Archive | Lifestyle RSS feed for this section

Skin Care Junkie | Latest Sephora Order

I’m a total Sephora junkie, it’s where I order 90% of my skin care products and makeup, so I thought I’d share my latest order with you. I don’t love the “haul” blog posts or YouTube videos, but when I see someone who’s opinion I value in a particular area, I do like to see what type of products they’re buying. I thought it would be a good chance to share how I shop for skin care and beauty, and my first impressions on a handful of products.

To begin with, I adore the Sephora website. Their searching capabilities are outstanding – You can adjust the product list by your goals, your age, ingredients you want or don’t want, and more. I also love reading reviews on the site, if I’m on the fence about a product I’ll sort the reviews by Lowest and see what people didn’t like about it.

In general, try not to buy products with sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. But sometimes I let something slip through if I’ve heard raves about a product.

Sephora Skin Care Beauty San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Skin Care Junkie San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Josie Maran Whipped Mud Mask Argan Hydrating and Detoxifying Treatment: First up, this smells amazing. It also feels really great, and has a bit of a granular texture which is nice for rubbing on your skin before washing off. Overall I really like this, though there isn’t an immediate change your skin.

Tarte Hampton’s Weekender Contour Palette: I adore Tarte products and this Summer-ready palette is no different. Great packaging, beautiful colors, great staying power. Definitely recommend this baby!

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil: I’ve never tried Sunday Riley before but have heard and read great reviews of these products in the past. I decided to try two new products, including this blemish clearing face oil. You can use it as an all over product or for spot treatments, and I tried it both ways. First thing to mention – This has a very strong smell. One of the main ingredients it tea tree oil so if you’re not ready, it’s a bit overwhelming. That being said, I like this so far. I didn’t cause any break-outs and the spot treatment function seemed to work well.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment: The second Sunday Riley product that I ordered was this anti-aging lactic acid serum. Again, this product has a fairly dramatic scent, but I’m enjoying it. It feels great going on and I haven’t seen any of the dryness that some of the reviewers mentioned. I started out using it once or twice a week and am now using it every other day in the mornings.

bareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder: I really enjoy bareMinerals so this setting powder seemed like a no-brainer. I don’t wear foundation or BB/CC cream daily and sometimes need a little oil control by the end of the day, so I thought I’d give this lightweight powder a try. It has a bit of shine, almost like a highlighter, but it’s really subtle and pretty so no objections here!

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover: I think of this as the ultimate make-up remover, its old school, but still great. For traveling I wanted a little bottle of makeup remover so I swooped up this baby. The Boscia Charcoal Cleanser and Eve Lom Cleanser are still my all-time favorites, but when you’re traveling for events, like weddings, and are packing on the make-up, it’s good to have a dedicated make-up remover as well.

Are YOU a Sephora fan?

Are you a big fan of skin care and beauty products?

Check out some of my other Skin Care Junkie posts: Alaska Glacial Mud Mask, Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil, Musely Hydrogel Eye Mask, Raw Beauty & Coconut Oil, Natural Beauty & Hair Products, Mix Rx Apothecary Collection, Balanced Guru Facial Toner, FRE Skin Care, HerStyler Hair Styling Products, Favorite Anti-Aging ProductsTravel Beauty, Current Beauty Must Haves. and Daily Beauty Routine. & Self Tan Luxe Face Oil.

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }

MCLV Travel Diary | Vacation Planning

It’s nearly that time.

The weather is starting to warm up. You’re starting to have (more) trouble concentrating at your desk. Social media is filled with beautiful people posing in beautiful locations… That means time for Summer vacation!

So, as we’re heading into vacation season, I thought I’d do a series of posts to help you prepare, pack, and execute a killer trip. There’s nothing worse than forgetting a vital step in the process and feeling like your trip is ruined.

MCLV Travel Diary Vacation Planning Wanderlust San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger How to Pack Plan

Handbag – Givenchy Antigona Satchel

Striped Bikini – Polo Ralph Lauren

Black Straw Hat – Ted Baker London

There’s lots to cover, so let’s get going!

Travel Documents:

You’ve planned the trip, now it’s time to make sure you can get there!

  • Photo ID and/or passport {make sure they aren’t expiring within 6 months of your trip!}
  • If you’re renting a car, do you need an international drivers license?
  • Do you need a travel visa?
  • Will you be purchasing travel insurance?

