Every so often, when I visit my mom in the north burbs, I stop by at the TJ Maxx in Evanston to scope it out. They have an “Off the Runway” department where I’ve come across killer finds in the past, but it’s very hit or miss. The last time I went, I perused the designer department and wasn’t impressed, so I ventured over to the beauty section. It’s not a section of the store I’m familiar with, but after examining the products for a minute or two, it captured my attention.
One of the products I was particularly interested in was this Charcoal facial detox cleanser. I (of course) immediately looked it up online to see if I could find reviews…and I found PLENTY on Amazon, mostly positive. I’ve tried the Boscia charcoal cleanser in the past, but felt it was too pricey for what it was so I stopped buying it. This one seemed like it was similar enough and 1/3 of the cost. I bought it with low expectations and started using it daily. After about 3 weeks of using it, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. My face feels crisp and clean after cleansing, and the cleanser is able to take off most of my makeup (which is a HUGE for me, mainly because I’m lazy). I like that it doesn’t have a fragrance as I’ve been so against fragranced skincare products lately – there’s no way that stuff is good for your skin!I then started wondering…what exactly is charcoal doing for my skin? Why am I liking this cleanser so much?! Turns out, there are quite a few beauty benefits charcoal provides (specifically activated charcoal):
Cleans out & shrinks pores: I’m not crazy for feeling like my skin is extra clean! The scientific explanation – charcoal acts as a magnet for dirt & toxins, so when you rinse your face, you wash out the dirt too. My guess is that the pore shrinking capabilities have lead to my brighter, more even complexion.
Fights acne: Charcoal’s ability to pick up dirt from pores makes it an acne fighting agent. Luckily, at this point in my life I don’t have issues with acne (I did have cystic acne in my early 20’s – that’s a story for another post!), but if I did, this would work wonders.
Soothes and heals insect bites or other skin irritations: Activated charcoal can help speed up the healing process when it comes to insect bites and certain skin conditions!
Whitens teeth: This one was the most surprising to me – there are charcoal toothpaste products out there. Does this mean I can get rid of the whitestrips?!
Removes toxins from hair & adds volume: Yes, charcoal shampoo exists too. The same way it removes dirt from your skin applies to hair follicles as well. The dirt & toxins are also responsible for weighing down your hair – that means when they’re out, your hair is more voluminous.
Now I’m looking for other ways to incorporate charcoal into my beauty routine. I actually bought this facial sponge with added bamboo charcoal over a year ago – I need to start using it again! Below are other products I’ve had my eye on. Have you tried any of these? Would love to hear your thoughts!
What’s my favorite color this season? Mint green, no doubt. I don’t know when or how I became so obsessed with this color, but it’s officially a thing. Now that I think about it, I’m crushing on pastels lately in general. Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe I’m going through a phase. Either way, I’m owning it!
I had a family luncheon for a baptism in Andersonville on Sunday, and I was SO excited to finally bring out this mint green cropped sweater. I rarely have a more formal event to dress for (yes, this is formal for me, sad), so I was looking forward to getting dolled up and putting on wedges for a change. I even straightened my hair (which, as you know, is a rarity). Before the lunch, I walked around the neighborhood, because I don’t get to go up there often. My parents used to take us there frequently when we were kids, mainly for Swedish Bakery, which recently closed (I’m still getting over this). Almost every single one of my birthday cakes was from this bakery – I was a big fan of their marzipan cake – so I was really sad to see them close after all of these years. Ahhhh…nostalgia.
Backkkk to the outfit! I’ve worn this cropped sweater over a slip dress with sneakers, but I’ve found it also looks great over an oversized white button down. With a pair of cropped grey skinny pants, chunky wedges, big sunnies and my mom’s vintage Gucci, this outfit was the perfect balance of neutrals and a touch of color for a lunch out in the city.
SHOP THE LOOK
It’s so refreshing to be out and about the last few weeks. I’m officially out of hibernation! I even left the house without a jacket on a couple of days last week. I find it so liberating to not have to match a jacket with my outfit (#firstworldproblems)! Bottom line is, I love spring because it means warmer weather is on the way. Here in Chicago, it’s the time of year when you actually start seeing other humans that live in the city. Where were these people all winter? Likely hiding under blankets on their sofas like everyone else.
I like to put together a “bucket list” for each season (except I realized that I didn’t do one for winter, probably because the last thing I want to do is leave my house when it’s 15 degrees out – haha). Here’s what I have on my list this spring!
PS – this pic is from summer 2 years ago – I forgot how short my hair was!
I discovered acai a few years ago in California – I know, I know, I’m not cool and didn’t discover it in Brazil – and was immediately obsessed. It’s got a creamy texture to it, and even with no sugar it’s bursting with flavor. Every time I’m in San Diego, I treat myself to an acai bowl at least once during the trip. I know that we have acai bowls here in Chicago, but I try to steer clear because I feel like most places add a ton of sugar to the acai puree. Bottom line is, I was acai deprived…until I found these acai packets at Trader Joe’s.
I knew these acai blended packets would be a game changer! I immediately started experimenting with different recipes to make the perfect acai bowl. After much trial and error, I think I’ve nailed this down. Below is an easy acai bowl recipe that is absolutely foolproof – you can thank me later!
