Since I didn't get to blog through most of November, I thought I would do a run down of all the things I have been loving all through out last month. Now that Winter is here in full force, my main concerns have just been to stay warm, and keep my skin and hair healthy, and hydrated—basically, everyone's main concerns in the winter. Hopefully, you guys are able to grab a few of these items yourself, and try them out!
Okay, first up, are a couple of fashion items, like I said, staying warm has been my number one priority, and so, this winter I decided to add a few blanket scarves to my collection. I picked up a couple from Forever 21, including this red and black one (and one that's not pictured, Christopher wears it!), and this black and gray one from Express. Both scarves have been a Godsend on days when it's just been super chilly—I definitely like that they're oversized, as they provide a ton of coverage and warmth— they're great because I can stay toasty, while still adding a bit of pop to my looks.
I actually only bought these in November (on Black Friday), and I didn't get to wear them until they arrived at my house earlier this week, but they still count, because I knew I would love them before I hit "Check Out"—these are the ASOS Ring My Bell Chelsea Boots, and OMG, they are my new babies! What I really love about these boots are that they hit below the ankle, have a reasonable stacked heel, with a cushioned interior, and are this cool matte faux leather. I really just needed a nice pair of basic black booties, to replace ones that I have donated, and these are great. I wore them on a test run to IKEA the other day, and I felt like I was walking on clouds—clouds that go, "click clack", that is.
My beloved Ona Chelsea bag has been a favorite of mine since I bought it, but, I included it in this post, because it really has been a workhorse for me lately, and I have to shout it out, again. Actually, considering this is a camera bag, I haven't used it much for my camera this last month. I have taken this to meetings, gone on lunch dates, shopping, etc. and it's great because 1) it goes with everything, dressed up or down, it's a great compliment to whatever I have on, 2)the saffiano leather is waterproof, so all of this rain has literally been rolling right off, and 3) it just does a great job of accommodating all of my stuff; there are tons of little compartments, plus the three large compartments meant for my camera and lenses, so not only can I bring my entire life with me wherever I go, it's organized, to boot.
Speaking of purses, this is everything I've been carrying in my bag with me lately, kind of like my "Winter Essentials"; I always keep hand cream with me, and this rose scented one by Jurlique is fabulous; it smells great, and it's really nourishing. My hands can be really dry, but this stuff makes them feel amazing. Next, is an EOS lip balm (Mint flavored), these things last forever and really do the trick when it comes to keeping your lips moisturized; a must for Winter! On the topic of lips, my new favorite lip combo lately is MAC Nightmoth lipliner topped with NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Abu Dhabi— on a whim, I bought the NYX matte cream, and hated it by itself (too ashy), but blended with the burgundy lip liner it turns into a gorgeous matte lip that looks quite natural, and really pretty on me. And last thing I keep around are the Boscia Pink Peppermint Blotting Linens, because even though the rest of my skin is bone dry, I still produce crazy amounts of oil in my T-zone and need to blot or re-powder throughout the day, lately, I prefer to just blot, because I don't want to look like a dry, powdery ghost.
This is another makeup item that's really been a major player in the last month—I bought the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light a couple of months ago, but, it has really continued to be my favorite makeup item. Especially now that I've permanently switched back to matte makeup, this is the only thing making my skin look luminous and bright!
I haven't met an Origins product yet that I didn't like, and that goes extra for this amazing trio here. This is the Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil, Modern Friction scrub, and the Drink Up Intensive Mask. If I could recommend three products to try this Winter, these would be it. The cleansing oil is fantastic for removing all traces of makeup, while moisturizing the skin, of course. This is my first time trying out a dedicated cleansing oil (normally, I would just use coconut oil or olive oil), and I'm really impressed how thoroughly it cleanses, and removes makeup. I try to still rotate in other cleansers so that I don't use this up too quickly, but really, I just want to use it every single night, it's that good.
Modern Friction continues to be one of my favorite exfoliators, I debated on buying this again recently, as it is really pricey, but decided to go for it, because if there's one thing I need to do constantly in the Winter, it's exfoliating my skin. Hands down, there's not a better product than this stuff, and that's why I keep buying it, even though it makes my wallet sad.
