Nordstrom Beauty Trends Event: Spring 2016

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How do you go about describing something like a Nordstrom Beauty Trends Event? To be honest that was the biggest concern I had when I sat down to write this post, because even the bare bones outline I got when I purchased my ticket couldn't have prepared for me what actually ended up happening.

When I walked into Nordstrom Pentagon City on Saturday there were already at least a hundred women there, about 20 of them "wobbling" with it, as the DJ played music to keep the crowd hype.

Guys, it was 7:30am. I hadn't even had coffee yet. It was a little bizarre, but how can you not smile when you see women having this much fun, just waiting to get their hands on the latest and greatest from makeup and skincare?

Once attendees made it downstairs (oh, and there was running) we took our seats around the edges of a full blown runway. Nordstrom was not kidding around, and no matter what seat you had you were guaranteed a look at a variety of Spring styles, for clothing, shoes, and makeup.

And who is that in the middle you ask, the person who (according to the rumor) had been up since 4am but was charged with hosting this entire shindig? Derek Miller, the East Coast Beauty Director!

Once the initial demonstration was over and the lovely models had gone to change, Derek kept the group hype, with a combination of giveaways and anecdote filled introductions of the brand reps were we going to (potentially) be able to snag one on one time with. I tried to take pictures of everyone but between the movement and the fact that this show was almost 2 hours long, please enjoy the highlights and not the whole kit and caboodle.

no biggie

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Spring, she is a fickle mistress. Instead of bright sun, colorful flowers, and fun outfits, last weekend DC got cold and rain and blah.

Now thankfully that cold didn't end up including the snow that was originally predicted, but damn. Coming out of the theaters after yet another Studio Ghibli movie, I actually wasn't sure I'd dressed warmly enough.

 Sweatshirt: Ten Sixty Sherman (old) ~ Jeans: ASOS ~ Trench Coat: Tommy Hilfiger Outlet (old) ~ Shoes: Converse ~ Bracelet: Etsy ~ Watch: Ebay (similar)

Fitting Room Review: Anthropologie

So...I don't have a new outfit post this week. I was a generally lazy human being last weekend and I did things like sleep a lot, go to the movies, work out, bake - combined with the fact that my hair like crap, and no outfit pictures were even attempted.

Instead of leaving you hanging though, I thought it'd be interesting to see what I've tried on in Anthropologie lately. I rarely shop directly from the website, I feel like how it looks on the model is never how it translates on my curves. So, just in case you have the same problem, here are some really unflattering pictures of me in very bad lighting!

P.S. - I desperately tried to brighten and correct for the warm spotlight lighting in the dressing rooms, I feel to limited success. I'm sorry :-/.

 Dress: Vanda Pencil Dress, $168, Size 14
My Thoughts: I have a crazy person in my brain who tells me that anything that is this fitted around my hips is going to make me look like like I'm pregnant. I thought this was a beautiful dress and I highly recommend it for a variety of work and fun/social activities. Just not for me - at least not right now.

 Dress: Drawstring Midi Shirt Dress, $138, Size 12
My Thoughts: I actually bought this one weeks ago in an alternate colorway, just to have on hand for fun summer outings, but I fell in love with this olive color. So easy to dress up and down, and honestly I think the belt at the waist should be tied tighter so it's more flattering than the stock photo. Their interpretation of this dress is a little weird to me.

Dress: Crosswise Flare Dress, $158, Size 12
My Thoughts: I saw this on our "onesie" rails (the place where singular returns or pieces where we only have a few left live) and loved it. Unfortunately the return was a size 4 and there's no way I was squeezing that onto my body to tell if I liked the overall fit enough to order. Thankfully, someone very kindly returned a size 12 and I think it's great! The only fit issue I noticed was right around the shoulders - the bust fits higher on me because of my chest and so the straps are a little long right at the top. I'm going to have my seamstress friend and potentially a tailor take a look at the seams and price out the alteration. I'd like to keep it, because I think it's a super versatile Spring/Summer dress (with POCKETS!) but I don't want to buy a dress and then pay a lot for alterations so I just don't know.

Empties #1

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Oh look, another inconsistently consistent series! Though this one is going to be inconsistent by intention, since I don't actually go through products *that* quickly. But just as I'm always strangely interested in people's haul videos, or holy grail product posts, I thought it'd be fun to share the bits and bobs that have lasted on my shelves long enough for me to finish them off. And repurchase!

1) Stridex Acne Pads (Maximum Strength)
4) Murad Clarifying Mask

Every single one of these items, with the exception of the cleaning oil which I just repurchased for the first time, have been staples in my routine for years. I have oily, acne prone skin, that's also a bit dehydrated because of the makeup I wear regularly and the acne products I use. 

The Stridex pads and Murad Cleanser are the two primary sources of salicylic acid in my skin care routines. I use the Stridex pads at night after my toner and before my benzoyl peroxide product. The Murad cleanser is incredibly gentle and non-foaming, so I use it in the morning. I've heard some mixed reviews on the Stridex pads, I think the maximum strength version could be a bit of a deal breaker for really sensitiveness skin, but I would recommend the Murad cleanser for everyone.

