I feel inundated with sales – and will post my favorites later.

For today only, Nordstrom is doing their annual (or is it biannual) mascara promotion. If you’re into department store mascara, buy 3 and get 1 of ’em free! I would partake if I had not loaded up on Japanese mascaras recently.

(Nordstrom also has their half yearly sale going on and they always overwhelm me. I don’t need anything but did notice a ton of Le Creuset on sale. I LOVE Nordstrom customer service and the always free shipping.)

I try and do this once a week for ridulously clean and soft feeling skin. While it doesn’t have to be done on the weekend, that’s when I tend to have more time.

Step Zero: Wash Your Face

Step One: Exfoliating Mask to get rid of dullness and decongest skin.

Wash off with water and dry your face.

Step Two: Clay Mask to tighten it up.

Wash off with water and dry your face again. 

(Optional) Toner and Essence before the sheet mask to prime your skin.

Step Three: Sheet Mask to inject moisture.

After the sheet mask, pat in essence, and slap on some cream, and catch some zzz’s. 

Tips: 

  • Exfoliating masks, I like these. On its own, they give a great flow:
    • Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel – not called a mask, but that’s what I use it for. It has AHAs, BHAs and enzymes. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Looks like raspberry jam.
    • Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (Tata Harper $25/100 referral, Sephora, Birchbox, Nordstrom) – uses natural enzymes. I leave on for a while. The recommended time is 30 min, 10 min for sensitive skin. It spreads thin and will dry. Technically, you could wear it out [to the gym for example] and no one knows you have it on.
  • Wash off mask applicator – I recently got the Erborian Precision Mask Brush from Sephora. Right, you can probably find a similar silicone tool from the kitchen but this had a flat, wide tip that is perfect for application. What I like about this brush is that you waste less mask, even application, more hygienic for the mask jar, and no mask gunk to wash from your fingers. The tip is stiff yet flexible enough and it’s just narrow enough to fit into the Tata jar.
  • Clay masks – The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic ones are my favorite. The volcanic clay mask comes in a regular and super (for oilier complexions) in a capsule, jar, or mousse can. I’ve got jars of the regular and super and sadly the super has dried up a bit. More recently, I got the mousse can in super in Taiwan and I have to say it’s so fabulously fluffy and easy to spread, but is much harder to find in the US and shipping options are limited since it’s an aerosol can.
    • Jar: Amazon (only buy from Prime sellers, they have standards), Innisfree (ships from Korea, sometimes they have free shipping promotions/sales), Memebox (referral, 20% off $25+), Jolse
    • Capsule/Pod: ViaSeoul (formerly InsiderBeauty), Jolse
    • Mousse: ViaSeoul (formerly InsiderBeauty), Jolse
  • I haven’t tried this before but I heard you can also slap on a cheap sheet mask for a few minutes to soak and remove a clay mask.
  • There are plenty of sheet mask options. I have a ton of Taiwanese and Korean ones from trips to Asia. They are marked up outside of Asia and definitely at Sephora. They tend to be most cost effective if you buy them from a third party seller at Amazon or from Asia (shipping can be slow). E.g. You can find L’Herboflore locally in Taiwan, Bisou Beauty Bar (Canada), Beautibi (US), or BGO (Taiwan) with some markup.
  • Don’t throw away the excess liquid in the sheet mask pouch! You can use it on the body, save it for the next day for the face, or soak in compressed masks from Muji.

I ordered the luxe bundle in smoke stripe (white with thin grey stripes) back in November and have been using the bedding more often than not. The shipping box was bigger than expected and a little dinged up, but no worries because they have the goodies within a smaller box inside a Brooklinen tote bag. As a packaging hoarder, I had to reluctantly recycle that box. I promptly laundered the sheets per their care guide. All in all, I LOVE these sheets — the design and the supersoft but luxe feel. I’m not sure how the classic sheets are in comparison, I went straight for the Luxe.

Brooklinen started on Kickstarter in 2014. They are the Everlane of bedding. You can read more about Brooklinen in this Business Insider Insider Picks piece. Given their mission, they rarely have any promotions (I got a free candle during Cyberweek), but you can get $15 off through my referral link.

Glossier launched a new balm dotcom trio on their SnapChat edit: that is now open to the public (password: balmsaway). And some of them are tinted! I have a slight lip balm addiction – can never be without – and the balm dotcom is a ointment that is good beyond the lips. I currently use the coconut one.

Other products that I like:

I tried the Priming Moisturizer (I got it as a sample) and like it but thought it was similar to the Embryolisse that I already have. I will also be testing out the Milky Jelly Cleanser soon after seeing all the reviews and getting an endorsement from a blogger I respect.

