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2017 in Review | The Best and the Worst

Beauty, Lifestyle, HealthMaría Elena RodríguezComment
best buys of 2017

This year was far from normal to say the least. From traveling to Europe for the first time, posting consistently once a week and surviving a devastating natural disaster. 2017 was intense, but it was all that I needed to check my priorities. 

I made some big lifestyle changes and some huge decisions along the way. It was transformative to say the least, but I couldn't be happier for the outcome. So here are the highs and lows that helped me get there:


Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection

As many of the products I discover, I discovered this one out of a whim. I always like using a nourishing lip balm after my nighttime skincare routine and before I fall asleep and this one has been perfect. It's a little expensive, but it's worth the splurge since a little bit goes a long way. 

You can read my initial review here.

Grab Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip collection here


OLEHENRIKSEN Transforming Walnut Scrub

ole henriksen walnut scrub

You all know my love for Ole Henriksen, but first thing first: This scrub STINKS! But boy does it work. If you can pass through the smell and are diligent about using this product at least once a week you will see the amazing results. 

You can read my initial review here.

Grab the Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub here


tarte Tarteist™ Lash Paint Mascara

I have the most stubborn eyelashes. They are the hardest to curl and give some volume. But this mascara is doing her part on my lashes. Plus, it's buildable and perfect for those days when you want to give your makeup look that extra sultriness. 

You can read my initial review here.

Grab the Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara here. 


Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask

herbivore blue tansy

This is an effective but expensive mask. It smells great and it feels really luxurious. Plus, you will see the results right away. I've been using this mask before special occasions or if my skin is looking a little dull.

I talk more about this product here

You can buy the Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask here


Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Just as I suspected, this concealer quickly gained holy grail status. The hype is real guys! If you suffer of dark circles like I do, this concealer will change your life. Just keep in mind that it's super full coverage, which is why I only use it for special occasions. For my every day I've been using the Wet N' Wild Photo Focus Concealer

You can read my initial review here.

Grab the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer here. 


Glossier Serums

glossier serums

I started using these serums after my sister raved about them so much. You all know my love for the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, but since I've been leaning more towards more natural and less ingredients skincare I thought it was time to give these a try. 

These are definetely lighter than I thought and from my experience, you will start to see results after a week or so. The only downside is that it's 0.5 oz and for the price and for the price and daily usage, I don't think it's appropriate. Wishing they come out with a full 1oz and more cost effective packaging! 

Grab Glossier's The Supper Pack Serums here


Hello, World!

glossier perfume

If you follow me on Instagram you know I went to the Glossier Showroom in Chelsey, NYC this past November. I had no idea I would love this perfume, but once I smelled it, I knew it had to be mine. Some of you know that I've been really into warm and spicy scents this year and that is exactly what this smells like. But it's not basic at all. Am I explaining myself? Describing scents is so hard!

Anyways... you can grab the Glossier You Perfume here


All of the Nirvana Perfumes

Speaking about warm and spicy perfumes, Nirvana by Elizabeth and James stole my heart this year. From their deliciously sexy Nirvana Bourbon perfume to their new Nirvana Amethyst perfect for the holidays. If you want to captivate someone, try one of these perfumes. 

Grab a trio of Nirvana by Elizabeth and James Perfumes here


Rose Water Sprays

Notice that I wrote "sprays" not "spray"? That's because I don't care about the brand. I just love spraying rose water spray in my face. Does it make my skin any different? No. Does it make me feel like a queen? Absolutely! It feels like an added luxury to my skincare regimen.

Grab Mario Badescu's Rose Water Spray here


Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette

too faced sweet peach palette

This is the only palette I've been using. I am not big on using eyeshadow, but when I do, I like some high quality, super blendable and long wearing shadows. The shades I love the most from this palette are Summer Yum and Luscious. Peaches 'N Cream is perfect for blending out at the end. 

Grab a Too Faced Peach Palette here



I come and go with planners and I have used dozens of them over the years. Even two at once. But I've come to realize that the best system for me is one where I can keep all my to-do's, calendar and notes in one place. Hence, the Filofax system. Again, I don't mind paying a little extra for effectiveness and this system lets me customize my pages and add or edit whatever I want throughout the year. This helped me stay on track with this extra crazy year! 


