Friday, May 30, 2014

May Favorites

Currently, I'm the least stressed I've been in a long, long time. School is out for summer (yes, as in the Alice Cooper song), my school year ballet classes have come to a close, and I'm able to focus now on the things I love most. Oui, that still means ballet, but as well as blogging, writing, reading, and spending time with my family dog; I would love to spend time with my family, but, unfortunately, Top Gear, Bon Appétit magazine, and fishing are a little more interesting than I am.

But, it's not like I really care, because I'm currently ditching them to note my May favorites; anyway, beauty is more interesting than all those mentioned above. My favorite product out of this bunch is the RMS Lip2Cheek in Muse*. I wrote this product off when I first received it, realizing that it was rather pretty, but I never reached for it. Now, although I'm precarious to admit, I've reached for it everyday this month. It's gorgeous with a dewy sheen and the perfect dose of a "natural flush" pigment. And it's even more stunning paired with the NARS Laguna Bronzer. Technically, this is an all-time favorite, but I've just gotten back into slapping it on daily. Two other forever favorites that I just can't put down are the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream for its redness canceling and luminous finish and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light to tone down shine and blur imperfections. 

Among the group that I've loved forever, and will continue to love in the future are some new purchases and a rediscovered favorite. The first of the cheeky loot is the Muji Acrylic Two Drawer with Lid Small Case; I've finally joined the Muji bandwagon. Not only does it look stunning, make getting ready in the morning that much quicker, and house my daily essentials, it also manages to make me feel a bit more truly "blogger"--and it allows more room in my storage drawer for new purchases. Another blogger favorite that I got my hands on is the Diptyque Candle in Figuier. I'll admit that there are a few disappointments with this pot of wax, but among the cons is an overwhelmingly gleaming pro: the scent. It's fresh and figgy, and, for lack of a better description, stunning in both whiff and aesthetics. Not necessarily a new purchase is the Royal Apothic Hand Cream in Holland Park. I owe Ellie for shoving me into purchasing this and I'm not disappointed. Well, my mom isn't dissappointed. In truth, I purchased this luxe, lush smelling mousse for my mom for Mother's Day; I just happen to be snatching it and applying it nearly daily. A product I haven't been stealing, but revived my adoration for is the Bumble and bumble Surf Crème Rinse Conditioner. It's been about a year now since I originally purchased this, and the reason it has lasted so long is because I didn't use conditioner for a while, and I still don't use it everyday. Nevertheless, I forgot how hydrating this is, especially for such a light texture. My ends always look so much healthier after shoving this on.

As June comes around, I hope I'll be able to indulge in more of my favorite things and, hopefully, stop schmoozing off other people's stuff. (Sorry, Mom.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ask Me Questions

I'm a ballerina that has an bad and strange obsession with all things French, I adore peachy-pink...anything, and I like to call myself a coffee connoisseur . Other than those fair few qualities, that may be all you know about me. If you want to delve deeper into the brains behind this blog (That's me--Lillian!) then I'm opening it up to you. 

Ask me anything you'd like: what's my favorite color, my favorite blush, or even the name of my dog--which is Rocky, by the way; I spared you the finger workout (i.e. from typing). Either leave your question below in the comments, email me, or you can tweet me @ParisianToBe

Now, let's get those question marks rolling.

Winding Down: Tips for a Good Night's Rest

I used to think that my body was incapable of sleeping past seven thirty A.M. Then again, it's not as if I sent it back to sleep; who can say no to an earlier dose of Vivianna Does Makeup, served on Sunday (if you're a YouTube maven like me, you'll know what I'm saying.)? Then, one day, I slept to the magical time of eight thirty A.M. "I must have been really tired," I said to myself. Then it dawned on me--though not at dawn, when I normally rose (pun intended): my eyes weren't fired by any technology last night, two hours before I went to bed. No Breaking Bad, Gossip Girl, or series from where productivity goes to die (otherwise known as Netflix). No YouTube sessions, re-watching the same videos over again. No last minute Instagram check-ins. And, thus, I learned the art of winding down.

