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beauty favorites

May 2017 Favorites

Beauty, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
may beauty favorites

If I could sum up May in one word, I would say "hectic". Between mother's day, my sister's birthday, two career profiles in the making and my very first event, #OfflineSaturdays, on top of my weekly posts and day job, this has been a crazy month. But don't worry, I have been able to stay on track of all my beauty and favorites, and most importantly, back into my healthy habits that I will share with you guys bellow. 

Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub

I talked about this during last month's haul and it is so worth it! It literally cleans my pores like a charm. I would even say better than Biore strips! 

The only down side is that I really don't enjoy the smell, which to me is nothing like walnuts. But the good part is that even though this is a high end product, just little bit goes a long way!

Grab it here.

Wet N' Wild Photo Focus Concealer Wand

Wet N' Wild should be my favorite as a brand because I keep finding so many amazing products by them lately! This is not a super full coverage concealer, but it is just perfect for daily use. Highly recommended. Grab it here

As I said in last month's favorite, and such as the concealer, this is such a perfect every day highlighter. It's subtle but dewy!

Grab it here.

Josie Maran SPF Protect and Perfect

I really really thought I wasn't going to like the tinted version of my favorite SPF. But it turns out I like it even more. Since the coverage is slim to none, it's perfect for those no-makeup day, where having a little bit of coverage gives you a little bit of extra confidence.

Grab it here.

Crossfit & Apple Watch

After almost three months hardly working out, I bounced back to my fitness routine with none other than Crossfit! I started Crossfit a few years ago, but decided to quit because it's so expensive, but mostly because of pure laziness. I wish I had never left because I wouldn't be so sore now! Plus, it is such a great workout and every time I start my day with this type of workout I've notice that I'm so much more productive! 

But in order to get pumped into starting my fitness routine again, I decided to purchase an Apple Watch. But if you've been following me for a while, you will know that I have a love hate relationship with fitness trackers. But hear me out: I'm an Apple freak and I cannot lie. I knew I was going to end up purchasing it, and to be really honest, it has helped me stay motivated in a very low key way. 

Remember when I talked about May being such a hectic month? Yeah, it was mostly because of this event. It felt like a marathon from the moment I randomly decided to create it. From looking for a venue, a host, sponsors and even buying utensils! It was all crazy while having a full time job and running a blog at the same time, but it was so worth it! By far, one of the most rewarding experience so far! I still can't believe I had the guts to do this. 

My plan is to host an Offline Saturdays every last Saturday of eachmonth, but since I will be out of town most of June, our next Offline Saturday will take place this next July, 29. Mark your calendars! Don't forget to join the Facebook group so you stay on track of everything that will be going on! 


That's it for May! What were your May favorites?

Until next time, 
María Elena

Top 5 Cruelty-Free Brands at the Drugstore

BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
best cruelty free products

I've been postponing this blog post for a while now because this cruelty-free journey hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be in the first place. I've had to cut off ties with several beauty and makeup brands because even though they may claim to be cruelty-free, resources like Peta, Cruelty-Free Kitty and The Leaping Bunny disagrees and I won't compromise my credibility for a pretty shade of lipstick. I'll just patiently wait until these brands update their policies to 100% cruelty-free, which they will. And I'm writing this right after I found out Stila Cosmetics just gained back their cruelty-free status, which makes me so, so happy! 

My point is that it has been frustrating at times, which is why I talked a little bit about it on my January Favorites. But one of the toughest things about going cruelty-free is that most of the main drugstore brands do test on animals, so I've had a hard time researching and getting to know these new brands that I would've otherwise ignored. Luckily, Cruelty-Free Kitty has an awesome list of the cruelty-free brands that you can find at the drugstore, which has helped me a lot during this one and a half year of being a more ethical beauty buyer. 

That's why I decided to make your life a little easier and give you my top 5 cruelty-free drugstore brands so you can have a much budget friendly beauty hauls. Enjoy! 

NYX Cosmetics 

I've talked about my obsession with their brow pencil here. I am also obsessed with their lip products, because they are simply amazing! I also can't wait to try their Pore Filler which people claim it can be a Benefit's Porefessional dupe as well as their new Total Control Foundation which could be a nice drugstore dupe for Cover FX's Cover Drops. Their Concealer Wand is apparently a good dupe for the Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer as well. Sadly, I can't find any of these last two in Puerto Rico, so please help me out if you know of a place! 

best nyx cosmetics beauty products

Milani

To be really honest, I used to ignore this brand until I became cruelty-free and saw Tati talking about it on her Youtube Channel. I've heard amazing things about their blushes and highlighters. But the one I can't wait to get my hands on is their Conceal and Perfect Foundation! Apparently it is the best drugstore foundation but sadly, I also can't find it anywhere in Puerto Rico! I guess I'll have to order it online... 

best milani cosmetics products

e.l.f.

