on makeup” look). It’s very refreshing and hydrating (coconut water is nature’s Gatorade!) and I love spritzing it on throughout the day for a little pick-me-up.

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I have a few more new beauty items coming in the mail so I’ll report on them next!

Packing Light for Italy

Adam and I got home from Italy this week and we’re still jet lagged (waking up at 6am, going to bed at 8am). We had a whirlwind of a trip and traveled all over Italy – from Milan, to Lake Como, to Venice, to Rome. We did a boat tour in Lake Como, a bar crawl in Venice, and a cooking class in Rome. All of these activities meant a lot of different outfits 🙂

For our last few trips, Adam and I have been bringing one carry-on suitcase and one backpack. This allows us to be more flexible with our flights (in case we need to change flights) and is also just easier when lugging ourselves on and off planes, trains, and boats. While this makes packing a challenge for someone like me who loves clothes, it’s also become a personal challenge that I’m always trying to perfect. Here are a few ways that I made the most of my limited luggage in Italy.

Hats

I filled my luggage with 3 different hats to switch up my look throughout the week. Let’s face it, a major part of going on vacation is taking pictures and they’re mostly from the shoulders up, so I try to think of ways to switch up my outfits so I’ll have different looks each day. The beret is from Zara, the brown hat is from Forever 21 (not currently sold online), and the black hat I bought at a small boutique in Baltimore last year.

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Scarves

Another great way to add lots of options to your outfits (but take up zero room in your luggage) is to pack a few scarves. I picked up a handful of scarves from Zara and Forever 21 and wore them around my neck and around my head to be oh so Italiano.

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Shoes

I brought one pair of shoes. Yep, one. While they didn’t prove to be the best footwear for the 6-10 miles of walking we did each day… they were cute! I bought them from an online boutique that one of my former co-workers started, Alice & Wonder – check it out!

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Backpack

Since I was initially in Italy for work, I knew that I’d have my work laptop with me for the vacation-portion of our trip, too. I have a behemoth of a work laptop so I needed to find a cute backpack that could fit the laptop, but also serve as my purse for the trip. I tracked down this backpack at my local TJ Maxx and it served me well on the trip! I added a scarf from Forever 21 to make it a little more Euro.

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We had a fabulous time in Italy and I had a lot of fun planning my outfits (and wearing them). I’m already looking forward to our next trip and the packing challenges that arise 🙂

 

Skincare Routine

Even though I love makeup, I am usually sporting a fresh face now that I work from home (actually one of the major benefits of working from home!).  The people I see the most during the day, my doorman and my nail guy, are quite taken aback when they see me with makeup on and actually comment on it. My doorman once said “Sarah, is that you? Do you have makeup on? AND your nails done?” Not fair… I ALWAYS have my nails done. Rude. JK, he’s a nice guy.

Here’s that fresh face my doorman and nail guy so often see – I’m SO Alicia Keys.

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I decided a few years ago that it was time to take my skincare seriously, and not skimp. Yes, I love me some Walgreens products, but since my face will be my face for the rest of my life (unless I get attacked by a chimp I guess), I put some extra dollars toward my skincare and makeup budget. You’ll notice almost all of my products are Josie Maran – organic, natural products mostly derived from argan nuts in Morocco.

Here’s a look at all the products and devices I use each day.

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In-Shower Routine

Clarisonic Mia

Josie Maran Cleansing Oil

Josie Maran Powder Exfoliator.

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I was late to jump on the Clarisonic bandwagon. I’ve only had mine for about 6 months, and it’s everything it says it will be (cleaner and softer skin). I use my Josie Maran Cleansing Oil with the Clarisonic and then use the exfoliating powder after (just applying with my hands). I exfoliate my lips too so I can have a softer surface for my Kylie J lipkits!

I read not to use your Clarisonic in the shower cause it will get moldy, but I take mine out after the shower and rinse the scrub head with rubbing alcohol. Haven’t had any issues!

After Shower Part 1

NuFACE Toning Device

NuFACE Gel Primer

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This is an interesting little gadget that the masterminds at QVC sold me on. Yes, I watch QVC and I’m not ashamed. One of my biggest complaints about my face is that it’s kinda droopy. Yes, diet and exercise can also help, but I wanted something that targeted my face more specifically. It’s essentially a device that sends little wavelengths into your face muscles and tightens them. Here are before and after pictures from when I first started using it (after picture is after 2 weeks of use). PS why are these pics so mug-shotty?

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See how my face looks a little less droopy in the cheek and chin department in the second picture?

After Shower Part 2

Josie Maran Nirvana Hydrating Treatment Mist

Josie Maran Eye Serum

Josie Maran Milk Serum

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After I do my facial toning, I move on to my last step. I spritz the nirvana spray (argan oil mixed with coconut water), put the eye serum around my eyes (and around my lips too), and then put the milk serum on top of everything. If I’m headed outside, I’ll throw some Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen on top.

Weekly Deep Cleaning and Hydrating

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask (with apple cider vinegar)

Biore Strips

Egg Yolk Mask

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Once a week, I do a deeper dive into cleaning my pores and hydrating my skin. My first step is the Indian Healing Clay mask. This thing is no joke. It’s only like $6.99 on Amazon, but the results are amazing. You mix it with a little apple cider vinegar (kills nasty pore bacteria) and when you put it on, your face literally starts pulsating. You won’t know what I mean unless you try it, but you literally feel your pores getting cleaned out – it’s crazy! I recommend putting it on before you take a shower. It’s really hard to get off, so I find it’s easiest to get off in the shower. Also, you may want to save the mask for a lazy weekend because my face is super red for a few hours after I use it.

