February Beauty Favorites

2.28.2013


I was going to write about Nutella today. But then I realized that it's the last day of this short and sweet month, and there are some beauty gems that need to be included in a monthly favorites post!

My skin has behaved very well throughout February, and I attribute that to the (re)discovery of two new products. This month I was recommended the REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream for my sensitive skin, and it's the perfect formulation and consistency: even though it contains shea butter, it's not too heavy for my combination-oily skin and works well as a base under makeup. I raved about it more here. I've also ditched night cream in favor of a few drops of Josie Maran Argan Oil pressed into my face. As I mentioned here, no matter what skin type you are, I really recommend trying argan oil.

For makeup, I've been using my Urban Decay NAKED Basics Palette almost every day to define my eyes ever-so-slightly before applying tarte skinny smolderEYES in "slate" to my upper lash line. Black eyeliner can look a little too harsh on me, so this dark grey is a great alternative. The tarte pencil is buttery soft and pigmented, perfect for a smudgy eyeliner look but not so conducive to a fine, precise line. On my lips, I've been wearing the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in #14 "Fuchsia Filtre," which I talked about a long time ago here. It lasts for ages and fades evenly. I have all of these products on above... just don't mind the "bird's nest" hairdo (Mr. E's words, not mine)!

I enjoy looking down at my hands and seeing something pretty, and this month I've been wearing OPI Nail Lacquer in "OPI Red" (you can see it on me here) and a J. Crew bracelet from my mother.

And now I'm off to eat as much nutella toast as I can justify is "reasonable." Let me know what you've been loving lately!

Good Ways To Procrastinate

2.26.2013


There are days when I put the "pro" in procrastination. Some of less productive ways I've wasted spent my free time include: scrolling through pages of jewellery on the Forever 21 website, watching and re-watching this video that my brother sent me, and setting footage of my dog to a Wiz Khalifa song. But this week, I've decided to commit myself to more refined endeavors. I'll be...

WATCHING Downton Abbey, because practically everyone I know is raving about that show, and I've been meaning to start it for ages. Can't wait to snuggle under my duvet and spend down time in Downton (hehe).

READING The Awakening by Kate Chopin, a classic I've never read before. It is a beautiful read so far, even though I know it's going to end tragically. And for a lighter read, I've been flipping through the February issue of Elle. Just finished a hilarious article about whether it's worth "faking it" in the beauty department: hair extensions, false eyelashes, tanners etc. General consensus is not really. I'm a false eyelash virgin... maybe someday I'll find the courage to glue on a pair just for fun?

WEARING my Primark pajamas from Shelley and a nice slather of the Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask. Since discovering its blemish-busting properties a few years ago, this has been one of my favorite face masks, even though it looks like war paint and can be quite alarming to anyone who walks in on you in the process of a skin detox.

What's filling up your free time lately?

In Others' Eyes 001

2.24.2013

[all images via my pinterest]

wrapped up, rustic pink bikes, breakfast in bed, Free People 1, twinkle lights, skyline stockings, mochi, lantern lounge, Audrey + Yorkie, minimalist Hermes "Constance," Free People 2, natural makeup and bright lips. Just a sampling of what's been catching my eyes lately. Because let's face it, when you work all weekend, sometimes you've got to turn to the interwebs for inspiration!

Simple Beauty Juice

2.22.2013


I've been going green at breakfast time, and this little cocktail is one of my favorites!  The recipe comes from the February issue of Real Simple (one of my guilty pleasure reads, stolen from my mother's stash of magazines). With only four ingredients, it's simple, pure and surprisingly sweet. It also helps sustain the illusion that I'm in a tropical paradise when in fact it's freezing and windy outside. As I'm sure you've heard countless times, raw juice is associated with a variety of health and beauty benefits: it can brighten complexion, stave off cravings, assist in weight loss and help your body perform at its best. This juice is great on its own as a quick and light breakfast, and as I discovered this morning, it's also the perfect complement to toast with PB&J! To make two servings of this smoothie, all you need is a blender and:

2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
2 cups of spinach
1 1/2 cups of frozen mango
1 cup of green grapes
1/2 cup water

Blend together and drink to your health! PS: I'm looking for new juice recipes to try, so if you know of any stellar combinations, please let me know!

