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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:

Beauty

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

Lifestyle

Filofax

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! 

Running

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

Yoga

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! 

Traveling

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

Fails

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

Tarte's Maracuja Oil vs Skyn Iceland's Artic Face Oil

BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
maracuja oil vs artic oil tarte vs skyn iceland

Anyone who has read a few of my blog posts knows that I have been using the same combination of skincare for several years now: Tarte's Maracuja Oil and Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum. And even though I tried the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil (check out that blog post here) and Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil (check out that one here, before I went cruelty-free), I always came back to the Maracuja Oil. 

Current Skincare Combo

Current Skincare Combo

So once Skyn Iceland contacted me to try out a few of their skincare product, I was down to try their face oil, because I definetely needed to mix it up a bit! But to make things a little more intereresting first, here's why I like Tarte's Maracuja Oil:

Tarte's Maracuja Oil:

tarte maracuja oil review
This powerful, precious skincare oil is cold-pressed from the maracuja fruit, naturally rich in brightening vitamin C and replenishing essential fatty acids to nourish, protect and feed your skin. Harvested from the best in nature to restore balance and harmony, you can apply a few drops of this daily moisturizing face oil to quench dry skin and seal in hydration, as the gentle multi-tasker helps calm excess sebum production on oily and acne-prone skin. You can also mix it with your foundation for enhanced moisture and anti-aging benefits with a dewy, radiant finish. The weightless, hypoallergenic formula helps firm and soften without clogging pores, and works to provide an antioxidant barrier against environmental attack.
— tartecosmetics.com

Price Tag: $48 (1.7oz)

Ingredients: Passiflora edulis seed oil (aka maracuja oil) and tocopherol, which apparently is in the family of Vitamin E

Review: Here's a summary of everything I've said about the Maracuja Oil over my years blogging about it:

  • My skin loves Vitamin C and this oil is basically Vitamin C in a bottle, since maracuja is filled with it.  
  • Since it is an oil, it will feel very oily the minute you put it on, but it will settle on your skin and you wake up with the most radiant looking skin. 
  • I compared it with similar oils and it is not even remotely close to how good this one is. 
  • It smells bad!

Where to find it: Macy's, QVC, Ulta,  Amazon, Sephora or tartecosmetics.com

skyn iceland artic oil
Arctic Face Oil, composed of 99.9% Camelina Oil, is naturally sourced and cold-pressed to retain maximum nutrients. Extracted from the resilient Camelina Sativa plant, which thrives in sub-zero temperatures, it has a unique composition of 9 Essential Fatty Acids which enables it to survive in harsh weather. Most importantly, the Omega 3:6:9 ratio of this oil plays a critical role in normal skin function making this blend exceedingly curative and rejuvenating to skin. A natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it also soothes, calms and protects skin.
— skyniceland.com

Price Tag: $35 (1.0oz)

Main Ingredient: Camelina Stavia Seed Oil, Tocopherol (just like Tarte!) and Helianthur Annus Seed Oil (wait, what?!).

Review: 

  • This oil has been making my skin look and feel as soft as a baby's butt.
  • Even though it doesn't have the best scent ever, it smells better than the maracuja oil.
  • I am more convinced now than ever that this is a pretty powerful dupe (in terms of results) for Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil. 
  • And just like Tarte's oil, Skyn Iceland is vegan and cruelty-free! <3

Where to find it: Ulta, Amazon or skyniceland.com.

Final Thoughts:

I will be re-purchasing Skyn Iceland's Artic Face Oil from now on. 


Do you use facial oils on the regular? Which one are you using right now?

Until next time, 

María Elena

 

April 2017 Favorites + Sephora VIB Sale Haul

BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
april favorites and sephora vib sale haul

We have a LOT to cover this week and I'm not even going to go over the biggest Netflix disappointment of 2017 so far: Girlboss. I seriously feel so bad for Sophia Amoruso! She's been having some rough days lately... Her two books are amazing, though. 

But on to the good part: I'm 99% sure that this is the first time I've spent this much money on beauty products in just one month. Between Sephora's VIB Sale and the last Ulta deal, I haven't even logged in to my bank account, because it's probably screaming for help. But as part of my #bloggingduties I got to review lots of great products for you guys! So glass half full, ok?

