Monthly Archives

October 2016

Beauty, Skincare

Nighttime Skin Care Routine v2

October 28, 2016

nighttime skin care routine

I posted my nighttime skincare routine over a year ago, and my products have changed quite a bit so I wanted to post an update. I have always been passionate about skincare–everything from taking good care of my skin to learning about the ingredients in products. Before purchasing a product, I always do research on the ingredients. One of my favorite resources is CosDNA. If any of the ingredients is a concern, then I read more about it to see if I am OK with putting it on my skin. I also read hundreds of product reviews!

Keep in mind that I am in my late 20’s and have sensitive, oily, acne prone skin, so these products may not work for you. Everyone should do their own research to find products best suited for their age, skin type, and skin concerns.

Step 1: Cleanse

Double cleansing at the end of the day is crucial. The first step is to use an oil based cleanser to lift oil-based products, such as makeup, sunscreen and excess oil. My favorite is the Banila Co Clean it Zero (use coupon code “101smiles” for 10% off). I use a spatula that comes with the product and scoop a little bit onto my hands. My hands warm up the product and it will transform from a solid into liquid form. I apply this to my dry face and all of my makeup gently comes off! Next, I apply a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities and use it with my Clarisonic to provide a deeper cleanse. The Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam has a thick consistency and turns into a rich foam.

Step 2: Tone

In past years I never believed toning to be a necessary step and most toners I used irritated my skin. This is because many skincare brands recommended alcohol based toners for my oily, acne prone skin. Now I only use alcohol-free toners to balance my skin. I really like the Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner, which removes dead skin and fights breakouts.

Step 3: Essence

Essence is the newest step in my skincare routine. Essence have highly concentrated antioxidants, vitamins, organic acids, and sometimes fermented probiotics. These ingredients target wrinkles, fine lines, and dull and uneven skin tones. I have been using the MISSHA Time Revolution for over 6 months. It is a great (and cheaper) alternative to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.

Step 4: Treat

Morning serums should protect skin, while night serums should treat skin. I have been using the Drunk Elephant Glycolic Serum for 6 months and absolutely love it. It has 12% glycolic serum which gently removes dead skin cells and supports natural collagen. It took a month to see the results, but my skin is now much smoother and even. I have done a lot of research on other glycolic serums and this one has the best ingredients.

Step 5: Moisturize

Moisturizing is an essential step. I have loved the Josie Maran Argan Oil for years, but received a couple samples of the Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil so I have been using it. I think marula oil is great and it has similar benefits to argan oil (great article on the difference here), but marula oil is better for dry, dull, or aging skin while argan oil is better for normal or oily skin. Both oils have been great on my skin so I plan to continue using them. The skin around the eye is quicker to show age and fatigue, so it’s important to use a good eye cream. I love the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair–it is great at reducing puffiness and dark circles. I always end my routine with lip balm, and my favorite is the Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm. This product is crazy expensive and the 24-karat gold leaf is completely unnecessary, but this is the most hydrating lip balm I’ve ever used! I apply it at night and in the morning, and it keeps my lips hydrated all day. I actually dropped this jar and it broke into three pieces, but I will keep using it until all the products have been used up!

This is my everyday nighttime skincare routine, but I also rotate between various clay masks, hydrating masks, sheet masks, and exfoliating cream at night as well. If you’re planning to purchase beauty items, the Sephora VIB sale is coming up. VIB Rouge can shop between Nov 4-7 and everything is 20% off. VIB can shop a couple days after that date. I have lots of items on my wishlist and will post my Sephora haul during the sale!

Beauty, Makeup

MAC Nutcracker Sweet

October 20, 2016

mac nutcracker sweet

I am excited to announce the MAC Nutcracker Sweet holiday collection! These are now available online today, October 20, and available in stores October 27-December 8, 2016. I was lucky enough to receive this collection from MAC Cosmetics as a PR package! I love the eye compacts, especially the smoky compact, and the copper face compact. The quality is on-par with MAC Cosmetics–highly pigmented and long wearing. The brush sets are smaller than normal MAC brushes, but same quality and perfect for travel. The packaging is in beautiful pink and gold. These would make great gifts this upcoming holiday season! They are only available until early December, so be sure to pick these up soon!