Favorite: REN Hydra-Calm Day Cream

2.21.2013


A very wise person once gave me this advice regarding my skincare routine: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In other words, if your skincare is working just fine, don't fuss with it. But sometimes I just can't resist the temptation of a new product. I decided to go on a hunt for a new daytime moisturizer, and after trying two products that irritated my sensitive skin, I finally discovered a new favorite: REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream

The noteworthy ingredients include Omega 3 and 7 from Arctic Blackcurrant Seed and Arctic Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Bisabolol from chamomile, and antioxidants derived from a variety of plant sources. It provides the perfect lightweight layer of moisture without leaving my combination skin greasy or shiny. Not to be over-the-top in my praise, but this stuff feels a little magic: it leaves my skin looking so healthy that I've been going bare-faced more often! It also works well as a silky-smooth base under makeup.

I've been trying to include more natural products in my beauty regime, but I find that often products marketed as "natural" aren't as natural as they could be (synthetic fragrance is one of the main offenders). Ren Hydra-Calm Day Cream is more natural than many skincare products on the market; it does not contain parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance etc. (see image above). It does have a subtle herbal fragrance from the natural ingredients, but it does not linger on the skin. It comes in hygienic packaging with a pump dispenser. And as it's formulated for sensitive skin like mine, it does not break me out.

I can see REN Hydra-Calm Day Cream becoming a staple in my skincare routine, the product I reach for because I know it will leave my skin happy. I might even listen to that "if it ain't broke" advice and stick with this for a looong time...

Cookie Rescue + Dog Bath

2.19.2013


It's the end of my day off, and once again I find myself wondering "where did my day just go?" Here are a few notes...

- I had a doctor's appointment this morning, and on the way back I stopped to get some pick-me-up treats. I also decided to be generous and get some treats for Eva. I used the self-checkout, and after the machine insisted "UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA" while I juggled a Starbucks in one hand and my credit card in the other, I stepped out into the sunshine and drove home... only to feed Eva her peanut-butter star biscuits and realize that I left my own paid-for cookies in the bagging area. Luckily I have a fabulous mom who was out and rescued my Newman-brand faux-oreos for me. There is a reason why Mr. E calls me his "clumsy cat."

- Eva was stinky. So she got a bath. She was okay with the water, but at the sight of the blowdryer she hid behind the drying rack and started growling.

- As I type this I'm listening to a super-sappy mix on 8tracks. It's kind of like eating that candy you usually don't go for (ahem liquorice ahem) and then deciding that maybe just maybe in small doses it's not so bad after all. (Ok I confess: Taylor Swift's "22" will be stuck in my head for the next 24 hours).

- Awkward: there is a teenage barista at a coffee spot I frequent who has a crush on me. More awkward: I think he thinks I'm a teenager too.

So now I'm going to go eat my faux-oreos, read Kate Chopin with a face mask on and partake in other serious, grown-up activities.

Dress Me Up // Little Black Dress

2.18.2013


favoriteAdrianna Papell Stretch Tulle Necklace Cocktail Dress, Jimmy Choo Brulee Suede Pump, Glint and Gleam Infinity Accent Ring, Kate Spade Crystal Petals Drop Earrings, Kate Spade Evening Belles Starla clutch

honorable mentions: 1 (sold out), 2, 3, 4

I love a good excuse to get dressed up. But with the mister in France, there aren't any date nights, and even if there were, I can guarantee you that Jimmy Choos would not RSVP to the party. So instead I've indulged my dress-up craving by putting together this little ensemble of what I might wear if I were invited to a super-fancy cocktail party and had a fairy godmother who would wave her magic wand and accessorize me in exactly what my heart desires (Kate Spade please!). The dresses I've featured -- my favorite Adrianna Papell one, plus a few others that stood out to me -- are from the dresses collection at House of Fraser. You can view the rest of the collection here; there's something to fit every figure and budget! Which is your favorite?

NB: This post is in collaboration with House of Fraser, but it's not sponsored!

New Hair, Haircare

2.17.2013


Yesterday I went for a haircut. My sister and I used to joke that when our hair got too long, we looked like afghan hounds/Saruman from Lord of the Rings. (Because if Saruman were a dog, he would be an afghan hound. Don't ask how we think these thoughts.) Anyways... I like lazy, effortless hair, not high-maintenance, afghan-hound/Saruman hair, so I braved a trip to the salon. My scraggly locks lost inches and even though hair weighs nothing at all, I left feeling so much lighter!

