It's officially spring, the weather is reaching the 70s and 80s, and my heart is just yearning to wear sweet flushed cheeks and soft shimmery eyes! I recently reorganized my makeup collection and discovered just how much of a blush junkie I am, and today I want to feature four of my absolute favorites for the warmer weather and to match with the season of pretty blooms and cherry blossoms.

The Face Shop Angel Kiss Lip & Cheek (Cutie Angel). For that dewey look we all strive for in spring, go for a cream blush! This one comes in an adorable little pot and is the perfect pure pink color. I love stippling this on to the apples of my cheeks, and sometimes go a little overboard on purpose to really experiment with that healthy flush.

Milani Luminoso. Cult favorite, right? You just can't go wrong with this beautiful shimmery peach shade. No highlighter needed, and any amount will do - it's the perfect no-fuss option for an everyday glow.

NYX Peach. NYX naming baffles me because this is definitely a dolly baby pink (and no hint of peachy shades, especially compared to Luminoso). However, the product itself is amazing. The blush is really soft and well-pigmented (I think I have the most NYX blushes out of any other brand in my collection), and this is my go-to to brighten up my face.

Essence Life's a Cherry. I am so glad I re-purchased this! I bought my first one in Rome (oh, the sentimental memories) but somehow it got lost in the jumble between packing up my Italian apartment, backpacking across Europe, and coming back to California. The pigmentation on this is insane, and it might be my favorite formula out of all of my powder blushes (yep, that beat Benefit Box Blushes too!). The color is an absolutely gorgeous red-toned pink with a hint of tangerine and I am obsessed with this for more of a statement cheek.

What sweet spring blushes are you busting out this season?
The ole blog's been lookin' a little dry and the quality of my posts is way down in the dumps this week. I've been knee-deep in the last details of an ad campaign case and came back to my parents' for spring break. It's been a lovely week of eating, shopping, and catching up on sleep but I forgot my camera back at school so I haven't been able to photograph and post as I've wanted to. I read Sophie's Makeup's Spring Goals post today, though, and thought it would be a great end-of-break post to refresh both my mind and my blog for the springtime.

Here are my spring goals!

Eat more balanced meals. I love vegetables, I just need to be more proactive in cooking them.

Exercise (at least) once a week. I utterly failed at the 30 day ab challenge, but I school ends mid-May so bikini season is a-coming!

Bust out those cute heels. I'd feel too dressed up for everyday (especially sitting in a lecture hall) in, but I have some adorable pumps and wedges that would be perfect for the springtime and romping around on a free day.

Spice up my outfits with color. All-black erry'thang ain't gonna cut it for spring.

Stop putting off writing cover letters. There are about 6 weeks left until graduation... Time to get those job apps in ASAP!

Wear bright pink lipstick. I have so many cute lip colors that I talk myself out of wearing on a regular basis because they're more bold than I'm used to but I just need to crack out of that comfort zone and wear what I want.

Save money - go on a spending ban. I've stocked up on spring clothes and maxed out my makeup collection so I'm going on a no-buy for the month of April (with one exception: a graduation dress).

Spend more time outside. I am a homebody and can easily spend all day rolling around, or stick myself in a library for absurd amounts of time, but I really want to sit outside and enjoy the crisp air.

Go to more cafes. I love cafes but I've recently fallen into a slump of studying at home because I can wear sweatpants without a care. Time to explore what new gems my neighborhood has to offer!

Spring clean, big time. I'm moving out of my apartment in a few months -- I need to start getting rid of things I don't need now!

Do you have any spring goals?

Itch. Burn. Itch. Redness. Flaking. Ugh. Sound familiar? Eczema is a common skin condition that causes the skin to become incredibly inflamed and irritated. It can affect any part of the body but most often affects bends like behind the knees. It's annoying. And guess what -- it's incurable. Thanks, genes, for passing down a pain in the ass.

