NARS VELVET MATTE LIP PENCIL IN CRUELLA IS MY JAM

I’ve written before about my trials and tribulations with lipstick. I generally hate wearing anything on my lips — glosses are sticky, don’t last long, and ultimately I’ll meet a gust of wind that attaches my hair to my face. I hate the waxy feeling of lip balms. Lipsticks look odd on me and (I know, this is bizarre) I can’t *stand* the smell/taste. So I basically never wear anything.

I especially admire a lady who can rock a red lip proudly and confidently. I’ve never understood it — doesn’t it just come right off when you eat or drink something?!

Well, I finally found THE red lip for me — it’s called NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella. Yes, like Cruella de Vil. Obviously, the name alone had me hooked.

Cruella is a scarlet red, but it’s not too vampy and looks totally great for everyday wear. It lasts surprisingly long for a lipstick, and looks good even as it wears away. It’s matte, but it feels comfortable on my lips without drying them out. It’s a blue-based red, so it looks good on all skin tones (I am fair with a pink flush and find it flattering).

So if you’re afraid of a bold red lip, give Cruella a try! If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will… kidding of course 🙂

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xo A

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NARS VELVET MATTE LIP PENCIL IN CRUELLA IS MY JAM

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

I completely went MIA on my blog ..but I had a good reason! My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and my birthday by taking a trip we’ve always dreamed of doing — we toured (mostly) all of California!

Neither of us had been before but had always wanted to go (he was dying to drive down the coast, I was dying to see Disneyland!) and we finally decided celebrating our anniversary and my 26th birthday was the perfect reason to go!

We started in San Francisco (which, by the way, is such an awesome city!) and saw Union Square, Chinatown, and the trolley cars, we toured Alcatraz (amazing!), went to the botanical gardens, had dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf, and saw the Painted Ladies — we’re big Full House nerds, so this was a dream of ours (LOL!). We also drove over the Golden Gate bridge and visited the Walt Disney Family Museum in Presidio because we both have a huge soft spot for Walt.

Everywhere you look...
Everywhere you look…

This was all in like, 2 days! Then we picked up our car and headed to wine country, where we spent the weekend amongst the vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Valley. We visited a few, including the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Castello di Amorosa. Wine country was so idyllic and gorgeous — every drive had unbelievable scenery to offer. Our favorite winery, by far, was Castello di Amorosa. It was breathtakingly beautiful and an actual castle!

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My favorite part of wine country wasn’t even the wine! We did a mud bath at Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort. My husband was VERY nervous as he’s never done any kind of spa treatment, but he LOVED it. We both found the mud bath so bizarre and hilarious, but it was overall such a fun and unique experience.

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Things got a little muddy!

Then we began our (LONG) journey down the coast, which took a full two days. We stopped at several beaches to feel the Pacific ocean (including Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Monterrey Bay, and Moonstone Beach) and enjoyed the views. I was terrified at times due to the fact that there’s really not much stopping you from plummeting to your death with one sharp turn, but it was SUCH an experience.

That view though!
That view though!

Our journey then took us to Disneyland, where we spent three days. The weather in Anaheim was much hotter than either of us expected, and crowd levels were high, but we took our time and went on old favorites (Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean) and new obsessions (Radiator Springs Racers, Mickey’s Fun Wheel.. lol) and we had a great time. It’s hard to compare DLR to WDW as even though they’re both theme parks, they’re both actually so different. We decided, ultimately, that we preferred WDW but we’re so happy we saw the original.

California Screamin'
California Screamin’

We loved being there at Halloween (Haunted Mansion Holiday was absolutely mind-blowing!) and also enjoyed being able to go on one last ride of Soarin’ Over California (especially after finally SEEING California!) before it’s changed in 2016. I still think Disney should keep the California version in California, but unfortunately I don’t get to make those decisions!

