Shopping

Skin Care Graphic

Mix and Match Skin Care for Blemish Free Skin

About Me · Shopping

Last fall I started getting really, really bad acne on my chin and on my jawbone. I think it was partly from resting my chin in my hand at my desk at work, partly because I don’t always wash my face after I workout on lunch, and partly because my skin has just changed as I’ve gotten older.

In the past, I’ve also gotten one or two really bad pimples when it’s “that time of the month.” However, I’d basically been using the same face products that I started using when I was in my 20s.

Well, now that I’m closer to 40 than I am to 20 I figured it was time to try something new.

Skin Care Graphic

Last November a woman I work with at the F^3 Half Marathon offered to let me try Rodan + Fields at a slight discount. I wanted to blog about it then but I was in the thick of marathon training, ended up taking a month or more off blogging, and honestly, I wanted to see if it really worked for me.

Turns out, that, yes, their Unblemish line works great! I’ve been using it since November and I even re-ordered when my initial batch ran out. Over time, though, I’ve learned that my skin really responds to a mix and match of products.

I initially received the St. Ives oil scrub for free from Influenster and wasn’t sure how I felt about it. However, I started using it earlier this year when my skin felt really dry and it turns out I love it. When I ran out of the bottle I got for free I bought it with my own money. I use it in the mornings in the shower since it’s easy to rinse off.

After I shower, I use the Rodan + Fields clarifying toner followed by the acne treatment. Then, after letting that soak in, I apply the L’Oreal Revitalift moisturizer, which I also got from Influenster and that I will most likely be buying with my own money when it runs out!

At night, I wash my face with the Rodan + Fields sulfur wash and apply the Revitalift cream, although I don’t apply the cream every night. More like every other night.

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Since starting this regime, I rarely get pimples, I no longer have acne on my chin or jawbone, and my the lines around my mouth and on my forehead aren’t nearly as pronounced. I still get dry skin around my eyes from time to time but the Revitalift seems to help with that as well.

I’m really happy that I’ve found products that work for me. The last time I went to get my eyebrows waxed the aesthetician asked me what products I use. She got a weird judge-y look on her face when I told her and she said, “You don’t need all that stuff. You have great skin.”

Uh, yeah, that’s because I use all that stuff!

Anyway, if you’re on the fence about buying any of these items, I definitely recommend them. And, no, this post is not sponsored. Unless you count it being sponsored by my bank account.

 

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What to wear to host brunch at your house

Casual Friday · Shopping

Well, okay, I not only wore this outfit to host brunch, but I also wore it wine tasting in Healdsburg, CA. And that’s where we took these pictures. But, I did wear it this past Saturday, too! Awesome outfits totally deserve to be worn more than once.

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On Saturday I made brunch for several of my friends and had Julie, a Stella & Dot stylist over to show off her wares. When I packed for California I only took two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. One of the necklaces (the one pictured in these photos) and one of the pairs of earrings were from Stella & Dot. Specifically, the Rebel pendant and the Pave Triangle Ear Jacket. I wore both multiple times and, since the earrings are actually several pairs in one, I was able to mix and match them depending on how fancy I wanted to be.

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I love supporting women who have their own hustle (and getting hostess perks aren’t bad either!). Actually, if you’re looking for some super versatile jewelry, I’d love it you used my link! You can also get my amazing leopard print watch, which I also wore a ton in California.

Speaking of women who have their own hustle, both my top and my bralette are from Moonfish, another women-owned business. I think I’ve mentioned before that Sarah at Moonfish is amazing at picking out items for me to try on that I would never think to try myself. Case in point, both the top and the bralette are items I would have not picked out to try on.

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I now want to wear this outfit every day! I even wore the top and bralette with my black Principle Denim jeans (also from Moonfish) to dinner on Sunday and again to work on Monday. I might have a problem.

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The saga of finding the perfect dress to wear to someone else’s wedding

Shopping

Two weeks ago my friend Annabelle got married and I decided it was the perfect excuse to go back to the Chicago Rent the Runway location and find a dress to wear!

