It's so nice to be home. My least favorite part of traveling is leaving this little guy behind:

fashion inspiration

I’ve always had a very simple style. I’ve lamented this in the past, but I think I’m finally ready to embrace it. My wardrobe is mostly basics, ninety percent black and white. But I’m still struggling to figure out the difference between stylishly classic and just boring. I’ve been looking at inspiration pictures for help, here are some of my favorites:

instagram random

I'm loving instagram lately for recording daily life, and now this tutorial taught me how to make simple collages, I can include some of the pictures here. Left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Our bedroom, I'm not a bed-maker - what's the point?
  2. Airplane view during our flight to San Francisco.
  3. The only tea I like: Tazo Awake Black Tea from the lobby of the Red Cottage Inn.
  4. The skies are big in California too!
  5. J. Crew ballet flats are so soft and comfy; I want every color.
  6. Karl and Choupette in Harper's Bazaar - and I thought Spot was spoiled!
  7. Loving this orange plexiglass side table at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.
  8. My husband is the best - he walked to Starbuck's and I had soy lattes waiting for me each morning.
  9. Current desktop photo: a very young Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth.
  10. But the hotel room was so cold, I had to put on my husband's socks to keep warm.
  11. We went to the Daily Grill every day for Happy Hour. The food and drinks were great.
  12. Woke up at 3:30 am to catch a flight, airport lounge coffee isn't very good but I had to have it.
  13. I love when hotel rooms have interesting magazines in your room; this collection of photographs of Brigitte Bardot at the Sofitel in Washington DC was great.
  14. But they sent pastry basket each morning with coffee. By the end of the week, I was craving fresh veggies.
  15. Pets' menu - sauteed ground beef and salmon, rice and veggies - sounded better than some of the people stuff on the room service menu.

better skin in two hard steps

Step 1: Find the right products. A girlfriend talked me into getting a facial (my first) with her about four years ago. While I don’t think the facial itself did anything to improve my skin, I think it was really beneficial to speak with someone knowledgeable who could look at my skin, recommend a skincare regimen, and have access to better products than I could find at the drugstore. (I would suspect a dermatologist could do an even better job.)  I bought all the basics that day and used them religiously; then went for another facial a year later to fine-tune and update my regimen. I don’t know if spending a lot of money on products made me take it more seriously and do a better job taking care of my face, or whether the more expensive, tailored products just worked much better-- maybe both.

I wash my face day and night with a gentle cleanser, use the toleriane moisturizer each morning (or sunscreen if I'm going to the pool), alternate the retinol and redermic creams at night, and use the clay mask in the bathtub once a week. I'm obsessed with lip balm and moisturizers, and lip quench is the best I've ever found. I use it constantly.

I buy most of my products from Dermstore. I love them. Shipping is superfast, free for $100 purchases, and they usually have a fun bonus. Here’s a picture of what they sent as a free gift last time; I was pleasantly shocked:

And all keep-worthy. My favorites are the Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Sequins (Stila's liquid eyeliner is my daily go-to, and I love the slight silver sparkle for getting a bit more fancy), Dermstore Lip Quench (smart to include this as a free gift, as I will be buying it for life now), and the Mirabella Shimmerati powder in Afterglow. I wear these a lot and will buy again for sure.

Step 2: Cutting out dairy. One year ago, I stopped eating meat. Then eggs. Then dairy.* It took about two weeks of being a vegan to notice that my face looked really good. Like not even the tiniest breakout. I commented to my husband, who correlated it to the veganism. I cut foods out in stages, and my skin only noticeable improved after removing every last bit of the dairy. If you read about it one the internet, many sources claim going dairy-free can improve your skin and it was true for me. (TMI: it also lessened my PMS symptoms, like, a lot, which come to think of it is probably all tied in together. Hormones.)

*I’ve since added in bi-valves (clams, oysters, mussels) and let myself be a bit lax about the dairy when I’m eating out at a restaurant. I really need to make the effort to be super strict about dairy in my diet, for the sake of the animals and my face.