Travel Warnings:

Before a trip to a new country, or even a new city in a country I’ve already been to, I like to do a few quick checks to make sure that I’m totally prepared.


These may seem like no-brainers, but you’ll be glad that you made sure to check!

  • Weather – Be sure to check the weather! It’s easy to fall into the trap of “it’ll be warm” and not check the specifics. Especially when it comes to tropical locations, because being aware of storm and monsoon seasons can make all the difference in the world!
  • Food – I like to review the restaurants and shops near my accommodations before I leave using TripAdvisor. That way I know that I can find something to eat in a pinch. I also like to pack a snack bag for my trips.
  • Language – If you’re going somewhere that speaks a different language, it’s a good idea to learn a few helpful phrases. Apps like Duolingo are a great way to brush up on or learn bits of new language. Even if everyone is predominantly able to speak English, they’ll appreciate the occasional please and thank you in their native tongue.
  • Stay in Touch – I always use WhatsApp when I travel internationally, no data fees or international phone plans necessary, just download the app and text whenever you have WiFi.
  • Currency – Be sure to check on what the local currency is at your destination and do some research on the best exchange rates. Often times your bank will have a good rate and you can just use a local ATM. Which brings me to my last tip – Update your credit card company and/or bank with your plans so that you don’t get fraud alerts while you’re traveling.

Next up – Packing! Stay tuned for posts on packing your toiletries, clothes, and extras to make sure that you have everything you need, but aren’t bringing the whole house!

What’s YOUR most important item to tick off when you’re getting ready for a trip? Am I missing anything?

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }

Improving Your Outlook & Increasing Positivity

You know those shiny, happy people who make everyone around them feel like a dark, ominous cloud? Well, I’ve never been one of them. While I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a pessimist, I might not be the most positive or optimistic person there ever was.

Cards on the table. I’m a high-strung, Type A personality who works long hours in a high stress, fast-paced environment. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like people who walk slowly. I don’t like it when things don’t go exactly according to my carefully laid plans.

It has been pointed out to me that perhaps my outlook could use some refreshing. Oh, and that I need to calm down & relax. Fine.

While the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood make being completely carefree a challenge for many of us, it may still be a worthwhile goal.

Be Positive One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day San Francisco Fashion Fitness Food Lifestyle Blogger

So with that being said, I’m embarking on an odyssey to improve my quality of life by being more positive on a daily basis. Changing how you initially react to things isn’t easy, but I’m committed.

And what – You ask – Does this entail?

Be grateful:

How can you appreciate new things as they come into your life if you don’t acknowledge all the wonderful things that you already have?

  • I have an amazing family – They’re completely insane, yes, but they’re also warm, loving, supportive and loyal. Plus I kind of love the insane part.
  • I have unbelievable friends – I have met some truly amazing people during my life, from my best friend in junior high & high school who I don’t get to see as often as I like, to the girls that adopted me in college and without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today, to my work & blogging friends who make my daily life much more enjoyable.
  • I live in a gorgeous city that I adore – Just seeing the views from my office building each day puts a smile on my face.
  • I’m lucky to have a challenging job in an interesting field where I’m surrounded by intelligent, well-educated, hard-working people.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, I have a partner who makes me laugh, pushing me out of my comfort zone, and always encourages me to relax, look on the bright side, and roll with the punches.

Realize what matters:

Does it really matter if you wait a few minutes for a friend to meet you for dinner? Does it really matter if every little detail of a weekend is planned out or goes according to those plans? Nope.

What matters is being able to enjoy yourself, and when you’re filled with stress and anxiety about things you can’t control, you’re not enjoying yourself. In fact, you’re probably giving yourself ulcers.

  • Accept what you can and cannot control
  • Realize that the journey, even filled with roadblocks & speed bumps, is just as important as where you end up
  • Find joy in the little things – Singing along to a great song. Sharing a meal with someone you care about. Laughing with a friend. Finishing an amazing book. These are just as important as the big things and deserve to be savored.
  • Make time for love. All the songs can’t be wrong, right? Whether you’re having dinner with your family, falling in love for the first time, or just filling your day with people and experiences you love, make sure not to underestimate how important love is.

