A quick outfit in snowy Chicago
It was -2* in Chicago earlier this week and about 5* when my mom quickly snapped this photo. I love being home, but I forgot how cold it can be! Thankfully, I received a few gifts to fight the freezing weather this year.
This vest is so comfortable and warm – I’ve even been wearing it around the house. I like that it doesn’t add too much bulk, so I can layer a jacket over it. I also love the floral print which has white, subtle pink, and blue colors.
I’ve been obsessed with these chenille fingerless gloves since Thanksgiving, so I was really happy to find the pink pair under the tree this year. I also received the scarf and matching beanie. I love them all! They’re so cozy and cute.
How do you stay warm in crazy cold temps?
Skin, body, and haircare reviews
I’ve been in Chicago for the holidays since last week and I’m not heading back to NYC until next week, so I packed a bunch of travel-sized products to last through my whole trip. Here are some of my favorites.
My hands are always dry during the winter, so this Tocca Hand Cream has been so useful. I love the Florence scent, which has notes of Gardenia, and that it sinks in quickly.
The Drunk Elephant Marula Oil is super hydrating, so a little bit goes a long way. I’ve been using this at night instead of a night cream and it’s helped with the flakes around my nose. This duo is a great way to try the oil and their amazing glycolic serum.
I also travel with the Pekee and Juju bars from Drunk Elephant- one for a gentle cleanse that removes makeup and the other for light exfoliation. I never thought I’d like bar soap, but these are so effective and convenient. They also last forever compared to a traditional liquid cleanser.
I received this Beauty Protector Protect and Volume Spray in a Birchbox and I’m really considering picking up the full size. It adds shine and volume to my thin hair and provides UV and heat protection. I love that it has a spray nozzle and smells lovely.
This tiny Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Cleanser only lasted four uses, but I really enjoyed it. It has a nice gel texture with a light scent. It removes makeup really quickly, so I used this at the end of the day.
I’ve tried a couple things from IGK and really like the brand so far. Their Coconut Oil Gel adds moisture to my wavy hair. The light hold helps tame frizz as well. I use about a dime sized amount from my ears to ends.
What are your must-haves when traveling?
My favorite holiday tradition
One of the best parts of Christmas is baking cookies and holiday treats with my mom. We’ve made this variation on a Rice Krispie treat for almost two decades and it’s one of my favorites.
I should note that I’m not domestic at all – I burnt butter yesterday – but this recipe is quite simple and doesn’t require any baking. Just melting marshmallows on the stovetop.
You will need:
- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
- 1/4 stick of butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp green food coloring
- 4 cups cornflakes
- Cinnamon candies (red hots)
- Melt butter and marshmallows in saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Add vanilla extract and food coloring.
- In large bowl, pour mixture over cornflakes; toss until coated.
- Moisten hands with cold water and shape 1/4 cup mixture into circular wreath on wax paper.
- Press in red hots and let cool for 1 hour.
What’s your favorite holiday recipe? Let me know if you try this one!!
Feeling festive, staying warm
This Calvin Klein coat is one of my favorites because it’s pretty warm, but I think it looks cuter than a puffy jacket over a dressier outfit. I love the toggle closures and wrap belt, which pulls in my waist and helps keep out the wind. The faux fur hood is also removable. Here are a few similar black coats with faux fur and toggles (my favorite!), the wrap belt, or a zipper.
The ruffles on this top are so sweet, but the sheer yoke and sleeves add a little drama that’s perfect for a holiday party. I think it’s so cute tucked into a little suede mini skirt, but it would pair nicely with velvet pants as well. I love this blush pink pair and these green ones are fun too.
A tiny clutch is my go-to accessory for holiday parties. I love the velvet fabric and pretty clasp on this vintage clutch. It just barely fits my phone without the case and maybe a lipstick and credit card. This rounded box clutch from Etsy is really similar to mine and this velvet Kate Spade pouch is currently on sale. Here’s one from ASOS that has a lot more room – I love the ring detail too.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
Rounding up four face masks
I love testing new face masks! I recently received a couple with my last Sephora order and had two from past Birchboxes, so I wanted to share my thoughts.
Tara Harper Resurfacing Mask ($58)
I really enjoyed the texture of this mask. It was a gel-like base that was easy to spread on the face. You are supposed to leave it on for 20 minutes and then remove with warm water. This little jar lasted about 3 uses and I loved it. It definitely made my skin softer and more radiant. I also love that the Tara Harper line uses safe ingredients, is effective, and feels luxurious.
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask ($30)
I am obsessed with this clay mask! It’s great at drawing out impurities and it actually makes my pores look smaller. It feels like a mud mask but isn’t overly wet. It’s definitely thicker – almost like a cream. It does dry down so you know when to remove it, but it hasn’t dried my skin out. I only put in on my cheeks, chin, and forehead. Reed and I have both used this a couple times and there are a few uses left, so this is a generous sample. I would definitely buy the full size!
