• The Beauty Product that Saved My Mornings!

    Is it skincare or makeup?

    Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause to Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint! 👏 I’ve been an avid fan of Philosophy’s original Renewed Hope in a Jar, a lightweight moisturizer with a whipped formula, but this skin tint officially takes the cake! 

    I’ve always liked their lightweight moisturizer because it hydrates, minimizes my pores, and gives me that natural glow that’s PERFECT under some simple makeup. When I discovered their “2.0” version with color, I knew I needed to get my hands on them ASAP.

    On my effortless days, I usually just slap on some moisturizer, light coverage foundation, and top my beauty look off with some decent brows. Then, I’m pretty much good to go. I love multi-tasking beauty products that save me time when I get ready. Quite frankly, this one is bae. What more can you ask from a 2-in-1 product that works like skincare and looks like makeup? 

    The whipped, water-gel formula is to die for, especially because it feels like nothing on your skin!

    These Skin Tints come in five blendable shades—3.5 Sand, 5.5 Beige, 6.5 Tan, 7.5 Honey, and 9.5 Cocoa. To be honest, the colors on the Sephora website are not accurate at all. The ones photographed here are a better representation, just saying! I mix shades 3.5 and 5.5 to get the perfect color for my complexion. Since the skin tint is super buildable, you can get a good amount of coverage by using more of the product. To kick things up a notch, you can also use the darker colors to contour and give your face dimension. Did I mention they have an SPF of 20?

    This is my highly-recommended product of the month! It’s perfect for all skin types, provides hydration all day long, and gives you the cover you need for under $40.

    If you have any multi-tasking beauty favorites, please let me know in the comments below. Would love to try anything that will save me some sleep!

    xx,
    Courtney Xu
    Image result for instagram icon@courtneyxu

  • I Finally Made It to the Butler Bake Shop! Nomz

    Hi, LoDown fam!

    I made it down to Brooklyn again and stopped by the Butler Bake Shop on 95 South 5th Street, a bakery I’ve been meaning to check out. Upon walking in, I immediately fell in love with the place. The natural light, gleaming through the huge windows, was so beautiful and Insta-worthy.

    If you’re looking for a casual place to hang, I highly recommend this spot. The food and ambiance was everything I could ask for.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of empanadas, but because this was such a highly-recommended dish, I thought I’d give it a try. Infused with eggs, smoked bacon, arugula, and cheddar cheese, the pastry gave my taste buds quite a joy ride! The dipping sauce that came with it was also a nice touch. I’d actually go back to Butler just to get this empanada over and over again.

    Please please please try the Breakfast Empanada if you ever make your way here!

    I also ordered the Herb & Chili Scone (pictured left) and the Sausage Roll (pictured right) to share with my friends. The Herb & Chili Scone is made with chili, thyme and chives, and is garnished with sea salt with whipped butter on the side. I’ve never had a savory scone, but this one was right up my alley. If you’re wondering, the whipped butter and sea salt complimented the scone quite nicely!

    The Sausage Roll made from ground pork and onions was topped with pickled cabbage. I’m a sausage lover, so the Sausage Roll did not disappoint! As you can see, my tongue tends to lean more towards the savory side of things. But, for those of you with a sweet tooth, Butler also has a variety of sweeter pastries!

    Hands down one of my favorite #coffeecorners. If you’re in the area, do me a favor and hit up this place—you’ll thank me later! Butler Bake Shop is the spot for catching up with a girlfriend, reading up on your current novel, or silent people watching. Oh, and if I haven’t insisted enough, don’t forget to order the Breakfast Empanada!

    Thanks for enjoying this foodie moment with me! ‘Til next time.

    xx,
    Courtney Xu
    Image result for instagram icon@courtneyxu

  • Everything You Need to Know About Glycolic Acid!

    A little late in the game, I recently discovered the beauty of glycolic acid pads (or peels). I’ve seen them around, but always had the misconception that my skin was going to literally peel off if I used them, so I’ve always stayed away. Ya feel?

    After a friend explained to me what glycolic acid pads are really all about, I decided to give them a try. The glycolic acid ingredient is an active compound that contains many benefits for the skin. It can treat everything from dullness to dry skin! While some products have a higher percentage of glycolic acid, I tend to go for ones that have a lower percentage, so that I can use them consistently for better results. After using glycolic pads, I find that my skin is  more smooth and bright! These products are great for all skin types from sensitive (me) to acne-prone skin.

