Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Summer Skin Prep Routine

It's summer, and as many young women, I will admit to having body hair. Now, if you're the kind of person who enjoys going natural, by all means, more power to you! However, I'm not one of those people. I'm pretty lucky, though. I inherited my mom's Chinese body hair genes (in other words, I have body hair but it's generally pretty fine), but I still prefer having silky smooth legs, underarms, and bikini area, especially in the summer time.

To prep for hair removal, I always use a body scrub. The one I'm currently using is the Soap & Glory Scrub 'Em and Leave 'Em Body Buff. I'm not sure if this is even sold in the US anymore, but I picked it up at a Sephora sale like months back, and it's still going strong! I like to use this scrub all over my body, especially focusing on the areas that I plan to self-tan or remove hair from.

For my legs, I like to take care of things in the shower while the hair is wet and soft. My absolute favorite shave cream is the eos Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream in "Vanilla Bliss." This thick shave cream is fantastic because it stays on the skin until you no longer want it on, and it smells amazing. I also find that it is very hydrating! If I was really in a super crazy rush, I could easily just run out the door without moisturizing after using this shave cream. The razor I use is the Gilette Venus Divine Sensitive Skin Razor, which gives me a close shave without irritating my skin.

After shaving, I will either use a body butter or my Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturizer in "Medium to Tan." While I'm definitely a fair skinned girl, I find that the "Medium to Tan" formula works just fine on my skin, and it's hydrating enough that it can be used without another body lotion! I'm not big on self-tanning, so this is really great because it gives you a gradual, natural looking bronze without being high maintenance or looking like you just stepped out of an Oompa Loompa convention.

Moving on up to the underarms, I recently rediscovered my Emjoi EpiSlim Epilator. This thing looks like it could either be very naughty, or some kind of weird torture device, but it works wonders. If you don't know what an epilator is, it's basically like a cross between an electric razor and tweezers. It removes the hair by the root without all the mess of waxing! Personally, I never found waxing to work very well on my underarms, which is why this epilator is fantastic. Prior to using an epilator, my underarm hairs were thicker and darker than the hair on my head (gross), but after about a month of using it, my hair has become less noticeable, and I only have to epilate every one or two weeks! The first couple of times, it hurts like crazy, but the longer you use it, the easier it gets. I prefer to use it with wet skin to help the epilator glide better, following up with aloe vera gel to sooth the skin.

For my bikini area, I like to use a mix of the epilator and the razor. I love the idea of Brazilian waxing, but I don't think I'd ever have the nerve to have it done, which is why I find that using a mix of both techniques works wonderfully. I use the epilator on the thinner hairs, while using a razor, well, every where else! I find this gives me the best, long lasting results!

I hope this has been helpful for any of you who are preparing for summer. Let me know your favorite hair removal tips in the comments below!

- D.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Summer Tag

My lovely friend Shae over at Diary of a Beauty Padawan has tagged me to do The Summer Tag! I thought it was so funny when I saw that she tagged me in this, considering it's the dead of winter in Australia right now, but for me, summer is just getting started! Along with this post, I guess I'll follow Shae's lead and post a few pictures of my beautiful hometown of San Diego, CA, which is in itself a wonderful summer paradise.

1. What is your favorite thing about summer?
  • The sunshine. I'm definitely a warm weather kinda gal, and I love a day where it's sunny and 80 degrees with just a slight breeze. I love being able to wear shorts and not have to worry about being cold whenever I go out! Of course, there's always the problem of getting too hot, but I would rather be slightly too warm than be too cold.
2. Do you have a favorite summer drink?
  • Well, for a while it was Starbucks' Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with soy. Sadly, they didn't bring it back this year! For the last couple of summers, I've just waited for that seasonal drink to come back out, and I'm super bummed I can't get it anymore. For the most part though, I definitely drink lemonade a lot. I mean, I drink lemonade pretty much year round, but there is something so absolutely satisfying (and slightly cliche) about having a big glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.
3. Is there a special place you like to visit each summer?
  • Not particularly. I just like to make sure I spend lots of time out in the sun and relaxing.
4. What's your favorite makeup look for summer?
  • I really prefer minimal makeup for summer. Most recently, I've just been going for a light foundation, a long-wearing cream shadow, and some mascara! Plus, a bright lip for a pop of color occasionally.
5. Dresses or skirts?
  • Definitely dresses! They're so easy to just throw on and run out the door, and they make it look like you tried when in reality, you just didn't feel like having to piece an outfit together (come on, I'm not the only one!). Skirts can just be kind of a hassle if you don't know what to wear with them.
6. Festivals or vacations?
  • Definitely vacations. Personally I've never actually been to a festival, but it doesn't really seem like my kind of scene. I love the idea of just being able to relax and spend time with the people who are important to you.
7. What's your signature summer hairstyle?
  • I don't think I really have one! Recently, I've been into a low side bun, but that's because I generally can't be bother to deal with my hair since it's been getting longer. I can't wait to start playing with some fun braids as soon as it's long enough though!
8. What's your signature summer scent?
  • Sunscreen. I don't really tend to wear a lot of perfume or anything, so for the most part, I just smell like sunscreen! Gotta stay protected.
9. Favorite music for summer?
  • I don't think I really have a specific like "summer playlist." Although I've noticed that I'm really into like spunky, powerful break up songs (such as "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift), despite being in a serious, long-term relationship. They're just so empowering!
10. Pool or beach?
  • It really depends. I don't love going in the water at the beach because the Pacific Ocean is freezing. However, I do love just being at the beach in general. I love walking in the sand and watching people, and just kind of hanging out. The pool for me is definitely more for if I really do want to get into the water. Since coming back from North Carolina, though, I have a renewed love for the beach!
11. BBQ or seafood? 
  • Seafood. Always seafood. I'm a vegetarian, but occasionally I'll break that for some fish, when I'm really craving something meaty. Especially for sushi, it's a weakness! Sadly I can't eat shellfish though, since I'm allergic.