A new haircut always motivates me to take good care of my hair, and there are a few haircare products I've been loving for the past month or two. In an effort to use "cleaner" beauty products, I searched for a shampoo/conditioner free of sulfates, parabens and other nasties and discovered the Peter Lamas Soy and Baobab Oil Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. These are formulated for chemically treated, dry and damaged hair, but I chose them because drugstore products tend to dry out my scalp. The shampoo and conditioner contain soy proteins to strengthen the hair and baobab oil to hydrate and increase moisture retention. I bought mine at Whole Foods; you can view the entire line here (I am interested in the rice volumizing ones next!). After washing my hair, I smooth Moroccan Oil into the ends to add extra moisture and shine. Then, to create texture, I spritz Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray throughout my hair and tie it up in a topknot while I do my makeup. When I let it down, my hair has more texture and body. 

I try to wash my hair every other day. I hate having dirty hair, but I don't want to dry out my hair/scalp by over-washing, so I use dry shampoo on the days between washings to combat oil and add a little fragrance. The two dry shampoos I'm using at the moment are the Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray and the Batiste Brunette Dry Shampoo. To be honest, I prefer the cheaper Batiste and wouldn't recommend spending on the Oscar Blandi one. 

What are your favorite haircare and styling products? I'd love to know, because now there's no excuse to just throw my hair into a ponytail every single day!

 Ellie

"Head Over Heels"

2.16.2013


image via Repetto
today's agenda...

- Browsing YouTube for short films over a cup of morning coffee and stumbling upon the little gem above, called "Head Over Heels" by Timothy Reckart, which is nominated for an Oscar this year. I've always loved short films, and I think they pack a punch because they rely on gesture rather than dialogue. This one is about an old married couple who have grown distant throughout the years and live in upside-down worlds in the same house (you'll see what I mean when you watch it). It has a happy ending.

- Online window-shopping. More specifically, coveting a colorful pair of Repetto flats, aka the quintessential ballerina flats popularized by Bridget Bardot. The Repetto website is magical, as are their window displays. But I don't think I'll be spending $300 on a pair of flats ever anytime soon. 

- Calling an end to the every-day-is-a-bad-hair-day syndrome (fingers crossed!). Because these days I have that syndrome, so I made up my mind to get a real hair cut, not "just a trim." And it's scheduled for a couple of hours from now. It won't be anything too drastic. Nevertheless I'm one of those people who gets nervous-excited before haircuts... is it sad that I woke up at 7am in anticipation?

 Ellie

Valentine

2.14.2013


I hope you all find something that warms your heart today! (Eva found hers... a stuffed caterpillar twice her size called "Love Bug." Pictures forthcoming.) 

Josie Maran Argan Oil

2.13.2013


Josie Maran Argan Oil is one of my oldest skincare standbys. And it's one of the few products I can recommend to everyone regardless of skin type. I recently repurchased a new bottle, and I was reminded of all the reasons why my skin loves to drink up this golden-hued stuff. 

Argan oil is a lightweight oil extracted from trees native to Morocco. It's rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, and it's known to help with a variety of skin problems including dehydration, eczema and acne (yes, acne... some swear that putting this oil on your skin tricks your skin into producing less sebum!). At $48 for a 50ml bottle, Josie Maran's version isn't as cheap as argan oils come, but it does come with the guarantee that it's about as pure as it gets, 100% organic and eco-friendly. And a little goes a long way, so if you save this product for just your face, the bottle will last you a very long time.

Lately, I use Josie Maran Argan Oil on my face every single night. I pat a few drops onto my cleansed skin by itself, or I mix it with my nighttime moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. Even though my skin errs on the oily side, argan oil absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling balanced, not greasy. Best of all, it's safe for sensitive skin. It has no fragrance and no chemical nasties. I recently used a product that did not agree with my skin, and argan oil has soothed without causing further irritation. 

Whether your skin is dehydrated or oily and breakout-prone, I highly recommend giving argan oil a try!

Color Inspiration: My Kind of Shoe Tree

2.12.2013

I snapped this "upside-down tree" of shoes in Kurt Geiger on Portobello Road last year. I found it  recently when I was going through photos to make an iPhone case on Casteagram. I was actually tempted to make a phone case out of this photo alone! I don't think I will, but I'm obsessed, mostly because I've been staring at my wardrobe of black, white and grey and feeling major color-deprivation. My love for monochrome has put me in a bit of a style rut... I need more color in my life!

