THE MARCH EDIT

Right now, everything I’m buying is to make life easier and add pops of color.  As always, I’m trying to find new ways to stay organized and keep things simple.  I want to pick up this bronzerfrom Milk because I don’t need a brush to apply it.  I’m hoping this AirPod case will make them easier to find in my backpack.

As a devoted Ikea patron, I can’t believe it took me so long to get a Poäng chair.  I didn’t think it would be as comfortable as it is, but I’m basically falling asleep in it right now.  The cantilevered chair has been in production for over 40 years, and now I see why.  I also love this set of drawersI am using to organize my art supplies.

Terracotta has been catching my eye lately, like this Baggu tote, which can fold up and be easily packed.  This Margaret Howell scarf is also a good touch of color.  I want a pair of these blue light filtering glasses.  I realize I spend a lot of time looking at screens and should probably try and do something to keep my eyes safer.

 

image.png

AirPods Case, Scarf, Baggu Tote, Nail Polish, Bronzer, The Nordic Baking Book,  Blue Light Glasses, Poäng Chair, Drawer Unit

February Edit

On a recent trip to Ikea I picked up a handful of houseplants.  So far my favorite is the sansevieria trifasciata, or Snake Plant.  Someone told me that these plants also filter the air, so I might pick up a few more.  I do not have a naturally green thumb, so I’m really hoping to keep the plants alive.  

I also really want one of these French market totes for decoration / storage in my apartment.  I love anything that incorporates natural materials.  I just don’t know where I’d put it yet.  

Great design always inspires me.  I am curious to check out Cereal Magazine’s guide to Paris because they always have beautiful recommendations.  Cereal also has city guides for New York City and London. 

Another well-designed thing on my list?  This smart speaker from Tivoli Audio.  I think the walnut finish on the speaker is really nice.  

After years of being a beauty maximalist, I’ve really focused on pairing down my make up and skin care routine as much as possible.  Rosehip oil has become my go to product for my skin.  I love that it is so light weight, but keeps my skin hydrated all day.  The only color cosmetic I’ve been using is a lip and cheek tint.  I recently picked up this one from Tata Harper, but I also love the Stila ones.  

February Shopping List 2019.jpg

January Shopping List

After a stressful holiday season, I’m focusing on pouring a glass of wine and relaxing this month with some comforting classics.  As I look out the window onto a grey, cloudy, rainy landscape, I would love to be wrapped up in this sweater from Madewell.  I ordered a pair of moccasins to pair with it.  If I could only wear one shoe for the rest of my life, it would probably be moccasins.

My dear friend, Liz, sent me a beautiful candle from her company, Arome Candle.  Look for an unboxing video on my Instagram next weekend.  I love the scent profiles and designs of the candle.

When January arrives, my skin and hair start to dry up.  I’m rehydrating this month with Kiehl’s Ultra Moisturizer Cream and Olaplex hair repair treatment.

I recently started experimenting with pour-over coffee.  I do love my Nespresso and French Press, but I have been curious to try one of these for awhile.  I ordered one made by Bee House, a Japanese ceramic company, but I’ve seen these around everywhere.  My favorite coffee is this blend from Commonplace, a Pittsburgh coffee company.

Commonplace Coffee, Ceramic Coffee Pour Over, Madewell Sweater, Moccasins, Olaplex Hair Treatment, Kiehl’s Moisturizer, Location F Wine, Arome Candle.

December Shopping List

December Shopping List.jpg

What I’m buying this month reflects how inspired I am to get organized.  Label makers, bins and bags, two planners!  I am working on organize my coat closet (and I plan to post about it on my blog once it’s done, stay tuned).  I replaced all my mismatched plastic and wire hangers with these nice wooden ones from IKEA.  They cost $4.50 for a set of 8.  I bought two sets to have enough for our coats and extras for guests.  For less than $10, my coat closet already looks so much more put together.  Next, I want to buy three metal locker bins to hold winter accessories, shoe care items, and reusable grocery bags.  I like these ones from Schoolhouse, but this one from H&M is cheaper and comes in black.

On a recent trip to Chicago I picked up this jacket and a flannel shirt from Uniqlo that I absolutely love.  I ordered a second flannel shirts because they are so comfortable and flattering.  The jacket comes in twelve colors, but I just got basic black.  I order this zip pouch from Everlane on Black Friday, but I’m still waiting for it to get here.  I love organizing my bag or backpack with pouches.  This bag from Muji is great because it opens flat.  I think this would be useful for travel toiletries or electronics.