Balboa Park in the summer is one of my favorite places!

I tag:
  1. Amanda -- Meet @ The Barre
  2. Isabelle -- BUBBYBELLE
  3. Ciarlene -- Ponderings and Ramblings
...and anyone else who is reading this!

- D. 

p.s. I decided to include a few of my favorite photos from my first summer outing since coming home. I went kayaking with Andrew and we had a blast!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Spring Favorites -- Beauty, Fashion, & Random

Spring this year has been quite the busy season. From getting the opportunity to work a beautiful production of Guys and Dolls at my school, to coming home, to now being a design intern working on the world premiere of Robert Lopez's new musical (If you don't know who he is, look him up. This opportunity is pretty freakin' amazing), spring has kept me incredibly busy! I've also been traveling a lot in the spring, since I drove from North Carolina back home to California in just four days. My favorites for this season have been staples to keeping me going, and I suspect I'll continue loving them through the summer as well!

Physician's Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil. I came across this stuff in a Walmart, and was shocked by the price. Normally, argan oil is pretty pricey, but this 1 oz bottle from Physician's Formula is only $15! It works just as well as the expensive Josie Maran oil, and leaves my skin feeling hydrated. After working underground in an air conditioned theater for three weeks, then driving for 12 hours a day coming back to California, this stuff has saved my skin!

Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. The water here in San Diego is much harder than the water in North Carolina, and it makes my skin feel crusty and dry. Cute, right? For a few weeks after arriving back home, I couldn't help but scratch and rub at my eyes because of the dry desert air and the hard water drying out my skin. So I finally caved and purchased this eye cream, which I've heard rave reviews about for months, and I don't think I could ever go back to anything else! The best thing about it is that it isn't overly creamy. Usually, eye creams are too much for my skin and give me milia, but I haven't had that problem with this yet!

Maybelline The Falsies Flared Mascara. This mascara makes my lashes look thick and long, and the shape of the wand gives my lashes the perfect winged out lash look! I love the look of thick, fluttery lashes, and this mascara achieves just that. Because I usually wake up at 7 AM and don't get home till around 6 PM, I need my mascara to really hold a curl and stay put without flaking or smudging. The waterproof formula of this mascara does exactly that!

Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Leave-In Spray. I blow dry my hair almost every single time I wash it because I get the best results that way. Blow drying my hair prevents it from appearing greasy or stuck to my scalp, and it gives me a nice lift of volume! I recently got a trim, and after trimming my hair, I decided I needed to get a good heat protectant so I wouldn't have to be fighting off dead ends anymore -- especially since I'm trying to grow my hair out. This heat protectant spray has worked beautifully at keeping my frizzy split ends from returning and I use it every single time before using any kind of heat on my hair! Plus, I really love the way it smells.

US Acrylic Lipstick Organizer. I'll admit it. I have a lipstick problem. However, this lipstick organizer keeps my lipstick problem under control. I recently ran out of space for my lipstick in my makeup storage (I know...first world problems), and I had an Amazon gift card, so I decided it was time to purchase one of these nifty lipstick holders! Now, my most loved lipstick formulas stay put on top of my makeup storage, while the others fit much more easily inside!