Maybe I’m speaking too soon, but I think that spring weather is here to stay! We had friends in town all of last week so we laid pretty low this weekend to catch up on life. I used our roof deck for the first time on Saturday and it was amazing. Can’t wait to spend many summer afternoons up there! Yesterday, we spent time with family for Easter. We decided to have everyone come over to our place (since most of our family was out of town this weekend), and enjoyed same tasty Middle Eastern food. I finished the day off with a lonnnng walk – I think we walked 6 miles, no joke – on the 606 with Mom. It was the best way to burn off all that falafel, and it was just too beautiful out. Def had some Mom/daughter bonding time!
I didn’t get too dressy this year for Easter, since I knew it would just be a few of us and we hosted. It’s been a while since I got to wear these flare jeans (I think this was actually the last time), so I felt it was time to bring them out. They also make me feel like a million bucks because they just suck everything in – ha! I picked up this oversized silk shirt – I’m pretty sure it’s men’s – on my last vintage shopping run, along with this pretty blush & cream scarf. To finish off the look, I wore my tan square sunnies & pulled my hair back (partly because it was dirty and partly because I wanted to show off the pretty scarf).
SHOP THE LOOK
I alluded to this a couple weeks back, but I have a really tough time shopping for swimsuits. Swimsuit shopping is tough period, and it gets even more difficult if you have big boobs. I can recall countless times where I’ve tried on swimsuit after swimsuit and end up leaving the store nearly in tears. I used to feel like swimwear just wasn’t made for us bustier babes. Luckily, over time, I realized that there are suits out there that work with my body. I just have to look for the right things (& avoid a few others) to set me up for success. Here are a few rules of thumb I follow when swimsuit shopping –
I’m so behind on everything this week! We have Leo’s friends in town, so we spent the weekend out and about enjoying the beautiful weather…and have basically been out every weeknight as well. I spent Monday night at Kingston Mines – like, what? I’m partying like I’m 24 again, and my body is so not equipped for this anymore. I’m in need of a desperate detox. Is it Friday yet? And no, not to party like it’s the weekend, but because I need to sleep in and not drink until July.
On another note, I’m so happy dress weather is finally here! You probably remember this slip dress from back in February, but now I can wear it without a million layers over it. Exciting stuff. We hit the mid 70s on Sunday, so it was the perfect time to rock this dress with a white tee. I brought out my blush bomber to throw on later in the day, which I’m so grateful for because it got crazy windy in the evening (in case you couldn’t tell from my wacky hair/holding hair in place photos). Something about grey and rose pink together is so soothing – I love the color combo.
SHOP THE LOOK
I can’t believe it’s already April! I’ve been in good spirits the last few days because we had a weekend of beautiful weather here, after two weeks of nonstop rain. It’s amazing how much weather can impact your mood and outlook. The gloomy days were really getting to me, and I found myself being negative and just not motivated. I knew it was happening, and I felt like I couldn’t get myself out of that funk. I’m glad I got a taste of warmer weather…I’m starting to feel like myself again!
The last month or two, I’ve tried to become more mindful of my emotions, and what triggers both negative & positive emotions for me. I know for a fact that the weather was one thing that was bringing me down. Knowing this was happening, I tried to do more of what makes me happy. Working out, cooking, spending time friends & family. I realized that something as small as hearing an old song that brought me back to a happy place could change my day. I know it sounds trivial, but it’s so true!
I’m also trying to focus on giving off positive vibes and surrounding myself with those who do the same. I realized how important it is be around people that make me happy. Now that I’m older & wiser, it’s much easier for me to identify unhealthy relationships in my life. I’m consciously spending more time around those who make me a better person, and also (for the first time in a long time) letting new people in. Here are a few articles around the web that inspired me the last month –
I went through a phase years back where there wasn’t a day I didn’t wear statement jewelry. Chunky, colorful earrings, thick bangles, long & elaborate necklaces completed every ensemble. I eventually grew out of it, and progressed to my now minimalist approach to jewelry…dainty chains & rings, my diamond studs. Lately, I’ve found myself rekindling my love for statement jewelry, and I think tassel earrings are driving this change. I don’t know what it is about them, but they feel so fresh, chic and fierce. Maybe it’s the spring/summer vibes they give off – I am desperate for warmer weather, after all. Either way, I love that you can rock a killer pair of tassel earrings with a basic tee and jeans and instantly look stylish.
I’ve linked to a few of my favorite earrings below – as you can tell, I don’t discriminate between colors, shapes or sizes. I appreciate them all.
PS – The other trend I’m currently obsessing over is patchwork denim!
I’ll be the first admit that I legit like grocery shopping. Is that weird? I don’t get to cook everyday, but I love going to the grocery store on the weekends to stock up on my go-to snacks and whatever recipes I’m making that week (really it’s “recipe”, singular, but I shoot for the stars). I also enjoy hunting for new stuff to try, and Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to do this. They’re always introducing new items to the mix – I’m like a child in a candy store when I shop their “new in” section. That and the section where they have the samples. I love samples.
I’ve been a Trader Joe’s shopper ever since I graduated college, which feels like forever ago (because it is). They’ve been popping up everywhere in the city which is amazing. Rumor has it, they’ll be opening on in Wicker Park soon – heyoooo. Cannot wait. Since I’m a long time T Joe’s shopper, there are specific things I always buy from there, on top of the experimental purchases I throw in the mix. Below are my favorite things to buy from Trader Joe’s (all of these items are Trader Joe’s exclusives). I’ve linked to the items that aren’t pictured so you can easily find them!