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Cleanser Options

I never have fewer than three or six cleansers on rotation.  I can't function with fewer than that, my skin is too finicky to stick with just one.  Yes, yes, consistency and routine and letting your skin acclimatize an all that jazz, but above all, I think it's essential to listen to your skin, and give it what it needs on that day.

Most people would class my skin oily, but it would be the first to develop a dry patch just to prove them (and me) wrong.  It's a constant struggle, so in order to keep it happy, I provide it as many options as it needs.

REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser | This is the most gentle of the three, a creamy formulation that does not lather or foam.  This is usually my first step to remove makeup, and I'll follow with something a little more foaming.  I also use this sans muslin cloth on mornings where my skin already feels perfectly balanced.

Bosica Detoxifying Black Cleanser | This teeny sample size blew me away.  The product squeezes out as a black gel that warms up on contact with skin.  As you add water, it lathers into grey bubbles, and in my head, I picture the bubbles getting into the loosened pores and sweeping out all the dirt and oil.  Anyone remember those science-y Noxzema commercials from the 90s?  This leaves my skin feeling SO clean.

Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser | I always keep something exfoliating on hand for days that my muslin cloth feels like too much -- the beads in this cleanser are gentle enough that you could use this for everyday, but I use it about three times a week.


Last travel post, I promise.

(For now).

I know you're all here for the beauty bits, but I just had to give a shout-out to a few things I actually wouldn't have survived without on my Eurotrip.  You mean you haven't seen the vlog?  Check it out here, and be prepared for that song to be stuck in your head for six to eight hours.

I try not to pack "just in case" items, but the items I talk about are definitely not just in case -- they're tried, true and essential.  There wasn't a single moment on my trip that I was worried about draining my battery, getting lost or over my luggage limit.

Have I missed any other travel essentials?  Leave it in the comments.

Not Getting Sick Essentials

At the height of cold/flu season, here are a few of my best tips to prevent and treat a stuffy nose and sore throat.  Please bear in mind I am not a medical professional of any kind -- in fact, take all of this advice with a massive grain of salt.

WATER | I try to drink as much water as I can to stay hydrated, it'll soothe any dry nose or throat

ORGANIC 911 | this caffeine-free peppermint blend from David's Tea clears up your sinuses with the first inhale.

HONEY | Raw tastes infinitely better than anything that comes from a bear-shaped bottle.  Trust me.

VITAMIN C HALLS | I don't like the way Emergen-C tastes, and I forget to take supplements, but these taste like citrus Jolly Ranchers.  Sold.

HUMIDIFIER | This Japanese cypress humidifier is the perfect size for my bedroom, and it keeps morning sore throats away.

BONUS TIP: If your throat is sore, gargle salt water as shown in this video.


12 days, 4 cities, 2 girls and 1 carry on.  I was so, so ready.

A few weeks ago, I booked a flight across the pond to see a friend from high school, and we took off on a jam-packed trip that took us through Barcelona, Milan, Como and Florence.  It was an awesome experience, and I definitely know where I want to spend more time when I go back.  That's right, when -- I will definitely be making my way back.

Check out the vlog above for a few snapshots of our trip, including an outfit featuring some wardrobe essentials (hey there, vintage boots), and a clip of the cooking class where I learned to clean artichokes.  Crossed that one off my bucket list.

Where are you going next?

Capsule Wardrobe: 8 Must-Have Handbags

I can feel the beginning of a shift in my wardrobe -- it's been a while since I've created an outfit of all statement pieces.  Instead of a maxi skirt recycled from 80 pairs of jean shorts (it sounds like a joke but it's actually hanging in my closet), I'm more likely to reach for a pair of black skinny jeans.  Here, I enter into the capsule wardrobe.  I have two muses to guide me: Anuschka and Sophie.

While I'm not ready to give up all of my clothes just yet, I figure I'll tackle my wardrobe in sections, starting with the easiest -- handbags.  It takes me an extraordinary amount of time to debate a handbag purchase.  For someone who owns 8 different white v-neck t-shirts, it's strange to find a section of my wardrobe that's not legally insane.

To pare down your handbag collection and determine what you really need and use, start by answering the following questions to evaluate your lifestyle.

1) When do you carry a bag?

2) How much do you carry per occasion?

I have three major areas in my life: work, weekends and occasional special occasions.

- a neutral leather work bag   for an everyday bag, go for a pebble or a saffiano instead of a calfskin. Make sure it's large enough for everything you need on the daily!
TIP: Get two.  If you’re using something every day, it’ll wear out more quickly.  Switching between two bags will ease up on general wear and tear.   I like having one in black and one in a neutral.  If you can, try and have one fit your work computer. 
WHAT I USE: Furla Papermoon Satchel, Zara Bucket Bag –  this is so worn, it desperately needs replacing.

- a messenger bag for errands – large enough for the essentials, and leaves your hands free to do stuff
- a tote for shopping weekends – I prefer these to be fabric, large enough for groceries and my laptop 
- a clutch – for those weekends that are meal-based, and less haul-based
TIP: If you wear 99% black or neutral, get your weekend clutch in a bright pop of colour.  It'll make an entire outfit.
WHAT I USE: Proenza Schouler PS1, Penguin Tote Bag, Proenza Schouler PS13 Clutch

Special Occasion
- A minaudiere – This isn’t an everyday piece, so go crazy with metallic colour or an exotic skin.

WHAT I USE: Nothing.  This is one part of my wardrobe I have yet to conquer. Suggestions welcome!

