Monday, June 30, 2014

June Favorites

Last month, I wrestled to find a concurrent round-up. Luckily, this set of thirty-one days is a different story; no one wants to peck their brain like the woodpecker who does his job at five A.M. outside my window. 

My two skincare favorites come in the form of repurchases. First, the most controversial, is the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer. I say "controversial" because I looked through my own posts on this formula and found a plenty of negative remarks. Nevertheless, I've come to realize that it's amazing after a brief test with another option, and this is my second bottle. The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner has turned my complexion from lumpy (sorry for that depiction) to smooth, as well as helped clear up some residual scaring. I think it's the glycerin that keeps my skin yearning for more. I finished up the John Master's Organics Bare Shampoo and, I have to say, I'm truly gutted. But, have no fear, because a repurchase is on the cards, because I'm in love with how it transforms my hair into a manageable mane while oomphing texture, adding a bit of volume, reducing the oil-levels, all whilst being kind to my scalp. For even more volume, I've been reaching for the Sachajuan Volume Powder. Although it works more so like a dry shampoo, it also adds a non-gritty texture and whiffs my locks into an airy delight. I think I prefer it to the Bumble and bumble Dry Spun Finish, as it's a tad more effective, but doesn't leave any white cast, either.

Surprisingly, I've been slapping on nail polish loads this month, and I've come back, and back...and back to one color in particular: Essie's Neo Whimsical. It's pastel hue is indescribably simple, chic, and makes my hands look so much more polished. And I think I'd go as far to say that it's my favorite nail color of all time. Alongside nail polish, I replenished my brush stock this month. I've been pondering purchasing the Real Techniques Powder Brush for quite some time, but I was scared that it would be a bit too big for my pint-sized body (and face). Nevertheless, I've been using it for bronzer, and powder here and there, and I couldn't be more satisfied. Real Techniques wins, again. Another brush that I've been loving is the Models Own Angled Blush Brush. I haven't been using it for blush, but for dusting on powder, as the small head and airy bristles works perfectly for adding as much powder as I need sans a cakey finish. Actually, I've been using it in conjunction with the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder which, although it seems boring, smooths my complexion, blurs imperfections, and makes the skin look healthier, too; c'est magique. The Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy is another favorite that I discovered this month. The punchy coral looks stunning on the cheeks and adds life to the face without being too over-the-top. It's the blush I've reached for the most this month, and that's saying a lot because you know my blush adoration.

Although a hefty amount of favorites takes a while to read, my anxiety has been shockingly lowered, (Especially since I managed to write a whole post without mentioning the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream!). Keep your Tim Horton's coffee in your mouths, people.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Blogger Organization Kit

Organization is some people's nightmares. My brother, for example, felt that he had some point to prove by using a mangled binder that no longer even had the cardboard stuck to it. Well, I'm not even quite sure if we're related, because when I was a young one--centuries ago--I would wake up in the middle of the night to clean my room. Now, I'd say my schedule is a little too jam-packed to live that lifestyle, and I've relaxed a little bit when it comes to keeping my room clean, but I still have a penchant for organization and "perfection." Perhaps that explains why my handwriting is so small, or why, after someone cleans my room, I sweep it once more to make sure everything is in place. In other words, I'm satisfied with my organization kit, and since you're probably nosy, like me (you are reading my niche, after all), I decided to lay it all out. 

My collection of notepads my seem frivolous, but each one has its distinct purpose. I use a Red Moleskin Notebook to write down posts ideas--both for A Little Opulent and for this blog--as well as a small description about what I want to include in the post. If the idea has made the cut and is going to turn from a drifting cloud in my imagination to reality, I write down the notes concerning the post in another notebook: the Rifle Paper Co. Jardin Journal; each page has a title with the corresponding products, notes, or things I must include for said post. Then, it's time to employ the planner and collection of notepads. I use this Dozi Planner from Etsy to pen my editorial calendar and color code the events; I use red ink for Parisian To Be plans, green for ALO, and purple for personal events and holidays (and shout out to the Muji 0.5 mm Gel Pens because they rule the world). To organize to-do lists, I either use the Muji Checklist Memo Pad, which is certainly ideal for lists on account of the tick boxes. The Rifle Paper Co. Lined Paper Notepad is another favorite that I use more so for general lists, like photos I want to take, etc. Apart from stationary, I use a series of file folders to store information and handouts. I use my label maker for the titles of each (which no one warned me would be so addicting) in various categories such as "PR and Brands," "Parisian To Be General Info," and "Analytics Reports." One of the more fun products out of the lot are metallic Sharpies. I have both the Bronze and the Gold color, and, while they are certainly stunning, I've already returned them three times because they seem to dry out as soon as I get them home, even though I may not have used them.

Regardless, this organization kit has me sorted. And, since I'm nosey, too, what are some of your organization tips?

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Nail Detox

My thoughts on nail polish are probably more profound than they should be. In fact, I've looked so far into them, I call my pensions a "philosophy." Yes, #nerd territory. At the moment, I'm feeling the nail polish vibes which are sending me to slap on the color, but, since I've been doing it so consistently, my nails have taken a hammering. They're peeling, they're brittle, and I have a rainbow of polish around the cuticle where my remover-soaked cotton ball can't reach. So, I've ordered a nail detox and about to be served.

Although I've just removed my polish, I'm throwing on another coat--of strengthener, that is. After clipping, filing, and tending to my knackered cuticles, I slap on the Nailtiques Formula 2 Nail Protein. I've tried OPI Nail Envy, but that solution didn't do anything; I think it actually made the problem worse. So, I graduated to the more heavy duty formula. It's true that I cringe a little whenever I put it on, but I just don't read the ingredients list and it's bearable. Slapping this on everyday not only provides a healthy looking sheen and pink tint--even though it's clear...c'est magique--it definitely sorts out the peeling, separating, and oomphs my tips back to good health. 

