Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

Best of Beauty 2016

January 13, 2017

Happy Friday! I hope the new year is off to a great start for you. I tried many makeup and skincare products in 2016, so I want to quickly list my favorites! I am not posting a review on here since this would get way too long, but all of these products I’ve blogged about in the past, so if you want more details just type the name in the search bar. I picked 1-2 products from each category and they are organized by the order of application.

Skincare
Makeup
Tools

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Life, Lifestyle, Misc

2016 Highlights

January 6, 2017

2016 was an eventful year! I am sure it will be one of the most memorable years of my life because of all the life changes. I record and color code everything on my calendar–meetings, classes, errands, date nights, travels, errands/chores, etc. It took a couple hours but I enjoyed going through all of my calendar entries and photos from 2016. Here are some of my top highlights!

2016 Highlights:
  • Ditch the Heels hit a couple of milestones: one year anniversary, 100+ blog posts, and collaborations with brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Rocksbox, Kaplan MD, dermae, and sara happ. My brand is slowly evolving as I grow and transition into a different phase of my life, and I hope to redefine the brand in 2017.
  • I traveled to several places: Puna Cana, Taiwan, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and California several times. One of my favorite trips was traveling to Taiwan with two of my best friends. We went there for a class project but had some free time to explore Taiwan, such as the hot springs and Taroko National Park. Another favorite trip was to the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving break. The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth and left me speechless.
  • I graduated from the Kellogg School of Management with my MBA! I cannot believe how fast the 2 year journey came to an end. It started in Peru with 24 strangers who quickly became my close friends. I learned from amazing professors and classmates. I cried and laughed and argued. I found new hobbies and interests. I made lifelong friendships.
  • I found a job in San Francisco. My previous work experiences had been in traditional CPG marketing, but I took the leap and transitioned to tech marketing. It has turned out to be the best decision and I love the work, people, and company.
  • I moved from Evanston to San Francisco and my husband moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco, ending our two-year long distance marriage. It was one of the happiest days of my life and I hope we will never have to live apart again. We are currently living in Nob Hill and have a great view of the city from our apartment (middle photo above). We are spoiled by our 10-15 minute walk to work.
  • We are loving the Bay Area and have had the opportunity to explore. Even though we are new here, San Francisco is starting to feel like home because of the friends and family who live here. I am thrilled to be living so close to my brother Jason and his dog @baltosf.

I already know 2017 will be a big year for us as well! I hope you’ve all had a great start to the new year!

Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

December 2016 Beauty Discoveries

January 1, 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope 2016 was a great year for you and that 2017 will be even better. I have a New Years blog post coming up, but I wanted to get this December beauty discoveries post out first. I have a few beauty discoveries that I used in December to share:

Foreo Luna 2 – This cleansing device was on my wishlist for two years and I’m so happy I finally purchased it! The performance is very similar to Clarisonic. I wanted to make the switch from Clarisonic to Foreo because I was sick of spending so much money on the Clarisonic replacement brush. I would highly recommend getting a cleansing device (there are cheaper options such as the Clinique Cleansing Brush and Foreo Play) because they deep cleanse the skin and can improve wrinkles and fine lines.

CosRx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner – I’ve been trying more and more Asian skincare and CosRx is a new brand I’ve discovered. CosRx focuses on simple and natural ingredients, and the products focus on specific skincare issues (dark spots, blackheads, blemishes, dry skin, oily skin). The best part is the affordable price point! Since this toner is infused with AHA/BHA, it exfoliates the skin, removes dead skin, and helps prevent blackheads and whiteheads. It’s gentle and I use this twice a day.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter – I usually apply mattifying primers but since my skin has looked more dull this winter, I have been reaching for this primer more and more. The formula is lightweight and dewy without being shimmery. This primer can be used alone or with foundation to blur imperfections and to create a healthy glow.

La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder – This powder is very expensive, but you actually get a lot of products. It comes with two containers–one large container and one travel size container. Together they are 2.2oz and will probably last me over 3 years. This is the best powder I have tried for oily skin (even better than the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder) and I just love finishing up my makeup look with this setting powder. It absorbs excess oil, gives a matte finish, does not cause creasing, and lasts all day!

Glossier Balm Dotcom Cherry – I have been carrying this balm with me everywhere. The formula has antioxidants and natural emollients. The castor seed oil locks in moisture and the beewax protects the lips. It is also not-sticky/glossy.