And the last thing is the Drink Up Intensive Mask—YOU GUYS. I don't know how I've been living before I got this. I have had some really good moisturizers in the past and currently, but, this ish is great. You wash your face, and then slather this stuff on before bed, and when you wake up in the morning, your skin looks fresh, and nourished. Since incorporating all three of these things into my routine, my skin has been doing so great! It's smoother, brighter, more moisturized; I have found my Holy Grail for Winter skincare in these products.
Now, as much as I love those Origins products, I have to also give it up to Boscia, because they never fail me either—Boscia gets it. When I worked at Sephora, Boscia was always a brand that we would recommend to clients, and much like Origins, it's really hard to come across a bad product in their range, everything is fabulous. I recently tried out both their holiday sets: The Black Collection, and the Tsubaki Secrets Collection. Both come with a full size version of a product, a trial size product, and a konjac cleansing sponge.
I picked my favorite three products from those sets, and they are the Luminzing Black Mask, Tsubaki Beauty Oil, and the charcoal infused konjac sponge. I've been a user of the Black Mask for ages, and it's simply a no-brainer for the Winter time; it's like the Bioré pore cleaning strip of masks—you will literally pull out every single impurity from your pores, leaving behind really fresh looking skin. This is one of the only masks that I use that works every single time, consistency is why this is forever a fave of mine.
Next, is a product I haven't tried before, and it's the Tsubaki Beauty Oil. I'm really into oils for the skin this season, and this beauty oil really does wonders for me. The great thing about this oil is that it absorbs quickly, and doesn't leave my skin looking greasy (unless I use too much)—you only use 3-4 drops, and you can even mix it into your daily moisturizer to add a boost of hydration. I usually apply this 20 minutes before doing my makeup, and then I'm good to go—I usually get severe dryness around my mouth in the Winter, and between this stuff and my Origins products, my skin actually feels legitimately moisturized, and I haven't had any dryness issues whatsoever.
Lastly, I'm in LOVE with their bamboo charcoal konjac sponge, I'd never used a konjac sponge before, so this was another first for me—the charcoal is great because it helps to aid with oiliness and congestion, all while being really gentle; the first time I used it, I was actually really amazed, my pores were non-existent, and my skin looked absolutely flawless, I'm not exaggerating! I don't know how these magical sponges work, but, I'm seriously never going back to being without one.
As for hair, this is a product I really enjoyed (can't you tell, it's almost all gone), it's the Phyto Specific Baobob Oil for hair and body. Phyto is another brand I know quite well, from working at Sephora, but that was some time ago, and many new products have been added to their line up, including this oil blend. I used this in just about any way imaginable, from hot oil treatments, to pre-shampoo treatments, to sealing my ends, to cleaning my makeup off my face a few times (this is before I bought Clean Energy), to using it after showers to moisturize, this stuff is great for any of those things. It smells heavenly, and it has a fairly nice consistency, not terribly thick or too runny.
A little goes a long way, as using too much will result in greasy hair, so, you really just need the smallest amount. I have really dry hair, so this stuff really made a difference in how my hair felt, and looked. It is fairly pricey, but, it does what it claims to do, and because it's so multi-purpose, I definitely feel like it's worth the price! It also lasts quite a while as well—I've had this bottle for well over three months now, and I'm finally just getting to the bitter end. This is something I will definitely keep in my beauty arsenal; my hair loves oils, and this is not an exception!
Another product I tried out was the Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In Conditioner—um, where have I been?! Under a rock?? In space? Why haven't I tried this before?! I love, love, love this stuff!! Not only is it really moisturizing, it's handmade, and natural! My hair loves this stuff; it gets my hair feeling super soft, makes my curls pop, aaaaand, it smells like heaven. I'm a sucker for anything vanilla scented. I can't really find anymore things to say about this other than, OMG I LOVE IT, so, I'll end this now.