Warning: This post got a little sexual or super immature at times. I'll let you be the judge. ;)

April Favorites 2017

april 2017 favorites

Nars Tinted Moisturizer | Colourpop Eyeshadow & Highlighter | Tarte Shape Tape | Skyn Iceland Artic Face Oil

ColourPop Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Sequin

I feel like I'm the last blogger in the world to actually try out this brand and let me tell you something: I'm impressed! You all know how much I love my Too Faced Peach palette from my last Monthly Favorites, but this eye shadow is something else. I really can't wait to expand my ColourPop Cosmetics eyeshadow collection!

Why I'm loving it?

  • It's super pigmented! (More than MAC eyeshadows in my opinion)
  • It has a red/ gold pigment that makes any look instantly glamorous. 
  • You get better application with your fingers, which makes it way easier for on the go! 
  • It's just $5!!!!

Down sides?

  • None! For now... 

Grab a kit with similar red-ish tones here

ColourPop Swatches from left to right: Lunch Money Highlighter and Sequin Eyeshadow

ColourPop Swatches from left to right: Lunch Money Highlighter and Sequin Eyeshadow

ColourPop Cosmetics Lunch Money Highlighter

Right after talking about how I don't need more than one highlighter in my life(I have about 3), my sister bought herself a holographic highlighter by ColourPop which is mesmerizing to look at! So right away I went online to try one of their highlighters and decided to go with Lunch Money since it is one of their best sellers.

Why I'm loving it?

  • It's the perfect and subtle everyday highlighter. 
  • It's just $8!!!! 

Down side?

  • If you're looking for a blinding highlighter, this is not for you. Becca's Champaign Pop will always be my one true love for nighttime. 

Grab ColourPop Highlighters here

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Gotta say that after trying the It Cosmetics' CC Cream I thought I would never like another tinted moisturizer or balm again. But I decided to give this one a try after talking with a sales associate at Nordstrom. We were between the Pure Radiant and their Velvet Matte Skin Tint and went for the first one since my skin has been going through a normal to dry phase lately. 

Why I'm loving it?

  • It feels lightweight on the skin. 
  • Has a good amount of coverage, even though it's a tinted moisturizer.
  • It gets better as the day goes by.

Down side?

Grab this Nars Tinted Moisturizer here

Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Oil

Skyn Iceland is a brand that contacted me in order to try some of their skincare products. I had heard about them before, but I didn't know much about them, so I decided to test out some products. This is by far my favorite! Here's why:

Why I'm loving it?

  • Skyn Iceland is vegan and cruelty-free!
  • This oil makes me wake up with super hydrated, soft and glowing skin! 
  • Believe it or not, it's slowly but surely starting to replace my old time favorite, Tarte Maracuja Oil
  • Heck, I'm not even going to lie, I swear I have been seeing VERY similar results as when I used the super pricey Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil combined with the Good Genes Treatment (check out the review here).
  • And did I mention this only costs $35?! 

Down side? 

  • It's still not available in Sephora US (but it's available in Sephora Canada and Ulta

Get your Skyn Iceland Artic Face Oil here

tarte shape tape concealer

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

I finally got my hands into one of these. And let me tell you: The hype is real, guys! 

Why I'm loving it?

  • A little bit goes a long way. 
  • One dot and my super stubborn dark circles are erased.
  • The most full coverage concealer I've ever tried.
  • It has a huge wand (Keep it together, girl!)

Down sides?

  • Because of the hype, it's usually sold out!

Grab it here

Sephora VIB Sale Haul+ First Impressions

sephora vib sale haul and first impressions

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

I was out of this for months and I decided I needed it as much as I need my rosewater sprays, because I'm a snob like that. 

First Impression: I already know and love this product. 

Grab the perfect makeup companion here

Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub

I was looking for a new face scrub and even though I had never heard about this product, the reviews on the Sephora website convinced me!

First Impression: The reviews were right! It actually cleared all my pores! Including, my supper stubborn nose black heads. Oh and, cute bottle! 

Grab it here

Nars Blush in Orgasm

nars blush in orgasm

Always had this shade in my shopping list and never actually bought it. But VIB Sales are where dreams come true so I finally got my Orgasm (lol). 

First Impression: I could've probably purchased a dupe for less than half the price. But what beauty blogger doesn't own this product?! 

Grab it here

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

ole henriksen truth serum new packaging 2017

You'll know I can't live without this stuff! Plus, I am loving their new packaging! (Check out how it used to look like here).