    Keep reading to check out some of the products I recommend—all are great anti-aging products!

    MALIN + GOETZ RESURFACING GLYCOLIC PADS

    The Malin + Goetz glycolic pads come pre-moistened in a jar, which is great for the home. Swipe your face with these in the evening, and you’ll take up with a radiant glow—trust me!

    MURAD RAPID RESURFACING PEEL

    I love that these glycolic pads are individually packaged. These are great for travel, a time when skin tends to act up—with glycolic acid and vitamin C ingredients, the dullness in the skin will instantly go bye-bye!

    PHILOSOPHY THE MICRODELIVERY TRIPLE-ACID BRIGHTENING PEEL

    These are individually packaged as well! These Philosophy peels contain three acids and are great for brightening, tackling the appearance of dark spots, no matter what your skin type or skin tone.

    Let me know what you think of glycolic pads. Which ones do you use and do they work for you?  

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • Beauty Essentials for Valentine’s Day

    Hello there!

    Here are some of my beauty essentials for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re looking to achieve that extra “going out” glow or staying home and indulging in some tub time, I hope these products tickle your fancy!

     

    BRING OUT YOUR NATURAL GLOW

    To achieve a natural glow, apply Volition Beauty’s Thanakha Radiant Bronzer with a Beautyblender to conceal and correct blemishes. I personally like to blend the bronzer fluid with my moisturizer before applying it to my skin for a non-shimmery sun-kissed look.

     

    SPRITZ ON A LOVE-INSPIRED FRAGRANCE

    I still remember purchasing Tory Burch’s first signature scent. I was at the Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue when an associate introduced me to the fragrance. I immediately purchased the full size. In fact, I am probably on my second or third bottle of that scent! Tory Burch launched a few fragrances since, but they smelled nothing like the first. Recently, however, she introduced “Love Relentlessly,” a mix of warm florals. The fragrance is inspired by her parents’ love story and how they loved relentlessly. I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate the romantic holiday than by spritzing this scent everywhere!

    GIVE YOURSELF A MANICURE

    I don’t know about you, but when my nails are painted, I’m always in a better mood. Give yourself a manicure (or #treatyourself at a salon) with your favorite pink-“ish” color. Here are some of my current favorites: Designated DJ, B’aha Moment, Backseat Besties, and Excuse Me, Sur. Which color do you like best?

     

    INDULGE IN A ROSY BATH

    I don’t normally try new things at Lush (I’m usually set on the Dragon’s Egg bath bomb), but when I do, I make sure I experiment during their Valentine’s Day season! They have such a beautiful array of love-themed products, and I’m glad an associate showed me how some of these products work. I loved how the Prince Charming shower cream felt on my skin. When the associate washed it off my hands, my skin was butter-smooth! That was first on my list of things to get, along with a couple of bath bombs, and a pink lip scrub! I’m especially excited for the Rose Bombshell bath bomb because there are real yellow rose petals inside! Check out your local Lush this weekend because you won’t regret it.

     

    Let me know in the comments below what you end up purchasing! Don’t forget to read up on How to Spend Valentine’s Day in New York City as well!

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • How to Spend Valentine’s Day in New York City Pamper yourself!

    With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite spots in New York City with y’all. Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with the girls, a lover, or your couch, these suggestions are open to all!

     

    1. GO ON A STAYCATION AT THE QUIN HOTEL

    One of my favorite hotels in New York City is The Quin. Located in the heart of the city on 57th and 5th, the Quin is a combination of all things modern, luxurious, and artistic. Plus, they have impeccable service (and awesome city views). Not only are their beds super comfortable, but their contemporary bathrooms are also to die for! Psst! They have Fresh bath amenities—you know how much I love Fresh beauty products! The Quin is the perfect staycation spot to spend with a significant other or even a gal pal.

