Tag Archives: Reading

One Bottle Away

In an essay called At My Least and Most Aware, Durga Chew-Bose writes that, “It still comes as a shock to me how irreversible life is. How there’s no going back to whatever version of me existed before I saw that movie … or before I took pleasure in doing nothing, before I figured out there’s no one way to live.” I’ve read this book a few times already since it came out in April, and I find something new in it each time depending on my mood or state of mind. It’s a zigzag stream of consciousness that inspires me to embrace the thoughts in my head. Maybe even express them aloud. I’m a month in to 35 and more aware than ever of time. I’m developing a new relationship with it in fact. Who was it that first said “if not now, when?” Because, that, wholeheartedly. I’ve always used the availability of time as a way to procrastinate. It keeps my vocabulary thriving with words and phrases like “next time,” “later,” and “someday.”

I took it as a sign when I decided to partner with SK-II on the #OneBottleAwayFrom journey. The famous Facial Treatment Essence has always been on my “someday, I’ll try” list. It’s lauded as one of the best skin care products around. There literally is no time like the present and I can tell you with certainty that there’s no going back to whatever version of me existed before I started using it.

A little SK-II science for you: this essence is powered by Pitera™, an ingredient derived from sake fermentation. Scientists discovered it by chance after observing older sake brewers with these youthful looking hands. Now, more than 90% of the Facial Treatment Essence contains that special strain. A look at Cate Blanchett confirms that SK-II is not messing around. I think we can all cheers to that.

It’s been a few months since I’ve started using this and I definitely notice the difference. After two weeks, I noticed how soft my skin was and as the days went by it looked more bright and radiant. I’m also noticing my skin tone is more even. I’ve been into wearing less makeup this summer so I notice how it has transformed my “no makeup” days to actually not having to wear any makeup. I do also use a vitamin C serum, but I’m fairly certain the SK-II accelerated the results. You could say I’m doubling down. It’s become a part time hobby to inspect further skin improvement. Resiliency is the name of the game.

I’ve always appreciated what I call having a mystery age. I secretly delight when people are surprised to hear my age. I hold back a smile when people get emphatic about it, “What is your secret, tell me everything.” Or the annoyance I feign when I get carded and my boyfriend doesn’t. Allow me these simple pleasures, please. Taking care of your skin and seeing results is one surefire way to feel confident as you age. I’ve said it before, in the aftermath of previous birthdays. I’m not anti-aging. I’m pro taking care of myself. The exterior is easier, I am finding. I’m most interested in how that can impact what’s going on inside. It all comes back to time and this little voice in my head that reminds me that my interior may not be as confident about being 35+. Time is every unforgiving.

SK-II has a manifesto, and I was drawn to it. It brought me back to the moment I wrote my own. They say “destiny isn’t a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice … the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

This is investment skin care, no doubt, and maybe even a small dose of therapy in a bottle. Their words have stuck with me when I use this, every morning and every night. It’s the first step after cleansing, before all of my other skin care. It’s actually recommended that you press this on with your hands (don’t forget to apply on your neck!) I like handling my face, applying pressure on my forehead and temples as a last step. You only need a few shakes.

Time is a given. Not everything in life goes the way you want but how you (I … talking to myself here) interact with the people in your life and deal with circumstances helps shape the person you are. And that’s my essence affirmation. Am I #OneBottleAwayFrom stumbling upon something even more powerful? I plan to find out.

This is a sponsored post with SK-II – a partnership I’m really excited about; all thoughts and opinions are my own. I was lucky to try the Facial Treatment Essence gratis, but it is something I would definitely purchase myself. If you are so inclined to take the #OneBottleAway journey, there are a few SK-II promotions that I wanted you to know about. If you spend $99, use code SKII99 to get a free skincare gift valued at $25; spend $150 and use code SKII150 to get a free skincare gift worth $55; spend $250 and use code SKII250 to get a free skincare gift worth $80.

Thanks for reading!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SK-II. The opinions and text are all mine.


Colorado Road Trip Redux

maroon bells aspen

The first thing you should know is this photo isn’t edited a lick. And it was shot on my iPhone 6…can I get a billboard or what, Apple? I’m back from my Colorado adventure and riding my nature high right into September. Despite what everyone on Instagram says, summer is not over yet. Let’s revisit its demise at a later date, k?  I’m just going to pretend that the sun isn’t setting in the 7 o’clock hour and getting noticeably shorter by the day. I will take the cooler nights now, though, thank ya very much.

So what does one do for a week and a half road tripping in Colorado?