It all started with a 5K race and it ended up being the biggest lifestyle change I've done in my life. I was never a runner, in fact, I hated running. But something inside me shifted once I raced that 5K. I even credit running for my mental health after surviving Hurricane Maria, but you can read more about that in my article at Merodea


Where do I even begin with this? I believe I got hooked on yoga by accident. It was just a way of stretching after running, but once I noticed that I had no sore legs after doing yoga and that boost in endorphins, I knew I wouldn't go back! 

Going Plant-Based

I have been going back and forth with this topic for a while. But just in time when I began running and doing yoga I decided to give this a try one more time. It has been a challenge, specially after María, but I have never felt better in my life. Let me know if you would like to read more about my transition to veganism! 


These past two years have been huge in traveling for me. But now, I'm in the middle of a huge life transition which is why I will probably be putting some of my vacation time on hold. But all these experiences were amazing and necessary for me. You can read more about this here


Louis Vuitton Neverfull 

This was in my bucket list since forever. After I purchased my pre-loved Speedy 30, I wanted the Nerverfull to complete my collection. Then Europe happened and I was able to purchase it for a much better price. But after I got it for a few months it didn't feel right. I didn't feel like I deserved it and after Hurricane María almost washed us off the map, I knew I had to give her up. 

It's not that I'm against luxury products now. I'm just more consciously aware of everything and I just wish to have things in my life that add value to my life and I definetely didn't feel that way with the Neverfull. 

We have been posting our favorite posts of the year on Facebook and Twitter so make sure you check that out.

Until next time, 

María Elena

Summer 2017 Favorites

LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
summer 2017 favorites

It's amazing to think that I spent half of this month cruising around Europe. So I find it particularly interesting that my Summer favorites mostly consist of experiences, cleaning pods, books and a very big splurge I did in Florence, which sounds even fancier than it was! Not my usual makeup and skincare favorites! I guess it's safe to say my skin has been having a break this summer as well. 

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

I've had this book in my wish list ever since it came out three years ago, so during my connection flight in JFK I immediately grabbed it, making my 8 hour flight to Paris and dozens of bus rides much more bearable. I loved how Roxanne is so raw and honest about some very personal and private matters in her life. In her essays she talks about growing up privilege in a mostly white school, dating, misogyny and racism in the media and even the power of being privilege as an immigrant, young black woman.

I couldn't put this book down during my flight to Paris and read it during all our bus rides around European cities, making this experience deeper than I thought. I am recommending this book to all my girlfriends. 

Here's an excerpt from my favorite chapter of the book:

bad feminist roxane gay how to be friends with women

Grab Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay here.

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM

Remember when I talked about how some luxury brands are cheaper in Europe in one of my last blog posts? Well it happened, I finally purchased my Neverfull. I was planning on purchasing this bag when something big in my life happened but once I knew how much money I would be saving by buying it in Florence, I did it! 

I'm loving this bag, because just as the name suggests, it is never actually full, you can keep throwing in things and it still fits a tiny human. The down side is that you need a bag organizer to make it more functional and since it is so big, you have to be careful on not over filling it. Other than that, it is the best every day/ work bag. Highly recommended. 

Grab a pre-loved Louis Vuitton Neverfull here. (Sadly, still not as cheap as I got it! Even in Euros)


meaningful growth planner, kate spade agenda

I have always loved agendas, wall calendars, Google Docs and everything stationary. I am obsessed with finding the right organizational tools. So since I have been so busy this year posting once a week, hosting my very first blog event Offline Saturdays while keeping my fulltime job, I've had to come away with some clever ideas to keep organized:

  • I use my Meaningful Growth Planner as a daily to-do list. I also love that it has a schedule so I can keep track of all my meetings and appointments. 
  • My Kate Spade zipper planner works as a personal agenda and a wallet. I can't leave my house without this! 
  • Thanks to Mari Nieves from Pink Studios, I am currently also using Asana as a project management tool. If you and your team have any big project coming up, this will be your BFF.  It helps you assign to-do lists to each task and even sends you reminders when a due date is coming up. The best part? It's free! 
en los zapatos de valeria elisabet bernavent

I don't know about you, but I have this weird thing with novels. I have to learn about the author before I actually buy the book. If I know I would like the author based on his/her bio, I will immediately buy the book and this case was no exception. I was drawn to a stack of books by Elisabet Benavent and something about each of this books made me want to know about the author.  So once I learned she is in the communications industry just like I am, I knew we were a match made in heaven!

I have been loving En Los Zapatos de Valeria because it feels like a Spanish version of Sex and the City. The main characters are four girlfriends that even though they have very different lives, they get along great. They are witty, sexy and funny. Just a perfect beach side read. Highly recommended.