As explained above, the Holy Grail to sleeping like a rock is shutting off--applying to your phone, iPad, laptop, etc. "Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin," says Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., a study task force member of the National Sleep Foundation. It all sounds great, but perhaps the hardest part about such a ditch is finding functions to replace it with; I'm partial to saying that I live on my laptop and feel lost without it. Nevertheless, use this time to do some things you wouldn't normally do: run a bath, light some candles, enjoy a good book or magazine, and slap on a face mask (obviously, my choice is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask). Whatever you do, buy yourself some time of fluorescent light void.

Close your blinds, roll down the duvet, and slap on your high-maintenance bedside routine--hand cream and the whole shebang. When it's actually time to shut off the lights, dowse your pillow in a lavender mist. I've made my own pillow spray before by mixing lavender oil with alcohol, but the formula was a little rough around the edges. Luckily, I now have the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray to nod me off to sleep. Just remember to blow out the candles; waking up to a fire is not a tip for a good night's rest.

"Sleep in America Poll: Technology is Running Our Sleep." Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 Mar. 2011. Web. 22  May 2014.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beauty Lab

Maybe it's just that I've been watching too much Breaking Bad, but testing makeup, skincare, and haircare tidbits has a new name: beauty lab. Although I'd love to have a few Erlenmeyer flasks and a name like "Heisenberg," I'm void. Instead, my testing center is comprised of products that I'm figuring out how to use, deciding my opinions on, trying to grab more often, or am a little scoffed about.

First is the RMS Buriti Bronzer*. The shade is the perfect mix of bronze without being tinged orange, but my problem with this is application. I've tried applying it with fingers and hands, but it ends up looking too messy; applying it with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush is just not effective. Nevertheless, the winner thus far is applying it with a Space NK Kabuki Brush. Dipping the brush into the pot is a little difficult, but it buffs into the skin nicely to a barely detectable finish, but with a healthy, glowy, and contoured completion. I've been wanting to get into my MAC palette, as it's gorgeous, but I never use it. With the shades Naked Lunch, Era, Patina, and Quarry, it's a nice array of neutrals, perfect for everyday wear. Now, I only have to get my brushes in those pans.

Skincare-wise, I'm having the most trouble with establishing an exfoliation routine. I tried implementing an exfoliating toner, used at night, into my routine once again, but my skin didn't get on with it--which is really surprising since we were basically married to each other (with a perfect skin baby) last summer. Albeit, I've opted for the manual variety. I've been using the Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask twice a week, and I like the results, but I still have some clogged skin around my chin area (like gravel bumps). The texture has improved since I opted for this exfoliator in comparison to the Derma-E Glycolic Acid Toner, but I'm wondering to what extent I can exfoliate without being on overload. The product that I'm most surprised about is the LUSH Breath of Fresh Air Toner Water--surprised that I don't get on with it. I was having texture issues on my forehead and I tried to cure it with the aid of exfoliation and cleansing mask, but nothing seemed to do the job. Then, I took this out of my skincare routine (as I was using it morning and evening) and my skin looked so much better, even within a small eight-hour period. Now that I know I can't use it, I'm fine with setting it aside--as well as relieved that I know the source of my texture woes. But I don't understand why we didn't get along; the ingredients list is pure, pure, pure (and it's vegan) and contains soothing ingredients like aloe, rose oil, and patchouli oil.

So far, my research is rather conclusive and I'm making immense progress. And writing blog posts is far more fun than writing formal lab reports.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Environmental Factors in Skincare

I give my skin attention in amount equal to that required of a puppy. And when it acts up, I feel betrayed. What did I do to make it like this? This is all my fault, and I'm a failure. It can be self deprecating and a really difficult thing to deal with, both emotionally and physically. Then, it dawned on me. I had an experience about two weeks ago when my skin went bonkers; I looked like a pepperoni pizza. But the most strange thing about it was that I hadn't changed anything in my skincare routine, and my skin had been perfectly clear the week before. So, in my inclination to help the world, I'm supplying hope and peace of mind that it's not just your skincare routine, or even you, that's making your skin go mad. Perhaps it's on account of environmental factors that we just can't control. 