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Just like last time, RTR sent me a questionnaire and asked what I was looking for. Annabelle’s favorite color is purple so I wanted something purple and sleeveless. Other than that, I didn’t have anything in mind.

Although, I fully admit, I had one dress I was really hoping to be able to try on.

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Sadly, that dress wasn’t available in the store. And they didn’t have a ton of items in purple, but they had still pulled quite a few things for me to try!

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I enjoy being able to try on the dresses in person and I took pictures for your enjoyment! See if you can guess why I did or didn’t like a certain dress before you read my comments.

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same dress

This one was almost a contender! I had to go up a size in it to get it to fit over my hips and booty and then that made it too loose in the bust. Also, you can kind of see it riding up on my hips in the photo. Sad, too, because it reminded me of a dress I wore to dances in high school that I loved!

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same dress

I actually really liked this one and if it had A. been in purple and B. I hadn’t felt like I wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything while wearing it, I would have got home with this one. As it was, it wasn’t that spectacular and it was super-duper tight. But it made my legs and arms look amazing!

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same dress

This was a crowd favorite when I shared it on Instagram! And, again, if it had been purple I would have chosen it right away. As it was, I held out for something that made me fall in love.

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same dress

I actually liked this one a lot more when I put it on! The color wasn’t something I had even considered. But, in the end, that weird ruffle on the side didn’t do it for me.

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same dress

Oh my gosh, you guys. When I saw this one on the hanger I immediately thought, “No.” But, I figured I’d try it on just for you. The things I’ll do for a laugh.

To be honest, the stylist they paired me with was not my favorite. It turned out that the stylist I was supposed to work with was styling a young woman as part of a Make a Wish event and it was running much longer than anticipated. Yeah, I wasn’t going to complain since it was happening for a good cause! Plus, they comped my $25 styling fee since I didn’t get my original stylist and I had to share the one they did give me. I’m glad, too, because, like I said, I didn’t think he did a great job. Of course, I think he got handed me at the last minute so, who knows.

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same dress

I actually did end up getting this zipped, but decided it wasn’t anything special. Yes, it looked good on but it wasn’t making me swoon.

I’ve figured out that all my weight lifting has given me a much broader back than I’m used to. I have no idea what size dress I wear anymore!

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same dress

This one was actually kind of fun but it didn’t fit as well as I wanted. Once again, it was a bit tight on the hips and too loose at the top. Also, I feel like since my legs look pretty good, if I’m going to wear a full-length gown I’d like a slit in it

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same dress

So…my neck isn’t actually that long. Which meant that these ruffles were almost to my ears. Clearly this dress was designed for a super model.

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same dress

Oh boy. The reviews for this dress all say the same thing: wear fashion tape and you’d better hope you have good posture. I didn’t want to spend the entire wedding being self-concisous so I definitely passed on this one. Also, like so many of the other ones, it was too tight across my hips.

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same dress

Too tight on the hips, too much of a boho look, too not me. Yeah.

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same dress

This dress was another case of my back being too broad and my neck not being long enough. Also, it felt like something I would have worn to work at my previous job, not to a wedding. So, no.

In the end, I didn’t love any of the dresses I tried on in the store. So, they helped me order the dress I had wanted to try on in the first place. It fit perfectly and I loved wearing it.

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same dress

I still highly recommend using Rent the Runway if you have an event and want the chance to wear a dress you either couldn’t afford to buy or just don’t want to buy something you’ll only wear once. For around $100 I got to wear this almost $400 dress, feel beautiful, and ship it back when I was done.

If you want to try it, you can use this link to get $30 off your first order (and get me $30 in credit). Or if you’re in Chicago and want to visit the store, I’m happy to go with! It’s a ton of fun.

Check out my other Rent the Runway experiences here, here and here.

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A snapshot I took at the wedding. I highly recommend Chicago Distilling Company!

