playing favorites | june

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I have no idea how it’s July 1 already, but that means June has come and gone, which means time for the monthly roundup of favorites.

starting with hair, I’ve been loving the surf collection from bumble and bumble. I bought the travel set for our trip to the Philippines back in February, and while I really liked it then, it’s now become the MVP of my hair routine in the past month as the weather has gotten hot and hotter. I have oily hair, and as you can imagine, humid & hot mixed with oily hair = hot mess. this has really toned down the oil and has even let me get away with second-day hair without looking like a grease bucket. I don’t find the shampoo and conditioner to be drying, but the spray definitely is. I’m okay with it as it gives me the longevity and beachy texture I like in the hot weather, but I make sure to do a cleansing and deep conditioning treatment once a week to give my hair a break.

on to nail polish, I’ve worn either chanel fracas (limited edition)  or butter london macbeth on my toes for the past month. fracas is a cheery pink, deep enough in color to not look childish but vibrant enough to be season appropriate. macbeth is the perfect orange/red with a touch of pink and looks amazing against a tan. if I had to choose my top 10 nail polish favorites, this would be on there. love.

as for makeup, I’ve been very minimal this month. I work in an office with no air conditioning and no exterior windows, so in the summer, I wear as little makeup as possible to save myself from looking like a melting mess. I’ve been skipping mascara altogether and just curling my lashes, dabbing a little balm or gloss on my lips, and using this eyeshadow palette from almay. the brown shade is the perfect all-over lid color. I usually just use it on its own, but if I want a little contrast, I add a little bit of the purple to the crease and inner corner, which brings out the brown in my eyes. the formula is great – creamy, doesn’t flake, and doesn’t crease on me even without primer. plus it comes in a compact plastic case that makes on-the-go application a breeze.

and lastly, the non-beauty favorites. I bought this sweater from old navy earlier in June. I thought it would be a great lightweight coverup for the 4th, and I guess a lot of people thought the same since it’s now sold out online. :(. the material is soft and comfortable, and the stars are in a really cute design. the picture doesn’t show it, but there’s another star on the back just over the shoulder. I’ve worn it once already for the USA vs Germany World Cup match, and I’m looking forward to wearing it again, especially on the 4th. I’ve also been loving this necklace. I love that it’s interesting enough with the metal and cord combination while still being light and easy to wear with more casual outfits. I liked it so much that I bought the coral version when it came back in stock.

what have you been loving lately?

playing favorites | may


last month’s favorites

even though I’m naturally tan, I do lighten up quite a bit in the winter months. to bring back the glow a little quicker and more evenly when I’m transitioning from winter into spring and summer, jergens’ natural glow daily moisturizer does the trick. I didn’t use this product back when it had a much stronger smell, but I’ve heard many people comment about how the new smell is much, much better. I like the scent – it smells slightly like a tanning product but mostly just smells a little dessert-like, like a very light dulce de leche. I don’t find it overpowering at all. I use the ‘medium to tan skin tones’ version, but they also have a ‘fair to medium’ version. on me, the effect is very, very subtle. it’s more like a body tinted moisturizer for me, where it helps to even out my skin-tone until I get tan all over naturally. if your skin tone is similar to mine, I wouldn’t recommend this for a very noticeable tanning effect, but if you’re fairer, this would be a noticeable but natural-looking option.

the blush I’m currently loving is an oldie but a goodie: the nars x pierre hardy blush in rotonde from last year. it’s such a great coral that looks terrifying in the pan but is really lovely and incredibly blendable on the skin. I’ve been using it with another favorite: the nars yachiyo kabuki brush. I’ve never really found a blush brush before this one that I’ve loved using with my more pigmented blushes. this one is dense enough to pick up the color but soft and small enough to deposit it gently and right where you want it. the handle is incredibly lightweight, which also helps in the application. it is ridiculously pricey, but it is now my favorite blush brush.

another oldie but goodie: the rms beauty raw coconut cream. I’ve loved using it as a makeup remover/moisturizer on my face before, but it’s done wonders for the random dry patches I’ve been dealing with on my arms and legs recently. it’s incredibly moisturizing but doesn’t feel oily or like a layer of oil is just laying on my skin; it absorbs quickly and has really helped my rough spots heal.

one of my all time favorite drugstore/high street makeup brands is sonia kashuk, especially her brushes and her makeup bags. this one is shaped like a foldover clutch with two transparent zipped compartments. I like that it’s compact but still holds a lot of stuff, and the transparent compartments let me see all I have at once. I can find what I want instead of rummaging around for it. this is coming along with me on our quick weekend visit to my parents tonight.