Find Inspiration:

Find something that reminds you to cherish what you have. It could be different for everyone, but for me, I love hearing what other people have to say. Reading books and blogs about gratitude, watching inspirational YouTube videos or Instagram stories, enjoying a silly motivational video, will make me appreciate what I have all the more.

“There is nothing to hold you back except yourself. There is only one question to ask yourself here: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” Think about it.”

Be positive!

Are YOU a positive person? Do you have a tip or recommendation to be more positive?

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }

Skin Care Junkie | Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil

In my last Skin Care Junkie post I shared my Daily Beauty Routine. In the pictures you may have seen this golden product, but I thought it deserved it’s own post. Enter – The St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial OilThis product is genuinely amazing, and swiftly became of my favorites.

Skin Care Junkie St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Skin Care Beauty Skincare


When I stumbled on the St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial oil, I was looking for a quick alternative to a self tanning mousse that takes an hour, or more, to develop. With this facial oil, all you do is add a few drops to your skin on top of your moisturizer and voila! Instant healthy, bronzed glow.

Immediate Results:

The first time I used this I was amazed by the results. It was practically instantaneous and immediately gave me a healthy, fresh face. Sometimes tanners can be drying, even giving your skin the appearance of streaks or peeling skin. But this facial oil brings out the best in your skin, leaving a hydrated, glowing face.


There isn’t a heavy smell like with a standard tanning product, the oil visibly hydrates the skin, and there’s no risk of putting on too much. If you think you added too much color, just wash your face and start over.

This facial oil falls somewhere between skin care and make-up, and is going to be a staple for me going forward. It

Have YOU tried a self-tan facial oil?

Are you a big fan of skin care and beauty products? Check out some of my other Skin Care Junkie posts: Alaska Glacial Mud Mask, Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil, Musely Hydrogel Eye Mask, Raw Beauty & Coconut Oil, Natural Beauty & Hair Products, Mix Rx Apothecary Collection, Balanced Guru Facial Toner, FRE Skin Care, HerStyler Hair Styling Products, Favorite Anti-Aging ProductsTravel BeautyCurrent Beauty Must Haves & Daily Beauty Routine.

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }

Calming Night Routine

After sharing my tips and suggestion for waking up early, I thought an updated nighttime routine post was in order. It’s hard to wake up early unless you get enough sleep, which means going to bed early. This is my calming night routine that helps get me ready for bed so that I get a good night sleep.

Wind Down: I have an alarm that goes off at 8pm. Whatever we’re doing, we stop and start to prepare for bed. The TV goes off, the laptop gets closed, the phone goes down.

By setting this specific time to begin our winding down, we avoid the trap of “just one more episode” or “as soon as I finish this last thing.” Those excuses can go on forever, so put yourself in a position to not be able to make excuses.

Yours doesn’t have to be 8pm, I know that’s early for a lot of people, but it gives us time to go through our nightly rituals.

Calming Night Routine Beauty Skin Care San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

{Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser + VanityPlanet Cleanse, Exfoliate & Massage Ultimate Skin Spa System}

Lights: Right at 8pm, when all the electronics go off, I also start to dim and turn off lights. When you body receives light, it thinks “daytime!” because for a millennia, we didn’t have lamps and TVs, and light meant the sun was out which meant you were supposed to be awake. {If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, you should read Lights Out}

So start to get your body ready by dimming lights and if you use your phone or a notebook to read, download a red screen app like Twilight that can help filter out the light.

Rituals: My nighttime skin care routine is very calming and just by starting it, I begin to feel relaxed. The movements of applying the products are connected to my nighttime routine, so my body starts to loosen up immediately. I’ve especially found that I LOVE using my VanityPlanet Cleanse, Exfoliate & Massage Ultimate Skin Spa System with a gentle cleanser like Caudalie’s Instant Foaming Cleanser,it is a perfect, relaxing little ritual.

The smells of your skin care products can be very relaxing as well as the movements of applying them, or you can set up an essential oil diffuser and try lavender or a sleepy time formula.

Relax: Calming myself down each night is two-fold, I need to relax my body and turn off my brain.

  • For my body I like Epsom salt bathes, stretching, and taking a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm.
  • For my mind, it’s all about meditation. There’s really no substitute. You can more about that here if you’re interested.

Do YOU have a calming nighttime routine?

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }