The Hunt for my Holy Grail Foundation

I have been on the foundation struggle bus lately. Ever since I read an article about makeup expiration dates and decided that most of my foundations have probably gone bad, I have been on the hunt for a new foundation to welcome into my hall of fame. In the past month or two, I have sampled so many foundations, and basically been disappointed by most of them. Nothing I’ve tried seems to fit my definition of “perfect.” I want something with light/medium buildable coverage, something not too drying but not too dewy, and something that lasts at least through the work day. Is perfect complexion in a bottle too much to ask for?

After testing out nine different foundations, I think that I’ve found something that fits 99% of my needs. But just for the heck of it, let me take you through the journey of my foundation woes. Counting down from least favorite to most favorite, here we go…

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9. Shiseido Dual Balancing: Oxidized like crazy. Transferred everywhere. Didn’t control shine at all.

8. Clinique Even Better: The lightest shade still oxidized on me.

7. Chanel Vitalumiere: Too dewy. Could not find a good color match for my yellow undertones.

6. Diorskin Nude BB Cream: Breaks me out. Pretty drying for a BB.

5. Bareminerals SPF 20 Pressed Powder: Good as a light finishing powder, but on its own, it can get cakey really quickly.

4. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra: Color looks a little ashy on me. Can be too thick and heavy. Settles into my dry patches by the end of the day.

3. MAC Face and Body: Really sheer coverage and not really that buildable. Fine for days when my skin is behaving, but not when my skin is breaking out.

2. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light: Good lasting power, but drying.

1. Givenchy Photo’Perfexion: Gives a blurred, soft-focus finish. Light, no oil. Good color match. Doesn’t have great staying power. Settles into my dry patches by the end of the day.

Needless to say, I’m still searching. My dry, blemish-prone skin is still holding out hope that there’s something out there that will be “just right.” Until then, fighting!

OOTD: I’m a little pumpkin, short and stout

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Fall is my absolute favorite season, not only because of the crisp air and beauty of golden leaves, but also because I love boots, jackets, sweaters – the whole shebang. The more I can layer, the happier I am. Here in Chicago, it has been getting colder and then warmer and then colder again. I guess we are in a sort of transitional phase. Today’s outfit is an ode to Autumn, professing my excitement and asking it to gimme gimme more.

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I wore a burnt orange sweater dress with brown riding boots from Cole Haan. Both the dress and the boots were gifts from my mom. She went a little crazy last winter at the Neiman Marcus sale, so she is finally putting her last year’s purchases to use (or I guess technically, I am). At first, I thought the dress looked a little grandma-y, but I decided to try it on anyways, and I suppose it ended up growing on me. I think the details on the dress (the waist tie, cowl neckline, ruched sleeves) give it an interesting flair, so that it can stand alone without much accessorizing. But of course, I was excited, so I went all out with the Autumn theme and wore some gold dangly leaf earrings. This outfit isn’t the most business formal, but I think it works for casual days when you want to start rocking more cozy pieces without going all out with the big knits and thick tights. But once winter hits in Chicago, thick knits are going to be mandatory for survival, and I am not exactly looking forward to that.

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Wednesday Wish List #2: Cleansing Oil Edition

Happy October 1st! After a full summer of loving and use, I only have a tiny bit left of my Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil. This product has not only popped my cleansing oil cherry, it has also gotten me completely hooked on them. Since winter is coming, I am on the hunt for more cleansing oils to test on my dry-ish, sensitive-ish skin, which will only get drier and more sensitive as the temperature drops. In light of all of these facts, I thought I would share three cleansing oils currently on my wish-list.

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1. Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil
2. The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil
3. Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil

OOTD: School Uniform, Upgraded

Today’s outfit was inspired by my new patent leather oxfords from Clarks. I thought they would look really school-girl-esque when worn with black knee-high socks, so I tried to piece my outfit together around that concept. I went with a light-weight sweater dress (brand unknown) and a structured blazer by Aqua. I chose a monotone color palette, because I wanted to shoot for a conservative, uniform feel. I wore some black and silver dangly earrings and a dog-shaped hair clip to add a fun touch to what is otherwise a pretty serious outfit. I really like the finished look. It’s not every day that you get to wear knee-high socks to work or to anything for that matter, so I’m really happy I got to fit them in. I think the thick stripes on the dress and the thin stripes on the cuffed sleeves of the blazer create a nice subtle contrast.

