Weekend Reading, 4.17.21.

shop this outfit here!

Happy weekend. Life is starting to feel really good here. I started to feel a little more settled this week. Yesterday I made a huge dent in the boxes, and I am also having some fun! On Thursday night I went over my friend Liz’s for dinner with a few blogger girlfriends. Liz is one of the first friends I made through blogging (she was Sequins & Stripes and I was Stripes & Sequins) back in the day and it is pretty cool to get to live in the same city. Last night I went out with my usual crew (friends from New York who have moved here over the years) and today I have brunch with a newer friend. Everyone here has been so kind to me and I feel really lucky and excited to make new friends and strengthen older friendships that were once long distance. Links are coming at you a little late in the morning, but it’s a good list… I really hope you enjoy them and have a great weekend ahead.

How good do these lentil taquitos with avocado crema sound?

I bought this white blouse during the Shopbop sale and it’s really, really cute in person.

How to engage your imagination as a spiritual practice.

I found this informative: what to expect if you plan on flying this summer.

Aerie is doing a great sale: sweatshirts and sweaters are both 40% off right now. I have and LOVE this beachy sweater – just be sure to size down!

9 home decor trends from instagram to help your space feel brand new.

Target does it again: I absolutely love this tiered dress.

How to buy happiness.

How to be better at posing in photos – TikTok tips!!!!

This tiered cotton midi dress is pretty perfect (and only $39), and it comes in so many colors.

OH! This bedroom makeover is SO good.

What a cute pajama set.

On breaking up with politeness.

Is anyone else really excited about DVF’s upcoming collab with H&M Home!?

LOFT may become my new secret spot for chic, well-priced sunglasses… love these!

Oh boy – how trauma, isolation, and uncertainty have affected our brains.

This faux crocodile tote looks designer, for $45.

The best books of 2021 so far. (Also: 8 great books to read in April and the best romance novels of 2021).

Got Zoom fatigue? It has a new name: cybersickness.

Helena always looks so chic and has me thinking maybe I need some Converse?

This $20 peplum top is so cute!

What a cool kitchen floor.

You know I can’t resist a fruit motif… love the tiny watermelons on this sweater.

Viola Davis’s beauty advice is a must-read. I love her attitude toward self love.

Cool! This museum exhibit explores the relationship between glass and wine.

Love the scrunched handles on this fun shoulder bag.

LOL. Now you can coordinate meals with your cat.

An easy, elegant alternative to rubber flip flops (for only $20!).

Curious penguins!

DISCLOSURE: IF YOU BUY SOMETHING THROUGH MY LINKS, I MAY EARN AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU. I ONLY FEATURE THINGS I TRULY LOVE HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Photo by Allie Provost.

Biossance x Sephora Spring Savings Event.

Created in partnership with Biossance and Shopstyle Collective.

I talk about this brand all the time so you probably already know this, but if I could only buy skincare from one brand for the rest of my life, it would probably be Biossance. I am such a massive fan of their products, especially of their treatment serums (the Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum! the Squalane + 10% Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum! the Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum!).

And besides making extremely effective products, they are formulated without parabens, synthetic fragrances and over 2,000 ingredients that are potentially toxic or questionable. All Biossance products are EWG-verified (and also vegan + cruelty free). You can read more about the brand’s mission here. Also, their packaging is completely recyclable.

Speaking of favorites though, Biossance is also carried at Sephora and their big Spring Savings Event is going STRONG. The sale opened to Insiders yesterday so now everyone can shop, and depending on your status you can save up to 20% with code OMGSPRING so now is time to STOCK up (I personally ordered more of the Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum and the Squalane + 10% Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum!).

If you haven’t signed up to be a Sephora Beauty Insider yet, make sure to sign up for free here and immediately unlock 10% off your order! This is a great time to try Biossance’s clean beauty products and stock up on all your favorites!

One of the most important things to know about Biossance is their squalane!!!! Squalane is a key ingredient in all of Biossance’s products and it is an incredible moisturizer. What makes it special is that it’s a powerful hydrator but also weightless and non-comedogenic meaning that it won’t clog your pores. Squalane is in every single one of Biossance’s products. It helps the other ingredients to work harder for your skin, and (in my experience) makes ingredients that could otherwise be irritating (phyto-retinol and acids in particular) gentler without sacrificing efficacy.

The body produces its own version (known as squalene) but as we age, our body’s ability to produce and retain squalene decreases as we age. Squalane is traditionally harvested from shark livers (awful!) which has a devastating impact on the environment. Biossance has found a way to derive their 100% plant-based squalane sustainably, from sugarcane.