Also, in the conditioning realm, I've been really loving these Cantu products, as well! This is the Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Mask, as well as the Conditioning Co-Wash, and I must say, these are a pleasant surprise for me. I use the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In, and it's always one of my top favorite hair products, but, I've never really ventured to anything else in their product line up, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly, in the Winter, I stick primarily to co-washing my hair (washing hair with conditioner instead of shampoo), shampoo will just make it feel like hay, and I don't need that in my life. For co-washing, I always just use whatever conditioner I have on hand, but, I've never used something formulated specifically as a co-wash. This product was actually quite nice, it is very cleansing but it does not dry out my hair—it gives me that "squeaky clean" feeling that I miss from shampooing, but, it doesn't strip the hair, which I don't miss from shampooing. So, it's really a nice happy medium, especially for people who don't want to constantly shampoo their hair, but, who feel like co-washing doesn't get their hair clean (it does!).
The deep treatment mask was kind of hit-or-miss for me at first, as I was using it according to the directions—on dry hair, for 30 minutes—but, I found that it didn't really produce great results. It didn't feel like my hair really absorbed much of the product, and it was just sort of meh. How I recommend using it, is to detangle, wash/co-wash your hair, and then on somewhat wet hair, liberally apply the mask, and sleep in it with a cap or plastic bag on. When I leave it on for that extended period of time, and let it really do it's thing, the results are really wonderful. My hair is moisturized, and my curls are separated and nicely defined! I don't own any other products like it, because hair masks always tend to be a let down for me, but, once I figured out to use this on my hair, it worked like a charm! If anyone has a good recommendation for hair masks, I'd love to hear it!
My last favorite hair item for November is my beloved Kurly Klips. I can't wait to do a full review on these babies, but, in the meantime, my first impressions are: these are totally great. I love that they look completely natural on me—I've been natural for almost five years now, and at this point, I just want to rock my natural hair without having to do too much straightening or manipulating it all of the time. The Winter is Protective Styling season (AKA protect those ends!), and Kurly Klips have really been a saving grace so far. I usually end up in box braids during this time of year, but, this year I wanted something different, less heavy, and more versatile, so these clip-in extensions have been excellent: I can wear it in a huge afro, a cute top knot, tied back, in a ponytail, braided to the side, etc, they are super versatile, which appeases the part of my brain which makes me want to change my hair style every two weeks. As I said, these will definitely have their own review coming very soon, I wanted to spend some time living in these and figuring them out before I said too much, but, really I knew instantly that I would love these, and they have been awesome since day one.
Another Cantu product I checked out last month is the Softening Body Butter, again, not being familiar with other Cantu offerings besides the leave-in conditioner, I wasn't even aware that they had body products in their line—but, I figured if this was nearly as good as their conditioner is, then I would like it, and I was right! This stuff is pretty luxurious-feeling, and it smells incredible—the closest scent I can affiliate this with is Sensual Amber by Bath & Body Works—I don't know, I can't stop smelling myself when I put this on. It does a great job of moisturizing too, I use this all over, but I mainly focus on the more dry areas of my body, like feet and knees and elbows and hands, and it really does make my skin feel really soft and nourished in those areas. Definitely a nice surprise!
The last thing, which is totally random, is this Triple Ginger Brew from Trader Joes! I love anything having to do with ginger, and this ginger ale is SO GOOD! If you're a ginger lover, this is a definite must-try! And, if you don't like ginger, buy it anyway, because the packaging is fantastic, and festive, and reusable. We got two bottles, killed one (as you can see), and now, we need to make a decision on whether or not we should be hoarders and buy several more bottles before they run out—like, I said, totally random, but, I had to throw this in because it's amazeballs. Yep. I just said amazeballs.
Bless your heart if you read through this entire post, I know it was a lot of stuff, but, hopefully, it was useful for some of you! I seriously recommend any and everything in this post, and if you need more info, or want to see individual reviews for certain things, let me know!
If you guys have any Winter favorites, share them with me, as always, I love trying new things and getting suggestions!
Some products featured were sent to me for my consideration, however, all opinions expressed are true and honest.