Weekend Reading | 12.7.19.

loft pajamas (on sale!)

happy weekend! If you follow on Instagram etc. then you know I am in Harbour Island! I am SO happy to be here… I think a few days in the sunshine are going to be really beneficial… I’ve been a little stressed out and could use the R+R. So now we are here with Becca + Katie and Katie’s friend Kate… soaking up the sunshine, reading a LOT, and just having some fun friend time. It’s going to be a whirlwind, though! I get back Sunday night and then leave on Tuesday for a quick work trip to LA with Sephora! Have a great weekend! xoxo

UGH how good are these room makeovers!?

I recently discovered that LOFT has the best sleepwear (the patterns are SO good, I want so many more!) These are the ones I’m wearing above. I also have + love these fluffy pink slippers!

I thought this gift guide was very thoughtfully done: what to get every sort of employee!

How friendship changes with age.

This $45 tote 100% looks designer.

A thoughtful post from Jess about turning 35!

This sequin midi skirt is SO pretty – it would be great for NYE. I’m thinking with a black blazer + simple cotton tank OR for something more festive a bright silk camisole (fuchsia or emerald green?)

I really related to this piece on morning routines (especially as my own have been a bit of a mess lately!)

OMG baby pandas.

Does Tyrion need these pajamas??? And then I could get these and we could twin!?

Five books to read from African authors.

Love a good cozy turtleneck this time of year. This one is nice and long, and it’s only $39.

Mmmm…. love the sound of these holiday cookie recipes. Such a quality list!

Loooved this article by our pal Alyssa Mastromonaco on cats.

Still living in this cozy tie-dye sweatshirt. Go up a size or two for an extra comfy fit.

The best red lipsticks.

YUM – easy December weeknight dinner ideas.

I can never seem to get my necklaces just right (they’re always a little too short). I just realized BaubleBar sells necklace extenders which is SO SMART.

13 things to do on New Year’s Eve.

Hugh Grant recreating scenes from Love Actually to stop Brexit.

The Old Navy grey leopard coat came in the mail this week and it’s amazing. Looks designer!

RIP to the “sad single girl” holiday trope.

Still my most favorite sneakers. So glad I bought the white!

The best undereye concealers, according to makeup artists. I want to try the KKW one for dark circles but have no idea what my shade is!

WOW – I just about lost my mind when I saw this feature on my friend Emma (founder of Everyday Oil) on Doré! She is one of the most effortlessly stylish, naturally beautiful people I have met.

Not practical at ALL but… this rainbow cashmere duster!!!

One of the prettiest ways to wear your fragrance.

I can’t wait for the Devil Wears Prada musical!

I may look ridiculous in it (we will see!) but I ordered this green teddy coat. SO fun.

Winter outfit ideas from Gossip Girl.

Everything you need to know about Vitamin C + skincare.

I can’t tell if I’m crazy or if these lace up booties are cute. I really like them?

A definitive guide to preventing dry skin.

Glitter socks definitely seem like a good idea.

Photography by Carter Fish.

Kosas Wet Oil Lip Lip Gloss Review.

You GUYS. Are you sick of me saying you guys? (Don’t answer that.)

I just have to say. It’s very rare for me to find a new brand that I like so much. Of course there are always one offs where I find a new product and love it… but when you try a new brand and consistently love every single thing they make? That is just so rare.

And for me, that has been the case with Kosas. I love everything they make. Complete and total fan girl. The love affair started with the brand’s Tinted Face Oil Foundation. I am so not a foundation person, which makes this product perfect for me. Read my post about it, but guys – it’s amazing. Your perfect no-makeup makeup.

Kosas Wet Oil Lip Gloss Review

More recently, the brand launched their new Wet Oil Lip Gloss and once again… AMAZING. I mean I love a lip gloss. But these are just so lovely. Really shiny and just so pretty. My personal favorites are Jaws (a gorgeous sheer red), Jellyfish (clear!), and Dip (a shimmery nude… as they say, this one is “your lips, but better.”) I don’t remember the last time I felt so intensely about a lipstick or lip gloss. These are just divine. I know a more matte lip is more “in,” but I’ll probably always be a gloss girl.

What makes them so great? They aren’t just a cosmetic item – they’re skincare for your lips with all the pretty benefits you’d get from an ordinary lip gloss. They formula contains peptides which protect your lips’ natural collagen. Also in the mix is my favorite ingredient, hyaluronic acid which attracts water and locks in hydration. PERFECT for winter… I’ve been using these daily with no chapped lips.

So you get hydrated, plumped up lips with a non-sticky formula and a gorgeous slick of color (unless you choose Jellyfish, which is all clear SHINE!)

To top it off, they meet Sephora’s clean standards. Formulated without all the bad stuff.

Photography by Carter Fish.

