Working From Home

Just a few months ago, remote employees were a rarity in the workforce. Now, due to COVID-19, many people have been thrust into full-time remote work all around the world. I’ve worked from home for almost a year now and have learned a few things here and there. If you are working from home right now then you have probably figured out that it has it’s benefits and challenges. For me, being in my own space gives me a sense of freedom that I wouldn’t get in a traditional work environment. I don’t have a commute (which saves me $$$), I can wear yoga pants 24/7 if I want, and if I don’t feel like being sociable I can keep that to a minimum (high-five to all my introverts out there!). But being self-sufficient and focused is the name of the game. There are sooo many more distractions at home than in a traditional work environment. Between your phone, T.V., kids, spouses, and the urge to take a mid-morning nap…it’s like the world is begging you not to work. In addition, you’ll find some days that you miss that in-office banter, and there is definitely a tendency for your work life to blend into your home life. With that being said, I wanted to take some time to delve into a few simple things you can do to make working from home enjoyable.

So what are some things you can do to feel more like yourself, and to feel productive when you are working from home?

One of the main things I learned from this experience is that working from home is going to look different for everyone depending on their personality. For example, I have one co-worker who only likes wearing yoga pants and casual clothes during the work day, because that is what she feels comfortable and confident in. In contrast, I have another co-worker who gets fully dressed up every day, including make-up and heels. And guess what? They both are equally productive and happy. So moral of the story, be true to yourself! If you feel most like yourself in yoga pants and a cute sweatshirt, wear it! If you feel better dressing like you are going into the office, do it! Same goes with wearing make-up or not wearing make-up. For me I go though phases. Sometimes I want to dress up more and do my make-up and other days I just want to wear yoga pants and a sweater.

Create a work-space for yourself. Find an area of your house or apartment that is only for working, and design it into a space that you feel comfortable working in. The goal of this is that when you are done with with work for the day, or you want to take a break, you can leave that space and briefly (hopefully) stop thinking about work. By doing your best to separate your work from your home life, you are creating boundaries. The other part of a designing a space for yourself is that being in a space that reflects who you are can help you feel more comfortable and productive. For me that is when my desk is tidy, organized, and I have a candle burning. I would also like to add some organization baskets and plants to my desk down the road!

Make sure you are talking with your co-workers throughout the day through Slack, Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc. Chatting with co-workers throughout the day can make a world of difference for your mental state, especially if you have an extroverted personality type. This doesn’t mean that you have to be sociable everyday, but it is important to have at least some level of social-interaction. Plus, who else is going to relate so well to the trials and tribulations of your workday.

Take breaks to stand-up, drink some water, and pull your eyes away from the computer! When you are focused on work tasks it can be easy to stare at the computer for hours on end without moving. Trust me! I have to remind myself everyday to just get up and move once in awhile (but I’m a workaholic, your mileage may vary). Staring at the computer for too long can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. It may help to put reminders on your phone or computer if you just can’t remember, and I highly recommend getting a pair of blue light-blocking glasses! If you are interested I did a post last year on purchasing glasses and the different coatings. Here is a link!

Lastly, make sure that you find things to do outside of the house. I try to go running almost every morning or during my lunch break. I also recommend going on walks, joining an exercise class, or participating in your favorite hobby. Obviously some options might be off the table during a pandemic, but you can always plop on a mask and get out for some fresh air. If I can’t get outside, doing some yoga in the house during my free time can be a great alternative, but really anything to get you moving can do the trick. Endorphins from exercise can really help elevate your mood! If that doesn’t appeal to you, try to find something that does, such as reading or leaving the house to get a cup of coffee. Make an effort to find things you enjoy doing that will get you up and away from the computer.

Working from home is different, but manageable, and can be very enjoyable! I hope this information helped and if you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Senreve Aria Belt Bag vs Mini Maestra

It’s been awhile since I wrote here. To be honest I just didn’t feel like writing, but I am forcing myself to get back into it. We are in crazy times right now. I am full of mixed emotions, up and down, and I know all of you are feeling the same way. Writing is a great way to express yourself, and I want use this post to bring back a sense of normalcy.

Senreve took the world by storm. It felt like they were dropped into my feed one day, and then all the sudden everyone was talking about them. Kudos to their world-class marketing team. In 2016, Wendy Wen and Coral Chung started Senreve. Their goal? To make “a stylish laptop bag for working women”, according an article from the Observer. Fast-forward to 2020 and they have curated a well-designed and well-made collection of bags, card holders, and accessories for the working woman. If you want to learn more about Senreve I highly recommend checking out this interview Wendy Wen did with the Observer.

I was gifted my first Senreve bag back in the beginning of 2019 when I first moved out to California and became an ambassador for Senreve. [Please note that my opinions are not influenced at all by the fact that I am an ambassador for the company] The bag I received was the famous Mini Maestra in the color Pebbled Ice. I had been lusting after this bag for a long time and when it came in I was beyond excited. Before I get into pros and cons, I want to address that both the Mini Maestra and Aria Belt Bag are very versatile bags. Both can be worn in multiple ways — you can wear them in a way appropriate for professional situations, or you can dress them down to wear in a more casual manner.

Mini Maestra

PROS:

– Can be worn in multiple ways, making it very versatile. The Mini Maestra can be worn over-the-shoulder, cross-body, and as a backpack.