Korean Beauty Goodies

2.11.2013


In yesterday's post I mentioned that the sweet and lovely Rachel from Blush and Brunch sent me some Korean beauty goodies! They're so photogenic that I couldn't resist sharing them here. As you might know, I'm half-Korean, and I've always been interested in Korean beauty and skincare products, so now I feel very lucky to be able to try these out! I received two different sheet masks (a red ginseng one and a collagen one from Etude House), an Etude House BB Cream tester, a Deary CoQ10 lip balm, and, cutest of all, two Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss Bars! I've been wearing the pink gloss bar to work; it is so moisturizing, and it makes me happy every time I whip it out of my cosmetic pouch! I also tore into the red ginseng sheet mask shortly after taking these photographs, and it was an incredibly refreshing treat.

I want to say a huge thank you to Rachel for sending me these goodies! I am in the process of putting together a (very American) thank you package in return!  

Life Lately

2.10.2013


so close  ||  homemade valentine  ||  big breakfast
fish tacos  ||  please hubby please!  ||  sushi
chocolate-covered strawberries ||  new favorite cozy/edgy jumper/sweater  ||  thinking about shorter hair
tea and salon reading  ||  trying out the Korres pomegranate moisturizer  ||  a special surprise from Rachel

Sometimes I write these posts and think, "I really need to get out more!" "Going out" in the past few weeks has meant eating out, going to Whole Foods and making a couple of shopping trips. And I got a haircut, but you can't really tell because it was just a trim. I've been toying with the idea of going a couple inches shorter still because my long hair can look so scraggly and weighed-down... what do you think? Today I have work (it's been another un-weekend) but I am excited to get home this evening, catch up on blogs and watch the Grammy awards. 

This post also has a sneak preview of some things coming up on the blog this week: a surprise in the mail from Rachel, skincare updates and valentines!  

Wanted: The Other Half

2.09.2013


pencil skirt - H&M  ||  slouchy black top - Topshop  ||  opaque black tights - J. Crew
half-heart necklace - vintage  ||  nails - "Trout Pout" by Butter London

This might be a little creepy, but I have no idea who has the other half of my heart necklace. I bought the half I'm wearing at a vintage fair for the price of a Starbucks latte. The possibilities are endless... was it shared between friends? lovers? (Anyone who's seen the TV show Twin Peaks will know just how twisted the story of a half-heart pendant can get!)

The pencil skirt was a twenty-something dollar find that I hesitated over until I decided I needed a pop of blue in my wardrobe of black and grey. I love the big silver zipper. The pattern makes me think of Moroccan mosaics, and because it's so geometric I "undid" the look with a slouchy shirt, tucked in asymmetrically. It's one of the few above-the-knee length skirts I own that passes the elementary school "fingertip test"... you know, when you couldn't wear a skirt to school unless it fell at least as long as your fingertips with your arms straight down at your sides?

The 100 Workout

2.07.2013


The 100 Workout is what I do when "I have no time to workout." I discovered it last year before going on a trip to the Caribbean... between exams and work, life was too crazy to go to the gym, so I needed a quick and effective at-home workout. Someone (I'm not sure who) popularized this across the world of Tumblr, and now there's a website devoted to it, which explains how to complete each exercise. I can't say it's quick and painless, but it is quick, and no pain no gain, right? Ok I admit this sounded awful to me at first... but it really works, and it gets easier in time, which is the most satisfying part. Blast some dance music, and think about cute bikinis!

Unfortunately I'm not going on a sunny getaway anytime soon, but there's still plenty of motivation to exercise: I sleep better, drink more water, eat more healthfully and feel more positive all around. Besides, if suddenly I do end up poolside in a tropical country, best be prepared, right??

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

2.05.2013



So I craved, and I caved, and the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette is now in my makeup bag. To be fair, I hadn't purchased a high-end eyeshadow since I picked up MAC's "Satin Taupe" for a ball two-ish years ago. I understand if you're thinking, "Not another review of this palette!" But I have been using it on a daily basis, and the reviews I've read have been mixed, so I thought I'd chip in and tell you my thoughts.

