to pamper / weekend spa time at home

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.

Continue reading “to pamper / weekend spa time at home”

to pamper / {sale alert} renee rouleau annual sale

Hello from Oakland, CA.

I’ve been waiting for Renee Rouleau‘s annual sale for ages. Even though it’s only 15% off, I psychologically can’t bring myself to pay full price if I know there will be a sale. It was delayed from August to September so they have more in stock, which is greatly appreciated. I think I skipped out on the 2014 sale because half of what I wanted was sold out.

Continue reading “to pamper / {sale alert} renee rouleau annual sale”

general / happy monday!

Image source: Target

I. Food

II. Fashion

  • Are you a Madewell fan? Here’s a little history on the brand.
  • Oops – I misspoke in the last brain dump. Uniqlo’s big anniversary sale is still going on and there’s an additional $5 off $100 coupon. I went to the Paramus, NJ location last night to make a massive Urban Sweats return and checked out the +J collection while I was at it. I ended up loving the wool wrap coat and need a sale. By the way, the Paramus store may be my favorite area Uniqlo since they are not as crowded as the city ones and have its own entrance.
  • Amex users, I hope you are taking advantage of Amex offers. It’s a little frustrating since offers come from different channels and aren’t always communicated and are sometimes targeted. I check my Amex offers tab online or through the Amex app every few days, I skim Slickdeals updates (through RSS), and my bff keeps me informed.
    • NYCers, read on. You can get a $10 statement credit for each $50 spent at participating NYC retailers, up to three times! In the past, gift cards have qualified, but I will be poring over the terms before I take the plunge. Phone orders and online orders do not count. The retailers include B&H, Uniqlo!, and H&M. See the full list here. To get the offer, follow the Twitter syncing process, tweet #Amexshopny, and wait for a confirmation, or you can register directly here.
  • How to make leather shoes last.

Continue reading “general / happy monday!”

to pamper / my skincare routine

My skin is finally back to a point where I’m fairly satisfied with it! For a while, it felt inflamed and had pesky bumps. The 30s brings more skin trouble than my teens.

These products are currently in my rotation. I am a product junkie who loves the low-end as much as the high-end. Some of these have been blogged before… In addition to these products, I attribute the state of my skin to (1) sleep (2) humidifier and (3) less stress. I love to layer on a bunch of items before I go to bed because that’s when your skin is regenerating! If you’re applying serum, you need a heavier moisturizer on top to seal everything in.

Top row:

  • Somme Institute Transport Pads ($58) – Night – This is my favorite glycolic acid product, hands down for drawing impurities to the surface. There are promotions at least once an year for 100 pads for the price of 50. These last me a while. I keep surplus in the fridge. I also make a point to not use glycolic acid every day – it’s more like a few days in a row every 1-2 weeks. Your skin has to recover. Note that glycolic acid is an exfoliant, so don’t overdo it by using manually exfoliating or using the Clarisonic and using a glycolic acid product. I also avoid using it during the day since it reacts to sunlight.
  • Renee Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment ($39.50) – Night – Pricey, yes, but super effective at getting rid of cystic bumps on the chin. I mention a few RR products here. I hate paying for shipping so I tend to order a few items every time I place an order. They also have a F&F event over the summer for 15% off.
  • Renee Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment ($62.50) – Day – Antioxidants protect your skin and help maximize your sunscreen. I layer this on after my toner and before my moisturizer with sunscreen every morning. It is pricey, but it has lasted me a while and I like the packaging (to keep stabilized ingredients fresh). I may explore over antioxidant options after I’m done with this.
  • Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser ($11.99) – All Day – This is my favorite gentle cleanser and the most effective cleanser I’ve ever used. It lasts forever and is a great drugstore buy! It doesn’t fully remove my waterproof mascara from Asia… that’s the only downside.
  • Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner, Rose Petal ($7.99) – Morning – After I shower in the morning, I take a RR toning cloth, squirt some of this on there and run it over my face and decolletage. It smells divine and provides an additional layer of moisture.
  • Renee Rouleau Toning Cloths ($12.50) – Morning – I like the size of the lint-free cloths. I use them on most days (especially in the winter when I need to seal in more moisture to counteract the office air), but a box has lasted a while.

