The Clinique Challenge

Hiiii babes! I’m so sorry I’ve been absent the last few weeks. No word of a lie, I’ve been pulling crazy hours at my office, often staying there until 10pm to make sure I’m keeping my head above water. There’s been a lot of transition at work for me lately, but I’m super excited about it! I’ve gone from working almost exclusively on The Bump (btw, I know more about strollers, baby carriers and breast pumps than I thought I ever would), to working with some really cool accounts on The Knot! Think Dyson, Crate & Barrel, Kohl’s etc. It’s a ton of work, but I’m so ready for it!

Anyways, I’ve put together this Vlog for you because I got dozens of messages after my beachy hair video to put another video together where I’m basically just talking to myself haha. TBH I feel super weird and like I’m being judged by everyone who walks by me thinking I’m taking excessive amounts of snapchats, but BYEEEE Felicia! (And also, if you’re one of the people who saw me talking to myself while staring at my camera, give ya girl a follow @thelaughingblonde).

Yes, I’ve been crazy busy, but this video was too important to pass up! Clinique is doing an initiative for the month of October where they’re donating $10 anytime someone posts a photo or video of them taking their makeup off AND uses the following 3 hashtags: “CliniqueDonates, “TakeTheDayOffChallenge, PinkRibbon25” – they’re donating up to $250k!! You DON’T have to use their Take The Day Off product- any makeup remover of any brand will do (or soap and water!) so get to posting, ladies!!  XO, AJ


How to Get My Beachy Waves Hair Look in Less Than 10 Minutes

Hi babe! I know you’re probably busy drowning yourself in PSLs and dragging out your uggs from storage, so I’ll keep this short & sweet. The two most common things that I get messages about are about my hair and about starting a YouTube channel. So I’ve combined both in this post with a video on how to get my signature beachy waves look (in less than 10 minutes!).

This is the first time I’ve ever made a video public, so don’t judge too hard haha. Let me know what you think! And if you try this at home, make sure you send me pictures!

 

 

Fall Is Here and Skin Is In

Alright, alright, alrighttttt. It’s finally fall! Well, sort of. It’s not like, FB official or anything yet, but anything under 75 degrees in my book means boots, plaid and hoodies. What can I say, I’m a basic. It’s in my blood.

#NewSeasonNewMe is my motto this year, and I’m playing to win! The ultra cliche “when you look good, you feel good” statement has been buzzing in my ears lately. That said, I’ve put together a two part series to include a full rundown of the hair + skin treatments that I’m using to keep my hair hyrdated and my skin moisturized as the weather starts getting cooler + dryer. I promise you, it’ll be worth the read when your skin isn’t dry af in November, causing your makeup to crack on your face by your 11:30am meeting. You’re welcomeeee.

Skin Is In

I love my hair, but my skin is my numero uno. I’ve been relatively lucky in life so far when it comes to acne – I only get the occasional breakout, and it’s usually when I’m PMSing. Other than that, the only thing I struggle with is dry skin. So I’ve spent that last few years figuring out what products work and what ones don’t (which is hard, because I have very sensitive skin) and I think I’ve finally come up with a great rundown!

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Daily Face Wash – Let me be clear (no pun intended) – this totally works. I usually take my showers before bed and wash my face with this in the shower if I’m having any type of breakout. By the time I wake up in morning, my face is at least 80% cleared up. The only downside is that I do find it can be drying if you use it every single day, which is why I try to alternate days that I use it.

 

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Argon Oil + Eyebrow Razors – Ok so I’ll admit that the first time I saw a video of a girl shaving their face, I was freaked TF out. Idk why but for some reason I watched Michelle Money from The Bachelor put a video up of her doing it one day and I was hooked – I had to try it! The exfoliation is out of this world! To protect my skin, I only do this once a month – I don’t want to irritate it too much, and I don’t want to become obsessive about it. I PROMISE that it doesn’t make the peachfuzz on your face grown back as a thick man-beard. If anything, it thins it out. It makes my makeup application totally flawless, and my skin is renewed + fresh for the next few weeks. The trick is to make sure you’re coating your skin with the argon oil first to prevent any scratching and irritation, and then doing quick + small downward strokes with the eyebrow razor. Try it out and let me know what you think!

neLpxuLaneige Mini Pore Waterclay Mask – I recommend weekly application of this. The mask goes on wet and then hardens in about 10 minutes. It comes with a sponge to gently exfoliate while you wash it off of your skin, which (in my case at least) leaves me with skin that legit looks like it’s glowing (in a good way). I only do masks about once a week to avoid too much product on my face, and I typically try to do them on Sundays to set myself up for fab skin the whole week. Anyways, this mask has charcoal in it which apparently is v. chic and trendy to put on your skin these days. Who knew? It’s also v. depressing, because when it dries it lets you see just how monsterous your pores really are and it’s extremely disturbing if you’re not prepared for it. Just an FYI – you’ve been warned.