First Impression: I already know and love this product. Not going to be switching up this serum until something better comes along. 

Grab it here

Tarte Tarteist™ Lash Paint Mascara

I've had really good experiences with Tarte mascaras so I decided to try this one out. 

First Impressions: Fall out alert! Right after I opened the tube it actually started crumbling on me. But the mascar did give me some natural and curled looking lashes, after I cleaned that little mess that happened. 

Grab it here. 

Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection

This is one of those products I purchased because I loved a sample. I had run of my nighttime lip balm (yes I always have a nighttime lip balm, which is extra nourishing because of my sinus). So I decided to buy it full size

First Impression: Wow! This is a really small tube! *I will not make a "that's what she said joke"*

A little goes a long way, so if you don't mind the $26 price tag, grab it here

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Protect + Perfect

My sister and I love this Josie Maran Sunscreen, so since I was running out of the regular one, decided to give this one a try, since it has a little tint in it. Bet it will be perfect for those clear skin days! 

First Impressions: This is really greasy and has almost no coverage! What's the point of having a tint if it doesn't cover anything? Thought about returning it, but since I love my normal Argan Daily Moisturizer, I figured it would be the same thing. 

Grab it here


That's it! Hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments bellow what are your April Favorites?

Until next time, 

María Elena

 

 

June Favorites | 2016

Beauty, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment

This has been quite an interesting month. I got a brand new Filofax, discovered some awesome makeup products, got a tattoo, got into the best gym in Puerto Rico and booked a ticket to another place I’ve never been before. Oh, yeah, I totally made the tattoo thing a super normal thing but I’m still freaking out a little bit over that one.

So here you go! My monthly favorites:

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation

Bought this on a whim by the time it was released with a sale on tartecosmetics.com. I hadn’t read that many reviews about it yet so I really had no big hopes, but after a month wearing it every day to work I can say that it is the best foundation I’ve ever tried. Why? Because it’s build-able, lightweight and it comes in super fancy packaging.

Josie Maran’s Argan Dailu Mousturizer with SPF 47

Bought this as a replacement to my Tarte Sunscreen which I was loving but hating that the bottle was always spitting out and it made my vanity look ugly AF. Please tell me that’s not crazy?! The guy at Sephora told me he loves it and that he uses it for morning runs so I gave it a try. I’m loving it. It smells so good and it doesn’t break me out.

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Marin Boosting Mist

I got this as a 500 points perk during my trip to California at the Sephora in Malibu, which makes me love it even more. Again, I didn’t really have high hopes for this one but I ended up really liking it. I kept it on my desk drawer at the office for afternoon refreshes and I found myself really sad when it ended. That’s when I knew, I wanted it full size. So I’m waiting for another of those Tarte sales. Ha!

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

After almost making it into my Overrated Beauty Products list, I decided to give this one a last chance and throw it in my makeup bag. I decided to use it with one of my Sonia Kashuk stippling brush and it is working wonders. I am not a huge fan of blush, so I love how this one just gives me a natural flush. Like I just came back from a lazy workout session. :)

Chantecaille Le Camouflage Stylo

I purchased this at the Chantecaille counter in Nordstrom at the Mall of San Juan after being swept off my feet with the brand and their products (especially their Just Skin Mousturizer which I’m dying to buy full size!). This is basically the perfect concealer for after the gym since it works as an eye cream and concealer! #WinWin.

Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara

I was recommended to this one by Eimy from The Golden Fig a while back. I finally had the chance to try it out with a 100 points perk in Sephora and I am already planning on buying it full size! It is all I want in a mascara: volumizing, lengthening, natural and cruelty free!

Filofax in Patent Nude

You guys know I love agendas! And I’ve been wanting this “grown up” agenda for years now. I don’t only love its quality and color, I love how I can keep all the necessary paper work in it categorized. It’s making my life a whole lot simpler.

LIV Fitness Clubs Membership

I started at LIV Fitness Clubs in Guaynabo and I am not only in love with all of its hard core classes at any time of the day, I am in love with its location, decor and hospitality! The minute you walk in, the staff welcomes you with a smile and a fresh towel. Plus, you get free filtered water to refill your bottle!

To everyone who thinks it is too much money, go and visit them and you will know it is totally worth it. No other gym in Puerto Rico has that amount of classes, great trainers and luxuries completely included in their membership. 100% recommended!

Tattoo

So, yeah, I got a tattoo, one of the most random and thrilling experiences I've ever had. Shoutout to my bff for sticking with me the whole time! I haven't posted any pictures yet and I was wondering if you would you be interested in knowing about my experience? Would you like to see pictures? Let me know and I'll do a whole blog post about it! ;)

Now I want to know about you! What were your monthly favorites? :)

Until next time! 

María Elena

 

February 2016 Lifestyle Favorites [Makeup, Skincare, Book]

Books, Lifestyle, BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment

I don't do monthly favorites every month because I feel like it kind of gets repetitive after a while. But this month I've been testing out a lot of products and surprisingly, most of them have turned out to be really awesome! I'm talking about holy grail status awesome. 

I've been very into skincare lately because even though I always stick to my Tarte Maracuja Oil, last year I wasn't as good sticking to an every day routine. So without further ado, here are my February Favorites:

- Glossier's Priming Moisturizer - Oh my dear lord why didn't I try this before?! I never believed in primers until I found this. But now, I can't imagine a day without wearing this before my foundation. Because it is so lightweight and has absolutely no scent, it feels great on my oily/ prone to acne skin. Also, I've been struggling to find the perfect daytime moisturizer so now I found the perfect primer AND moisturizer. Can't you tell I'm obsessed?

DSC_1010.jpg

- Josie Maran Argan Milk Serum - I purchased this literally on a whim and honestly, I didn't really thought it would work on my skin. I thought, why would I wear an oil based serum before my facial oil?! But I just loved that it's made out of two ingredients: water and argan oil. The thing is I've been using this before my well loved Tarte Maracuja Oil and I think I've been calling this routine my skincare power couple ever since! 

- Tarte's Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder - This is another, "why hadn't I try this before?" product. The powder is so finelly milled that it makes your skin look flawless and hydrated without looking cakey. This finishing powder, Glossier's Priming Moisturizer and I are unstoppable. I never imagined looking at my makeup at 5:30PM and it being looking as flawless as when I first put it on. 

- NYX's Micro Brow Pencil - People! We've found a dupe for Anastasia's Brow Wiz!!! I saw this at Walgreens on Valentine's Day and I had no clue NYX had a mechanical brow pencil. Honestly, I don't know much about this brand besides the fact that every youtuber used their eyeshadow sticks as eyeshadow primer back in the day, but now I need to know more. I see no reason to spend almost $20 on a high end brow pencil when this one works just as well (or better) than any of the higher end brands. Go try it and let me know what you think! :)

- Kat Von D's Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II - Am I the only one who looks for a "signature lip color" when going out on vacations? Well I do, lol. I bought this because I wanted to try a new liquid lipstick in a Kylie Jenner-ish shade for my upcoming trip since my Stila in Patina is missing! It turns out I found the perfect formulation for my lips. If you don't like super brown lips, this has a beautiful rosy undertone that I believe is flattering in almost any skin shade. Yes, liquid lipsticks are drying, but this one is not annoying at all. It has lasted me 5 entire hours without having to put on a balm!

- Tarte's Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess - I discovered this about 4 years ago in a Sephora 500 points perk and I remember being completely in love with it. Every time I wore it people complemented me on my glowing skin. That's when I bought it full size, used it for few months and then kind of used it only on special occasions. Now I've fallen back in love with it and I've been loving using it every day as contour because of the subtle bronzy/ not shimmery glow it gives my skin.

PS: If my bronzer contouring hater/ hairdresser Lio reads this, he's going to kill me! lol. 

The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane Von Fustenberg - Last but not least, I wanted to talk about this beautiful book that I wasn't able to put down for long periods of time during February. I really didn't know much about this designer besides the fact she invented the wrap dress and Whitney Port worked with her on The Hills. Turns out this woman had a beautiful life full of partying with royalty, travel and most importantly, love. The book is based on all the things she had to go through to become the woman she always wanted to be. Many critics say this book is not relatable at all since she has lived in pure luxury almost all her life, but I think that somehow you can relate to her stories. She translates her feelings and vulnerability through the pages in a way you can't help but understand what she went through and compare it to some moment in your life. 

Let me know if you would like a full review on this! I would gladly dedicate an entire post about this. 

So February was definitely full of lovely things for me, even though I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. What are the odds?

Hope you have a wonderful March. 

Until next time, 

Elena

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