Even though I didn't pay as much attention to this brand before going cruelty-free, their prices never failed to amaze me! I remember seeing all that cheap makeup in Kmart and asking myself: "Could it be any good?"  And it is! I still have like three of their $0.99 brushes, which have lasted me more than two Sephora branded ones I purchased a few years ago. This brand is highly underrated and I will continue to purchase their products to give you better reviews coming soon. 

best elf cosmetics products

Wet N' Wild 

Another brand I used to take for granted, and you know what? Now it's one of my favorites! Their nail polishes and matte lipsticks are ridiculously long lasting! And to be super honest, yesterday I saw this video of Tati recommending their new Photo Focus Foundation and I went to Walgreens right after work and purchased it. Because #priorities. 

best wet n wild beauty products

Eco Tools 

I've wanted MAC makeup brushes for a long time, but I never end up buying them because the quality of my EcoTools is just as good! I can honestly say that I have thrown away only one of my brushes and it was just because it became moldy from washing them the wrong way. I can't recommend these enough, so I've put a list bellow of my favorites and the ones on my wish list:

best ecotools products

Please notice that these are not all the cruelty-free brands at the drugstore, these are just the ones that I reach for the most. Hope it gave you a clear guide into your cruelty-free journey!

As always, don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter and answer these few questions if you haven't yet. 

Until next time, 
María Elena

 

A Year in Review

Real Talk, Shopping, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
the devil wears prada nigel

Even though 2016 hasn't been the best year in history nor for myself, I can't say I haven't enjoyed this bumpy ride. It was a very difficult year but I have grown a lot both personally and professionally. I had many challenges in which I had to do my best to balance work, life, graduate school and health. Was I able to keep these four important aspects of my life in balance? No. I couldn't stop thinking about Nigel from The Devil Wears Prada telling Andy that she has to choose between her career or a personal life. Ugh, adulting is some serious shit, people!  

This was also a year in which I have seen the digital content world evolve so much. But I have also seen how so many bloggers and vloggers have lost their genuine vibes by sticking to what's "cool" or "trendy" and not by their true essence. And let me tell you something, I care too much about this blog to ever let that happen. In 2017 I will make it my mission to keep evolving personally along with this blog. But more on this further on this post, ok? 

Now, let's get to my 2016 favorites! 


My Makeup Drawer

Photo by: Marcos Caballero

This year I decided to clean up my makeup stash and get everything together in just one drawer. A very big drawer I may add, because you know me. Lol. But the thing is that there is no secret the Marie Kondo has changed my life perspective, and I no longer need a huge amount of makeup to feel like a genuine beauty blogger. So here's a list of my 2016 makeup essentials, cruelty-free, of course. ;) Which by the way, I have been cruelty-free for 1 year now! 

Nars Blushes | It Cosmetics CC Cream | Tarte Concealer | Tarte Tease Palette | Urban Decay Liquid Eyeliner | It Cosmetics Concealer | Tarte Bronzer | Tarte Mascara | NYX Liquid Lipstick

 

My Top Shelf Skincare

My skin has been so happy this year. I have not slacked on my skincare routine whatsoever. I do not go to sleep without my facial spray, serum and moisturizer. And in the daytime, I make sure my foundation has an SPF higher than 30. If it's a no-makeup dayI  will use my go-to Josie Maran SPF. Also rose water spray has been my life this year! I'm such a brat, I know.

Here's what I've been loving:

2016 has been the year of being comfy and sexy. I was all about the leggings, maxi dresses, off shoulders, oversized sweaters, Adidas Superstars and of course, my dainty staple jewelry. 

But again, Marie Kondo has been a huge part on this. Thanks to the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I've been throwing away what doesn't "spark joy" in my life and sticking to staple pieces that may be pricier, but will last me longer. I have specially been spending a little extra on jeans and workout clothes. Next? I will be investing in better t-shirts and camis for the every day. Because these are items that you can wear up or down with some basic jeans and who doesn't love options?! 

So here were some of my staple pieces this year:

santa monica pier, california, travel tips

Traveling is my therapy. This year I was going through several personal issues and the way I was able to cope with them was by traveling to places I had never seen before. That's how I took my mom to California and Chicago for the first time and made some of the best memories I have with the woman who raised me. <3 Check out my travel posts in the list bellow:

****Life Update Alert****

Next year I will finally be traveling to Europe for the first time in my life! I am extremely excited and so grateful to have the opportunity to visit for three weeks during Summer with my boyfriend. So if you start seeing less makeup hauls, now you know why. ;) Your girl's saving some cash! 

 

My Fitness Journey

I have to admit this has not been my healthiest year. I learned the hard way that once you hit that 25 year old mark, you can't be eating whatever you want and expect to stay skinny, just because you exercise. I guess it's safe to say my glory days are over? *Sigh*

That's why I decided to reach out to LIV Fitness Clubs in Guaynabo and San Juan, so they could be part of this losing-fat-journey with me. Let me tell you that they have been great with all this. You can't compare the amount of classes in the early morning with no other gym in Puerto Rico. Overall, I have been LOVING everything about LIV. Plus, the staff is the nicest! 

Now for the good part, I am already down 5 pounds, YAY! Would you like to see more on this journey? Let me know and I will gladly start posting about this experience. 

What's next for Ambinity?

I am not going to lie... I am getting really tired of all the blogs that have been creating all this sponsored content that has nothing to do with what they supposedly stand for. During 2016 I have seen a lot of people trying to get famous through social media and calling themselves "bloggers" without even having and idea of what this entitles.