And shout out to The Bookmark in San Patricio Plaza for helping me find the rest of the saga in Puerto Rico! They seriously went above and beyond to help me. 

Clean Cult

clean cult detergent pods

I  received this Clean Cult Laundry Detergent Pods pack at the beginning of Summer and have been using it ever since. According to their website these pods are toxin free ingredients, high efficacy rating, zero fragrance, and water soluble film that works in any laundry machine at any temperature. 

If you have or know someone with highly sensitive skin, this will be your ideal laundry detergent. 

Grab your pack here. You can even sign up for their laundry plan, so you can receive a pack regularly. 

What are your Summer favorites?

Until next time, 

María Elena

Luxury Basics | Creating my Dream Closet One Milestone at a Time

Fashion, Lifestyle, MoneyMaría Elena Rodríguez2 Comments
Pic Credit:  Goop.com

Pic Credit: Goop.com

My family has never been rich. I come from a middle/ sometimes middle-high class family who works really hard for all they have. Nevertheless, since my grandma from my mother's side has always loved spoiling me, I had a little experience with luxury as a teenager. I am completely sure I inherited my love for everything beauty and fashion from her

As a good 2000's teenager, I was obsessed with Coach, Tous and when I had a really special occasion, like my Quinceañero, I would get some silver jewelry from Tiffany & Co. I was pretty happy with my fancy jewelry, because it made me feel part of the "cool kids". But I don't think I ever looked at them as investment pieces. It never crossed my mind that I could take really good care of some key pieces and maybe one day hand them down to my kids. Today, I only have the classic Please Return to Tiffany bracelet with the matching necklace and a thing or two from Tous that I hardly ever wear. 

But everything changed once I started working full time and noticing that sometimes, it's better to have some key items in your wardrobe, rather than having a bunch of $15 jewelry pieces that go dark in a matter of months and a bunch of Forever 21 purses that are practically disposable.  In the long run, you are wasting money. 

Now I am more focused on finding really good pieces of clothing that can stand the test of time with versatility and sophistication. I started creating my capsule wardrobe last year, when I made my first Louis Vuitton purchase with a pre-loved Speedy 30 in Damier. More on it here and here. This year, as you will see in the picture bellow I have several things in my wish list that I will by NO means will be purchasing all at once. #IWish. I still need to save some money! But I have started to invest in this pieces with each milestone I reach in my professional life. So here you go, hopefully this will help you make your own decisions as well:

michele deco watch, louis vuitton speedy, gucci disco bag, david yurman cuff

I first spotted this watch in one of my favorite bloggers, Kathleen from Carrie Bradshaw Lied. I have never been a huge fan of watches and I was pretty comfortable wearing my Michael Kors and Marc Jacob watches every now and then. But since some pretty great things have been finally happening in my life, due to my good time keeping skills, I can honestly say I am ready for a good swiss watch. See what I did there? #girlboss. 

Plus, I love that even though this is definitely not a cheap watch, it is not crazy expensive like Rolex and Cartier. And you still get the swiss mechanism! 

2. Louis Vuitton Neverfull (I still don't know which size!)

Guys, I am so tired of buying drop-it-all-in tote bags and them failing on me before the one year mark. Because, yes, I am a handbag destroyer (just ask my boyfriend) and I know that this would be the perfect bag for me. It also helps that my dear friend Omar has a serious campaign behind me buying it. 

3. Gucci Disco Bag

Again, I have had so many cross body bags, but none of them have stayed with me! The Forever 21 one that I used for my recent trip to Chicago is in her last days and I need to look for a new one soon. 

I spotted this dainty cross body bag on several blog posts by Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere and I knew I needed it. It is so versatile and just the perfect size for when you are on the go. 

4. David Yurman Cuffs

I have to admit that I am a spoiled little brat and already announced to my family that all I wanted for christmas was a David Yurman Cuff. Why? Because I want to start a collection of bracelets that just as my Please Return to Tiffany, can be dressed up or down. Plus, Kathleen from CBL had a lot to do with this, yet again. lol  #armcandyheaven #iwillinstagramthehelloutofmyarm

Final Thoughts:

I definitely need to cut down on my Sephora hauls and start bringing my lunch to work, don't you think? But you know what? I really think we all deserve little treats once in a while, and as I stated before, these are investment pieces that you will be wearing for a long time if you take good care of them. 

Now I want to know about you! what has been your biggest investment piece so far? What are your must have luxury basics?

Until next time, 
María Elena

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