Life & acne update ft. Curology, Chanel Beauty, & the coveted straw crossbody bag

Let's catch up today because there have been some major changes in my life. 

As most of you probably know already (if you follow me on Instagram), I recently adopted a puppy. Her name is Sunflower and she is the cutest thing ever! And even though she makes me super exhausted--and puppyhood can sometimes can be very frustrating--it's the little moments like when she uses her pee pad or when she scoots herself onto the pillows so that her face is right next to mine while she sleeps that make it all so worth it. With that being said, look out for a ton of Instagram stories devoted to her. 

Style update - springtime has got me in the mood for vintage sunglasses (courtesy of my mama), mini straw bags, and gold hoop earrings. I picked up this round straw crossbody bag from Express on sale so I got a really good deal on it. I have to say, it's well-constructed and I love the fact that it's black. I haven't come across any bags like this in that color. Lou and Grey is one of my favorite shops to visit in-store because I love the seasonally curated items. You're not overwhelmed by a million choices either. Just a small selection of very uniquely crafted goods, including these gold double hoop earrings by a brand called Machete. I'm so excited to start rocking these earrings once I can take out my starter studs. 

Over the month, my interest in Chanel Beauty has seriously sparked. Blame it on IG. For that reason, I decided to try out Chanel's Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Powder in shade No. 50. I use this pressed powder as a bronzer. I love how it rejuvenates my face for an ultra sunkissed, natural vibe. I'm also swooning over the packaging. I love the little moon-shaped brush that comes with it. The bristles are very soft. I currently also have a go-to eyeshadow product and lip color for spring: Butter London's Glazen Eye Gloss in "Oil Slick" and Bite Beauty's Amuse Bouche Lipstick in "Chai".

And lastly, let's chat about the acne progression. For awhile, my skin was doing great. I barely had any acne anymore and for about 5 months I believe, I had no breakouts whatsoever. It was honestly too good to be true. I had no more cystic acne and my scars were starting to clear up. However, that changed with stress. The breakouts started off small--like 1 or 2 cystic pimples at a time--but gradually started to get out of hand. It still wasn't as bad as the hormonal breakouts I suffered in college, but I felt that I really needed to change up my routine. That's when my sister recommended Curology. I've heard of the acne subscription service from Youtubers like Weylie but I always felt skeptical about going back to dermatologist-grade treatments due to prior experiences. However, I've been using Curology for almost a month now and my breakouts have started to clear up. I was prescribed a combination of Azaleic Acid, Niacinamide, and Clindamycin. My skin did purge within the first week of the treatment, but it did a great job of taking the inflammation away from my breakouts. I barely have cystic acne anymore. The only downside is that it does make my skin more sensitive. I have a bit of redness and itchiness on my cheeks/tzone and I just started to notice some dryness as well. I'll continue to use Curology and see if my skin starts to adapt to the treatment.  

Until next time, Megan

 

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#BeautySmarter with Oille Organics

I recently got the opportunity to try some of Oille Organics' skincare products in collaboration with their #BeautySmarter social media movement. I love working with indie green beauty brands like Oille Organics because their organically crafted products are always effective and straight-to-the-point. I've discovered so many top shelf worthy products from these social media collaborations.

The brand sent me two of their eye products (one serum and one cream) and a facial toning mist. I want to start off by talking about the eye products because I have completely fallen for them. Holy grail status, I kid you not.

 Antiwrinkle Intelligence Eye Serum & Hydrating Intelligence Facial Eye Creme

I don't normally find eye products to be impressive. Simply put, dark undereyes or wrinkles are not major problem areas for me. I guess that's the plus side to monolid eyes and oily skin? However, these two really blew my expectations out of the water. First off, the eye serum's packaging is so thoughtful. The metal rollerball makes applying this eye serum a dream. It's cooling and distributes the perfect amount of product to the eye area. Furthermore, the grapeseed oil-based serum feels weightless. It's not greasy at all and soaks in completely when you pat the serum into your skin. The eye cream is a bit heavier at first but it's so hydrating. I find that I can use this in the morning without it breaking down my eye makeup. When my eyelids get dry from allergies, I use this product to soothe the skin around my eyes. It works great in conjunction with the eye serum. After I use the duo, my skin looks super glowy and plump. 