 

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask + Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer – That was a mouthful. These are the two products that I use every night. After I’ve showered and washed my face, I apply the Kate Somerville mask (you only need a thin layer of it, no need to cake it on) to my whole face and neck, and then apply the Laneige lip mask to my lips (obviously). The lip mask if thick, but effective. I haven’t had chapped or cracked lips in God knows how long, and because my lips are hydrated, my lipsticks/ lip stains tend to stay on longer. When I wake up in the morning, I simply rinse my face of any excess product that’s left over and I’m good to go!

 

Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg Makeup – I am 10000% against tanning beds, but that doesn’t mean I’ve totally embraced my practically translucently pale skin. I really just prefer not to blindfold people with my whiteness if it can be avoided. This Sally Hanses stuff is the perfect fix for winter when it’s not warm enough to get your glow from the sun. Not only is it instant color, but it’s semi-waterproof, meaning that I can rinse off in the shower without it coming off. The photo below is after doing just that – and the color is still completely in tact! But if you want to get rid of the color, just get a loofah all soaped up and scrub for literally 15 seconds and you’ll see the color go right down the drown. I. Am. Obsessed.

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Have you tried any of these products, or are you currently using different ones that I should try out? Let me know! I’m always looking to up my game. Check back next week for a full layout on how to keep your hair healthy this fall. xo, AJ

My MILK MAKEUP Review

YOU GUYS. I just came back from Sephora with some new products and I’m so excited about them that I had to go straight to my laptop and give some feedback so you all could see for yourselves! There’s a whole lot about being a girl that I feel personally victimized by (biological clocks, the idea that men age like wine and women age like milk that’s been left out on the counter overnight, and the fact that it feels like Sephora’s marketing team has a looking glass deep into my soul and they know exactly what kind of packaging will have me emptying out my wallet. RUDE. Like if I actually thought about how much I’ve spent on beauty products in the last year, or better yet, my life, it makes me nauseas. I cannot let my mind go there.

My personal #makeupgoals is to wear the kind of makeup that makes it look like you’re not looking any makeup. Very #IWokeUpLikeThis. This has pretty much always been my go-to look because I’m fair and I have a young face (or so they tell me), so if I wear too much color or, God forbid, eyeliner, it’s a tragedy. I look like a street-walking clown. Over the years many of the brands I’ve used have changed. I’ve used everything from Georgio Armani $70 foundation to the $15 Revlon foundation that currently sitting in my makeup bag. All kinds of mascaras and concealers and blushes. My biggest struggle is makeup that doesn’t dry out during the day, which happens often because my skin is on the dryer side. And it has run my bank account DRY, let me tell you!

That said, when I went to Sephora today, I found myself planted in front of the MILK Makeup station so I could try on every last product. I personally consider them to be mid-range in terms of price. Definitely affordable for the effects they have. The cool thing about this brand is that the whole point of their product line is for you to apply with your fingers – it’ s like fingerpaint for your face. Idk about you, but fingerpaiting is about the only art class I ever excelled in, so I feel like kindergarten really prepared me for this moment.

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TBH, this is probably my least favorite out of the MILK products that I’ve tried, but it’s still cool. It looks like there’s color to be, but don’t let that fool you. It comes in one shade, and works for pretty much all skin tones. It minimizes the appearence of pores and fine lines to give you a smooth matte finish. You can use it on its own, as a primer, or to lock in your other makeup. I personally use it on its own when I have a bit of a tan, because it basically just gives my existing glow a little boost without forcing me to cake real makeup all over my face. Sephora, $36

 

Cooling Water cooling

I. AM. OBSESSED. WITH. THIS. Like I said earlier, my skin is on the dryer side. The point of this caffeine-infused gel stick is to de-puff eyes and energize the look of skin, as well as helping to get rid of dryness. I put this on before I put on any other makeup, and it not only felt amazing, but it made putting on the rest of my makeup incredibly easy and kept it looking fresh throughout the day. To die for. Sephora, $24

 

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This comes out of a tube with a rollerball at the top (similar to rollerball perfume), which I really like because it gets you way more control of how much you’re squeezing out and applying. Nothing’s more annoying when applying makeup then when you go to squeeze out a tiny bit of foundation and a whole glob comes out. And then you’re like that’s nice, there’s $6 worth of makeup down the drain 🙂 🙂 🙂 This only required 3-4 swipes across my face to get total coverage. It feels really light, but like it took care of all the issues I wanted it to. It’s also SPF 30, which is really important and something I try to make sure is in any foundation I use! Overall, it’s really natural looking which is just what I’m going for. Sephora, $42

 

Flex Concealer flex concealer

I feel the same way about this concealer that I do about the Sunshine Skin Tint, so I don’t want to get too repetitive. What I particularly like about this is the staying power. I have extremely dry eyes which, ironically, causes them to water all the time. I often have issues with concealer because it gets flaky and cracked under my eyes because of the tears that I’m frequently wiping away. This avoided those issues and made my under-eyes look really bright and energized. Sephora, $28

 

Lip + Cheek cheek

I’ve been using cheek stains for about a year now, because I feel like they blend into my skin far better than traditional blush does. This cheek tint is no different. The shades are gorgeous (I combined Swish and Rally together), and they practically melted on my cheeks in the BEST way. It gave the kind of color that you get when your cheeks get pink from being outside for 10 minutes in the snow. It’s PERFECT! Even better, you only need a few tabs and the container is pretty big, so you would probably only need to buy this 1-2 times per year at most. Sephora, $24