– Very well-made, and something that can be worn in professional scenarios or paired with a more casual look.

– Very spacious; the central compartment will fit an Ipad or tablet. Here is a link to a great comparison of the different Maestra sizes.

– Fits more than you think it would!

– Luxurious suede lining

CONS:

– If you are looking for a backpack specifically, I would just get a backpack. Although this functions great as a versatile bag that can be worn as a backpack, in my experience it doesn’t sit flat against my back. This is fine for what it is, but if you are looking for a designated backpack I would get something that fits flat against your back.

– I find the straps are hard to adjust. To adjust the straps you have a metal peg that fits into the hole on the strap. Especially when this item is brand new, it is hard to get the peg in and out of the hole easily. [I haven’t adjusted the strap too much on mine, so you may find that adjusting the strap gets easier as it is worked in a little more.]

Aria Belt Bag

PROS:

– Another extremely versatile bag! It can be worn over-the-shoulder, cross-body, as a sling, or as a belt-bag.

– Also very well made, with a luxurious suede lining.

– Spacious bag for the size! I can fit my Iphone XR, wallet, and a little make-up pouch in here no problem.

– It has a small pocket on the front of the bag underneath the flap, a card slot inside, as well as zipper pocket on the inside of the bag.

– There are holes all up and down the strap, so it can be adjusted for any length, which means it would be great for all body types.

– Senreve also offers a chain that you can purchase to pair with this bag and dress it up a bit more. Here is a link to the chain!

CONS:

– I find it hard to open this bag with one hand.

I also want to note that I just recently purchased my Aria Belt Bag. I will be sure to update this post if have any additional comments to add!

So in the end the biggest question is, are they worth the money? The Mini Maestra starts around $695 and the Aria Belt Bag starts around $395. In my opinion, yes, they are worth the price. First, as I said above, they are extremely versatile, which means you are getting more for your money than a traditional handbag. Additionally, you are investing in a bag that is going to last. They are extremely well made and are designed to be for the working woman. Another important thing to note is that both of these bags are great for travelling. I have traveled with the Mini Maestra, it fit everything I needed for the plane, and was great to take out for all-day excursions. I haven’t had a chance to take the Aria out for a spin — but this will easily pack inside your larger bag and would be great for exploring the city or having a night out on the town.

If you decide that you want to invest in one of their pieces, you can use my code MODERNEUTRALS. Currently my code will get you 15% off your purchase of $300 or more, and in addition, Senreve will donate 15% of the proceeds to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Once this promotion ends, my code will give you $50 off your order of $300 or more. You can see more information on their current promotions in my Senreve highlight, on my IG (@moderneutrals). UPDATE: This promotion is now over, but you can still used my code MODERNNEUTRALS to get $30 off your order of $300 or more!

Wax On, Wax Off: THE MEET FLAMINGO ‘WAXING KIT’.

Warning: this is not a glamorous topic. However, it is something that nearly all of us deal with (even if we like to pretend it doesn’t exist). That being said, I hope you find this blog entertaining and informative.

If you are someone who has never had to wax their stash, I am truly amazed. I remember the first time I was waxed; I was 11 years old with some dark baby hairs popping up on my lip and a slight unibrow. I absolutely begged my mom to take me somewhere to get waxed, and when she finally did, I remember being SO happy!

Now 16 years later, my eyebrows are still too thin, my stash still needs to be waxed — but now I don’t have mom and dad paying for it. Anyone who gets waxed knows that it can get expensive and time consuming. That’s why when I heard of Meet Flamingo I was instantly intrigued by their Face Waxing Kit. Many movies and TV shows over the years have depicted at-home waxing as a painful, bloody comedy skit, which I’m sure has prevented many from trying it… but that was not my experience with the Meet Flamingo waxing kit AT ALL.

HOW IT FELT/WORKED:

I found that the pain level was about that of getting your lip waxed at a salon, possibly slightly less. But overall it was still the everyday experience of getting waxed. In regard, to the amount of hair coming off the first time around, I found that I did have to go over it a few times with the strip to pick up everything.

To be honest, I attribute this more to me not pulling hard enough the first time, but I’ll be testing more and will keep you updated. I also tried to use the waxing strips on my “not-so-happy trail”, but that didn’t work at all. I’m assuming it had to do with the strength of the wax, texture of the skin, or the thickness of the hairs. I am curious to try out their body waxing kit to see how that works on other parts of the body.

WHAT I THINK:

Overall, I am very happy with this kit, and will definitely be purchasing it again. As someone who hates having to go into the salon to be waxed, this is the perfect solution for me. It did not cause my skin to break out or give me a rash, and only left my face a bit red afterward. Please note that Meet Flamingo recommends that you try this on a small patch of skin before using to make sure you do not have an adverse reaction.

Both the Meet Flamingo at home body and face waxing kits are $10.00, which is about the cost of one lip waxing session at any salon. The face kit comes with 20 waxing strips, 6 post-waxing cloths, and 1 tube of the calming serum. The body waxing kit comes with 24 waxing strips and 6 post-wax body cloths.

**NOTE – This item was gifted, but this is not a sponsored post…just my true and honest opinion on the product**

UPDATE – I used this product for a second time a few weeks ago and had a reaction on my lip because I accidentally waxed my actual lip. This is not any fault of the product, as you lip itself has very sensitive skin and it is not supposed to be waxed. It can happen even at high end salons.

