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august picks

I follow a lot of daily routines, emphasis on daily. I teeter on the edge of being considered high maintenance solely based on the occasional inflexibility that I have when it comes to letting go of certain daily routines, namely the ones surrounding my grooming efforts which includes but is not limited to my makeup, skincare, and bodily hygienic routines. Everything is fairly formulaic, with new products and formulas swapped in every once in awhile as my idea of shaking things up.

It's no surprise that I thrive off of following my routines, but each routine is unique to everyone. I made a video the other week on my YouTube channel about my makeup routine, which has pretty much been the same for the past, hm, four years? Products have changed, my needs are different, but the fundamentals are all still there. The beauty of us being our own individual selves is that nobody is going to do the exact same thing as you. So, I figured I'd break down the step-by-step fundamentals of what I do to my skin and face every day to find different adaptations for different needs.

First Step: Skincare

Your makeup is only as good as the skin beneath it all. My morning routine is as follows: single cleanse, (optional) toner, antioxidant serum, hydrating or brightening serum, firming eye cream, moisturizer, antioxidant face oil, SPF. Obviously, these steps are personal to my skincare needs. I live in a city with heavy pollution so antioxidants are a must to combat all of that. Hydrating is always key, so I like to ensure I'm keeping my skin moisturized and plump so it's bouncy and not flat or dull. Brightening helps balance out the dullness too, but I also like it to gradually fade pigmentation from acne scarring. And must I explain why SPF is important?

Maybe you just need to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Maybe you like anti-aging formulas. Pick your poison and be diligent about it being the precursor to the rest of your makeup routine, no matter what it includes.

Second Step: Eyes

I do eyes before skin but you can easily swap this step with the next depending on your preference. My eye looks can be summed up into a simple sentence: neutral with a wing. I prime my lids either with MAC's Paint Pot in Painterly or any concealer that I have on hand, depending on what I'm in the mood for that morning. My eye looks follow the same two to three color formula: light on the lids, medium to prep the outer corner and crease, darker color to intensify the outer-v of my eye and fade into the crease. After blending it all out, I put on my winged liner and then go over it with black eyeshadow to lock it in place.

Winged eyeliner is an essential piece in my everyday look. I don't go a weekday without doing it because I personally like the way it compliments my eye shape and creates extra drama on my face when combined with my bold brows and, er, strong nose. Maybe it's the Sophia Loren effect, I don't know! 

Test out what works for you! Try a wing, try just regular liner, maybe forego any liner on your upper lashline! Experiment with single-colored lids, use a cream eyeshadow and fade it up into the crease. The possibilities are truly endless. Not a fan of neutrals? Use a wash of any eyeshadow color!

Third Step: Face

I feel like this truly is where the variant comes in. Everyone has such different skin types and needs that you have a lot of freedom here. I use a medium buildable foundation, undereye concealer, regular concealer, (optional) liquid highlighter, undereye powder, shimmering setting powder, contour, (optional) shimmery bronzer, blush, and highlighter. That sounds like a lot because it is a lot, but I try to be careful about the way I layer. I try to do a single layer of foundation and build up coverage lightly with concealer to ensure my redness is concealed without packing on thick layers of product. I'm getting better about trying to hide my skin in general versus just spot concealing and letting some of my natural skin (just enhanced a bit) shine through. 

If your skin is not a concern when it comes to discoloration or acne, maybe opt for a light coverage, dewy foundation or a CC cream to just even out your skin tone slightly and add some other skin benefits as well. Alternately, if you're more comfortable wearing full coverage, I'm not here to stop you whatsoever.

If your cheeks are already sculpted out of marble, opt to skip contouring. Or, if you're like me and look like the moon emoji, use a little bit of contour to sculpt out your cheekbones ever so slightly (or maybe go dramatic, I'm not here to stop you!). 


I think at the end of the day, everything truly comes down to carving out your own routine. Or maybe you don't have a routine at all! The beauty of beauty is that we all have our own definition of it. There's pressure on both ends to wear a ton of makeup to "enhance" our looks and also alternately people argue that makeup is forced upon us by society and we should revolt and say screw it. 

I've talked about this on the blog before and I just firmly believe to put whatever you want on your face, whether it's a full face of makeup or absolutely nothing. We have the freedom to curate our own routines to our day-to-day needs or experiment as much as we'd like!

If you're reading this, you're right: I can't count. It's a basic skill I clearly never picked up throughout my childhood, instead choosing to spend my time learning the lyrics to songs that still take up prime real estate in my brain. All jokes aside, we're talking about five things today, but I also posted a bonus YouTube video this week about my July favorites and it only seemed right to cleverly meld these two things together for a lovely multi-media blog post. Get it, got it, good.

