Saturday, April 22, 2017

Here & There 4.22

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Woof, what a week! What a 24 hours actually... I nearly got run down by a car this morning, left my computer charger at the office (which means it's currently chilling in Brooklyn), and I got summoned for jury duty. Jury duty! Ha! Safe to say, I'm thrilled it's the weekend. Today I'm doing the whole seasonal closet switcheroo and I can't wait to pack away my sweaters and clean everything out. Coats are going to the dry cleaner, donation bags are going to Goodwill, and I'll also be uploading a bunch of new stuff to my Poshmark, which I've admittedly been neglecting over the past few months - so keep an eye out if you're interested in shopping my closet. I've been feeling a little shoppy these past 24 hours, and I think all the new spring greenery outside is to blame. Philly is beautiful again! Tomorrow we're thinking of heading out to the shore to explore the beach off-season. Have a wonderful weekend!

This handmade bag would be perfect for a summer music festival - so cute!

Everything is on sale at J.Crew! Take 25% off full price and 40% off sale - I just ordered this cute gingham bikini and this pretty off the shoulder top

Seriously Taylor, what is your problem?

Found: The perfect Jane Birken basket bag

Well this is adorable

20% off shoes at UO! Including these perfect sandals

Inside the Paisley Park archives

So in love with these minimalist hoop earrings (these too)

I've heard amazing things about this book

A really interesting piece on Nelly Bly

What a gorgeous swimsuit

To stay married, embrace change

Will we abandon women's rights in the name of progressive politics?

This dress looks so breezy and summery

Frida Kahlo's wardrobe revealed

Love these moon earrings (these are cool too)

Obsessed with this candle

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nature Looks Good on You: Drifter Organics

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I've been a fan of natural bath and beauty products for awhile now, I've spoken of it before and even quite recently, but it wasn't until last year that using simple, all-natural products became less of an interest and more of a necessity. See, in 2016 I joined the ranks of the blessed many that experience eczema on a frequent basis. Yay! Actually it's the worst. Characterized by dry, itchy, red patches on the body, eczema is not only painful, but also unsightly. Besides my face breaking out from time to time, my skin had always been pretty friendly and accepting of whatever I put on it. I'd never really given much thought to it and just sort of went about my business. Until suddenly I was prescribed a steroid cream to take care of the skin condition that popped up out of nowhere one day - a steroid cream I really didn't want to rely on. Remembering an interview and tutorial I did awhile back with my friend Caroline for Free People where she spoke of her own struggles with her skin, I recommitted myself to only using all-natural products, especially oils, on my body.

And why on earth did I ever stray? Oils have worked wonders on my face, and for body, I absolutely love how nourished and hydrated my skin looks and feels after I slather it on post-shower, and best of all, I seem to be experiencing fewer flare-ups. Nature really does work wonders. Until recently I'd been using straight-up coconut oil from the jar and still reach for it from time to time, but then I got my hands on these body butters from Drifter Organics. And you guys. Heaven. It's no coincidence that these products would help with my skin issues. Drifter Organics was founded by Micaela Hoo, whose blog Oh My Drifter I've been following for what seems like forever, and her mom, Dawn Marie. Micaela has dealt with her own autoimmune issues (detailed on their site), which is what lead her to create her own body products -- and eventually found Drifter Organics -- in the first place. Made with natural, nourishing ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, jojoba oil, safflower seed oil and vitamin E, the products easily melt into skin, and, depending on the scent, the blend of essential oils all come with their own unique benefits. My favorite is Serenity Now - Seinfeld references aside (which I also love), the combination of lavender and frankincense calms my skin, smells amazing and helps me fall asleep at night. For days when I shower in the morning and will be following up with a fragrance, I turn to the unscented Basic, and all other occasions lead me to the limited edition Barefoot in the Park, a fresh scent that's perfect for spring and summer. After using them for a few weeks, my skin feels smoother and more hydrated, eczema flare-ups have chilled a little, and the extra hydration makes the colors in my tattoos pop.