Faux Gem T-Strap Sandal. I purchased these sandals at Forever21 to wear to my school's end-of-the-year celebration, and I am obsessed with them. I wear them all the time now! The t-strap design is elegant and the faux gems add just a little bling to amp them up. These sandals are perfect for a warm night out or just for a casual lunch date, and they're a fantastic alternative to the traditional flip-flop sandal.

Refurbished MacBook Pro. So part of the reason I had to stop blogging for a while was because my old HP laptop died on me. I had predicted it would die out for a while, and finally, it did. That's when I started looking at new computers, and asking friends for advice. All of my art school friends told me to just invest in a MacBook Pro, and that I wouldn't regret it. However, I didn't really have any desire to dish out $1500 on a new laptop that didn't even have a disk drive. When I found the certified refurbished store on the Apple website, I knew I had found a perfect compromise! I saved $600 purchased a refurbished laptop, it has everything I need, and works like new. I also got this super cute Tiffany blue case-and-keyboard-cover set on Amazon for super cheap!

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge. I can't even begin to explain this book to you. It's so incredibly good! If you love dark fantasy, this is such a phenomenal read. I reminds me a lot of A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of my favorite books of all time, and when I first purchased this book I couldn't put it down! Because I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to finish it, but I seriously can't wait to have some free time and find out how it ends.

I hope you all are having an amazing start to your summer!

- D.

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Go To Products for Water Resistant Makeup

With summer just around the corner, it's time for bonfires and beach days! If you're anything like me, your days are packed full of activities, where you're out on the beach in the afternoon, and going out somewhere at night. Personally, I don't have time to worry about my makeup, so I want my makeup to last all day without fail, so that I can go out looking put together after a wet day. These are my fool proof products for budge proof makeup!

From left to right:

  • Bare Minerals Hydrating Mineral VeilThis powder has become my new favorite powder in the last month or so. While I wouldn't necessarily call it hydrating, it leaves you with glowy skin as opposed to dull, dry skin. Since my skin is naturally a bit dry, some setting powders can make me look super cakey, and I've noticed that this powder does the exact opposite! Even with the mattifying products that I use underneath, it keeps my skin looking healthy while keeping my face products in place!
  • Maybelline The Falsies Flared Waterproof Mascara. This mascara is without a doubt my new favorite drugstore mascara! It stays on through pretty much anything, and for best results, use an oil-based makeup remover so you don't pull out any of your lashes. It gives you full, fluttery lashes without clumping, and it stays put even when wet!
  • Wet n Wild H2O Proof Liquid Eyeliner. This eyeliner has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. I think I've worn this eyeliner since I was 14, and whenever I need something waterproof, I always go back to it! This stuff does NOT budge in water. I have been swimming for hours while wearing this eyeliner and still gotten compliments about how good my eyeliner looked a few hours later with zero touchups. You definitely need an oil-based makeup remover (or extra virgin olive oil works well too!), because this stuff is stubborn!
  • CoverGirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation. This foundation is a medium-to-high coverage foundation with a built-in primer, and stays on all day! When combined with a separate primer and the right setting powder, this foundation is not waterproof, but it holds its own against the water. To add more bang for your buck, this foundation has an SPF of 20, and is a buildable formula for personalized coverage!
  • Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo. This specific shade that I've featured in "Inked in Pink" which is park of the Color Tattoo Metals collection, and is the perfect pinky champagne color for every day! These cream eyeshadows seriously don't budge or crease, making them perfect for days when you may be sweating or getting wet! For even more longevity, set the cream shadow with a powder shadow. 
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Primer. To start off the water resistant foundation trifecta, use this super affordable matte primer! It will not only keep oil at bay, but it will act as an adhesive, keeping your foundation in place all day, even in the highest humidity (trust me, I wore this in a Southern summer where it's 100% humidity 99% of the time). 
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel. I don't think this product is advertised as being water resistant, but it should be. It won't protect your brows from being mauled by huge waves over and over again, but if you're in a situation where you might get wet (for example, when Andrew and I went kayaking last week, or a water balloon fight, or spontaneous skinny dipping), it'll help keep your brows in place. And, even if you do get soaked, your brows will be more protected than without it.
  • Sephora Colorful Waterproof Eyeliner. This is another great liquid liner for a wet situation. While it's definitely not as waterproof as the Wet n Wild liner, it does stay in place and requires some work to get off. Which, when your face is getting splashed, is definitely a good thing! The best part about this eyeliner is that it comes in quite a few fun colors, so that you can keep up with the colored liner trend while keeping your liner in place all day!
I hope this is helpful! These are all products I've found work year after year, and I swear by them. One time I even wore a full face of makeup to a pool party, and after spending all day in the water, my makeup still looked good -- all thanks to these products!

- D.