I am going to share some mini reviews of a few of my personal favorites from the brand below but honestly? Everything this brand makes is truly fantastic.

Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

This is Biossance’s latest and greatest launch. I’ve had my bottle for a couple weeks now and absolutely love it. I added toner to my repertoire a few years ago at the recommendation of my aesthetician and have to tell you, it makes such a big difference. I was getting these tiny bumps on my cheeks and she told me toner would help to fix that, by sweeping away any dead skin cells before you moisturize.

This is currently my favorite toner as it also contains BHA acids to gently exfoliate. It’s free of alcohol and visibly tightens pores + clarifies the skin (while hydrating, thanks to that amazing SQUALANE!)

Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

This magical serum was the product that made me initially fall in love with Biossance as a brand. It is one of my number one holy grail favorite products. It is an acid, so I generally use it 2-3x a week (I do retinol the other 2 nights, and just plain old moisturizer the remaining nights). This lactic acid is no joke. It visibly smooths and improves the texture of the skin in just one night. Seriously. You notice such a difference (and a GLOW) the next day. If you are noticing dullness and uneven texture in your skin, this serum will be your new best friend. I wrote a comparison of this product vs. another lactic acid serum here, if you want to know more.

Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

I have talked about this product at length (here + here!) but this is the first Vitamin C product that made me understand why people rave about Vitamin C so much. It’s amazing. It’s excellent at helping to fade dark spots but it’s also great for uneven skin tone and brightens your skin so much, pretty much immediately. I use this every morning before moisturizer.

Biossance did a clinical study of this one and the results are really impressive. After 28 days of twice daily use:

  • 100% agree this product helps improve the look of dark spots
  • 100% agree this product improves the look of sun damage
  • 100% agree this product helps make skin appear more even

PS – If this shows up as sold out, you may also select “Pick Up In Store” to buy and then just pick up at the Sephora near you, curbside!

PS – if you’re looking to better understand the difference between all of Biossance’s serums, I found this chart to be super helpful!

Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

This is one of my favorite eye creams. What I love about it is how hydrating it is, and that it delivers a lifted look, almost immediately. It’s an Allure Best of Beauty winner for good reason!!! Powerful results and serious hydration. It’s a good one!!! If you’re noticing a loss of firmness around your under-eye area, this is the product for you.

Photography by Anne Rhett.

Life Lately.

The other day my friend James was teasing me and said, “you haven’t left New York until you’ve written your Leaving New York Essay.” I laughed at that but to be quite honest, I don’t really know if I have a “leaving New York” essay in me. (I will tell you though, this book is amazing… I was reading it before I moved. I currently have absolutely no idea where it is (along with most of my things), but once I find it, I plan on picking it back up and devouring these writers’ beautiful essays). So these ramblings will probably be as close as it gets to a leaving essay!

I have been feeling many mixed emotions. It’s hard to articulate but it’s a mix of sadness (but also a bit of side-eye at myself for being sad, this was my decision!), happiness and excitement (but with a healthy side of guilt for feeling that happiness?) Also: a whole lot of uncertainty.

New York was my home for fifteen years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere, it’s the place I really “grew up” into a fully functioning adult (I was 24 when I moved there), it’s where I made my closest friends. It’s where I built my career and professional network. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult. And I feel so much pride in having “made it” as a New Yorker… I really struggled when I first got there (we talked more about that in this post if you are in the mood for a little walk down memory lane!).

Besides wanting to live closer to my parents and to live in a warmer climate (I really do just hate winter!), I’d just gotten to a point where I was tired of everything feeling so hard. Life in New York is so much fun but can also be really darn annoying! Some days just felt like an uphill battle. I wanted things to be easier. Right now, life doesn’t need to be glamorous and exciting. I don’t need it to be fast paced. Easy is my word. Things like laundry and a dishwasher feel like such giant luxuries. Having enough kitchen cabinet space where things are not precariously balanced on each other, ready to spill out every time you open them is wonderful. A linen closet and a coat closet! A locker for packages. These are such small, maybe insignificant things, but this overall sense of ease is wonderful. When I “moved” here for six weeks, things just felt right. My shoulders dropped an inch. The warm weather probably helped with that but with COVID etc etc I think I was desperately craving stability and for me that is living by my immediate family. Living in the same city as my parents feels completely surreal. Being able to meet them for drinks before dinner (doing that tonight, I think) or to just go over and watch movies on a Sunday afternoon is amazing. A big goal of mine has been to be better at listening to my intuition and everything inside me was screaming that it was time to leave.

