friday faves! kate somerville

Today I’m launching a new series that will celebrate Fridays with a focus on some of my favorite finds. Kicking it off, we need to talk about how I’ve been unfaithful. I have full on cheated and replaced some of my favorite skincare staples. I felt a little guilty about it, but ultimately, I found something that was a better fit and fulfilled my needs in ways that I didn’t know I was missing.

I think Kate Somerville is my new BFF. {Okay, and also the blogger/interior designer whose coffee table book has a prime spot on my shelf and with whom I’ve had a few Insta exchanges lately. I’m convinced we are now friends. Don’t judge.} A couple months ago, I stopped into the wallet vortex that is Sephora intending to grab a new bottle of the cleanser that I’d been using religiously, but instead I scooped up two items from the ExfoliKate line on a whim. The result: my skin hasn’t been this soft in years. Glory, Hallelujah!

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ExfoliKate, Kate Somerville

I am pretty loyal to products that I love, evidenced by my praise singing of the GLAMGLOW masks here and here. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a soft spot in my heart for them, especially the SUPERMUD, but this little gem has changed my exfoliation game. My results from this exfoliation treatment have been very similar to the results I get from the FLASHMUD by GLAMGLOW – my skin is super soft, brighter with a bit of a glow {which is also highly dependant upon how much water I drink and how much sleep I get}, my fine lines are less intense and my pores are clear. But you see, Kate Somerville figured out how to deliver all of this magic in keeping the treatment on for only 2 MINUTES compared to 20 minutes. I don’t know any mama or busy working gal who can’t appreciate that! I actually haven’t used any other masks in at least 6 weeks and I love a good mask. Sorry FLASHMUD, but we have to break up.

Another thing that I love about this product is that it’s available in a small size from Sephora, so you can get your hands on it without dropping a ton of money. This is the size I have been using for the last 2 months and I still have plenty. Once I do run out, I will for sure be getting the full size though!

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ExfoliKate Cleanser, Kate Somerville

The ExfoliKate Cleanser is not the kind of exfoliating cleanser that has little granules as you wash your face – you get the granules in the exfoliating treatment mentioned above. It has a great, creamy texture so my face feels really hydrated but fresh at the same time. It uses other ingredients, like lactic and glycolic acids along with fruit enzimes, to exfoliate gently. It also removes my makeup without requiring a separate step before I cleanse, which is key for me. I think that this has been a step up from the cleanser I had been using, which I still love and choose to be the partner with my Clarisonic a few times a week. But the ExfoliKate Cleanser has taken things up a notch – my pores feel and look better and my skin has been in excellent shape without breakouts or any reactive irritation.

I’ve found that the treatment and the cleanser pair really well together and have noticed a difference in my skin, which is saying a lot from a girl who has super sensitive, dry and reactive skin. One thing that I have learned over the years with regard to exfoliation, is that is great to pair the two types of exfoliation both through physical/mechanical and chemical in your beauty routine. This combo of products does just that and it packs a punch. A gentle punch.

Note: This post has not been sponsored and this is my 100% unfiltered take. This whole blogging project is certainly not a money maker whatsoever, but even if it ever does evolve into something bigger, I promise I will only write about something that I have tried for a considerable amount of time and feel strongly about. Especially when it comes to beauty products. I feel like you need a minimum of 2 weeks to see how it’s working with your skin, so I wouldn’t feel good about singing praises of a product if I haven’t tried it for at least a month.

Happy Friday!

xoxo

 

winter skincare overhaul 

 

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My new skincare must haves.

I have a new skincare jam! Being the product junkie that I am, I have to spread the gospel. I have super dry and sensitive skin and it has been misbehaving for the better part of the last year, but things are finally in check!

On one side of my extended family, the women outnumber the men by almost double. We ladies have a lot in common: our laughs, our smiles, our voices that carry, and our deep-rooted love for beauty products. So, maybe it’s part of my DNA, but I have a bathroom cabinet filled to the brim with scores from Sephora. I had a stint working in skincare with the cosmetics department at Nordstrom. I don’t claim to be an esthetician, but I will say that my product habit, paired with that hot Nordstrom minute have helped me to understand my skin and how to care for it.

