Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 37

It's the first day of fall! Here's to football season, cider with whiskey, and happy Halloweens! On to the reading progress.

I'm still reading Richard Reeves' Infamy, but I've started reading the five stories in Wool, part of the Silo series, by Hugh Howey. More post-apocalyptic sci-fi fun for all my fellow geeks! I'm loving how well defined the characters in this book are, it totally sucked me in right away. I don't want to spoil anything about this story because I'm enjoying it so much, but if you like this sort of genre at all, you should give this a read. I'm tearing through it at an absurd pace.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Fall 2015 Wishlist

Fall '15 Wishlist

It would be foolish to assume that there aren't things I want as the fall weather starts to come around. The cape trend has been floating around for a few years now, and I think I might finally be brave enough to go for it. This one from H&M is so chic looking, not to mention the right price. I think I'm going to go for a minimalist tortoiseshell-inspired look this fall and gold accents black and brown really well. I think both the Topshop Filigree Two-Row Necklace and Topshop Geo Drop Pendant Necklace from Topshop's Nordstrom collection would look really classy over a sweater, or just a slouchy tee. Not to mention they would look great with those tortoiseshell earrings, which are from Topshop stores.

Frankly, I'm just really in need of an umbrella and I like the idea of being able to see where I'm going when Chicago brings freezing rain back into my life. This Totes Bubble Umbrella from Target comes with several different color trim, so if you want to spice it up, you could go for a pop of color. Finally, these Annie Side Zip Ankle Booties are also from Target, and I love them. My best friend brought them to my attention, and I've been actively resisting purchase ever since.

What makes your list for this fall? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to check me out on Polyvore if the spirit moves you!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mani Monday: Favorite Fall Polishes

Ah, fall. I know not everyone chooses their nail polish based on the season, but as the junkie I am, it's really the only way to get a full scope of my collection. I have a particular weakness for fall colors, be they warm or cool, as they get me in the mood for my very favorite time of the year.

One of the first polishes I ever purchased and go back to every year, is Essie Sassy Satchel. It's a beautiful metallic red brown that just epitomizes fall for me. Zoya Amy is a metallic burnished orange that's great right at the beginning of the season, when you're still feeling the last lingering bits of summer but the leaves have started to turn. Once the weather turns to cool and grey days, Essie Macks is an offbeat blue-toned red that's slightly translucent that makes me thing of rain-slicked streets.

If you're a lover of cooler tones, Essie After School Boy Blazer is about as chic as it gets. It's blackened navy that always makes me feel like I actually know what I'm doing with my style. Essie Over the Edge wormed its way into my heart last fall as gun metal grey continued to dominate fall trends for the millionth year in a row. I think this polish is one of the best ways to wear that particular trend, it's nice and subtle but still different. Blue-greys are also going to come around again this year, and Essie The Perfect Cover Up fits right in line with that. As fall starts to turn toward winter, OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland, in addition to having the best name ever, is the purple that owns my heart. It's a nearly black purple that's fully opaque in three coats and just makes me happy to look at.

Friday, September 18, 2015

What's in My Bag #1

I recently got a new everyday bag and I figured I'd show you guys what I always tote around with me! Frankly, doing this has made me realize that I'm really boring. The bag itself is from a boutique on Southport called M2. It's actually reversible, which is pretty cool because it will match the wide variety of gym clothes I wear on a daily basis :/ My adorable green wallet is from Target, I just keep all the usual sort of things in it. All the way to the right is my Kindle, my beloved Kindle, which entertains me on every form of public transit without having to use my data (bless you, Kindle, bless you).

I have Pepcid because heartburn is no joke #realtalk and I do not have time for that nonsense. My floral-patterned sunglasses are from Francesca's Collection and cost me $14 before tax, which is a good thing because every pair of sunglasses I've ever owned have been left behind on a train. This is why I can't have nice things.

Since I nanny and, thus, spend a great deal of time outdoors in the heat, I don't bother with much makeup in the warm weather. It's a bit of a bummer, considering I'm such a beauty junkie, but it beats sweating it all off as soon as I step outside, that's just a waste of money. The exceptions are Rimmel Hide the Blemish Concealer in 102 Light Beige and NARS Lip Gloss in Chelsea Girls. That concealer is the closest dupe for Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque that I've found at the drugstore. Although it's not quite as good, I keep it around because it costs around $5 instead of $25. That lip gloss is not cheap, but I don't care, it is everything I've ever wanted in a nude lip gloss. The hype is legit on that one.

