This month I decided to do something a little different – the top 10 things I can’t live without. While I like to discover new unique items each month, I always come back to my old favorites. I’ve included some of my favorite clothes, accessories, and personal care items.
I start my day by washing my face with Purity face wash by Philosophy. I’ve been using this face wash for almost 10 years. The fresh scent helps me feel awake in the morning and it does take off make up at night. I’ve never found a face wash that leaves my skin feeling cleaner than Purity.
Turkish towels seem like the opposite of what someone would want out of a towel. Before converting, I would have thought that plush, pillowy terry cloth made a good towel. The thin fabric is actually wonderful, because it dries so fast. I love that my bathroom doesn’t smell mildewy. These are also great for wrapping up hair because the fabric doesn’t have the weight of a traditional towel.
Another key part to my morning routine? My Nespresso machine. Basically anyone who has met me knows how much I love this thing. It is the easiest way to make an espresso at home, and the quality is great. Best of all, Nespresso recycles the capsules for free.
I’ve had a Kanken backpack for years, reviewing my first was one of my earliest blog posts!
I could say a lot about all of these items, but for the sake of my time and yours I’ll leave it at the list.
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.
AirPods Case, Scarf, Baggu Tote, Nail Polish, Bronzer, The Nordic Baking Book, Blue Light Glasses, Poäng Chair, Drawer Unit
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.
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:
Net-A-Porter 25 Days of Beauty
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.
Herbivore’s Pink Clay Hyaluronic Acid Mega Moisture Creme Mask ($48)
I 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.
Herbivore at Sephora
I’ve been looking ahead to spring and rocking a no make up, natural look. Here are my go-to products to achieve a fresh looking spring face.
MAC Prep & Prime $30
NARS Bronzer in Laguna $38
Hourglass Ambient Light Blush $35
Benefit’s Watt’s Up Highlighter $30
MAC Brow Set in Clear $16
Hourglass Brow Pencil $32
Fresh Lip Balm $25
MAC Fix+ $21
A few days ago I splurged a little bit at the MAC store. Instead of keeping the joys of my custom eye shadow palette or obsession with Fix+ to myself I decided to write about it. During my visit I picked up a custom eyeshade palette, the MAC 217 brush, Brow Set, Fix+, Cremesheen Glass, and a bottle of Snob. I’m going to talk about the eye shadow and Fix+ spray.
Making a custom eye shadow palette was an impulse decision. I’m a big fan of the Naked 2 (and who isn’t?) but I wanted something small for on the go. My heart was set on picking up one of the Yves Saint Laurent quads. The beautiful packaging and shimmery pigments compelled me on Sephora.com, but in person I found the sets lackluster. At MAC I realized a better move was creating my own palette with four perfect colors. The artists helped me pick a good combo that was pretty close to the colors I use most in the Naked 2 palette (Bootycall, Tease, Half-Baked, and Suspect). The colors here are Naked Lunch, Haux, Wood Winked, and Mulch.
The way that MAC custom palettes work makes so much sense to me as a consumer. The palette itself is made to last. The eye shadow pans are magnetized and can easily be changed. So if I run of out of one color I easily can buy a new pan and replace it instead of having to wait until all the colors are used up. Another perk—if I get sick of a color I can just change it out. The palette costs $9 and each eye shadow pan is $12. Individually packaged eye shadows (not pans but full containers) cost $15 for the same amount of product. To complete my on the go kit I also grabbed the 217 brush because it can be the only brush I need for basic eye.
I love shopping at the MAC store because I learn something new every visit. I picked up a great tip about wetting a synthetic eye shadow brush with Fix+ and using it to get a much bolder eye color. Fix+ is basically a miracle product. I was reluctant to buy it because it seems like a $21 bottle of water, but honestly it’s so much more. It can be sprayed on the naked face as a skin refresher, used to set color, and in the words of Beyoncé, “it makes your skin look like skin again” after putting on make up. (You know that icky look of foundation on skin? When you can totally tell someone is wearing make up because of that weird, unnatural texture? Yeah, Fix+ takes care of that). I love everything about Fix+ its light, clean scent and it’s incredible result.
Here is a swatch of Urban Decay’s Chopper applied with the Fix+ trick and without. I’m pretty impressed with the result—perfect for some bolder going out type make up. With Fix+ on the brush the color goes on more like paint. Something I really like about this is that no flecks of color stray off the eyelid (does anyone else have this problem? I always get shadow on the side of my nose).
When I first heard of Marvis toothpaste I was pretty intrigued. This stuff costs somewhere North of $10 a tube and it’s just toothpaste, what could possibly make a toothpaste so expensive? The packaging is beautiful and hip, the flavors are unique, and it’s Italian. I can’t remember the first time I heard of the decadent dental product. It might have been from watching Queer Eye re-runs on Netflix. It might have been a blog somewhere. Doesn’t matter. But this stuff is like a unicorn, you can’t find it ANYWHERE. Like everything else I do, I researched. The stuff comes in seven flavors: Cinnamint, Aquatic Mint, Ginger Mint, Jasmin Mint, Classic Mint, Whitening Mint, and Amarelli Licorice. Marvis Toothpaste has been around for over 50 years and was originally intended to clean the teeth of smokers. The packaging is so beautiful and is reminiscent of a time when things were made better, when quality was king. Reviews I read claimed that the toothpaste leaves the mouth feeling clean all day, has a great flavor, and does all the other great stuff toothpaste does, only it does them better. The review that really sold me said, “This it the greatest toothpaste ever. It is like you just went to to the mouth store and purchased a new mouth.” I finally bit the bullet and ordered a tube, playing it safe with Classic Strong Mint (off Amazon, of all places), but you can get it from C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries online.
The toothpaste arrived quickly, because for some reason I still have an Amazon Prime membership. It was time for the maiden voyage. My first impression was that I liked the texture, it seemed to have a lot of body to it. I must say, I think it’s incredibly commendable that Marvis took something mundane and made it pretty extraordinary and luxurious. The mint flavor was sweet and rich and strong but not overpowering. It lathered up quickly and easily. My teeth felt very clean and smooth and my whole mouth was refreshed. Damn. It was awesome.
I don’t know if I’ll make the permanent switch to Marvis because it’s so expensive, but I do want to try each flavor. This stuff is seriously awesome, but no amount of awesomeness could justify spending over $10 on a 4oz tube of toothpaste.