Minimalistic Living: Saving Money and Staying Fashionable

I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but it is increasingly harder to resist those small meaningless purchases…especially when we are being bombarded with beautiful new items every day on social media. We make excuses for ourselves like, “I deserve it” or “I don’t have anything like this” … but, the fact of the matter is we don’t need it. More and more people these days are in debt — between student loans, bills, and the exorbitant amount we pay in housing costs…it seems impossible to keep a fashionable, fresh wardrobe and be financially responsible. For this reason, I listed few ways that you CAN save money with shopping and be more environmentally friendly in the process.

Shop your Local Consignment/Thrift Stores

I feel like this is a no-brainer, but thrift stores/consignment shops are a magical place. The first thing I did when I moved to CA was track down my local consignment shop, and I was not let down! Flashbacks Recycled Fashion located in Carlsbad, CA has everything you could think of including 60s dresses, band tees, designer shoes/bags, and tons of denim. You can find so many unique pieces for great prices, and you are giving life to a piece that someone else decided they didn’t need anymore. Gone are the days that thrift stores only had grandma clothes that smelled of must — everyday there are more and more modern consignment/thrift stores popping up all over the place. The best part is, is that you can actually make money at some of these stores by taking your used items in to be sold. Keep in mind that most shops will only take what they think will sell, so think about what season it is when you are taking your items in. For online consignment shops, check out places like Poshmark, ThredUp, and The Real Real. For brick-and-mortar, here are two notable and well-known consignment shops that you can check out:

Buffalo Exchange

You may have heard of Buffalo Exchange, as their name is synonymous with quality used clothing. For items that they are able to take, if they sell, you will receive 30% of the selling price in cash or 50% in store-credit. You can also have the money put on a ‘trade’ card for use at any Buffalo Exchange store across the country.

The leather jacket above was picked up from the Buffalo Exchange in Santa Monica, California.

Plato’s Closet

According to their website, “Plato’s Closet is recognized as the nation’s largest chain of teen and twenty something resale stores with nearly 500 store locations in North America.”

Plato’s Closet will actually give you cash right-away based off what they think the products are worth, so for some quick cash, Platos closet is the way to go.

To note, the main difference between a thrift store and consignment shop is that consignment shops will give you a percentage on items that you give them to sell, while thrift store take used clothing on a donation basis (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.). Both options sell clothes for much less then you would buy new.

Stop those impulsive purchases!

Impulsive purchases will briefly increase your dopamine levels and give you a quick feeling of satisfaction, but once that fades you are left with that same urge to buy something new – plus a new hole in your bank account. Stopping those impulsive purchases and really thinking about what you are purchasing will help cut down on those smaller purchases, so you can focus on quality pieces that will last. Fast fashion is fun, but it is just that, fast and not always the best investment as we will inevitably get bored of it, get rid of it and start the process over again…racking up the credit card bill with all of those smaller unsatisfying purchases.

One thing that I do to curb the craving of those impulsive purchases is making a deal with myself – If I still want an item after a month and it is still available, then I will get it. This gives me a lot of time to decide if it something I really need, or something I just wanted in the moment. Figure out what works best for you, and try your best to hold yourself accountable if you slip up and make an impulse purchase.

Even with a good system in place to keep myself accountable, I’ll admit that it is still hard sometimes for me to resist the urge to make impulse purchases. For example, last week I was agonizing over a purchase at Zara. That voice in the back of my head was telling me I really needed a new jacket for a wedding coming up next month, and the one at Zara was perfect for my outfit! Well, thanks to a bit of self-control, and the strategy mentioned above, I am proud to say I have not purchased it yet, and am instead checking my local consignment shops on the weekends to see if I can thrift something similar before purchasing new.

Capsule Wardrobe (live with less)

Honestly this is a subject that I will be dedicating its own post to because it is one of my favorites! In the words of Caroline Rector from Unfancy, a capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.” In her piece titled, How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, Caroline discusses how 37 pieces is the ideal number of items for a capsule wardrobe. In my opinion, the number of pieces can vary, as some people may be able to live with less. But overall you want to get your wardrobe down to only pieces you love and want to wear. Also, by having a minimal wardrobe, you are spending less per year on clothing meaning that affording those more quality pieces won’t break the bank.

We all know that minimalism has become a trend, but I don’t think this one is going away anytime soon. The reason people like it so much is because many of us often realize that even with a closet full of clothing, we are reaching for the same items every single day. Taking that logic one step further, why not choose quality over quantity – have less material items, but higher quality that will last much longer.

Get store credit

First of all I have to say I am loving this trend of companies incentivizing customers to donate old clothing by giving them store credit or a voucher for any donated items. This is a great way to save a little money, because every dollar counts! I have listed below a few stores who are offering such deals:

H&M

Currently at H&M, you can bring in any used clothing items, no matter the brand, and they will give you a 15% Off certificate that can go toward your next in-store purchase. Here is a link to their website where they go over what happens to your donated clothing.

Rag and Bone

Rag and Bone has been a [proud] partner of Cotton’s Blue Jean Go GreenTM denim recycling program since 2017. Bring in any of your un-worn or used denim to a Rag and Bone store and receive 20% off your next purchase.

What happens to your denim after it is donated? According to their website, “It is reprocessed into cotton fibers which are re-purposed into denim insulation and set off to building efforts in communities around the country including over 40 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and over 15 civic-minded buildings.”