 

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My usual mascara routine is to use one that’s lengthening/voluminous and then following that up with a second kind that’s waterproof to combat my always-watering eyes. I also typically curl my lashes, which gives an effect that I love, but I do think causes some damage to my lashes. When I applied the Ubame mascara, I noticed that the unique shape of the brush made is to that I don’t need to curl my lashes. It also somehow manages to stay on really well, even though its not waterproof. Very impressed.   Sephora, $24

De-cluttering Your Beauty Stash

Confession time: I’m a bit of a hoarder. It’s true, I have very little self control when it comes to buying clothes, shoes or beauty products. When I think back to the amount of money that I wasted over just the last 12 months alone on unnecessary products that I absolutely didn’t need to buy, I’m a little nauseas. Even more so when I think about all the different ways I could have spent that money. Ugh.

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Anyway, that isn’t even the worst part. What’s worse is that after I buy it, half of it seriously just sits there for months on end, unopened and unloved 😦 Typically my 18 year old sister makes out like a bandit because of this – I usually give her a ton of my old stuff that I either haven’t used or barely touched. And lucky for her, she gets it for Free-Ninety-Nine. These products below are just the ones I’m giving from this last clean-out.

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I’ve put together a guide below for you to reference while you do a HUGE spring cleaning this weekend *Hint Hint*! I always feel 10000% better when I’ve organized. Not sure whether to save or toss that unopened lipgloss from Victoria’s Secret’s 2007 collection? TOSS. We’re about to get super organized up in here ok ladies? Now let’s get in formation:

  • Check the expiration date. Once you open a product, the clock starts ticking. Face makeup? 6 months for liquids, 2 years for powders. Mascara? 3 months. The dark, wet environment is a total breeding ground for bacteria. And what’s more horrifying than putting a want of bacteria 2 centimeters from your eyeball? Lipglosses + lipsticks? 1-2 years. Hair products? 1 year. Skin care? No more than six months. Bottom line- if it’s questionable, TOSS IT.
  • If you’re wondering if you should buy it, the answer is simple – probably not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought something strictly because I was bored. A good rule of thumb is to think about it and if you really want it, order it online. Or if you’re mindlessly online shopping, ask yourself if you’d go all the way to the store to buy it. If the answer is no, then you probably don’t really need it.
  • There’s no need to “save it for later”. See all these samples? My mom gave them to me as part of Christmas present… in 2015. No lie, theses samples are all two years old. And you know why? Because I’m always saying that I’ll “save them for later”. The great thing about samples is that they’re the perfect way to try products out without having to actually spend money on them. So why the heck would you not take that opportunity? Use your samples and then decide if you like them enough to spend money on the real thing!

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The Final Product

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How to Become #HairGoals AF

Considering my handle is The Laughing Blonde, it really comes as no surprise that I’m a fan of my hair, right? I’ve written about my struggs with my hair in a previous post. In case you’re lazy and don’t wanna read it, here’s a quick recap: I have pretty long hair that I’ve been color-treating for at about a decade, and up until recently I was freaking out because I thought it was falling out at an alarming rate and I was f*cking terrified I’d wake up one day with a giant patch missing. I asked both my doctor and my hair stylist if she was concerned and after giving me the shadiest eye roll ever (stylist, not doctor), she said that I was being dramatic and that my hair was actually just breaking, not falling out (p.s., uhm yeah that didn’t comfort me that much more, because now I’ll just have random spikes all over my head??

So I’ve been on this hair care regimen the last few months to do whatever I can to keep my hair as healthy as possible. Within reason, of course, because there’s now way in hell I’m giving up these blonde locks any time soon, that’s for sure. I can be all, “help me, I’m poor!” but still manage to find $225 to shell out for the ride color mix and toner, ya feel me ladies? #Priorities.

I would be remiss to not point out that although I’m forreal confident that the products I’m talking about in this post actually do positively impact my hair, the best thing I did for it was get it cut. I was shedding like a dog in August at one point. Once I remembered that it had been like 11 months since my last trim and that my split ends were practically crying to be hacked up, I made an appointment, got a cut, and my hair immediately looked + felt healthier. That said, here are my current favorite hair products that I use on a daily (or weekly) basis:

  1. Serum

The winner is: Kerastase Initialiste: Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates — I can’t lie to you guys, this is not cheap. Nothing Kerastase produces ever is. I know that they say, “the best things in life are free.” Well that might be true, but the best hair products typically freaking expensive. HOWEVER. You need to know that it actually works. When I was in tears with my stylist telling her that about my balding fears, she told me that this would fix it right up. She was SO right! After I take a shower and comb out my hair, I put 4-6 drops of this on my scalp and massage it in.Just remember that it only really works if you use it every time you wash your hair. You’ll start seeing results in about two months!

