Skincare Regimen

 

 

 

 

 

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As someone with sensitive skin and skin allergies, finding skincare products that “work” for me has been problematic. I have an allergy to Salicylic Acid, ruling out the vast majority of acne-clearing skincare. Many products that promise radiant skin either end up totally drying me out or making my face very oily. Over the past few years, I have really committed myself to finding a skincare routine that works with my skin, not against. This post only outlines what has worked for me – I have no idea what will work with your skin because I might not even know you (though I’d like to) and I’m not a dermitolgist. If you’re like me, however, and have very sensitive combination skin, some of these products might really help you – because let’s face it- there’s way too many products on the market to sift through and we could all use some help (so if you know of a great product, please share it with me in the comments!)

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Even though I have read articles singing the praises of not using water on your face, my skin breaks out every time I do not wash it with hot water both morning and night. I get the best results using a Clairisonic brush and a hydrating cleanser. I love Clarisonic’s Gentle Hydro Cleanser, but being the bargain huntress that I am, I decided to pick up Lacura’s hydrating cleanser one day at Aldi’s (that’s right – the cheap-o grocery chain). I have found that I get just as good results with the cheap stuff for a fraction of the price. Hooray!

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If I ever stop trying to use Mario Badescu’s Alpha Grapefruit Cleaning Lotion, my skin flips out. This product goes the extra mile to clean out my pores without the super stringent feeling that comes with stronger, alcohol-based toners. It absolutely does not dry out my skin, but leaves it feeling neutralized and soft. Out of all of these products, I have used this one the longest – about 10 years.

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After years of searching for a moisturizer to replace Mario Badescu’s Oil Free Moisturizer, which suddenly stopped working for me after years of use, I was turned on to Murad’s Skin Perfecting Lotion. It can be a little dry, which works out since I follow this up with a serum sunscreen (see below) or a BB Cream (with SPF, of course). This moisturizer actually improves the look of my skin be eliminating acne and a lot of the little bumps that pop up just under the skin. I cannot stop singing this product’s phrases, and I don’t care how expensive it is, I will not stop using it. It’s really that good.

It was not until recently that I started using sunscreen on a daily basis. It might sound crazy, but I can tell a difference in the quality of my skin. Supergoop’s City Sunscreen Serum is my go-to, whether under a full face of makeup or on its own for hiking on a sunny day. Combined with serum-based foundations or BB creams it can be a little greasy, but it works well with my beloved Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation.

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At 25, I still struggle with acne- bummer. I really thought I would be over this by now. Only compounding my frustration, most harsh products on the market for acne only make my skin worse because of my sensitivities and allergies. Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream is a dream come true. It heals acne quickly, and because it contains aloe, it is not drying. I can use this treatment day and night. Bonus: due to the coloration of this product, it sort of conceals the redness of breakouts, which is great because concealer over acne is bad, y’all. Many thick, greasy concealers clog your pores and do not let your acne heal. Mine heals much quicker since I stopped using concealer over it on a daily basis.

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About once a week I want to treat my skin to something special – because let’s face it – your epidermis is pretty great to you and you should thank it. Every mask I have ever tried has either done absolutely nothing or caused giant eruptions of zits all over. Perusing Pinterest one day, I saw this trick to remove blackheads – all you have to do is combine lemon juice (fresh works better) and baking soda. Upon further research, I read that people were using this all over their face. I had to try it. This cost-effective combo promotes clear skin and exfoliates like nothing you have ever used. It still hasn’t removed all of my blackheads – but hey – you can’t always get what you want.

Luck

It is rare, but every now and againĀ good things come to those who wait. Like shoes, marked one hundred dollars off. Only your size left. Normally, by the time markdowns have occurred to the point that I can afford the shoes in questions, only sizes 6 and 7 are left, or maybe an 11. Not any size I can even pretend to wear. However, I had really wanted these shoes, and behold, they had my size left.

While it’s true that they’re no Prada, Miu Miu, Alexander Wang, nor Chanel, I lusted after these for their simplicity and practicality. I wanted them because they screamed nothing, but would hug my feet with a certain demureness and yet a perfect dose of edge. I knew they’d go with nearly everything I owned, and that, except for smouldering summer days, they were practically season-less (minus the accompanying fluffy socks).

Here’s to the perfect hidden wedge black bootie. May you live on.

 

Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows

I feel like this post is coming so terribly late, and truth is, it is. I have meant for so long to keep up with this blog, but I have been in full holiday mode, without a care in the world. While it is really quite bad to just lounge around all day, it has really been nice to do nothing but play video games and watch movies and browse around the internet… nothing productive has been getting done at all! Well, I did clean up the apartment. I thought I would take this opportunity, however, to post these photos I captured of the impeccable holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman. While I did not find these as captivating as the ones a couple years ago, I still think they are gorgeous, and I make it my life goal to create something marginally as beautiful and detailed as these windows. The details truly make them! Of course, I was a bit partial to them as a photographer due to the theme… I found them truly fascinating.

While not one of the focus windows, I spotted the following white dress in one of the windows and fell in love with it. However, I cannot recall who the designer was. Does anyone remember?! I would love to know, as this was my favorite dress that I saw that whole evening of windows.

 

New York, New York!

I really, truly love New York City, and I’m not sure there is any more magical time of year to experience the city than right around Christmas. The tree is up in Rockefeller Center, the city is decked out in its best finery, lights everywhere. The air is crisp and cold. There are people absolutely everywhere. And of course, all of the stores have extended holiday hours. And this just scratches the surface.

Pardon the fact that this post will be all Instagram captures. The next post will consist of normal photos.