But it's not just my nails that get the attention; my cuticles deserve some, too, especially since an opaque color can disguise their bad health. But if I'm going au naturel, they need some aid. Among hand cream (either the Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream or the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask--it needs to be intense), I also throw on some more cuticle nourishment. The Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil does the job, and the best part is that you can brush it on without getting your fingers messy, so you can continue to be a functioning human being, and it also smells delicious, like apricots. My favorite, though, is the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme. It's thick, doesn't sink in too quickly, but, boy, is it fantastic. Maybe it's the enzymes in the lemon, but it's my favorite nail product and my nails look truly distressed when I go a day without application.

Forget the juices. This is a detox that doesn't ban solid food, so, like I said, you can be a functioning human being--even if my nails aren't quite at that level. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The List of Repurchases

Among my people pleasing nature is a lot of apologies; it's second nature. And I'm dishing another one. I'm sorry, for writing another post concerning a round-up of my favorite products, "staples," or any other synonyms, but this one has a slightly varied purpose. Although I may say, "This is the most amazing product ever, " (which I certainly have--no judgement), whether it has been repurchased is debatable. Well, I'm delivering to you the crème de la crème of the stock: the list of repurchases. I've not only been satisfied enamored once, but twice, possibly even three times.

Okay, that last part was an exaggeration; all of the following constituents have been repurchased only twice. The most recent of the few is the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. (Do you remember this beaute?) In fact, it's been a full year since it's void, but this year has been the annual of cheek texture, and I say that in the pejorative. I decided it was time to oomph the complexion back up again with some daily, chemical exfoliation and the addition of glycerin to this formula intensifies the craving (my skin's craving, that is). Another skincare repurchase is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. I'll keep this description snappy considering I've mentioned it (insert number here--I'm too lazy to check) times in the past two weeks, but it's gentle and effective deep cleanse is always a winner and a staple to a clear complexion. The last two on the roster is a combination of eye products, which, I'll admit, is a little surprising, especially considering the fact that eye makeup is certainly not my forté. But maybe that's why I go through them the snappiest--because I apply the same two everyday. My eye routine consists of, first, a smudge of the Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Brown in between the lashes. But among the routine rut, I'd also say I'm qualified to admit that this is the best liner I've used. In a quick flit without it, I smudged other varieties, but nothing compared to the smudgable, silkiness, and impact of this liner. After a curl with the eyelash curlers, I throw on the L'Orèal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Waterproof Mascara. This and Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof are two of my favorites, but I think the L'Orèal takes the cake. It's lengthening beyond compare--to the limit that my friends sat agape at my "extensions." It's also slightly volumizing for moments when I dig that look, and it is truly waterproof, which is a necessity considering swimming is mandatory at my school.

When this lot get tossed in the bin, it's automatic renewal process churns out another in its spot. If only I felt so passionate about my groceries, grocery shopping would be a breeze.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Korres | Brand Spotlight

Among the French, the Spanish, the British, and the Dutch, are the Greeks. Not only are the people admirable, but their respectful locations are the destinations of dreams. And when I envision my dream vacation--that happens to never end, might I add--the stunningly "normal" commodities for the denizens are treasures that I hope to explore; preferably, they're in the beauty category (although some variety of chocolate would be nice, too). Nevertheless, with transatlantic trade at its highest, I can get a taste of the world in the comfort of my own bed. Korres, a Greek brand, is a prime example.

With a history in homeopathy (No, we're not talking about the Trojan War, here), the original Korres was a pharmacy. But, through the years, founders Lena and George Korres expanded their line of natural-based products throughout the world. They place an emphasis on utilizing the innate potency of herbs and, specifically, Greek flora. Korres avoids the use of chemical substances such as mineral oils, silicons, parabens, and propylene glycol, among others. And their Nobel Prize-winning lab allows them to suck the greatest from the simplest ingredients. One of their best-sellers, their range of sleeping facials, follows the trend. The Greek Yogurt and Wild Rose Sleeping Facials and are super-charged with the ever-so-simple base. Product names also exude a sense of effectivity and allure, portrayed by some of their other best-sellers such as the Greek Yogurt Nourishing Lip Cooler or the Volcanic Mineral Mascara.

I can't say I'm a Korres expert, but I'm also no stranger. My testings come in duos; perhaps that's proof that I've been so satisfied with their products that I needed another dose...and I'm even contemplating a third. The first of the Korres loot is the Lip Butter in Pomegranate, which, in addition to the stunning coral color, packs a punch in the hydration department. The same Lip Butter in Jasmine is a newer offering to my stash with a sheer pink tinge, the same great nourishment, as well as a cupcake scent. Equally as delicious is their offering of body washes (or gel douche, shall I say). Both the Shower Gel in Guava and Fig offer a punchy fruit aroma, but with an earthy base that has me yearning for perfume versions.

Maybe I'll just have to snatch those spritzes on my next trip to Greece, but said trip may never happen if I continue dish my savings on more Korres plunder. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tips for Cautious Spending

Sometimes I think to myself, "How is there anything that they haven't tried?" in response to review-heavy blogs. Then I remember that this is the twenty-first century and new scientific discoveries are being revealed and reveled everyday. When I started Parisian To Be, I was positive that I didn't want to be a review heavy blog, because I wanted to be relatable. Beyond the philosophical stuff, not everyone has the money to spend on every new release (i.e. me), I could never use that much makeup, and I hate being wasteful. Whether this profound core has served me well, I don't know, but I've realized that being a beauty blogger doesn't mean that you have to buy every new product. In fact, I don't think I've purchased a "new release"...ever--except the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, which I bought five months after they were released; I told you.