The factor that turns my skin for the worst out of all others is lack of humidity. Apparently, even though my skin is combination, it's still dehydrated; who would have thought. Normally, this results in a few or a lot of spots. To poke a dent in a solution, add a humectant, or make sure you're not just using emollient hydrators (i.e. oils, shea butter, etc.). Humectants draw moisture to the skin--compromising the lack of humidity--and some examples are hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and glycerin. (This is why I adore the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer). On the opposite end of the spectrum is humidity overdose, resulting in some shiny looking skin. Your best bet in this situation is to use a moisturizer more prone to oily skin, like The Organic Pharmacy Manuka Face Cream--but if you're anything like me, initiate an emphasis to get the humectants in there, too. And if you're looking for even more oomph, throw on a clay mask (my favorite is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask).

The humidity meter is what throws my skin out of whack the most, but there are other influences, as well. Your diet can show on your skin. If this is the case, maybe make more cautious decisions concerning added sugars (as in the table sugar variety) and swap for organic dairy. Perhaps a lack of vitamin D is making your skin worse for wear; I'm not the only one who admits that their skin is best in the summer. In that case, try a vitamin D supplement or up your intake in foods. Lack of sleep is another factor. And the best part is that you now have an excuse to take a nap. If stress is the case, pump your room full of lavender or wait until the weekend to alleviate.

Although I've mentioned some solutions to such environmental factors, not every one of them will work, and time is often the best mechanism of relief. Above forcing your skin back to equilibrium, it's important to remember that everyone's skin acts up at some point. A few spots or even acne doesn't make you "ugly." You will still have friends. And the people around you will still love you. So, next time you're in the complexion dump, it's not just your skincare routine that's making your skin mad. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mermaid Hair

Mermaids are the crème de la crème of fantasy characters. Unlike unicorns or minotaurs, their human-like qualities exude an alluring facet. How can you not be intrigued by a jade tail? Nevertheless, I'd like to keep my legs for now--I can't dance without them--but I'd adore mermaid hair. I was determined to grow my hair out to the length in which it was able to be used as a makeshift swimsuit top--but for mermaid situations. Luckily, I'm in that place now, but my natural hair texture doesn't align with my coveted aesthetic. That is, until I found a few products to help me achieve mermaid hair. They're mostly eco-friendly (mermaids do live in the sea, after all--and we must protect that body of water), wave inducing, volume oomphing, impart naturally gorgeous locks, and, most important, are low maintenance to use--no blow drying or heat tools, just the clock. 

Transforming myself into an ocean goddess starts under the water...obviously. Shampooing with the gentle, yet effective John Masters Organics Bare Shampoo imparts clean hair, striking just the right balance--not too squeaky, but not just as dirty as it was to begin with. It's also gentle enough for even the most sensitive of scalps. On an everyday basis, I focus the shampoo just near my roots, but once a week or so, I shampoo all the way through the lengths, then top off the tips with the Bumble and bumble Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. The name says it all, and it does a fantastic job, as well. Perhaps the most stunning characteristic is that, despite its thin texture, it does wonders for hydrating the hair, as well as bringing back life and adding shine, but without weighing anything down.

The rest of the mermaid making happens out of tap. The Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse* is the most versatile of products. Applying it to wet hair adds manageability to freshly washed locks, but adding it dry adds loads of volume at the roots and texture all over. Although the lasting power in the volume category isn't fantastic, the falling 'do maintains the natural aesthetic. To top things off, I spray the John Masters Organics Sea Mist into the ends or all over for grit and texture, which can easily be adapted from slightly tousled to lion frizz using scrunching motions, if you please. And the best part: the lavender scent.

People may think that I'm younger than I appear, wear no makeup (you've heard that before), and look tired (wow, thanks, a** hole). Hopefully they make the connection between my mer-parents and I.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Quiet Sufferers: Unraveling the Stereotypes of Eating Disorders

This was the first time I had ever admitted the elephant in my mind to anyone before. I was adamant about my philosophy of dishing such the insight: I didn’t think it was something to hide, but I didn’t feel the need to tell the world in a craving for attention. In this case, my friend next to me had been body bashing—a rather common occurrence among girls my age, and females, period. In an effort to mend her sabotage, I slashed out all the information that my therapist had fed me over the past year; it’s only sad that I wasn’t able to lift my own disposition with the fuel. 

“I have an eating disorder,” I quietly whispered to her.

“Really?” she replied. “I would have never guessed that. I mean, people with eating disorders are normally really skinny, and you look so normal.” 

