Ladies in Navy

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Sweater, tee, pants, flats: c/o Ross
*Vote for this look in the Ross #FallFashion challenge here

Today, it rained. I woke up to that telltale pitter pat of rain hitting the awnings of the townhouse. The cat was curled in his chair, fast asleep, and a cool breeze blew through our dark room. It seemed like 2 a.m. in the cloudy dark, instead of 6:30, and it felt like I could sleep for an entire day under our cool sheets and thick quilt. Portland has been without rain for almost the entire summer, so to see the streets full of puddles and to open my stiff umbrella felt like some kind of awakening. We're rain people out here. People that thrive in the damp, in the wet, with our shoes soaked through the sole.  When it's sunny for too long, we start to pout, to watch the skies, to feel that our feet are getting dried and our roots are dying.

It felt good to have wet shoes all day, to have the knees of my jeans damp for a good hour in the morning, to smell the hot reflex of pavement under a rainstorm. But I think that it's even more gratifying to get warm after a damp day. I remember wet days (or weeks or months) growing up and getting home and sitting in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate or cider. It always seemed like a special occasion, to dry out in front of a blazing fire. 

I got that fall-weather feeling today, where you want to slide on sweatpants and soft tees and just get underneath a blanket. But we had a long day at a work event and that cocoa sipping, special-event-ing had to wait until very late this evening. Safely under a snuggly wool blanket with my cat, now, I am happy for all of these soft separates, warm grays, and delicious peach tea that fits snuggly in my hand.

*This is the last outfit in my Ross #FallFashion challenge series. Vote for this outfit (or a better executed comfy outfit) here!

Skincare and Beauty Routine

I've been meaning to share my skincare and beauty routine for a while now as I feel like I've got it dialed in for this stage of my life - going lighter, more natural (in more ways than one), and working with what I've got instead of making something out of what I don't have. Below are some of my favorite beauty products and my daily routine. 

My daily skincare routine is pretty straightforward. I have really sensitive skin (fragrances and oils bother me when applied to the skin and break-outs last for a really long period of time), freckles, and pretty dry skin. I don't usually have issues with oil, but do have over-drying in the winter especially on my face. I shower twice a day, morning and night, (and wash my hair once a day) and use these three products:

1. Neutrogena Purifying Facial Cleanser - In the morning in the shower, I wash my face with this lovely-smelling Neutrogena all-natural cleanser. It's not harsh and it gently gets my face awake for the day ahead.

2. Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture - I moisturize, sunny or not, with this perfect moisturizer that's a) for sensitive skin, b) oil-free, and c) SPF 15. I've been using it for years and so has my Mom. Not a complaint! It's not thick or greasy and I hardly feel it after I apply it to my face and neck.

3. Neutrogena Purifying Cream Cleanser - At night, when I shower, I use the Neutrogena Purifying Cream Cleanser to wash off make-up and impurities from the day without over-drying my skin or using harsh chemicals. It is a brand-new product that I just added to my routine, but I am already seeing markedly less mini-break-outs. I think the key for me is avoiding over-drying my skin with too many harsh chemicals.

*My daily body moisturizer, not pictured, is the hypo-allergenic Lubriderm. It doesn't smell great, but it does the trick and never irritates my already hive/rash prone skin.

To launch into my make-up routine, I'll first preface it with the fact that I've been attempting to hone a workable make-up routine for years and that I just discovered BB cream. That's a sad statement even to write, especially for someone with freckles. Again, my skin is pretty naturally dry and only prone to break-outs on the chin (hormonal break-out zone), and very sensitive, so I try to use sensitive skin products.

1. L'Oreal BB Cream - If you're a freckled person, or anyone looking for a light no-make-up look that evens skin tone, BB cream is where it's at. How I didn't realize this originally is beyond me, but I finally remedied it! This cream makes foundation use often unnecessary and I only follow through with the rest of the routine if my skin is looking broken-out or quite pale.

2. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation - I love this foundation as it's very light (for my pale skin) and has a healthy amount of coverage without being too sticky or obvious. I think it blends well with my other make-up and can be used on singular spots without full coverage if needed.

3. Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Power - This power is a new favorite of mine after a recent incident with a powder that made my skin look yellow in all light and photos. I was horrified to see my face looking jaundiced in a photo and immediately ditched my old powder for this one. It's, again, light and blends well with my other make-up.

For my eyes and my cheeks, I have had a bit of a struggle finding the right products. These few have risen to the top. I am still without a favorite eyeliner, so if you have recommendations, let me know!

1. Maybelline Pumped Up Volume Express Mascara or Neutrogena Mascara - I use the Maybelline mascara when I want big lashes, for going out, or for days when I forgo eyeliner. It gives some amazing volume and curl and it's a favorite mascara for oomph. When I am using some eyeliner (usually a revolving door of brown eyeliners that are self sharpening, not pictured) and don't need big lashes, I usually use a basic Neutrogena mascara. 

2. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush - I am a huge fan of cream blushes and after running out of my L'Oreal cream blush and not being able to find a good alternative in stores, I went without blush for ages. When the summer hit and I heard about Maybelline's dream bouncy blush, I immediately snagged it. It's fun, actually bouncy (not sure what's going on there) and it blends extremely well. I can't stand a harsh blush line and so this is light and fun enough to just make you look rosy cheeked.

As for lips? I like to use balms and moisturizing lip tint instead of lipstick, though I have dabbled in some Revlon shades for work. These Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick, like the Clinique and Revlon line, are more like chapstick with a great color. I adore them and have them in many colors! If this color palette of rosy pink and mauve doesn't entice you, then the smell and easy application will! These smell sweet, look lovely in your purse, and are the easiest to apply on the go. I never worry about them transferring to my teeth or looking haphazardly applied without a mirror. 

My fragrance collection has changed over the years from the teen years of Clinique Happy Heart, to college with Bulgari White and then to the weird inbetween time when I wore something Nicole Ritchie. I recently wrote about making this new fragrance addition and I am still just as in love with this Versace Yellow Diamond perfume. It smells adult, isn't cloying or too sweet. Instead it has woody undertones and the top notes are full of citrus and bergamot. The perfect spicy perfume to kick off every single day.

And finally, the nails. Every since quitting my atrocious habit of biting my nails down to the quick, I've been obsessed with polish and my collection is taking over my linen closet. I recently added some fall OPI shades like this greenish-blueish-black-ish color pictures above. I usually stick to two brands of nail polish:

1. For base, top, and color - I love the Formula X line from Sephora. It lasts, only requires one coat of color, and doesn't chip. It's a miracle for at-home manicures for people that don't have time to repaint on a regular basis. I have a ton of polishes from this collection and they're a good deal at only about $10.50 a polish and the colors are on-target.

2. I'm also still a big fan of OPI polishes as the colors are fantastic and they also don't chip as quickly. You do need to layer on multiple coats for great color, but I also use the Formula X system with my OPI polish to prevent chipping! 

What are your must-have beauty products? I'm always interested in hearing about awesome options that will make my routine easier!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heather Grey and Rose

Top: c/o ModDeals ($10); Skirt: c/o ModDeals ($10); Heels: Michael Kors; Bracelet, ring: Gorjana, Melinda Maria c/o Rocks Box*

*Join Rocks Box here and get 1 month for free!

I got a bit serious in yesterday's post about instagram-envy and the way we perceive our lives in comparison to others, so today, I'm going to veer in the other direction of the non-serious (yet seriously awesome) things I'm wearing in today's post.

To start - my skirt and top were, combined, $20. Which is absolutely mad. They are two of my new favorite pieces for fall - a heather grey tulip skirt and a very soft, sheer rose blouse. When fall comes knocking (and it has only knocked in the dark, windy hours of the night and in the tips of the leaves on our maples), I like to be swathed in layers of soft, light fabrics. Once the cable knits and woolens work their way into winter, my body feels heavy and laden down with fabric. Warm, but weighty. Fall is a time to sport sheer long sleeves in coffee shops with hot tea and bundle on the couch in knits and cozy, light flannel pajamas. 

My shoes are my newest and only quality shoe addition to my work wardrobe this winter. I talked a bit about how mine were disintegrating and recommended some options from Nordstrom the other day. I ended up going for the pair I expected to buy - my Michael Kors nude pumps, but in black. I've found that for work heels, you've got to splurge, otherwise you're faced with disintegration and discomfort. My last pair was an Anne Klein suede, modest heel and it lasted me about a year in the miserable Northwest weather (suede is rough around these parts, though). For the spring, I found those Michael Kors nude pumps on a crazy sale for only $25 at Macy's. This year, it was time to reinvest and my and I went by the old standby "if it ain't broke..." motto. I am already loving how sharp they look with a sheath dress for work.

Finally, my jewelry. I think you all know I am a big fan of subscription boxes. I had a stint with Le Tote that I was obsessed with (subscription box for a curated selection of clothing) and that led to a few purchases and a ton of awesome outfits. I've also checked out some monthly surprise subscription boxes, some local subscription boxes, you name it. That type of currently-trendy service appeals to the "I love presents" side of me and the "omg mail!" part of me. It's a great way to explore pieces (you're basically renting them) and to revitalize your wardrobe. Rocks Box recently reached out to me to offer me a free trial of their curated jewelry subscription box and I was thrilled to get started. For one - their jewelry is higher quality than your standard costume jewelry. Think Gorjana, House of Harlow, Loren Hope, CC Skye - the pretty stuff (with pave! Hooray!). I am absolutely obsessed with these two pieces from this month's three-piece box and don't really want to return them... ever. If you're interested in joining, you can get a month free of Rocks Box here.