Skincare Faves of 2015

How can one bundle up his or her favorites into one post? There are just FAR too many. I decided to start with skincare. I am still finalizing my list of makeup favorites and man is it hard to trim things down. I honestly do feel more passionate about skincare and truly investing in your skin, but of course- makeup is just so damn fun. However, let’s get into the skincare faves. We have a lot to chat about!!! EEEEEE!! So excited to share!

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Kate Somerville Clearing Mask

I bought this about a year ago in complete desperation. As some of you know from my past posts – I take Spironolactone for my cystic and hormonal acne. At the height of my self consciousness and hyper-pigmentation I bought this mask in hopes of not even clear skin, but better textured skin. I knew that clear skin was a long shot and honestly felt that I would never have smooth, pimple free skin again hence this purchase. I don’t normally buy masks like this because I believe in using my stuff from the derm with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid but I digress…I apply this only to the areas of concern – mostly forehead and chin. I only leave it on for five minutes and when I take it off – you will be amazed. THINGS CALM THE EFF DOWN. Spots seemed to be less irritated and not as large. You also do not feel like your skin is burning or becoming irritated from having something so potent on your face  – I mean unless you leave it on for like 15 minutes. I do not recommend that. I use this maybe once every two weeks or as needed depending on my skin situation and it does not dry me out too much at all. I don’t feel the need to amp up the moisturization because it is not stripping. Bonus: the packaging is so hygienic. K.S. knows what she is doing in that area.

Fresh Rose Face Mask

We all know this is a cult classic. I have had a love-hate relationship with this and I am sort of ticked off that I am almost to the bottom of my pot and feel like I finally figured out how to use it. So…the key to this is to leave it on overnight. I start with one simple layer…let it sink in…and then go in with one more before bed. This looks like a General Tao’s Chicken sauce, but mostly dries colorless however you may have the odd, brown clump on your face but I am sure you can deal. It is very gentle and feels very refreshing on the face. Because it is a hydrating mask I have a tendency to leave them on for longer and have never had an issue with blocked pores or irritation. If you are in the market for a nice tub of something – this should be your next purchase. Obviously anything with rose petals mixed in feels comforting and I highly recommend using this cold and after a hot bath. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

I did a lot of research on this before I dove in to purchase it. I was not sure if it would irritate my skin and make things worse or would help. I always air on the side of caution with products that have essential oils in them, which is a shame and very annoying, however, this stuff has done a whole lot of good for me. I use this mostly at night after I do my oil cleanse. It feels very refreshing on the skin and is packed with Vitamin C (collagen boosting and radiance enhancing), green clay (vacuum for those pores), jasmine (nourishing and helps fade scars), sandalwood (soothing, cooling and astringent like) and other sources like frankincense and myrrh…jk on the myrrh…clearly I still have X-mas on the brain. I have never felt a stinging sensation when lathering and my skin feels clean without the tightness. If you are into splurging for a nice cleanser  I would take this for a spin.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Shocker. Another mask. Sorry. Last one though. With Asian skincare being a hot topic of discussion, I was so happy to see this arrive at Target. I originally purchased a balancing lotion by the brand and then went back to purchase this. If I was on a plane – this would be my choice for hydration. It seeps right into skin and I even put it under my eyes and on my neck. It is a gel-cream that is light blue and is another mask I think works so well cold. I usually use this after I have used a radiance mask and want to pamper myself even further. The price point also makes me a happy girl.

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Legere (comes in Riche as well)

I am starting to see a trend here with a lot my favorites. I am all about hydration. There is nothing  better than having plump skin that is soft and radiates. I have gone through a few tubes of this and I use it all year round. It is a 24 hour re-hydrating cream that really sticks it to dehydrated skin. Even though in the winter time I rely on this I really favor this in the summer. Because I use retinol and safely baske in the sun’s rays my skin can become flaky and very reactive. This does not necessarily calm things down, but plumps things back up and takes care of the dry flakes. I am so glad La Roche Posay is now available at CVS. Such great quality without the fragrance, alcohol and dent to my wallet.

