My "Natural Color": Bite Beauty Red Lip


I was feeling spur-of-the-moment last week. One morning before work the lipstick addict in me decided I needed a classic red lip color, so I decided to try the Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in "Zivoli". Bite Beauty is an all-natural lipcare company based in Toronto. Their claim is that their lipsticks are healthy enough to eat. The lipsticks are also packed with the antioxidant resveratrol, which is found in red wine and has antiaging properties -- apparently each tube has the amount of resveratrol found in five glasses of wine! I love the brick-red color and consistency of this lipstick; it's creamy and even though it transfers more easily than my beloved YSLs, it is long-wearing. This is the first all-natural lip pigment that has really impressed me.

Also, yes, my hair is now mid-length! I decided to take the plunge after that Anna Karina girl-crush I mentioned a couple posts back. I told the mister my plan, and he said "do whatever makes you happy!" so the next day I went for the chop. Long story short, it took two haircuts (a bad one followed by a great one) to get it to this length, and on my second cut I discovered my new favorite hair salon. If you live in the Seattle area, I can't recommend Elle Marie Hair Studio enough. I have fine hair but a lot of it, and the stylist understood exactly what to do. I love the length and it's so easy to style and achieve that "I-just-got-out-of-bed-like-this" look. My hair also looks lighter, but I didn't dye it... that's just what happens when the sun comes out!

On Instagram


Madewell goodies, the view from above, tapas and the first time I've ever eaten scallops from the shell, the shoes I want but just can't justify buying, "bella" BCBG bracelet, sunny drive with the biggest sunglasses ever from Aldo, snuggle buddies, Eva wearing a sweatshirt. These photos come from my instagram @ellalogy!

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap


Once upon a time there was a soapmaker who devised a plan for world peace and promoted it on his soapboxes (literally). He was arrested while preaching his vision and committed to a mental institution. Then he escaped and made it big during the sixties. This man is Dr. Bronner, and his claim to fame is Pure Castile Liquid "Magic Soap."

This is no ordinary soap. If you've ever seen it before, you'll know that the packaging is covered in what appears to be excerpts from a hippie bible, Dr. Bronner's "Moral ABCs." But the reason why I'm on my second bottle of this stuff isn't world peace but the ingredients list... it's so pure. "Castile Soap" is soap that is vegetable-oil based, and as you might be able to read on the packaging, Dr. Bronner's version contains moisturizing coconut, olive, hemp and jojoba oils. The consistency is watery when you first pour it onto a loofah, but even though it's sulfate-free, it lathers a lot due to the coconut oil. All of the ingredients are certified organic and fair trade. It comes in different fragrances (I've tried two, Rose and Almond) and it's affordable; a 16oz bottle retails for about $10 at Whole Foods. According to Dr. Bronner's original description, there are 18 different uses for the soap, including toothpaste-substitute... I stick to using it as a body wash!

Telling you why I like this soap seems boring in comparison to the stories behind it, which you can read more about here and here.

Pastries + Polishes


My working schedule at the moment leaves me with quite a few Tuesdays off. It's easy to get sidetracked on a Tuesday and "accidentally" spend hours watching a marathon of the guiltiest-pleasure TV show I can find, but yesterday I decided to be good, and three missions were accomplished. I went to hot yoga in the morning, I made a stop at the drugstore for cotton rounds and Revlon polish, and I paid a visit to a nearby French bakery and bought one macaron in every flavor! I couldn't resist the pistachio before photographing (they're all gone now... ssh!). 

The nail polishes I picked up are "Nude Beige" from the ColorStay line and "Provoke" from the Brilliant Strength line, which I haven't heard much about. I couldn't resist painting my nails with "Provoke" when I got home, and it is the perfect creamsicle-coral shade! More on those goodies soon.



A leisurely breakfast after an exhausting weekend! My petit déjeuner is whole grain toast with Justin's good-for-you spin on nutella and coffee in my Starbucks mug. The article in the May issue of Marie Claire has got me googling pictures of French actress Anna Karina and admiring how effortless-chic she looks (and that hair!). I'm obsessed with listening to music on 8tracks and hopping from one genre to the next... this morning I've somehow wound up in the territory of 90s countrà la Shania Twain and Dixie Chicks. Conclusion: I just want to pack a suitcase full of sundresses and go on a road trip please!

Dolce Vita Platforms


One pair of shoes I will be living in this spring is the "Pasco" Sandal from DV by Dolce Vita. Ever since I left my most favorite pair of black suede wedges behind in Paris (darn you airline baggage weight restrictions), I've been coveting another pair. These ones caught my eye, and so far, they're living up to the high standards set by my former New Look steal. I'm in love with the peep-toes and ankle buckles, and they've earned an A+ in comfort; I decided to take a chance and "break them in" while on my feet from 9-5, and I survived without a single blister or sore spot! They also make a lovely  and affordable day-to-night shoe. Fingers crossed they're built to last, because I'll be wearing them lots!  Anyone else as obsessed with black suede shoes as I am?