The FANCL cleansing oil is freaking awesome. Non-foaming, no smell, it melts away makeup without stripping the skin. I double cleanse regardless, but I haven't noticed any issues with left over residue. It's not the cheapest cleansing oil I've ever used but I do think it's the best - I even love the texture, because it's slightly thicker and clings better to my face when I'm rubbing it in. This is also when I do a little bit of Lisa Eldrige's facial massage, and this oil is just slick enough to stay pliable when I'm working to stimulate blood flow.

Finally, the Murad Clarifying Mask is a summer staple to help treat acne and control oil. It's too drying to use over the winter months (I tried, it wasn't pretty) but in the summer it does just enough to keep everything in check. I always see a noticeable difference in my breakouts after I use this mask, and in conjunction with their rapid spot fix I can keep everything under control even when the DC humidity is work overtime. 

Are there any products you just have to have on 
your shelves at all times?

Friday Book Club #5

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Apparently February was Urban Fantasy month? So many books, so little time!

Read & Loved:

The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) know that fighting evil is a full-time job, especially when a new designer drug—with mind-blowing side effects—hits the streets...

It’s called Brimstone. And after the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts—and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. And since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city.

And when—not if—the cartel loses control of it, well...

It’s going to be Hell on earth.

My Thoughts: I really love this series (at least so far). Three books in and we've got camaraderie and banter between the two main characters, a great supporting cast, and the lovely dismantling of any sort of love triangle. Plus each book does a fantastic job of building on the mythology and history from the one before without being redundant, which means I'm just as excited for the next book as I have been for the first three.

Cast in Honor by Michelle Sagara

In the aftermath of a vicious battle between darkness and light, the city of Elantra has emerged victorious. But Shadows continue to haunt every corner of its streets…

Elantra stands strong, but countless numbers of Hawks, the city's staunchest protectors, were lost in the brutal attack. Humans, Barrani, Aerians, Leontines—none of the races emerged unscathed from the defense of the city. Homes were lost, families were scattered…and the outcast Barrani Lord Nightshade is missing from his castle in the fiefs.

Yet as the chaos surrounding the battle begins to wane, Private Kaylin Neya's duties must resume, despite her grief. Called in to investigate a triple murder in a quiet part of town, Kaylin and her companions are soon embroiled in a case that is anything but routine. Evidence of the deadly Shadows that still threaten the city leads to hints of ancient, forgotten magics…and everything can be traced directly to Ravellon, the heart of the Shadows and the darkness they contain.

But it is there that Lord Nightshade will be found—if he still survives.

My Thoughts: I admit it, I had to go back and read Cast in Flame before picking up this book. For the life of me I couldn't remember exactly what had happened, which seems a little strange for a series I enjoy so much. I contribute part of that to the density of each novel, and the wide cast of characters, because while I definitely enjoy every book in the series, sometimes the specifics get lost along the way. Cast in Honor continues as an emotionally complicated addition to the series, with most of the main cast experiencing new revelations and loss while they work together to save the city from an initially undetermined threat. Sagara does an incredible job of making you care about characters even if they haven't been in the series/book very long, and she's at her best when she makes you both happy and sad about the things that have to happen.

Immune by Shannon Mayer

"My name is Rylee, and I am a Tracker."

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I'm the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

Underestimating demons is a bad idea, and it's a mistake that may cost not only my life, but the life of a missing child.

If I can swallow my pride, and allow Agent O'Shea to help me find a way to deal with the demon, we might be able to save the child.

With this salvage, it's a race against time, a test of trust, and a temptation that I'm doing my
damndest to ignore.

If only swallowing my pride and ignoring temptation was that easy.

My Thoughts: This is one of those series I'm trying to pace myself with, because so far I've finished one book and immediately bought the next - which is not budget friendly! I'm trying to keep my fingers crossed for a boxed set deal or something, but who has times for that?! Rylee is an interesting characters as an Immune, a person who's part of the supernatural community but also outside it. Not totally unique but I think the family that she's made for herself, and those who's she's taken under her wing since the series began, keep things fresh and fun to read. Immune had her forced to make some tough decisions about that family, and about the ramifications of her own actions, so I can't wait to find out what happens next.

I'm Look Forward To:

Is it a cop-out to say all the books I was looking forward to in my last Friday Book Club post? Probably, lol, but those are still my number ones. On my TBR pile I have Incriminating Evidence by Rachel Grant and Crucible Zero by Devon Monk, so I'll try to be more interesting next month!

sunshine and khaki

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For a brief shining moment last Sunday (and to be honest Monday/Tuesday) DC was a beautiful example of the wonderful weather to come.

Now if only I could convince it to stick around for a little while...

 Jacket: Anthropologie (old, similar) ~ Top: Anthropologie (old, similar) ~ Pants: Gap Factory ~ Shoes: DSW (similar) ~ Watch: Ebay (similar) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade ~ Bracelet: Etsy