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion – Dry to Very Dry Skin

I’ve tried it all – Vaseline (my 2nd choice to this), St. Ives and Eucerin. I am a drugstore, body lotion hoe. After Vaseline reformulated it’s Repairing Moisture offering (at least I think they did because it smells different and feels stickier than before) I had to find a second love. Enter in this Nivea Cocoa Butter. Now – I am not really a cocoa butter fan but this stuff smells so warmly nutty and is outrageously hydrating. It is a little bit thick, but nothing like Eucerin. To be honest with you the award winning aspect of all this is that I apply this to my bum and that crevice where your hamstring meets the bottom shelf of my bum. HOLY. SMOOTH. I am going spare you all further TMI but just trust me on this lotion’s hydrating and soothing capabilities.

Bio-Oil

This is pretty much always a favorite of mine. I mix it with my foundation for some more hydration, I have slathered it on my feet mixed with tea tree oil, I use it on my elbows, knees and other dry bits and I literally douse myself in it before a long walk into the city on the coldest of days. I also burnt the absolute shit out of my leg with a curling iron (I curl my hair a la nude) and it was pretty nasty. This comforted my skin and kept the scales at bay….this is even used in hospitals for burn victims. The smell is rose-y but not overpowering. Go get some…like right now. If you are a new mommy and have stretch marks from all of your hard work use this on them!

La Roche Posay Ultra Toleraine Ultra – Intense Soothing Care

I first started using this in conjunction with my heavy duty acne products. I was so dry and had pimples from dehydration and turned to this to help me. It is a touch greasy but was the one product that helped me out. I also turned to this again last winter… Can we just revisit the infamous 2014 winter…The worst. What sold me to purchase this again is that it is recommended for eyes as well. I would get these pink eczema patches on my eyes and this cleared everything right up. This is great for those that suffer from rosacea. I noticed that the redness around my nose subsides greatly when I use this. It is also packaged quite uniquely. There is a plastic bottle and then within the bottle is a vacuum sealed bag with the product so no air gets in. You can gauge how much you have left because the bag shrinks up with continued use. If you have sensitive, dry, rosacea, dehydrated skin you have found your match.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

This is a more recent addition to my skincare family and am so glad to have it. It is a light cream that is a miracle worker for the complexion. It smells quite lemony but really gets to work on your radiance. It helped further even out marks from pimples and makes the tops of my cheekbones glow even without highlighter. I had no expectations for this but was pleasantly surprised. I try to use this every night, but I want to make it last, not over stimulate my skin, and also insert in other radiance boosting products so if I use it every other night, I am still happy with the way my skin looks the next day.

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

I know I just wrote about this oil and Good Genes recently but it has quickly become my favorite oil (next to Bio-Oil obvi). This is just lovely. When I wake up in the morning after using this I feel like my skin is saying “Thank you”. It is an all around pleasure to have this. The pipette is great for distribution and the formula is not too thick. It has blue tansy in it which I have read up about and not only does it help damaged skin but it known for its tranquility and sweet aroma, which is probably why this formula is best for sleeping. What makes the oil blue is something called chamazulene which emerges during a distillation process and this can aid those with allergies and asthma gets up out of chair for a standing ovation. Of  course the price point is STEEP, however, a little goes a long way.

AND THERE YOU ALL HAVE IT. MY 2015 SKINCARE FAVES! I hope you all maybe learned a thing or two or even feel the same about some of my pics!!!

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.

Hill XO.

Monday Blues

Good morning, everyone!

This is the first post after Christmas but one of the last of 2015. I always enjoy the week after Christmas. Things slow down. People take time off to be with their families and work seems to be a little less stressful. I actually feel sort of relaxed while writing this. I don’t feel the need to finish quickly so I can get moving on other pending items.

