best discoveries of 2017

bb2017 2.jpgwoweeee, is it really time for a 2017 roundup?  that is truly shocking.  as i did last year, i thought i would put together all the products, brands, and other items that i discovered and fell in love with in 2017.bb2017 1.jpgproducts //

la roche posay tolerane hydrating cleanser: a beautifully basic cleanser for those of us with dry skin that don’t feel like washing our faces with lotion.  i love this because i can tell that it’s cleaning my face but isn’t stripping it, which is surprisingly hard to find.  i think the best description of this is to compare it to cetaphil, but with good ingredients and hydrating benefits.  mentioned here.

thayer’s alcohol-free witch hazel: the best toner.  it makes my skin feel hydrated and balanced and i do think it has been keeping my skin more clear and glowy than usual.  i use this always during my nighttime skincare routine, and in the morning if i feel oily or sweaty and need to give my face a little rinse.  mentioned here.

indie lee squalane oil: i went through 2 whole bottles of this oil this year!  this oil is both lightweight and intensely hydrating, making it perfect for both day and night use.  i can honestly say this oil has a firm place in my skincare routines.  my one critique is that the packaging has become unusable on both bottles, so i’ve had to decant it into another dropper bottle.  mentioned here.

jordan samuel hydrate: this was a later discovery for me, but i’ve gone through an entire 1 oz bottle and have moved on to the new 4 oz. size.  this is the most wonderful hyaluronic acid serum i’ve ever tried, due to the inclusion of aloe and other hydrating and soothing ingredients.  the price is also very reasonable, and the 4 oz. size offers a savings of $44.  if you like the hylamide low molecular ha, i think you will be even more pleased with this product as the textures and results are similar, but definitely amped in the js.  mentioned here.

clinique mineral spf: aaaand the mineral sunscreen search is finally over!  this sunscreen is completely phsyical, very hydrating, doesn’t leave a white cast, easy to find, and reasonably priced (even though the container is quite small).  i am absolutely ecstatic to have discovered this product.  mentioned here.

first aid beauty hello fab coconut primer: you may recall my search for a more natural product similar to mac strobe cream.  and here it is, bohemians.  this primer has a gorgeous pinky glow with incredible moisturizing benefits.  i don’t go a day without it and it’s very easy to get sample sizes as sephora perks!  on its own or under other base products, this is FAB!  get it?  ugh.  mentioned here.

glossier stretch concealer: i finally caved and bought this, and my only regret is that i didn’t do it sooner.  the shade light has the perfect slightly peachy tone to work both under my eyes and around my face, and most days i smush this into my skin as a light foundation.  i wish that i could replace this with the rms un-cover up, but until they release ANY cool toned shades, the glossier stretch concealer is a firm favorite.  it has even turned my into an under-eye-concealer-wearer – at least a little bit! mentioned here.

colourpop super shock shadow in mixed tape: i bought a few colourpop products at the beginning of 2017, but this is the only one that has stuck around for the long haul.  the perfect silvery taupe shade, this product is insanely easy to smush onto the eyelids and call it a day.  i wear this both during the day and at night, which is definitely saying something.  i even bought a backup!  mentioned here.

rms swift shadow in tt-73: like colourpop mixed tape, this is an eye shadow i reach for both day and night.  it’s a beautiful neutral, midtone brown with a hint of sheen that gives the most natural, undone look.  i absolutely adore it and every time i put it away, i miss it and put it back in my makeup bag again.  mentioned here.

burt’s bees lipstick in nile nude: once again, a product i wear both day and night.  i think this is the real test of how much i love something, actually.  this creamy, hydrating lipstick lightens up my lips the perfect amount with a hint of peachy, browny, pink sheen.  staple status.

kosas lipstick in stardust: i know kosas is all over the interwebs right now, but there is absolutely a million reasons why.  stardust is the most stunning neutral shade that makes my lips slightly bitten but without being over the top.  again, peachy browny deliciousness that i have around at all times.  if you want a lipstick that offers a hint of color but doesn’t look like full on lipstick, stardust is your gal.  and the name.  the name!  mentioned here.

j.hannah nail polish in ghost ranch, iris, and watermelon: though expensive, these 7-free polishes are one of my absolute favorite formulas.  the color range is incredibly unique and based around the concept of color for people who hate color.  i definitely have my eye on more shades.  mentioned here.

primal pit past roll-on in jasmine: finally a natural deodorant that really works for me.  natural deodorants are different for everyone, so it has taken quite a bit of trial and error to find the one that works best for me.  i prefer the roll-on version of this brand versus the pot version, but both are solid choices.  plus, this doesn’t leave permanent stains on clothing like the schmidt’s rose + vanilla did (my previous favorite).