Kerastase Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates: Amazon, $44

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2. Dry Shampoo

Who remember LC from Laguna and The Hills? I mean, who could forget the intro set to Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean” when LC licked whipped cream off on Stephen’s nose?! Iconic. Anyways, LC grew up and is now Lauren Conrad: Insanely Talented/ World Renowned Lady Boss. WELL. Her personal hair guru came out with a product line at Target with all these fantastic hair products that everybody in my office was dying over, so naturally I had to order because lol what’s a savings account?? TFG for my lack of self control, because I finally found my favorite dry shampoo EVER! This one just actually makes my hair look clean instead of looking like I sprayed some random sh*t in it. How many days is too many days to substitute actual shampoo for dry shampoo? The limit does not exist, amirite?

Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo: Target, $14

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3. Shampoo/ Conditioner

This right here is a dead tie. Blondies, you’ll understand the struggle. Initially, my favorite shampoo/conditioner combo is Function of Beauty. I wrote an entire post about it last month – this company let’s you customize your own products based on your #HairGoals. You can even choose the color and scent you’d like! It’s amazing, and I still firmly believe that it has changed my hair for the better. If you have any color hair besides blonde, I will recommend this stuff until the day I die (or until some research scientist comes out and tells me that it’s ruining my hair, then I’m suing for $10MM, minimum. Girl’s gotta pay bills, ya feel?). BTW, they use a referral program. I highly recommend that you read my whole post on this stuff and if you like it and order it through my link, you’ll get $5 off your order. You’re welcome!

Ok so now onto the struggle for me. I recently started using BLNDN, which is a company that caters exclusively to blondes. You know me, send me a product that highlights my highlights (see what I did there 😉 ) and I’m all for it! Anybody who has color treated blonde hair knows that Purple Shampoo is what you should be using. I’m not a chemist, but it has something to do with the way the purple reacts with your hair to make sure it doesn’t get brassy and gross. The first thing you should know is that I noticed immediate results after the first time I used the shampoo. My blonde was a little brighter than it had been before, noticeably so. After weeks of using this now, I’m still insanely happy with the product. So what I’ve been doing is using the Function of Beauty conditioner each wash, and alternating between the BLNDN and Function of Beauty shampoos. My hair has never looked so good! PS- For $15 off your order, use the code “laughingblonde” at checkout!

Function of Beauty, $25          BLNDN Brightening Shampoo, $28

 

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4. Smoothing Cream

Once again, we have a tie.My typical hair style is using a curling wand on my hair, brushing it out so it’s more natural looking, and then using a smoothing cream on it to tame the frizz and make it look like #IWokeUpLikeThis ya know? For years, I’ve been using Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk. It. Is. Incredible. I use a drop the size of a quarter on my dry hair after I’ve brushed it out, and it always looks good! And I love the smell, too! This is one of those products that if someone said, “you’re trapped on a dessert island and you can only bring one hair product, what do you choose?” I would say this stuff. It’s a drugstore product and it works, so there’s really very little downside there.

I’ve just started switching in the BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream into my hair care routine. I just feel like ok, if I’m willing to pay $200+ every few months to get the right shade of blonde, then I should probably forgo a few of those late-night burritos that I DON’T NEED to spend the money on something I do need, which are products designed for blonde hair. The BLNDN cream is just as good as the Garnier one, and it’s meant to protect + preserve the color that I want, which is why I’ve recently made the switch. If your’re trying to squeeze an extra few weeks between appointments, this is def the way to go. Use code “laughingblonde” for $15 off your order!

Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk: Target, $3.42            BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream, $19

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5. Brush.

Trick question, because I use a comb! I have done a disturbing amount of damage to my hair with brushes. I was so pumped when the Wet Brush came out a couple of years ago, because it seemed like it cut right through all the knots + tangles that seemed to magically appear. TBH, sometimes my hair feels like earphones. You know how when you put your earphones in your bag and there’s no knots but when you take them out, you’re like WTF did you do in there for 3 minutes?? That’s how i feel about my hair. If I have it down while I’m working all day, I’ll still go home at the end of the day and have a giant clump of knots near the base of my neck. Using a big wide-toothed comb the last few months has drastically minimized the amount of breakage I get from brushing out my hair because it forces me to brush from tip to root, instead of the other way around (which is what causes more knots + eventually more breakage.) Added bonus: You can get one at your CVS for $2.

There’s always an exception to every rule. Like I said, I’ve done away with the brushes… except for when my hair is dry and I’m on the go. Then I use my Milk + Sass Macaron brush, which is this cute little compact brush that fits in any purse (or desk drawer, which is wear I keep mine at work). I still feel like it’s gentle on my hair and the design of it actually prevents me from ripping through the knots and ultimately destroying my head. Bonus points that it comes in a ton of really cute colors!

Milk + Sass Macaron for Hair: $15

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6. Hair Ties

Until last summer, I lived in ignorant bliss of the damage that my hair ties were doing. It wasn’t until my little sister said that she stopped putting her hair in pony tails because the hair ties were causing her breakage and giving her lil ugly baby hairs that I even thought about it. As soon as she said it, I put my hair in the position in a pony tail position and ran my hand against my hair in the opposite direction so I could separate the pony from the hairs that had broken off around the hair tie. OMFG IT WAS TRAGIC AF. there was SO MANY, I wanted to cry! Damn you, elastic bands, for doing this to me! For basically all of fall + winter, I suffered through workouts with my hair down because I didn’t want to put the bands in my hair and ruin it any more than I already had. The sweating this caused was gnarly and disgusting and I can’t even talk about it. Ew. That’s all I have to say.