     

    2. GET A FRESH, HAND-BLENDED FRAGRANCE AT LE LABO

    If you know me, you know that I’m the type of person who loves going to places just for the experience. That’s why I love it here at Le Labo! They’re all about craftsmanship and creating a fresh formulation (of their fragrance) for you! Long story short, there is a collection of fifteen fragrances for you to choose from. After selecting your soulful scent, the fragrance is then hand-blended and compounded right in front of your eyes! There are a few boutiques in New York City, but the one in West Village is my absolute favorite!

     

    3. TREAT YOURSELF TO A CHOCOLATE SCRUB AT LUSH SPA

    When I first heard that Lush had a spa location in New York City a few years ago, I knew I had to check it out one day. With that said, I had my very first Lush Spa experience with one of my best friends a few weeks ago! Let me tell you, Lush Spa does not joke around. We tried The Comforter, a perfect Valentine’s Day treatment! The beauty experience started with an exfoliating hot chocolate scrub all over your body, followed by a rose serum application. I don’t want to spoil the rest—there are a few surprises in between! This scrub is perfect for one of those #treatyourself days. Or, you can book the couple room and enjoy with a bestie. Can’t wait to try out another one of their treatments!

     

    4. GIFT LONG-LASTING ROSES TO A LOVED ONE

    You’ve probably seen Venus Et Fleur floating around on Instagram. If not, here you go! Doesn’t this arrangement look completely dreamy and mesmerizing? The best part is, these rose arrangements last up to one year. They have different arrangement sizes, with your choice of box shape (square or round) and color, as well as the color of the roses—there are so many colors to choose from! In the last month or so, I sent two of my girlfriends a Le Mini Round arrangement, and it totally made their day. They smell great, and they’re the perfect sentimental addition to a home!

     

    5. WEAR SOMETHING SEXY JUST BECAUSE

    Just because! Valentine’s Day isn’t a mandatory night of going out and having a candlelit dinner. Throw on something sexy while you’re watching Netflix under the covers with a class of wine. And if there’s a Bae around, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. These pieces are from Adore Me, my secret one stop shop for all things undergarments (both sexy and everyday). My current favorite sets are the Kenzi and Quinn Unlined—styles that are not too revealing, but still sexy at the same time!

    Hope this helps you with your Valentine’s Day plans. It might be just another day for some people, but these are great places and things to do nonetheless!

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • Take a Look at My Recent Beauty Favorites!

    Happy February, Fam!

    I can’t believe the first month of the new year has already come and gone! Doesn’t January 1st feel like just yesterday?

    Today, I’ll be sharing some of beauty favorites from the past month—everything from hair to skincare goodies. Let’s get started!

     

    AMIKA POLISHED PERFECTION STRAIGHTENING BRUSH

    Straightening brushes have been “in trend” for quite a while now so I decided to one a whirl. Let me tell you, this one by Amika is a total lifesaver! This brush is easy to use and really helps me achieve that straight sleek look that I want! If you constantly wake up with hair strands pointing in weird directions, this tool will help tame all the stray flyaways! Plus, it gets the job done way quicker than your average hair straightener!

     

    KOPARI COCONUT SKINCARE SYSTEM

    A lover of all coconut-flavored delicacies, I figured why not give the ingredient a try on my body as well? 

    Coconut oil is great for everything, right?

    I’ve been a fan of Kopari’s coconut body products (Body Oil, Body Milk, and Coconut Crush Scrub) for quite some time so I was super excited to learn that they came out with a four-product skincare line. Aesthetically speaking, their pink ombre packing is informative—you use the products in order from light pink to dark pink. The line itself includes a Coconut Cleansing Oil, Coconut Rose Toner, Coconut Face Cream, and a Coconut Lip Love lip balm. All of these products are super hydrating, which is perfect for this cold winter.

     

    MURAD CITY SKIN OVERNIGHT DETOX MOISTURIZER

    I’ve been using Murad’s City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer in the evening, especially on sick nights. When I’m sick, my skin tends to get really dry (to the point of flaking), mainly because I’m constantly creating friction when blowing my nose. This overnight moisturizer “heals” my skin when I’m sleeping. I ALWAYS wake up with super soft skin whenever I use it.

     

    NARS PRIMER TRIOSOFT MATTE COMPLETE CONCEALER

    I’ve been using NARS’ Smooth & Protect Primer after moisturizing and pairing it with the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Macadamia to create my simple everyday look. If you love NARS’ Radiant Creamy Concealer (I can’t imagine anyone hating this product), I recommend checking out the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer as well—especially if you’re a matte-finish type of gal!