I was lucky I was in the place I was when this conversation happened, because, if she had described me as “normal” a few months before, I wouldn’t have reacted with the same stoic attitude that I did. Telling me that I looked “normal,” made me feel like a failure. To me, “really skinny” was the ideal. And I didn’t fit the match.

But, it made me think: she’s right. Most people probably have no idea that I have an eating disorder. I’m always described as the happy one, and the one that can’t stop smiling or laughing. In reality, the reason for outsiders’ unintentional oblivion in relation to my pending brain game is because people don’t really know much about eating disorders.

Eating disorders are presented as polar brandings, either you’re anorexic, or bulimic. But there’s so much more than that. My brother even told me himself that there’s no way that I have an eating disorder, because “only fat people have them.” Well, I guess it’s good that I’m not fat like I think I am. 

That being said, the turning point in my treatment was when my therapist actually addressed the misconception I had about myself, that I had an eating disorder; even I was oblivious to my own branding. In reality, I did have this illness, and although I didn’t qualify on either polar of the spectrum, I laid somewhere in between. And so do many other sufferers. 

Eating disorders are a touchy subject, but learning about them is key to helping those who suffer. Your friend who sometimes rushes to the bathroom right after eating could have an eating disorder. And so could the unaccommodating vegan who doesn’t eat anything outside the title, even if it means skipping meals.

Like sports, pens, or plants, there are asall types of eating disorders, some more ugly than others, and some more efficient than others. But, it’s still an eating disorder, and the people who may seem stable, may be quietly suffering on the inside.

Iceland background image via

Friday, May 16, 2014

Other Favorites

Although it may seem like it, beauty isn't the only facet of my life. I won't go into (boring) facts about myself--i.e. that I attend school all day, then go to ballet in the evenings and weekends. See, I told you: boring. But it's accurate to say that I'm not all blush and mascara (although, sometimes, I wish I was). Today, I'm sharing a list of some of my "other" favorites as of late. But I have to admit: it was a little hard restricting beauty.

I got myself into a dangerous trap when I picked up two items from Rifle Paper Co. a few weeks ago. The Lined Paper Notepad and the Jardin Journal are both stunning. I use the notepad to make to do lists and write down reminders, and I'm still getting to grips on the exact use of the notebook, as I already have another Moleskin one on the go for all my blogging "ish." The worst part, though, is that I now have an excuse to pick up as much stationary as I'd like. Uh oh. Food-wise, the Kind Granola has become a staple in my kitchen cabinet and on my shopping list. Nearly all the flavors are good--I think my favorites are the Cranberry Dark Chocolate and the Blueberry Vanilla, but the Maple Quinoa is yummy, and the only subpar flavor I've tried has been Cinnamon Flax.

I've also discovered my love affair with tulips. I don't normally buy flowers for myself, so my mom bought me this bunch of pink beauties after my show last weekend. P.S. You'll be seeing them a lot in photos over the next week; they're too gorgeous to resist. I wasn't that much of a music listener until recently when I discovered some nice artists that curate music suitable for working and studying. Télépopmusik has become my favorite. I've listened to Genetic World plenty of times, and also ping to the inspired Pandora station. As far as individual songs, some Mozart stunners--actually used in the gorgeous ballet Petit Mort--have also caught my heart: "Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467: Adante" and "Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488: 2. Adagio." Another honorable mention goes to Bitter:Sweet's "Bittersweet Faith."

I couldn't do a rambling of miscellaneous favorites without mentioning blogs. My recent favorites are From Roses, written by the gorgeous Rebecca, and 9 out of ten, written by Wengyee. Both mend lifestyle and beauty seamlessly for amazing reads. And it's worth noting that Rebecca's room has me swooning. I've ditched Instagram filters for the VSCO CAM app. I find the filters to be better, and it also offers more flexibility in terms of editing.

See, I'm a bit more profound than just beauty. If you'd like to see more posts like this, let me know. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright

Not many things part over from across the pond, to the U.S. I guess this results in a few too frequent highly-margined eBay orders, and a vehement obsession with everything European. There is an exception, though. When I saw Indeed Labs's products perching upon the shelves of my local drugstore, I grinned ear to ear and quickly shot a photo of the stock and sent it away to my other beauty loving amie (yes, she watches Vivianna Does Makeup videos, too). Then, my previous serum love--Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair--hit rock bottom and I was looking for something different, less expensive, and more aimed at fighting dark spots. And Indeed Labs was the server.

