Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Vitamin C Serum Review

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Well looky here - a review of a skincare product without a picture of my face! Sorry friends, but while this *is* actually doing great things for my face, I just wasn't in the mood to sit and pose and look totally enthused, lol (probably why I'm a fashion blogger and not a skincare one).

Thanks to a generous giftcard from my job, I've been slowly adding a few products here and there that are slightly more experimental than my usual (i.e., brands that I don't branch out to usually). I like to put the bulk of my skincare dollars into serum. They tend to have the highest concentrations of ingredients that actually do something, lol, so I consider it money well spent. After spending way too long looking at everything (and horrifying the Sephora associate by telling her I just haven't been impressed with Sunday Riley) I settled on this Dr. Dennis Gross serum.

According to Sephora's website, the C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum...

"This energy-generating serum combines vitamin C with a proprietary energy complex—featuring CoQ10, superoxide dismutase, carnitine, and niacinamide—to recharge skin. Maximize the power of vitamin C to help support natural collagen and brighten skin, while experiencing an improvement in visible skin firmness and the look of dark spots over time. "

Sounds pretty good right? And to be honest, in spite of the strong vinegar smell upon application, this has quickly become one of my favorite serums ever. In addition to having a positive impact on the frequency of breakouts (aka they slowed down), my skin has just started to look better overall. Brighter, moisturized, and while lightening post-acne hyperpigmentation isn't a fast process, I do think I see some improvement in that area as well.

In the end I consider it well worth the $78. I use one pump all over my face in the evening, and while I've made a visible dent in the product, it does seem like it'll be hanging around for a while before I have to buy another one.

all you need is love

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I love how the battle with myself this year seems to be "will I let myself go and take pictures at the most overly-Instagrammed locations in DC?" So far the answer seems to be yes, but only if it's an aside to the main purpose of the day, and I don't have to lug my tripod with me.

 Dress: H&M (old, very similar dress at Anthropologie) ~ Shoes: Seychelles ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade ~ Earrings: World Market

almost perfect

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This is one of the few pieces where I find myself torn about whether to blog about it or not. It's a cute top that fits flatteringly true to size, and should (should) be good for summer temps. But two words are keeping me from true joy:

Boob. Sweat.

Specifically of the under boob variety, this unlined top shows sweat freaking immediately and it is no bueno in my book. I still ended up wearing it to a BBQ because I'm trying to even out some color I got before (while wearing SPF, don't come for me about my love of Vitamin D) but I was vaguely uncomfortable the whole time.


So buyer beware on this one, but it's so damn cute it annoys me to have to say that.

Top: Anthropologie ~ Shorts: Forever21+ (waaaay old) ~ Sneakers: Converse ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Hat: J.Crew (old) ~ Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

Summer Feelings

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Well it turns out that white pants are hard to take pictures of when it's just you and a tripod, lol. I had all these safe pictures where I'm standing in the shade, yadda yadda yadda, but I just liked these better. So please excuse the blown out ISO levels, my bad, lol.

Top: Anthropologie (old, similar here and here) ~ Pants: Vince ~ Shoes: Seychelles ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade (old) ~ Purse: Thrifted

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Review

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On my eternal quest to look preternaturally perfect while the summer humidity makes my life a living hell, I decided that I needed (wanted) a "wet look" eye product. Cream, gloss, the exact formula wasn't something I had nailed down when I went into Nordstrom, but the overall effect.

And since I am a creature of habit and have long loved most things Charlotte Tilbury, I quickly got sucked in by the CT counter and after a delightful swatch session and chat with one of their reps, found my product.

From the Charlotte Tilbury website...

"Captivate the room in just one glance with my Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eye Shadow pots – a clever cream-to-sheen formula that creates maximum impact with minimum effort. Simply add a sheer wash of color with your fingertip for a flattering finish for day, or add drama for evening by applying with my Eye Blender Brush for high-impact, high-shine lids. It’s the ultimate foolproof product and forms part of my One-Minute No-Mirror Makeup.