Hopefully all of you had a great holiday. I have very few photos since I spent the last week with a cold…probably a 6.5 on a 1 – 10 scale. I had minimal body aches and could sleep well, but lethargy and a sore throat just made me feel like luggage. I actually did not dress up at all for Christmas. I wore my cheetah-print pajamas all day…even when guests arrived. I just did not have it in me.

On Christmas day, my dog leapt off the couch in pursuit for a chocolate treat I was eating and dislocated his hip. My stepdad, my boyfriend and I all made a lovely trip to the vet around 8pm. HE IS OK however he did have to be put under and have his hip clicked back into place and he now has his two legs tied together to prevent him from splaying out. POOR LITTLE GUY. I was in hysterics for about five minutes and then a crazy motherly side of me kicked in and I found a 24/7 vet, rounded up the troops, grabbed my keys, and was out the door.

I am sure most of you had a healthier and quieter holiday than we did over here in RI but it was one for the books! We will always remember it as the Christmas that “Henry dislocated his hip” 🙂

Thank you everyone for reading!

Hill XO

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Does anyone else have a small obsession with the RHONJ? I’m glad the bitch is back. I guarantee you the next season will feature Tre’s homecoming. I honestly do not think she is as stupid as everyone thinks she is. DO NOT JUDGE ME. 

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My boyfriend and I decided not to exchange gifts this year and instead do a nice dinner and a weekend trip. The weekend trip is in the works, but we went to dinner at La Masseria and ordered a bottle of wine. The label read sideways so you had to turn the bottle. It was quite spicy and went well with our apps and pasta dishes! 

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It honestly hurts to see this cutie at the vet. We were able to say goodnight but it was heartbreaking. 

The Perfect Eyeshadow for Christmas

I know all of you are sorting through your personal collections for that perfect red for the holiday whether it be on your nails or your lips. Finding that perfect red lipstick can take a bit of trial and error since a multitude of criteria are taken into consideration such as the finish, the texture, and saturation. However, after we find that perfect color – what about our eyes? Should we do a winged liner or should we do just a swipe of color or just mascara? I CAN ANSWER THIS FOR YOU.

This passed weekend was my birthday and  I wanted to do a red lip (MAC’s Russian Red is my GO TO) but wanted at least some color on the lids…I pulled together the perfect cocktail of colors to give just a hint of color while feeling festive without going overboard.

I just sort of stumbled upon this look. I was in a rush and did not feel like rummaging through my palettes to find the perfect colors so I literally used whatever was right in front of me. I only applied these colors to my upper lid, vetoed against doing any sort of crease work and just loaded up on my mascara!

I started with Rubenesque by MAC, one of their notorious paint pots. The glory of these is that they are not as saturated as they are in the pot and go on smoothly without too much effort. I applied this up to my crease with my fingers and then just continued to blend out the edges. The color is so great even in the summer with a nude lip. It is a peachy gold and stays put all day! Cream eyeshadows and I get along like Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox.

Next, I wanted a little more saturation and to set the cream. I grabbed my Hourglass highlighting palette and used a MAC 239 to pat the gold highlighter over the top of Rubenesque. BEST DECISION EVER. This passed week I have worn this combo almost everyday and it is so subtle but so beautiful. Plus, this Hourglass palette is handy for setting, highlighting and bronzing. The formula is top-notch and the powders are so smooth and decadent. The gold color looks amazing in all different sorts of lighting.

Lastly, I wanted a little bit of a cool tone on my lids so I went in with MAC’s ‘Naked’ loose pigment.  Now, it does not look very shimmery or interesting in this small tube, but trust me, its perfect for just brightening up the inner eyes. It is not as gold as the other two, but pairs well. This gives a small ombre effect to the lids and is just a finishing touch. You need a very small amount and you can either use your ring finger to place it or get a small, dense, tapered brush.

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Top: Rubenesque Paint Pot by MAC, Middle: MAC’s Pigment in Naked, Bottom: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Radiant Light 

I hope this was helpful for some of you who just need an idea for a subtle but adorable eye look to go with your red lips! I hope everyone has a FABULOUS holiday!!!!