everyday coconut hydrating shampoo and conditioner: very basic sulfate-free products, but very effective ones.  these make my hair feel summer-like even in the winter when it wants to be lank and limp.  after buying bulk sizes during the summer, i’m steadily making my way through, but i think i’ve found my favorite eco shampoo and conditioner duo.  mentioned here.bb2017 3.jpgbrands // 

frank body: i’ve seen this brand a ton around instagram over the years because of their coffee scrubs, but i was never interested until reading about their glow mask.  the mask is truly delicious (it smells like frosting), and gives my skin an instant, glowy boost.  it’s one of those masks that you leave on for just a few minutes, so it’s perfect for mornings when your skin is especially lackluster.  their lip balm is also a staple in my purse these days – it is very similar to the glossier balm dotcom, but formulated with lanolin, vitamin e, and coconut oil instead of petroleum and other nasties.  frank can also be found at ulta, which makes it very easy to restock!  mentioned here.

alima pure: alima is my absolute dream brand.  i find myself reaching for their products on a daily basis, and each one is more useable than the next.  it’s a brand that i just click with, from their ethos to their ingredients, and i think that is hard to find these days.  my favorites are the pressed foundation, pressed eye shadow in icon, and lip tint in honey.  mentioned here.

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best discoveries of 2017

the sephora sale that never was

i love the sephora vib sale.  for me, it’s more the fun of planning, filling, and emptying my shopping cart than the actual magnanimity of the discount.  usually i buy totally superfluous items just because, but this year i got things i really wanted and would use all the way up.

so, bright and early on november 10th, i placed my order for my products.  and just (total sarcasm here) 10 days later, i was finally sent a shipping confirmation.  naturally the item that i was most excited for, the hourglass dim light powder, was sold out and cancelled from my order.  i was a little miffed as really the only reason i bought this powder was due to the sale, but i bit my tongue.

now it’s been 7 days since shipment, and my order was supposedly delivered on november 22nd.  the package is no where to be found and after 17 days, i have made the call to get a complete refund of my order.  i have never had such a ridiculous and drawn out experience with sephora, or with any online store for that matter.  i’m not saying i will never purchase from sephora again, but my irritation will remain for just a little while longer.

i put together the following info about my order prior to any of this happening, so i will still tell you about the items i thought i was receiving, just because!  did anyone else have a weird experience this vib sale?  i would love to hear your thoughts.

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klorane quinine and b vitamin shampoo & conditioner // i’m really not one to spend a lot of money on hair products, so i’ve been waiting for the sale to come around to try this klorane combo.  my wavy hair really struggles in the winter to not look flat and limp, so i’m thinking a little volumizing might be just what i need.

hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light // i actually wanted to get the hourglass ambient light edit 3, but when it was sold out during the sale i decided that i really didn’t need it.  what i really “need” (you know its a relative term) is a good setting powder, so i splurged on the full size of dim light.  i’ve had the mini size of this before but gave it away to a friend and i kinda just wanted the full size?  no real way i can justify but i know i will get a ton of use out of it.  i don’t typically wear foundation products but i do like a lot of moisturizing layers, so this will tone them down just enough to not look crazy.

rms eye polish in aura // i’ve mentioned quite a few times how much i love the rms eye polish in myth, a browny taupe that offers a glossy sheen to the eyes.  so when rms released a new shade of the eye polish in an “muted metallic amethyst,” you know i was all in.  the eye polishes are quite pricey so i hemmed and hawed for so long that then the vib sale came around and i knew it was the perfect time to buy it.  they truly last forever and the effect is second to none.  they slip around for sure, but that’s the point, and they make your lids feel so hydrated for days afterward.  skincare and makeup?  yep.

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the sephora sale that never was

september picks

bb sept picks1.jpgi’ve made some great strides in my skincare and makeup routines, thanks to a couple new products and some fresh application techniques.bb sept picks7.jpgas far as skincare goes, the avene thermal water has made a huge difference in the skin issues i was having due to my soft apartment water.  i spray this on my face after washing it or being in the shower, and wipe off the excess with a cotton pad.  it calms my skin and has been preventing the bumps i was experiencing all over my chin.