Choose from six lustrous shades for an instant molten smokey eye that lasts. Bette is a rich, burnished, amber-gold tone designed to recreate those famous and powerful Bette Davis eyes. Pair it with The Classic eyeliner powder pencil in Sophia for an elegant smokey effect that’s softer than black. "

I think Amber-Gold is a much better description than Nordstrom's "warm, burnished chocolate" (chocolate? What chocolate looks like this?) . On my lids Bette is a warm, non-yellow gold with just a touch of glitter - the most sophisticated, never falls down on your face - glitter. It's easy to apply with fingers or a brush, though in either instance I like using a stiffer fluffy brush to buff out the edges. It's beautiful by itself or under eyeshadow, where it does an incredible job at intensifying any shimmer shadow I put on top. Completely by itself I saw a little creasing after 5 or so hours on a really humid day, but with a thin layer of concealer or primer down first it's pretty much fool-proof.

And look what I have for you - a somewhat unimpressive close up of my eyes!

For as little product as I need to use for every look, I imagine this little pot will be around for years or until it expires, whichever comes first. Well worth the $32!

you never know until you try

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Sometimes you fall in love with a dress and just know that it's something special. That even if you only wear it a few times each season, it's worth it, because of how it makes you feel. I'm incredibly thankful that when I came across one such dress, Ali of Heliantha Photography (who's on Instagram too!) was kind enough to venture out into the wilderness with me to shoot it.

It's a little terrifying to have pictures taken by someone new and without my usual armor (sunglasses), but it was also amazing to get the finals back and be so happy with how they turned out. I'm not going to say I can look at all of them and not have my brain go into its little nitpicking spiral of poopheaddom, but I'm working on being kinder to myself and any steps forward are good ones in my book.

 Dress: Free People* ~ Sandals: Seychelles ~ Earrings: World Market (I can't find the exact pair online, but they have so many cute tassel earrings: one, two, three)

Fit Note: This dress runs a little big, I'm assuming because it's very flowy and kind of oversized by design, so I'm comfortably wearing a size Medium. It's also only lined on the bottom, so I'm wearing these for some additional coverage up top.

spring in a bottle

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This dress isn't actually fulfilling any of the missing spots in my wardrobe right now (potentially linen tops, more summer pants that aren't jeans) but I love it and made a somewhat emotional purchase I don't think I'll regret later :).

 Dress: H&M (new, but I can't find it online!) ~ Shoes: ASOS (old, similar) ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

chilly days

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This is one of those rare "is this outfit worth posting?" posts. It was overcast and chilly this past weekend, and I gravitated to the comfiest pieces in my closet right now.

I'm not sure I'll ever be the heels-with-boyfriend-jeans kind of person, it doesn't feel very me, but with loafers and a mid-weight jacket I felt put together enough.

 Jacket: Eileen Fisher* ~ Sweater: J.Crew ~ Jeans: Tommy Hilfiger Outlet (similar) ~ Shoes: Aldo (DSW) ~ Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade (old) ~ Bracelets: Various ~ Watch: Ebay (old) ~ Purse: Georgetown Leather Design (vintage)

Fit Note: I sized down to a Medium in this coat, and probably would prefer that size across the board at Eileen Fisher.

March/April Clothing Recap

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The March/April transition turned out to be a bit more of a problem than I had anticipated. My search for wide legged crop pants led me to buying a pair March 3rd, but what I had originally thought was going to mean a slight push of my no-buy into April, turned into a general failure of the plan, lol. So instead of feeling like I'd messed up my third month in, I embraced that March was going to be another month where I could buy the pieces that fit my closet/style, and moved my no-buy to April.

A lot of the bloggers I follow who've done capsule wardrobes in the past have talked about how the feeling of "failure" began to grate on them during the exercise. I don't want to dwell in this feeling that I "messed up" during my no-buy months, so in March I made that work for me, continued to purge pieces that felt unnecessary to my life now, and used April as a time to explore my Spring style.

1. White Wide Leg Pants - I'd been on the hunt for these for a little while, especially since both the Kamm and the Everlane versions don't come large enough in size to fit me. After my success with the Vince pants I had a brand starting off point, and while they're linen and a little prone to wrinkling, the fit is on point for Spring/Summer.

2. Chambray Dress - a some spur of the moment purchase of Marine Layer, I loved that it was a bit shorter than my usual, thus it can (hypothetically) be tucked in if I wanted. Before definitively keeping it I also experimented with it over black jeans and leggings, with and without booties, which helped me see the versatility of the tunic/dress when paired with things I already own. I also loved that it's made responsibly, even if that isn't a cornerstone of all my buying practices.

3. White Jumpsuit - I love(d) this jumpsuit from Anthropologie, and my only regret is that after wearing it twice it developed a random hole in the MIDDLE of the leg. Poop. Poop on all the things. So this was a purchase but also a return.