I thought about doing a MAC giveaway for my followers, but with the holiday season coming up, I have decided to donate all of my unused beauty products to a local women’s shelter in San Francisco. I am lucky to receive lots of skincare and makeup to review, and most of the time brands send me multiple products. I will never be able to use them all and I want to find good homes for these amazing products. I decided on the local women’s shelter because their programs specifically target women and children. These products will be great as holiday gifts for the children, or/and to help women feel confident for upcoming interviews. I know many beauty bloggers follow my blog, and I would encourage you to donate your unused beauty products as well!

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Eye Compacts

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Eye Compacts

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Face Compacts

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Brush Kits


Quick Way to Heal Cracked Feet

October 11, 2016


Cracked feet is a common issue for me. There are numerous causes for cracked feet, but for me it is due to dry skin and improper footwear. Over the years I have tried foot scrubs, paraffin wax, foot creams, and numerous home remedies. These methods were either ineffective or took over a week to see results. Walking the hills of San Francisco in flip flops has been rough on my feet, but I recently discovered a quick way heal my cracked feet.

A couple months ago, I came across the GEHWOL Foot File at Nordstrom. Not only is it super effective and gentle, it is also antibacterial and waterproof. I keep it in my shower and only need to use it once to remove the dead skin. Then I use BeeSpa’s Hand + Foot Cream to soothe and moisturize my feet. After using the cream just once, I was surprised to see my cracked heals were almost completely heeled by the second day. The cream contains 16% beeswax which locks in moisture to protect the skin, and it also contains shea butter, vitamins E, A, and D, and antioxidants. I love that it is NOT greasy like most creams and home remedies, and it can also be used on hands, elbows, and other areas of dry skin. A little goes a long way. The combination of the foot file and BeeSpa cream healed my feet in just 2 days! If you struggle with cracked feet or dry skin, I would highly recommend trying these products.

Life, Lifestyle

3 Failures I Learned From

October 3, 2016

img_3858Scarf: Burberry  // Leg Warmer: Grace & Lace

I recently started a new chapter of my life and it has been wonderful so far. I am excited about life because I am happy with my job and relationships. However, life is full of challenges and rollercoasters so I have been reflecting on my past failures. My personal failures have helped me grow, mature, adapt, appreciate, and learn. Here are three failures I have learned from:


Four years ago, I worked for an e-commerce startup. The company struggled with fundraising, ran out of money and couldn’t make payroll. I was in my early 20’s and this was unexpected. I relied on the paychecks and had not saved up for a rainy day. Luckily, the startup secured funding 5 weeks later and we all received our backpay. I learned that no matter how hard working and ambitious you are, there are always external factors that could impact your financial well-being so it’s important to save up! Thankfully, this lesson of financial planning and managing financial risks was one that I learned very young.


I spent my last year of business school looking for a job. The job search was an extremely painful, eye opening, and humbling experience. I knew what industries, function, and companies I want to work for, but it was difficult getting offers. I learned a lot about myself and was surprised that I have so much perseverance. After graduation, I moved to San Francisco without a job but quickly received job interviews and offers. Being in the target city really helped since I was able to meet hiring managers in person and employers knew I would be able to start immediately. In the end I accepted an offer with a great company, and I now know I had to go through all the painful rejections to finally get to this point. My advice to job seekers is to know what you want, set realistic goals and targets (your experience should match the job requirements), and to not give up! The easier route is to accept an offer with a company you’re not excited about or to stay at a job where you’re not growing/advancing, but you’ll just be unhappy and unsatisfied.


I’ve had many failed relationships over the years, whether it’s just letting the relationship grow distant over time or falling out over disputes.  Maintaining strong relationships with family and friends is the hardest, but also the most important. I still struggle with this every day, but I have learned that if someone is important, then treasure this person and never walk away.