Hill XO

Monday Blues

Happy Monday to all of you. Christmas is so close and I really am getting into the spirit. I also am very happy that this means work will be quite quiet and I can make sure everything is buttoned up nicely for the break. I am really looking forward to spending time with my family and relaxing!

I hope all of you had a great weekend. It was so cold here in the Northeast but it felt good to cozy up with a nice cup of tea and walk around the city without sweating. Boston is just so beautiful at this time of year. Commonwealth Avenue is one of my favorite places to stroll through and see all the lights. I have a small obsession with peering through people’s windows and just seeing a quick snippet of someone else’s life that you don’t know WHATSOEVER. It’s not like I put my hands up on the windowsill and peek in but I enjoy slowing my walk down and jut taking an extended peek.

Yesterday was my birthday so I enjoyed copious amounts of food and drink. As I get older I care less abut the birthday and just enjoy being with my family and friends. Yesterday my family came up to Boston and we went out for an early dinner. My roommate threw me a party Saturday night and it was even more special because my boyfriend stayed the whole weekend. I love having my birthday around Christmas and the 20th is the day before the Winter Solstice which is such a powerful time of year.

Here are some pics from the weekend!

 Thanks for reading

Hill XO

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The girls and I  getting quite silly prior to going out.

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I just adore him and this photo. 

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Spaghetti Carbonara. So egg-y and so delicious

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A hazelnut hot chocolate with whipped cream…also my birthday desert. It was heaven. 

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Birthday selfie. I loved this make up look. I am wearing Russian Red by MAC here.

Bite Lipstick – Retsina

In my Monday post I included a picture of my current nude lipstick favorite – Retsina by Bite. It looks much more red flesh tone in the bullet but when I put it on, it turns my lips into this pinky-nude delight. I love wearing this lipstick even to the gym. Its hydrating, never leaves my lips feathery and especially looks great with a smokey eye.

I have other lipsticks by Bite, and they are so saturated. The color range is also impressive. Their twist up, crayon like pencils are amazing for application. Since I have thin lips, they make it very easy to get that color on and get out the door! Even their matte selections are quite satin-y with a hint of shine and are very comfortable. If you do not own a Bite lippy – what are you waiting for?

Here is my favorite look to wear with Retsina!

Thanks for reading

Hill XO

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Liquid Liner Comparison – Drugstore

Ok. I have a small obsession with liquid eyeliner. I consider myself to be constantly on the hunt for the perfect one and to narrow things down – drugstore brands are where its at. During Sephora’s VIB Rouge event, I bought Estee Lauder’s ‘Little Black Liner’ which was a dual ended pen. CAN I TELL YOU HOW AWFUL IT WAS? By the time I made it to work the wing was OFF and it transferred….I HAPPILY returned it and wrote a review on Sephora about it!

Anyways, I have for you today two liners… Maybelline and NYX. They both are pens, dry as black mattes (love it) BUT are totally different in regards to application and  the look of the felt tip.

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First up – Maybelline Master Precise Liner. I like this. I would probably prefer the Kat Von D liner but its still good…I bought this because I wanted to try something different. The tip is long and tapered and would be perfect for those dipping their toes in the liquid liner pool. Because of its very cone like nib it drags very nicely and is not for those that prefer to fly without wings. Since I have hooded eyes, this works well  by flicking out the corners. THE CATCH: It is very dry when applying. I think I prefer something a bit more wet that then dries down to a matte finish. So, if you need to double back on your work and further saturate the color, it can be tumultuous. A word on staying power – EXCELLENT.

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The liner closest to my knuckles is NYX and the one further down is Maybelline. You can see how the Maybelline one has that natural, gradual thickness effect.