Bottom row:

  • Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè ($16-28) – Morning – I got this in Paris where it’s way cheaper. It is a lightweight cream that has a cult following for its use as a makeup primer. I have combination skin and only apply this on my cheeks after I put this on after my sunscreen. I do the rest of my makeup while it settles. My blush has great staying power.
  • Homeoplasmine ($21) – All Day – I also got this in Paris where it is way cheaper. I had one cold this season and to prevent my nose from becoming chapped from the tissues, I smeared this all over it as well as on my lips. What a lifesaver! If you have a local chemist with imported goods, see if they sell it for a better price than Amazon.
  • Squalane Oil ($16) – Night – I read about squalane on a blog somewhere. Occasionally, I go to bed with this as the final layer on my face. It does not break me out. It’s not the cheapest but a little lasts a long time. I wake up looking dewy. There are other brands out there. I’m not particularly loyal to this one.
  • BHA Clarifying Serum ($44.50) – Night – Lactic, Glycolic and Salicylic Acid. I use this occasionally when I’m not using the Somme pads.
  • Johnson & Johnson Clear & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer ($6.59) – Night – I only wear this at night because it doesn’t have SPF. I love the lightweight texture of this moisturizer. I used to use it very often and it always reminds me of my 2006 trip to China (another happy skin memory and pre-TSA liquid screening days).
  • Fresh Crème Ancienne Eye Cream ($95) – Night – Everyone needs a good eye cream… remember, apply with your pinky using a light touch, outside in.

I will confess that sometimes I fall asleep at night without washing my face – at least a few nights of the week. I tried two Korean products the other night that were SUPER fun for blackheads. I will post a review after a few uses. I’ve also been reading up on collagen.

What are you using?

to pamper / durance, renee rouleau, fresh, & thayers

I took these pics back in December and forgot to blog about them.

I started developing cysts frequently last year. Renee Rouleau has quite a reputation and though her products are pricier, I took the plunge and never looked back. Her Anti-Cyst Treatment is a must for getting rid of those pesky spots. I have a stockpile of these because I need a constant supply when a cyst pops up.

I was better about eye products in my younger years and have slacked off. But, according to research, now is the time to get serious and stop slacking off! I had a Sephora credit and heard good things about the Fresh Creme Ancienne Eye Cream and picked it up during the annual F&F sale. This pot will last a while.

To lighten spots and for a full dose of antioxidants to fight free radicals, I’m half way through RR’s Vitamin C & E Complex. I use it as a serum in the morning before SPF.

I read a few skincare blogs and Renee’s is one of my favorites. She’s primarily explaining skincare and key anti-aging skincare ingredients, and then pushes products. Her products are only sold through her online shop or spa — and typically only has one sale event an year.

My Parisian friend’s apartment smells amazing and I had to ask her what her secret was. This began my descent into rose scented products. Durance is a Provence brand with natural home and skincare products. Their rose diffuser oil is divine. I wish I could enrobe myself in it 24/7. I have a few glass bottles with diffuser sticks lying around the apartment and love coming home to this smell. The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to make the oil last as long as my friend. Better diffuser bottle? Less sticks? I’ve tried samples of their other products but can’t figure out why they don’t make them in the rose scent if it’s so popular (that I just got a backorder from October fulfilled). If you’re in Paris, they have shops all over — one male friend was nice enough to bring me back a few bottles when I was about to run out :)

I don’t use toner really, but was doing research over the summer and came across Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner. The bottle is huge and will last a while. I don’t apply it every day, but when I do, I use Renee Rouleau’s Toning Cloths after I wash my face.