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How to shop local in Chicago this week

Shopping

As I mentioned on Monday, I didn’t have time to get any outfit photos this past week. So, instead, I’m going to share two pop-up shops that are happening this weekend that, if you’re local, I think you’ll want to take advantage of.

The first is Friday night, March 10th from 6-9pm at 1555 W Diversey.

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I mentioned this in a previous post, but, as reminder, Garden Center growARTS artisan training program provides a space for individuals of all abilities to create stunning pieces of art as a means of self-expression and as an alternative path to self-employment.

Shop for locally painted art and browse the concurrent LuLaRoe pop-up shop, all while sipping on complimentary wine or beer and enjoying snacks. Proceeds from all art sales benefit the program and a portion goes back to each artist.

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Actual items for sale on Friday!

I definitely plan to stop by to show my support and probably buy something. The art is reasonably priced (around $20 or so) and the proceeds go to a good cause. And who doesn’t need more fun art in their life?

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The second is the spring Moonfish pop-up shop at Sugar Fixe Dental Loft, 3346 N Paulina St. This runs from 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday through Monday and you can make an appointment for a free personal styling session here.

You may recall that Moonfish sold me my favorite pair of jeans along with my first real pair of leggings and a super comfy sweater.

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They’ve got more of my favorite denim for spring and I’m excited to see what other fun items I can find. I’m so sick of my winter clothes so I have a feeling that I might do some damage.

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So, if you’re in Chicago or nearby, maybe I’ll see out shopping this weekend!

P.S. I was totally not compensated for writing about these two things. I just like them and wanted to share!

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Fashion Philanthropy

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Shopping

I have a friend. Her name is Annabelle. She’s one of the nicest, most interesting, hardworking people I know. I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten to know her a bit better recently since I’ve ended up behind the scenes of her latest endeavor to raise money for services and create jobs for adults with disabilities.

She recently became a LuLaRoe consultant, which, if you don’t know what that is, is a clothing line that is sold online via Facebook groups or at houses during pop-up shops. Yes, a lot of women sell it to make extra money but Annabelle is hoping to use her side business as a way to create jobs for adults with developmental disabilities. She’s even donating part of her proceeds to her “day job” employer, Garden Center Services.

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LuLaRoe dress | same jacket | similar scarf | similar shoes

Because I think this is so awesome, I’ve been helping her out when I can. And spending my own money on things like this dress. It’s called a Julia and it’s basically stretchy t-shirt material.

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The thing about LuLaRoe is that when you see a pattern and style you like, you’d better grab it. Consultants order sizes and styles but don’t get to pick patterns. Which means that what they have is always a surprise! I was helping Annabelle unbox her initial inventory shipment when I spotted this dress. Lucky me!

The best way to shop Annabelle’s inventory is either via her Facebook group or at her pop-up shop in Lincoln Park, Chicago. In fact, she’s got one coming up on March 10th from 6 to 10 PM that will coincide with another fundraiser for Garden Center Services – the growARTS art show! So, you can shop for art or you can shop for clothes and either way you’ll be helping fund Garden Center Services.

I did both at the February art show and not only came home with the dress, I also came home with some lovely art.

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Art for sale is either painted by adults in the growARTS program or is donated by their family or friends. The artists in the program also get paid a commission for each piece that sells. There is truly something for everyone, though, and I had a difficult time sticking to just this one piece.

Same thing with sticking to just one dress. I have a feeling that if I continue to help out Annabelle behind the scenes I’ll own a lot more “LuLa”.

Oh, and speaking of art, there is so much street art in our new neighborhood! All three of these photos were taken within a 5 minute walk of our house. So fun! And, yes, it’s been warm enough in Chicago to dress like this. I’m loving this weather, too!

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Uncommon Goods for an uncommon space

Shopping

This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods but, as always, all opinions are my own.

I hate to be like, hey guys, I’m back to blogging so here, have a sponsored post, but, to be honest, I haven’t had time to take outfit photos because I’m still working on unpacking and figuring out how to find places for everything in our new apartment/duplex/house.