Rewind to my postpartum skin last year. Dry, angry and reactive to just about anything I put on it, even just simple vitamin e oil. I had this stubborn irritation that popped up in April that I initially attributed to stress acne, but acne treatments just caused it to flare up even more. I was never able to diagnose it, even after a few visits with different doctors, skincare consultations and prescription topical creams. We ruled lots of things out, but never identified the culprit. When I wasn’t focused on battling this angry skin situation, my face still just looked dull and my wrinkles/fine lines seemed to be more pronounced. I stressed for months and simplified everything to try to keep my face from waging war against me. The irritation finally cleared up around September/October, thanks to cortisone. Since then, I’ve slowly added things back in and built a new skincare routine, piece by piece. After all that, I’ll be damned if I stray from this lineup anytime soon!

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Soy Face Cleanser, by Fresh

Cleanse: This cleanser by Fresh was one of the first things that really calmed down my skin this past summer. I think the cleanser I had been using had grown too harsh with my changing skin. This is so soothing and gentle and it also removes makeup, easy peasy. In the mornings, I use this cleanser along with my Clarisonic cleansing brush with the radiance brush heads. {Although, I do have my eye on a new cleansing ‘brush’ that I’m planning on snagging in the near future – stay tuned!}

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Flashmud, by GLAMGLOW

Exfoliate: I’ve mentioned this mask before and I will sing its praises again! I use this guy 2-ish times a week. Once a week, I’ll use one of its sister masks that deeply cleanses pores. I always multitask when I’m doing a mask, because who has time to just sit and meditate for 15 minutes?? Lately, I’ll throw it on as I’m getting ready to jump in the shower and then rinse it off at the end and there seems to be something good happening with the steam from the shower. Full disclosure: showering does not happen daily, because #momlife. Sometimes I only get to do a mask once on the weekends and skip the weekdays completely, but when that I happens there is a noticeable difference in the way my skin looks and feels.

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Rose Water, by Poppy Austin

Tone: I’ve recently fallen hard for rose water. It’s super hydrating and I love the scent. I’ve been using this straight up rose water toner lately but I also love this one that is blended with healing witch hazel and hydrating vitamin e. The big thing I’ve learned with toner is to be sure that it is alcohol free.

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Truth Serum, by Ole Henriksen

Serum: We need to talk about the magic that is this vitamin c serum by Ole Henriksen. {Pronounced Ooh-la.} The texture is perfect and vitamin c is known for protecting the skin from irritants in the environment and also brightens. I use this guy only in the mornings and another Ole serum at nights. What I like about the night serum is that unlike retinol, it’s safe to use when you’re pregnant or nursing and I just stopped nursing within the last week. I am officially hooked on this line and can’t wait to try out more!

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Sheer Transformation, by Ole Henriksen

Moisturize: Did I mention I have crazy dry skin? Another goodie from Ole Henriksen, this moisturizer by totally does the trick without feeling heavy or greasy. I also love that it doesn’t have any ingredients that react to my tinted moisturizer when I’m doing my makeup. {Ever notice tiny balls beading up when you’re blending makeup? That’s a reaction between ingredients in your moisturizer and your foundation/tinted moisturizer/bb/cc.} I use this morning and night, and just switch up my serum. I need to mention that you don’t have to have aging, dry skin for this moisturizer to be worth a shot – our nanny, Young Mary Poppins, actually introduced me to this and is using it herself. We both are newly converted groupies for Ole, even though there’s a 12 year age difference between us.

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Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24, by Shiseido

Eyes: This eye cream is my new winter staple. I have a feeling it will feel like too much in the summer, but it has totally hit the spot like I’ve never experienced before in an eye cream. It’s really rich and ultra hydrating. I haven’t had a problem with using concealer or other makeup on top of it. It is a heavier consistency, so I tread lightly with the application and I lightly swipe, even though I know you’re supposed to tap. I have been using it for about 3 weeks now and I’m already noticing a difference in the lines around my eyes, I believe that is due to finally getting a solid level of hydration that really penetrates rather than just sitting on top.

All of this takes less than 5 minutes, after I rinse the exfoliating mask.