After I shower, I put a hot, wet washcloth on my nose for about 30 seconds (to steam my pores open) and then I put a biore strip on. I’ve had a lot of success with using biore strips after the mask. Then I rub an ice cube on my nose to close my pores up. Finally, I crack an egg open, separate the yolk from the egg white, and put the egg yolk on my face like a mask. You want to keep the egg yolk on until your face becomes really had to move. You’ll know what I mean when you get to that point. My face feels hydrated and lifted after doing an egg mask!

Well, there you have it! It’s a bit of a routine, but I love beauty products so it’s fun for me. I’m working hard to not end up like Lala Kent with a face full of botox in my 20s!

 

Werkout Clothes

While Hillary is my political icon, the same can’t be said of her being my fashion icon. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Women should be judged for their brawn not their beauty. That said, I’m a woman that strives for both beauty and brawn. I lean-in at work, but my face also leans-into all of Kylie J’s latest makeup products (although I DID show self restraint last week when she launched her birthday goodies).

While Hillary may not be a fashion icon for us to idolize, the gods at Netflix created the ultimate style icon for the daughters of Hillary to bow down to – Claire Underwood.

 

A few weeks ago at the Democratic National Convention, Meryl Streep said that Hillary had grace and grit. Well Claire Underwood is all grit, no grace. And I kinda love that about her.

But back to the fashion inspiration part of this post. I’ve been trying to work out more lately and my athleisure-wear is seriously not cute (mostly a mish-mash of see-through Walmart leggings and oversized college t-shirts). I was doing some online research for athletic inspiration, and came across this hauntingly gorg pic of Claire Underwood.

Damn, girl! That high-collared jacket is so Lady-MacBeth-on-endorphins and the black on black just screams “I will not negotiate with terrorists!” Since I don’t have the corrupt millions that the Underwoods do, I had to settle for some less-expensive duds than Claire, but I think my look has that Claire evilness that I was going for.

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ShoesPuma Narita v3 Heathered Women’s Running Shoe (Pumas? Well, cause Kylie.)

JacketForever 21 Athletic Cowl Neck Pullover

Tank TopForever 21 Active Perforated Mesh Tank

LeggingsForever 21 Active Capri Leggings

Sports Bra – Forever 21 Faux Leather-Paneled Sport Bra

Now all I need is one of those rickety, old-fashioned rowing machines and I’ll be so Claire!

Thanksgiving Vacation

Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the day of thanks, I’m posting my outfits for the holiday weekend… that I’m thankful for. Luxe-y neutrals are the name of the game this weekend. From faux leather pants to faux fur vests, I picked memorable looks that don’t break the bank. Everything I’m wearing this weekend is from Target or Forever 21. Thank you, Target and Forever 21! I’m thankful for you!

Thanksgiving Day

Friday Shopping

Saturday… Shopping

Sunday Driving

But don’t forget the most important outfits of all. Lots of pajamas! Don’t be too jealous of my pink kitteh pj’s.

Grown-Up Christmas List

While Amy Grant’s Christmas list may consist of “no more lives torn apart” and “that wars would never start,” my Christmas wish list is a little more realistic. Here’s what I’m hoping to find under the tree this year.

Michael Kors Gold Rose Perfume

After spending a few months sniffing out my newest scent, I’ve decided on Michael Kors Gold Rose. Here’s a description of the scent: Luminous pink pepper with a deeply voluptuous bouquet of tuberose and a whisper of a creamy sandalwood. Radiant Glamour. Undeniably feminine.

Ugg Slippers

Man BFF has a pair of Ugg slippers that I’m always stealing, so this year I’m hoping to get my own. With cold, hardwood floors in our apartment, these puppies will be perfect to keep my tootsies toasty.

Electric Tea Kettle

With a new-found dependence on french press coffee, Man BFF and I can’t boil water fast enough. An electric tea kettle would cut our morning routine in half and get us caffeinated and out the door in no time.

Clarisonic and Josie Maran Argan Oil

A little-known fact about me is that I love watching QVC. I don’t watch it often (due to the fact that I have a husband), but I always get hooked when I do. A few weeks ago when I was home sick, I learned all about Josie Maran’s Argan Oil and fell in love. Use it for your hair, skin, and nails to stay young and beautiful. Throw in a Clarisonic, and boom, Merry Christmas.

How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank

I love putting beauty and fashion books on my wish list because Christmas vacation is the perfect time to research purchases for the new year. Or in my case, I can start my birthday wish list. Oh the perks of an early January birthday.

Rose Gold

This weekend Man BFF and I spent a weekend in the Chicago suburbs. We ate at restaurants surrounded by cornfields. saw Ted at the dollar show, and spent Saturday afternoon at an outlet mall. While I was hoping to score some major finds at the Banana Republic and J. Crew outlets, our biggest finds were at Aldo. Man BFF got a pair of navy sneakers and I got a pair of winter boots and these rose gold high-tops for a sweet $14:

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It may be hard to believe, but high top sneaks are a hot Fall trend. I realize they’re not for everyone, but I wasn’t going to pass on my chance to rock the trend for less than $20!

Are you pulling your Air Jordans back out of the closet for the Fall?