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright has a lot of claims, but among its priorities is the elephant: improving skin tone. Whether this means hyperpigmentation, sun spots, or other varieties, this is my main concern--thus the evidence of Pepta-Bright. And, I'm happy to say that, with morning and evening application for a month, I have seen a decrease in the number of spots (though, pertaining to the acne variety, not thanks to this) on my skin. One of the downsides, though, is that I seem to be going through it rather quickly, especially considering the little amount that I use. Pertaining to effectivity, there is something that must be said: this magic only occurs when I don't have other spots coming in. In other words, if you have existing breakouts, this serum may not do much for you. But if you're complexion perfect and need some artifact lifting, then this is a good choice.

Among its other claims, it is über lightweight, non-sticky, and is effective at what it does, though it won't disrupt the rest of your routine. It has never made me breakout, and it seems as it would be suitable for sensitive skins, oily, and dry. It's scent free (finally; when will skincare companies learn that this is not the perfume industry) and non-sticky. One claim that falls a little short is that Pepta-Bright "maintains skin's moisture levels." I wouldn't say it's moisturizing at all. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like I said, it's non-interefering; I didn't need to switch around my moisturizer or other steps for this--think of it more as an add-on (your skin won't freak out without it, either). I did see a little radiance oomph with the help of this serum, but it's not cosmetic level material.

Although I may test out Advanced Night Repair again in the future and fall in love again, things are looking bright with this serum. It's effective at what I want it to do, and it's a bargain in comparison to other serums. I'm liking my slice of Europe.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cream vs. Powder

Cosmetic science has come a long way. My mom, the avid makeup wearer wasn't even sure what a highlighter was until I told her last year--granted, she may still be stuck in the beauty dark ages. Until late last year, the famous Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel was the only cream bronzer...ever; why do you think it garnered such a loyal audience? Nevertheless, I've filled some voids in my beauty stash. Choosing blush or bronzer conjures a new question: cream or powder? Each offers it's own special powers and individual aesthetic. Color is normally the deciding factor, but each pot or compact is gorgeous; I did buy it, after all.

NARS Laguna Bronzer was the only bronzer in my stash until lately, it's garnered attention dating back since last spring. I loved it then, and I think it's also the only product I've actually hit pan on. That silvery mirrored, gaping hole represents my love. The new kid on the block, though, is the RMS Buriti Bronzer*. It's not as orange as NARS Laguna--more plum and pink toned, actually--but it's still nice. When it comes to this baby, though, I'm still getting to grips with application, but the best I've found thus far is using my hand (the part where it attaches to my thumb) to dip into the pot and press against the hallows of my cheek for an easy and subtle contour. But it's still more contour than bronzer, and, apart from pigment, the RMS option delivers much more of a dewy finish. In the bronzer category, Laguna (i.e. the powder) wins, but also because the color suits me a bit more, I think.

When it comes to blush, I opt for cream and powder on an equal basis. Honest. The Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera is a peachy pink, leaning more on the pink side, that's über pigmented. It's not as sheeny as any RMS product, but it's slightly dewy and dries over time to a more powdery finish. The Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color in Peach Whisper is more peach than the Stila formula, and it's completely matte. The consistency of this is buttery and smooth, making application a bit more favorable, but, like I said, I don't really have a preference. And to prove the impartialness, I'll disclose that I use the exact same application method for each: I dip in my blush brush and stroke.

In comparison from cream to powder, it's obvious that creams impart more dew and are a bit more difficult to slap on. Nevertheless, their versatility earns a shout, with an ability to be used on the lips, cheeks, and sometimes even eyelids (such a rebel). The powders tend to grasp a bit more appeal in my books, but they're certainly not as glowy, although they may stick around for a bit longer. So, who's the victor in your stash?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blogging Confidence

When I first started Parisian To Be, I never expected that it would either grow or become the great commitment that it is. In the back of my mind, I yearned for a more diverse and more quantified following, but never really thought about how it would feel to have people actually read my ramblings. Well, it's happened, and I am ever grateful. But I'm a perfectionist at heart, with a shed load of self-motivation, and a lacking self-confidence. My blog was a place where I could ramble, take a break from Chemistry nightmares, and ballet drama (and it does happen on a Dance Moms scale, sometimes). I love my online niche. I pour in my heart and soul. But like, many things you care about, it's hard to see them struggle or fail. This isn't to say that this blog is failing in any way; just look at the comments you type in everyday. But this is a message to bloggers alike about struggling with the reality of blogging.

There is an unspoken internal battle between blogs and followers. Like a popularity contest, everyone wants to be the most popular girl. In relation to myself, my statistics disclose that my blog isn't growing at the rate it once was. I was frustrated. But a brief chat with my business major dad pumped my brain with advice. "It's natural," he says. "Every business has highs and lows; spikes and declines." The stock market is the perfect example. Although I glance at my follower count on a daily basis, I've attempted to unattach my obsessiveness and intense emotions behind it. It's just a number. And those people quantified love my blog, and I'm really lucky because of that. 

In an effort to revive myself from my blogging rut, I churned out the best content that I could and put massive amounts of effort into it, too. Soon enough, the follower number started going up again. That being said, there are two conclusions that can be drawn. Put effort into blogging. Some people do it just for followers, others just for PR samples, and there are a fair few who do it for themselves, out of passion. That passion is what produces a stunning product. Don't get caught up in the other stuff. The rest will follow if you rely on your heart; I'm hoping it will for me, at least. 

But, I bet there are many people in the world who are just like me: obsessive, people-pleasing, perfectionists. I often take blog photos three times within the span of a week to ensure that it's pleasingly perfect. As you rapt up the stamina to blog to your full potential, don't drive yourself insane; it's easy to do. Understand that your standards are different than other peoples--they're often much higher. And you can't please everyone. Beauty is subjective. Be proud of your work that may not be obsessive, because it's still beautiful. 

Mending creative content is difficult, and I'm running out of ideas. But, sometimes, it's okay to go through these periods of time. Whenever a rough time strikes, tell yourself that "it can only go up from here." After one door closes another opens, and after every recession, comes a spike. I'm really adamant about what I want this blog to be: a diary for the everyday girl (maybe with a little bit of a bad obsession with beauty...). A girl who won't review all the new beauty releases, or even fifteen. A girl who is a minimalist. A girl who loves the power of beauty to make her feel more confident and enhance her natural complexion. A girl who wants to play a friend-like figure, who her viewers can ramble with about beauty. And that, I hope, is Parisian To Be. I thought that buying new beauty products would give me more blogging fuel, but I don't think that's the case; I don't even want to buy anything else--but only because I have restraint, as I do have a wishlist the length of my arm. But blogging comes from the heart, not from other resources. Finding your heart and spreading love is what creates a kick ass blog.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Everyday Spring Makeup

As my school year wraps to a close, I can't tell you how ecstatic I am. Exams? Breakouts (on account of stress, of course)? No social time? Blog posts that I'm not quite satisfied with? It's rather obvious what time it is. Unfortunately, all these factors are also contributing to my general mental health; I've cried three times in the past week. Emotional traumas aside, the weather outside is quite the contrast to my gloomy disposition, and so is my daily slap. I've been opting for a surprisingly spring-like makeup--sans black lipstick and caked liner--that looks shockingly gorgeous as I apply it in the mornings. This is why people think I'm always so happy....