Mood-Boosting Juice?


We have a new gadget in our household, a Hurom juicer, so I've been the lucky taste-tester for quite a few fruit and veggie cocktails. I started off this morning with a green concoction called the "Depression Kicker," which comes from The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices & Green Smoothies by Cherie Calbom. The logic behind this recipe is that sodium deficiency mimics the symptoms of depression, so we should make sure to get sodium from healthy sources like celery, chard and spinach. One big glass of this juice contains: 4 ribs of celery, 1 green apple, 1 medium peeled lemon, 1 handful of spinach and 1-2 chard leaves. This juice is thinner and slightly less sweet than the "beauty juice" recipe I blogged about earlier, and it has a lemony kick that I found extremely refreshing! Plus, all that lemon juice has a variety of health benefits: it boosts your immune system, aids in digestion and weight loss and helps combat wrinkles and blemishes. 

If you've never seen a juicer before, it's easy to use: just chop the fruits and veggies and feed them into the juicer. The machine presses the juice through one end and the fiber and waste through the other; you're left with smooth, freshly pressed juice. 

Drinking fresh juice is an easy and efficient way to incorporate raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies into your daily diet, and people who juice regularly notice a huge difference in their skin, hair, nails, mood and overall wellbeing. I'm excited to experiment with different flavors too! Stay healthy, happy and positive, everyone :)

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PS: I recently realized that my blog was listed twice in Bloglovin!  Oospies, I've merged all of the readers into one listing, so now you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin through the links on my site!

Skin Detox: Clay Masks


When my skin is in need of extra TLC, I slather on a face mask, curl up in front of a magazine, and try not to move my face or terrify anyone while the mask works its magic. Lately my skin has been a little inflamed and congested, so I've been reaching for clarifying masks. These two clay masks, one by Clarins and the other by Origins, are my top picks at the moment. Both treat the same concerns but feel very different on the skin, so you might prefer one over the other!

Clarins Pure and Radiant Mask with Pink Clay (US/UK)
Best for: all skin types, including sensitive, in need of clarifying

Clarins is a brand I always default to when my skin is being temperamental and I don't know how to fix it. This mask promises to purify the skin by cleaning, tightening and refining the pores. It contains pink clay and alpine willow herb to detoxify and linden extract to soothe the skin. It's also suitable for sensitive skin. Unlike the Origins mask, this one doesn't dry up after application; it has a cream texture and, if anything, gives my skin a slight moisture boost. This means that it's harder to feel the mask "working" on your skin (and it's easy to forget about it, get distracted and leave it on for more than the required five to ten minutes!). But even though it doesn't feel as intense, I definitely notice that my pores look smoother after a just couple of applications. 

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (US/UK)
Best for: combination to oily skins that need a deep detox

Probably, you've heard a lot about this one. I've used it for the last three or four years, and I still remember being impressed when I used it for the first time during a mild breakout. This mask uses a combination of charcoal, which absorbs 100-200x its weight in impurities, and clay, which removes oil and toxins from the pores. This mask dries on the skin about 10 minutes after application, so it does really feel like it's absorbing the bad stuff, although it can be a little drying and difficult to remove. Overall, it's more intensive than the Clarins mask and very effective on combination-oily skins. Oh, PS:  this stuff looks like war paint and might scare anyone who walks in on you.

Because my skin is combination and slightly sensitive, I like rotating between these two masks depending on how my skin is feeling. Plus, both definitely encourage the whole spa-at-home feel of any skincare routine! Any other good masks I need to try?

On Instagram



This is the first time in years since I've lived out springtime in Seattle, and I still can't make up my mind about it. On the one hand, I forgot how beautiful the cherry blossom trees are when they bloom. We went for a walk on the University of Washington campus, which looked like a tourist attraction because so many people were out enjoying the sun. But fast-forward a week and as I'm typing this it's dark and hailing outside. And when it's like this I feel really under the weather (pun intended); the rain makes me want to sleep 9+ hours a day and drink hot tea and lust after colorful things like aprons and lip glosses (neither of which I actually purchased!). I need to do something to get my energy back, so I've been thinking about starting up hot yoga again, which I've done in little doses on and off over the past couple of years. Hmm, something to deliberate as I clean up my disastrous bedroom and get ready to go out for tapas with the family!

photos from my instagram: @ellalogy

OPI's "Tutti Frutti Tonga"


I picked up OPI's "Tutti Frutti Tonga" as the impulsive third in a 3-for-2 sale at a local beauty supply store. If you haven't ever heard of this polish before, there's a good reason: after a bit of googling I was amused and a bit horrified to discover that this color was released as part of an OPI collection from the 90s! It was added to the classic collection... and somehow ended up in my possession. I'm pretty undecided about it, partly because this is an indecisive nail polish: in natural lighting it looks pearly pale pink, and in artificial lighting it takes on a coral tinge. It also has a frosty finish, so you need to apply it carefully to avoid streaking. It's an alternative to nude that is still understated, but I'm still not sure whether this retro color is for me. What do you think?