Second is the NYX Super Skinny Marker. This was a total impulse buy. I wanted to try something from NYX besides their lipglosses and blush. As you can see the tip is VERY VERY SHORT. It’s not stubby by any means but is petite and I think would work better for those that don’t need as much guidance with shape. It is the perfect option for concentrating on the outer corners of your eyes. It makes it easy to transition from outer corner to the center of the eye without bringing the liner to the inner corners. This could be better suited for those with close set eyes that crave a little more width to their face or who would like to just fill in their lash line. It dries just like the Maybelline does and stays on forever. I went to bed with this on this past Saturday (oopssss) and it still looked AMAZING the next day!

In the photo below, I am wearing the NYX liner!

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Thanks for reading,

Hill XO

Monday Blues

Lazy but productive Sundays are the best types of Sundays. Throwing in a load of laundry between Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes is my definition of getting $#@* done without the whole “let me blast music and clean the absolute crud out of everything and ditch the workout since THIS will be my cardio”….CRINGE…that was not what I was about to do yesterday. Subtle cleaning was my aim. I cleaned up my room a little bit, dusted my picture frames and Windexed my glass trays…the devil is in the details.

Even though I slept in, had a nap, did some yoga and was an all around sloth – I am still so tired! GOD, MONDAYS JUST ABSOLUTELY KILL ME! I would love to be able to work four, ten hour days and then have Mondays off just to amp myself up for the week. Working on a Monday vs. Friday is much less appealing. On Friday you still have a touch more momentum.

I hope everyone has a great coming week…I only have two photos…I am very lame. I will be back this week with some good stuff. PROMISE!

Thanks for reading,

Hill XO

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I found this photo on Pinterest to show you all my favorite yoga pose at the moment – Frog. It is VERY INTENSE and you feel quite vulnerable. I do this after my workout or after my practice and stay in it for about a minute. The blocks are detrimental since they help keep the upper body open and aligned. Make sure your knees make a 90 degree angle so you feel those inner thighs and pelvic bowl release a bit. Do this right before bed…when you come out of the pose, it feels amazing. 

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My current lip favorite. This is much more nude than what it looks like on the lips. Bite makes such great colors and formulations. This is “Retsina”. I will try to feature a make up look with it this week! 

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My dog (Henry) on his favorite chair next to the Christmas tree. Such a love. 

The BEST Ride of My Life

 

For those of you that enjoy indoor cycling classes, I just have to boast about my playlist from this week. When you teach there are times when making a playlist takes about five minutes and other times when it takes what feels like forever. Once I start thinking about it too much,  I lose my mojo. This week there were some new releases on iTunes that made my playlist making a cinch. This week we climbed at the beginning for quite a bit and then took it down, added in some speed, jumps, MORE speed,  medium hills and then ended with SPEED AGAIN to top it off.

Here is a peak at the playlist with choreography…

  1. LunchMoney Lewis – Ain’t Too Cool ~ This is the Uptown Funk of 2015. Warmup.
  2. Audien – Rooms ~ 5,6,7 with an aggressive pace
  3. Justin Bieber – Children ~ Standing climb out in 3rd. 7 for resistance. Saddle during the verse, out in 3rd for the chorus
  4. Halsey – Hold Me Down ~ 9 to 7.5 in the saddle the whole time. No pace really, just get through the maximum resistance and then during the chorus release it for about 30
  5. David Guetta – Rise ~ MY JAM FOR JUMPS. 4 counts – fast counts during the verse, slow counts during the chorus
  6. David Guetta – Lift Me Up ~ Transitions. 3rd at 6.5 (just enough to get rid of the bounce) and then explode with speed in the saddle at 70% on a 5, 2x
  7. Kiiara – Gold ~ Isolations with tap backs! THIS SONG MAKES ME WANT TO GO TO A TROPICAL ISLAND AND SNORKLE
  8. Flo Rida – Dirty Mind ~ Anything Flo makes me move. Small resistance increases, Saddle, Standing, 3rd with quarter turn adds, 3 rounds
  9. David Guetta – Night of Your Life ~ I mean we all know Jennifer Hudson takes this to a smash hit. Get on a 5, then to 65%, 75%, 85% of cadence max, 15 seconds at each interval, 45 seconds total, 3x!!!! If they ain’t dog tired – they ain’t workin’
  10. The Weeknd – In the Night ~ I am so glad this is his new single. It is the best song on the album. Very MJ. Jumps during the chorus on a 7. add resistance after every chorus.
  11. Christina Aguilera and CeeLo – Make the World Move ~ WOOOOOOHOOOOOO. I thought with all the negative things going on right now I needed an uplifting song. Three sprints, 25 each.