     

    PHILOSOPHY – BODY MOUSSE & DRY SHAMPOO

    *Gasp!* When browsing through Sephora’s website the other week, I knew I needed to get my hands on these new launches. Philosophy came out with Body Mousses and Dry Shampoos in both Pure Grace and Amazing Grace scents. Pure Grace is on the cleaner side while Amazing Grace leans on the more floral end (my favorite)! The Body Mousse has a cool and fizzy sensation upon application. I really think it adds a fun element when moisturizing the body! All in all, the Dry Shampoo is my hands-down favorite beauty product for the start of 2017. Not only do both scents smell exactly like the perfume, but they also work really well!

    If you have any new beauty favorites you would like to see me try, let me know in the comments down below! 

  • Brunching at Eugene & Co. Let's hear it for Brooklyn!

    I’m not really a Brooklyn kind of girl, but when I do make my way there, I get my boozy brunch on!

    While visiting Bedford Stuyvesant, I decided to stop by Eugene & Co., an organic restaurant and bar. I immediately fell in love with the place as soon as I walked in. All about its rustic aesthetic, ya feel?

    I had such a hard time choosing a drink from the drink menu—everything looked so good. Even though I usually get a Mimosa, I decided to get something different this time around!

    And so, I decided on the Coloniala cocktail formulated with gin, grapefruit, honey, lime, and bitters. It was on point! My boyfriend also ordered a cocktail, The Earl, which was infused with gin, earl gray, lemon, and prosecco. Yes, mine was delicious, but The Earl was way better. I loved that they sprinkled what seemed to be earl gray tea leaves on top!

    I ordered the Brown Rice Bowl, a blend of black beans, corn salsa, avocado, pico de gallo, and cilantro vinaigrette, topped with a sunny-side up egg! It was divine (especially with some hot sauce)! All the ingredients were fresh and healthy. I totally recommend this dish if you want something light, but filling. Best of all, you won’t feel bad eating it!

    The boyfriend ordered a Meatloaf sandwich—a mix of angus beef, aioli, smokey tomato jam, bacon, and crispy onions. This is probably the restaurant brunch favorite. I mean, just look at the thing! That bacon, though! Truth be told, I was a little jealous, but he let me have a few bites! Yum. I will definitely come back to try some of their meatier options.

    Totally recommend checking this place out if you’re in the Bed-Stuy area! Even their bathroom was super fun. It felt like I was in an art gallery in a completely different era. Stay tuned for my next foodie experience!

  • Why Organic Skincare is Good for Your Skin ...and Your Soul

    The skin is our largest organ and in order for it to function at its best, we must feed it with truly wholesome ingredients. My philosophy: If I refuse to put something in my body, I don’t want to put it on my body either.” —Rachel Winard, Soapwalla Chef.

    I don’t know about you, but that statement hit home for me. That being said, I indulged in a #TreatYourself moment where I decided to feed my skin with wholesome ingredients. Organic skincare lines smell and feel so natural. I can tell that a whole lot of heart and love went into creating these skincare gems. After testing them out, I can honestly say that I feel better about my skin when slathering it with organic ingredients. 

    Here are three organic skincare brands I definitely recommend:

    FIG + YARROW

    Fig + Yarrow has the most unique and interesting line up of products. Handcrafted and organic, they’ll give your skin much pleasure. I’m a fan of multi-tasking products like their Hair + Scalp Tonic which acts as a deep-conditioning treatment, moisture enhancement, smoothing serum, and aftershave oil. Their Complexion Water is great for hydrating  and soothing dry skin. It also acts as a light fragrance for both your hair and your body. Their Clay Masks are great for combining. I love using the Rose one for just the cheeks when they’re feeling a little dehydrated!

    MEOW MEOW TWEET

    I love cats, which translates to me loving this brand. I first heard about the brand through YouTuber, Ingrid Nilsen. She was raving about Meow Meow Tweet’s Deodorant Cream. I remember trying their Deodorant Cream exactly a year ago—it was quite the experience—my pits smelled very botanical. I’m glad they finally came out with a Stick version because it’s obviously more convenient! Their deodorants are made for the most sensitive pits ever, rest assured you’ll never suffer from irritation. And of course, ya girl needs to buy Lip Balm from everywhere. This will be right up your alley if you’re vegan!

    SOAPWALLA

    Soapwalla started in a Brooklyn kitchen (high five, New York City!), and has since made its way around the world. When looking for a skincare brand, trust is important. I mean, skincare really makes or breaks the skin, amirite? Well, Soapwalla knows how to build a trustworthy relationship. The company cares for both yours and our planet’s respective well-beings. Their Citrus Deodorant Cream, Restorative Face Serum, and The Spray, are among some of my favorite products. I mean, the Spray…who wouldn’t want a magical spray that does it all? Literally a hand sanitize, refresher for clothing and shoes, and insect repellent all in one! Love!

    What are your thoughts about going organic? 

  • Have You Heard of Plant Nite?

    Plan a date!

    I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with Paint Nite. If not, Paint Nite is an event that usually takes place in the back section of a restaurant where you’re encouraged to drink a bit of liquid courage and become inspired enough to paint a picture you thought you could never paint. Yup! A resident artist guides you step-by-step through a series of how-tos and you’re eventually left with a beautiful canvas to bring home. All the art supplies are free. Some places even allow you to bring your own booze. Best of all, you don’t need to be an artist to join in on the fun.

    Plant Nite, however, is a different activity in and of itself. Instead of painting a picture, Plant Nite goers create their very own terrariums! When I found out about Plant Nite, I knew I needed to hop on the gardening wagon. I immediately scheduled an available date around my birthday and invited a few girlfriends to join in own the fun. Don’t worry, you don’t need a “green thumb” to excel. These fun events are really open to all, regardless whether you know a lil’ something something or nothing nothing about plants and painting.

    Step 1. After the gloves went on, we started building the bottom layer of rocks!

    Step 2. The succulent soil comes next, and we packed a lot in there!

    Step 3. We got to choose two succulents, plant them, and spritz them with water!

    Step 4. The staff gave us extra small rocks in different colors and dyed moss to decorate!

    Let me know in the comments below what you think! I totally recommend going to Plant Nite. It’s always fun to get your creative juices flowing after a little booze. Don’t forget to check Groupon or the website itself for a discount code when attending these events, as they can get a little pricey. For now, use LODOWN45 for 45% off until the end of March. Happy planting, LoDown fam!

  • New Year, New Things, and New Goals

    #GoalsOnGoals

    Hi, LoDown fam! What are some of your goals for the new year? I decided to do a little shopping to motivate myself to stick to my goals. Hey, no judging! I swear it works for me!

    Curious about my methods, my goals, and how I plan to see them through? Well then, keep reading!

    1. Don’t stop being creative!

    If you know me, you know that I love all things artsy fartsy. Muji is one of my favorite stationery stores in New York City. A Japanese retail company, it sells stationery, clothing, travel items, household goods, and snacks. I like to think of it as the one-stop shop for everything imaginable! Their stationery section is obviously to die for. If you’ve never been, go now. You won’t regret it! And if you do go, coffee’s on me!

    This year, I decided to start writing down ideas, thoughts, and quotes that strike me. I’m also keeping up with illustrations, lettering, and other random activities to nurture my creative side.

    2. Capture moments!

    Meet the Polaroid Snap Touch and the Polaroid Zip, two new goodies I added to my camera collection. The Polaroid Snap Touch is similar to the usual Polaroid camera but you can decorate your photo with different frames before printing (if you want to), or you can chose not to print the photo if you don’t like the picture all that much.

    The Polaroid Snap, on the other hand, is a mini photo printer that prints out any photo of your choice— even the ones that have been in your Camera Roll for ages. I like how slim these babies are. They actually fit in my bag. These nifty gadgets will definitely help me capture more moments this year. The best part? They’re stickers!!!

    3. Drink more water!

    I’m the worst when it comes to drinking the right amount of water. Truth be told, I’ve had days where I’ve completely spaced on drinking any H2O. Well, not this year! I’m proud to say that I’ve been drinking way more water than ever before, thanks to my CamelBak companions! I’m especially loving the Chute Vacuum Insulated bottle because it keeps my liquids cold. I know, it’s winter, but the only way I will drink water is if it’s super duper cold. Totally recommend!

