Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the favorites | late autumn + early winter 2014

Hello, everyone!

It's been a while since I've updated. I've mostly gotten over my bronchitis now—thank God—and am home for Christmas. Finals are over and done with, so now it's time for fairy lights and chocolate. I hope that your holidays have been lovely; mine have been so far.

Who's ready for some autumn and winter favorites?


Like I mentioned in my autumn edit, I've rediscovered my first MAC purchase, the Satin lipstick in Rebel. It doesn't have the most lip-friendly formula, but the color is absolutely lovely, a pink-based plum. In order to save my lips from its drying effects, though, I've relied upon the Bite Beauty Line & Define lip primer. This prolongs the wear time of Rebel and other matte and satin lipsticks—although, curiously, not my NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil—by moisturizing and smoothing the surface of my lips. This option from Bite is pricey, but I recommend the brand heartily.

Thanks to my lovely exchange partner, I've been able to play around with Femme Fatale Cosmetics, an Australian indie company with breathtaking duochromes. My particular favorites thus far have been The Masquerade and Umberhowl. With a bit of primer and some Darling Girl Glitter Glue, the shadows pop and stick around all day.


I purchased the Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil just a little over a year ago, and it's still going strong. I use about four or five drops all over my face and neck at night. This oil blend moisturizes my face without making it overly greasy, and it hasn't caused me any clogged pores. It's a relatively pricey option, but it's a good one. I have read, though, that Camellia japonica seed oil, for which the Boscia blend is named, is available for roughly two-thirds of the price per ounce on Garden of Wisdom, a site that I have not tried myself but have heard of other skincare enthusiasts' enjoying.


I am extremely picky when it comes to fragrance, but I love my exchange partner's pick from Firebird Apothecary. Pomegranate Basil is fresh but intoxicating. The pomegranate and currant offer a richness that the greenness of the basil complements brilliantly. If you like green, fruity scents that aren't too sweet, definitely check this one out.


As I noted in my autumn edit, my two current favorite polishes represent opposite ends of the color spectrum: the first, Nails Inc. NailKale polish in Westbourne Park Road, is a pinky lavender-gray; the second, Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Black Honey, is a deep burgundy red. Both polishes have very smooth formulas and reach opacity in two or three coats, respectively. In fact, these are the only two polishes I brought home for Christmas break.


Finally, throughout my bout of bronchitis, I consumed a lot of tea. Upon my return home, I was practically guzzling mugs of Lipton Pure green tea with three spoonfuls each of lemon juice and honey. I like to call this "Ellen's Magical Elixir." The Lipton option is a decent bog-standard green tea, but you can use just about any tea you like for the elixir. I find that it helps soothe my throat, and I just love the feeling that I get while drinking tea.

What have your favorites been this season?


  1. I have always had issues with my skin, so for this season I have been trying to avoid wearing heavy makeup or if my confidence is high going completely without! But having said that I have tried a lot of different skin care products to try to make my face not break out as much and look better. I tried a lot of different products from Mario Badescu's line, but I found that my skin is just too sensitive for most of the products. The drying lotion though is definitely one of my new favorite products! If I feel a zit coming on, you dab a bit of this on after you wash your face and leave it on all night, and it greatly reduces the size of it and sometimes even gets rid of it all together. Since I get breakouts commonly I thought I would also try the Body Shop's Tea Tree line. When I used the products all together, it was too harsh for my skin, but I have been using just the toner, and it really has reduced the amount of breakouts that I see on my skin. Another favorite is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I use this with some apple cider vinegar and it almost immediately gets rid of any imperfections on my face and leaves it feeling smooth and silky for several days. It is very drying though, so I have to slather on my lotion afterwards. My last skin care favorite is one that I was trying very hard not to buy, but since I have no self control I bought it. It is the Josie Maran argan oil light. At first I did not think there would be any benefit to putting oil on my skin, but now that I have used it my face seems smoother and brighter. It is hard to explain but I really do love this product!

  2. Also dear, I have issues with dark circles under my eyes. I was wondering if you have any good tips on either treating them or concealing them. I have not found products that work on my dark circles yet, and would appreciate your help.

  3. Ooh, I remember you talking about the Aztec Secret clay! Once I finish up the rest of my clay/charcoal masks, I'm going to have to try some. :D I'm glad that that toner is working out for you, and I've heard nothing but good things about that oil. I had a little sample bottle of straight-up argan oil and liked it quite a bit. Oil can be so good for your skin! :)

  4. This is such a good question! I may have to write up a post about it later. :D

    There are many things that can cause dark circles and seemingly just as many things that claim to treat them. On the skincare front, I don't know that anything has been absolutely proven to get rid of dark circles. However, I love Indeed Labs' Eysilix which seems to make my orbital area in general just look and feel better. Certain causes—genetics, etc.—can't exactly be combatted from a treatment level, but that's why we have concealer.

    Under-eye concealing is all about color. You'll want a product with undertones that counteract whatever darkness you have. Yellow is good at brightening and helps combat purple tones; salmon tones counteract blue. Sometimes, layering different textures and tones helps even more. For example, on a day-to-day basis, I use the NARS Radiant Creamy concealer in Chantilly, which has a neutral yellow undertone. If I'm particularly sleep-deprived, though, I'll dab and blend some Bobbi Brown corrector in Extra Light Bisque over any especially blue areas before blending the NARS concealer over top.

    From the drugstore, I really like the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch concealer, which has a light, thin texture and illuminates quite well. They even have a specifically salmon-toned option, but I just used Ivory. Anna really likes the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser dark circle concealer, the one that Estée and Amelia love.