Musee de Prado church. Madrid, Spain.

Musee de Prado church. Madrid, Spain.

Beautiful architecture at Musee de Prado, Madrid.

Beautiful architecture at Musee de Prado, Madrid.


Night Time Skincare Routine

My night time skincare routine has changed slightly due to the winter months, and it has kept my oily/combination skin quite hydrated without contributing to the oiliness.  

1.  I start my routine with my Philosophy Purity cleanser.  This has been a staple in my routine for a year now.  It is great at removing my makeup, dirt, and oily residue on my skin.  I purchased the 16 fl.oz. bottle last year using my VIB 20% off coupon from sephora, and I’ve only used half of the bottle. So a great investment for my skin.  

My skin is oily and it can look rather dull and congested if I do not include an exfoliant in my routine 1-2 times a week.  After experimenting with both chemical and physical exfoliant, my exfoliant of choice is usually 2% salicyclic acid.  However, I have not found a good drugstore product that is formulated without menthol, which I have found to be quite irritating to my skin.  

2.  Thereafter, I use my Lush Herbalism kaolin clay based cleanser as a mask.  This product does take a little work because you have to mix the product with water in order to create a paste to apply to your skin.  But it makes an excellent mask that I leave on my skin for 10 minutes almost everyday.  The clay really works to absorb the excess oils on my skin and to extract my clogged pores, while the glycerin in the product works to hydrate my skin.  

3.  After the removal of the clay mask, I use my Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel as a toner to remove any remaining soap and/or clay residue in preparation for my moisturizer.  Point of interest, I leave my skin damp almost wet when I apply my moisturizer in order for the humectant in my moisturizer to retain the water needed to hydrate my skin.  Humectants work to draw H2O molecules from the atmosphere and retain them onto your skin; thus moisturizing your skin.  

4.  I moisturize with my CeraVe Facial Moisturizer PM that I found at the drugstore, and its great at keeping my skin hydrated.  It claims that the ceramindes function to replenish the lipids in the cells, thus re-inforcing the skin barrier to environmental assault.  I don’t know about all of that, but after using it for almost a month, my skin has not broken out and it remains hydrated when I wake in the morning. So working great for me.  

I find that both drugstore and non-drug store products are equally beneficial for your skin if you keep the purpose of each step in mind.  Speaking for myself, I would not spend hundreds of dollars on a cleanser that stays on my skin less for less than a minute prior to its final destination -down the drain. And I apply this same mentality to shampoos, but that is an entirely different post.  Find what works for you based on the needs of your skin at the time of the year and pair it to products that accomplish the job without the excessive claims of grandeur.  Happy Saturday, and let me know your night time skincare routine.  


More Shopping !!

After doing so well in controlling my urge to shop endlessly during this holiday, I caved.  I blame this all on the email updates from Bath and Body Works. The deal of the day is $8 for 3 wick candles, which is a great sale given that they usually go for $20 a pop. How do you beat that?  And with the endless coupons that they have sent me, I spent no more than $6 a candle.  I don’t care too much for the Holiday food scents and there is nothing more nauseating to me than artificial cinnamon scents, so I choose the new city inspired candles with scents of citrus and vanilla.  Go check out the sale today, and take your coupons with you. 

Paris Daydream - City of Love 14.5 oz. 3-Wick Candle - Slatkin & Co. - Bath & Body Works

London Calling - Tea & Lemon 14.5 oz. 3-Wick Candle - Slatkin & Co. - Bath & Body Works

Meet Me In Tahiti - White Sands & Vanilla Flower 14.5 oz. 3-Wick Candle - Slatkin & Co. - Bath & Body Works


2012 Black Friday Shopping

I took full advantage of the holiday sales this Thanksgiving to stock up on some essentials.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good deal but I am not the one to be standing in the cold, in line at 7pm the night before Black Friday.  I like to shop online in the comfort of my couch, without the crowds, the lines, or the crazy traffic. This year, I budgeted my shopping by:

1. stocking up on essential items that are a staple in my beauty routine

2. utlizing websites that offer free shipping

Thanks to all the great twitter feeds, I got a heads up on the sale at  Sasa had items up to 70% off and free shipping on orders over $19 USD.  So I stocked up on my holy grail mascara Fairy Drops, which retails for $24 at Sephora but only $15.70 on I think the sale is still ongoing, so check it out if you are interested.  