Toning Intelligence Facial Elixir Mist with Lemon Verbena Hydrosol

I've been using this toner morning and night for the past couple weeks. Now that the weather has gotten warmer, the light citrus scent is super refreshing. I don't know why but I tend to associate citrus skincare products with stinging. However, this toner is super gentle. Overall, it makes my skin look a lot healthier and brighter after incorporating this into my skincare routine. I believe this is due to the green tea extract and MSM.

If you want to get a head start on anti-aging skincare, Oille Organics is the way to go. All of their products incorporate anti-aging aspects to it and are suitable for most skin types. Special thanks to the brand for sending me these products to try and review. 

#BeautySmarter, everyone.

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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the goodbeing march review: brighten & blush

The months are going by so fast and I'm ending March & kicking off April with a Goodbeing box review. The March box seemed to have a theme to it: Brighten. And as always, Goodbeing curated an great beauty box with a solid mix of skincare, body care, and makeup. I received a Black Soap Body Cleanser from Shea Radiance, Black Peel-Off Mask from Art Naturals, Mattifying Priming Lotion from Bonnie, the Mineral Blush in "Amaretto" from Bella Pierre Cosmetics, and the Radiance Boosting Facial Serum from Poethique. 

I want to start off first with the Shea Radiance Black Soap Body Cleanser (formulated with shea butter and colloidal oats---great ingredients for sensitive skin gals!!!) because this product really blew my expectations out of the water. To be honest, I really neglect my body. I suffer from keratosis pilaris and body acne that has been around for my entire life, so I've never found a body care product that actually helps those issues. However, this black soap body wash is amazing. I still struggle with KP and acne, but my skin is a lot healthier. The body wash just feels so luxurious. It has a creamy lather that washes away cleanly without that draggy feeling. Paired with my Glossier Body Hero cream, it's perfection. My skin overall is smoother and well-moisturized. I hope over time, the black soap will help my acne, since black soap is known to have great purification properties. I definitely will be picking up the full size of this body cleanser. 

I've also had the chance to try out the Art Naturals Black Peel-Off Mask and the Poethique Radiance Boosting Serum. The mask is super fun to use since it's a peel-off mask & holy crap they were not kidding. It's a super opaque black mask. Overall my skin does feel clean after I use it, so I'll be incorporating this mask to tackle congestion. The serum from Poethique smells really fruity and refreshing---like a tropical smoothie. I haven't really seem results yet with this product, but I'll continue to test it.

Goodbeing is always super on point with their natural makeup selections. I've been reaching for the Mineral Blush from Bella Pierre Cosmetics quite frequently nowadays. The "Amaretto" shade is a nice, natural, muted terracotta rose that gives off a nice healthy glow. It's also super pigmented, so a little bit of product goes a long way. I find it a bit messy to get the powder out, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Quick tip: for a "sunburnt" flushed look, sweep any remaining product that's left on the brush across the bridge of your nose. 

The last product I want to talk about is the Bonnie Mattifying Priming Lotion. This priming lotion has a pretty strong smell, but it goes away quickly. It's tacky when you first apply it, but give it a couple minutes. Once the product has absorbed, you get a smooth, matte finish. I have been using this as a primer (I still prefer to use another lotion/facial oil because I like my skin to be a bit more hydrated). I don't find that it keeps the oiliness at bay but it does help my makeup apply smoothly. 

As always, special thanks to Goodbeing for gifting me their latest box. If you are trying to make the transition into clean beauty and lifestyle, this subscription box is a great start. Plus, it's very affordable at $24.95/month. 

And because we all love free products, you can use my referral code to get a bonus item in your first box. 

***Disclaimer: As a Goodbeing ambassador, I do receive a commission through this referral code. This would help me continue to purchase products to review on the blog, so your support means everything to me!

Until next time, Megan

 

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Equinox: the spring essentials edit

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l'essentiel de la saison

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Spring is finally here and we're seeing sunnier days here in California. I have nothing against the rain but the sunny weather really puts me in a good mood (& makes it really hard for me to go to work every day).