& Other Stories

& Other Stories will not only allow you to donate clothing, but also to bring back empty beauty product containers (from their beauty lines only). You will receive a voucher for 10% off your next purchase in exchange. I highly recommend checking out their website, where they explain what happens to the items that are recycled.

Some other stores that allow you donate clothing are Madewell, Levis, and North Face, but there are so many more! In the end thought, you have to figure out what works for you. You don’t have to have a huge wardrobe to be fashionable, less really is more, and always choose quality over quantity. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them, so comment down below!

You can also connect with me on Instagram or Twitter, @modernneturals.

Something New

WHO IS EVERLANE?

“At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt. That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency. ”

Everlane first caught my eye a few years ago with their in-depth information on the factories they use and the way they break down their pricing. Of course they hold back a bit with the figures they give, but they are doing a great job at leading the clothing industry in ethical production and transparency with customers. They have 30 factories around the world — in the U.S., Peru, Italy, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, and Nan’an. Each of their product pages includes information on what factory the product was made in, and a link to factory information in case you would like to know more.

I highly recommend that you check out the ‘factories’ page on Everlane’s website to learn more if you are interested.

TELL ME ABOUT THE FASHION!

I would fill my closet with only Everlane if I could afford it. Their clothes are simple, chic, comfortable, and minimalistic in style. They have everything from pants, sweaters, t-shirts, work-wear, AMAZING shoes, and even handbags. Over the years I have begun to prefer to only purchase clothing and shoes that will all work together, my own capsule wardrobe. I don’t like having pieces that just sit in the closet and never get worn, which is why purchasing quality products is important to me so I am not buying and replacing items all the time.

My favorite items so far have been the ‘the side zip work pant’ and ‘the high-rise skinny jean’. They are both are comfortable, flattering, simple, and are staples in my wardrobe.

I purchased the ‘High-Rise Skinny Jeans’ back in September 2017, and they look just as good now as the day I received them. They are $78 which is a higher price tag compared to most high-street jeans, but if you are like me and prefer quality over quantity, then these are definitely a better buy. Also, I’ve found that most denim (even high-street) is at least $40, so you are not spending that much more to get something that will last longer.

They wear well, are comfortable, and they are made out of a sturdy denim (but still have some stretch). I did have a few alterations made to the ones I purchased — First, I had the them taken up because I am petite (5’3″) and I wanted more of a cropped look. Then, I had the waist band taken out and then back in due to slight weight gain and loss. 10/10 would purchase them again, and most likely will down the road.

Now, for ‘The Side-Zip Work Pant’. I am sooo excited to talk about these. When it comes to professional dress I really love a good pair of black high-waisted skinny ankle length pants… the trick is for them to not be so stretchy that they get baggy after only a few wears. For years I searched for the perfect pair and then I came across these babies. AND OMG, HANDS-DOWN THE BEST WORK PANTS EVER! These pants are made of 94% cotton and 6% elastane. They are nice and sturdy, but also have the right amount stretch. I have a capsule wardrobe and will wear the same pants several times though-out the week, so having a pair of pants that doesn’t stretch out too much is SUPER important. If you are looking for a new pair of work-pants, these are $50.00 and definitely worth a try!

There are so many more things I could talk about with Everlane products, but this blog would turn into a book. I will definitely be posting more about Everlane down the road so keep an eye out on my Instagram (@modernneutrals). I want to thank you all for taking the time to read and for all the support so far. I love sharing this type of content and will continue to write about things that inspire me. Here is my affiliate link to Everlane if you’d like to check them out, and your first order ships free (this applies to anybody who orders from Everlane for the first time, it has nothing to do with using any of my links) !

P.S. – I want to mention that consigning/thrifting is still the most economical and environmentally-friendly way to purchase any clothing product, so consider buying used!

REVIEW: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer.

Hello everybody, I apologize that this post was not out sooner. I have had a busy couple of weeks, but I am finally back at it and it feels good. My birthday was last week, 27 years old (almost 30, it is crazy!) and my present to myself was shopping in Spokane with one of my besties, Sarah.

When Milk Makeup released the Hydro Grip Primer I was intrigued immediately. I mean their marketing was on point, how could you not want to try it! As I have said in previous posts my skin tends to run on the drier side, so anything that has hydrating properties…I want to try. Luckily our shopping excursion came at a great time and I was able to pick up a travel size bottle of it at Sephora.

My initial thoughts on this primer is that it is a lot tackier than expected. I was anticipating it to be very hydrating but instead it is more gripping, than hydrating. That being said my makeup has been staying in place for a lot longer than when I was using the FLOWER hydrating primer. But, personally I would have liked it to be more hydrating and because of this I will probably not be investing in the larger size of this product.

I will say though if you really like a grippy primer than this is worth trying! Not only has my makeup stayed in place longer, but I have had less issues with transferring (see “Daily Makeup Routine”). Smell wise, it doesn’t really smell like anything which is good. Although I like and appreciate a nice fresh scent, for sensitive skin scents can be a cause of outbreaks. Also, no smell is better then a bad smell lol.

In conclusion, this primer is really good…I just wish it was more hydrating. Tell me your thoughts. If you have tried this product, do you like it? Do you not like it? I want to hear! Leave a comment below.