The things I miss are small ones that have very little to do with New York and more to do with the people there. Going for cocktail walks with Becca. Having my friend Alex over for Silver Rice delivery (their spicy salmon or tuna sushi cups are incredible) and Netflix. Spontaneous happy hours. And of course more New York-y things like picnics in the park and museum days. I know it’s going to hit me hard as it warms up in New York and I see all my friends hanging out without me. I started to cry imagining my checkerboard floor being repainted.

To be honest, right now feels like a giant mess, but also… not? I feel like I am learning to just go with the flow and see what happens. If you’ve followed me a while now, this is probably apparent but I am just not a breezy person by nature. I am organized. I like having a plan. I like knowing exactly what is going to happen when and where… and so on and so forth. The cat got lost, my move in date was delayed, all my furniture is backordered, and I am STILL not even remotely close to being unpacked. But that is okay! I’m taking today and tomorrow to really focus on getting the place a little more settled.

Even in all this craziness, life also just feels really good. I’ve also had the feeling that things are just easier when I surrender to the chaos: stop overanalyzing, stop being irritated when things don’t go exactly how I’d like them or have imagined them going, and everything will be fine. While there have been some hiccups along the way, at the heart of it I feel really, really happy (and also really, really supported which is a really good feeling).

I am in love with my apartment and am so excited to get more settled. I still have the goal of buying property at some point in the not so distant future but I feel better renting for a year and then figuring things out. I want to be sure that Charleston is even where I want to be. My new building is the perfect transitional space. I’ve never lived in a big apartment building (like one with a doorman, amenities, etc) and I have to say that it’s a nice life. It’s also so quiet. After living on the street level (next to a bus stop, no less) on a busy street, the quiet is pure bliss. I had always thought I’d live in the historic part of town in a carriage house or something like that, but after this past year, I just wanted everything to feel really easy and that’s how it feels in this space. I can’t wait to decorate (and to have a guest room) and to share all of that with you.

I’m proud of myself for following my gut. I’m feeling really uncertain but also very supported and loved. I know I am right where I need to be, even if that feels a little bit scary and messy and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next!

photo by Allie Provost.

The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products.

The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products

This post was published (almost exactly!) three years ago, but is one I reference frequently so I make it a point to update it at least once a year with my most current thoughts + favorite products as a few things have changed!

The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products

One of the questions I get asked the most is what skincare product to apply, when!? With so many products out there (serum! toner! essence! oils!) layering your skincare products can feel really overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be though, I promise! The general rule is to layer your products from thin to thick; and to apply the products with the highest percentage of active ingredients first so that they are absorbed first.

I’m not an expert, but I have talked to a lot of experts about this, and this is what I have been told. I’ve talked about product order before in my bedtime skincare routine but today I wanted to break things down in full. I think the biggest “controversial” part of my routine (if skincare routines can be controversial, ha ha) is whether to apply face oil before or after moisturizer. I’ve been taught that it’s the last step, but if you want to apply it before your moisturizer, do that, no one is stopping you!

I’ve seen it in my DM’s and reader emails, everyone stresses out about doing things the wrong way. You’re not going to ruin your face because you didn’t follow the recommended product order. The only thing that is truly bad for your skin is using too many actives at night (or skipping SPF during the day). Listen to your skin, experiment to see what works, don’t stress! Pampering should be fun… applying things in a slightly “wrong” order is not going to ruin your life.

Cleanse and exfoliate:

Obviously this is the first step. But I included it because if you are doing a double cleanse (more on that here),you should use the creamy/oil cleanser first. These are frequently applied to dry skin and the point is to use that rich cleanser to get your makeup off, and then use a gel cleanser to get your skin extra clean. If you are doing a face scrub, that’s the last part of your cleansing process.

Toner:

For the longest time, I didn’t think toner was necessary but recently changed my position. Toner should be the last step of your cleansing routine. If you use a toner, this is where you do it. Pat skin dry and apply all over with a cotton pad. This toner is my personal favorite! I wrote more about toners and why you need one in this post!

Essence

The next step is your essence. Whereas toner is the last step of cleansing, essence is the first step of skincare. (If you use it – you can read about my love of SK-II in this post.) I apply my essence (Right now my favorite essence is actually the newer Royal Fern one – it’s described as “if P50 and SK-II had a baby” and I think that’s pretty spot on).