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I like to think of this as a school uniform upgraded to the work level. I never got to wear a school uniform growing up, but I’ve always wanted to. All the Harry Potter kids looked so sophisticated in their robes and neckties, and I thought maybe, just maybe, my life would be more “magical” if I got to wear a school uniform too…just kidding…but I did (and still do) really like Harry Potter. Honestly, I think I was just looking for ways to cut down my get-ready time in the morning so that I could hit the snooze button a few more times. I realize that in reality, school uniforms can end up quite frumpy, but let’s just say I’ve tried to live out my dreams and regrets with this outfit by creating my version of a school work uniform.

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OOTD: Twist on Tweed

I started this blog about two years ago with the intent of using it as a platform to motivate and challenge myself to stay stylish during my internships. Now I’ve come full circle — only this time, I’m not going back to dressing casually and freely after a couple months. I’m in it for the long haul. Now that work comprises at least 40 hours of my week, my closet is also going through a sudden and drastic makeover. I’ve had to put away a majority of my “college” wardrobe in order to make room for the growth of my “grown-up” closet. I work in a corporate environment, so my outfits have to be relatively conservative. The good thing is my office is not super strict, so I have found that there is still room to be creative. From now on, I will be posting more work outfits as I experiment with different ways to dress for myself in addition to the dress code. Welcome to the first work outfit!

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I think the most fool-proof work outfit = a dress + basic cardigan + black heels/flats. In this simple formula, the dress is everything. The dress makes or breaks the look. The dress gives you life. I am a huge dress fan. I think they are so comfortable and versatile. Plus, I have yet to find work pants that fit and flatter my curvier bottom half, so by process of elimination, dress or skirt it is!

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This dress in particular is something I snagged from my mom’s closet. It’s from a brand called Ali-Ro. I love that it’s tweed. I love the zipper detailing on the skirt, and I love the drop-waist leather band. I also think it’s a great dress to transition you into fall, because tweed is a heavier fabric, and heavier is good when the temperature starts to drop. I threw on a black cardigan from Banana Republic and black patent pumps from Coach. I’m not going to lie, I do get lazy with wearing heels in the office, so I will often switch to black flats. For accessories I went with a pair of small gold dangly earrings from my grandma to match the zippers on the dress, the Alex Monroe bumblebee necklace I always wear, and my Marc Jacobs watch (both gifts from my boyfriend). And that completes this classic yet fun look :)

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Been away, but now I’m back

Since my last post, a major change has happened in my life. After spending approximately one month in China visiting family and traveling with Jack, I returned to America and started working full-time in my first ever post-college job. It is now my third week, and I’m slowly starting to adjust to this new lifestyle. When I was in school, I always looked forward to “work” as my ticket into the “real world” — a world filled with dinners and drinks with friends, my own cozy studio apartment, and freedom to carve out my spots in the city. In my head, I envisioned myself scurrying through busy streets wearing a chic outfit and patent leather heels a la Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.DWP-133

In reality, my first steps into the “real world” are not glamorous by most twenty-somethings’ definitions. I moved back into the house I grew up in. I wake up at 6:30am every morning, get ready for work, and then take a 40 minute train ride from my suburb into the city. I sit at my cubicle and stare at a computer screen all day. After I get home, I eat dinner with my family, maybe drive my sister to an activity or exercise with her, and then come 10/11pm, I head to bed, wake up the next morning and start all over again. Although this routine may sound dull and exhausting, I am really, really happy with the choice I made to move back in with my family. I am grateful for the opportunity to help my sister with her geometry homework and do the dishes after dinner so my mom doesn’t have to. I never would have imagined at age 18 that four years later, this is what happiness would mean to me. Back then, all I wanted to do was get away from my family, to be free. I guess that’s the magic of being human — we change. I like to think that as we go through life, we grow into our truest forms — who, when you strip away the things influencing us on the outside, we really are. I am only at the tip of uncovering and chasing after that my “truth,” but right now, I am happy, and that is more than enough.