FAIRY DROPS  Platinum Mascara Film Type 1piece

I also snagged another staple in my beauty routine: face brushes from at 50% of their retail price. Everything on is 50% off right now, and this sale is also ongoing.  I picked up the Classic Angled Kabuki Brush, Large Classic Buffer brush, Classic Tapered Kabuki, and Bionic Flat Top Buffer brush. 

Classic Angled Kabuki Stick SyntheticClassic Buffer Large Synthetic

Classic Tapered Kabuki Stick SyntheticBionic Flat Top Buffer

And lastly, my non-beauty essential - washer (Model # MVWX700XL) and dryer (Model # MEDX700XL) from Maytag Bravo X series.  This purchase took me days of research.  Who knew that washers and dryers are so sophisticated now-a-days.  But I couldn’t be happier with this set.  

This wraps up my goodies for this holiday.  I hope everyone had a great turkey day and/or a great weekend.  Let me know what you guys purchased over the holidays.  


~Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication~ Leonardo da Vinci

I came across this quote today, and it struck a cord with me.  Many times I read entirely too much into what someone says or meant to say or what someone does or meant to do.  This habit becomes enormously exhausting and unproductive because it requires too much mental energy.

There’s something to be said for taking things at face-value.  For instance, I cannot be offended by someone’s backhanded compliments if I choose not to invest time thinking too much about it.  Thank the person and move on.  This relinquishes the power of the insult, and for me, maintains a simplicity in thought that allows me to invest my mental energy wisely.  Always remember, you are not defined by the opinion of others. You have the power to choose what you take away from your daily interactions with people, and keeping it simple is a sophistication that I am learning each and everyday.  


Another Sick Day

This season has been absolutely brutal to my sinuses and allergies.  The air here is thick with pollen clouds intermingled with the oxygen that I desperately need.


My car is completely coated with the stuff.   I have tried my hardest to avoid the onslaught of allergies and sinus pain associated with nature’s assault with pollen. But nope, I’ve lost that battle   and I have been bedridden for the past several days with a sinus infection.   A sinus infection occurs “when the sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed,” and it can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and/or allergies [1].  Symptoms of a sinus infection include headaches, nasal congestion, sore throat, fever, cough, and fatigue [1].  So today, I thought that I would share some tips that have helped me weather my sinus infection: (WARNING:  This is not medical advice, so please seek medical attention from a medical expert for symptoms related to your ailment.) Having stated that, let us proceed…

1.  Drink lots of hot liquids (tea, hot water with honey and lemon) -helps to soothe the inflamed nasal cavities

2.  Steam showers (with peppermint oil) – also works to soothe the nasal cavities

3.  Stay indoors – away from pollen, allergens which irritates your nasal passage

4.  Sleep - lots of rest helps your immune system fight off the infection

I hope this helps for those suffering from sinus infections, and I hope you get better soon.


(Source: Another Sick Day http)


Lush SexBomb Review

A stickler for cost friendly, practical products, it took a lot of convincing from my trusted youtube beauty community to lure me into Lush.  After hearing numerous reviews and raves, I ventured into Lush for my very first purchase, the SexBomb– yeah, real practical right?!?  Lush bath bombs are luxuriously fragrant spheres with skin softening and moisturizing properties that you drop into your bath water.  I was excited to go home to try out my very first bath bomb only to discover that I am not a bath person.  SexBomb did give my bath water a pretty pink color, and made my skin feel really soft at least initially.  But the pruned skinned that followed and the boredom of sitting in water that admittedly smelled AMAZING (jasmine, clary sage and ylang ylang) was just not for me. I realize that some people like to read and drink wine in the bath, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to read without getting everything wet- including my book.  So no, I have not mastered the art of baths and thus have not found them to be an enjoyable pastime.  But let me add, although Sexbomb did not quite work out for me as a bathbomb, it functions great as a car-freshener.  It left my car smelling AMAZING! And I would repurchase just for that reason – See, PRACTICAL.  



