Monday, June 30, 2014

What's In My Carry On Bag?



In the past I've shared my extreme infatuation with Kate Spade handbags because of their retro styles, girly colors, and beautiful designs. I love the femininity of the brand, so it might be surprising that I went for a canvas tote from the brother brand of Kate: Jack Spade. Jack has intense masculinity yet remains similar to its sister's bags and clothes. I picked up the tote pictured above recently (old, similar here) that I instantly fell in love with because of its utility style and fun colors. It's a really decent size for school and works perfectly as a carry on!

Some of my in flight essentials are Glamour Magazine, Game Of Thrones (I just finished season 1 episode 9 and I sobbed like a baby), a lined notebook, my Mophie iPhone Charger, iPhone 5 + headphones, Canon Rebel T3i + Lowepro Bag, Kate Spade Glitterbug Lacey Wallet, Baylor Pen, Harmonica, Rebecca Minkoff Dusterbag + extra clothes, and my Makeup and Skincare.

In the TSA approved ziploc bag I have a couple handfuls of beauty and skin products that are absolute essentials for flying. I have The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask, Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, Caudalie Eau De Beauté, Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix, Smith's Rosebud Salve, The Body Shop Shea Body Butter, Shu Uemura S Curler, Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara, Chloé Eau de Parfum Rollerball, and The Body Shop Born Lippy Strawberry Lip Balm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Travel Beauty Essentials





The time has finally come for my family's annual trip to San Francisco and I couldn't be any more excited! San Fran is our favorite city in the USA and we make sure to visit at least once a year to see the Golden Gate Bridge and have breakfast at Mama's. This year, I'm making sure to pack all the beauty and hygiene essentials and share them all with you! All of the necessary bits are going to be housed in this Kate Spade Travel Case (old, similar here). There are four compartments/pockets for all of my products and it fits a crazy amount of it all!

Skin, Body, Miscellaneous


For the skincare, I've got my trusty Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Cream Cleanser, Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix, Sei Bella Anti-Aging Serum, Origins A Perfect World For Eyes Eye Cream, Rosebud Salve Lip Balm, Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, and The Body Shop Camomille Waterproof Eye and Lip Remover (plus cotton rounds). I've also got my toothbrush, Colgate Toothpaste, Dove Go Fresh Cucumber Deoderant, and a clip and hair tie.

Brushes


For brushes, I have loads of them from Real Techniques (purple, orange, and pink handles) that I'll be bringing with me. I've got the Brow Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush, Contour Brush, Buffing Brush, Multitask Brush, Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush, Base Shadow Brush, and Domed Shadow Brush. I also have the Eco Tools Blush Brush (wooden handle) and Flat Shadow Brush (wooden handle). There is a random blending brush (clear handle) that I can't remember the name of and a few blending brushes from Elf (black handles) with an Elf Packing Brush (black handle) and Powder Brush (black handle). Last but not least is a sole MAC 217 (white brush head) that I take with me absolutely everywhere.

Nails


I probably won't be painting my nails while on my trip but just in case, I have a handful of essentials on hand (ha ha ha). The OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover is a great size for travel, the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, Revlon Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat, OPI Nail Lacquer in Barefoot in Barcelona, Formula X Shine Top Coat, and Revlon by Marchesa Nail File.

Makeup


This section is arguably the most exciting, so I saved it for last! I tried to streamline my products as I'll only be in SF for a few days, but I couldn't resist packing all of the essentials. I'll be bringing the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Sand Beige, NARS Lipstick in Gipsy, NARS NARSissist Eye Palette, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 5, Chloe Eau de Parfum Rollerball, Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara in Black, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Granite, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Medium Matte 03, Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, Rimmel Stay Matte Primer, Lancôme Lip Lover in Rose Contre-Temps, Shu Uemura S Curler, MAC Lipstick in Modesty, Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede Perfume, Revlon Tweezers, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze, Chanel Joues Contraste in Rose Petale, and Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre.