If you want to see a main chunk of my favorites, I'll embed the video right below this little chunk of text. It's mainly about beauty, including one haircare bit, some skincare, and a few miscellaneous makeup items that you may or may not have heard me talk about at some point or another. I also talked a lot about books, so if you don't follow me on Good Reads, you should probably do that because it's the only social media that matters to me right now. I read a total of like, seven or eight books in the past month and a half and only talked about four of them in this video, so like, you should definitely read them. You heard it here first!

But what fun would it be if I just embedded a video into a post and called it a day? I'm going to give like, five bonus favorites, mostly because I forgot to talk about them in the video and no doubt would forget to talk about them in next months favorite, so I should probably just get to it now and just expand upon the June loving and shout out some products and just general things.


This is super meta, right? In all seriousness, who would have thought that this would be on my list again? The ironic thing is that (1) I just made a post about checking in on my 2019 goals and when it came to the point of starting YouTube again, I think I just responded to myself with a long series of laughter and (2) I had a blog post planned about questions that I ask myself and one of them was "Will I ever start YouTube again?"

I really didn't think I was going to start it again and even if I was, it definitely wasn't going to be randomly on a weekend in July. Regardless, sometimes you just have to take a leap. I know I talked about it in my post about my abrupt return to YouTube as well as in my re-introductory video, but I needed to start doing something more creative with my life and time and this seemed like a nice foray into something that wasn't just writing blog posts and random freelance pop culture articles. 

Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser

Look, this isn't like other foaming cleansers. Foaming cleansers, historically, can tend to be drying for the skin and reap more consequences than benefits, but this Caudalie cleanser is missing one key ingredient that will strip your skin of its natural moisture: soap. It's light, airy, and is perfect for both my second cleanse or my morning cleanse, especially to refresh my skin on a weekend morning. It has Caudalie's traditional grape smell and is just so pleasant to use!

Makers Collective Mod Shapes Quilt Set

Your eyes are not deceiving you, there is indeed color in my room for the first time in a year. I decided that white bedding was just stressing me out with all of the miscellaneous makeup stains that somehow got everywhere, so I dropped it for this mod quilt set because, well, I don't know. I felt drawn to it based on some home accounts I stumbled upon on Instagram and decided that I, too, wanted a mod bedroom but with zero commitment to the trend. So, I got a reversible quilt and if I decide that I don't want color anymore, the other side is beige, just like my favorite foods and the rest of my wardrobe. It's a win-win situation, truly.

Frigidaire A/C Unit

If you did the mental math there, you are correct in realizing that I didn't have an air-conditioning unit in my apartment for the entire last year and yes I survived. But, alas, with the world ending in 2050, naturally summers are getting hotter and a simple old fan wasn't cutting it anymore. I got the Amazon favorite, the Frigidaire with 5000 BTUs (I don't know what any of this means but it apparently is important for A/C units) which is perfect for my bedroom and cooling down some of the living room when I leave my door open. How did I live without it for so long? I guess you just don't know what you got until it's gone, as Nick Jonas famously once whined.

If I did have an answer for this question, I sure as hell should have thought of it before I decided that (a) this blog post was a good idea and (b) that returning to YouTube after over a year absence was a good idea. If you thought I was absent on Instagram then just you wait until you take a look at my channel history on YouTube.

Let's just go back, back to the beginning as Hilary Duff famously sang. I started YouTube during my period of unemployment between moving home from Cleveland before I found my way to the city.  It seemed like a good use of time to keep myself motivated on the day to day to remain creative and not just laying in bed, crying that I hadn't gotten a job yet. I had gotten a dozen or so videos up before I got my job offer and sort of moved to the city in a whirlwind. When I got here, I didn't have my proper camera for over a month and things were just, as expected, hectic. I barely had time to breathe let alone film and edit and try to think of ideas for my blog and work and YouTube. Writing is my favorite form of medium, something I'm just incredibly comfortable with at this point. Video content was entirely out of my wheelhouse, but I enjoyed the challenge. However, when you're 22 and making no money and trying to acclimate to a new city–especially with New York City is that new city–and make friends and try not to get swallowed up whole...you have to make sacrifices and drop things from your plate.

YouTube was the easiest to drop, so I did. I never really meant for it to be permanent. Part of me always intended to bring it back, but I just didn't want to half-ass it. The problem with wanting everything to be perfect is that you will literally never get anything done, as perfection is a figment of all of our imaginations, besides like, Joe Jonas' face and entire existence. That's it.

I woke up on Saturday morning and I wanted to film. I didn't know what I wanted to film, I just knew that I had to sit down in front of the camera and just talk and not care about what came out of my mouth or what my hair looked like or the fact that I wasn't wearing eyeliner and was sweating bullets in my room while my air-conditioning unit was turned off. I got really comfortable with my rhythm of writing one, sometimes two blog posts a week. I got comfortable not writing anything besides my blog, forgetting all of the abandoned projects on my laptop. I got too comfortable stifling my creativity out of fear of failure.