i’ve also added the jordan samuel hydrate serum and pai rosehip bioregenerate oil to my skincare regime.  the jordan samuel replaced another empty hylamide low molecular ha, and while they are similar, the jordan samuel is far superior for less than $10 more.  i think it’s the inclusion of aloe that is making such a difference for me.  i’ve been using the pai regenerate oil at night in place of my favorite indie lee squalane because i needed a little more hydration with the changing of the seasons.  i’m still using the indie lee in the morning, of course!  for yet another hit of hydration, i’ve been using my staple first aid beauty ultra repair cream before spritzing my pai oil with a bit of heritage rosewater and glycerin spray.  this not only helps the skin drink up the oil it is mixed with more efficiently, but it adds moisture in and of itself.  i also spray a bit in with my lotion.  if you learn anything from this post: spray your waters/toners/hydrosols in with your oils and moisturizers.bb sept picks4.jpgbb sept picks6.jpgthe most epic skincare find for me this month was the frank body glow mask.  i saw it online at ulta and tried to resist but ended up ordering it a few days later.  it is somehow hydrating but rejuvenating and makes you glow immediately.  i keep mine in the fridge for added soothing properties and honestly it’s the best luxe experience ever.  plus it smells like cream cheese frosting.  frank body is the brand that does those coffee body scrubs, but their skincare range seems pretty epic as well, if this mask is anything to go by.  they are an all natural brand with a good price tag.

as far as makeup goes, i’ve been keeping it simple and glowy, as per usual.  i started teaching this month which is resulting in 5:00 am wake up calls, so makeup isn’t really something i want to think about.  for base, a mixture of glossier perfecting skin tint in light and ilia sheer vivid tinted moisturizer in t2 belle marre is all i need for a little bit of coverage and a lot of light.  i work this in all over the face with the bobbi brown full coverage face brush, which is very inappropriately named and also the first high end makeup brush i ever bought about 3 years ago.  popping a peachy pink blush on my cheeks gives me the life that i need at that time of the morning.  my favorites have been the rms lip2cheek in vogue rose, ilia multistick in tenderly (perfect for a sunkissed effect, i find this to be more peachy than it looks online), and clinique cheek pop in melon pop, which turned out to be the sheer peachy blush i’ve been searching for all summer.  for eyes i pop on a teeny bit of glossier coconut balm dotcom, curl my lashes, and wiggle mac extended play only at the roots for slight definition.  the same balm goes on my lips and i am out the door…with a gallon and a half of coffee mind you.bb sept picks2.jpgbb sept picks3.jpgas for my other picks of the month, i’ve been all about simplicity as of late.  i found the most perfect going out/packing light bag on sale at urban outfitters for $19 at the beginning of the month.  i can’t for the life of me understand why it was so cheap or on sale because it is gorgeous and looks very expensive.  love the pop of blue on the inside.  on the rest of my body i’ve been rocking my favorite simple gold chains.  that little bullet kinda thing and u-shape fit perfectly together, while the monogram chain sits lower on the chest.  separate or all together, these are forever faves.  i’ve had the monogram for years but the other two were late summer purchases from my favorite local boutique.  this beautiful pink candle was another random urban purchase; it is as delicious as it is aesthetically pleasing.  it’s slightly fruity and floral but grounded by rich wood scents – aka the perfect warm, but not overwhelming house scent.bb sept picks9.jpgbb sept picks8.jpgtell me, what were your picks for this month?  i always love to know.
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september picks

glowy skin: cause summer ain’t over just yet

glowy summer skin.jpgprep // after doing your morning skincare, which these days involves a few drops of hyaluronic acid mixed with one drop of various face oils for me, apply your sunscreen.  give it a few minutes to soak in and go back in with a spritz of hydrating toner like the evan healy lavender hydrosoul (shocker) and an illuminating primer that will give you both hydration and radiance.  i chose the tata harper illuminating moisturizer, but anything with a touch of radiance will do.

base // follow with a sheer and glowing base, like the l’oreal lumi cushion foundation.  this is not really a “foundation” in my opinion, but is a step up from something like the glossier perfecting skin tint.  it evens out the skin tone while letting the natural skin show through and gives the complexion a beautiful glow.  add concealer where needed, opting for something equally hydrating, like the sephora bright future gel serum concealer.  this is my favorite for summer because of the exceptional shade range and price point, AND they finally changed the dumb applicator!  it now has a really nice slanted doe foot.  a cream blush and highlighter, like the rms lip2cheek in vogue rose and living luminizer, on the cheeks and cheekbones respectively will add to the glow and overall health of the look.  i usually use peachier blushes because they are natural and subtle looking, but whatever works for you!  this limited edition rms shade (i highly recommend grabbing it before it’s gone) gives the perfect sunkissed effect.

eyes & lips // this look is really more about the complexion, so opt for something simple on the eyes and lips.  i usually slap on a little elizabeth arden 8 hour cream on the lips and use whatever is left on my finger to pat onto the eye lids.  follow with a light layer of black mascara, mostly on the roots of the lashes, for some oomph and maybe another spritz of hydrating mist.