Beauty Highlight - Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils 

Let’s just say that I have found a go-to product for easy, everyday eye looks.  I love these Urban Decay 24/7 eye shadow pencils because they honestly add simplicity to my life.  The fact that I can apply the shadows without any brushes, and have these shadows remain creaseless on my oily lids is enough to make me jump for joy.

These are great stand-alone products that glide easily over the lids, and the pencil-form allows you to control the placement of the shadows without the use of brushes.  This is also the very first eye product that does not require me to use an eye primer –and may I say, that is a mini miracle; everything slides off my oily lids without a primer.  They last ~8 hours on my lids without fading or creasing.  The intensity is buildable, so you can apply and blend with your fingers until you’ve reached the intensity that you like.  Having said that - I foresee this being a product that I would use up quickly but it’s a small price I’m willing to pay.  

I picked up the limited edition pencil set which included 5 mini shadow pencils from Ulta.  Although this set is limited edition, the individual full size pencils (with the exception of Juju) are permanent and available at both Ulta and Sephora.  The set includes 3 neutral shades (Sin, Rehab, and Juju), and 2 colored shades (Delinquent and Clash) all of which have a sheen and/or shimmery finish.  The neutral shades are of course my favorite.  Sin is a light pink, champagne color that is great as inner corner highlight or all over shade. Rehab is a golden, brown and Juju is a taupe-ish brown.  Clash is a bright turquoise that adds a pop of color to any eye look.  And Delinquent is a beautiful purple but loses intensity after blending leaving behind large pink glitters-not a fan of this color at all.       

Overall, these are definitely going to be a staple in my makeup collection.  I just sweep the shadow on my lids in the morning, add a little eye liner and mascara, and my eye look is complete for the day.  This is also a great product to travel with because it eliminates the need for eye brushes, shadows, and primer altogether – which for me is a much lighter load to carry.  It’s a great no-fuss, low maintenance type of product that I would recommend to anyone looking to simplify their morning routine and/or travel light.  I hope you guys check them out, and let me know how you like them.  Happy Tuesday!


L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm – Rose Elixir

I was browsing through my local Bed Bath and Beyond when I came across a display of newly released L’Oreal Colour Riche Balms with SPF15 positioned right next to the highly coveted Revlon Lip Butters.  I have to say that I was instantly drawn in by the packaging- square, mirrored based supporting a retractable cylindrical balm with a sleek transparent cap that takes on the shade of the balm and securely snaps shut.  It is quite luxurious compared to the bulleted tubed balms.  

Packaging aside, the name clearly describes the product – it is a tinted lip balm.  No confusion here as opposed to the highly debated definition of a “lip butter.”  I picked up the shade Rose Elixir, which brings out the natural pigmentation of my lips with a glossy, shiny finish.  So it gives me a you’re-lips-but-glossier look.  I would have like a stronger pigmentation, but my lips are rather pigmented on its own, so this shade may appear more intense on nude lips or layered on top of another lip product.  Although, I haven’t tried the other shades, I have a feeling that all shades from this line would just perform like a sheer gloss.  

As far as the moisturizing factor- this product is moisturizing upon initial application.  However, as wear-time increases, I feel my lips becoming drier and start to peel.  This may very well be due to the SPF in the balm because my lips are extremely sensitive to SPF for reasons unknown.  So if you have the same sensitivity, this product may not be for you.  

In summary, I am quite impressed with the packaging.  However, the poor pigmentation and hydration provided to my lips renders this product mediocre for my personal use.  If you have highly pigmented lips and a sensitivity to SPF, I would pass on this product but at $5.79 it is not a terrible loss.  Please let me know how this product works out for you, and if you have tried any of the newly released drugstore items.  

Happy Saturday~~~