Wow, what a mouthful! Let's all just take a breather for a moment after all that information. I know this probably looks like I'm over packing (which I am), but I like to be prepared for every situation and circumstance possible when it comes to my beauty and hygiene regime. Stay tuned for tomorrow where I'll be showing you what I'm taking in my carry on bag!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Favorite Shampoo and Conditioner


Living in a house with two other women means there are beauty and hygiene products placed all over the bathroom areas. Although I try out loads of different shampoos, conditioners, and body washes all the time, my favorites have remained as the Pantene Pro-V Classic Shampoo and Conditioner. These gigantic bottles were purchased from Costco and have lasted me for the past 6 months or so without running out of product. I've found that whenever I use a different set of shampoo and conditioner, my curly hair lays flat and feels weighed down. However, when I use this set my hair springs back into its natural waves and curls while leaving my strands extremely soft and silky. I've also noticed an improvement in my hair's health as they used to be brittle and split, but are now strong and healthy. Overall, this is an amazing shampoo and conditioner pair that is perfect for everyone!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Which Base?


Throughout the years I've been on a long journey through the many foundations that the drugstore and department store offer. My main concern was always the abundance of spots and redness on my skin that I hoped to cancel out with thick, full coverage foundation. As a (former) member of the full coverage foundation family, I was a daily user of heavy bases that made my face look flawless and essentially, fake. I liked the look of a really matte face that completely erased the blemishes on my face (or so I thought). In all actuality, the foundations I was using weren't covering the spots, but rather enhancing their sizes and shapes. The small red bumps that would appear on my skin looked like gigantic mountains after being concealed, which always left me irritated and frustrated.

After loads of research on natural, skin-like base products, I am left with the two pictured above. The Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 5 are both cult favorites in the beauty world (both purchased after reading Anna's blog). The former is my current love for everyday no-makeup makeup. It's incredibly lightweight texture and medium coverage makes it perfect to wear during the hot summer days. Luminous Silk is definitely another story. It has medium-full(ish) coverage that dries down to a more matte finish on the skin without looking cakey. It can feel a bit heavy, which is why I save this bad boy for nights out and special occasions. The hefty price tag left a bit of a dent in my wallet, so I usually use only one pump for the face when needed.

Overall, I'm really happy with my current base favorites as they feel lighter on the skin than my old foundation picks without sacrificing the coverage I like. If you are having a birthday coming up or just feel like treating yourself, I highly recommend both of these base products for the day and night!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sephora Formula X Top Coat


Ever since the launch of the Sephora Formula X Nail Polishes, I've heard many a blogger rave about the formulation of the varnishes. I already have a lot of different "finger paints" so when I stopped at Sephora the other day I decided to pick up one of their topcoats because I ran out of my favorite one from NYC. The Sephora Formula X Shine Top Coat has a lovely brush that covers the whole nail and adds an extremely glossy finish. The bottle is very chic as it is reminiscent of the Chanel Nail Varnishes with its square shape. Although I'm a fan of nearly all of its characteristics, I don't think that this is the ultimate top coat for me. After only one day of wearing this over my favorite OPI Koala Bear-y, the polish immediately chipped on the nail bed and on the tip. My nails have never chipped that quickly or easily and I have to credit that to this top coat. I'm not sure if all of the Formula X polishes are that chip friendly but if they are, I probably won't be picking up any other polishes from this line any time soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Shoes I Never Thought I'd Like


My dad and sister have been wearing the famous Sperry Boat Shoes for years but I never understood their love for the footwear brand. The shoe designs and colors never tickled my fancy until recently when I spotted the Seersucker Bahama 2 Eye in Navy/Cognac. The combination of the navy stripes and coral laces immediately struck a chord in my fashion loving soul and I desperately wanted a pair! After trying on my sister's classic brown boat shoes, I fell in love. For the first time in forever (Frozen reference) I didn't cringe at the union of my black top and light brown footwear. Maybe my fashion tastes are changing (although I'll still never wear Birkenstocks) but I'm really enjoying this new (old) pair of shoes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Photoready Hair and Makeup