The only hair ties I use now are the Milk + Sass Sugar Twists. They look kinda like the bracelet things you put your keys on which was weird at first, but I’ve moved on from the appearance because I’ve fallen in love with the performance. They never pull my hair out, they fit securely around my pony tail, AND they don’t leave an indent mark in my hair.#Winning.

Milk + Sass Sugar Twists in Caramel Toffee: Milk + Sass, $7.99

Well, that’s all I have for today, friends. Now you know why my hair is so big. You know all the secrets its filled with..

xo, AJ


Where To Buy:

Kerastase: Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates: Amazon, $44

Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo: Target, $14

Function of Beauty Shampoo + Conditoner: $25 or $50

BLNDN Brightening Purple Shampoo: BLNDN, $28

BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream: BLNDN, $19

Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk: Target, $3.42

Milk + Sass Macaron for Hair: Milk + Sass, $15

Milk + Sass Sugar Twists in Caramel Toffee: Milk + Sass, $7.99

I’m Sorry For What I Said When It was Winter

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m like, really over this bi-polar weather we’ve been having. First of all, It’s really upsetting that I’ve been having to set my alarm an extra 15 minutes early so I can figure out how to dress, instead of doing it the night before because #beautysleep. Second, my skin is seriously suffering! All winter long, I’ve been combating the harsh temps as best I can, but the back and forth these last few weeks have been TOUGH on my sensitive lil face. It’s funny, because I was thinking about writing a post on my all-time favorite skin products for any time of the year, but this is like, a real SOS moment and I feel it’s my duty to turn it into a two-part skin care series so you beauties can survive a few more months of this weather!

Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter

I’m obsessed. Y’all have no clue how dry the skin on my legs gets in the winter. It’s borderline disturbing and hella inconvenient. Do you know how many pairs of tights I’ve destroyed this winter when I accidentally tear holes in them while I’m itching? This sh*t is starting to get pricey! About a month ago, I tried out the Righteous Body Butter and now I make sure to apply it every time I get out of the shower – it’s been working like a charm! It’s a great size, and it’s only $12, so well within the budget. Pro tip:  if you buy it at Ulta, they have a buy 1, get 1 50% off deal!

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Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser

Where Soap & Glory’s body butter is on the lower end of the scale as far a price points go, Malin & Goetz is slightly more expensive. I discovered this treasure during my stay at the Delano in Miami, where they stocked every bathroom with all Malin + Goetz products. The first thing you need to know is that every last one of their products smells incredible! This grapefruit scented face cleanser is no different. It has more of a gel texture to it, which I really like. Most importantly, it differentiates itself from most other facial cleansers because it doesn’t dehydrate your skin. It’s $34 for 8oz, but worth it, IMHO. (Pro tip: This stuff is great, but f*cking devastating if you get it in your eyes. Cried like a baby for 10 minutes when it happened)

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Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Facial Moisturizer

Obv I had to splurge on the facial moisturizer once I realized how great the cleanser is! Not thrilled with the $48 price tag, but my skin has been thanking me for it. You know when you go to the ladies room at like, 3pm during work and you pass the mirror under the unforgiving florescent lighting and you’re just like omfg please tell me my makeup hasn’t looked like this all day?? Sadly, that has happened to me too many times to count, because when my skin is dry my makeup gets all screwed up. Since I’ve been using this moisturizer, I haven’t had any tear-inducing mirror slip-ups. It’s the little things, guys.

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SheaMoisture Sensitive Skin Mud Mask- Peace Rose Oil

DAT MASK THO. I cannot express enough how sensitive my skin is. One wrong move, and I’ll break out in hives like I’m back at my second grade spelling bee trying to figure out how to spell vacuum (p.s. – I still can’t spell it. I just had to use spellcheck to get it right #transparency). I’m currently loving this mask, because every time I use it, I can see that my skin absolutely looks more moisturized + healthy than before I put it on – and that feeling lasts for days. One huge plus? a 6oz jar of this is only $15 from Target. To give you an idea, I’ve used this mask at least 5 times in the last month, and I have about 80% of the jar left.

I also really like this product, because the SheaMoisture company is committed to giving back. When I was checking out the price points for this, I found this underneath the description: “10% of SheaMoisture Community Commerce sales of this product go to support empowerment in three key areas – Entrepreneurship, Education and Equity. We invest in communities by funding training, infrastructure and safety programs to sustainably source indigenous ingredients, grow local manufacturing of high quality goods in their own villages, and provide fair prices for their goods and labor. Earning a better, more sustainable living makes a better life possible for themselves, their families and their communities. It’s not a donation. It’s an investment in an equitable world.” To me, any company that makes a great product and also gives back is so worth it!

