Friday, April 24, 2015

playing for keeps

Jacket: Old Navy; Dress: Zara; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; Clutch: Vintage; Watch: Daniel Wellington; Bracelet: BaubleBar

This dress and I have quite the history. 

Admittedly, the dress itself isn't anything remarkable really. It's from Zara, circa 2006 but I distinctly remember the day I purchased it. I was studying abroad in Turin, Italy for a semester in college and was having the time of my life -- bouncing around Europe on the weekends with my classmates, taking full advantage of the afternoon siesta life and generally experiencing that pinch-me feeling every time I stepped out my small apartment to cobblestone streets, the air buzzing with Italian from nearby vendors and passerby on their way to work.

I remember roaming around the downtown shopping district on the weekends, admiring just how naturally stylish everyone was -- both women and men. Of course, I lingered in front of the glossy window fronts -- Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino -- feasting on their latest sartorial confections, shiny and far beyond reach (the curse of champagne taste on a beer budget, or rather a student budget in this case). 

But then there was Zara. And this dress.

It was toward the end of March, with the promise of spring weather around the corner and I recall seeing this particular dress in the window display. I immediately fell in love with the oversized floral print, the slightly retro flare and the fact we were going to Rome soon for the Easter break, where I wouldn't want to be wearing anything aside from this dress. On a Vespa. Eating gelato on the Spanish Steps. Preferably with Gregory Peck in tow. 

Of course, I rushed in, tried the dress on. And proceeded to wear the dress all over Italy. To Rome. Later in Venice. A road trip through Florence. And lots of train rides over to Milan. It was my fool-proof, feel great dress -- with notes of Audrey and Grace -- and, as funny as it is to admit here in type, I felt invincible in it. 

Flash forward 9 years, and it's one of the few Zara pieces that's survived countless closet clean outs and multiple apartment moves. It has one strap that's slightly busted (I have it very precariously sewed on right now), with more coffee stains on it than I would like to admit, but I can never seem to bring myself to part with it. Why? Probably because it reminds me too much of gelato breaks, the pizzeria we lived upstairs from, the butcher down the street who found our English intriguing and our attempts at Italian adorable, and sitting in piazzas during siesta breaks to purely take in the sunshine and silence of the afternoon over an espresso. So many vivid memories in just one dress that I happened to spot in a window on a random afternoon.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

my 5 skin care must haves right now {boots beauty}

So can I sneak a #31 on my 30 before 30 list?

I can? OK, great!

In that case, #31 would go a little something like this, ahem: SKIN CARE.

We've talked a little bit about skin around here on the blog before. And to be completely honest, it hasn't been something I've actively invested a lot of time in until recent years. Perhaps that's the onset of premature warnings of taking the right "anti-aging" steps that you get bombarded with in your mid to late 20s or the fact that my skin seems to be much more prone to breakouts lately (from what I've read, it seems to be hormone related, so hey, hormones, let's get it together, OK?). 

Either way, I like to think I'm looking at skin care more holistically these days. What I eat, drink, how much I exercise and even how much I sleep all plays a huge role, and I'm trying to be mindful of each factor's impact (perhaps another blog post, for another day?). As far as a product regimen goes, I'm relatively a creature of habit, often only introducing something new into the routine after it's come highly recommended by a trusted girlfriend.

This is where Boots Beauty comes in.

I've been a fan of Boots Beauty products for quite some time now, particularly their cosmetic line, and have always appreciated their efforts to keep organic ingredients and sustainability practices top of mind when it comes to their end product. Plus, the fact it doesn't break the bank (all of their items can be purchased at Target), certainly doesn't hurt either. So when they approached me about trying out their Botanics skin care line, I was more than game. Over the past few weeks, I've narrowed down my favorites, fine tuning what I think is a pretty well balanced, personalized routine. In no particular order, the top contenders are:

  1. Rosewater toning spritz: This is a completely new step for me in my skin care routine, that being right after washing my face at night, I'll lightly spritz this toning spray on, the goal of which is to tighten pores while I sleep and give your skin that little extra oomph to ultimately prepare it for moisturizing. I love the rosemary smell and it's consequent calming effect (perfect skin nightcap) -- and can already tell you I'll be toting this in my bag for mid-flight pick me ups for my many summer trips around the corner.

2. Ionic clay mask: This particular version has willowbark in it, which is said to have clarifying effects -- the salicylic acid in it is supposed to reduce the size of pores and improve blemishes over time. Given that breakouts are top of mind for me, I love doing a weekly clay mask just to remove the week's wear and tear on my skin, and this particular one, thus far, has left me with significantly less irritable, red skin afterward. 

3. Cleansing mousse: Just like the clay mask, this particular mousse relies on willowbark for a lot of those same properties suited for oily skin like mine. The selling point for me though? The mattifying effect it has is amazing especially since I'm somewhat prone to excess oil, particularly in my T-zone and along my chin. 

4. Radiance serum: This is another new step for me in my routine, that being a brightening serum, this particular one having a mild exfoliating effect. I've been blending in 2-3 drops of this in the mornings and evenings right after washing my face, and have already noticed a subtle glow effect it's had, especially around my cheekbones sweeping up to my eyes.

5. Facial oil: Ah, facial oils. I feel like every beauty counter I've gone to, they've made me swear on a stack of bibles that I'll never touch a facial oil because of my oily-prone skin. And while those who are perhaps more knowledgable about skin care than myself may still agree with said beauty counter experts, I have to say, I've loved my week so far with this facial oil! I've been using it in place of my normal moisturizer so as not to double up, and have loved it's lingering silky effect. My skin feels, dare I say supple, without venturing into oily territory. 

Now I'm curious, have any of you guys tried the Boots Botanics skin care line? I'd love to hear about your favorites! 

This post was in collaboration with Boots Botanics. As always, all opinions and styling are my own. Thank you for supporting all This Time Tomorrow collaborations! 
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