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glowy skin: cause summer ain’t over just yet

leaving on a jet plane (or two)

yes that’s right, i’m on the road again!  this time for an actual vacation.  i’m heading out east to spend 2 whole weeks with my family and friends and i couldn’t be more excited.  it’s been a pretty great summer full of new life and new challenges, but man am i ready for a tan, a laugh, and a dip in the ocean.  anyways, you know i love a travel bag post, so here’s what i’m taking with me for a few weeks away…bb travel again1.jpgskincare // 

first aid beauty cleanser // glossier priming moisturizer

hylamide low molecular ha serum // indie lee squalane oil

mad hippie eye cream // weleda skin food

farmacy green screen // suntegrity 5-in-1 in light

aczone acne topical // feeling beautiful mint and lemon mask (in travel pot)bb travel again2.jpgbb travel again4.jpgmakeup //

nars creamy concealer in vanilla // rms living luminizer

hourglass bronzer in diffused bronze light // eminence chai berry illuminator blush

rms eye polish in myth // rms swift shadow in tt-73

jane iredale matte palette // bare minerals mascara

kosas lipstick in stardust // 100 percent pure lipstick in prickly pear

bite beauty lip gloss in rambutan // vaseline rosy lips

mac 239 // mac 217

surratt eyelash curlers // eye spoolie

it cosmetics ball powder brushbb travel again3.jpgbb travel again5.jpgthe extras //

le labo santal 33 perfume

herbivore botanicals sea mist salt spray (hair)

schmidt’s rose and vanilla deoderantbb travel again6.jpg

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leaving on a jet plane (or two)

july picks

blogs & youtube //

alice catherine // i’ve been following alice on instagram for a while and randomly decided to check out her blog.  you know when you know someone has a blog but never seem to look at it?!  anyways, i love her style and aesthetic.  plus it’s always refreshing to find a new style blogger that is down to earth and approachable fashion-wise! 

stylonylon // i’ve been following and reading stylonylon for months but keep forgetting to mention her here.  her blog is beachy but sophisticated, french but british, stylish but serene.  in a few words: i love her.  her sunday edit posts are my absolute favorite and i haven’t missed one in months.

harry makes it up // harry is an incredible makeup artist that also has an addicting youtube channel.  i watched her back in the day but recently fell back in love.  her approach to makeup is very simple and fresh, right up my alley.  some of her recent videos that i have loved are her priscilla presley tutorial and everyday makeup routine.

sharon farrell // another makeup artist and youtuber!  i found sharon through karima mckimmie and she is such a gem.  she is an irish woman living in australia which makes for the perfect combination.  her videos range from reviews to vlogs to tutorials that are more interesting than my usual youtube choices.  both sharon and harry exude knowledge and experience which i personally enjoy very much.bb july picks2.jpgproducts //

essence make me brow in browny brows // glossier boy brow has nothing on this.  $3 for the perfect brow gel – it’s plumping, perfectly ashy toned, and long wearing.  i have to wipe a bit off the applicator before applying but this is truly a diamond in the rough.

glossier super pure // i have previously mentioned my disappointment in the glossier serum range so i really didn’t think i would ever reach for them again.  for whatever reason, i decided to try super pure again while i’ve been struggling with some hormonal and stress induced chin acne.  somehow this is now working for me!  it’s not a miracle product, but i feel that it takes away a lot of the redness and irritation from my breakouts and seems to take away a few days from the timeline.

bite beauty gloss in rambutan // i wanted to pick up one of the bite beauty glosses from sephora for a while but never ended up doing so, only to find out they had discontinued the line.  why does bite do that, by the way?  anyways i placed a sephora order a few months ago for some staples and saw that these were available again!  i picked up the nude shade and it is seriously the perfect gloss.  i go in and out with lip gloss, but sometimes i just want that fresh look that only a gloss can achieve.  they are glossy but not sticky and surprisingly hydrating.  this shade is pigmented but not too pigmented, so my lips show a little of the color but are not concealer-like.  if you have been interested in these, go grab one before they disappear again! 

coverfx custom enhancer drops in sunkissed // i feel like i’ve mentioned these every where but i don’t know if i actually have.  the most perfect bronzer drops ever.  seriously, the shade is the perfect red-based neutral bronze, they are completely matte, and they apply perfectly both straight on the skin and mixed with foundation or tinted moisturizer.  they are pricey, but just a dot will do you and the quality is remarkable.  i have a more in depth post coming!