Daily Skincare Routine

Skin is the largest organ in the body and when we have skin issues, it can make or break our mood. For me, the key to having clear, healthy skin is keeping my routine very simple. This routine is something that I have worked on for years, and required a lot of trial and error to get right for me. For a little background about my personal skin situation — I have dry, fairly sensitive skin and I tend to get oily in my T-Zone (especially when I am wearing makeup). I am also prone to redness in my skin, but that has significantly improved recently since cutting out dairy (this is something I will go over more in another blog post). So here is my daily skincare routine:

MORNING

STEP 1 –

In the morning when I wake up I simply splash my face with warm water. I DO NOT use face wash. I know this sounds crazy, but my skin is always clearer when I wash my face only once a day (for me, that is usually after work). I’m not going to pretend to know the reasoning for it, but I think that if you have a lot of skin problems, it’s best to create a simpler skincare routine. Less is more!

STEP 2 –

My next step is to use a hyaluronic acid serum. This has done wonders for my skin! The reason hyaluronic acid serum works so well to hydrate the skin is because it penetrates the layers of skin below the surface, whereas using a cream or lotion will just hydrate the skin’s top layer. There are many hyaluronic acid serums on the market, but the one I am currently using is THE ORDINARY Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum. I was originally using a $75.00 serum I purchased at my local dermatologist’s office, but this serum works just as good! The trick to any hyaluronic acid product is that you only need a tiny drop (about a dime size), anymore and it will become too sticky on the face. This goes for all hyaluronic serums, even the more expensive ones.

STEP 3 –

When my skin is feeling extra dry I will also put on a tiny bit of face cream to add some additional moisture to my skin. Right now I am using the IT COSMETICS Confidence in a Cream™ Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream and I really like it! It smells nice without being overwhelming, and it is not super heavy like a lot of face creams. This step is optional and I only use it when I feel that my skin really needs the extra moisture.

NIGHT

STEP 1 –

When I get home after a long day at work I start by taking off my makeup, IMMEDIATELY! If I don’t take my makeup off right away I notice that my skin just does not look as good the next day. I am currently using Garnier Micellar Water to remove my makeup. I know this is a controversial product, but I personally feel like it does a great job, and I have tried a lot of different products!

STEP 2 –

After taking off as much makeup as I can with micellar water, then I wash my face with facewash. I never use a micellar water just on its own. Right now I am using The Perfect Cleanser with plant stem cells, azelaic acid, and antioxidants from my local dermatologist. This product is very good for my sensitive skin and does not dry me out. In the past I have used Cetaphil face wash for sensitive skin and that also works well.

STEP 3 –

Next I go in again with my hyaluronic acid serum and then sometimes use a tiny bit of face lotion (again, only if my skin is feeling a bit dry).

STEP 4 –

This last step has been critical to my skin looking great lately. It’s the Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. I used to sometimes develop patches of rough texture on random places on my face, especially between my eyebrows. This product has all but completely cleared up this issue for me. I have to thank my bestie Sarah for turning me on to this because it is something that I will now always keep in my skincare routine!

And that is all folks…I keep it really simple with only a few products and my skin has looked better than ever since I developed this routine. If you have any must try products in your skin care routine, comment down below!

Hydrate your life: Reviewing 5 popular hydrating face masks.

I don’t know about you, but my skin tends to be on the drier side and always gets worse in the winter. My current skin care routine has been working well to keep my skin hydrated, but sometimes the skin just needs a little extra…you know what I mean? So, last week I went to my local ULTA on the hunt for a hydrating face mask and picked up five, because who can just choose one? Below are my reviews of each face mask, but I would love to hear your opinions and recommendations!

 

Tony Moly ‘Master Lab Hyaluronic Acid’ Hydrating Mask

This was the first face mask of the week and I have to say my absolute favorite (although I still like some of the others). It is the only one that had very noticeable results. I’m not super knowledgeable about the formula, but I believe the reason for this is the addition of hyaluronic acid (HA). A base level description of HA is that it helps your skin absorb moisture more easily. I suggest doing your own research to learn more about it.

The evening I used this mask, my skin was particularly tired and sad looking. I left it on for 15 minutes with low expectations… but after using it my skin really felt and looked more plump and hydrated. Even my husband noticed! In addition to the overall results I found that it was cooling, but not so much that it gave me a headache. It also didn’t have a strong smell, which I really liked. Over the years I have noticed that I tend to break out more when I use skincare that has too much fragrance to it.

In the morning, my skin still looked more hydrated than usual and I noticed that my under-eyes seemed lighter. If you are looking for a hydrating mask that really shows results, this is the one I suggest. I also recommend adding a hyaluronic acid serum to your daily skincare routine, it has done wonders for my skin. I will talk about this more in an upcoming blog post so keep your eyes out for it.

 

Burt’s Bees Hydrating Sheet Mask with Clary Sage

There were so many things wrong with this face mask, I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, it was way too big for my face — which is more of an annoyance than anything. But the material also felt like a baby wipe and smelled like one too.

With regard to results… there were absolutely none (and the mask left a film on my face which was very sticky). I do not recommend this mask at all. Spend $2 more and get any Tony Moly face mask and you will be happier with your purchase. This is not to say that all Burt’s Bees products are bad. All brands are bound to have some duds and this just happens to be one of them.