And, of course, I gotta have a Blistex for those windy Chicago days.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Morning Skincare Routine

Mornings are hard, this we all know. One of the most difficult things can be sacrificing those few extra minutes in bed to give your face the attention it deserves. However, developing a consistent morning skincare routine has actually given my a much better outlook on the morning, as it gives me the time to slowly wake up and prepare to join the world.

Step one is cleansing. Since you're really good at this whole beauty thing and you took all your makeup off before you went to bed, you don't have to double cleanse in the morning. Right now, I'm just using Lush's Ultrabland. I massage it into my face and then wipe it all off with a warm washcloth. Next up begins the hydration. If you like, you could use an exfoliating toner here, but I usually just skip right to my hydrating toner, Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic. I am addicted to the smell of this, and I definitely notice a difference when I take a break and experiment with different products.

Next, you've got to pay some attention to those eyes. I'm currently testing Hylamide SubQ Eyes, which caught my eye at CVS the other day. The jury is still out, all I can say for now is that it's lightweight and doesn't interfere with my concealer, which is what I wanted. While that's being absorbed, I apply three drops of Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ all over my face and neck. I've spoken about my love for Trilogy Rosehip Oil before, and after I finish this sample size, that's what I'll be returning to, as I don't feel the souped-up version is significantly different, even though the price certainly is. Then I get dressed to give that time to sink in and finish up with Boscia Sake Balm, which I picked up at the same time as the Algenist Gel Cleanser I mentioned last week. I can't lie, I am absolutely addicted to this stuff. The texture is so light and it sinks in super fast, which prevents that weird slimy feeling you can get when you go out in the summer and start getting a little sweaty.

I know it sounds like a lot, but since I implemented a more aggressive skincare routine, I've noticed fewer blemishes, an improvement in the texture of my skin, and a more even skin tone overall. Obviously it's important to find what works for you, but proper cleansing and hydrating have gone a long way for me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 36

One of my favorite ways to read is to have multiple books going at a time, especially if they're in different genres. James Dashner's The Maze Runner and Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves definitely fit that description. I'm nearly through the former, which shouldn't be at all surprising, since I've repeatedly demonstrated a weakness for young adult literature. Am I enjoying it? I think definitely moves quickly, and it's nice and mysterious, but it feels a little thin. I don't know how to describe it other than that. I'm intrigued enough to look into reading the rest of the series. I reserve my judgment at this time.

On a completely different note, thus far Mr. Reeves' look at Japanese-American internment during World War II has been completely and utterly engrossing. I feel that this embarrassing and disgraceful moment in American history is often overlooked in the face of the Allies' ultimate victory in WWII, much to the detriment of the U.S. How can we expect to learn from our mistakes if we gloss over them? Reeves has written a captivating chronicle of this shameful policy that clearly illuminates the major players in this incident. I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but I frequently find myself putting the book down to take a breath and quell my outrage. I highly recommend this book to anyone. Literally anyone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection: Yea or Nay?

First, can I say what up, Kohl's Cash? You can spend that stuff in their makeup section, and that is the bomb dot com.

Unfortunately, I have to admit that I really don't know what to make of this brush from the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection. I certainly love many of the Real Techniques brushes I've tried, so their (pricier) new range seemed worth trying. This is the 201 Pointed Crease Brush, which you can get for $16. Now, I do like the long handle, and it's comfortable to hold and has a nice weight to it. It was just a little...stabby, when I tried to use it in my crease. The synthetic bristles are very densely packed and evenly trimmed, so they did a good job picking up color, I just felt as if it was a little difficult to apply it to my eyelid given the stiffness of the brush.

I'm not willing to fully give up on it, I'm going to put it to the test again after I give it a good wash. Look for an update here when I reach a final verdict. Have any of you experimented with this line? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mani Monday: Nail Stamping

Lately, I've seen a lot of great highly detailed manicures. Refusing to believe that anyone could do such a thing by hand, I looked into it and discovered something called nail stamping. Basically, there are designs etched onto metal plates that you put a thin layer of polish on to, and then you pick up the design with a tool with a squishy end and press it on to your nail. There's definitely a learning curve, but it's not as difficult as I feared it would be, and I've been improving on my attempts.