Maybe I'll consistently post one YouTube video for the rest of forever. Maybe by fall I'll have decided that video content is not my forte. If I could predict the future, I would, but sadly I am a basic af plebian with no psychic abilities and that's fine.

Besides, I'm a narcissist. How could I resist sitting in my room alone talking to myself and chalking it all up to me being productive? Now that's a fucking dream.

I don't have a personal vendetta against Instagram by any means. I've always felt like I've had a good life balance when it comes to social media and have been careful of what kind of content I'm consuming on the platforms I choose to use now and have used in the past to ensure that my time on the internet is positive. Especially now, ten years and then some into the social media game, I know my limits and boundaries when it comes to who I follow, what I look at, and what I spend my time doing.

Social media can most certainly have an effect on someone's mental health, I'm definitely not the type of person who is going to pretend that those negative aspects of social media don't exist. It also opens up for an open forum of hate and garbage and anonymity to absolve users of responsibility for their words and actions. It's also a place where my creative outlet lives (hello, this blog) and my main sources of entertainment come from (I'll take YouTube for $100, Alex).

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram specifically. There was a brief period of time a few years ago where I was really worried about aesthetics and numbers. It really took the fun out of the app and even when I wasn't focusing on the look of a feed or numbers, I still focused a lot on my activity on the app. I wasn't really consuming content because I wanted to, I felt like I had to. This was also at a time where I would spend upwards of six hours of my day on Instagram for work, not even counting my own personal fun on the app. I specifically spent a lot of time looking at "influencers," a word I hate using despite working in the influencer marketing industry.

In my previous position at the same company I currently work at, I had a lot more time and flexibility to be on my phone during the day so I could engage with content that I wanted to engage with, but I still felt like it was a little forced. I would still refresh the app, especially during lulls, but I wasn't really sure what I was getting out of the app. It wasn't making me feel bad by any means (the comparison game no longer affects me, which was about a decade in the making since I turned eleven), but it wasn't making me feel much at all. Stories are always entertaining, but I wasn't getting the usual enjoyment out of scrolling through my feed. Instead of creative fun, it just didn't really feel like anything.

I switched positions within my company and inherited arguably too many responsibilities for about two months while there were transitions happening within our office. For about three months, I just didn't feel as connected to Instagram as I had in the past. I'd still log in and see what my friends were up to, but I stopped posting. Truly, I stopped creating content. I had blog posts up still, but I wasn't shooting any new original content for my feed. I just didn't feel inspired, especially with the very little free time I had that wasn't bogged down with work.

If I said I didn't care about Instagram, I'd be lying to some degree. I don't care about it in the way that some content creators do. I'm not here to judge anyone who cares about their feed or numbers, especially if their income–whether it's their main source or supplementary source–depends on it. I'm merely just here to be honest about saying that the numbers don't bug me. My sporadic posting schedule doesn't bug me. Truly, the only numbers I look at regularly are my Stories impressions, mostly because I just like to see how many people are viewing my shenanigans, mostly for my ego. I like to entertain in whatever way I can. My dad is a singer and while I'm not musical, I still like to give people a show, and mine is through nonsensical slides that exist for 24 hours on my Instagram Stories.

The inspiration for Instagram is coming back slowly but surely. I feel a little more excited to log on and craft captions. Hopefully new content will follow, but that would require me to not sweat out of every single possible pore in my body in this god forsaken New York City heat.

While I am not a 90's baby in my 80's Mercedes (I see you though, Maren Morris, I see you girl), I am indeed a 90's baby riding the MTA on my expensed Metrocard and honestly, what's the difference? It's just less catchy when it comes to crossover hits but that's really about it.

I don't think it's any surprise that 90's fashion is back. It's been back, but it's still riding high on the street style circuit and quite frankly, I'm here for it. I was a little tot back in 90's so my mom was in charge of dressing me for the most part (actually, not for the most part, she literally was the only person who dressed me because my father was not to be trusted). Kathy G made sure I was suited and booted in up to date styles because she knew from a young age I was destined to be a fashionista. Just kidding. 

Since I couldn't fully enjoy 90's fashion while it was a thing because I was, you know, an infant growing into a small child who just liked to say the word "fuck" a lot for shock value, I'm taking full advantage now that I am a 23-year-old adult that still likes to say "fuck" a lot.

I'm not quite sure what it is about 90's fashion that makes it so desirable, but I truly believe there is something for everyone. I mean, come on, when high-wasited jeans are a staple in the trend, could it possibly be bad? I don't think so. High-waisted or bust, y'all. Or rather, high-waisted to your bust, am I right? The higher the better! The higher the waist the closer to god should be the new saying on the streets.