I’ve been pretty good about not buying makeup, but I couldn’t resist when it came to these lip products from clarins. I’m a huge fan of their instant light natural lip perfector lip glosses. I had shade 06 previously, which is a really nice mocha nude, and I picked up shade 02, which is a lovely apricot and perfect for summer. I also picked up one of their lip balm crayons in my pink, which is one of those ph-dependent shades. on me, the color is a soft, sheer pink. these also have that vanilla-esque smell that the lip glosses do, which I love. the product is really lovely and easy, and the packaging is a sleeker version of the typical lip crayon packaging that I really like.

and lastly, I finally caved on this tote. it’s easy and cheeky, and just looking at it makes me smile. and really, aren’t those purchases the best?

playing favorites | spring lip products



bobbi brown lipgloss | maybelline color elixir | clinique almost lipstick (currently only available in black honey) | ysl sheer volupterimmel lipstick | maybelline color whisper | ysl gloss volupte

when it comes to lips in the spring, I favor corals, oranges, and pinks in lighter formulations, such as a gloss, sheer or creamy lipstick, or some hybrid of the two. these are my current favorite lip products this season. if I had to choose my absolute favorite, it would be a toss up between the two ysl offerings. the sheer volupte is so beautifully sheer, giving just the slightest hint of color while the gloss is just perfect – not too sticky and feels really nice on the lips. plus, look at that packaging! a special shout out also to maybelline for offering awesome lip products at the drugstore. I’m still loving their color whispers from years past and the more recent color elixirs.

what are your favorite spring lip colors?

playing favorites | april



how is it may already?! april flew by, and it’s time again for a recap of the past month’s favorites.

diptyque mimosa candle | my go-to spring candle. it’s light, airy, and oh-so-lovely. I’ve been enjoying this in the evening about an hour or so before I head to bed.

chanel rouge coco shine in antigone | a lovely raspberry red shade in an easy-to-wear formula. this is almost always one of the lip products in my handbag – it applies sheer but can be built up, it’s not too light but not too bold, and it’s incredibly quick and easy to apply. it’s a good all-rounder. plus, I bought this in South Korea on my way to the Philippines, so it always brings back good memories whenever I use it.

dolce & gabbana light blue | my spring/summer fragrance is now in heavy rotation now that it’s warming up (slowly). I love the tart citrus scent that reminds me of a hot day spent on the water.

dior nail glow | I’ve been so busy lately that painting my nails hasn’t been an option. to keep them looking polished without having to find the time for a proper manicure, I’ve been slapping this on. it gives my nails the most flattering pink hue – like my nails have been taken care of, even though nothing could be farther from the truth these past few weeks. I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend who swears by it. I initially balked at the price tag, but after using it over and over this past month, I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

clarins one-step gentle exfoliating cleanser (sample size) | aside from my nails, I’ve also been slacking on the skincare routine, and my face is rougher than I’d like. this cleanser has been on heavy rotation the past month to help offset the effects of my neglect. it’s effective but gentle, and my face feels incredibly smooth after I use this without ever feeling stripped.

reiko kaneiko lip tease gold mug | such a cheeky little mug! I saw this mug on a post by Lydia on her blog months ago, and it immediately caught my eye. the mug is quite slim and feels delicate in the hand. I drink way more coffee than this mug can hold at a time, so I’ve been using this for nightly cups of tea.