To restrict the amount of products that raid into my stash, I keep a wishlist. In fact, adding to its ever-growing length has become one of my favorite pastimes. Yes, I'm that strange. But this enumerated assortment comes into good use. Once a month, I pick out a few things and escort them to the "to do" list, and return with the fruits of my list making. This has many pros, one of which is that I realize how little I need something in comparison to something else that I want. And, second, I also plan this mini "birthday" during particularly hard times and it gives me something to look forward to at the end of the month. But choosing which assortment (normally in trios or duos) takes careful thought. My tentative "one in, one out" policy provides limited wiggle room for duplicates and noticing the voids in my owned array can also help in making the cut.

But all you've heard so far is "restrict, restrict, restrict." But there comes a time where your constant limiting will send you on an overzealous shopping spree. If you really can't last and are about to break, that's when you implement the "wiggle room" theory.  In other words, there are times for frivolous purchases, but the best way to do so smartly is to use gift cards for this purpose. Yes, you know the ones--those innocent cards that can make you happier than any actual gift. One of my friends once told me, "If you have a gift card, you can justify anything." (Thanks, Jen.) 

That's my secret. And now you know why I talk about all the same products all the time. No, but I actually really do like them, especially the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream. (Oops, I mentioned it again.) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Summer Edit

The summer solstice is upon us--tomorrow, in fact--and summer is turning out just as I hoped it to. The weather is a tad muggy for my liking (I guess I shouldn't live in the south, no?) and I'm partial to layers upon layers of clothing, but these extended hours, glistening rays, and relaxing time is summing more pros than cons. To match the air, I've curated a distinct list of products that will serve you the rest of the season: beauty stylée, of course. 

Throughout most seasons, my skin is the part that receives attention first. Luckily, I no longer have to worry if I'm slapping on enough hydration--oils, humectants, and all--and i now pay more attention to seasonal offerings. The MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28 was mentioned in my "Spring Edit," but it's making an appearance again because it's easily the best SPF I've tried. It's not heavy in the slightest, doesn't linger with the typical sunscreen scent, and dries matte on the skin. When I've spent too much time in the heat, a spritz of the LUSH Breath of Fresh Air Toner Water is a cooling refresh for my skin--equal in feeling to a brain freeze as sweat drips from your brow down your cheek. Although I may not have gotten on with it as a staple in my skincare routine, over makeup, there is nothing but pros. The Origins Vitazing Moisturizer was a favorite last heat wave and the bronzed tint that it supplies to my overtly pale complexion is stunning. Another place for some color pow is on my nails. Essie Neo Whimsical is perhaps my favorite nail color of all time; the pale purple mends seamlessly with my skin tone that it manages to look understated. Nevertheless, I couldn't ignore Essie Mint Candy Apple, which is a shade I always dig out come summer. I've seen and tried other mints, but this reigns supreme. 

The most annoying thing about summer is my oily complexion that comes back into play. Although, I've found a solution to the problem: the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Oil-Free. It may not work as well as other silicon primers, but it's über light formula and oil controlling properties are a winner, especially since it's water-based and practically weightless. On the rest of the face, I doubt you thought I could write a summer post without mentioning the NARS Laguna Bronzer. Well, you were right. It warms up my complexion and adds some dimension when I run it under my cheekbones, without looking orange or changing my complexion tone from the rest of my body. And, since I'm a blush obsessive, I have two offerings for you. Yes, they're rather similar, but too stunning to ignore. The Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color in Lush Nectarine is the more red-toned out of the duo, but the coral with a hint of gleam is stunning. The Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy is more vibrant, but equally--if not more--beautiful. 

While some will be sloshing down lemonade, I'll be embracing these summer hues...and daily sleep-ins.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Diptyque Candles | Are They Worth It?

When I discovered beauty blogs, the Diptyque littered photos (or houses, I can't tell which one) had me swooning. I'm already attracted to pretty packaging, let alone these stunners. I'm happy to admit that I was able to restrain myself for a solid two years. I even bought my friend one as a gift--and I have a policy: Don't buy people gifts that you want for yourself--because I will steal them. Nevertheless, I'll dish that I fell into the beauty blogger cliché, which I have no problem with. I purchased a Diptyque candle, Diptyque's Figuier, to be exact. And as the crystal-like jar and French inscribed label sat in it's new place upon my Muji set (yes, another cliché) I felt a pang of disappointment.

Diptyque pros--both store staff and die-hard fans--always say: "They last so long...they fill the room with scent without you lighting them...they're so amazing." Well, the first annoying thing is that they do not last long; in fact, they burn quite quickly, and I know this because of the wick. The wick grows like my brother (and he's slap bang in the middle of puberty) and, since I don't want soot on my walls, I always have to blow out the flame, cut the wick, and relight it. And another annoying fact is that, for the first week of burning, I didn't smell the fruit of my cash. Nothing. Na dah. The wax just burned, and burned, and burned.

Now that I've had it for a month, I'm happy that I'm beginning to reap what I sowed--or, rather, what Diptyque sowed. I'm smelling the pleasant aroma even when it's not lit, and, therefore, I'm not lighting it as much, thus it's lasting a little longer. For the price, Figuier isn't as nice as I would wish, but the scent certainly is. I'm still up in arms whether I'll be the owner of its sister, twin, or parent. I don't think I'll buy another for myself, but I'll, perhaps, stick it on a birthday or Christmas list and hope my family gets the hint. Nevertheless, while I'm burning it at the moment, the wick still grows to a considerable length in a less than considerable amount of time, and I annoyingly have to relight it all the time. On the plus side of its quick burn, I will have that empty jar sooner rather than later, which is fantastique. Now, I just have to decide what I want to store in it once it's done.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Beauty Toolkit

I learned from my dad that a toolkit is essential. Ironically, he calls me high maintenance in the  (as he calls it) "personal care"department, despite the fact that my toolkit only takes up a few drawers, while his is a whole closet--and he's not even a handyman by profession. Although his may consist of nuts and bolts and mine is stocked to the brim with tubes and tubs, they do have something in common: they're both practical, and make life a little bit easier. Side note, for the purpose of the length of this post, I'll be excluding brushes, but I recently noted my favorites in my "Makeup Brush Stash."