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Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Dry Oil

Guys. I am SO pale. A girl should not be allowed to have skin this freaking translucent. It’s so bad that when I was in middle school, my dad took me shopping and when I came out of the dressing room in a v-neck, he asked me why I had blue magic marker on my clavicle. Nah dad, just my veins. I sh*t you not. That said, you can fully appreciate when I say I have tried every last goddamn self tanner on the market. EVERY. LAST. ONE. And 9/10 times, I become orange or streaky or it barely makes a difference. Well I am happy to report that those days are over. Before my trip to Miami last month, I took a chance on this Bondi Sands dry oil. LAWWDDD you could hear the angels sing when I applied it! It goes on super smoothly and only takes a few hours to develop. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that I looked actually tan (not like an oompa-loompa) and I had no streaks! Not even on that super awkward part of your back that’s dead center and you can barely reach!

I have slightly sad news to report, and that is that apparently Target no longer carries this product from the Bondi Sands line. But cheer up, buttercup, because I did a lil search on the Google, and you can buy it straight from the website for $24. If you’ve ever bought self-tanner before, you’ll know that that price is super reasonable and if you’re as pale as I am, you’d happily turn over your first-born for the opportunity to not blind anyone when you take off your coverup at the beach during those first fab days of summer where it’s hot enough to be by the pool, but you haven’t had any tanning time yet. LOL JOKES, my skin legit will not absorb a tan given by the sun which is why I either wear SPF 50 or spend the next two weeks peeling off sunburn 🙂

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Do you have any tips to keep your skin healthy? Sound off below!

xo, AJ


Where to buy the products mentioned in this post:

Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter – $15

Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser – $34

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Facial Moisurizer – $48

SheaMoisutre Sensitive Skin Mud Mask – Peace Rose Oil – $15

Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Dry Oil – $24

 

5 Ways to Squeeze in Some #MeTime

#MeTime… it’s necessary. If you’re anything like me, you def just read that and you were all,  “LOL yeah right, that sh*t just doesn’t exist girl BYE.” Ok yes,  #MeTime is hard to come by, but hear me out. If you DON’T factor some time for yourself into your week, you’re gonna be living a life full of dark bags under your eyes and constant sadness when you can’t join the convo on whether you love Corrine or hate her (hint: she’s the she-devil, but also kind of #BachelorGirlGoals, tbh. That girl DFAF, that’s for sure.)

My point is, you need to start giving yourself some down time. Those Bumble matches aren’t gonna just swipe themselves, ya know. Luckily for you, I’ve put together a list of 5 ways to squeeze in time for yourself so you don’t become a raging psycho who nobody wants to go to happy hour with bc you’re a buzzkill. You’re welcome.

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#1: Tell all of your friends you can’t go out, a-la, “I can’t go out. *cough*. I’m sick.” Your friends will be all “Boo, you whore” Regina George style, and then they’ll leave you alone until 2am when they send you like 45 snapchats of them drunk-eating tacos at a random guy’s house whose name you’ll prob never learn because be real, your friends won’t remember, and the guys won’t be texting them ever again anyways #modernromance. A Friday night home alone? THIS IS MY HEAVEN. I love you guys so much, that I graciously dedicated a Friday night home to myself just so I could give you some direction on what to do.

  • Get into your oldest, ugliest sweats, because everyone knows these are also the most comfortable pieces of clothing you own. Since nobody will be seeing you, it doesn’t matter that you’re wearing your dad’s XL sweatshirt with the pizza grease stain and holes on the collar. Girl, you do you.
  • Turn off the lights and light some candles. I prob have at least 25 candles in various locations around my apartment. This is really not an exaggeration. But selection is key. For this, I went with a Pumpkin Chai Spice by Melt With You. This is just about the dreamiest candle scent in the world. We may be in the dreaded dead of winter right now, but this will give you all the feels of hoodie + PSL weather, which is my personal favorite. Scent is everything, ladies, and this one had my apartment smelling like something was baking in the oven, but didn’t wanna make me vom like the ones labeled “vanilla cupcake” or whatever at Walmart do, which is a plus.
  • Toss on Netflix… but make sure what you’re watching is a classic. Yes, I know you want to catch up on your shows, but there’s nothing better than being all cozy on your couch and watching a movie that reminds you of the when you were 13 (the good kind of memories though – not the ones from when you found out it wasn’t “cool” to like High School Musical anymore. I have feelings about it, it’s fine, I’m over it. Troy Bolton will always be the ultimate dream boat.

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#2: Hit the gym. I love to complain about going to the gym as much as the next person. You wanna talk about how much you love SoulCyle? Do it someplace else, because I’m not interested – I freaking HATE SoulCyle (this is a really sacrelig. thing to say as a 20-something year old girl in NYC, but it seriously sucks). HOWEVER. As the iconic Elle Woods would say, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t punch their co-workers in the face when they don’t get their coffee in time :).” Or something to that effect. Anyways, the gym is a great place to relieve some stress and just sweat it out. When all else fails and your fave eliptical is out of order AGAIN (I’m looking @ you, NYSC – get your sh*t together), sign up for a class. Most gyms offer free group classes (or you can pay for one-off classes if you don’t belong to a gym). Take a Zumba class and dance it out, or sign up for kickboxing and pretend like the punching bag has your boss’s face glued to the front. I promise, you’ll leave feeling better than when you got there. Pro tip: If you want to try a trendy NYC workout, check out my post on the class I took at Body by Simone– it was incredible!