Even though I'm always taking pictures of myself for the blog, it's not often that I have my photo properly taken with flash and studio lights. When the occasion comes that I have a sit down photo session, I like to make sure that my hair and makeup is in tip top condition. As I mentioned in this post, I've really been enjoying leaving my hair naturally wavy, but sometimes I like to add a bit of curl definition. I start out by straightening my bangs and leaving them down (or pinning them back depending on what I feel like) and then curling random sections of hair. For makeup, I apply the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 5 all over the face. The foundation is perfect for picture taking because of the lack of SPF, which doesn't cause flashback! To top up any blemishes, I use my holy grail NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard. I usually set my face with a bit of the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Sand Beige and I fill in my brows with the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Granite. Leaving the eyes bare, I only add a hint of definition by adding a medium matte brown shadow in the crease and on the lower lashline before applying lashings of the Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara in Black. For a hint of glow I like to add my new favorite The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Medium Matte 3 and the Chanel Joues Contraste in Rose Petale. Last but not least I apply some of the Lancôme Lip Lover in Rose Contre-Temps to add color and shine to my face.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This One's For You, Isaiah

Source: NCAA
Right after I woke up yesterday, my dad told me the devastating news about former Baylor center Isaiah Austin. If you're not a basketball fan and are unaware about who I'm talking about, Isaiah is a 7'1, 220 lb sophomore who helped lead the bears to many victories this past season including making it to the Sweet 16 in the Men's Basketball Championship. As a huge Baylor basketball fan, I spent most of my days cheering on the men and lady bears throughout their journeys in the season. I cheered, yelled, clapped, and cried with them in their wins and ultimately, in their losses. However, this loss is a big one. Isaiah has suffered through many trials in his basketball journey, including the January announcement of his gradual blindness after the retina in his right eye tore 6 years ago. Despite being half-blind, Isaiah persevered and didn't let his eye problems stop him. He went on to become a quick basketball star whose long limbs and extreme height allowed him to tower over most college players. He's been a key player on the Baylor team and shocked and excited many when he announced his participation in the NBA draft. Although fans all over the country were skeptical about his decision (as he's only a sophomore), Isaiah's character and prominence in the basketball community proved his preparedness for the draft.

Yesterday Isaiah announced that he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome after undergoing a standard physical at the NBA. After his results came back positive for the genetic disorder, Isaiah was advised to quit playing basketball immediately. "They said I wouldn't be able to play basketball anymore at a competitive level," Austin told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "They found the gene in my blood sample. They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself and push too hard that my heart could rupture. The draft is four days away, and I had a dream that my name was going to be called."(ESPN). Isaiah also reassured his fans of his character when he stated, "For all of my supporters, I just want to tell them sorry. I'm sorry they couldn't see me play in the NBA. But it's not the end; it's only the beginning." (ESPN).

As a huge fan of Isaiah as a person and a player, I'm devastated for him. It's such a huge deal to have your dream right in front of you, only to have it ripped away days before. When it comes to dreams and life in general, it really is true that you never know what you have until it's gone. Although Isaiah is suffering in unimaginable ways, it shows his true character in his positivity about the situation. When the going gets rough, take one from Isaiah and trust that there really are bigger and better plans for you in the end.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seafoam Green





I've never been a huge fan of clutches as they seem to be a nuisance to carry, so I've always used totes or shoulder handbags. However, when I spotted these canvas and leather pouches that my friend  Grace makes for her brand Seafoam Green, I was instantly in love. Grace handmakes each pouch and piece of jewelry from recycled fabrics and items. The canvas clutches come in three different sizes (I went for the medium) and they feel incredibly well made. As you can see, the pouch fits my whole Kate Spade wallet and a bunch of other nick nacks while still remaining spacious. There are also many different patterns and fabrics to choose from when shopping for a clutch. Grace is currently selling her pieces at craft fairs and specialty retail stores, so check her Facebook page for more details!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Attempting A Health Kick