So, back to the "personal care" arena. Although there is something that my dad and I both savor: cotton buds. Although he may only use them to clean out his ears (gross, but necessary), they're certainly fantastic for smudge clean ups and toning down eye makeup. Its sister, the cotton pad, comes in handy for toner and makeup removal situations, as well as turning the notch down on overzealous blush situations. Next to my row of cotton rounds are the small spatulas. Unfortunately, I'm not a makeup mixologist, but I use them to dig out amounts of creams and potions from pots (i.e. the bacteria breeding ground). And, P.S., they're a great thing to "buy" from beauty shops, because they're free; what a perfect "shopping while not spending money" fix. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the tools than certainly cost a stacks but they're truly worth it. And, no--this is not a sales pitch; they really do last a long time. Example? The Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers. I bought this pair five years ago and they're still as sharp as ever and do a perfect job at sorting my unibrow situation...if I have the patience to pluck every hair. The Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers were my mom's until they were mine I took them from her. Nevertheless, daily use hasn't stopped them from turning my lashes into doe-eyed beauties.

Continuing with the "rather expensive" theme, the Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher and Nail Cleaner* does wonders for pushing back my ecstatically growing cuticles. I never knew that a cuticle pusher backer could be so satisfying, but the scored handle, weight, and masterful shape are just among the pros. Cuticle scissors are also a staple, mostly because they save me from painful, bloody situations.(Don't pull your hangnails off with your fingers.) And the cost-efficient price means I can stow some everywhere I go so there will be no more bloody fingers. Like these cuticle trimmers, one tool that saved my scalp was the Tangle Teezer. I didn't think it was worth its continually occurring hype, until I decided to use the Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in my hair, and it became a miracle. I no longer use that knot-inducing shampoo, but the gliding magic is still evident. My longest standing love are bobby pins. Curvy grips, hair pins, whatever you call them--my demand for having my hair out of my face completes the fact that these are fundamental.

While my tool box may not be as industrial as my dad's, it's certainly more fitting for my needs. Although, I do need to rewire my outlet. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Get Ready With Me | Summer Edition

I wish I could admit that the drop dead, humid air outside inspired me to continue the "Get Ready With Me" series, featuring my routine, now changed from your previous eye candy, as I have no  classes to attend to--in fact I spent this whole day tending to my blogging business. Nevertheless, the delivery of a new camera brought me ideas--one with video capability that is. Oui, this post is coming to you in half video form. Come with me on the dreary ride to a revived complexion, clothed bod, and sustained stomach with the accompaniment of music and even my dog. All I can say now is please be kind, as this is my first venture into reel presentation. I also wanted to clarify a point: this does not make me a YouTuber; blogging is my passion, and I only wanted to supplement my posts with movies, not define them with motion. So, before you get dressed this morning, watch this version. Yes, you can stay in bed a little longer.

At the skincare station:

In my closet:

At the vanity:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stash Staples

Six months ago, in January--time really does fly--I wrote on the margin of my planner, "All Time Favorites." Since I had just penned my "2013 Favorites," I decided to touch base with you on the products I'm not only loving this month, not only this year, not only the year before, but I love all the time. And, apart from the love, I'd go as far as saying that I will have these products permanently in my stash. And, as a disclaimer, I have mentioned these products many a few times before, so I apologize if I'm so transparent, you already know what they are.

Most of these products are makeup related, mostly because I'm having a bit of a skincare revolution at the moment, and I'm not too particular about my body or hair products. But there is one non-face focused product: coconut oil. Of course, you can certainly use it on the face, but whether I use it for eye makeup removal, a body moisturizer, shaving lubricant, or hair treatment, I'm always more than pleased at its power. (And that smell....) Since I use it for cooking, too, I really can't see myself being without it. Another exception to the makeup-heavy trend is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. I'm on my second tube and it always manages to clear out my complexion while actually reducing blemishes (unlike other masks that just bring the gunk to the surface), while it's never drying. After skincare is the base makeup. Sometimes, I feel bad throwing on makeup right after my skin has been cleaned, but the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream makes it more bearable. It's skincare heavy with aloe and other hydrators, making it perfect for dry and dehydrated skin situations, but also balancing when my skin leans on the oily side. It cancels redness to a "Is it there?" degree and manages to look natural all day long. Can you tell the love is real?

Perhaps my favorite part about the Dr. Jart BB Cream, though, is that it supplies coverage where you want it, but barely any in the places where it's not needed. To perfect the skin even more, the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer gets cracked out. The mousse-like texture smooths over everything and gives heavy-duty coverage. Again, "Is it there?" Something that is truly nonexistent on me is any sort of tan. Nevertheless, the NARS Laguna Bronzer is perhaps the most stunning product ever as it eeks both sculpt and a healthy dose of color onto my face without looking orange or making it look like I had a complexion transplant. Although my eyelashes are rather long, I'm seriously lacking in the volume category. And because I have a weird fettish with looking like I'm not wearing makeup (even though I love it), I smudge some of the Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Brown right in between my lashes. The soft formula means I won't go even more bald--in the lash category, that is--and the brown shade looks more natural than black.

I'm having an epiphany: these products are so fantastic, I never need to try anything else. I wish....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Makeup Brush Stock

The touch of a makeup artist can turn my daily slap from mediocre to stunning. And that is the true power of makeup. Snapping back to reality, I don't have a live in makeup artist or hairstylist; I think the last time I even got my hair cut was five months ago. Albeit, I like to think that I can get that magical makeup mark at home with the help of some good makeup brushes. My complexion may still not be Lisa Eldridge-worthy, but it's a step in the right direction. As I've gathered makeup application tools, I've separated the constituents into two categories: the daily brushes and the extra ones. The daily options are the ones that I reach for, as the name suggests, everyday. The other ones are nice, but either I have a duplicate of better quality or its fitting makeup product isn't used everyday.

A large part of the everyday stock is courtesy of Real Techniques. The collection as a whole is effective, easy on the change purse, and high-quality. My longest love is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, which buffs any base product with ease. I use it with my foundation and tinted moisturizers when I'm not getting my hands dirty and always use to to press my concealer into the skin. The next layer in the base sandwich is powder, and the Real Techniques Powder Brush applies just that. I was concerned that this would be too big--especially in comparison to my rather petite face body--but it's actually a nice size and gets that step done in a few seconds time. I also use it for bronzer, so things don't get too Jersey Shore on my face. The last of the daily grabs is the MAC 129 brush which I use for blush or contour, either cream or powder. It's the perfect size for dolloping and blending over the cheekbone, as well as eeking itself into the (practically nonexistent) hollows created by my cheekbones.

Other contour tools that I don't reach for as often is the Models Own Angled Blush Brush--but that angle is actually quite handy--and the Elf Complexion Brush, which is also handy for powder. In dire complexion situations, I use the Real Techniques Detailer Brush to pinpoint conceal and sometimes use the Real Techniques Contour Brush for blending heavy covering pigment, as well. Another blush option that works a stunning job, specifically, with RMS cheek products, as well as highlighter of any texture is the Real Techniques Stippling Brush which is fantastic at blending or applying small amounts of product in concentrated areas; an all-rounder, you could say. I only have three eye brushes, two of which I don't think I could live without when it comes to eye makeup, but the other is a little extraneous. The two wonders is the MAC 217--everyone's favorite--which is perfect for all over shading or crease work, as well as the Sigma E40 Tapered Blending Brush, which, for a light-wash-lover like me, is idea at applying a shade all over or blending. The slightly more frivolous option is the Sigma E70 Medium Angled Shading Brush, which, although I'm naming it in the pejorative, is nice for packing color onto the lid or applying highlight on the brow bone. 

I'd say I'm pretty covered on the makeup brush front and my daily grabs are a minimal few; that goes to show you have much makeup I wear on a daily basis. So that's my stash, that is until Ms. Eldridge recommends some new wonder. I'll hide my wallet now. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Summer Skincare Routine

Hopefully you didn't notice that there has been a serious lack of skincare-related posts at the moment on Parisian To Be, which is rather surprising, if I may say so myself, as the French are the masters when it comes to skincare (and I'm not just relying on a stereotype here; more than plenty of my facial potions are inscribed with "Made in France") and this niche is normally pretty skincare heavy. But, I have an excuse. "Excuses, excuses," you may be saying in your head. No, but really. In fact, my skin has been so fantastic as of late, I haven't been changing anything around. So consider this the grand finale of the skincare posts--for the previous months, at least. As always, I've got combination, oily, dehydrated, acne prone skin.

Although cleansing may seem like a chore, my skin is always transformed from its former red, shiny self with the Herbivore Botanicals Blue Clay Soap. After massaging that onto dry skin (I do wet my hands to apply it, though), I rinse it off with lukewarm water. After towel drying, I head to my vanity and slap in a pea-sized amount--although sometimes I can go a bit overboard and the size more so resembles an almond--of Indeed Labs PeptaBright. Although it's a radiance builder, it's also done a swell job at cleaning up a few acne scars I have left over. Then, I slather on The Organic Pharmacy Manuka Face Cream. Because it comes in a pot, I use a small wooden spatula to dish it out of it's container; it comes with such a device, but mine fell on the floor and, apparently, I'm too lazy to clean it. Formulated for oily skin, it does a good job at hydrating, but not leaving the skin too shiny. I do find it's not moisturizing enough, though for morning and night use. Last, I dollop the MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28 onto my skin. I know, I'm being such a good girl putting on my sunscreen. But when you have a product as good as this, such a task becomes rather favorable. This is by far the best SPF I've found; it doesn't have the typical sunscreen scent (that connotation always makes me feel a bit gross), dries matte on the skin, and is never heavy. After my skin is tended to, it's time to tend to my body, by throwing on clothes, of course.

By the time I wash my face at night, I think I'd die if I didn't do it at that moment. Again, I'm rather lazy and, although I don't procrastinate on many things, I always push washing my face as far into the future as possible. To start the cleansing ritual, I begin by massaging castor oil all over my face and eyes, removing all my makeup--even the waterproof stuff. I steam a muslin cloth (I really like the Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cloths) and place it on my face until it cools off, then I run it all over my face to rid of the oil. I follow up with the Herbivore Botanicals Blue Clay Soap; this stuff again. At this point, I either exfoliate with the Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask, which I perform three times a week, or throw on my favorite face mask, the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask, which is a ritual I perform twice weekly--although I have to apprehend myself from doing it more. Either finish--soap, exfoliation, or mask--I throw on Indeed Labs PeptaBright, again, and a helping of the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer. I pop some vitamin D, brush my teeth, slather on the Kari Gran Tinted Lip Whip and head to bed.

Although having nice skin is always a plus , I'm quite proud of myself for not becoming too freaked out when my skin turns from cheese pizza to pepperoni. In other words, this is what works for me and should should serve as inspiration or a nosey peek for you; I know how the journey to nice skin can turn obsessive. Heck, just forget about your skin and enjoy the sunshine. Only if you slather on SPF. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Your Questions Answered | Q&A

Reading through comments at the end of the day is one of my most anticipated tasks. But then, I sit back down at my computer, stare at that eyeball burning screen, and type away, mocking myself, and forcing myself to remember that you don't know who I am; in other words, blogging can be really dimensional. I decided to open the tabs to you to ask me some of your burning questions, so that you can get to know a little bit more about me--in lengthy document form.

♥ By Babette (@beautures): What do you think your future holds for you?

Dear Babette: Risking not sounding as eloquent as I wish, I have no idea. I have aspirations, hopes, dreams, and goals, but anticipating them only sets me up for disappointment, even if I achieve them.

♥ By WengYee (@wy_hu) from 9 Out of TenWhat's your current/most recent dream (to accomplish) and why?

Dear Weng: My current dream, and it has been for a while, is to become a professional ballet dancer. I've known that I want the career ever since I was ten years old, but, in the past four years, I've realized how difficult it really is both to attain such a status and how difficult it is both physically and psychologically. But, I want it more than anything. 

♥ By Divya Gautam (@ConscienceFund) from The Conscience FundHow do you multitask like a superwoman?!? With school, ballet, blog, and so much more?

Dear Divya: First, thank you, Divya, for such a sweet comment; you made me laugh--as always. I want to say that I don't have all aspects of my life mastered, even though I wish I did. Dividing my time to be successful at certain aspects of my life comes from prioritizing. School, ballet, and my blog are all priorities of mine, therefore, I'm not afraid to admit that I do lack in other aspects. For instance, I don't have a lot of time to hang out with my friends, nor am I able to go to parties, get sucked into pop culture or just relax (I'm lucky that blogging is something that I really enjoy doing, so it serves as my cool down time).

♥ By Zazie Bibi from A Little TreatI'd love to know the first blog you've ever read, and loved.

Dear Zazie: My friend Elizabeth was the first one who exposed me to blogs, and the first one she showed me was Cupcakes and Cashmere. I fell in love, and the first thing i did every morning was check for a new post.

♥ By Aerin from BerrieBlogsDo you compare yourself to other bloggers? I tend to do this a lot and it really puts me down about my blog. How can I stop?

Dear Aerin: I know how you're feeling; I struggled with the exact same thing. What really helped me was realizing that other blogs are inspiration. This makes no room for comparison, and, really, it's neither fair nor productive to compare yourself to other blogs, bloggers, or people in general. People want to read your blog because of you, not just because it looks like someone else's. In fact, what makes a blog really outstanding is when it differentiates itself from the pack. I, for example, used to really struggle with photography and would get so frustrated that mine didn't look like someone else's. In an effort to mend my growing frustration, I created a pin board on Pinterest titled "Photography Inspiration." Whenever I like another blogger's photo, I "pin" it to said board. Then, I look at all the photos before I take my own, but exit out of it so I can't refer to it while I'm snapping away. In retrospect, here's my biggest advice: find your own niche, voice, style, and aesthetic and go with it. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.

♥ By Sophia (@sophiatommo29): What inspired you to start blogging? Love reading your blog, it's definitely one of my favorites.

Dear Sophia: Sophie, I'm truly flattered; in fact, I'm blushing. I was reading a lot of other blogs at the time and decided to try it myself. I was also given the push by my pshycologist while I was recovering from an eating disorder to start a blog as another creative outlet outside of ballet--which, at the time, was driving me insane. I hate to mention my ED a lot, but it's such a large part of me, it's kind of hard not to. Somewhere along the way of Parisian To Be, specifically (this is, technically, my fifth blog; I've deleted all the other haunts), I developed a passion for writing, and the creative process as a whole. And now I'm hooked.

♥ By Manon: Have you ever been to France or do you plan on going there anytime soon?

Dear Manon: I went to France when I was eight, and I haven't been back since. I wasn't into beauty at the time, but I was still enamored by all the pharmacies; I guess it was a peek into the ominous, beauty consumed future. As of right now, I don't plan on going there anytime soon, but I hope that changes.

♥ By Brittany Messener from Life, Set SailRAD or Ceccheti?

Dear Brittany: Definitely RAD. 

♥ By @AnonBeauty_Blog: I spend more time than I should on my blog making it look perfect. How much time do you spend on your blog? Is there a limit?

Dear AnonBeauty Blog: The first thing I'd say is to understand that beauty is subjective. It's really hard to disappoint yourself, and, therefore, like you, I often retake pictures three times, rewrite posts, etc. But, in hindsight, if you don't like a way something looks/reads, some aren't going to like it either, and others will love it. In another case, if you love the way something looks, some will share the same feeling, and others will still hate it. In other words, don't get too caught up in making your blog look perfect; some people will love it either way. (And nobody likes the haters, anyway.) Set one or two blogging days a week when you'll get your stuff done and those are the only times you can touch, edit, or change things. After that, it's hands off.

♥ By Mallory (@MalloryDarling_): You're such a wonderful writer, have you considered writing/blogging/beauty as a career?

Dear Mallory: Wow, thank you for such a lovely comment. I do actually think about turning my blog or my love of writing into a career. Nevertheless, although I love beauty, I don't think it really defines me as much as ballet does, for example, and I think I could be happy writing about anything. I'm considering studying journalism when I go to university. Albeit, I don't know if I would want to turn my blog into my main career. Of course, I love doing it, but I like the hobby aspect of it. It's nice to have it as a backup option--y'know, if ballet doesn't work out [wink].