The base I choose normally differs on an everyday basis. Sometimes, I'll opt for my much beloved Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream because the grey-tinged shade cancels out redness and leaves my complexion in dewy perfection. Nevertheless, the Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer is also on the cards. Like the BB, it's slightly dewy, and provides the perfect dose of coverage, while the color match is spot on. Whatever formula, I apply initially with fingers, and then blend everything over with a brush to blend the product into my skin. As per usual, I apply the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer on any imperfections, and blend it in with a brush. Throughout winter, powder was set on the back burner...but it's back, baby. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light was a favorite last summer, and I've crack it out again and apply it on an everyday basis, because, apparently, humidity equals shine. Then I go onto bronzing with the gorgeous NARS Laguna Bronzer and a fluffy powder brush, applying under my cheekbones, on my temples and the bridge of my nose; it's the best shade that imparts a hint of a healthy glow with some secret sculpting power. For blush, I've been keen and admiring the RMS Lip2Cheek in Muse*. The coconut oil base prevalent in all RMS products makes it sheeny and dewy--almost like a blush and highlighter two-in-one--and the shade is a muddy peach that adds a hint of color to my face, completing the "healthy glow" theme. I've been opting out of brow pencil and, instead, just brushing my bushy friends with a spoolie. Then, I use the Chanel Le Crayon Yeux Precision Eye Definer in Violet Smoke, stolen from ma mère. The purple tone is surprisingly flattering and adds some extra volume to my lashes. I only apply it to the very outer halves of my lash line for the ultra flattering finish, then I curl my lashes with the Shu Uemura Eye Lash Curlers and apply the L'Orèal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Waterproof Mascara for length and curl holding doe eyes. Last, I slick on the Kari Gran Tinted Lip Whip for hydration and sheen, and if I want an extra punch, I also pat on some of the Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Tint in Alexandria Rose* for a coral pinch.

With a solid array of products, I've squeaked my routine down no more than five minutes; that means more time in bed, so I neither feel nor look like bridezilla. And hopefully there are no more tears.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Another Aesop Parsley Seed Mask

To relate beauty products to food is a bit of a stretch, but we all have our pantry staples: quinoa, maple syrup, and loads of almond butter...loads. We all have our beauty staples too, whether it be mascara to concealer; one of mine is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. You've seen this black and white printed tube a few times before, non? Perhaps it was in the arsenals of other beauty stashes, or, most likely, you've seen it on Parisian To Be, because the times I've spoken of it are not far and few between. With my initial review out of the way and my first tube down, I've now tapped the most remarkable characteristics of this skincare miracle.

Unlike most clay masks that leave the skin squeaky stripped, this one balances the edge between "clean" and "nourished;" perhaps it's the parsley seed oil--whatever that is. Above all though, most clay masks always aid to draw impurities out of the skin. But it's rather ironic that these masks cause breakouts, instead of shoving them to the curb. That's what I adore about this mask--it minimizes spots, not makes them worse. Impurities aside, one application of this and you're left with baby smooth skin. And this mask is also cleansing, yet perfected for sensitive skin types, as well. Although the price may deter you, it will last you a long time; mine lasted nine months (and for a period, I was using it twice weekly).

No matter what your skin type, you need this in your arsenal. You won't be disappointed. And who doesn't want a spot reducing, smoothing, and slightly nourishing treatment?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Whether you're a full-coverage lover, medium fiend, or sheer bearer, you need at least one of each foundation in your stash. Although, hold on--maybe you shouldn't take this advice to heart; I am a little beauty psycho, after all. Nevertheless, I believe in the statement. And to satisfy one of such categories, I souped up my foundation array with the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. Within the last year, it's gained quite the blogger publicity. And the fact that this really is the only full-coverage foundation I've tried doesn't quite make me the most apt to do this review, but I'm presenting my two sense--my sheer coverage loving two cents.

My preferred way to apply and use this Silk Foundation is by applying the majority of the product just where I need it (my chin and forehead) and using the excess left on the brush on the rest of my face, just for a pinch of coverage. Not only does this result in a strikingly non-makeup-y finish, but your skin will look perfected; sometimes, I don't even need concealer. But, perhaps the most amazing part about this foundation is that, even when applied in full blown mode, it never looks cakey and the skin looks surprisingly bare. Either for daytime or nighttime use, it works perfectly, and the void of SPF means that you'll want to slap some protection on during the day (as you always do, right?), but it is also lovely for photographic purposes. The finish isn't overtly dewy, nor matte--just somewhere in the middle. Whether you apply it with a brush or your hands, the finish stays nearly the same. I like to use a combination of both. As for the lasting power, I'd say it's pretty fantastic, but I owe it to the heavy coverage which means there's more to lose, so the skin doesn't look too empty.