When I was in kindergarten-3rd grade I was a really thin kid who used to love swimming and playing as long as I could. I never thought about body image and self esteem until I was in the fourth grade at a new school. I remember hitting my "extra chubby phase" as a pre-pubescent girl with a large face and wild, frizzy hair. It was not a pretty sight. As I continued my elementary school years I retained my round figure and received my first puberty gift: acne. Trust me, being a chubby kid with pimples is not the best time of life. However, I slowly began to grow and thin out a bit to become a "regular sized person" while my skin cleared up. I learned how to use a flat iron on my thick mane and developed a love for makeup in order to boost my confidence. Despite the self-esteem boosters, one area of life I continued to struggle with was my fitness level and diet. Eating a lot and not working out has not been the best on my body and I've quickly realized that eating healthy and exercising isn't as bad as it sounds. I've started choosing more nutritious meals and snacks and I've also picked up some cute workout clothes (including these Nike Zoom Vomero 7s)! Increasing my metabolism and endurance when running and doing cardio will be tough, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

5 Things

1. This Shirley Temple-esque photo of me as a toddler (with fantastic natural highlighting and contouring)


2. This amazing puppy that I lovingly named 'Potato'


3. A recent Eric and Mr. Feeny (Boy Meets World) breakfast that makes my inner 3 year old explode with joy 


4. This gorgeous sample of Miss Dior perfume 


5. A favorite summer issue and a not-so-healthy treat

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The June Beauty Bundle


This month's beauty bundle is coming at you a bit late, but I still wanted to share the products I will be using throughout the rest of June! This month has been really good to me as I've been relaxing, blogging, and working on an easy schedule. I've also gone on a staycation, purchased a new handbag, and have been using a handful of new beauty products that are quite extraordinary!

To start off with, I'll be using a new eye cream that soothes and hydrates the undereye area. The Origins A Perfect World For Eyes Firming Moisture Treatment (what a mouthful!) is a thin and creamy treatment for both am and pm. It feels quite cooling and gel-like on the skin, which preps the eyes for concealer. I recently picked up two new cult beauty products: the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre and The Body Shop Honey Bronzing Powder in 03 Medium Matte. The former is a light coverage tinted moisturizer that gives a really natural finish to the skin. I'll be using this for an everyday no makeup makeup look in the summer that won't melt off my face. The Body Shop bronzer is an all natural, honey infused powder that adds a subtle glow to the cheeks and temples. It has a neutral undertone that isn't too muddy or orange, which will be perfect to add a bit of definition and warmth to the face. I'll be sporting bright shades on my fingers and toes during the summer and the OPI Nail Lacquer in Koala Bear-y is the prettiest blue toned pink that looks amazing against a tan! To set the polish, I picked up a bottle of Sephora Formula X Shine Top Coat. The Sephora nail brand has been raved about and I had to pick up a new top coat, so I decided to try one from Formula X. The glossy finish will be great on the bright colors I plan to paint my limbs with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The J. Crew Tweed Jacket








Unlike my beauty products, I don't usually wear the same clothing pieces everyday. I'm always buying tops, jackets, and bottoms, so I like to switch my outfits up whenever I can. There is one piece in my wardrobe, however, that I always sport time and time again. I've worn my favorite J. Crew Tweed Jacket (old, similar here on sale!) pretty much every week since I received it last year. As the photos above show, the lightweight jacket has a thin material that makes it perfect for layering and travel. It matches just about every outfit possible and adds a bit of chicness to jeans and a t shirt. Even though my beauty routine and hair length change quite frequently, this gorgeous jacket always stays the same.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A NARS Lipstick Find



There are a few beauty products that I would buy on a whim. I'm very selective when it comes to makeup and I rarely buy a product without thoroughly researching it beforehand. When I saw NARS Gipsy, however, I turned my back on that philosophy. I was passing the NARS counter in Sephora when I saw the lipstick out of the corner of my eye. The warm berry shade jumped out at me and I instantly ran over to swatch it. I quickly fell in love with the lip color and purchased it as soon as I saw the pigmentation on my hand. The lipstick came in the classic NARS packaging: matte black with the bright white logo. It looks quite chic in the tube and despite being a berry shade, looks gorgeous for the summer time! It applies quite smoothly and leaves a semi glossy finish on the lips. A sheer berry shade that looks great on a tan? I'll take two.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day 2014

3 generations of large noses









Happy Father's Day dad! Thank you for always being there for me no matter what and for appreciating my love for the British culture (Harreh). I hope you had a wonderful day and that you felt as loved and appreciated as you are! I love you!