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#3: Pamper yourself. Start with going to your neighborhood nail salon and getting a mani/pedi. You’ll have an hour and a half of uninterrupted time to sit in a massage chair and scroll through your Insta feed and judge people. What more could a girl ask for? Once your nails are dry, head home and have a beauty night. *Note* this is different from calling in sick to your friends at the bar. This past Sunday, I had a beauty night for myself. I started by drawing a bubble bath. The elements to the bath are key in making sure it’s relaxing.

  • The water was hot, and I carefully selected a bath bomb to set the tone. Was I in a glittery mood? A pink + purple mood? No. I was in a birthday cake mood. So I whipped out my bath bomb from Jade Taylor Market and tossed it in. Excellent choice, I must say. It moisturized my skin, which was practically flaking off from how dry this winter weather has made it. Also, I smelled delicious and I didn’t hate it.
  • I lit one of my other favorite candles from Melt With You – this one was Sparkling Citrus scented. It was PERFECT! For me, I like clean/fresh scents when it comes to anything related to my lotions, body washes, perfumes etc., so I prefer that in my bathtime candles as well.
  • I applied my favorite pore-cleansing mask (Boscia Luminizing Black Mask). Just to warn you, this thing hurts like a bitch when you pull it off. But your skin will feel baby-bottom smooth after your done, and you’ll have no regrets. Pro-tip: Pair this mask with one of the Sephora sheet masks after (I personally like the pomegranate one). I did this once and when I walked into work the next day, 3 different people asked if I’d gotten a facial because my skin looked so good. One even said I looked like I was glowing. HELL YEAH!

After you’ve soaked in the tub until the point of turning into a prune, move on to your hair. I don’t know about you, but my hair has been dry as all get-out recently, and breaking far more easily than I’d like it to. So I’ve started applying weekly hairmasks to protect my color-treated locks from the harsh rage-like strokes with which I attempt to detangle it. While all of this beautifying is happening, feel free to catch up of the latest Housewives drama of your choosing. I’m partial to NYC and Beverly Hills, but that’s just me. You know I love me some Lisa + Giggy action!

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If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “yeah that’s great but I don’t have time for any of these things… move right along to #4 and #5.

#4) Read a book. I feel like at the age of 24, I shouldn’t be having to tell people that reading has like 2358823423 benefits and that you should be reading something at least once a month, but you’d be surprised. I’m not suggesting that you pick up War & Peace, but something quick that you can read on your subway commute will make the time go by faster and keep your brain just a little bit sharper. And it’s just one more thing that you’re doing for yourself, instead of stress-refreshing your email and waiting for that one client you hate to send over a request that will just ruin your day. Put the phone down, pick the book up, and dedicate 20 minutes to taking your mind off of work. I promise you won’t hate it.

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#5) If all else fails, brew yourself a cup of tea. You can curl up on your couch, answer some emails while the kettle is boiling, and then once it’s done, put in your favorite tea bag + creamer and start winding down for bed. I’ve started doing this around 11pm every night. As soon as the kettle starts whistling, I know it’s time to shut down the laptop, get cozy under the covers, and throw on an episode of Friends to fall asleep to.

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Do you have any other tips + tricks to squeeze in some #MeTime? Comment below!

xo, AJ


Links on Where to Buy Products I Mentioned in this Post:

Healthy Hair Makes Laughing Blondes

DISCLAIMER: Function of Beauty did NOT sponsor this post. I’m writing this because everyone deserves to have healthy, gorgeous hair! If interested, you can buy their products by clicking this link- Function of Beauty

One of the things that I’m complimented on most is my hair. For most of my life, I’ve had decently healthy, relatively long locks. (This does not include the tragedy of 2007 when I asked for a shoulder-length cut and left the salon in tears because SHOULDER-LENGTH DOES NOT MEAN JUST BELOW THE EARS. Someone please let my EX stylist know that.. Side note – I had a little nub where my bouncy ponytail used to be, and it was not a cute look with my cheerleading uniform.) I’ve also been color-treating it for about 10 years now, as my natural color is a light brown/dark blonde. The majority of the time, it’s been done in a nice salon with proper chemicals, and it’s almost always to go lighter. But there have definitely been times where I was trying to save a few bucks and chose to do boxed color.. ladies, you already know how this turned out. There was the time I wanted to be a “rebel” in high school (which is ridiculous because I was a straight-edge cheerleading captain who to this day has never touched a cigarette in my life) so I dyed the bottom of my hair pink 3 different times. There was also the time that I let my well-intentioned stepmom try to highlight my hair but she left three inches of exposed roots, so I had my friend from work fix it (she actually did an amazing job, shout-out to Katey for that one!).

Fun fact: One time, I decided at the salon that it would really make my blue eyes pop if I went dark brown, so I did and when I went home, my mom flipped out and told me it made me look ill (I’m pretty pale), and made me an appointment for the next day at her salon. They did what they could, but it was still pretty dark because as we know, if you treat your hair too much with color, it can get really dry and damaged and end up breaking easily. So what did this 19 year old with barely any extra money do? I waited a few weeks for winter break to be over and when I went back down to school, I paid 2 of my guy friends in pepperoni pizza to do a box job on my hair. There is no excuse for this. I still live in shame about it.