For the second time I stayed in the Hudson Hotel. The hotel is situated in a very convenient location, within a block from Columbus Circle and the subway stop there. I also began to realize that I could walk to many, many places from here and didn’t even need to be riding the subway nearly as much as I was, though I really just love riding it. I always feel like I’m entering into somewhere special when going up the yellow-green lit escalators to the lobby of the hotel. The lobby area is magical, with vines on the ceiling and a huge, glistening chandelier. To your back is the Hudson Bar, with its lit floor and Ghost Chairs.

During our stay, we enjoyed two meals at the Hudson Hall restaurant in the hotel. It is self-serve cafeteria style, but in individual portions. The plates are somewhere between full portions and tapas. Everything we ate was outstanding, as were the drinks. Should you find yourself there wanting a drink, the Frida and Diego comes highly recommended. One night after dinner we transferred across the hotel to the Library Bar, which has a different atmosphere altogether. The Library feels like walking into a rich, old but new New York library in someone’s home, with books lining the upper part of the walls, and open books around the perimeter of the walls at arms reach level. A pool table is the focus of the center of the room, and a fireplace at the side adds warmth. The drinks served here are extra strong, so proceed with caution.

The standard rooms in the hotel are quite small, but very nice. My only real complaint was that the bed was so uncomfortable that I never got an entire nights sleep. I don’t know what was going on here, since I did not have the problem during my previous stay.

While I generally try to stay away from the crowded, touristy Times Square, on this trip it was the first stop made. There is something about the lights flashing everywhere, but the amount of selling going on around you is absolutely annoying.

The awesome part of Times Square? The stores here go ALL OUT. There is a Ferris Wheel in the Toys R Us, and a castle in the Disney store.

During this trip, we went someone I would normally have never thought about going. The Museum of Sex is definitely an interesting stop to make if you are in the area. Not for the conservative, the museum featured exhibits with pornography, toys, and even a focus on animal sex… yep… like on the Discovery Channel. It was definitely worth a good laugh. In the basement of the museum is, Oral Fix, an aphrodisiac bar. While I am not sure the drinks had any real effects, the atmosphere was dark and sultry and the drinks were delicious.

More photos to come soon!

Chicago

I know I’ve been slow with posts, but it was the end of the semester and then it was Chicago and then it was trying to relax a bit. So finally I’m bored of relaxing and remembered, “Oh yeah, I should update my blog!” Well, actually a friend of mine brought up that I’m horrible about updating blogs (and I am).

While in Chicago, my “Mock Firm” team from this past semester won Top American Firm and Top Marketing in the competition, so that was very exciting indeed. And while that was the reason for this trip and it was definitely awesome, looking back I remember a lot of the other stuff more.

Like how peculiar the hotel room was at the Congress Plaza Hotel. Pretty much every surface had the logo of the hotel on it. There wasn’t necessarily heating or air conditioning, just a couple fans with notes reading, “In Summer: if too warm, turn to high/ if too cold turn to low. In Winter: if too cold, turn to high/ if too warm turn to low.” The view was into a courtyard with no view. Everything was outdated, like walking into an old movie. We also later found out that the hotel was well known for being haunted, and I suppose that explained more than a few things.

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Our hotel room. Real classy.

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That night my friend and I took a sketchy 6-8 block hike from the Argyle-Red stop on the L to Hopleaf, a most amazing restaurant and bar, serving a vast variety of beers along some of the tastiest food to travel across my tongue. The macaroni and cheese was the best thing ever, and warmed me enough for the chilly hike back to the red line.

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I will most definitely remember the nearly 2 mile walk to Navy Pier with a group of classmates. It was a lot of fun, but I hadn’t expected to be walking so far that day. Also, a friend of mine walks extremely fast, and keeping up with him is basically power-walking (people still do that, right?). When we got there we took a boat tour of the city, highlighting the outstanding (and not so outstanding) architecture of the city. I regrettably do not recall the name of the company who gave the tour, however they did serve us lemonade, coffee, and cookies.

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And of course there was the bean…

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Many of my friends know I’m a huge fan of good public transit, and when in a city including it, I take it without fail. It’s something I wish was everywhere, and if it was in my town, I probably would never use my car, or even own one. However, many Southern cities are being slow with the uptake of mass transit (other than questionable and unreliable busses). One thing I really loved about the L in Chicago is how much of it is elevated. This means that you don’t get that lovely subway stench (I actually love smelling it in NYC and feel that it’s part of the experience), and you get to see more of the city when riding the trains. Plus, getting some sunshine in is nice. I only wish the stops weren’t quite so spread out, as it results in copious amounts of walking, which is great and fine until you’ve spent the past 3 days walking and walking and walking and your feet feel like they’re close to saying “screw you” and leaving your body. But hey… it’s all in good fun, right? It’s not like I don’t sit enough writing this blog.

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One night a group of us walked another 1.5 mile walk to Adler Planetarium (which I actually wanted to visit but was too busy and never got the chance). From here we were given a prime view of the city. However, it was nasty and rainy out. This did not make for prime walking nor prime photographing time. However, sitting down on a ledge, getting the ass of my pants wet, looking out at the city lining the lake at night was still magical and something that’s probably burned in my memory forever.

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I really didn’t think I would enjoy Chicago as much as I did. I would definitely travel back there if I had the chance, or if I made the chance. So I leave you with some other sights of the city…

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Hancock

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Water Tower

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Somewhere

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View from the Sears Willis tower. (They really need to clean those windows!)

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Marshall Field’s Macy’s (This was taken from the 5th floor looking up)

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Art Institute (tell me those don’t look like Lite Brite)

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Art Institute new wing

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