The tools I used here were the Konad Double Sided Stamper and the Bundle Monster Polynesia BM-XL108 Stamping Plate. The individual plate is currently sold out, but you can still get it as part of a 5 piece set called Land of Aloha. For my base, I went with OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland, one of my favorite purples, and the design is Essie Good as Gold. My understanding is that metallics work best, although in theory any polish that's pretty opaque with one coat should work well.

I'm particularly excited to try this technique for my Halloween manicures, as I picked up a holiday set, as well, when I got the Polynesia plate. I do so love Halloween!  I hope you all enjoy your week and your PSLs, if you so choose :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Search Continues | Perfect Cleanser

As I continue to search for a more reasonably priced replacement for my most beloved cleanser, a Sephora associate at the store in the Shops at Northbridge (who was awesome, but whose name I have forgotten, sorry!) helped me discover the Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser.

First, how awesome is it that it comes in a tube?! In my wayward youth, I thought pots of skincare just looked so much cooler, but as I continue to educate myself about skincare, I've come to appreciate the importance of keeping things hygienic. Frankly, that's much easier when you can just squeeze out of a tube instead of sticking your dirty fingers in a pot.

On to the cleanser itself! According to Sephora's website, this "combines both alguronic acid, a patented antiaging breakthrough, and microalgae oil, a new source of nourishing oil, to visibly replensish and smooth skin." Phew! There's definitely a bit of a learning curve here. Less is more, if you use too much it won't "melt" properly and it'll kind of feel like you're tugging the thick gel around your skin. After it melts into an oil, wetting your fingertips and continuing to massage your skin turns it into a milky emulsion that feels very refreshing. I then use a warm washcloth to remove it from my face for some gentle exfoliation and to make sure there's absolutely no residue left. The biggest complaint I've read online is that it leaves a weird film on the skin, but if you just give the washcloth a go, you won't run into that at all.

I use this in the evening as my second cleanser and really take my time with it. I've definitely seen an improvement in the overall texture and hydration of my skin, so I'm super pleased with it! Though I can't really speak to it's anti-aging ability since I'm 26. The only negative I can think of is that it smells a bit odd, but it doesn't linger at all.

Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser is available at Sephora for $38.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

blendercleanser solid by beautyblender

Before you say anything, yes, I know that it makes more sense to just use liquid hand soap, but sometimes I will pay a premium to make my life easier. This makes my life easier. Not only does this cleanser get my beautyblender squeaky clean, but it works great for all of my other makeup brushes, as well. I just swirl a damp brush on the bar for a second and then rinse it clean. The best part of all is that the full-size solid cleanser is super travel-friendly, which is extra nice when you're taking one of those longer trips during which your brushes could you a mid-trip wash. It doesn't leave any residue that I've noticed, and my brushes dry nicely afterwards.

blendercleanser solid by beautyblender can be purchased from Sephora for $16.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 35

I was underwhelmed. Admittedly, I did read this in two days, so I guess I can't say that it wasn't captivating, but it left me hollow, similar to how I felt upon finishing the much-lauded Gone Girl. Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train is filled with thriller tropes that made it seem a bit shallow. Sure, it has exciting moments, but overall, the scenario felt forced. I'd call it a beach read, but a master thriller this is not. The characters just never appealed enough to pull me into the story fully. Sigh, what a bummer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Going Halfway into Fall

Meet Me in the MIddle - Midi Skirts for Fall

I've really come to admire Lily Collins' style over the past few years, and her penchant for midi skirts fits in perfectly with what I see as a big trend for fall. The runways have shown us a revival of that ultra-feminine silhouette most notably associated with 50s style. A big part of that is the midi skirt, which hits below the knee, but well above the ankle.

If you really want to go full-on vintage inspired, something along the lines of that gorgeous red skirt is what you should be aiming for. The skirt is nice and full, which exaggerates that mid-century hourglass shape made famous by the likes of Marilyn Monroe. Keep it modern with a casual top, if you don't like a costume-y look (I sometimes do). A crop top, if it's still quite warm, would look super cool, and a patterned button-down once it cools off is just the ticket, if you ask me. This crop top would look awesome, and I adore this button-down.

If you want a less flouncy look, go for a lighter weight fabric with less structure. I'm particularly enamored of that forest green number in the middle there. I feel like it would be fun to spin around in circles while wearing it. #realtalk

What are you all looking forward to for fall? Feel free to follow me here on Polyvore, it's definitely a great place to get inspiration for your look!

*This post contains some affiliate links.*