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Beauty, Makeup

5 Minute Brush Free Makeup for Travelers

December 21, 2016

brush free makeup for travel

I just found out this is my #101 blog post! I started Ditch the Heels 1.5 years ago and I cannot believe I’ve already written 100 posts. I’ve really enjoyed this journey and THANK YOU to all of my followers–some of you have been subscribed since the beginning!

We are heading back to Minnesota tomorrow and I will be off from work until after the New Years. Many are traveling over the holidays so I was inspired to do a post about how to create an easy makeup look that will only take 5 minutes and does not require makeup brushes. You can quickly create this look in the airport, airplane or car. This is perfect for travel because it will give you that natural and radiant look while also using products that will help stressed skin. Here are the products I used to create this look.

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask – I always put on this mask before traveling. The hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, which keeps the skin well moisturized and plump on the airplane. The lactobacillus peptide is antibacterial and creates an extra barrier to protect the skin. This is also a great leave-on mask to apply before bed during the dry winter.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter – I normally go for primers that will mattify my face since I have oily skin, but I love using this primer when traveling because it eliminates dullness. This primer creates a radiant glow and the vitamin E-enriched formula minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can be applied by itself first or can be mixed in with foundation.

MILK Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 – My favorite foundation of 2016! I purchased this during the Sephora sale last month and have been using it nonstop. The packaging is innovative–you push the top for the foundation to appear on the glass rollerball applicator. The anti-microbial packaging contains silver which allows for a preservative-free foundation. The formula is infused with a blend of avocado, mandarin, grapeseed, and olive oils, which nourishes and hydrates the skin. This is best applied with fingers because the formula is very sticky. I have noticed that this looks amazing on good skin days because it is light coverage and looks very natural on the skin. I would not recommend this to people who have breakouts or acne to cover up and who don’t want to use too much concealer.

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer – This is a great under eye concealer, especially if you have dark circles from waking up super early to catch a morning flight. It is moisture rich and easy to apply by dabbing lightly with your ring finger.

NARS The Multiple Stick – This is a multipurpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body. The shade I have is Maui, which is beautiful on cheeks and lips. I apply this directly on my face and spread it with my fingers. The formula is a cream-to-powder formula that is easy to blend and is infused with vitamin E and açai oil for antioxidant benefits.

tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara – I’ve said this many times on here, but this is the only non-drugstore mascara I will purchase because it’s amazing. It lengthens, curls, volumizes, and conditions the eyelashes, stays on all day and is smudge proof.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – This is super easy to use and I love that is has a brush on one end so I don’t need to pack one. This is available in many colors and I would suggest picking a shade lighter than your hair color for a more natural look.

Glossier Balm Dotcom – My lips get very dry and chapped when traveling so I always need to pack an extra moisturizing lip balm. I am loving this balm from Glossier, which is packed with antioxidants and natural emollients. The castor seed oil locks in moisture and the beewax protects the lips. These are also available in various flavors. I am wearing the shade cherry, which is slightly tinted.

Applying all of these will take less than 5 minutes! It is easy, brush free and mess free.

I wish you a safe and happy holiday!

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Beauty

Beauty Subscription Box Reviews

December 12, 2016

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I remember when I received my first beauty subscription box–I felt like a little kid on Christmas and couldn’t wait to see the products inside. Since my first box from Birchbox, I have subscribed to several other beauty subscription boxes. I love opening the boxes to discover what’s inside, reading the product descriptions, researching online, and trying the products. Beauty products can be expensive, but these subscription boxes make it easier to discover emerging brands or cult products without breaking the bank. The smaller size also make them great for travel. Here are mini reviews of some of the boxes I have subscribed to:

Birchbox – $10/month
The original, and the most popular, beauty box. Each box contains 5 trial-sized products. If you review the samples, you will earn Birchbox Points to apply toward the purchase of full-sized items. I stopped subscribing to this because I think the products are too small. Most of the time I can only use the products a few times, which is not enough to test a product, especially if it is a skincare item.

Glossybox – $21/month
On the pricer side but the product size is very generous. The boxes come with at least one full-sized item so this ends up being a great deal for the price paid. You can take surveys to receive glossydots for free boxes. The box the products come with is very durable and I keep them to store products, but the confetti inside is so annoying! It gets everywhere and is a waste of paper. This used to be my favorite beauty box, but over time the boxes started to contain more and more emerging brands with limited reviews.