My new favorite personal care product this month is Cetaphil’s Cleansing Cloths.  They are the first make up remover wipe that does not leave my skin feeling irritated and itchy.  The wipes are also reasonably priced and widely available.  I like keeping a travel sized packet in my purse to touch up any smudged eye make up.  I ordered, but did not love, Glossier’s Milk Jelly Cleanser.  I think it smells unpleasant, like plastic.  I think I’ll stick to Philosophy Purity for face wash, my favorite for the last eight years.  So far the only product from Glossier I really love is boy brow, which I use almost every day.

With a new year around the corner I had to buy a new planner.  Through and since college I’ve been using Moleskine’s Weekly Horizontal Planner, but this year I opted for the pocket-sized with a different lay out, which I like because one side is for appointments and the other is for notes or to-do lists.  The other planner I’me excited to try is this task planner which helps organize goals and projects.

Best Advent Calendars of 2018

Over the weekend we ran into Target for a few basics and were shocked to be greeted with an overwhelming amount Christmas. Peppermint everything!  Artificial Trees!  Stocking-stuffer end caps!  Honestly, it was all too much for me.  I’m not, strictly speaking, much of a holidays person.  I think most holiday decor is clutter.  I don’t feel bad about not being ready for the holidays, it’s only the second week in November.  That being said, I’ve noticed an interesting trend online lately:  Advent calendars for literally everything.  Growing up, we never had an advent calendar, so it isn’t a tradition I feel really strongly about.  Typically I think these calendars have chocolate candies inside, but I found calendars for basically everything but.  I do think that it’s a neat way to try out a new brand because you are essentially paying for 25 samples of their products.  Here’s a round up of some of coolest ones I found: 

Food: 

Bonne_Maman_Preserves_Advent_Calendar_24_oz._672g_back_832x832

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonne Maman 

Calendrier-avent-adulte-2018-Ginvent

Ginvent Calendar 

specialty-coffee-advent-calendar-2018

Coffee

Beauty: 

1124500_in_xl

Net-A-Porter 25 Days of Beauty 

jo-malone-advent-calendar.w540.h356.2x

Jo Malone 

advent-calendar

Kiehl’s 

Miscellaneous: 

91TteHlEfoL._SL1500_

Lego 

342-2000170-XM18ADVENT_ALT02 (1)

Diptyque 

hmgoepprod

H&M Jewelry 

NMN50B4_mz

Socks

November Shopping List

November Shopping List

Cardamom & Black Tea Soap, Wash Cloth, A313, Canon Camera, Make Lip And Cheek Stick, Cashmere Crewneck, Everlane Bag, Trench Coat, Earl Grey Tea

My picks for this month are a little scattered.  I know that phones have really great cameras built in, but I still love using a real camera.  Most of the photos I take for my blog are done with a Canon G16 or Rebel DSLR.  I also like to take a camera with me when I travel.  Anyway, rather than upgrade my phone this year, I’d rather upgrade my camera.  They last longer than a phone and take better pictures.  I love the classic look of the Canon G9X Mark II.  I’m also considering a Fujifilm X100F.

I recently ordered A313, a French retinol product.  I’m still trying it out and plan to write a review soon.  My beauty regime has grown simpler over time.  I like products like this lip and cheek stick by Make.  Anymore, I only wear a little boy brow from Glossier, mascara, a cream blush, and Smith’s Rosebud Salve.  I like products that can be applied without a brush because it makes for easy touch-ups on the go.

This month I’m only looking to add a few things to my closet.  I want to pick up a basic cashmere crew neck in charcoal and upgrade my old trench coat.  I’m curious about this new bag from Everlane.  I like that it holds as much as a tote but is worn as a crossbody.

October Shopping List

Some of my finds for this month:

October Shopping List

Public Goods Gift Set, Emerald Top, Black Booties, Cognac Mules, Black Turtleneck, Essie Nail Polish, Amber Glass Bottles, Black Serving Utensils, Bird Tray, Hello Notecards, Cognac Leather Wallet, Black Lantern, Wooden Cutting Board, Candle, Graphic Pillow Cover, Natural Blanket, Notebook, Reusable Bag

In my closet, I’ve added a few rich seasonal colors in classic pieces.  My clothing is heavily informed by timeless classics.  I usually dress in neutrals, but buy a piece or two for the season, like this emerald top from H&M.  For fall, I think a classic black ankle boot works with everything.  I am living in these mules from Madewell, because they are easy to kick on and dress up or down.  I’m obsessed with the leather wallet from Sézane, I love the color and simple design.
Our apartment is pretty minimal and modern, but I like warming it up for the season with natural elements like the wooden cutting board and the natural throw blanket.  I also like black accents to catch the eye, like these black serving utensils and the black lantern.  The lantern reminds me of the ones I saw outside restaurants in Stockholm at night.  I think simple things like changing out toss pillows and small accents make the apartment feel seasonal, but don’t hit you over the head with it.