 

And so, today I want to talk about some of my essential items for the new season. 

 

Skincare first. Spring is always an awkward in-between for me. It's warmer, yet still chilly. Also, allergies make my skin so dry! For that reason, I like to focus on hydration. I've been loving Edible Beauty's No. 4 Vanilla Silk Hydrating Lotion, which smells nothing like vanilla by the way but I still love it, and Willow Mayor Beauty's Brazilian Beauty Oil. I love layering these two together in the morning to prep my skin for foundation (currently, I'm using Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint). Both products absorb quickly and give me a smooth, hydrated base. Because I'm crazy about face mists and always use a setting spray after makeup, I've been reaching for Anese's Smells Like Queen Spirit Elixir. I kinda strayed from this for a couple months but lately I've been loving the scent again. Also, it really soothes my skin. And last but not least in skincare----I visited Glossier's pop-up at Rhea's Cafe and I wasn't expecting to pick up the Body Hero Perfecting Cream but it just smelled so good that I couldn't resist. The scent is neroli and orange blossoms and the cream does a great job of moisturizing my body without causing breakouts. That part is super important to me since I suffer from quite a bit of body acne. Another great product from Glossier, what's new?

 

For makeup, I have one product to share with you all: Glossier's Lidstar in "Cub." It's a rose gold shade that is super flattering on my medium skintone. Out of the three Lidstar shades that I picked up, this one is the easiest to apply for some reason. It applies smoothly, especially when I dab the product onto my eyelids with my fingers instead of with the applicator. And, it's the perfect wash of color for a neutral everyday eye look.

 

You know I always have to include a fragrance. I've been obsessed with Commodity's newest fragrance "Velvet." It's definitely a darker scent, yet it's also warm and sweet. I find it very comforting. And, the almond and rose combination is absolutely ingenious. If you haven't smelled it yet, you should definitely plan a trip to your local Sephora. 

 

The style edit. As I have mentioned in my favorites last month, my love for the Mejuri Boyfriend Ear Cuff is still going strong. I recently got piercings and the ear cuff looks great with my piercings. It looks classy & edgy at the same time. Only Mejuri can pull that off. I also wanted to feature this Maison Kitsune Tote Bag that my sister picked up for me in her recent trip to Paris because I love the warm brown tone of it. It's neutral enough that I don't have to worry about matching it with my outfits, yet it adds warmth which is perfect for spring. Plus, I love tote bags and I'm freaking out about the fact that it has pockets on the inside. The last spring essential I want to talk about is this necklace from the Maker's Market that my husband got for me the day that we got married. I honestly forgot the brand but I just love how delicate it looks.

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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Double take: the Evenprime Core Set review

 

Have you ever tried a product and didn't like it at first, but then tried it again a few weeks later and liked it a lot more? To be totally honest with you guys---and I've mentioned this before on IG---but it wasn't love at first sight with this Evenprime duo. However, I've given them another try (mainly because I forgot about some Palm pick requirements... Sorry Amanda!!) and here are my thoughts.

There is always something about minimalistic skincare that intrigues me even though it's pretty contradicting for a beauty blogger. On top of that, I wanted to give k-beauty another go. So there was my rationale for purchasing this Palm pick. The Evenprime Core Set came with a cleanser, a moisturizer and a really cute gray makeup bag that is surprisingly spacious (I use it all the time when I travel now).

However, I remembered why I was not a big fan of k-beauty products. Just scanning the ingredient lists, I noticed that the cleanser had synthetic fragrance and the moisturizer contained alcohol. Two things that don't always bode well with my sensitive skin. Luckily though, I did not get any adverse reactions. If you have highly reactive skin, I would not recommend.

So let's talk more in depth about each product. 

 

The Cleanser

My first impression of this cleanser is that it has an interesting texture. It foams up into a really dense cream-like texture that can take a bit of effort to wash off. I have to rinse a few times to get off the slippery texture when the foam dissolves. What's left is a squeaky clean feel that I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of. BUT, strange enough as it is, I can't stop using this cleanser in my nightly routine. It gives me a really deep clean that I need towards the end of the night when my skin feels gross and oily. I've also found that it keeps my skin texture pretty refined because of the extra cleanliness. 