For all my people out there who like to follow the traditional female fashion trends, they were popping back in the day with babydoll dresses, leather jackets, pantsuits, slip dresses (god bless the slip dress), hot pants (I'm afraid of anything that has that much spandex in it but more power to y'all), satin skirts, vinyl, animal print galore, 70's revival, really, must I go on?

When I think 90's style, I always gravitate towards Rachel on Friends. I don't particularly even like Friends all that much (please wait before you throw the first stone, thank you!) but I can appreciate it for what it is: a 90's classic that has forever frozen that era in time. If you throw in some Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Full House, Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and of course, the milennial classic Clueless, you have more than enough fashion inspiration to last you a lifetime.

Every time I layer a cami dress over a white t-shirt, I immediately feel like Rachel Green and wonder if I need to give my hair the chop. Just kidding. About the hair-cutting part. I legitimately feel like Rachel every single time and get irrationally angry at Ross' fictional existence because he is one of the wor–

This is not an essay on my hatred towards Ross, I will refrain. 

I digress, there's something deliciously nostalgic about dressing in 90's fashion trends, somewhat upgraded to modern times. It wasn't enough an era in which I truly remember, but it's certainly more of an attractive era versus low-rise jeans, Hollister camisoles, and the horror of Disney fashion (you know, when they layer fourteen pieces of clothing on top of each other and hope for the best). I'm not going to be ignorant and call 90's fashion "vintage," but let's be real here, it was almost two decades ago. That's pretty wild to think about if you ask me! Time flies, y'all.

Shirt: ASOS
Dress: H&M
Boots: ASOS
Purse: Rebecca Minkoff
Sunglasses: Illesteva
Necklace: Kate Spade

Photos by Emily Polner

It's been a while since I've tested out any new foundations, mostly because I've been working through my three shades of the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation and repurchased my tried and true CoverGirl 3-in-1 for those days when I just need something I'm all too familiar with. But, my dear friend Hannah from The Cleansed Review came through and brought me two gifts that I was not worthy of: Dior's Airflash Foundation and Too Faced's Peach Perfect Foundation.

Since foundation is something that I wear on a daily basis, I figured it was time to share my thoughts on these foundations and see how they rank compared to the rest of the foundations I've ever tried. As a reminder, here is what I'm looking for when it comes to foundations:
  • Buildable medium to full coverage
  • Dewy to matte finish, preferably demi-matte
  • All day wear (minor touch-ups after a long workday okay)
  • Formula that's easy to apply with a beauty sponge
Now that we've gotten those formalities out of the way, let's just dive right into the Too Faced Peach Perfect foundation.

Right off the bat, the matte portion kind of goes against what I'm looking for, however, it doesn't matter much when I like to add liquid highlighter to my foundation anyways to make everything look as dewy as possible. This comes in a tube but has a pump which is my preferred foundation set-up for like, sanitary purposes. But also it's so much easier to gauge how much foundation you're using when you have a pump versus just pouring it onto the back of your hand and hoping for the best! The foundation has a faint peach scent, like that entire line of peach products in Too Faced's range, but it's not overpowering, especially for being, you know, literally on your face and nose.

This is definitely a more medium to full coverage, but it's very buildable and blendable, which I sometimes struggle with when it comes to the lighter shades of my Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation. It's super smooth and creamy and does have a pretty matte finish, especially if I set it with anything besides my Laura Mercier Glow Translucent Powder (that shit makes everything glow). 

I don't really feel this when I'm wearing it aside from when it is incredibly humid out, which in its defense, affects all of my foundations and even my skin when I'm not even wearing anything on it. The only place I noticed this somewhat breaking down was on my chin, which tends to happen when the weather heats up and sweat starts to build up in the strangest of places. Sometimes it just requires a quick tap of a damp beauty sponge to fix it!

Dior Airflash is something I've always wanted to try, but wasn't ready (and still am not) to dish out the $62 for a foundation when I usually go through one every few months. Despite the price and fear of getting addicted to it, I accepted the gift from Hannah and it might have ruined my life in the best way possible.

This foundation...is so nice. GUYS, IT IS SO NICE AND I AM NOT WORTHY OF IT. This foundation has the most beautiful semi-matte finish and feels so lightweight but still offers coverage and I just don't know how to process my feelings about it. I tend to spray mine onto the bottom of a damp beauty sponge and bounce on my face versus spraying the bottle directly onto my skin and blending out. It weighs absolutely nothing and doesn't feel heavy or sticky on my face whatsoever. It doesn't break down on my nose or chin (besides at the end of a super long, humid day, which any foundation would do). I barely have to use concealer on my blemishes after I use this and never have to touch up during the day.

Overall, I truly enjoy both foundations, but Dior Airflash has my heart and I'm so nervous to run out of it because I am considering repurchasing. So like, RIP my bank account I guess!

Have you tried either of these foundations before?