Happy (belated) Father's Day! Our family had such a lovely Father's Day yesterday filled with food (as usual), family, and puppies! We started the day off by going to church and then we laid a beautiful bouquet of various flowers on my Papa's grave before we spent lunchtime with my paternal grandparents eating at our favorite dim sum restaurant in China town. After lunch we headed to my dad's friend's house where he has 9 Labrador Retriever puppies (almost) ready to find homes! They were all so cute, but I instantly fell in love with the puppy pictured above as she was timid and fell asleep on my shoulder. I named her 'Potato' before I begrudgingly handed her back to her owners. Dad made an enormous slab of prime rib for dinner and we spent the evening relaxing with each other and enjoying all of the meat on the table. It was a wonderful Father's Day!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Going Au Naturel




From the time I was a toddler, I had extremely curly brown hair. The tight ringlets would sprinkle down my back in unique patterns and shapes. Growing up, I hated my curly hair. I used to go to elementary school with girls who all had pin straight hair and I completely envied them. My ringlets always seemed unnecessary and made me feel different from the girls around me. Because I didn't like my hair, I would straighten it as much as I could. I would curl and straighten my hair every single day throughout middle school up to sophomore year just to tame my thick mane of hair and make it more uniformed. I didn't realize the damage I had caused to my precious curls until it was too late. The curls were heated so much that their shapes transformed into a sort of bent wave in some areas and had gone completely straight in others. As I figured out how damaged my hair had gotten, I slowly started to ease up on the hot tools. I put my flat iron away (only to be used on my bangs) and let my natural waves start to come back.

After one full year of no flat iron (again, only on my bangs and for special occasions), I saw a transformation in my hair. My natural curls have come back and I'm left with voluminous (sometimes frizzy) wavy/curly hair that is reminiscent of my childhood locks. I love my hair now more than I ever did straightening or curling it. It goes to show that people will always want what they can't have. Sometimes, what you really want is right in front of your very eyes!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Lip Products In My Handbag


Lancôme Rose Contre-Temps Lip Lover, MAC Modesty, The Body Shop #18 Colour Crush Shine, Bare Minerals Get Ready Marvelous Moxie, MAC Plumful
As a beauty blogger and makeup addict, I always have handfuls of beauty products in my handbag at all times. I'm always paranoid that I'll accidentally rub off my Anastasia Brow Wiz or smear my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the summer heat. Because of my paranoia and my makeup OCD, I find myself constantly tossing products into my purse, especially lipsticks and glosses. After a thorough digging into the depths of my bag, I discovered 5 of my current lipstick favorites that have made their way into my pebbled black Kate Spade.

The first product I found was my absolute favorite gloss- the Lancôme Lip Lover in Rose Contre-Temps. This gloss is completely non-sticky and has amazing pigmentation for a sheeny lipstick/gloss hybrid. The thin doe foot applicator makes the application process a breeze and coats the lip so easily. The rest of the lip products are all lipsticks (shocker) that range from MAC to The Body Shop and finally, Bare Minerals. The two MAC lipsticks I have are Modesty (Cremesheen) and Plumful (Lustre). Modesty was bought after months of research to find the perfect 'my lips but better' shade. After I scoured blogs and YouTube videos, I finally settled on Modesty because of its creamy mix of peachy nude and pink without making my lips look too made up. I purchased Plumful nearly two years ago and haven't put it down since. It's the perfect mix of mauve and plum that looks lovely during the fall and winter time. The Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready has a formulation and texture unlike any other lipstick I've tried in the past. The lipstick is full coverage and creamy, but the smooth and buttery texture feels amazing and completely unique! The cool toned pink is perfect for the spring and it also looks great against a tan! Last but not least is arguably my favorite lipstick of the bunch. The Body Shop Colour Crush Shine Lipstick in #18 (which apparently was limited edition?? So sorry guys!) has a balm texture and sheer coverage, but looks gorgeous during the summer time! The shade I have is a coral-pink color and I've been sporting it everyday for nearly two weeks! That's got to be a record in TIN history.
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