I've got some on my inner elbow, behind my ears, sometimes around my mouth, and a stress-induced patch right under my eye that proves for some really fun skincare dilemmas during final exam week. Having battled eczema since I was young I've tried every product out there without much success. Extreme moisture body butters only provide temporary (as in... maybe a few hours?) of relief, and regular Cortizone 10 does absolutely nothing. However, I have found three products that have truly helped keep my eczema calm and at bay. If you have dry, itchy skin and are looking for some cures why don't you try some of these out?

Coconut Oil. This stuff works miracles. You can use it for cooking, but mine is dedicated solely to moisturizing my body. It melts at a really low temperature so will turn to liquid in your hands and sinks into the skin providing really great moisture. I use this all over and it's helped reduce KP (keratosis pelaris, AKA permanent goosebumps) as well as eczema and leaves my skin supple and smelling lovely. Not to mention it's also great for makeup removal and works double duty moisturizing the face as well. I like to put this on overnight so it has time to absorb (it does come on a little slick to begin with but does absorb well over time).

Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment. I only recently discovered this product after reading about it on some blog (I can't remember who!), but whoever was talking about it swore by its effects. It's a thick ointment instead of a lotion type so it sticks better to the skin. It's kind of like a protective film that combats flaking skin. I like to use this if I'm wearing sleeves that will rub against my elbow to prevent further irritation.

Hydrocortizone 1% (Walgreens Brand). This was a doctor-recommended product, but it's basically a steroid cream that helps protect and heal dry, irritated skin. Because it's so strong it's only recommended that you use it for 5-7 days consecutively before giving it a break because it can thin the skin and make veins and things more noticeable. This I save for those really bad inflammations because it's the ultimate healing product. I rely on the Hydrocortizone especially when I have awful eczema on my face because it's the only thing that has really helped (not even the coconut oil/Aquaphor can save me from my facial eczema). I've tried different drugstore brands but the Walgreens brand in this ugly packaging is the most effective by far!

What is epilating, and what does it have to do with this scary looking contraption!? Well, here I am today to talk about one of those hush-hush taboo topics for girls: hair removal. The easy way to explain epilating is to tell you that it's a teeny tweezer machine that pulls out your hair much like waxing but without the hot goop. I've never tried waxing (I can't stand the thought of other people pulling out my hair...), but I discovered epilating after hearing xteener talk about it a few years ago. I didn't actually try it until several months ago, though, after conducting a lot of research and deciding this was the best method for me. I found lots of reviews to be helpful but nothing quite comprehensive enough to make me 100% sure until I tried it, so I thought I'd share my experience with it here. This may be a little bit of a longer post, but I'm hoping it'll help clear up some questions and anxieties for some people who are interested in trying it out, so let me break it down.

Why I Started Epilating:
This may be a bit TMI but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I am really self-conscious about my underarms and I have dark, coarser hair (thanks asian genes) that shaving didn't really help, and neither did Nair. Since shaving only cuts the hair that has already grown out of the skin, I always ended up with darkness where hair was still under the surface. Epilating pulls hairs out from the root, just like tweezing, so I hoped it would cure me of my woes.

What Research I Did + Which One I Chose:
There are lots of different types of epilators ranging from around $30 to higher end models that cost well over $100. I honestly wouldn't trust the super cheap kinds just because it's a lot of mechanics going on, and just like normal tweezers you usually get better results from more expensive ones (darn your super sharp, efficient, but equally as expensive Tweezermans! You put my dollar store finds to shame!). Some varying features include speed settings, wet/dry use, cordless options, and removable heads.