ilia sheer vivid tinted moisturizer in t2 belle marre // this has been my go to summer base when i need a little coverage and a little glow.  i find it to be a mix between the nars pure radiant tinted moisturizer and glossier perfecting skin tint.  while i love love the nars tinted moisturizer the ingredients are just too bad for me to justify, and i recently ran out of my glossier tint.  the ilia tinted moisturizer is a truly beautiful, lightweight, glowing formula that adds the perfectly amount of luminosity and coverage to the skin.  the shade t2 is great for me for summer and i have even mixed in a drop of the coverfx drops if i’ve been in the sun for a while.  added bonus of physical spf 20.  i will probably get the t1 shade when winter comes around!

rms nail polish in beloved // ok now this i know i’ve mentioned a million and one times. like here and here. truly the perfect summer red with a hint of orange but not too much.

tata harper resurfacing mask sample // i’ve had this sample forever but fell in love and finished it up over the month of july.  again, my skin has been less than fab so this is both helping my breakouts and adding a glow to the rest of my face.  i don’t know if i can justify the full size, but i really do love this mask.  using it once a week for the month of july i have absolutely seen a difference in the glow and texture of my skin.

diptyque candle in santal // my beautiful christmas present from my beautiful sister!  i’ve been loving this all year long, but especially for adding a sultry scent to my little apartment.  i will be very VERY sad when this is gone…especially because it doesn’t even need to be lit to exude the perfect sandalwood scent.  but you know i’m excited to reuse the container 😉
bb july picks1.jpgmusic //

jim croce, walking back to georgia

carole king tapestry album

acoustic summer spotify album

backyard bbq spotify album

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july picks

some new & old favorites

new month, new apartment, new chapter in life…and some current favorite products, of course.  it’s funny how moving and “starting over” makes you reconsider all the things you own and love.  it sounds strange but i feel that my products, my routines, my things keep me grounded during craziness.  i place great importance in feeling safe in my environment, and my belongings certainly aid me in that.bb old and new1.jpgbb old and new2.jpgold favorites

glossier priming moisturizer // i have been using this for years now – but pretty on and off.  i used it pretty religiously during the first part of this winter, and then put it down for whatever reason.  today i got the urge to bring it back out.  it’s a lovely summer moisturizer/extra moisture layer as it’s quite thing and light and sinks it almost immediately.  i can’t speak to it’s makeup extending abilities, but i love it when i need an extra hit of glow.

rms eye polish myth // quite honestly this is my favorite eye shadow ever.  living in a cold climate, i love when summer comes around and all my cream products soften that perfect amount and pigmentation becomes even better.  in the winter this shadow is more sheer, but in the summer it has full-on taupey goodness.

hylamide hyaluronic acid // i finished my previse nutrify hyaluronic acid serum and immediately repurchased the hylamide ha.  for whatever reason this performs so much better on my skin and i really reap the benefits of the ingredients.  the previse was nice but too expensive for what it is.  i wish this product didn’t have phenoxyethanol, but it still rates a 1 on ewg and i love the results.  the cvs i went to had this little baby one on sale for $3 so you KNOW i bought it as well!

new favorites //

cocokind collective macabeet tinted moisture stick // i got this a few weeks ago when shopping at the new chicago free people store with my dear friend.  we both grabbed this and i can’t not share it with all of you!  for $9, you get a 100% natural sheer berry glow for lips and cheeks.  it’s healthy skin in a tube, quite honestly!

monk oil #2 // i have been wanting to try monk oil for months now and decided to finally bite the bullet a few weeks ago.  i only just started using it after i moved, but i know it will be a staple that i always have around.  i got the small bottle of the #2 oil which contains more rose from what i can tell.  it’s an earthy but somewhat floral – but not floral like old lady, more like fresh flowers – oil that can be used all over the body and/or for aromatherapy purposes.  i love the smell but it is definitely hippie – my mom hated it haha!  i highly recommend this and i look forward to trying the original oil as well.  short version: monk oil is a “city skin potion” that helps ground you and protect you from the craziness of city life.

first aid beauty cleanser // when picking up a backup of my fab ultra repair cream, i decided to try the cleanser as well.  though i usually oil cleanse, i like to have a regular cleanser on hand as well to use as a double cleanse or when i don’t feel like using oil.  i’m almost done with another bottle of glossier milky jelly, so this was my replacement.  it feels closer to a lotion than a cleanser, but it cleanses beautiful and removes all traces of makeup.  my skin feels hydrated and healthy after – and in the summer i love to pare back my routine and get back to basics.

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some new & old favorites