Everything I Read in November 2019.

This was a much, much better month of reading. Last month I had a few meh books and was also very into TV whereas this month I was back to my bookworm ways. And you know that I am a (relatively) tough crowd but I gave THREE BOOKS an A+ rating this month, which never happens!

TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE READING! I’m always looking for great recommendations… I love reading your comments!

IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.

Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real-time to my Amazon Shop. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list.

If you loved the show, you will LOVE this book!

Modern Love by Daniel Jones

THIS BOOK! Wow. You’re need to read it. Immediately. It’s thought provoking, heartwarming, heartbreaking, the whole thing. If you watched the TV show you’ll absolutely love it. I do want to add that one of the things I got asked the most this month via DM was if it’s worth reading if you’ve already watched the show. My answer? YES! And maybe even more! It contains the 8 stories from the TV show and so many more. It’s also really interesting because the TV show definitely took quite a few liberties when they told the stories… I enjoyed spotting the difference. I can’t recommend this book enough. It will make you laugh. And cry. And everything in between. I’m just so in love with this column (I read the column, I listen to the pod, and now I devoured the book). Get it for yourself but also get a copy or two for your mom, your sister, your best friend, and so on and so forth.

  • Overall Score: A+

Two Buzzy December New Releases!

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (out 12/31)

I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the most buzzed about books of the year. It’s such a complex story about race but also so much more than that. It begins with when Emira (a black babysitter) is held at a supermarket because the security guard there believes she’s kidnapped the little girl she’s babysitting. It gets complicated when a bystander records the whole exchange. And then it goes from there. The book alternates between the perspectives of Emira and Alix (Emira’s boss). There’s a bit of a twist where their stories overlap outside of their working relationship (this one shocked me!!). It’s hard to talk more about this book without giving anything away so I will just say that a) I highly recommend it and b) it’s a very real look at the awkwardness between employer/employee relationships, wanting to do the right thing/wanting to be liked (and totally failing at it), and relationships. I absolutely loved it!

  • Overall Score: A

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover (out December 10th!)

I was so excited to get my hands on Colleen Hoover’s latest, as she is one of my favorite authors. Okay first of all, this is VERY different from Verity. It is NOT a thriller so I would not even compare the two. I’d say it’s a romance / mother-daughter story with a tragedy in there. Morgan is a 34 year old housewife who got pregnant at age 17 and put her dreams on hold. Now, her daughter Clara is 17 and wants to be anything but her mother. The book alternates between the perspectives of Morgan and Clara as they face a horrible tragedy (AND scandal). What happens is really, really terrible. In the aftermath, they both turn to people they never thought they would. I am being vague here but this book is both very upsetting (Colleen Hoover tends to be good at that!) and also heartwarming. I read it in a couple days as I needed to know how everything worked out!

  • Overall Score: B+

Why did I let this sit on my shelf!?

City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert

All I have to say is oh my goodness WHYYY did I procrastinate reading this book? I have no idea. It was sitting in my TBR pile, waiting to be read, and I just kept putting it off. And now I regret that but man – I really, really enjoyed this book.  The book follows Vivian Morris (a 19 year old Vassar dropout) to New York City, through ups and downs and middle age all the way until she’s 89 years old. She moves to the city to her aunt Peg’s house, where she takes up costume design for glamorous showgirls… spending most nights out on the town . When she makes a terrible mistake her whole world implodes and she faces ruin but ultimately lands on her feet. This is the story of female friendship, of female sexuality, of redemption… and so much more. I could not put it down.

  • Overall Score: A+

A Thriller that was just Medium.

The Woman Upstairs, by Ruth Heald

First, a trigger warning. This one deals with violence to small children and upset me at times. (I’m pretty thick skinned and am not easily triggered.) Second, I actually meant to read a different Woman Upstairs (apparently this is a pretty popular title, lol). So it wasn’t the book I had intended to read but it was still medium-enoyable. It’s a fast paced thriller. But the plot is upsetting, and there are holes. For example: WHY would you allow a total stranger to move into your house (without checking any references or doing a background check). But anyway – Katie, pregnant with twins, moves into a rundown house and meets Paula (a doula) who offers to help her. Katie gives birth to the twins but simultaneously uncovers horrible secrets about her husband… so she comes to really rely on Paula. But all is not as it seems. This book is pretty upsetting and rather implausible but it was fun.

  • Overall Score: B-

Will probably cry whenever I think about this book.