To be 100% honest with you guys, this sometimes gets me a little down and makes me question if I am on the right path. I really don't want to create something that doesn't bring some kind of value to your lives. But then again, I remember that I am here because I am really passionate about writing and of course, giving you some life advice and a little vanity wisdom that I know can bring a smile to your face from time to time. 

What I am trying to express is that you can expect some changes in Ambinity's content this upcoming year. Remember this blog is an extension of myself, so it will continue to evolve as I do. 

What will not change is the way that I create genuine content for you guys. The good thing about working in digital advertising is that I actually know how brands work with bloggers and I will make sure you guys only get content that I truly support and love, no matter how big or small this blog gets.

My point is you will not see basic content in Ambinity for 2017. Hah! Pinky promise. ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my loves! 

Until next time, 

María Elena


Top Beauty Products of 2015

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

Yes people! I am alive. Want to know why I was missing? Because I don't think its fair for me or for you guys to post without any inspiration don't you think? The content would have been terrible. 

But to be 100% honest, I turned 25 this past November and I can't say I haven't had a mini quarter life crisis, even though I had a drafted post of "How I Got Over My Quarter Life Crisis Before it Happened" HA! I can be so optimistic at times. So as you can imagine, a lot of thinking, soul searching (super cheesy, I know) and after a weekend of cleaning, sleeping and just being with myself I can finally say I'm ready to start updating Ambinity for good this 2016! Sounds good right? 

Now, enough about the boring stuff... So what better way to start the year than by talking about all the good things from 2015?! YAAAS please. So here you go, my top beauty products from 2015:

 

Marshmallow Fireside Candle by Bath and Body Works

Why do I call this a "Beauty Favorite"? Because it helps me unwind before going to sleep. And we all know how important a good night sleep is for your beauty routine! This candle has been a favorite ever since BBW store opened in Puerto Rico. It's just how I like my candles: warm, vanilla-ish and with just a hint of spice. Heaven, just heaven. Fun Fact: I even like it more than my $65 candle. Yikes!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

I finally purchased this after watching Tati aka Glam Life Guru on Youtube rave about this on a First Impressions video. Even though this is definitely not a cheap foundation it is perfect for someone wanting save money due to its versatility. Just one drop mixed with your favorite moisturizer or sunblock makes it a tinted moisturizer. Want a bit more coverage? Upgrade to two, three or even four drops. Want a luminous look? Mix it in with your favorite liquid highlighter or facial oil. So many possibilities... I just love it!

Tarte 100% Maracuja Oil

Surprise? I don't think so. I don't know why but I kept trying different facial oils to see if it worked better, but nope! This oil loves my skin and I have been mixing it in with my Cover FX Custom Drops, which is working like magic. This would not be the first time I say this, but if you have oily skin, you need to try this asap

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Although this is not 100% animal cruelty free, I had to include it because I have been using it every night throughout all 2015 (I purchased this before I officially became cruelty-free).  I am already looking for a dupe for this lip balm that actually compares to how velvety my lips felt even after cold and dry air. So I just ordered Glossier's The Balm Dot Com to see how it goes... As always, I'll keep you guys posted.

Sonia Kashuk's Eye Shadow Brush 

I've always thought you could apply eyeshadow with anything. Even your fingers, which is true. But when I got this brush everything changed. Not only does it feel super luxurious, it deposits the product on my eyelids perfectly. I've been specially loving this with my Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

2015 is the year when I found my signature scent after years of wanting to switch from Miss Dior Cherie. It's not that I didn't like that scent, it's just that I smelled like that since High School and I was so over it! Chloe's scent is sophisticated yet youthful. It has a sweet but soft scent with a hint of spice I would say, but just go ahead and smell it by yourself. It could also be your signature scent. :)

Living Proof Sating Hair Serum

As you all know, I'm pretty low maintance with my hair, so I went from not wearing anything on my hair after I washed it to be entirely dependent on this stuff! It smells great and air drys my hair to perfection.

BeautyBlender

The original one. I tried the Real Techniques version of this for a while and I liked it, but not until I got the BeatyBlender on Sephora's VIB Sale. There should be a saying about "once you go beauty blender, you never go back", because let me tell you, I'm never using a brush to blend my foundation again.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

If you've ever had a dull face day, you should buy this. Even if you have oily skin. I have oily skin and this gives my face a subtle glow that makes it look like I had 8 hours of sleep every day. I would suggest going for the travel size ($19) since a little goes a long way and that way you can really test it out before buying the $41 bottle.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

I never knew I needed a serum until I tried this. I love how it smells and how it makes my skin look and feel every morning after I've used this the night before. I have a complete review here.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Another super raved mascara that I was super excited to purchase since I found out this brand is cruelty-free! I don't know if it is better than sex but, it is definitely a great mascara. It's super dark, voluminizing and it can go from day to night with just one more coat. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

So that's it guys. I must say that I really missed writing, and I will definitely keep updating Ambinity throughout 2016, but with some changes. I'll keep you guys posted. ;)

See you soon!

María Elena

Ole Henriksen