    4. Keep warm!

    Yes, I have a bad habit of not wearing enough clothes, especially in the winter. My boyfriend (who knows my habit all too well) purchased a Uniqlo coat for me last month, so I decided to get some winter gear to go along with it. A 100% wool scarf and cute water-resistant boots are must-haves to conquer the cold days of New York City. Both of these products are from Sorel, a footwear brand that has what you need to walk in the rain or snow. Pictured here are the Women’s Joan Infinity Scarf and the Women’s Lolla Boots!

    4. Sleep well!

    After suffering from constant lower back pains for the past few months, I decided to finally time gift myself a new mattress. It’s been a decade—I know, gross! I’ve been holding off because mattresses are not the cheapest things on the planet and most places charge a hefty amount (to the point where I’d rather continue suffering with my lower back pain) for one. Recently, however, a good friend recommended Tuft & Needle. I decided to give their mattress a whirl and my body is truly in wonderland. T&N has affordable prices for mattresses, and I couldn’t be more grateful. My favorite part? The mattresses are deflated and come rolled up in a long vertical box. I loved the inflating process! All you have to do it cut the plastic and bam!

    Now if I could only find leggings that can heat up… 

  • What’s In My Bag?

    Here is my beloved Strathberry Midi Tote bag.

    I came across the bag on Instagram and instantly fell in love with its structure, handle, and overall look. Instead of traditional zippers and flaps, the Strathberry has a gold bar closure that simply “locks” the bag’s handles together. Super stylish, it has complemented a ton of my everyday looks. I’ve received a lot of compliments while using it too!

    Keep on reading for the contents inside!

    Let’s start off with what I consider my necessities—phone, earphones, wallet and water bottle. I never leave my house without my small 9 oz Swell bottle (because it fits most of my bags and is a eye-catcher every time I drink my water), my wallet and iPhone (I mean just look at my cute peacock phone case from Rifle Paper Co) and my Master & Dynamic earphones (they make my daily commutes to and from work a lot more bearable)!

    Even though everyone is pretty much all for Google Calendars, I’m still old school—forever flipping through my physical planner. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been on the planner train and, quite frankly, I’m staying loyal. There’s something about being able to write things down, something about having it be tangible in front of me that makes the old school method so appealing. To each their own, right? Say hello to my new 2017 planner from Rifle Paper Co. and some Muji stationery, of course!

    Need some hand cream on-the-go? I’m that girl who’s always whipping out a tube and sharing its hydrating love with everyone. I’ve been using Mario Badescu’s Hand Cream and Lip Wax. Next up, are Love Wellness Co.’s Do It All Wipes… because you gotta #TakeCareDownThere. These pH balancing wipes make me feel fresh (down there, duh!) whenever I need them. And how can I not carry around Kleenex tissues? I don’t know about you, but I need a tissue everyday of my life—there’s always seems to be a reason for needing one!

    Finally, my everyday makeup essentials! Do I need to say more? These are some of my favorite makeup products and they’re all travel-friendly, especially in this Glossier pink pouch. If I had to choose one makeup product to take with me on-the-go, it’d probably be the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. Can’t leave the house without my brows!

    What is one thing you can’t leave the house without? Let me know in the comments below!

  • It’s Time to Rejuvenate Your Skin

     

    Tick Tock, Tick Tock

    I hope your skincare routine is off to a great start—new year, new you? If the regimen’s not up to par, don’t sweat! I’ve got a few products that will help you rejuvenate your body’s largest organ.

    Even with the weather constantly fluctuating (like how is it 53 degrees Fahrenheit in New York today?!), it is still SUPER important to keep your skin hydrated. I, for example, am “masking” as we speak!

    Curious what my other winter must-haves are? Keep reading!

    Cosmedicine – Eye Specialist Perfected Under-Eye Cream

    You can never have “too many” eye-care products. I received this bad boy during the holidays and am quite in love! I was, admittedly, drawn to the dusty pink packaging, but the formula was what won my heart. It really does help to brighten up my super dark under-eye circles. It’s also hydrating all around! After using this product for a week, I noticed that my under-eye area was generally softer and not as puffy. Win!