In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle (out March 2nd)

Oh My God – This book WRECKED ME. Not in the way I thought it would, but probably even more intensely so. Dannie is one of those girls who has everything figured out. Engaged by 28, married by 30, making partner at her law firm, and so on and so forth. Her fiance David is dependable, sweet, and handsome, and she is certain she is on the right path. Then, the night she gets engaged, she has a dream that feels more like a premonition: it’s exactly five years later, and she wakes up in someone else’s apartment with a (very dreamy) strange man. She can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong and 4 years later, she meets that man (same name, etc etc.) It’s eery! This book is a little bit like The Light We Lost, and a little bit like One Day in December. I loved both of this books and maybe loved this one even more!  You won’t be able to put it down and it is going to cause some serious tears. I definitely recommend preordering it.

  • Overall Score: A+

photography by Rebecca Patton.

My All-Time Favorite Amazon Purchases

clockwise from top center: Weighted Blanket // Pot + Pan Organizer // Luggage Rack // Spa Bath Mitt // Acupressure Mat // Pregnancy Pillow // Travel Power Strip // Conair Handheld Steamer // Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath // Nespresso Machine // Bamboo Bath Tray // Massage Therapy Balls // Pet Hair Remover // Shampoo Massage Brush // Command Ledges (for bathroom shelving!) // Makeup Organizer

I got a bunch of requests for an Amazon gift guide, and I guess this post could work for that… or you could just gift yourself, HA. But these are my favorite purchase from Amazon. Most of them will likely feel VERY familiar as I’ve talked about all of these things many times now… but it’s nice to have them all in one place! I’ve probably left something important off (I have a weird feeling I did), but I love everything on this list so so much!

Edited to add: I KNEW I left something off. My ice roller!!! Cannot live without it. Read all about my ice roller in this blog post.

one // Weighted Blanket I love my gravity blanket so so much. I wrote a whole big review of it (read that, it will answer literally ANY question you could have about it), but it is the absolute best when you are stressed out or overstimulated. I will lay under this and read or watch TV.

two // Pot + Pan Organizer I bough this for under the sink and it’s such a godsend for streamlining messy piles of pots and pans! I don’t know how I ever did without it!

three // Luggage Rack I copied Becca (who I co-host the podcast with) on this one… suitcases are gross and I hate putting them on my bed, so this is perfect! It also makes home feel a bit like a hotel, which I love!

four // Spa Bath Mitt This was a things I bought and liked influence! I LOVE this mit. It feels so good on your skin – exfoliating and cleansing… and it won’t get gross or mildew-y.

five // Acupressure Mat This is a purchase I haven’t been using as much as usual but need to! I love it after a good workout. I wrote a blog post about it with all the benefits and what makes it so special but I highly recommend it!

six // Pregnancy Pillow Oh my god this may just be my favorite thing from 2019. My massage therapist got me hooked, saying it would help me stop folding my shoulders in when I sleep (I sleep on my stomach or side). Gamechanger. It’s also amazing for curling up and reading. You just feel like you are in this amazing, cozy little cave. I could not love it more.

seven // Travel Power Strip I keep this in my travel bag and swear by it! It’s great for the plane or anywhere that plugs can be an issue. It could work well in the bathroom too if you have multiple hot tools and not a lot of outlets.

eight // Conair Handheld Steamer I had a really janky steamer for my clothes and steaming things was such a pain. Not anymore! This one is SO powerful… can’t recommend it enough!

nine // Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath This is such a great detox bath. It will make you sweat and sweat and sweat, but you’ll feel amazing after. I recommend doing it before bedtime. You’ll sleep like an angel.

ten // Nespresso Machine I use my Nespresso Vertuoline machine every single day. It’s probably the first thing I do. It’s great for single people bc it makes just one cup… and it’s so frothy and delicious!

eleven // Bamboo Bath Tray This tray is the quickest way to make your bathtub feel like a spa or a hotel. It holds a book, a glass of wine, a glass of water… it’s just wonderful.

twelve // Massage Therapy Balls These are one of my favorite little gadgets whenever I am really sore or have a knot. It’s amazing how much pain (in a good way) they can cause, but it’s even more amazing how effective they are. I can’t recommend them enough!

thirteen // Pet Hair Remover My Chom Chom is SUCH a game changer. Wow. I love this thing! It gets all of Tyrion’s fur off blankets, upholstery, even the carpet. I only bought it a month or so ago and my mind is still blown by it!

fourteen // Scalp Massage Brush It’s truly amazing how wonderful this inexpensive little gadget is. It would make a GREAT stocking stuffer. I like to use it while I shampoo to help loosen up any buildup or dry shampoo residue. But really, it just feels so nice.

fifteen // Command Ledge // These may just be the product I get asked about most. I have them in my bathroom and they’re amazing for displaying + storing all my skincare. LOVE. I get asked this a lot: they’ve never fallen down. But it’s important to put them in an area of your bathroom that won’t get wet! Moisture will weaken the bond of the strip

sixteen // Makeup Organizer // I call this my Beauty Lazy Susan! I love it so much. I realize this one may not be a must-have for everyone but it has been a godsend with my tiny bathroom. I have a little table in my bathroom where I put this, and it holds everything in a very orderly fashion.