So here we are. A decade of hair brutality later, and I’m starting to get concerned about its health. I’ve always had a lot of hair (not thick, just a lot of it), and it’s always shed a good amount because that’s just what hair does. In fact, according to Women’s Health Magazine , the average women loses between 60-100 hair strands per day! The number might surprise you, but believe me, it’s accurate. Just ask my boyfriend and he’ll tell you that he’s constantly pulling strands of hair from his peacoat, his bed sheets, his shower drain.. you name it, you can find my hair on it. I’m thinking of gifting him with a monogrammed lint roller at this point. But even with these numbers, I still get a little worried. Last winter, I started really noticing my hair was breaking much more easily that it had been before. I wash my hair every other day (this is generally the recommended amount), I do use heat tools, but not excessively, and I use a wet brush, which is supposed to help with easily detangling knots. Side note- how many of you get a giant knot by the nape of your neck if you wear your hair down for an extended period of time? Nobody? Just me? Ok, cool.

All of this leads me to the reason I was so excited to discover Function of Beauty . This insanely cool company collaborated with chemists and MIT engineers to develop revolutionary shampoos + conditioners customized to your #hairgoals. I’m not gonna lie. The pretty colors on the homepage are what drew me in. But the fact that these products are Sulfate Free, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free, have no toxins and are made in the USA are what convinced me to purchase. Their motto? “Celebrate Individuatlity. We believe your shampoo and conditioner should be as unique as you and your hair.” SIGN ME UP!

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According to their website, there are literally 12 BILLION possible combinations, so I’m thinking they’re pretty spot-on with this while “custom” thing.  Here’s how it works:

  • Build your Hair Profile: You select your hair type (my was wavy), your hair structure (I chose medium) and your scalp moisture (I leaned towards normal for this one).
  • Choose 5 Hair Goals: There are 17 to choose from, touching on the most common #hairgoals women have. For me, I went with deep condition, strengthen, hydrate, color protection and thermal protection.
  • Customize your Formulas: Here’s where it gets fun. You can choose what color you want your shampoo + conditioner to be (they can be 2 different ones) or you can go dye-free. Then you choose the fragrance you want, and how strong you want that fragrance to be. (I went with orange shampoo, blue conditioner and a strong grapefruit scent.) Last, you name your custom formula specific to you!
  • Size + Frequency: Finally, you choose the size and frequency of your bottles. I’ve never in my life run out of shampoo and conditioner at the same time. In fact, I usually buy 2 conditioners for every 1 shampoo. The ratio is ridiculous. But that’s what’s so great about Function of Beauty! You can choose to mix and match the sizes, or just buy one or the other. Totally custom.

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I’ve been using my set for a little over a week now, and I seriously already see a change in my hair. Winters in NYC are tough on hair, and the hydrating elements are doing an incredible job at combating the harsh climate. My hair started feeling healthier after the very first wash, but it’s been increasingly noticeable as each day passes. I actually just went to my salon yesterday – Timothy Pamment Salon in Madison, CT, and my colorist said she noticed that my hair seemed less dry + brittle, which is great news after just one week!

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Thank you to Coco and Maria at Timothy Pamment in Madison, CT for this gorgeous  cut + color!

Pro tip: If for some reason you don’t feel like it’s working for you, the company offers free refunds within the first 30 days. Basically, if by some stroke of bad luck this stuff doesn’t work for you, just send it back and you’ll be fully refunded. What’s the harm in trying? Best of luck, ladies. May the odds be ever in your favor.

xo, AJ

PS: Function of Beauty offers referral codes. If you order through this link, you’ll get $5 off and, full disclosure, so will I.

 

Winter Fridays Call for Paintbox

The weather this week in NYC has been confusing, to say the least. 65 and sunny on Wednesday, 22 and blizzarding on Thursday – how’s a girl supposed to know how to dress for this ?!

Luckily, I found a cure to the cold-weather blues… a trip to Paintbox in SoHo! Painbox is a high-end nail studio known for its chic + gorgeous nail designs. It distinguishes itself from other salons in more than one way… check it out!

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  • Flutes of champagne served to anyone who arrives to their appointment 15 minutes prior to the start
  • A hard-bound book filled with dozens of nail designs. Not your typical plastic nail wheel + page of flowers + hearts for this place!
  • Impeccable service – these professionals are incredibly talented with their craft. Not only are they personable, but they’re fantastic artists and I swear, my nails have never looks so well-groomed.
  • There’s an endless flow of sparkling water, Prosecco, coffee and tea on hand – such a treat!
  • My favorite part is the mani-cam. After your nails are fresh, flawless and dried, stick them under the mani-cam to capture the perfectly lit insta!

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The combination of wonderful service, endless Prosecco and a flawless manicure that will last 2 weeks+ does not come without a price. Single color non-gel polish starts at $35, and a gel polish with design can run you $68. IMHO, this place is worth it. A quiet little heaven-on-earth salon to give you a break from the craziness of the city every once in a while? I say treat yo’ self.

Pro tip: When you call to book your appointment, ask for Cindy – she’s did an amazing job on my nails, and she’s so sweet!