So, when Uncommon Goods approached me and asked if I could highlight some of the items on their website, I took a look and decided, yes, I could. Because I need some of these in our new space!

For example, while I’m not one for dust-collecting home decor, I am all about practical home decor. We have two bathrooms in our new apartment but neither has the same amount of under cabinet storage space as in our previous place.

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The nicer of the two bathrooms

Which is why I immediately fell in love with this toilet paper storage shelf that makes the paper rolls look like clouds! I’d hang it across from the sink/toilet area and it would serve double duty as art AND storage!

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That’s what Uncommon Good is all about. The items not only look good, they do good, too.

We’re committed to offering you a creative and exciting merchandise assortment and are working with our suppliers – from artists to small manufacturers – to make their products in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. Since our founding, we’ve featured products that contain recycled components and have not sold products containing leather, feathers or fur – we’re committed to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

We used to store plastic bags in the space between the wall and the fridge but our kitchen now doesn’t have that space. Which is why this trash can appeals to me. It’s in a section of the website that bills itself as gift ideas for wives but, since I’m a wife and I’d like it as a gift I think it’s totally appropriate. Maybe it’s in that section because Uncommon Goods knows that this wife likes things to be organized. Actually, this wife would like just about everything listed in that section. Especially the wine glasses.

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Kitchen and dining room before we cluttered it up with our stuff

Finally, our place is all hardwood and tile so my feet are always cold. Even though our old apartment was also hardwood, it was on the 8th floor of a nine story building so our floors were always heated by the people below us. Now we have the first floor and the basement of the house we live in so there’s no one below us to keep our floors warm. Which is why I need slippers. Like these. They have even more slippers (and socks!), as well as other gifts for women here.

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This is our basement. We honestly have no idea what to do with this space since it’s not big enough for our couch and the washer & dryer are behind those doors.

I’m really impressed with the items on the Uncommon Goods website and will probably be ordering some in the future. I’m glad they reached out to me because otherwise I don’t know if I would have thought to look there! Especially since they have a “give back” program that allows you to donate a dollar to a charity of your choice when you checkout. They’ve given over a million dollars since they started it 15 years ago!

Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m off to figure out where to put all these clothes I have now that I don’t have as much closet space as I used to.  Maybe I just need a bunch of these reclaimed wine barrel hooks

 

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Things I’ve worn 100 times

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Shopping

Don’t forget to enter the Moonfish giveaway!

I have this habit of wearing something 100 times right after I buy it because it’s foremost on my mind. Currently it’s either these flats or, since it’s gotten colder, these boots.

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Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – Paige c/o Shopbop (same) | Booties – Steven c/o Shopbop (same

I enjoy buying shoes from Shopbop because they carry my two favorite brands: Sam Edelman and STEVEN. They even restocked my favorite Sam Edelman riding boots.

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These jeans are also my favorite black jeans I’ve ever bought. Highly, highly recommended.

And, guess what? It’s all on sale, just in time for holiday shopping for yourself or someone else.

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Sale ends 11:59 PM Pacific on Monday, 11/28

Last year during this sale I bought my leather cross-body tote bag. This year? I haven’t decided yet. I’m debating either another pair of the Sam Edelman flats because they are SUPER comfortable. Or maybe a pair of Sperry duck boots. Or maybe I’ll be generous and buy some Christmas gifts. Anything you want me to pick up for you?

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All Moonfish, All the Time [Giveaway!]

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday · Shopping

Remember my post about how I finally found leggings that I would actually wear out in public thanks to Moonfish? Well, I finally  made it to a Moonfish pop-up shop and, let me tell you, they have so many other cute things and Sarah, the woman behind Moonfish, does a GREAT job of picking out items for you to try on that you probably wouldn’t have picked yourself but, once you have them on, you can’t imagine taking them off.

For example, the entire outfit I wore literally the day after I went shopping at the pop-up at Beermiscuous.