PLAY by Sephora – $10/month
This is currently my favorite box! Each month there is a theme, the box is customize based on your skin type, and each box will have 4-5 items (1 is always a perfume sample).While the products are small, all of the brands are sold at Sephora so the products are more high end and high quality.

Julep – $24.99/month
You take a beauty quiz and can actually choose the products you want in your box. At first I was worried about the quality of the products because they are all Julep branded, but I was very impressed by the products I received. I also think the products are innovative–from the packaging of the nail polish to different form (this is where I discovered cream stick blushes).

Memebox – Varies
These boxes are curated Korean products and you know exactly what you will get in each box. Korean products are innovative and high quality, but I am unfamiliar with the brands and the products, so this was a great way for me to try many products from various brands. Since you can see what products are in each box, it’s easy to search for reviews first before purchasing. I have received a couple boxes and you can read one of my reviews here.

BeautyDNA – $15 first month, $25 subsequent months
You take a long test and then prioritize what you want in your next box by ranking various skincare needs. While you cannot select what product will end up in the box, it is easy to guess what the product will do. For example, if you select acne pigmentation as your #1 concern, you may receive a serum to fade hyper pigmentation. Or if you select frizzy hair as your #1 concern, you may get a hair treatment or conditioner to treat frizzy hair. I stopped subscribing to this because I don’t want to be stuck with full-sized items I don’t love. The two items I received were so-so, and I would rather spend more on a product I love. This is a great option for people who wants value because most of the products are valued at over $50 but you only need to pay $25 per month.

There are hundreds of subscription boxes out there! Let me know what is your favorite beauty subscription box!

Beauty, Makeup, Skincare

November 2016 Beauty Discoveries

December 5, 2016

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I am excited to share all the new products I tried the month of November. For a while I was not trying many new products because of my move and attempt to use up all of my old products first, but last month I was able to start using some amazing new products!

IT Cosmetics Vitality Face Disc – For a few weeks I searched for a palette that includes a blush, bronzer and highlighter for travel. There are a few options out there, but I picked It Cosmetics because the colors are just gorgeous and look natural on the face! The blush is a beautiful pink with a tiny hint of shimmer. The highlighter also has shimmer and makes the face look naturally luminous. The bronzer is matte and does not look orange on the skin. I also love that it is talc-free. The colors last all day and are very buildable, so you can go as light or heavy as you like. This is the powder version, but there is also a cream version if you prefer cream.

Glossier Boy Brow – I have used the Anastasia Brow Wiz for years and thought it’s time to try something new. The Glossier Boy Brow only have three shades (blond, brown, black) so I purchased the black. It was way too dark for me. Additionally, the formula is too creamy and difficult to blend. I have to be very careful with the brush, or else the formula will get all over my face. I know so many people love this product, but it was not for me!

Ciate London Choc Pot – This is an amazing nail polish remover!! Perfect travel size, no mess and no cotton pads needed! You just put in one finger at a time, move it around the sponge for a couple of seconds, and all of the nail polish will be removed. It is non-drying, acetone-free, and infused with marula oil and vitamins B5 and E to condition and nourish nails.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay – I received this in my Sephora Play box a few months back. It is a gentle cleanser and effectively removes makeup, oil and dirt. This cleanser is especially great for people with oily, acne-prone skin. I have sensitive skin but this cleanser did not cause any irritation because it is allergy-tested, free of artificial fragrances and colorants. I have tried other products from First Aid Beauty and would highly recommend their products.

Caudalie Glycolic Peel – This is a quick 10-minute mask that tightens pore, reduces oil, and renews skin texture. It contains viniferine, papaya enzymes, and glycolic acid—these ingredients work together to brighten, lighten, and create an even, luminous complexion. These claims are true because whenever I used this I would notice clearer, brighter skin the next day.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet – This is a great moisturizer as long as you don’t mind the fragrance. Although it smells amazing, I personally prefer fragrance-free products. This moisturizer quickly absorbs into the skin and deeply hydrates, soothes, and softens skin.

Antica Farmacista Fragrance – Every year during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale these diffusers go on sale! I’ve always wanted to purchase these and finally purchased the scent Prosecco. The fragrance infuse into the air and provide a lasting scent throughout the apartment. It is a very pretty piece to put in the home and can be placed on a side table, coffee table, book shelf, window sill, etc.

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