Colorado Vacation

  1. Not check luggage! I avoid this at all costs but knew that packing for 40, 60 and 90 degrees would require some creativity. I haven’t bought luggage since I graduated college (gulp, 12 years ago) so made a big girl purchase and got the Away Carry-On suitcase. It fits more than you would think by looking at it and there’s all sorts of smart features like a built-in laundry bag, phone charger and zippered organizers.
  2. Hike. We did three big hikes – one per anchor city (Aspen, Granby, Denver). It became a joke that I can’t tie my shoes because they come undone at least twice per mile. And, my poor circulation became very evident when hiking Maroon Bells. I’m not raising the roof there – just trying to get my blood flowing so I could feel my fingers.
  3. Read a book. I flew through Behind Closed Doors on the flight to Denver. It is a creepy psychological thriller about a “perfect couple” and sent me into quite an emotional tizzy. I totally recommend reading it but be forewarned as there is a part about a dog that made me cry.Denver Adventure
  4. Explore. We walked all over Aspen and Denver – the high altitude makes even 65 degrees seem sweltering! So when it was almost in 90 in Denver, I was toast.
  5. Find a beauty boutique (duh). My boyfriend loves records and I love beauty. Plenty of each to discover in Denver. Our Airbnb was in the Highlands neighborhood not too far from indie beauty shop Vert Beauty. They also offered spa treatments which I wish I’d made the time to indulge in.
  6. Caffeinate. We slept in most mornings but I still need coffee to kick start my days. Especially on driving days. I loved Allegro Coffee in Denver. We went there almost every morning and I even had my first pumpkin chai latte of the season. I don’t love a PSL – too syrupy – but this hit the freaking spot.

What did everyone else do over Labor Day?  Are you still in summer mode?

Express Yourself

CoverGirl Plumpify Mascara

I’ve been reading Women in Clothes this past month. Bits here and there. It’s not a book you need to read consecutively, rather best to soak up the collection of interviews, essays, conversations, surveys, photography, conversations and closet peeks over time. Hundreds of women share their POV on style and clothing and it is all so relatable and affirming. About halfway through the book is this list by Canadian artist Margaux Williamson on contemporary dressing.  She references that our faces communicate almost everything we thought we were hiding or enhancing through our clothes. “…communication happens with twitches of our muscles, with the way we move our eyes and lean our heads in. We have learned that people see who they are before they even look down.”

That feels true. We dress and rely on personal style to define ourselves, but our eyes and facial expressions tell the world who we are in that visceral sense.  They form opinions on who we might be and how we act by what our faces reveal, even before glancing down. I find myself constantly looking at peoples’ faces for cues. To see how they smile, what their eyes take in and the way they touch their hair and faces with their own hands. I’m aware of how my limbs travel upwards when I’m talking with someone. Are they studying me, too? Chances are, yes.

CoverGirl Plumpify

I asked my boyfriend the first thing he noticed about me when we met blindly for drinks. He said, “your eyes.”

CoverGirl Mascara

I wonder if he notices today the ways I try and accentuate them. Does he appreciate my CoverGirl Plumpify Mascara? Because I certainly do. I try every new CoverGirl mascara that comes out because they’re always the best at the drugstore. COVERGIRL Plumpify Mascara has this double twisted wand and one of those rounded spiky tips to help you get lashes that are hard to get normally. If you start at the base of your lashes and roll the wand up, your lashes separate and immediately stand out. I do a few coats and once they dry give them a curl. If I use my lash curler, they get really long and I’m obsessed. I didn’t do it in these pictures, but you can see the extra oomph without. It’s an effort that warrants a second look from him, I say.

Women In Clothes

Pantene Airspray

I wonder if people notice how I always grab my hair with my hands when I’m talking to them. I’ll flip my part, sweep it behind my ear or even grab at the ends and cover up my lips. I think it depends on my comfort level. And, if I’m feeling “cute.”  As a rule, I don’t wear much hairspray because I fiddle with my hair all day. I do use Pantene Airspray, though. Pantene’s alcohol-free formula means my hair moves naturally (or with my forceful hands) and doesn’t get stiff or sticky. You just spray it and it sort of dries without adding any weight. It’s perfect, actually. If I’m curling my hair, I spray it once my curls are cooled to set them.

Clairol CC Conditioner Clairol Nice n Easy CC Conditioner

Speaking of hair, another non-clothing observation I find to be true is how we observe a change in hair. Color, style, cut, accessory, etc. I always notice when someone I see regularly does something different. I find myself in conversations a lot around my own “balayage.”  “Did you just get it done?” The color is constantly evolving as it grows or fades, so people continue to ask. Because I’m straddling the “bronde” color spectrum, I don’t want to deepen or brighten it up too much in a traditional lane BUT I am REALLY excited that you can get the conditioner that comes in a box of hair dye without the actual box of hair dye. Clairol Nice ‘n Easy CC Plus ColorSeal Conditioner is a real live thing! The brand must have been paying attention – for years, people have been stocking up on dyes only for the conditioner. It has a little more power than your average conditioner, helps keep color safe from stripping minerals in water and up the shine factor. Why hasn’t this been a thing before exactly?

I’m curious, what do you notice first about people? And, let me know any and all questions you might have on any of these products mentioned. I did some deep testing of the Plumpify mascara – waterproof version, included. I can tell you that it is indeed very (very!) waterproof.

This was sponsored by P&G Beauty. All opinions are based on my experiences and insights. Thanks for your continued support!