The Moisturizer

I don't use this moisturizer alone as the last step to my routine. I find that it's not hydrating enough for my skin. I know that many people preach oil-free lightweight moisturizers for oily skin types but that just doesn't work for me. I find that face oils really help balance my skin. However, this moisturizer is great as a hydrating essence/gel serum. It rather soothing and makes my skin feel plump after it has fully absorbed. I appreciate that it does not have a tacky finish. For now, I'll stick to my cream and oil moisturizers. I think I'll incorporate this moisturizer into my routine more in the summertime.

 

It's safe to say that I definitely can't be a product minimalist, but if you're interested in minimalistic skincare or are a k-beauty enthusiast, I would recommend giving this Evenprime Core Set a try. The products are priced at a really great price point. The set is $45. You can shop the products at here.

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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change of pace

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HOMEBODY

 

Sometimes a change of scenery, a retreat to one's own home, can stimulate a creative outlook.

I have to admit, I haven't been feeling inspired lately. Like many bloggers have mentioned, it's hard to stay motivated to create new content and keep up with Instagram---especially when you've fallen victim to the app's notorious algorithm. Furthermore, it's so easy to fall into the rhythm of going to the office, then home, T.V., dinner, and then repeat. It feels like working a regular 9-6 job is just an endless loop. There's no room for creativity.

I've been working from home for the majority of the week & I've realized just how much I love being at home. Especially these days when I don't have a lot of work to do, I feel that being at home allows me to utilize my free time to the max. I've taken the opportunity these past couple days to work on some photography projects and really expand the way that I style my photos.  

And maybe it's my introverted spirit, but it's also nice to be in the quiet comfort of your own home. 

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Until next time, Megan

 

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featured

Edible Beauty No. 4 Vanilla Silk Hydrating Lotion

Oille Organics Facial Elixir Mist & Eye Serum

Elizabeth & James Nirvana White

Glossier Generation G Lipstick in "Leo"

Voyage et Cie Perfume Oil in "Opera"

Glossier "You" Perfume Solid

Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion

 

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Feeling Scentimental

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Happy National Fragrance Day - 

 

It's crazy to think that just a few months ago, fragrance was my least shopped for beauty item. Nowadays, I purchase fragrances nearly as much as skincare or makeup. There's something so classy and unique about picking out the right fragrance. I wanted to spotlight these two brands, Commodity & Byredo, because these brands shaped this beauty habit that I'm so happy I have picked up. I'm feeling very "scentimental," if that's a good way to describe it. 

Commodity Gold was the first perfume I purchased at Sephora when I was still in college. I mark that day as a turning point for me. Ever since then, I never leave the house without a spritz of perfume. Since then, I have ventured to different fragrances, and yet I always turn back to the good old Commodity Gold. It's a scent I never get sick of. I've also purchased Velvet and Orris, two scents that I'm absolutely crazy about these days. Both scents are rich, somewhat earthy and sweet. Very femme, but with a subtle dark side. 

Byredo---I couldn't get enough Byredo in my life since the day that Lou (@reminiscentof) sent me samples. Each scent is so unique and spicy; it has completely changed my perception of a fragrance. Before, I thought fragrances were bound to a spectrum that only ranged from floral to musky. Byredo's scents, however, challenge that notion. They are vibrant and not tailored to one gender. 

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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SF travel diary vol. 2: the Glossier pop-up

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SF travel diary

 

vol. 2

Glossier @ Rhea's Cafe, SF

This weekend, I visited the Glossier Pop-Up at Rhea's Cafe with my sister and husband. The whole cafe just radiated Glossier vibes with the beautiful floral arrangements and pink walls. The cafe served up so much Glossier---it was heavenly.

Compared to the pop-up they had at Violet Grey in LA last year, this one was far more impressive. The one I visited last year had a very minimal product selection and the atmosphere was completely different at the LA pop-up. Less inviting, to be honest. 