 

I Dew Care ‘Keep Calm and Hydrate On’ Sheet Mask

Contrary to what I said above about fragrances, I have a soft spot for the smell of coconut, and this mask smelled like all of my coconut dreams. My initial reaction to this mask (beside it smelling amazing) is that it felt a lot more cooling than the first two masks. However, there were no noticeable results after 10 minutes of wearing it. Although, I have to say that my skin definitely smelled good and the mask not leave a film like the Burt’s Bees mask did.

 

Tony Moly ‘I’m Lavender’ Hydrating Sheet Mask

This was the only other mask that I had somewhat noticeable results with, though not as much as the Master Lab Hyaluronic Acid mask. And I’m sure you noticed, this one is from Tony Moly as well! In regard to scent, the lavender was not overwhelming which was really nice. I left it on for 20 minutes and afterward my skin felt soft and plump, but again not as much as the first mask. Also, this mask stuck on very well. If you do not want a hydrating mask with hyaluronic acid, I would go with this one since the results were more noticeable than the others.

SNP Hydrating Face Mask – Koala

Out of all the masks this one was the most fun to try and looked really silly (sadly it was right before bed and I didn’t snap a picture). I mean my husband could not stop laughing when I put this on! In regard to the results, I thought I noticed my skin looking a bit more hydrated than before (but it could also have been in my head). I will definitely buy more from this brand, mainly because of the fun animal faces. If you have tried any of the SNP animal sheet masks, which one do you like?

I hope you enjoyed this post! I had a fun time trying out these different masks. Please leave comment below if you would like to see similar posts or have requests for something you would like me to review!

 

Out of all the masks this one was the most fun to try and looked really silly (sadly it was right before bed and I didn’t snap a picture). I mean my husband could not stop laughing when I put this on! In regard to the results, I thought I noticed my skin looking a bit more hydrated than before (but it could also have been in my head). I will definitely buy more from this brand, mainly because of the fun animal faces. If you have tried any of the SNP animal sheet masks, which one do you like?

I hope you enjoyed this post! I had a fun time trying out these different masks. Please leave comment below if you would like to see similar posts or have requests for something you would like me to review!

Hydrating Sheet Mask – Koala • $5
I’m Real Lavender Sheet Mask • Tony Moly • $3.75
Burt’s Bees Hydrating Sheet Mask • Burt’s Bees • $3.29
Master Lab Hyaluronic Acid Mask Sheet • Tony Moly • $4

Daily Makeup Routine.

“Treat your makeup like jewelry for the face. Play with colors, shapes, structure – it can transform you.” – Francois Nars

Everybody has their own makeup style. Some prefer a full-face look, while others prefer to go as natural as possible. My preferred makeup style is dewy and natural. I want to look like I just stepped off the plane from spending a month in Costa Rica.  Here are some of the products that I’m currently using in my 2019 make-up routine, many of which you might have already have tried.

1. FLOWER ‘In your Prime’ Hydrating Primer

I started using this primer back in December, and for the price it is an excellent product.  It is hydrating, lightweight, and my foundation looks beautiful on top of it (plus who doesn’t love Drew Barrymore?). Now, am I jumping up and down about this product? The answer is no. Personally, because I have dry skin (especially between my brows), I wish it left my skin a little more hydrated and dewier. But I will definitely be buying it again. I have yet to find a primer that is reasonably priced and also matches my needs, but this comes pretty damn close.

FLOWER ‘In your Prime’ Hydrating Primer, $10.00; Ulta.com

2. YSL Touché Eclat ‘All-In-One Glow’

This foundation has changed the game for me. Seriously. It is the dewiest, most hydrating foundation I have ever worn and is just BEAUTIFUL on the skin. Yves Saint Laurent ‘All-In-One Glow’ is a medium coverage, hydrating foundation. It is NOT transfer proof so make sure that you set your foundation. I only set underneath my eyes and in my T-zone because I don’t like a lot of powder on my skin (due to my skin being drier), but to each their own.

I highly recommend this foundation and I find that Sephora’s shade matcher is usually pretty accurate for this product. Just remember to use your own judgment as well. The BIG downside of this foundation is that they only offer 12 shades, and 11 of them are white. In my opinion, YSL totally missed the boat on this foundation regarding their shade range. I mean come on! Are we still fighting this battle?  How many bad launches do there have to be before companies start releasing more shades? This is a serious issue and I hope brands start jumping on the Fenty bandwagon and offering more diverse shade options. That being said, if you happen to match one of their shades I would highly recommend trying this foundation.

YSL Touché Eclat ‘All-In-One Glow’, $48.00; Sephora.com

3. Glossier Stretch Concealer

I’ll start by being blunt – if you are a full coverage, turn me into a glass doll type of person, just skip to the next item. But, if you like a more natural look, this product is excellent. The Glossier Stretch Concealer is a VERY natural concealer and it is definitely not full coverage. It goes on very smoothly and really brightens your under eyes. It also has buildable coverage so you can get closer to medium coverage if you’d like. Just make sure you set this concealer quickly, as it will crease.

In regard to Glossier themselves, their products are beautiful and so is the company. Glossier is all about natural beauty, personal style, and empowering women to be themselves. If you want to learn more about their company I recommend exploring their website.