Use my referral link for 20% off everything else — pretty sure you can’t use it with the trio since it’s a secret link. Free shipping for $30+ and free returns.

Image: Glossier

These Bao Bao Issey Miyake bags are super lightweight. Not as light as a Baggu, but I’m hard pressed to find anything similar in style that is so easy to transport. The Lucent fits a US letter-sized folder and other essentials perfectly, and is currently my work bag. My aunt is the lucky owner on the Rock tote (left) in matte black. The matte style is pretty hard to find. In addition to its horizontal style, the Rock also has a top zipper for those who have fear of carrying bags without zippers. Both styles have adjustable straps and the max setting fits comfortable over your shoulder (and a winter coat). I’ve been thinking of adding a Prism (similar to Lucent, but larger) or Rock tote in either white or black, but have been tied up on Mansur Gavriels of late (if you couldn’t tell).

I took this photo near a window in daylight so you can see that the bags (matte or not) reflect light easily. The material is very easy to maintain. While it won’t survive a downpour, a few random drops does no harm.

While I was writing this post, my aunt came out and showed me her new Tonneau in an off-white color. The material is thicker than the flat tote styles and you can somewhat sculpt its shape. It looks like a great travel bag (with a detachable crossbody strap and top zipper) and can hold much more than the two bags above. (E.g. the Lucent/Prism are flat totes.) My aunt loves that white Bao Bao bags are low maintenance and stay clean.

Where to Buy

  • Saks Fifth AvenueLots of colors/styles. Some are pre-order. They had matte Rock totes at some point.
  • Museum of Modern Art – Momastore has discounts for their museum members. If you work at a company that is a corporate sponsor, you can get a 20% off on a designated day every month in-store and online.
  • Farfetch This is a global marketplace. I’ve seen sellers from the US and Europe. Prices vary due to the exchange rates.
  • Totokaelo – Open an account to get discount codes.
  • La Garconne
  • Azalea
  • Official Bao Bao Issey Miyake – They obviously have the widest selection.
  • Selfridges – UK based.
  • Matches – UK based.

Since this is a Japanese brand, it is in greater demand in Asia. I’ve heard of people lining up at the Japan stores before they open to snag coveted colors. I’ve stopped by a Narita airport store (pre-security, T2). The prices were amazing because you can get it tax-free with your passport, but they were wiped out of neutral colors. There is also a store in T1, post-security at Narita. It was a similar case in Taipei, regarding stock at both the Far Eastern/”The Mall” and SOGO Fuxing store. I rarely see these bags in NYC and if I do, it’s always carried by an Asian.

 

(1) Marimekko for Target is launching on Sunday, April 17, which means midnight tonight-ish. Aside from studying their lookbook, check eBay auctions (there was a press preview last weekend) and also understand Marimekko retail prices (no need to overpay for a Target collab piece!). I anticipate a crazy launch.

(2) Two thumbs up for Moshi CS. I use a Moshi iGlaze case for my Macbook Pro. The corner cracked. I continued on. Then it completely broke off about 10 months in. I wasn’t in the Moshi system for a warranty because I stupidly threw out the packaging before realizing the numbers I needed to register were on it. But at $50+ for the case, I figured it was worth a try to contact Moshi CS (before even attempting Amex Warranty Protection). After sending over photos of the crack, of another number inside of the bottom case, and the receipt, they sent me a brand new case! And I definitely registered this case…

I love this case, especially since I spilled an entire cup of ginger beer over the closed case once and my machine was completely protected.

(3) Two thumbs up for Instant Pot CS. My stainless steel Instant Pot liner interior was chipping. At least that’s the best way to explain it. I’ve never seen stainless steel chip or have any sort of wear, so I hope that was a one-off. Similarly, Instant Pot sent a new one!

(4) I love the Dr. Jart Liftra contour shaper tool that I got from Sephora. So much that I promptly ordered the set for my mom during the site-wide sale, even though I haven’t tried the products that come with it yet. I bought the shaper to improve circulation in my face (and have tried it on the body too), but it’s touted to help with sculpting facial contours, improve elasticity and sagging skin. You can see it in action at NYFW from Dr Jart’s instagram here. Aside from Sephora, Dr. Jart Liftra is also available at Birchbox.


Image: Dr Jart Instagram

(5) Currently watching: The Americans (FX), Call the Midwife (PBS), Orphan Black (BBC America). And Turn (AMC) is coming back soon!