So how does it work? At the cafe, every product on display is a tester for you to swatch, test, apply to your heart's content. Once you've decided what you would like, you simply track down a Glossier showroom worker and place your order. Then, someone in the stockroom will prepare your bag and bring it out for you. The bag comes with a custom Glossier SF sticker, the classic sticker sheet, and a You perfume sample. I ended up purchasing the Lidstar in "Lily" (it looks gorgeous when mixed with Cub), the Body Hero Cream, and the Lip Gloss. But you know in reality, I was so tempted to buy everything haha. 

One thing to note: beware of the line! I mean this one is kind of a given for SF, but I thought I would still reiterate it. I showed up at around noon on a Saturday and only had to wait about 15 mins. After noon though, the line gets pretty long. I really appreciate their effort in trying to make the wait more enjoyable. Glossier showroom workers walked around with the face mist spritzing people and they handed out fries from Rhea's Cafe. 

If you've been wanting to try Glossier, I would definitely consider paying this pop-up a visit. It'll be here until mid-April, I believe. I'm planning to stop by again before it ends. 

Until next time, Megan

the verb sea texture squad

Weightless, texturized hair is closer than you think.

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I've always had a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with hair styling products that claim to give hair texture. If you have stubbornly straight hair like mine, that usually is a false statement. I've tried so many salt sprays but most give my hair a stringy feeling which I'm not a huge fan of. Plus, they usually make my hair frizzier than usual without any flattering piecey texture. Before Verb's Sea Texture line, I was using my beloved Kristen Ess Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray, which works miracles in conjunction with my Remington flat iron. But even then, I was using a lot of heat styling products. With the Sea Texture fam, I have finally found my perfect match! So today, I want to share my steps to getting texturized hair---minimal to no heat required---and also talk about the latest Verb product launch: the Verb Sea Texture Spray.

 

Step 1

Post shower, work the Verb Sea Texture Cream or Sea Spray (or both if your heart desires) into damp hair. Make sure that ample product is applied throughout your hair. If you have thick hair like me, this part is crucial. I lift my hair a section at a time before spray the Sea Spray or applying the Sea Texture Cream to make sure that I have covered everything in product. And don't worry, these products will not weigh your hair down. 

Step 2

Twist sections of your hair with your fingers (tip: smaller sections dry much faster!) and then blow-dry while maintaining the curls as much as possible. It's fine if the curls unravel a bit. To get that tousled wavy texture, scrunch sections of your hair while you blow-dry.

*****You can also skip the blow-dryer and just air-dry your hair. Personally, I like to air-dry my hair a bit while I do my makeup to limit the amount of heat exposure to my hair due to blow-drying. 

Step 3

Lightly spray the Sea Texture Spray onto dry hair. Be sure to hold the can 8-10 inches away to ensure that the product is evenly distributed. Your hair will feel a bit gritty after but that powdery texture is what keeps your hair separated.  Sometimes I will even use this texture spray on days when my hair is straight or on second day hair for that tousled, voluminous look. Also, do NOT comb your hair! If I know I'm going to have a long day, I'll finish off with some Ghost Hairspray to help this last all day. 

 

I hope these simple steps help you achieve texturized hair. Special thanks to Verb for sending me these products. Like all Verb products, the new Sea Texture Spray is also $16.

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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the monthly favorites: volume no. 3

Last month might have been a short month, but I racked up a ton of favorites.

I have a lot of new products I've been testing that I want to share with you all today, so strap in for a long post. I've even branched out a bit from my comfort zone and tried an undies subscription service for two months.. Keep reading for more details. 

 

fragrance

Last month, I started mixing Commodity's Gold and Magnolia together and it's such a perfect scent. It's bubbly and fresh, yet warm and sweet because of Gold. 

I also decided to pick up the Ellis Brooklyn sampler from Sephora that I had been eyeing for awhile--notable mentions to Sci-Fi, Fable, and Raven. Sci-Fi and Fable are the most different out of all the Ellis Brooklyn scents. Sci-Fi is sweet and citrusy and Fable is the perfect honeysuckle scent, while the others are darker, muskier florals.