4. F21 Dress - Ok, this I regret only because I bought #8 down there, fucking up April simultaneously. It's still a cute dress though, and hopefully I can get enough wears out of both this summer to not make it a complete fail.

5. Denim Shirt - A replacement for one that was coming apart at the seams under the arm. No regrets, I tried it on, waited for a sale, and made it mine :).

6. Sweatshirt - This I could blame on Style by Lee, but honestly it is the softest most comfiest loungewear piece I think I own, and when it was cooler I even wore it out of the house (life is short). I felt good supporting another small company, which makes a well made piece even more pleasing to own.

7. Coat-igan - Am I sold on dusters totally? No. But I am enamored with the idea of a cardigan/mid-weight topper with pockets, which has been so popular lately, but a lot of the more voluminous ones just look ridiculous on me. Eileen Fisher popped up in my brand awareness because of the minimalist scene, and while a lot of their aesthetic doesn't fit me really, I had some Nordstrom notes and when I sized down this light tweed addition made me so happy.

8. Floral Maxi (gift) - I'm including this because it was an addition to my closet, but really it's only due to a dear friend who got it for me when I mentioned my April no-buy, and I'm so thankful to her for it. I plan to wear the crap out of it!

9. Floral Max 2 (all me) - So this dress. I originally fell in love with the floral pattern online, but since Free People's sizing can be all over the place for me, I didn't buy it. Then, out with friends. I stopped by a store that had exactly one left - not in the size I would typically have purchased, but they had one. I said fuck it and tried it on, which was the WORST thing to do, because it was amazing perfection but I couldn't think of man occasions to wear it, and I'm trying to buy less things that have a high price per wear. So I didn't buy it, I got the F21 dress, told myself the feel was the same, and worked on not being sad when my size was already sold out online. But (because there's always a but), I kept the tab open. I hemmed, I hawed, I told myself it was better not to even have the option to buy it, because I don't live a life with Coachellas in it. Despite all this firm self-talk though, the second they had a medium in stock, a single solitary little medium, I bought it immediately. And while I feel terrible because dammit I should be able to go a month without buying any clothing, I can only kind of regret something that makes me feel so amazing when I put it out. Thus is the tale of Dana and this Free People dress.

10. Swimsuit - This was an April fuck up, but it was an honest fuck up. It was only after I clicked buy did I think about whether swimwear counted as clothing and while I've decided that it does, but because it wasn't premeditated I'm going to give it a pass.

So what does all this mean? Well between March and April I bought twice as much as I did in Jan/Feb, and not all of it was done with the same forethought. I'm still not entirely positive I know what I want to look like in the end, which I was ok with before but it now kind of starting to become annoying.

and then there was Meridian Hill

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Before this past weekend I had never been to Meridian Hill, never seen Malcolm X Park, and I can't explain to you how that sentence makes any more sense than the non-sense that it's making now. I'm an idiot.

Luckily my friend is more informed than me and is willing to get sucked into my hobby, and suggested this locale. You'll definitely be seeing it again - I can't wait until the fountains are turned on! - but until then we can all enjoy the incredible greenary.

Dress: Ashley Graham X Dress Barn ~ Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (old, similar) ~ Earrings: Lou Lou Boutiques (old) ~ Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Sandals: Target

I promise I was wearing sandals, even if all of my favorite pictures don't include them, lol.

white & blue

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 Shirt: Banana Republic ~ Jeans: Lucky Brand ~ Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Shoes: Banana Republic (old) ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Bracelets: J.Crew & Etsy ~ Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

simple statements

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Well hey there short hair, it's been a while.

 Jumpsuit: Anthropologie* ~ Sandals: Seychelles (I tracked a used pair down on Ebay, similar at Talbots) ~ Purse: Cultured Concepts (Eastern Market) ~ Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

Fit Note: I had a tailor take up the shoulders on this jumpsuit - it eliminated any "finding the right bra" concerns, and also brought the crotch up to sit where it was supposed to.  I'm wearing a size 12.

On My Radar: Linen Tops

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My brain - and some small (large) part the Internet - has decided I need a linen blouse. Despite the obvious wrinkling concerns, I want one. Ooooh do I want one. But before I go investing in something like Elizabeth Suzann (which I'm not knocking, I'm just not there budget-wise) I decided to take a little stroll on Etsy and see if there were other independent retailers that might do the trick. And lo and behold, there were!