Bedtime Snapshot


Bedtime with two of the best foot-warmers around. I got the socks at a Korean market last fall, shortly after I had moved back to the states. I was in need of a happy boost (make that a double). My five-year-old self would have loved these socks, but I distinctly remember a time in my teens when my mom bought me cutesy socks, and I loved them but I told myself I was too old to wear stuff like that, so I never opened them. What can I say, I was foolish and I've come full circle. Or maybe I still have some growing up to do... or maybe I'll just never outgrow this obsession. In the meantime, looking down at my Hello Kitty-adorned feet is good amusement.

In other news, I have three days off in a row this week, which hasn't happened since before Christmas. I have no plans (yet) but I can't wait!

Favorite Base: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer


Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - US/UK

Once upon a time a friend and I wandered into Liberty London in search of a new foundation for her. I was "just looking"... well you know how that goes. I stumbled upon the Hourglass counter, where the sales associate convinced me that I needed the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer in my life. A quick demonstration sealed the deal: after applying a thin layer of the primer followed by makeup swatches across the back of my hand, she splashed some water over it all... and the makeup remained undisturbed. So I splurged on a bottle and savored every drop of it! After going for a few months without this stuff, I finally decided I needed it back in my life. I picked up the travel-size bottle from Sephora, just to make sure I still loved it as much as I remembered, and I absolutely do.

When I need to stay fresh-faced all day long, this is my go-to makeup base. I've used this satin-finish, water-resistant primer to make my makeup last through work days that transitioned into date nights, and it's never once failed me. It works perfectly with liquid and mineral powder face makeup. It's free of oil, fragrance, paraben, sulfate, gluten and phthalate, and it contains an SPF of 15 (which might not be ideal for flash photography but is appreciated during the daytime!). If you're in need of a good everyday primer and willing to spend a precious penny, I can't recommend this highly enough.

What's your favorite makeup base?

OOTD: Maxi Dress


MAXI DRESS - Urban Outfitters | JACKET - Nordstrom | SHOES - New Look (old)

Over the sunny Easter weekend I decided to be daring and wear this maxi dress out for an afternoon of shopping and strolling under the cherry blossom trees. I was this close to having it stitched up a little; the high side slits landed somewhere in the border of my comfort zone. But thankfully, I decided I couldn't wait to wear it. I fell in love with the way the slits create movement, even though they can be quite revealing, especially in the wind... with garments like this, biker shorts are my armor of choice. I posted a photo on Instagram yesterday asking whether I should have it altered, and the response was a unanimous no! So I think with that vote of confidence, I'll be leaving it as it is. The dress definitely attracted a few confused looks, but I also had complete strangers ask where they could get it...  it's a love-it or hate-it piece, non?

March Favorites


April's in full swing, so let's get cracking with last month's favorites! I sampled A LOT of things in March in an effort to replenish a few bits in my daily routine. Some were total misses; glycolic acid face was a baaad idea. But there were also a few new stand-outs and rediscovered goodies that I reached for again and again. 

Two items that stayed in my makeup bag all month were the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and the YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in #17 "Rose In Tension." The primer is one of the best I've tried and one of the few that doesn't feel too heavy on my skin. It smooths, evens out complexion and really does help your face makeup last all day long. I bought the mini bottle for $18, but I used an entire full-size bottle of this stuff last year. The YSL lipstick, which I wore in my last OOTD post, feels like a balm but provides a semi-sheer wash of color that wears well. I can't be bothered to touch up my makeup too much during the course of the day, but when I do, I love using Boscia Blotting Tissues. They take away excess oil and shine without disturbing your makeup, and they don't contain the weird stuff that's often added into drugstore blotting tissues (e.g. mineral oil). When my skin is feeling a strange combination of dehydrated and oily, I prefer using these blotting tissues to powder. 

A more recent addition to my skincare routine has been the Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator. This is a face scrub with superfine so-called "microparticles." I've avoided exfoliators like this for a while, but my skin was so dry and flakey that I needed a fast intervention, and this stuff did the trick. I've also been loving my Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, which stays in my handbag at all times. One of my coworkers remarked that it smells like Fruity Pebbles (the cereal), and I think she's right!

Last but not least, two random bits. I finally decided to buy myself this bright pink Kate Spade iPhone Case after staring at it for ages. It's the first fun phone case I've ever owned! And I've been obsessed with Jamba Juice all month. In case you don't know, Jamba Juice is kind of like the Starbucks of smoothies. I always go for the all-fruit ones... "Five Fruit Frenzy" is my current favorite. They're giving out scratch cards at the moment, so I have a coupon for a free smoothie!

I plan to do separate reviews of a couple of these products soon. Let me know if you're interested in knowing more about anything in particular! What have you been loving this month?

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