So, whatever type of base you prefer, Luminous Silk is a good starting point for pure versatility, especially for those days where you want to wear a brown bag over your head, because we all have those. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Surprising Endings

I needed scissors to cut the red roses in my room. Don't fool yourself; they were a gift from my mom, but, I couldn't find my snipping pair. I searched through my bedside table, through my brother's drawers, but still couldn't find them. "Where are the scissors," I screamed to my brother in a rant of rage. "I don't have them," he responded gloomily. Ugh--now I was really pissed; I knew he had them. As I last resort, I opened my desk to find my orange and gray pair of triangular blades, sitting peacefully. In other words, this was a rather surprising ending--mostly because it was my fault that I couldn't find them and my brother wasn't the villain I thought he was. And I still haven't told him that he was "right." Although scissors aren't always the object. In the last week, I've exhibited rather shocking outcomes with two products. Maybe I wrote them off too soon.

The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is an old flame that I have loved for over a year now. I slapped it on nearly daily during winter (A little more obsessive that I would like to admit.) and swore by it to clear up my spotty complexion, concluding that dehydration was the ruling source of my complexion problems. As I struggled to find my routine, I turned back to my "old faithful" last week, knowing that it would help my skin like it did in the past. Although I forgot something: my skin was actually at its best last year when I wasn't using this at all. I woke up the next morning and my face was red, so red, my cheeks looked slightly purple. My face felt bruised and heated; this was not the outcome I remembered. I don't know if the mask has gone off or my skin just doesn't get along with it anymore, but I'm rather shocked we had the fight that we did. Within the same week, though (obviously I was in the skincare experimenting mood), I started using the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer again as my nightly moisturizer. A comment on my blog (Ellen, I really can't thank you enough.) urged me that I should try not just using emollient creams, but a humectant. And that is what this is, as glycerin is the second ingredient. Previously, I donned this cream as the source of my "small bumps on my chin" issue, but most of them have been cleared up with manual and regular exfoliation. I was also having cystic spots around my chin. They weren't aesthetically awful, but they were über painful. As a last resort, I slapped this on in the evening and immediately felt an "ah" sensation. Now, this may sound a little too good to be true, but those painful inhibitors were void the next morning, and, since I now use this nightly as my moisturizer, I haven't had another cystic spot.

So the moral of my ramblings is this: consider adding a humectant into your routine, surprising endings may occur and blow your mind, and refrain from blaming others when it's not really their fault (but if you don't realize that until after your rage, don't tell them).

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Detoxifying Trio

As a neat-freak and perfectionist at heart, cleaning is my therapy. Showers are heaven. And cleaning my closet always imparts a refreshed feeling. It seems like you can detox everything these days: juice cleanses, "toxins," your mouth, and prohibiting electronics. Nevertheless, I think I'll stick to beauty and house cleaning for my fix. Naturally inclined towards these deep cleansing beauty products, some people call Sunday nights "pamper evenings." Well, I call it time to crack out the detoxifying trio.

My lifestyle induces a clogged-up scalp, with gentle organic shampoos, shed loads of hairspray, my aptitude for volume, and my sensitive scalp. Whenever I use a deep cleansing, clarifying shampoo, my hair taps into its glimmering potential. The Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo is a ginger, tea tree, and peppermint laden formula that will dissolve any scalp residue and create a completely clean canvas for your scalp--also amping up the shine, glimmer, and softness. Nevertheless, it can leave my hair looking a little flat, but a once weekly rinse for a refreshed scalp is worth the droop. For body, all I can say is that I wish I was a denizen of an oceanside city; there's no hope in my land-locked state. Models and moguls alike always swear that sea salt makes their bodies glowy and smooth. I've also tried my share of dumping sea salt in my bath, and the results aren't equal. The Ahava Liquid Dead Sea Salt* is a detoxifying, salt-based liquid to restore moisture balances and pump the dermis full of vitamins and minerals. Whether I slather it on in the shower or squeeze some into the bath, it reduces my small yearning for the sea--sans my biggest fear: seaweed. With hair and body covered, I can't forget my visage. The Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask is the best face mask I've ever used--which explains the hammered tube. Completely detoxifying, clearing of spots and ridding of facial gunk, but also adding a hint of moisture and leaving the skin as smooth and soft as the fur on my three month lab puppy, Rocky, it's no wonder I've just ordered my second tube; just don't ask me what "parsley seed" is.

Whether it's some visual signs or some physiological needs, these detoxifying products have distinguished reign in my shower or vanity. Now, that juice cleanse? I think I'll just stick to beauty.... 
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