 Glossier Stretch Concealer, $18.00; Glossier.com

4. Physicians Formula ‘Butter Bronzer’

I was recently on the search for a new bronzer and I did not want to put a lot of money into a product. For years I had heard the likes of Tati Westbrook, Jeffrey Star, and other YouTubers praising Physician Formula’s ‘Butter Bronzer’, but I had never actually tried it out. I have to say… OMG I am in LOVE. The formula is so smooth, has buildable coverage, and it smells like a beach in a tropical paradise.

Physicians Formula ‘Butter Bronzer’, $14.99; Ulta.com

5. NARS ‘Orgasm’

This is another product that I heard about over and over again but had not tried until I received a sample of it in the mail from Sephora… And then I purchased it almost immediately. I know, I know, I am way behind the times. But believe the hype, this is the most stunning ‘peachy pink’ blush I have ever used.

NARS ‘Orgasm’, $30.00; Sephora.com

6. MILK Makeup ‘Face Gloss’

MILK Makeup’s ‘Face Gloss’ is a multi-use (and vegan formula) gloss that can be applied to lips, cheekbones, eyelids, and even your body. It creates an opulent natural look to give you just the right amount of glow. It does stay sticky, but it is a gloss so you shouldn’t be surprised by that. To me, it is the perfect all-in-one makeup product for a natural, radiant look.

MILK Makeup ‘Face Gloss’, $10.00; Milkmakeup.com

7. Benefit ‘Precisely My Brow’ Pencil

This was my first venture back to a brow pencil after using the Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Dipbrow Pomade’. I had tried the Anastasia ‘Brow Definer’ prior and did not love it (I know, crazy). Let me tell you that I am not very good at doing my brows, but I have been loving how they have been looking with Benefit’s ‘Precisely My Brow’. It has a firm enough point that I can neatly fill in my 90’s over-waxed eyebrows, without looking like eyebrow dog. Also, I have yet to break the tip, which I did more than once with the ABH ‘Brow Definer’ (I think that might have been my fault though, maybe I should give it another chance?).

Benefit ‘Precisely My Brow’ Pencil, $24.00; Sephora.com

8. Loreal ‘Lash Paradise’ Voluminous Mascara (non-waterproof)

If you follow the make-up community you will have already heard Loreal ‘Lash Paradise’ being called the drug-store dupe for the Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex’ Mascara. I’m going to leave those comparisons up to the professionals, but I will tell you that this mascara is one of the best I have ever used. In my opinion, for the price point, this should be your weapon of choice. The formula volumizes and lengthens your lashes without making them clumpy. Seriously, try Loreal’s ‘Lash Paradise’, I guarantee you will love it.

*Tip: make sure you are not purchasing the waterproof version (unless you really need to), because that stuff does not come off!

Loreal ‘Lash Paradise’ Voluminous Mascara, $7.39; Target.com

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions please leave them below!

5 Tips to Buying the PERFECT Eyeglasses.

I’ve worked in the optical industry for over five years, and one of the questions I hear every day is, “what’s in style?”. Over the years my answer has changed along with passing seasons and trends, but now I can confidently say, “a little bit of everything”. Fashion in 2019 is all about personal style — What makes you feel most like you? What makes you happy when you put it on?

THAT BEING SAID, there are ground rules. Something that looks good on other people is not necessarily going to look good on you. But most importantly, although eyeglasses are fashion, they are still a medical device. This is why it is important to respect that your optician and optometrist are not just trying to sell you an expensive accessory. Opticians are trained to find glasses that will fit both your visual and fashion needs.

This article will walk you through 5 must-know tips when purchasing glasses.

1. SHAPE

I’m going to quote Captain Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean and say that the face diagrams you can find online are, “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual ‘rules’.” The general advice is usually to choose a shape that is opposite of your face. If you have a rounder face, go with a square or rectangular frame. If you have a square face or a sharp jawline, go with a rounded frame that will soften your features. Ovals can generally go with any shape. That being said, our heads are not just featureless blobs on top of our body. Consider your eye size/shape and how high your cheekbones are when trying on glasses to make sure that your frames fit your face perfectly.

Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

TIP → If you love the cat-eye look and you have a rounder face, go with a cat-eye that has a more square bottom.


2. FIT

If a frame does not fit you properly, no matter how cute it is, you will not want to wear it. PERIOD. So how do you make sure that the frames you are purchasing fit you correctly?

SHNOZE FIT →

There are two main nose bridges you will encounter: a non-adjustable plastic bridge or adjustable nose pads. Plastic bridges are the most important to get right because there is really no way to adjust them. To make sure you get a PERFECT fit with a plastic shnoze bridge, it needs to fit like a glove. That means it needs to hit your nose on all three points (both sides and the top). It can’t have any gaps and should not shift side to side on your nose. The exception to this is a key-hole bridge (looks like a key-hole), where the key-hole part will typically sit above your nose.

If you are someone with a flat nose bridge then I suggest an alternative fit frame or something with adjustable nose pads. Another thing to note is that one type of nose bridge is not necessarily more durable or comfortable than the other, so the choice comes down to personal preference.

TEMPLE/SIDE/ARM (whatever you want to call it)

The next step on the road to the perfect pair of glasses is making sure that the temples fit you. First, we will discuss length. You want to make sure you have enough length that the temples can be bent at 45-degree angle behind your ear. This is to ensure that your glasses will stay on your noggin!