I decant our soap into these amber glass bottles, I love eliminating branded packaging whenever possible. I am curious to try Public Goods, an online company that offers personal care and home products in minimalist packaging.  The products are clean (environmentally friendly and non-toxic).  With a subscription to Public Goods the products are very affordable.  It’s a brand I’m curious to try.

Cooking from Magnolia Table

fullsizeoutput_3bb9.jpeg

On a recent trip to the library, I spotted Magnolia Table: a collection of recipes for gathering on the best-seller shelf.  The cookbook is a recent project from Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.  I love to unwind by watching a few episodes, and I am always amazed by how Joanna and her husband, Chip, spin old shacks into gold in Waco, Texas.  The couple has expanded their brand, Magnolia, beyond flipping houses.  Besides all their business ventures, they have published a few books, including Magnolia Table.

After flipping through the pages, I found that most of the food in this book is opposite to what I cook day to day.  Jo’s recipes are her takes on classic southern food. I tend to cook meals that are lighter and more vegetable-forward.  She advocates for shortcuts, like opting for store-bought pie crust and chicken stock.  The raspberry-chipotle pork tenderloin recipe simply calls for marinating the pork in Fischer & Weiser’s Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.  I was a little disappointed, hoping to find a recipe for an original sauce.

The handful of recipes that connect to Jo’s heritage surprised me the most.  She shares just a few recipes passed down from her family, and those are the ones I wanted to cook.  In her recipe for Syrian donuts, she included a photo of the original version, typed up by her grandfather before he passed away, which I thought was so sweet. 

  There were two recipes that I wanted to cook. The first recipe in the book is for buttermilk biscuits, something I happen to make regularly.  She wrote that she tweaked her biscuit recipe every Sunday until they were just right.  Her pride in this recipe made me eager to make the biscuits myself.  I also decided I’d try out her mother’s bulgogi, a type of Korean barbecue. She said that while growing up, her mom mostly cooked American food but learned traditional Korean dishes later in life. Bulgogi is something I wouldn’t have made if I saw the recipe on a website, but the story of her mom learning to cook from her Korean friends compelled me to try it.  

The bulgogi was easier to prepare than I thought.  The recipe calls for slicing, marinating, and grilling beef.  It is served on a bed of rice with a cucumber-kimchi salad on the side.  I decided to make a few adjustments to be practical.  Because I’m just cooking for two, I made about a third of what the recipe called for (it calls for 4-5 pounds of beef tenderloin). I also used a cheaper cut of meat.  The kimchi salad calls for gochugaru, a Korean chili flake (I had to google that).  While I probably could have picked some up from a Korean market (there are a few in Pittsburgh), I decided just to use regular chili flakes I had on hand.

The marinade was simple to put together, and I already had all the ingredients in the house (soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, green onions… all pretty basic).  The recipe called for three cups of sugar, and I felt a little guilty putting so much in.  When it came time to cook up the beef slices, I used a cast-iron skillet because we don’t have a grill. This worked out really well except for my first few slices, which burned because the heat was too high and all the sugar caramelized too quickly.  The flavor was excellent – sweet and salty and earthy.  The spicy and crunchy cucumber-kimchi salad paired well with the rich beef slices.  It also reheats very well and would be great for batch-cooking or meal prep.

fullsizeoutput_3bb8
The biscuits, on the other hand, were not as successful as the bulgogi.  I followed the recipe to the letter, but my first batch fell flat.  They lacked the fluffy texture I expect in a biscuit.  She calls for a lot of butter and buttermilk, which I think added too much liquid to the dough. She brushes them with both egg and buttermilk, which made the biscuits taste too eggy and left a sickly yellow film on top. 

I made a second batch, omitting the egg wash and using the cubed butter method instead of the grated butter method.  I also used about 20 percent less buttermilk than the original recipe calls for.  Joanna’s dough contains an egg, giving the final product a more cake-like crumb than I want from a biscuit.  The second batch did come out better, but even after a few adjustments, I’ve made way better biscuits (specifically using the recipe from Dining In, Alison Roman’s cookbook).  I prefer a lighter, saltier biscuit with a better rise, something that looks more like a snowball than a hockey puck in shape.