At the moment something about 4 appeals to me the most, I think it's the drape, but the more cropped length of 3 might actually do the half-tuck-in-high-waisted-bottoms better. So we'll see how it goes, I know what I think I want, but since this isn't a style I already have in my wardrobe, it's going to be a bit of a crapshoot.

But what about you? Any interesting/fun/new shapes you're looking to add to your closet this Spring/Summer?


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Apparently I don't shoot enough all white outfits to remember how difficult it can be to do in shadow. Hopefully none of you are blinded, because I had to turn the ISO down on my camera a couple notches to even get this much detail.

Regardless, this is a dress I picked up in February and absolutely love how it looks - with or without the belt. It's so clean and crisp, and after a quick run of my steamer, an absolute joy to wear. Ok well, an absolute joy besides the fact that I have to put it on before makeup, because I find it almost impossible to pull on (it goes over the head)  without touching some part of my face.

 Dress: Eshakti (changed hemline and bust shape) ~ Necklace: Kate Spade ~ Shoes: Vince Camuto (old, similar here and here) ~ Purse: Anthropologie (old) ~ Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples (old)

Friday Book Club #9

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Long time no see! The reading's been happening, but it's involved a lot of older re-reads, which I probably shouldn't have assumed no one else would care about.

Still, things have been looking up this month, and there are some great things out in the book-o-sphere I'd like to highlight!

Read & Loved:

You Are Here by Jenny Lawson

When Jenny Lawson is anxious, one of the things she does is to draw. Elaborate doodles, beautiful illustrations, often with captions that she posts online. At her signings, fans show up with printouts of these drawings for Jenny to autograph. And inevitably they ask her when will she publish a whole book of them. That moment has arrived.

You Are Here is something only Jenny could create. A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with Jenny’s amazingly intricate illustrations, all on perforated pages that can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared. Drawing on the tenets of art therapy―which you can do while hiding in the pillow fort under your bed―You Are Here is ready to be made entirely your own.

Some of the material is dark, some is light; some is silly and profane and irreverent. Gathered together, this is life, happening right now, all around, in its messy glory, as only Jenny Lawson could show us.

My Thoughts: I have to admit that as my own special brand of weirdo, I haven't colored a single page in this yet. BUT. The words that Lawson uses in and around her images are incredibly powerful in their own right, and I spent a couple days going through and reading/examining all that she included here. Highly recommended, all ages, all readers.

The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

My Thoughts: You know I love this author, and while her Shifters still hold a special place in my heart, this raucous band of Viking miscreants is pretty great too. I had no idea what to think going into this one, mostly because I didn't have Stieg really formed as a whole character in my head, lol (sorry Stieg) but Laurenston made me love him, and love them together. Erin is ridiculous, like the kind of fucking ridiculous I'm not sure I could tolerate in real life, but in book form she's the perfect heroine the world needs to prevent Ragnarok. And who can put up with/love Stieg - and his goats.

Trust Me by Laura Florand

She's nobody's damsel in distress...
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?

He's a professional dragon slayer...
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina's fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after...with him?

My Thoughts: There are few romance authors who tug on my heartstrings like Florand, and this book is no exception. I was a little concerned there in the beginning, there seemed to be this large misunderstanding that was taking longer than I wanted to unravel, but as usual she pulled it out. She excels so incredibly at building characters who learn to emotionally open up to their other half, and the words shes uses to communicate that journey are my favorite.

I'm Looking Forward To:

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness...

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave...

My Thoughts: Ok so....I've had this since the day it came out. Don't hate me, but I just haven't been ready! Sometimes Bishop can emotionally annihilate you, and while the little bit of reviews I've allowed myself to read implied that this wouldn't be the case with Etched in Bone, I haven't been ready. I can thankfully say now that I've got a bit more happy built up in my personal bank, so I'm hoping to pick this one up soon, and finish it as fast as possible, lol.

the more things change

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I have to admit that I find it a little funny that my new solution to any skinny jeans I feel "meh" about is to cut off the hem and see if that helps, lol.

Also, it waaaay past time for me to dye this hair again. And cut it!

 Jacket: Anthropologie ~ Shirt: Chris Stapleton ~ Jeans: ASOS ~ Shoes: Converse ~ Sunglasses & Necklace : Kate Spade ~ Watch: Ebay