Next, make sure that the temples are not hitting the sides of your face. Many people think that if the glasses hit the side of your face, then they fit. This is not correct! If your temples are hitting the sides of your face it means that over time your glasses will 1) Give you a headache 2) Slip down your nose and 3) Leave red marks on the side of your face.

EYE SIZE →

In regards to sizing, glasses are just like jeans or shoes. Depending on who makes the frame, the same size in one brand can be completely different in another brand. When considering if a frame fits someone or not, I want to make sure that their eyes are as close to the center of the lens as possible. The reason for this is if the distance between your eyes is smaller than the distance between the center of the lenses (decentration), 1) You will end up with thicker lenses, and 2) It makes your eyes look closer together and no one wants that!

You will also want to consider how far the lenses come down on your cheekbones. Eyeglasses that highlight your cheekbones will show off your features and be more flattering.

3. LENS OPTIONS

The five main plastic materials you will encounter when purchasing glasses are: CR-39, Polycarbonate, Trivex, Hi-Index 1.67, and Hi-Index 1.74.

CR-39 →

CR-39/Plastic 1.50/Standard plastic is the lowest grade plastic you can get for your lenses, and is considered a budget option. It is not necessarily a poor quality material, but it will not give you the best vision possible. For people who have higher prescriptions (-/+ 2.00 and beyond), going with these options will cause you to have thicker lenses.

POLYCARBONATE vs. TRIVEX→

Polycarbonate and Trivex are both very durable, lightweight materials, and will allow you to have lighter, thinner lenses. The main difference between the two is clarity. Polycarbonate has aberrations in the material that can distort your vision. For this reason, many offices do not even offer Polycarbonate as an option anymore. Trivex has much better clarity and is what I always recommend to patients, barring prescription limitations.

You will see that many online retailers offer Polycarbonate instead of Trivex. This is because it is cheaper to produce, allowing them to charge more affordable prices. Do not be mistaken though, this is not the best material option out there.

HI-INDEX 1.67 & 1.74 →

Hi-Index materials allow you to have the thinnest, lightest lenses possible (at least in the U.S.). The choice between the two simply comes down to how thin you want your lenses. Hi-Index 1.74 will be thinner and lighter than the 1.67 option. For people with high prescriptions, getting the thinnest lightest material will allow you to avoid the “coke-bottle” stigma, and will also offer you better vision. Hi-Index options are also great for those who have mid-range prescriptions but have chosen a rim-less, no-rim, or cat-eye frame.

TIP → Another way to make sure that your lenses are as thin as possible is to get a smaller, rounder frame. The smaller and rounder the frame, the thinner your lenses will be. Also, steering clear of cat-eyes or frames with lots of edges will ensure thinner lenses.

4. COATINGS

Many opticians I know have a bad habit of feature vomiting. This makes people uncomfortable and can also lead to the feeling of being sold to, rather than being informed. There are a lot of different coatings and upgrades you can add to your lenses, but the two that I always get on my glasses, and will always recommend to others, are an Anti-reflective and Scratch coating.

ANTI-REFLECTIVE/ANTI-GLARE COATINGS (AR)→

– Reduces glare when driving at night or in bright conditions.

– Reduces glare from computer screens and phones.

– Helps you see clearer!

– Reduces eye-strain, especially for those who spend a lot of time on their computer, phone, television, or other electronic devices.  

– Allows your loved ones to see your eyes instead of glare off of your glasses.

The higher the quality of AR coating you get, the better each of these benefits will be, so when you have a choice of getting a higher quality AR coating, go with it! You may also have the option to get an AR coating with blue-blocking properties, like Essilor Crizal Prevencia. Blue-blocking AR coatings help reduce eye-strain even more by blocking the blue-violet lights that are emitted from the screens of our electronic devices. Research says this will help you sleep better, as blue-violet light from our phones and computers at night essentially “tricks” our bodies into thinking it’s day time. Of course, I have simplified things down for this post, so I recommend doing your own research as well if you are interested in this topic.

TIP → If you clean your glasses with soap make sure it does not contain citrus, as that will ruin your anti-reflective coating. If you have paid for a high-quality AR coating and it is flaking off (and you have not used citrus soap or had the glasses for many years), this is a defect so contact the office you purchased them from.

SCRATCH COATING →

Scratch coating doesn’t need a list, it does what it says: it will help keep your lenses from developing scratches. That being said, plastic lenses are more vulnerable to scratching so take advantage of the scratch coat warranties that your optometry office offers you if you notice any issues.

TIP → The best way to prevent scratching is to clean and store your glasses properly.

Photo by Kelvinkul Akparanta on Pexels.com

5. PERSONAL STYLE

Last, but definitely not least, you have to consider YOUR personal style. If the glasses are not something that you will want to put on every day (even if you don’t have to wear them every day), then don’t get them.

This also applies to online eyewear retailers such as Warby Parker and Zenni Optical. Even $50.00 is waste if it is something that you aren’t going to wear. My tip is to think about what you wear on a daily basis: Are you someone who wears a lot of colors? Or are you like me and wear mostly neutrals (gray, black, white, etc.)? Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down?

With that being said, please remember to have FUN with it! Try on styles you wouldn’t normally go for. Push your personal boundaries, don’t put yourself in a box of your own creation. A fun frame doesn’t mean it has to be something crazy. You can have a fun color and a simple shape or a fun shape and a simple color. You might be surprised by what you like!

This post is not promoted in any way, shape or form by the companies listed in this article.