- Pouches – in canvas or leather, these help me stay organized and switch easily from bag to bag.
A cross body wallet – the best travel wallet, especially if it's large enough for a passport
Weekender – a zippered carry-all is literally a travel lifesaver, in case you over-shop
- Wheeled carry-on – this + weekender = all the luggage you need.

Anything I’m missing? 

For anyone who's making a bag purchase for the first time, check out this incredibly helpful resource Rue La La has put together; a beginner's guide to handbags!   I've been a bag lady some time, but this was still a great read to brush up on my bag knowledge.

PS: In a perfect world, my secondary everyday work bag would be a reversible cognac and gray tote.  Anyone? 

Airplane Essentials: Packing a 3-1-1 Liquids Baggie

The only exception I will allow to my no checked baggage rule is a suitcase full of vacation purchases on the way back.  On the way there, however, I refuse to check anything if I can help it.  That's why, for two weeks, I will be living off the contents of this bag.

Below, a list of all the liquids that are coming with me on my trip -- since airlines are so finicky about travelling with any sort of liquid, I've had to downsize.  You're allowed to bring as many items up to 3 oz in size, in 1 single 1-quart bag.  This is an extensive list since I'm away for almost two weeks, but for a more condensed / overnight version, click here!

Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash | smells way better than Purell
Antipodes Aura  Mask | decanted into a tiny pot so I can turn my flight into a spa experience

Avene Thermal Water | for planes and other places with questionable tap water

Bioderma Sensibio | needs no introduction

Bumble & bumble Creme de Coco Conditioner | conditioner > shampoo

Dr Bronner's Liquid Soap | mix 1:1 for shampoo, use full strength for body wash

Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Serum | I back this up like a Chevy

Caudalie Vinoperfect Beauty Fluid | this too

Josie Maran Argan Oil | face, body, hair and lip moisture

Murad Acne Clearing Treatment | skin saviour

Salt Water | DIY it here

Weleda Salt Toothpaste | first-time user, will report back

Yu-be Moisturizing Skin Cream | for non-greasy hydration
That's it folks -- all two weeks of skin care.  Wish me luck.

10 days in a Carry-On: Packing List

I hate checking luggage -- especially on the way to a destination!  I refuse to spend any time waiting for my luggage when I could be getting on my way to the see the place I've flown six hours to see. For that reason I'm also restricted to toiletries in a liquids baggie.  Check that magic out here!

I'm also trying not to look like a slob though, so check below for a handy-dandy packing list: 15 items of clothing to get you through 10 days. Let's be clear though, I'm not including socks/undergarments in that 15.  For two weeks That's  Shoes, accessories, outerwear though -- it all counts.

SIDEBAR: The crazy person inside me hates the fact that I have more items of clothing than there are days in my trip.  If this were a beach vacation and not a European city break, things would be very different.

- To see these outfits in action, check out the vlog here! -

I'm not planning to do laundry because I'm moving around so much that there won't be time for anything to dry.  The list down below contains literally everything I'm bringing with me. Note that folding it all into this Muji packing cube leaves approximately 2/3 of my suitcase empty.

The reason I prefer to travel with close to nothing is that I will inevitably shop. In fact, it's nice to build your wardrobe along the way with treasure you've picked up -- at least you know you'll use all the souvenirs you've purchased.  Caveat Emptor: It's not a guarantee you'll find something, so don't go naked.

PS: You'll notice that makeup and skin care are suspiciously absent.  Next week!
PPS: Yes, everything listed below (and more) fits into the cases seen above or onto my body.  That's it, folks!

- sweater dress

- wool overcoat

- 2 tees
- 2 tanks
- silk oxford shirt
- black jersey cardigan
- cashmere sweater

- bandeaus
- black tights
- socks
- underwear
- pyjamas

- ginger chews
- headphones
- thick socks
- amusement
- eye mask
- face mask
- skinny jeans
- black jeans


- flats
- biker boots

- everyday bag
- infinity scarf

- flip flops
- towel
- scrubby towel
- meds (charcoal / Gravol / Tylenol / melatonin)

- gopro + cable
- phone + cable
- sd cards
- wall adapter + dual plug

- passport
- travel itinerary
- insurance

*Format stolen from Sophie at The Private Life of a Girl. She is my guiding light towards minimalism

What's In My Bag | Proenza Schouler PS1 Review

I picked up this Proenza Schouler PS1 in Military about a year ago -- while I don't use it everyday, it's one of my favourite all-rounders: deceptively roomy, light to carry, and goes with everything.

This is the medium size, measuring 13" x 9" x 4", is just large enough for me to bring everything I need without giving me too much room to fit in the kitchen sink.  I used to be obsessed with the oversized bucket bags of the mid-to-late 00's, but I'm starting to embrace a more streamlined (ish) approach.

This bag can be carried in hand and worn cross-body, but fair warning: the strap is not quite long enough to be a traditionally slouchy messenger bag.  You'll see in the video that the 16" drop sits very high on me, especially with my freakishly long torso, but I almost prefer it because it reminds me of those one-strap backpacks in grade school.

I feel like I should have treated this bag with some sort of leather care, but I have no idea what products are safe to use on this leather.  Got advice? Leave it below!

The bag closure is a flip-lock closure, with two additional straps to keep the envelope flap down; for a more casual look (read: when I'm in a hurry and can't give a bleep), I'll keep the straps loose, but the straps do give the bag more detail.

Design by | SweetElectric