I can't pull off a lot of eyeshadow, especially during the daytime; it makes me look sleepy and unnatural. So I was drawn to this mini palette because of the subtler shades. This will fit in the smallest of makeup bags, and the colors are easy to combine into a simple day-to-night look. Most of the shadows are matte, with the exception of "Venus," which is a milky white color with a subtle hint of shimmer. I use "Venus" as a brow-bone highlight, and then I use either "Foxy," a yellower skin-tone color, or "Walk of Shame," a pinkier skin-tone color, as a base across my linds. I then layer a little bit of "Naked2," a light taupe, over the base color followed by the tiniest bit of "Faint," a warmer brown, in the crease. Lastly, if I'm not wearing eyeliner, I apply "Crave," a brownish black, with an angled brush as eyeliner to give a slightly softer yet defined look.

If you like to wear neutral colors, or if you're a bit of an eyeshadow minimalist like me, I think this palette is a great buy. It's reasonably priced and so versatile, and it's one of the most travel-friendly palettes I've seen. The shadows are silky-smooth and easy to work with, even if you've never used mattes before.

Have you tried this palette? And have you heard about the new Naked "Flushed" palette?  That might just be where the hype goes next!

New Ankle Boots

2.03.2013


I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was going on a hunt for black suede ankle boots, so I thought I'd show you the pair I ended up bringing home. I have a bit of a high heel obsession, but I needed boots with a low heel for the days when I'm on my feet for hours. These ones, the "Petty" boot by Sam Edelman, give just a little bit of lift. They make me feel a little like a sleek cowgirl... and they're different to the ultra-feminine shoes I usually go for. Sam Edelman shoes are on the pricey side, but luckily these ones were on sale. This particular pair also works for people with narrow feet and skinny ankles like mine... a lot of ankle boots make me look like I'm standing in buckets! I'm going to wear them with black skinnies today and break them in (fingers crossed my feet don't kill me!). I'm also brainstorming more ways to style them... because they're very short, I'd love to wear them with a cute pair of socks peeping out. Any other ideas??

A Very Merry Un-Weekend

2.02.2013


For me, this weekend is an un-weekend because I work today and tomorrow. But here are a few little details that will make the weekend feel slightly more... weekendish. I love taking the time to have a big breakfast, and my favorite healthy option is a hot bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, soy milk and a hint of maple syrup. I recently turned an illy espresso cup into a piece of home decor, and it's currently holding a bow necklace, a pair of teardrop earrings from Boston that need to be repaired, a tiny sample of Diptyque's spicy/vanilla-y Eau Duelle, and the Swatch watch I wear every single day. And there's also the possibility of going to try on shoes during the lunch hour later today... black suede ankle boots, you will be mine!

This little post was inspired by this post; TJ is one of my favorite bloggers!

Tarte Blush Giveaway! [closed]

2.01.2013


It's finally February, and as a thank you to all of you sweethearts who stop by my blog, I've decided to hold a little Valentine's Day giveaway! 

If I had to choose my most-loved beauty product of the moment, it would be the tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in "Tipsy." I blogged about it here, and I wear it almost every day. As you might have guessed, this line of blushes is infused with clay from the Amazon, which has both hydrating and oil-combatting properties. It's silky smooth, long-lasting, cruelty-free and comes in an array of gorgeous colors. You can read more about them on Sephora's website here. tarte is not widely available outside of the US, which is a pity because their ethics and cosmetics are crème de la crème. I already have my eyes on "Natural Beauty," but I think buying another for myself would be a little unreasonable, so I've decided to treat one of you to one instead!

The winner of this giveaway will receive a tarte blush in the color of her choice. All you have to do to enter is follow www.ellalogy.com via GFC and leave a comment with your name, your favorite blush color and a way to get in touch with you. (You can change your mind about the color if you win!)

For extra entries, you can follow me via Bloglovin' (here! ...+1), Twitter (here!... +1), Instagram (here!... +1) and/or tweet about this giveaway (+1). Let me know about your extra entries in the comments please!

This giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be chosen at random on February 14th, Valentine's Day. Good luck! 

UPDATE: I have selected a winner randomly and it is Jasmine!  She has chosen to receive "Tipsy." Thank you all so much for entering!  Who knows... I'm so in love with tarte that I might have to do another giveaway soon!  

 

© Ellalogy All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger

For terms and conditions, click here.