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Scarf c/o Moonfish | Top – LAMade via Moonfish | Jeans – Principle via Moonfish | Shoes – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Necklace – Soko via Moonfish

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These jeans, you guys, These jeans. I want to wear them every single day. They are the best fitting pair of denim I currently own. Finally! Jeans that fit my waist AND my thighs. And they were around $100 which, yes, is more than Old Navy but for something I can wear all the time now? Yes, I want many, many more pairs.

Which is why I will be doing my best to attend the next Moonfish pop-up at the end of November.

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In the mean time, I have a great giveaway of just two of the awesome items you can find at Moonfish: a hat with a furry pompom and a wonderfully cozy scarf!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Want another chance to win something awesome from Moonfish? Check out Erica’s giveaway!

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Renting the Runway…in Person

Shopping

I’ve mentioned Rent the Runway in the past a few times. I rented a dress from them for a friend’s wedding, wore one of their dresses when I went to the horse races for the first time, and rented a tulle skirt from them when I wanted something fun to wear to a dog prom.

The first Saturday in November Jason and I attended the Illinois Science Council Science Cocktail Party and I wanted to use it as an excuse to dress up. Their emails always say to wear “weather appropriate cocktail party attire” but also go on to say that if you don’t feel like dressing up you can wear jeans and flannel, too. So, really, it’s anything goes!

I was debating wearing my gold dress (sans blazer and tights) or renting something from Rent the Runway. I debated until it was too late to order something online. But, wait! Rent the Runway has a brick-and-mortar location here in Chicago! I made an appointment and showed up on Saturday afternoon to a dressing room full of dresses for me to try on.

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1 (same in red)| 2 | 3 | 4

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1 |2 | 3| 4

Plus a few others (like this one and this one) that I didn’t take pictures of. Although many of these look great in photos, they didn’t all fit perfectly. Until I tried on the one on the bottom right. fullsizerender-3It was kind of like when I was trying on wedding dresses; I knew this was THE one. It fit perfectly, the slit made it more fun than a regular sheath dress, and the colors, pattern and fabric made it a great choice for a fancy-but-not-fancy event.

Being able to try on so many dresses was the perfect way to choose something. Plus, since I was   doing a same-day rental I was able to get accessories for $15. The dress itself? $30 to rent! It retails for $465 so this was a great deal. Plus, as I tried on dresses my stylist would go out to the floor and find more things for me to try on as she saw the items on me. I didn’t even have to leave the fitting room area!

Plus, after I wore it I just put into a bag and dropped it at the UPS store! I didn’t even have to go back to the physical location to return it.

I highly recommend using the Rent the Runway location in Chicago (or find one near you) if you need a dress for an occasion. They also rent fancy clothing (blazers, jackets, tops, etc) and accessories (purses, jewelry). It’s so much fun to try on so many fun things that I could never afford normally. Now, I just need more reasons to wear fun dresses!

This is not a sponsored post. I just had such a good time and wanted to share it with all of you! 

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October Shopping Summary

Shopping

So, I totally fell off the wagon in September and October when it came to shopping using only store credit. I went a little wild on workout clothes and bought quite a few lovely things at a friend’s Stella & Dot party.

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Watch | Necklace | Earrings | Shorts | Fabletics Tank | Fabletics Capris

And, yes, I decided to try Fabletics. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a monthly workout clothing subscription where you can pick an outfit starting at $49.95. You can typically get your first outfit for under $25 and then you can choose whether to spend the money every month.

I wasn’t super thrilled with my Fabletics options for November so I decided to skip the month. Either that or I was feeling a bit of regret for shopping in October. Especially since I didn’t really NEED the earrings or necklace. Or really the shorts or the other workout clothes.

The watch, though, I’ve worn a ton since I got it. I had a leopard print watch I bought several years ago for cheap and it fell apart. I’m happy to finally have a replacement!

My credit card, though, is not so happy. I think I’ll be back to deleting sale emails and not tempting myself for the rest of the year!