I ended up purchasing the Panasonic ES-WD-51-P Ladies Wet/Dry Epilator from Amazon Prime for about $80. The selling points were:
  • The wet/dry capabilities. I read that wet epilation (i.e. doing it in the shower v. on dry skin) hurts less, which I've found is very true. I tried both wet/dry epilating and it's much more efficient and less strain on the skin when doing it in the shower because my skin is softer, making it easier to pull the hair out. Some epilators aren't water safe, but the wet/dry function is well worth the investment! 
  • It's cordless. It comes with a wall-charger and takes about an hour to reach full battery and lasts ~40 minutes on one charge (it usually takes me 10-15 minutes to epilate underarms/legs, so every charge lasts a few sessions!). It won't work while the cord is plugged in, but I like to use mine in the shower anyway so it's nice that it's cordless and easy to carry around and do wherever (and I'm not stuck to a wall outlet). 
  • It has a removable head and replacement shaver. This one not only epilates but, as shown in the photo, comes with a shaving attachment. This is an all-in-one replacement for a standard razor! Also it comes with a beginner guard for the epilating attachment to expose less tweezers at once so it hurts less and you can start out slow until you get used to it.
  • It's easy to clean. Along with the removable head and different skin guards that go over the tweezers, since everything comes apart really easily it's a breeze to wash out after I'm done. Not to mention the little brush it comes with to guarantee cleanliness and optimal hygiene. 
Some of the same questions and comments showed up in all of the reviews I saw but I'll weigh in on some points:

  • How do you use it? After attaching the epilating head it turns on with the touch of a button. The tweezers will start rotating and opening/closing at different times. Point it toward the area you want to epilate at a 90 degree angle and run it across the area in the direction the hair grows. Repeat as needed, and viola!
  • Does it hurt? Mm, yeah. A little. But honestly it did not hurt as much as I expected it to. Since there are so many tweezers rotating around at once and you move it as you go, there isn't much pain concentrated in each spot. Underarms are more sensitive than legs (it actually feels quite nice on the legs), but I find that putting some body wash on the epilator, turning it on to suds up, and then running it across the area in the shower is fast and effective. As long as you keep the skin taut it's bearable and gets better with more frequent use.
  • How well does it remove hair? It does a great job at getting most of the hair. It's a bit tough to really pinpoint some pesky ones in weird body contours so I will either pull the one or two left with some tweezers or just go over with a razor, but it leaves my skin way smoother than traditional shaving. Plus no roots!
  • Is it irritating? The first time I used it my skin bumped up a little and was really red, but honestly you're pulling your hair out so that's expected, right? It calmed down and was left super smooth (and no dark residue!) the next morning.
  • How long does it last? I epilate maybe once every 1.5 weeks? Obviously a setback is having to make sure the hair is long enough to epilate, but honestly I haven't found it to be a problem at all. Sometimes I get lazy and will just do minor touch-ups with a razor in between, but with each time I've used it the thinner the hair growing back is and the less of it there is, so overall it's definitely worth it. I'm super impressed!
How Do I Like It Overall?
Epilating is great! I think it's way more effective than shaving in terms of leaving my underarms smooth and hairless, and a great option for those who, like me, struggle with darker/coarser underarms. It's fast and easy on the legs as well, and the fact that I don't have to shave as often is great. My hair has grown back less frequently, in less quantity, and thinner. I'd say it's a great investment and I would definitely recommend the Panasonic one to anyone interested in trying it out.

I don't know many other people who epilate among my friends, but I think it's a great solution for a lot of people who just don't know what it is (yet). Have any more questions? I'd be happy to help!

After pulling a few too many late nights and binging on junk food to get me through this massive campaign project (how ironic that I'm posting at 7:30 am and I haven't slept yet... all nighters are so disorienting), the only things saving me from looking like a pizza-faced zombie are these two trusty concealers. I've already gone through several tubes of the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in light, but upon repurchasing for the third (or fourth?) time, I decided to try the Brightener. It's got a salmony tone that works great at livening up my face and bringing some much needed TLC to these bad boy eyebags. The coverage is superb and it blends super easily, lasting all day and hiding the reality of my under-rested state. I like the brightener more than the regular light color because it really perks up my undereyes. I've also been enjoying the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Light to take care of some pesky spots. I've been breaking out around my chin/mouth but this really takes care of the redness. I also like to use this around my nose to deemphasize pores and it does a solid job. I've heard it's a dupe for the NARS Creamy Concealer but I've never tried the high-end one so I guess I'm not of much help, just thought it might be useful information for those who have tried the pricier NARS one! The Fit Me Concealer doesn't last all day as I would have hoped, but it's one of the creamiest and best coverage concealers I've tries. Considering my "day" usually lasts around 14-16 hours I'm quite content with its performance since it gets me through at least the average school day!