When it comes to makeup, I have a dirty little secret: I keep my makeup bag in the console of my car and just throw it on at red lights or in the drive through lane at Starbucks. My poor vanity desk isnt getting any love these days! My makeup bag lives in the car because again, #momlife and I would have to move the pile of clothes off my vanity chair even if I did want to be civilized about my makeup application. But the great news is, lately I’ve been skipping makeup altogether, save for some mascara and lip gloss!

What skincare products do you swear by?

xoxo

decompress: the power of a good shower

Last weekend, it dawned on me that I neglected a very important aspect in my boundaries post. With our nonstop to-do lists, the thing that routinely gets pushed to the bottom of that list is making time for ourselves. Amiright??

I hate the phrase “me time.” It makes it sound like something we should feel guilty about. When I’m a hot frazzled mess, it doesn’t serve anyone well. So, in addition to setting boundaries, we need to acknowledge the importance of making time for ourselves. And then we need to not feel guilty about it!! It’s just another piece of the puzzle to maintain or regain sanity, so we can be our best at work and at home. One of my friends calls it hitting her reset button. When things work out perfectly, the reset button might be dinner out with girlfriends, a mani/pedi or an elusive spa appointment. When things are less than perfect, we might chill by ourselves with a giant dish of pasta or something else carby and a bottle glass of wine, followed by something chocolate. Worst case scenario, has anyone else pretended they needed to be in the bathroom longer than necessary, just to be in a quiet room?

Last weekend, I was reminded not to underestimate the power of a good shower. We installed a new shower head, so I promptly locked myself in the bathroom for an hour or so. When I came back out, I felt surprisingly refreshed. I’m a total product junkie so I started thinking about my must haves for a little shower escape.

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1 – I’ve never loved our bathroom; in fact, it was almost a deal breaker. This new shower head has changed the game for us, until we can renovate our master. Note: some extender arms come with a little rubber flow restrictor, so you’ll probably want to remove that so it doesn’t turn your rain shower into a drizzle shower.

2 – My favorite face masks are by GLAMGLOW. You might be familiar with the original GLAMGLOW mask, SUPERMUD. It pulls all of the icky stuff from your pores and gets better the more you use it because it keeps your pores from clogging.

3 – More from GLAMGLOW! One of their new masks, FLASHMUD has become my new fave. It’s claim to fame is that it brightens while also exfoliating. I notice a huge difference in my skin tone on days I use this bad boy.

4 – One more face mask. I love love love Fresh products and the Rose Face Mask is a staple. You can use it daily, in place of a traditional toner.

5 – Speaking of masks, they are great for hair too. I regularly use the Phytocitrus Color Protect Radiance Mask to help protect my highlights. A friend of mine is a big fan of the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Hair Recovery Mask and she always has shiny, amazing hair, so I am definitely snagging some on my next Target run.

6 – I love bubble baths, but our current master bath is shower only, so I’m living vicariously on this one. My friend swears by Laura Mercier Honey Bath and it sounds like it’s fab enough to make taking a bath in the kids bathroom worth it. I love that it comes with a cute little honey stick!

7 – Essential oils are definitely having a moment. Another friend suggested adding a few drops of lavender oil to coconut oil or an unscented lotion. A few drops would be perfect in the shower for aromatherapy.

8 & 9 – Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!!! If you aren’t on the exfoliation bandwagon, you need to be. Splurge. Save.

10 – Especially in the winter, it’s key to keep lips exfoliated too. I love this yummy sugar scrub by Sara Happ.

11 – Hydrating is huge for me because I have crazy dry skin. Right after I turn off the shower, I apply shea & coco butter baby oil. Then I do lotion on top of that – especially in the winter. My usual system is shower, baby oil, bathrobe, face mask, lotion.

12 – I am always on the look out for new lotions or body butters that don’t feel greasy. Right now, I’m swapping between this one by L’Occitane and this one by a small company from Indiana called Bass Farms. My mom gave me the Bass Farms goat milk body butter in Mandarin. The citrus scent really helps to beat the winter blahs.

What other must haves do you swear by? If a trip to the nail salon isn’t in your plans this weekend, hopefully you can at least get yourself to the shower and go off the grid for a while to decompress and hit your reset button. xoxo