Farmacy Honey Potion Hydrating Mask ($46)
This mask is bright yellow and goes from a thick jello-like texture to a creamy foam once rubbed in. You’re supposed to feel warming while massaging for 2-3 and I don’t really enjoy that. I have some flakiness around my nose and this didn’t fix that either. I wanted to love this because I’ve heard such great things about Farmacy, but I won’t be using the rest of this.
Balance Me Radiance Face Mask ($26)
I tried a few things from Balance Me thanks to Birchbox and I’ve liked everything I’ve tried! This mask only requires 5 minutes and it’s a physical exfoliator and brightening mask in one. It has an interesting, natural scent that’s grown on me and I like how it dries down quickly. It’s also pretty affordable.
All in all, it was fun to try out these different face masks and 3/4 is a pretty good success rate to me! Have you tried any of these masks?
A snowy #ootd and winter favorites
It’s snowed twice this week in New York and I’m actually okay with the wintery weather considering how mild it’s been lately. I’ve also been accumulating winter gear to fight my constant coldness, so here are some of my favorite items.
If I look somewhat comfortable sitting in snow in the middle of winter, it’s all thanks to this Eddie Bauer coat. It was a gift from Reed and I love it – I’m always cold and this jacket keeps me warm even on 20 degree days. There are so many thoughtful details as well, like fuzzy cuffs and lined pockets, a double zipper, removable hood, chest pocket for easy access, and the longer length. If you’re looking for a high-quality winter parka, I think this one checks all the boxes.
My mom gave me these adorable Chenille Fingerless Gloves at Thanksgiving and they’ve been so useful! They keep my hands warm but I can still text, quickly snap a photo, or easily get out my metrocard. Normal gloves are generally too long for my fingers and end up being awkward and bulky on me, so I absolutely love these. They’re also super soft and trendy because chenille is really popular this winter.
Lastly, these Sorel boots have been just as great for snowy days here in the city as they are for trekking on a ski trip in Vermont. They’re warm, comfortable, and stable on slippery sidewalks. I also think they’re pretty cute for snow boots. Mine are last year’s Quarry Gray version, but I’ve linked to this year’s updated pair in the same colorway.
I’d love to hear about your favorite winter items or tips on staying warm below!
It was so hard to narrow down items for this gift guide! There are so many amazing beauty products and brands out there (Glossier, Colourpop, Besame, Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Ilia, RMS beauty, and on and on…), but I stuck to items from the more mainstream brands that can easily be found at Ulta or Nordstrom because we’re only 9 days away from Christmas now! These are gift-worthy items I personally use and love or would really like to receive.
- Tarte Blush Bazaar Palette ($44) – These blushes are really pigmented, blendable, and long-lasting. I think this palette makes a great gift, especially with the cute packaging and tons of colors.
Lorac Ocean Sunset Palette
($42) – I love the mix of shadows in this palette. It’s an unexpected gift that you can get a variety of looks out of and it comes with a mini primer. Lorac eyeshadows are soft, buttery, and pigmented as well.
L’occitane Almond Gift Set
($52) – This is a bit of a splurge for bodycare, but I think it’s worth it because the products are so luxurious and you get minis for travel. The Shower Oil helps soften skin while the Milk Concentrate is really moisturizing and they both smell amazing.
- Chantecaille Save the Rainforest Palette ($85) – I love the philanthropic aspect and the amazing gorilla print on these eyeshadows. The color combo is stunning as well. This is one I haven’t tried but would love to receive.
- Deborah Lippmann Color On Glass Set ($24) – The colors in this trio are so pretty and I think nail polish makes a nice gift for someone you may not know well enough to choose eyeshadows or lipsticks for.
- Bare Minerals Mini Lipsticks ($26) – The Gen Nude Radiant Lipsticks are one of my absolute favorite formulas. They feel smooth on the lips, are moisturizing, but pretty long wearing, and smell nice. This kit is great because it has a mix of the neutral and statement colors at an affordable price.
- Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics ($27) – This is one of my most used eyeshadow palettes and is a great deal at Ulta right now. The matte colors are beautiful for every day wear and you have some deeper shades for liner or going out. There’s also one shimmery shade that’s perfect for the lid. I highly recommend it!
- A custom gift set! This one features some great haircare items and this adorable Velvet Bow Hair Tie ($18). The Living Proof No Frizz Oil ($20) is amazing for hydration and taming dry hair. The mini size will last for several months as well. I also love this R + Co Shine Cream ($27) which I use on wet hair to define curls. The packaging definitely makes it gift worthy.
There are a dozen more items I wanted to add and now my personal wishlist has gotten longer! What’s on your beauty wishlist or gift guide?