(6) I’m currently getting Birchbox (after a 5 year hiatus — I like them much better now and the $5 worth of points/month for reviewing). But, I’m realllly excited that Sephora is expanding their Play box distribution and I finally got off the waitlist. You can see all the boxes since they launched in 2015. If you like seeing the ‘just arrived’ section on their site like me, you’ll like it!


(1) I love bringing Suja Mighty Greens juice to work in a S’well bottle, since it stays chilled. The extra large bottle from Costco is reasonably cheap and it lasts us for a few days. We grab a few bottles every time we go to Costco. You can find the S’well bottles here and here. I have a 9 oz for juice and a 17 oz gold one for water, which always gets comments.


(2) Lots of Mansur Gavriel on Barneys available for pre-order, including the saffiano mini buckets, regular buckets, lady, and tote. The craze has died down a little — highly sought after styles and colors still quickly sold out when MG launched last week, but the unpopular styles took a while to sell out and some are still available.

(3) Skincare favorites of late with empties: LJH Propolis Ampoule, Pixi Glow Tonic. The former is seriously cheaper when one of the Asian sites has a sale and that’s when I stock up. I use about 3 drops a day for the glow factor and it’s lasted about 3 months. You may be able to get the Pixi in-person from a local Target through the Curbside app with code MGPEN for $10 off.


(4) I have a ton of Sephora gift cards to use. As a lowly, free Beauty Insider status, save 10% today through Tuesday with code BINOTE. If you’re not a Beauty Insider, you can sign up on their website and the code should work. In my cart, for further filtering:


If you’re curious about May Lindstrom, this Rodale’s 20% off one item sale is probably the only time you’ll find it on discount. Unfortunately, shipping is not free.

(5) COS is having their mid-season sale. I really liked the royal blue version of this textured knit cardigan jacket, so I picked one up in black. I feel spoiled with these COS sales and not having to pay full price (which I used to do whenever I visited a country with COS). I do have some items that I love a little less, which leads to my next point.

(6) I’ve been cleaning my closet and unpacking some boxes that were never unpacked. Some items go for the donation bag, a few go to the trash. If its worth more than a “few dollars” of profit/not too much trouble, I will list it on eBay, Poshmark, or Tradesy. I would donate to Dress for Success if they didn’t make you dry clean everything before you donate and more flexible hours.

  • eBay still reaches the largest market. It can be stressful but they give the seller the most flexibility and control.
  • Poshmark hits a niche and if it doesn’t take too much trouble to cross post, I will. I’m not sure about selling more expensive items though. My biggest gripe is how they provide shipping labels (in the middle of a sheet of paper) and how I always have to screenshot and paste in Word to manipulate it to print on my label paper. It’s US-only and you don’t get paid until a few days after the item is received.
  • I haven’t used Tradesy too much and definitely put it on the bottom of my list — I really dislike how you aren’t instantly informed of a sale (more like hours) yet the buyer can message you and you can’t do a thing. There’s also a waiting period for your money.

 

 

Pictured: cammello mini lady bag (returned), flamma/flamma mini bucket bag (returned), brandy lady bag (returned), black saffiano bucket bag

Mansur Gavriel’s made me a goldilocks.

I’ve been wanting a mini lady bag or lady bag in cammello or brandy, which are both vegetable tanned leather. I like brandy because it was always love at first sight, but photos of the cammello patina’ed get me and brandy’s always been harder to find. I’m wavering between the lady and the mini lady — because I can never see myself traveling with the mini lady. It doesn’t help that I repeatedly buy these bags (which is no easy feat), only to return them because they came with scratches. I’m not naming any names, but the scratches are not a manufacturer’s defect — I’ve seen plenty of perfect non-lady vegetable tanned bags and one cammello mini lady. Some of these bags have been very poorly packaged or handled by the retailer. I’m okay with the nature of the leather being susceptible to scratches, but I will not pay top dollar for a pre-scratched bag. Especially scratches in a non-conspicuous spot. I rather scratch it myself. And as much as I love my durable saffiano bucket, I don’t want another black bag (unless Mansur Gavriel decides to make a non-black saffiano lady…)

Isn’t the brandy gorgeous?

Image: PurseBlog

So, only buy from a shop with a return policy, pre-order where you can, and have patience.

P.S. Barneys has non-black saffiano buckets in rosa (pale pink)! If you were waiting for a mini, I think the ship has sailed and you will have to wait a while for the next round of pre-orders.
P.S.S. My mega post on where to find Mansur Gavriel is up to date. Even I use it to do my ’rounds’.

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