Thanks for reading everyone!!!

Hill xoIMG_0286.PNG

The Gift Set You Should Get For Yourself

‘One for you and two for me’ is a phrase that I am trying not to act upon during this holiday season. While shopping for loved ones and friends I tend to have a habit of picking up the same gift that I am planning on purchasing for someone for the simple fact that I want one too! I get serious gift envy even though I will  be the recipient of presents as well…does this happen to anyone else? …I hope people don’t think I am selfish?

However, this holiday season Sephora has really stepped up their game with their gift sets. While having a nice look through online, I found this Sunday Riley Power Couple Kit. I thought for $78 it was such a steal. Good Genes and the Luna Oil have been on my wishlist for awhile. I received a sample of the Luna Oil about a month ago and just adore it. Besides this purchase the only other thing I have actually bought myself is a striped turtleneck from Banana that was on sale for $15. HONEST TRUTH.

Since I have only read about Good Genes and have ONLY heard fab things, I thought this Power Couple Kit would be great for me. I have used Good Genes three times and I don’t think it is a fair amount of time to judge, but my cheeks do feel more refined and soft. My acne scars seem to not have faded but like I said, its too early to tell, but so far so good.

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After purchasing Riley’s Artemis Oil, I liked it but didn’t love it however, I was willing to give another one of her oils a go. Luna’s blue, light as air serum wins in my book. While Artemis’ goal was help clear up acne but be hydrating, I don’t think it helped as much as Luna has. Since Luna is a night treatment, my skin feels refreshed and brighter by the morning. The only issue with Luna is that since it has retinol properties, I have to be careful to not overdose on my actual retional prescription. I tend to use my Luna after a good face mask and pamper and then use my prescription in the morning on alternate days.

Usually these two items are $105 each. Of course the set does not include the full size bottles. You receive 0.5 oz of each product. The regular size of Luna is 1 ounce, so you receive half in the set. Good Genes’ normal volume is 4.2 ounces and I think they could have included a little bit more in the  gift set, but I am still not complaining for the price tag.

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I just looked at Sephora online and it says its out of stock! I am not sure if it will be available in stores or not, however your best bet if you cannot get your mitts on it is to get samples in the store and see how they work for you! Maybe this set will give you all gift ideas for someone else or even yourself, but either way, Sunday Riley’s products are one of a kind and are awesome options for us girls that just LOVE SKINCARE.

Thanks for reading!

Hill XO

Monday Blues

Ugh. Monday. HEY.

I am not sure how many times I scrolled through my photos today to try to put myself right back into my weekend. It was superb. Perfect ratio of rest and activities.

Yesterday my roommate and I walked to the North End from Southie with her mom and her mother’s friend. We walked all along the Seaport and then stopped in for lattes at Thinking Cup and picked up bread from Bricco. Their hazelnut latte has little nut pieces sprinkled in their mixture and I was just in pure heaven. It was cold when we started but was the perfect temp when we ended. The sun was so bright and the water was so calm.

Here are some pics for all of you! I’ll be back this week.

Thanks for reading,

Hill XO

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Enjoying my coffee in a HUGE mug before my hair appointment.

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It’s not a perfect photo since the Turkish towel underneath is ruffled, but I had to snap a photo before heading out for work. Those flowers are adorable. 

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My first Skin Food purchase. Looking forward to using this in a PLETHORA of places on my body for some extra hydration this season. 

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The best hazelnut latte….EVER. This was better than coffee I drank in Spain when I was abroad. NOW that is saying something.

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My cute little Henry. He just turned 9. Such a character.