    Philosophy – Time in a Bottle 100% In-Contol Serum 

    Where do I start with this amazing breakthrough serum? First, I love its “fresh-pour system” where you get to pour in the “activator” when you’re ready to use the product—so fun! Second, it is ah-ma-zing for ALL skin types—normal, oily, combo, dry, and sensitive. Third, starting off the new year with anti-aging skincare products is the way to go because it’s never too early to do so. Trust me, when it’s too late, it’s really too late. Cast away the dullness, uneven skin tones, and fine lines and wrinkles with this Time in a Bottle serum!

    Amore Pacific – Time Response Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque

    I tend to gravitate towards products that have a little something extra like this mini brush. I’m pretty sure I’m drawn to these products in particular because I think that a lot of care and thought went into making them! Anywhoo, I’m all about the overnight magic and I always trust Amore Pacific to thoroughly hydrate my skin. Even though I’m usually a devout user of their Moisture Bound line, I’m liking this Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque from their Time Response line. Whenever I use it, I wake up with a glow! This product definitely does hydrate, lift, and tone my skin when I’m sleeping.

    Murad – Matte Effect Blotting Perfector 

    Last but not least, something for the makeup lovers! This compact is literally a life changer. While I have normal skin, I tend to get oily around my t-zone (forehead and nose area). This product is perfect for touching up my face and it really helps it go from greasy-looking to matte. All you have to do is use to applicator puff to lightly dab into the cushion (which smells oh-so-good) and use the puff to pat the oily areas of your face. This can be used alone without makeup, before makeup, or even as a touch-up on top of your makeup. It’s also formulated with ingredients that hydrate! Thank you, Murad!

    Don’t forget to treat your skin, everyone! 

  • It’s Always Tea Time with Kusmi Tea

    Pinky up, Princess!

    A self-proclaimed coffee addict, I also enjoying drinking tea. Despite the many visit-worthy coffee shops that proliferate New York City (*cough* foam art *cough*), I think it’s calming—if not relaxing—to sip tea from a mug at home.

    Tea has a wide range of health benefits. When consumed, it works to fight free radicals in your body. Depending on the tea, it can also help you lose weight and reduce the chances of both heart attacks and strokes.

    A fan of Kusmi Tea (I discovered the brand a while back at Bloomingdale’s – you can also purchase on Kusmi Tea’s website) I’ve gifted plenty of their tea sets to family and friends who enjoy their packaging as much as I do!

    Kusmi Tea has a variety of tea blends, including Russian, herbal, traditional, and citrus. The tea comes in both loose leaf (perfect for at home brewing) and individual bags (ideal for on the go)! My favorite flavors are Jasmine Green Tea and Genmaicha!

    They also have these ultra-delicious shortbread cookies!

    Do you drink tea? If so, what brands and what blends?

  • Have You Tried These Foundations Yet? A Year in Review

    Build me up, buttercup!

    Now that 2016 is over, I’d like to recap on some of my favorite foundations—the ones that have stayed loyal and put through the unbearably early mornings and incredibly late nights. They kept me alive and always gave me a flawless glow. Here’s to a new year with these gems!

    NARS SHEER GLOW FOUNDATION

    My holy grail foundation! Its light to medium coverage is perfect for my daily no-makeup, makeup look. In fact, it covers just enough of the redness I have in certain areas around my face.

    URBAN DECAY NAKED SKIN WEIGHTLESS ULTRA DEFINITION LIQUID MAKEUP

    This is a great medium coverage foundation that doesn’t feel heavy at all! It also has a natural semi-matte finish!

    TOO FACED BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION

    Born This Way is what I use when I need a medium to full coverage foundation. I don’t normally wear a “full face,” but when I do, it’s nice to have this guy handy for date nights and big events!

    SULWHASOO PERFECTING CUSHION FOUNDATION

    This Sulwhasoo compact is one of my favorite cushion foundations.  Versatile and travel-friendly, the product is super build-able—the more product you use, the more coverage you get!

    Hope you guys enjoyed this mini recap. All these foundations are non-greasy and build-able, just the way I like it! Let me know what your go-to foundation is in the comments below!

  • TheLoDown