An Affordable (But Fancy!) Bedtime Skincare Routine.

The other day I was thinking about it and I realized – I finally had figured out a (somewhat!) affordable skincare routine.

It’s mostly clean, too. Retinol is not clean and I don’t think the Pixi Glow Tonic is clean either, but everything else is! I always say that I try to be 80/20 in my own skincare routine with a focus on clean ingredients BUT I also want high-tech and need my retinol! (If you want a clean alternative I would definitely recommend trying Bakuchiol, which I wrote about in this post!)

I have more affordable skincare recs here in this post… but I’ve never outlined a full skincare routine at solely affordable/drugstore prices. If you buy everything (8 products) featured, that’s $153. Not cheap (the two retinol products drive up the cost!) BUT you’re getting a full routine that is in my opinion, pretty comparable to a MUCH more expensive skincare routine.

Before we dive in, a few quick things!

  • THIS is my current skincare routine. I’ve updated a few things and will do a winter skincare post but that will give you the general idea.
  • THIS is the correct order to apply your products! (I’ve listed out this routine in proper order but I always get asked questions about product order so I wanted to link to that post again.
  • This post is a bedtime routine! I find that if you are diligent at night you don’t have to do a ton in the morning. I usually splash my face with water (or use this toner/cleanser), and pat on a light moisturizer, my fav daytime eye cream and tinted moisturizer w/ SPF.

Lastly, this is just what works for me! Everything mentioned in this post has been tested, vetted, and is fully Grace-approved! BUT if we have different skin types, this might not work for you. I’m 38 with dry skin. My biggest concerns are dehydration, fine lines, and texture.

Double Cleanse

I love love love a good double cleanse. A balm to remove all my makeup, dirt and grime… and then a gel cleanser to get my skin really clean and prepped for skincare. Besides being super effective, it’s also just a really nice, luxurious ritual. I don’t double cleanse every night but I do it if I wore makeup, my skin feels dirty, I’ve been traveling, or I just want the ritual. If not, I’ll just pick one!

Start by using the Cocokind Oil to Milk Cleanser ($18). Massage this on dry skin and then add a little bit of water to emulsify. Overall, I’m pretty medium on Cocokind but I really love this cleanser and it’s a great price.

THEN, use this Weleda Clarifying Gel Cleanser ($20). I love this cleanser. It smells amazing and really deep cleans. Even though I have dry skin I really like this cleanser as it deep cleans, prepping my skin for moisture!

Exfoliate (2-3x a week)

For a manual exfoliation, I love the Seaweed Bath Company’s face scrub. Budgets aside, it is my favorite face scrub but I do really love that it is $17. I got a tip to (gently) exfoliate for two full minutes in the shower and this has been a game changer… your skin will be buttery soft and SO SMOOTH afterward!

Retinol / Acid

A few times a week (I do it every other night, recommend starting with 1-2x a week) use the Olay Retinol Serum. At $29 this is the most expensive of the products, but it’s also really effective and most retinol serums cost $100+. Definitely read my full review of the Olay retinol products. I find them to be very good and comparable to the more expensive retinol products I’ve tried.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($14)  is the real deal and my favorite affordable acid/toner. It’s similar to P50 in that it exfoliates and makes you GLOW!

Everything really depends on YOUR skin (test things out! Pay attention to how your skin feels) but I would recommend doing each of these things SEPARATELY a few times a week. Don’t do them both, I think retinol + glow tonic would probably be a little too much. I’d probably start with retinol 1-2x a week and Glow Tonic 3x a week with a couple off nights where you do a hydrating serum (don’t have a drugstore/affordable rec for that yet) or just go straight to moisturizer after you cleanse).

Eye Cream

I am still loving the Olay Retinol Eye Cream ($29) and use it every night. It’s gentle, it doesn’t irritate, and I have definitely noticed a big improvement in the texture around my under eye area.

Hydrate

Skin Food and Skin Food Light ($12 each) are my two favs here. Both are so hydrating. I would liken the Skin Food to La Mer’s original cream (it’s extremely rich – a little goes a long way and you have to warm it up between your fingers first) and the Skin Food Light to the Dr. Bader Rich Cream (in consistency, not active ingredients, obviously). I use both creams a lot… usually Skin Food at night or when my face is just extra dry, and Skin Food Light for day. I have a post about Skin Food, with all of its many uses!!

Lock it all in with Oil

Everyday Oil ($14 for one ounce) is one of my favorite oils, and it’s an amazing price! I like to tap on oil over my moisturizer as a final step before bed to lock everything in. It feels amazing. The Everyday Oil Mainstay Blend smells like Palo Santo which I love.