 

I’m not the right audience for this cookbook.   Magnolia Table delivers crowd-pleasing dishes that make more sense for a big family than someone like me, who only ever prepares weeknight dinners for two.  While I like to have leftovers, I had to cut both the recipes I tried in half or more (most of them serve 6-8 people, and some serve more like 12-14).  It is, after all, a collection of recipes for gathering and not a collection of recipes for an urban couple. While the food didn’t click with me, I did enjoy reading about her history and how cooking has connected the generations of her family.  

fullsizeoutput_3bba

September Shopping List

 

September Edition Shopping List

Duvet Cover, Clarifying Shampoo, Backpack for 15″ laptop, Salt Box, Woodblock Print, Net Bag, Utility Jacket

I’m looking at this duvet cover from Schoolhouse – a home design store that will be opening in Pittsburgh this fall.  I like keeping my bedroom really simple and neutral because I think it helps me sleep.

Woodblock prints like this one from Blockshop Textiles have been catching my eye lately.  The prints are simple designs with great composition.  Blockshop Textiles also sells graphic scarves, rugs, pillows, and table linens.  I really like the Hans Napkin, too. 

Utility jackets like this one from Everlane have been a staple of my wardrobe since high school.  I count on my jacket to have a lot of pockets because my pants usually don’t have any. Structure gives this casual jacket a more formal look.

I have been wearing Fjallraven backpacks for years but am looking for one to fit my 15″ laptop.  I’ve also been carrying these simple net bags, which work great for grocery shopping.  I always travel with one stashed away  so I never have to use a plastic bag.

This clarifying shampoo really helps my hair feel extremely clean, clearing up any built-up product.  It’s something I really only need to use once a week.  I like this one from Sachajuan because it barely has any scent (maybe just a hint of rosemary?).  Neutrogena makes a very inexpensive and effective clarifying shampoo, but I couldn’t stand the smell.

 

 

Herbivore Botanicals Mask Review

Herbivore’s Pink Clay Hyaluronic Acid Mega Moisture Creme Mask ($48)

 

IMG_0659

 

IMG_0657I bought this mask last September from Sephora and only really used it twice. This is totally out of my own laziness and not a reflection of the quality of the mask at all. I bought this for two reasons: I wanted a hydrating product for winter and the gorgeous packaging (is that bad? I’m just being honest). Initially I was VERY turned off by the separation of the product. I even considered returning it when I saw yellowy goops of oil bubbling between gobs of pink gooey clay. Also, I think the product leaked and the box had an oil stain on it. But that stuff is just a mark of a genuine small-batch, independent beauty company. Speaking of small batch, I don’t think this product is available anymore. That doesn’t mean a true Internet-sleuth couldn’t dig up a jar, it just means Sephora isn’t selling it.

I admire Herbivore Botanicals for their commitment to using high quality ingredients when formulating products. They make a variety of face oils. The most popular on Sephora.com is the Blue Lapis variety, but they have specialized oils for cell rejuvenation, youth preservation, and hydrating glow oil. A short aside on the topic of face oil: I’m a firm believer in face oil, I love layering the stuff all over my face before I go to bed and waking up to baby-soft skin and how smoothly my make up goes after applying it. Oils have become an essential step in my skin care routine. Anyway besides oil they sell facemasks, soaps, lip moisturizer, mists for literally everything, and bath salts.

On to the mask I bought. I am somewhat of a mask-hoarder. I love trying different skin care products and my biggest weakness is a great mask. It’s so fun to see your face transform after slathering on a mask. I like brightening with minty green algae masks and pore vacuuming with charcoal. Masks also deliver amazing results that are both instant and lasting. I am all about a great mask.   Herbivore’s Pink Clay Hyaluronic Acid Mega Moisture Creme Mask, which I promise I will never write out again for the rest of this review, is hydrating without leaving my skin feeling oily. That’s my key takeaway. I like that my skin feels soft and smooth and clean but not, well, too oily. My skin just feels clean and hydrated and nice. Applying the mask is a little messy. I wouldn’t do it without the provided spatula and although some things I’ve read online call it “pre-mixed” I absolutely recommend thoroughly mixing it before use. I let the mask sit for about 20 minutes and it does not ever dry out like other clay masks (probably because of the oils in it) so don’t wait for the mask to dry into a hard layer. I just splashed it off with warm water and then pat my skin with a towel to dry.

Is this the absolutely greatest mask I have ever used? Probably not. It’s better than average and because I admire Herbivore Botanicals I will buy their products again. I mainly bought this mask to support a good company and try out their line. I really want to try out their charcoal products, texturizing hair spray, and lip products.

 

And just for fun and a good laugh, here is my Snap Story quick take of the mask.

Useful Links:

Herbivore Botanicals

Herbivore at Sephora