Now that winter weather is finally over, I'm hoping that the combination of quality products, a cleaned up diet and more exposure to sunlight will help my skin even more. Plus, I love how hydrated my legs look after I use a good-quality body butter, it takes at least some of the self-consciousness out of baring a little more come spring and summer.

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Big thanks to Drifter Organics for the chance to become addicted to their products. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shopbop Spring Sale! - UPDATE: Sale extended through 4/16!

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UPDATE: The sale has been extended through 11:59pm PST 4/16

Spring is finally, gloriously here on the east coast and to say I'm ready to shed my winter layers is a fast understatement. Bring on the dresses and sandals and jeans with tee-shirts and don't you dare show me a winter jacket or knit thing for another 6 months! After wearing nothing but jeans and sweatshirts and yoga pants this winter (or at least it felt that way), truth be told my spring and summer wardrobe could use a little help. Luckily for me -- and YOU, Shopbop's first sale event of the year is here... and it's good. I always love Shopbop sales because they make it easy to pair up with friends, family, coworkers, or you know, just treat yourself, to stock your closet with everything you need for the season ahead. For me, this means a new swimsuit (I nabbed a cute lace-up one-piece from Tavik), a pretty dress and summery set from Free People, and a fun beach towel. I'm sharing a few more of my picks for the season below...

+ A cute backpack for my morning commute. Now that the weather is warmer, I'm feeling like I need a lighter, brighter version to carry essentials between Philly and NYC.

+ Some fun sunglasses. For hiding my eyes and checking out cute outfits.

+ The perfect pair of Levi's. For obvious reasons.

+ Some bright and bold sandals. Because basic black feels a little boring this time around.

+ A few fresh activewear pieces... because my old Nike stuff is looking tiiiiired

Happy shopping! What's on your list this season?

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+ See all sale details and exclusions here. Sale runs through 11:59PM Pacific Time Sunday 4/16 - extended!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Here & There 4.9

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Happy Sunday night, friends. How was your weekend? Ours went in a number of unexpected, but great, directions. We ended up going to our first Phillies game on Saturday evening, then today spent most f the day outside because the weather was gorgeous. We finally made it up to Mt. Laurel Cemetery, which proved to be the perfect vantage point to watch the Regatta.

How cute are these vintage '70s moccasins?

A powerful post on the price of war and what you can do to diminish "the war on terror"

Moscow Mules for 2 - the perfect drink for summer

10 entrepreneurs who didn't get started until after 30

These would look pretty hanging in a window

Adorable pieces for spring - love the beach ball print

The definitive ranking of '90s teen heartthrobs

What an adorable dress

How to sage your home

Gorgeous swimsuits for summer (and the sunglasses to go with them)

This t-shirt is so good

The Eileen Fisher quiz we all need

Would love to add this to our living room (these are so cute too)

I'm a woman and I don't want children

A very encouraging doormat

loved this piece on transgender models in Boston

Wouldn't this be gorgeous for a city hall wedding?

Made me laugh

Love this simple jumpsuit

Peeps soaps!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

WORN: Gingham in Society Hill

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Gingham's one of those fabrics that, at first glance, feels a little precious. Visions of picnic blankets, sweet country curtains and '50s sundresses come to mind. But when paired with the right accessories -- leather jacket, sneakers -- a pair of vintage-style gingham cigarette pants start to feel a little tough in the best way. Perfect for strolling around Society Hill and Old City on a beautiful spring day a couple of weeks ago. We popped into a few stores and grabbed a beer at 2nd Story Brewing, before heading home to do responsible things. By now the flowers are blooming and spring feels like it's in full swing - and frankly I'm ready for it.

Free People gingham pants (similar style here)
Vans Old Skool sneakers
American Apparel sweater
Free People sunglasses
Julia Canwright bag
Schott Perfecto leather jacket

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Here & There 4.1

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Happy April, fools! ...See what I did there? Impressed? No? Ok... It's a new month and I'm excited. And it's the weekend and I'm excited. I just finished up 31 days of yoga (I'm a day off) and I'm feeling goooood and ready to take on a new month, even if it means having to finish my taxes. Ugh. To be honest, despite my good feelings today, this week was rough one to get through. Lots of rain and trains and commuting and cold weather. And sleep anxiety! So this weekend I'm vowing to take care of all the things keeping me up at night so I can start this month off right. I have a lot to look forward to: we're taking our first trip home of the year to see family -- I can't believe we haven't seen them since September! -- and there's some exciting stuff happening at work. I typically avoid going up north this time of year, because while Philly is just warming up, New England is still in the depths of winter, and it's no different this year. Even worse - they're currently getting hammered with snow. BUT I'm determined to make the most of it and am looking forward to getting some use out of my much-neglected snowshoes.

Have a happy weekend - here's a few of my favorites from around the web this week:

This beautiful vintage bag would be perfect for summer

I've been hunting for the perfect linen duvet cover for summer -- and I found it!

How to be an ally - important and wonderful

These mismatched earrings would make a great gift

Growing up on 30 minute meals - loved this perspective

Pretty accessories for spring and summer

On my book list for spring (and another book on my list)

The prettiest bikini - I need a new bathing suit and I'm stressed out about it

Appraising the Brady Bunch's art collection - so good

The most adorable bag for spring

Finding balance in social media

Pretty much obsessed with these minimalist overalls

ICYMI - DIY apple cider vinegar toner

Beautiful shoes - love those palm leaf slides

Are you super busy? Me too. Read this.

For the prettiest witch

Because internet privacy is on the line - how (and why) to set a VPN in 10 minutes for free

For the wild women out there

Friday, March 31, 2017

The $4 Ingredient That Saved My Skin

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Do you ever feel as though finding the right skincare routine is a never-ending battle? I do. Especially after I began commuting to Brooklyn twice a week. Suddenly my already finicky skin became even more blemish-prone, and I developed what I've come to call "city chin". City chin is no fun, and it what happens when you immerse yourself in Uber pools, train rides, subways cars, office life and pollution. It's also probably from my phone and stress, but I'm blaming the extenuating circumstances. Anyway. After starting my new job, all of a sudden I was plagued by a constant galaxy of tiny bumps and blemishes across my chin and jawline, and was even getting occasional cystic acne. I've never had cystic acne. At 33, suddenly combatting acne was an unexpected and most unwelcome surprise. No thanks, no way. I needed to do something about it.

Turns out, that something was hiding in my pantry all along and cost next to nothing. I'd already been using organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar internally, mixed with lukewarm water as a drink before bed, but I was curious to see if it could do anything for the acne on my face. I mixed it up with some water and bottled it in a recycled glass container (mine was an empty vanilla extract bottle - washed of course), then applied it as a toner after washing my face. You guys. When I say my skin cleared up in days, I mean it. Days. And knock on wood... I haven't had a cystic breakout in over a month. Even during PMS. I've wanted to write about this for a couple months now, but was afraid I was experiencing a fluke. I don't think I am! I have had a couple of smaller blemishes, but the ACV, combined with the other products I've been using, seems to dry everything up and get it healed in half the time. Today I'm sharing the process for making your own apple cider vinegar toner, along with the other products I've been using. Because I'm so happy about it, and I want everyone to know! Drop $4 bucks on a bottle of Braggs, it's so worth it:

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Toner: Combine 1 part organic unfiltered ACV (I like Braggs) with 1 part filtered water (you want a 50/50 mix) and store in a glass bottle. To use: soak a cotton ball with ACV toner and swipe across chin and t-zone in the morning and night (or once per day depending on your skin's needs). If you've never used ACV before, I recommend doing a patch test on your inner forearm before using on your face to ensure you don't experience a reaction. ACV can be drying, but I've found it works well for me when combined with a good hyaluronic acid and facial oil and it erased almost all the blemishes on my chin within days. I use this at night after cleansing and in the morning after splashing my face with plain water.

Yes, it smells like salad dressing. But the smell goes away as soon as you layer anything over it, so a serum and moisturizer or oil will do the trick. Trust me, I made Chris smell my face multiple times to make sure I wasn't stepping out smelling like a well-dressed salad. You can read more about why apple cider vinegar works for face and body here.

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Youth to the People Firm & Brighten Serum: Similar to collagen, hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body, but over time we begin to produce less and less of it. H.A. is responsible for keeping the skin hydrated and clear, but when production wanes, the skin begins to wrinkle and thin. Along with eating hyaluronic acid-rich foods (basically all bright fruits and veggies contain trace amount of H.A.) I use this serum in the morning to keep my skin clear and healthy. Hyaluronic acid can also help reduce the appearance of under eye bags, so if that's not reason enough to use it I don't know what is. I use this in the morning after applying the ACV toner above. (learn more about the benefits of hyaluronic acid here)

Herbivore Phoenix Oil: I've learned by now that oil is 100% more compatible with my skin than any kind of lotion - this goes for body and face. Like goes with like, so an oil that works with the skin is going to work leaps and bounds over a lotion, at least this is what I've found. A good facial oil is key to the health and clarity of my skin. I absolutely love Herbavore's Phoenix Oil, which I picked up from Moorea Seal. Pricy, yes, but the bottle lasts a looooong time and the quality of the ingredients -- which include chia seed co2 and sea buckhorn oil -- can't be beat. Plus it smells incredible, which helps when you're putting vinegar on your face every day. I use this in the morning after applying YTTP Firm and Brighten Serum.

Tamanu Oil: Ok, so tamanu oil doesn't smell that great and it has a greenish tinge to it, which is why I only use it at night BUT if you've ever had issues with oils clogging your skin, try tamanu. Tamanu oil can actually help prevent breakouts thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and it's an incredible hydrator, making it perfect for those with dry or blemish-prone skin. I'll layer this on at night after washing my face and toning it with the ACV toner above. This one is from Aura Cacia. (Read more about tamanu oil here)

Tea Tree Oil: I have a love/hate relationship with tea tree oil. On the one hand, it's amazing for drying up blemishes, on the other hand... the smell. I've been using tea tree oil since I was a teenager for preventing zits and it works, and it can work for so many other things too (keeping it real: tea tree is amazing for treating and preventing athlete's foot). I'll use this once or twice a week to treat any minor blemishes that may have popped up on my chin, or as a preventative measure after commuting to Brooklyn for the day. I've found that when paired with the ACV toner, zits dry up and heal in half the time. At night, after cleansing, toning and moisturizing my skin, I just dip the end of a cotton swab into the bottle of tea tree and dab it on areas that are prone to breakouts. Then I prepare for the cat and Chris to avoid me because both of them can't stand the smell!

Not pictured: Cleanser: I'm using Honest Co.'s cleanser right now and really like it. I wash my face twice at night - once to remove my makeup and then I'll lather my face again to remove any residue. I've never gone to sleep with makeup on -- removing it at night is a non-negotiable (I do work out in makeup, so judge me however you wish). I also love Ursa Major's Fantastic Face Wash and haven't decided which one I'll re-up on when I run out of my current bottle. I don't cleanse my face in the morning besides splashing it with warm water and toweling off -- there's no need.

This combination has been working SO well for me over the past month or so, I've been nervous to even share it in fear of jinxing myself. I've noticed huge changes in not only the clarity of my skin, but wrinkle depth, brightness, and under eye bags over the past few weeks - I actually feel really good about it! I'll try new products from time to time, but always seem to circle back to what's natural and simple. That's what works for me. I've also been working hard at managing stress, drinking a ton of water, and eating as many fruits and veggies as I can get my hands on.

I'd love to know what products you swear by. Do you use ACV? Is there a weird ingredient in your beauty routine? I'm always looking for unexpected fixes, so please let me know.

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