Products mentioned:

I love how the Zara website has a "New This Week" page and they constantly update their selection of fast fashion. Their often minimalist yet edgy and interesting silhouettes and awesome basics with a twist are right up my alley and I'm excited to keep tabs on what they bring out as we get closer to summer. I took a look at their site the other day and found a ton of things I'm lusting to add to my spring/summer wardrobe so here's a quick wrap-up of my current Zara wishlist! What trends are you looking forward to?

Products mentioned:
Draped Trenchcoat    /    Ruffle Top    /    Cocoon Dress

Wowee, I've been nominated for an award?! Thanks so much to Phoebe's Diaries for tagging me for the Liebster Award -- it's exciting to know that people read and enjoy my blog! I really like reading these sorts of posts because they give a little more insight into the person behind the blog so I hope if you're interested you'll get to know a little more about me.

The rules are:
- Link the person who nominated you
- Answer the questions given by the nominator
- Nominate 11 other blogs who have less than 200 followers
- Create 11 questions for the nominees to answer
- Let bloggers know you have nominated them

1. What is the blog post you are most proud of?
I like this question! I really love how my Drugstore Berry Lip Edit turned out. The stained lips were definitely worth it.
2. What is your favourite film?
Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. I am fascinated by the world of street art, and even got to work for some in Rome, so I have a great appreciation for the artistic expressionism they bring to the everyday streets.

3. If you could be a fictional character who would you be?
Tolouse from The Aristocats

4. What three items would you take to a desert island?
Swiss army knife, a pot, and George Orwell's 1984. It's good to be practical, but I'd also need some entertainment and I never get tired of reading my favorite book.

5. If you could travel in time, where would you go?
Renaissance Rome! Just imagine the excitement of being there when the Sistine Chapel was commissioned.

6. Favourite band/artist?
Right now I'm loving the MisterWives.

7. Best place to eat out?
Thai food!

8. What do you like most about the country/town you are from?
This is a mixed-answer question. I was born in and spent a few years in Japan, and I love the mellow countryside and walking alongside the rice paddies near my grandpa's house. I've spend most of my life growing up in California, though, and I must say I love the mild weather and diversity of cultures in my area -- I've been spoiled, I don't know if I could ever live anywhere else in the US!

9. Best concert you've ever been to?
Ugh I've been to so many good ones! I loved seeing the MisterWives, Walk the Moon, and Bastille live, and Childish Gambino killed in on stage, but the most memorable would probably be Macklemore.

10. If you watch youtube, who is your favourite YouTuber?
EssieButton, for sure!

11. Cats or dogs?

Dogs. Cats kind of freak me out...

I nominate: Muted Mornings, The Turquoise Door, Hannah Butterworth,  Em and ThemOlivia & Life#justAlice, The Beauty Monologue, All or Nothing, Ahem, It's Emme, Dervish Darling

My questions for you are (drumroll please):
1. What is the blog post you are most proud of?
2. What's your favorite season to dress for?
3. What's your go-to TV show right now?
4. If you had a one-way ticket anywhere, where would you go?
5. What is your spirit animal?
6. What's your favorite website to visit?
7. How would you spend your perfect Saturday?
8. Tell a joke!
9. Strangest thing you've ever eaten?
10. What's your favorite word?
11. What does your handwriting look like? (Write your favorite quote and upload a photo!)