lodis audrey checkbook clutch wallet | I’d been looking for a black wallet for ages, and I’d never found one I liked enough to buy until I saw this one. I love the contrast red lining and the lack of extra hardware – simple and functional. it has an insane number of card slots and pockets, plus it has a designated spot for a checkbook. what sealed the deal for me was the fact that it had all of these features and still managed t0 be quite slim. and on top of all that, I found it on major sale for under $30!

happy may day!

playing favorites | march



another end of the month, another roundup of monthly favorites.

beauty | on the beauty front, there are five things I’ve been really loving. after my rave about it, it’s no surprise that the bobbi brown pot rouge in hibiscus makes the cut. look at that color! I loved it so much that I went out and bought the sonia kashuk synthetic flat top multipurpose brush to use with it. this brush has been on my wish list for years. I came across so many great reviews about how amazing it is for liquid foundation application and cream blush, but since I had moved away from foundation to tinted moisturizers (which I mostly apply with my fingers) and I wasn’t a cream blush fan before the pot rouge, I never bought it…until this month. it’s a fantastic brush, period, but the cherry on top is that it’s under $15. this and the cream blush are a match made in heaven. item 3 is another product with a cult-like following: bioderma crealine micellar solution. before trying this at the beginning of this year, I often thought “what’s the big deal? even if it’s a great makeup remover, it’s still just makeup remover“. yes, it is just makeup remover, but it really is amazing. everything comes off without any tugging or pulling or irritation. the best part for me is that it feels like water – refreshing, gentle, and no icky oily residue afterwards. I took advantage of these properties when I was in the Philippines. I didn’t wear very much makeup on the trip, but I still used it for a little face refresh during the long bus rides. it was light and effective – perfect for the humid conditions. this month’s favorite lip product is the fresh sugar lip treatment in rose. it gives my poor lips some much needed moisture and repair while still giving the most flattering pink tint. last but not least, the fifth beauty favorite of march is the wet brush. as its name implies, it’s meant to be safe to use on wet hair. it does an amazing job of detangling my hair without pulling out half of it in the process. I was impressed from the very first brush through.

accessories | meet the newest bag on the block. my search for a versatile cross body that could fit my iPad mini and other daily essentials ended with the rebecca minkoff hudson mini moto bag. the funny thing is, even though it’s now a hands down favorite, I had very low expectations for it and didn’t think that I would like it, much less love it. I considered about 10 or so bags and ordered 5 bags in total. this bag was the 5th and last one, and I ordered it half in resignation because the other 4 options that I was sure were going to work out all fizzled out for one reason or another. I love that it manages to carry a lot while still keeping its shape. I love its structured silhouette, and the fact that inside has two separate compartments. there is a flat pocket on the front (it’s the flap that runs across underneath the triangular flap) that is a really handy place to keep my Ventra card for the CTA. I was considering the all black version, but I think the white strap is an interesting feature and makes it spring-appropriate. I also love that it’s saffiano leather, since I use this bag running about Chicago and can’t be bothered to worry about it getting dinged up or scratched on a crowded bus or train or ruined by unexpected rain (which happens quite a lot in Chicago). it’s edgy enough for late night drinks at a pub yet classic enough for a dinner date or light days at work. it’s pretty much perfect. the other accessory currently rocking my world is the power support air jacket iPhone case in clear. I’d been wanting a clear iPhone case for awhile, but all the options seemed flimsy, with the plastic feeling brittle and quick to scratch. this case feels substantial, even though it is the thinnest case I’ve seen. it fits my phone perfectly – the edges are flush with the phone itself, so it feels like I have no case on at all. as a big fan of slim cases, the fit on this one is top notch.

home | the final favorite of the month is this tumbler from how adorable is it? from the mint straw to the heart pattern to the fact that it holds 20 oz., it’s must made me quite happy since receiving it. if you’re in need of a little spring happiness pick-me-up, check out their new collection. I’ve adopted “let’s have fun, ok?” as my personal mantra. everything is so cheery and colorful, you won’t be able to not smile. this hooray tote is sitting in my cart as I type…