I want to thank you all for all your inquisitions. There were so many great questions, I had a really hard time editing the selection down. Now you know that I'm not a robot.
P.S. If you left me a question and I didn't answer it in this post, I'll do my best to reply to it. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Your Tinted Moisturizer Match

Much like my love of nut butters, there's an innate quality in tinted moisturizers that initiates my love. Creamy, slightly salty, yet sweet--we're talking about the nut butters here. As for tinted moisturizers, their barely-there quality and manageability to look like skin is impeccable. And, plus, it's always nice to pretend that you have skin so good, you don't need a lot of coverage. But, as I've tossed, rubbed, blended, and buffed my way from application to application, I realize that just because you have one tinted moisturizer doesn't mean you don't need any more. Yes, this is practically an excuse to add loads more to my stash, but, in other words, not all tinted moisturizers are created equal. 

If you have oily skin, the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is the one for you, but if you always opt for more hydrating products, you will also like this one. Although the name promises a matte finish, it oozes more of a velvet sensation, controlling the oil where you don't want it and imparting healthy life into the complexion. It has the most coverage for any tinted moisturizer I've tried, and also has the longest lasting power; a lot of superlatives here. On the other end of the skin type spectrum is the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream. The thick formula makes it nice for drier skins but, along the same vein as the Jouer offering, it's not exclusive. For example, I have combination skin and love the stuff. It's hydrating and, understandably on account of the aforementioned factor, the dewiest I've found. Although, there's one thing to note: this orders hand application, as the formula is so thick, that it often looks cakey when blended with a brush. 

The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer isn't like the previous or the future products I'm going to mention, but it masters it's own niche in the most specific of ways. It's one of the most dewy options, while brisking away surface oil, but it also doesn't sit well with dehydrated or oily skin. It's the sheerest in coverage, but, among the cons, it also has the best shade range; white porcelains or sun goddesses, listen up. As we deviate from the nitchy offering, we're moving to perhaps the product that I feel most passionate about: the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream. It's easily my favorite product ever, and I'll try to keep its description snappy, because I could go on, and on. With lack of a better explanation, it's the best all-rounder--for all skin types, for all concerns. It never looks oily, turning shine to dew throughout the day. It never fails to glide over dry patches and stay afloat during dehydrated times. It cancels redness while not applying too much coverage where you don't need it. Meanwhile, it also boasts the best sun protection: SPF 25/PA ++. (The "+'s" make all the difference.) The one shade fits all title may be a problem for some, but if you fit within the slim demographic this caters to, you may never need another base, no matter how tan or how sun-phobic you are.

As a summary:
  • ♥ For oily skin: Jouer Matte Moisture Tint
  • ♥ For dry skin: Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream
  • ♥ For combination skin: Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream
  • ♥ Most luminous: Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer/Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream
  • ♥ Best all-rounder: Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream
  • ♥ Best at minimizing redness: Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream
  • ♥ Best shade range: Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer
  • ♥ Best sun protection: Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream

What's my favorite gift? Give me either a tinted moisturizer or a nut butter and I'll be your best friend for life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Makeup Removal

"As much time as you spent putting your makeup on, use the same amount to take your makeup off. Makeup isn't bad for your skin, but poor cleansing is."
- Branislava Kostic, ELLE Serbia

I read those words of wisdom in this months ELLE magazine, and I believe Kostic is correct; people who work in the industry hold much prudence, after all. Luckily, I now would never dream of going to bed with my makeup on, as my mom did, confessing reluctantly,  all through her twenties. Luckily, I've changed her for the better. But adding that extra step--even if it is fantastic for your skin--can be tough, especially if it's not an enjoyable task. Heck, sometimes, your method of madness may not even be taking your makeup off at all. Don't be insane: change around your makeup removal method. Here are some options:

The simplest of the options is to just use your regular cleanser. But don't get excited too soon--you still have to double cleanse. A choice as such cuts down on the need for an additional cleanser, and, if you travel a lot, your travel beauty stash will be light and petite (unlike mine). For the lazy ones, choose a micellar water such as the cult favorite, Bioderma. The invisible suspension of oil in the mixture slices through makeup in a breeze. Although, you will need some cotton pads, which, if you're anything like me, may give you a panic attack when you see that your trashcan full of them is heading to the dump.

Although the aforementioned products tick excellently for general makeup, they don't handle the armored truck of your face: the waterproof stuff. My biggest vain is waterproof mascara, which, while it's worth it for the extra lash curl and inhibited panda-eyed situations, is ridiculously difficult to scrape off. If you are a waterproof wearer, here are some options:
The balmy texture of Liz Earl Cleanse and Polish is a good bet for such a task. The minty-ness feels awesome and the shea butter content will also leave your skin moisturized but not too lubricated. Nevertheless, it does lack slightly on removing our waterproof friend. In other words, it might not take it all off. But, a step up from the Liz Earl is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which does, indeed, take most of it off. It's a simple, no frills balm that removes makeup with a cinch, but sometimes leaves a little bit of mascara removal fallout come morning (which can easily be wiped away). Alas, we've reached the most heavy duty, but also the second most convenient of the options: coconut oil. If you've got in in your pantry, crack it out for eye makeup use because it will get everything off--and I mean, everything. No morning mascara residual, and no pulling or tugging; it's also a plus that your lid space will be moisturized, nearly deleting the need for eye cream (for me, at least). I'm wary of using this on my acne prone skin, but I add it on for eye use to any of the methods listed above and--voom--it's all off.

If you're already a member of the "double cleanse club," then keep on sudsing. If you're not, don't let me know, because I don't want to have the same conversation with you as I did with my mom. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Bedside Beauty Stash

When I was younger, my bedside table was occupied by books, magazines, and my portable CD player; yes, I'm practically ancient. As Parisian To Be–and, most important, I–grow older, it seems like I'm just becoming more high maintenance. I can no longer wash my face in the shower. When I go on family vacations, my brother balks at the area which my travel beauty stash occupies. And I now have a bedside beauty routine that is multiple steps long. Heck, I even moved my lamp further away just so I could have my frivolous products closer at hand. Is the routine extraneous? Probably so. But, at least my cuticles, hands, dry patches, and lips will be in tip top shape. 