Lastly, the perfume I just can't get enough of and I can't explain why: Glossier You. My sister said the exact same thing as well, so it's gravitating towards fact over opinion. It's so hard to describe but this scent is ultra femme--think floral and creamy.--with warm musk notes that make the scent feel very intimate and personal. I definitely see why there was so much hype around this perfume. 

makeup

So in February, I discovered two new highlighters that have made their way into my makeup bag and my heart (I know, not very shocking since I am such a highlighter junkie). Marc Beauty's cult Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter delivers such a powerful golden glow that is out of this world. Plus, I only need the tiniest bit so this highlighter will last forever. The thing I love the most about this highlighter is that unlike most cream highlighters, this one dries down fully so it has amazing staying power. Also, I'm obsessed with the coconut scent!

The Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion is another amazing highlighter. The staying power is not comparable to the Marc Beauty one but since it's a compact, I can easily throw it in my purse for quick touch-ups. I'm super impressed by the pigmentation of this highlighter as well. It's opalescent and looks very natural on my warm skintone.

I shopped my foundation stash last month and fell back in love with Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint. I stopped using this skin tint over the summer because it became too light for my skin and just ended up looking patchy. However, lately it blends seamlessly into my skin and lasts the entire workday. (no luck in the shine department but that's expected) I also picked up another Generation G Lipstick in "Leo" and it's my perfect everyday shade. I love sheer brown lipsticks. They deliver a minimal and effortless wash of color to my everyday makeup look.

skincare

I finally cracked open the Olivine Atelier Love + Roses Beauty Mist that I received awhile back during a gift exchange. It has a very natural rose scent, with a slight woodiness from the Ylang Ylang. I find that it's really great for calming my skin. I use it primarily as a toner. If the mist were more fine, I would use it as a setting spray.

In hydration. My skin has been going through a weird funk lately. It seems to be unbalanced so I've been experiencing excessive sebum production and minor breakouts under my chin and at the neck. I've found that the usual culprit is dehydrated skin or irritation for too many active ingredients. And so, I've cut back my routine a lot to focus on hydrating and repairing my skin. For that reason, I've turned to the Willow Mayor Brazilian Beauty Oil and the Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Cream. Both are rich, but absorb nicely after a couple minutes and my skin feels a lot healthier and less irritated after using these two in conjunction.

Ren's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic---I'm not sure if I would necessarily repurchase this but I have to admit, this glow tonic delivers serious results within a couple uses. It stings a bit when I apply it, which is why I'm a bit weary about repurchasing it. However, with the occasional use, this toner really brightens up my dull skin. 

I've talked about the Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil on the blog before. It's strange though that I never thought to use this as a body oil. The oil is really lightweight and hydrating for my skin. It takes a minute to really soak in but I've also fallen back in love with this product. 

I got the opportunity to try one of the serums from Wabi Sabi Botanical's newest skincare line Formula Intensif and it took awhile for me to really incorporate this into my routine, but I've discovered the best way to use it! I have No. 5 Balancing Act which is intended to balance combo/oily-skin like mine. As I had mentioned before, my skin was really unbalanced last month, but this serum helped me combat that issue. I would apply this oil-based serum before bed as the last step to my nighttime routine (it takes some time to get used to the greasiness btw) and in the morning when I woke up, my skin wouldn't be oily at all. Now I use this serum religiously.

lifestyle

Back to my intro, I tried a really cute undies subscription (courtesy of Join Palm) called Beau Undies. Basically how the subscription works is that they deliver you two pairs of underwear per month. They range in color and design, but that's the fun part--it's a surprise! I really liked the underwear I received. They had beautiful lace designs and were super comfortable. 

Mejuri--what can I say? I have expensive taste. I picked up the ear cuff from their newest Boyfriend Collection because I love accessorizing my ears, BUT I don't have piercings. The ear cuff is really sturdy and well-made. I just love how it looks whenever I tuck my hair behind my ear. I wear it nearly everday. I think this is the beginning of a new obsession..

 

That wraps up my monthly favorites. If you've made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading!  

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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