Then we headed towards L.A., with a stop in Laguna Beach to hang with Lauren and Kristin (juuuust kidding!). We stayed at the intersection of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood and explored those neighborhoods, of course stopping to see Rodeo Drive, and we also visited the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and The Grove. We visited Calabasas (home of the Kardashians!) but didn’t get to see any of the K girls. Bummer!

We ended our trip with a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood, which has AWESOME views of Hollywood and an unbelievable studio tour. The park is themed super well, but doesn’t have many rides, so we only spent about six hours there.

And of course, being in the home of all the biggest celebrities, we did get to see a few famous faces.

Sponge out of water!
Sponge out of water!

Ha just kidding. But Spongebob and I are officially in love!

It was a jam-packed trip and I think I’m still jet lagged, but SO much fun. A true experience of a lifetime, all with my favorite person ever!

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

FUZZY PAJAMA NIGHT

It’s officially October, and my favorite season is in full swing.

I love everything about the fall — the changing leaves, the crisp, comfortable temperatures, and the feeling like something is anew, even if nothing’s different at all.

October is my favorite month for many reasons: one, it’s my birthday month, and I love being an October baby. Two, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. I used to love trick or treating and having a fun costume, but now I genuinely appreciate staying in with a classic horror movie, eating candy and answering the door for the adorable trick or treaters — it’s so much fun. Three, it’s now my wedding anniversary, and I now have a lifetime’s worth of fond memories from that beautiful, magical day.

But there are more reasons why I love October, and it ushers in the beginning of what I call fuzzy pajama nights. I love the return of big cozy sweaters, big mugs of my favorite teas and/or coffees, and nights spent in watching TV, cuddled up in my fuzzy pajamas. They are these hideous hot pink and black polka dot PJs, but I adore them, and wear them all winter on chilly nights.

I love fall-scented candles, apple picking, horror movies on TV, and when it’s totally dark by 7:30pm, even though it feels much later. I love the cool breeze that this time of year brings in, before it’s too cold for the heat to be pumping, and the a/c no longer needs to be on. I’m obsessed with all of it.

So here’s a picture of me in my cozy, cuddly, hideous, fuzzy pajamas, snapped by my husband likely at about 8pm on a fuzzy pajama night last year. October, I love you!

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xo A

FUZZY PAJAMA NIGHT

HOLDING ONTO THAT SUMMER GLOW: BRONZER

For us ghostly-pale ladies, bronzer is a very tricky proposition. So many things can go wrong. The color can be too dark, or too orange, the texture can be too cakey, or too flaky. It’s a scary thought, really.

I’ve basically avoided bronzer in the past for fear of looking like an oompa loompa, but I just didn’t realize that all my skin needs is a light, healthy flush of color. You know how good your skin looks after a brisk walk or a, ahem, romp in the hay? That’s the kind of color I’m talking about.

While it’s amazing to get that look naturally, makeup is perhaps the easiest way to fake it (or fake anything, really!). My favorite bronzer is designed for all skin tones, and I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. Until I tried it.

Called Phyto-Touche Illusion d’Été by Sisley Paris, it’s described as “an ultra-gentle bronzing gel-powder which glides on easily, giving a natural sun-kissed complexion to pale skin tones and illuminating tanned skin… Suitable for all skin types and tones. Phyto-Touche Illusion d’Été can be used all year round for a sun-kissed ‘nude’ effect.”

I was initially intrigued by the fact that it’s a “gel-powder” (what the heck is a gel-powder anyway?!) and that it claimed to work on pale skin, too. And when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised that a light application gives my skin a healthy, but natural looking glow. I put it on after my BB cream and any needed concealer, and before blush, and my skin looks even and dewy, without being greasy or shiny. The hint of color is perfect for my pale skin.

I’m more than happy to hold on to the last bit of that summer glow in any way that I can as fall has already arrived. I’m thrilled to trade shorts and sundresses for sweaters and scarves, but don’t want to look like Casper, even if Halloween *is* quickly approaching.

xo A

HOLDING ONTO THAT SUMMER GLOW: BRONZER