To maintain such a glamorous, perfectly-handed aesthetic, everything starts with moisture; thus it's excusable that I have four different hand options. For the whole area, I use either the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask–which I'm repurposing–or the Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream. The Origins formula is the richer of the options, pumped with sodium hyaluronate (the cousin of hyaluronic acid) and apricot oil. The Caudalie doubles as my day time hand cream, thus making it lighter in consistency, although matching in the hydration levels to its thicker rival. The driest part of my hands, though is my cuticles, therefore, my eyes and raging perfectionist nature demand that I slap on the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme; I've tried other cuticle hydrators, but this is by far the best I've found. It never fails to shock me how polished my nail beds look the morning after use. 

The cult, French balm, Homeoplasmine*, works cuticle duty, as well as general dry patch nourishment, whether said desert is on my arm, leg, hands, lips–just none on my feet (ballerinas don't moisturize anything on their feet). Nevertheless, I try to apprehend using this around my face (including my lips) because the ingredients and I don't get along–i.e. it normally makes me breakout. The safe lip option, as well as the one that I slap on morning and evening, is the Kari Gran Tinted Lip Whip. I have the peppermint scent, so it's nourishing mousse-y–just like the name suggests–and goes along well with the toothpaste after-taste. To complete the winding down experience, I always keep a good read (currently, it's ELLE magazine, Kinfolk magazine, and Where'd You Go, Bernadette), as well as the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. This lavender, vetivert, and chamomile mist is as luxurious as it sounds, and whether it's a placebo or not, I like to think it helps me drift to sleep a little easier, as well. The next time anyone comments on my beauty habits in the pejorative, I'll say, "Shut up,"...then have some serious pondering on how to reduce my routine.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Life, Seven Days, in a Snapshot

You could say it's stalker-ish behavior, but I love looking, hearing, or watching people's everyday lives. Vlogs are my most watched videos on YouTube. When my friends and I have a catch-up, normally the first question I ask is, "What have you done so far today?" You can tell a lot about a person by their daily habits. When Jen, and, more recently, Rebecca--the brains behind two of my favorite blogs and my favorite online magazine--did posts capturing their daily lives, I was inspired. Risking the chance of "copying" them, I decided to do my own. Luckily, I think our lives are different enough that they're not too matchy-matchy. But, albeit, sorry, Jen and Rebecca....and here's a documentation of my life over the past week.

Sunday, May 25:
If you didn't know, Sunday is my favorite day of the week: a fresh YouTube feed (everyone seems to upload on Sunday...and I like it), an excuse to chow a few too many pancake bites, and it's stereotype of being a "lazy day" makes a perfect excuse to do nothing at all. I spent my morning doing just that, as well as catching up on some blogging business. The most exciting part, though, is that my post for A Little Opulent went live; that explains why I woke up at 6:30 A.M. Then, I escorted my cousin around, which, although I put it in the pejorative, isn't actually bad at all, as she's lovely. We jaunted to LUSH, Anthropologie--where my bedroom dreams are made--and I dragged her to a few stationary stores (How could I resist?). Then, I came back home, did some more work, then lounged the night to its end.

Monday, May 26:
Since Monday was a holiday, I took the day off from any work and chilled. Post-breakfast, I read through Kinfolk Magazine Issue Nine, then headed out around noon to eat lunch with a friend at my favorite coffee shop. Then, we headed around to some more stationary shops (the obsession is real) and had good long chats. I headed home to change then met my ballet friend to hit up the elliptical and some planks--it's part of my operation: get back in shape. I finished out my night reading some more Kinfolk and taking a bath.

Tuesday, May 27:
I used Tuesday to catch up on all my blogging business. It was rather boring, just writing, taking photos, and filming a little (Oh, boy--do I have a surprise for you.). I hit the cardio again with a friend, then finished the day out working.

Wednesday, May 28:
Somehow, this day wasted away. I woke up at 6:15 A.M.--without even trying. I guess you could say I was pretty exhausted. I made way to a graduation this morning (You have to love that season....), then came home to take some blog photos because this was the only day this week it was actually sunny in the morning. Then, I worked out again--it's becoming quite a good habit; I'll be in tip top shape--then, right after, munched on sandwiches with my cardio friend. I came home and read Where'd You Go, Bernadette until the late hours of the night.

Thursday, June 29:
This ended up being the most productive of days. On the morning agenda was a doctor's appointment, but one of my favorite coffee shops is nearby so I stopped there. Then, I headed home to do some more work, and, as with everyday this week, hit the gym--for the hardest workout yet this week. (I must have been really tired.) I came home, did some more work, then picked up a friend to head to see a ballet.

Friday, May 30:
My alarm clock woke me up at a whopping 6:30 A.M. (How come when an alarm wakes you up, it's on the morning you want to sleep later?) Such a wakeup call was necessary because I had to run back to school for a few more bits to wrap up the school year. When I returned home, I tried to have a "work day," but got too distracted and ended up watching too much YouTube and Breaking Bad. For dinner, my grandparents came into town and I dined with them and my aunt, uncle, and cousins in celebration of my cousin's graduation.

Saturday, May 31:
I can still hear "Pomp and Circumstance" ringing in my head; today was graduation day--not for me, of course. I was indulged in some hot, summer heat for the ceremony, which turned out to be not so bad, as I think I got a bit of a tan. My brother and I dined over sandwiches at our favorite, neighborhood cafe with my grandparents for lunch. We said our goodbyes, and headed home. I spent the rest of the day blogging and doing admin work, and finalizing this post for you all, then had a lazy evening with my family. And that was a week's wrap.
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