*Note: P50 is very very active and I consider it an acid, not an essence. I recommend only using at night, and if you do use it before bed don’t use other actives (retinol, Vit C, etc). Just moisturize. You could do a gentle serum like hyaluronic acid (this is my current favorite HA serum – it’s amazing at plumping up the skin!), but you don’t want to do much else. Also, re: P50, Helena did a great review of it!

I wrote a longer post about the difference between essence and toner; highly recommend reading that if you are at all confused!

Special Moisturizers

If you use an eye cream or a neck cream, this is when I like to apply these. Caroline Hirons has drilled it into my head (read her book, it’s amazing!) that eye cream goes on before everything else. I don’t currently do a separate neck cream (I do my skincare all the way down to the decolletage) but for eye cream I love the Neocutis Lumiere so much. It does a great job tightening and brightening. This one from Biossance is a close second favorite. (Plus it’s clean and less expensive.

Serum or Actives.

Serum is the next step. The way you want to think of your product order is that you want to apply the ingredients with the highest concentration of active ingredients first, so that they’re closest to the skin and absorbed first. Essence is packed with actives, as is serum. But because essence is more viscous (it’s consistency is like water), you want to apply that first. I use a bunch of different serums/actives. Below is a loose guide to my favs and how often I use them.

Moisturizer 

Obviously Bader is king (for me) but on serum nights I don’t use it (I make sure to use it in the AM instead if I don’t do it at night!)

My second to last step is always my moisturizer. I love a thick, velvety moisturizer. This one from Sobel Skin (refer to this post for a more in depth review of that!) is probably my favorite for non-Bader nights but I also love Skin Food!

Oil or SPF

The last step in your routine should be face oil (at night) or SPF (day).

Oil is what seals it all in! I like to let everything I’ve applied sink in for a minute or two while I brush my teeth, and then gently pat on my oils. For me, oils are saved for nighttime as after serum AND moisturizer I’m already pretty shiny, but I really like to lock in all that moisture. My favorite is Everyday Oil and sometimes if I am feeling really extra I will do Vintner’s Daughter over Dr. Bader. Yes I know that’s one very expensive skincare routine but it’s an incredible combo.

For SPF right now I am VERY big into the Supergoop Glowscreen. It’s so pretty that you can skip makeup (or put foundation over it for a more subtle glow).

The Shopbop Sale is Here!

The Shopbop Sale is my favorite clothing sale of the year/season (they only do it two or three times a year). It’s a great time to buy the full price items you are ogling now, before prices go back up! And, the more you decide to spend, the more you save. Take 15% off when you spend $200 or more, take 20% off orders of $500 or more, and take 25% off orders of $800 or more. Promo code is STYLE .

shop the collage above: Free People Pink Midi Dress // Cream Pointelle Sweater // Multicolor Dress // Cream Puff Sleeve Sweatshirt // Blue Puff Sleeve Sweatshirt // AGOLDE Riley Jeans // Gingham Dress // White Blouse // Blue Joggers // Lemon Yellow Cardigan // Denim Shorts // Faux Leather Leggings

A few things I have, love, and recommend:

  • This pink maxi dress from Free People! It’s the perfect breezy dress and looks so cute with my Vince Warren sneakers OR a sexy sandal. It’s really well made and has a separate lining. I find Free People runs pretty big and bought a small in this one!
  • My beloved Vince Warren sneakers! I have these in several colors/materials and cannot recommend them enough. Great with jeans, skirts, shorts, dresses, literally everything! Right now I’ve been wearing the white ones the most.
  • Tory Burch cardigans. These are pricey but so well made and last forever. Wear it open over a dress, or buttoned up and tucked into jeans. I started with this tan one and bought this yellow one more recently.
  • My beloved Apiece Apart sweatsuit. I am not really buying sweats anymore but I love this puff sleeved top + these joggers.
  • My fav puffy sleeve sweatshirt from Rebecca Minkoff. I have this one in bright pink and army green. It’s so soft and comfy but also polished.
  • AGOLDE Riley Jeans – have and love these, so so much. The fit is just perfection.
  • These Commando faux leather leggings. Becca influenced me on these and I love them so much. They make your legs and butt look amazing. I like them even more than the Spanx ones.
  • My most favorite, beloved Loeffler Randall gold sandals. The best!

What I personally bought:

Just a few things! This fire engine red Tory Burch cardigan (see above, can’t get enough!), this pretty Ba&sh sweater, this (very affordable) white lace blouse, and these denim shorts.

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