Recent Purchases I Positively Love

This is a mixed bag of items I’ve recently bought, but the theme that ties them all together is that I love them. We’ll save misses for another day!

birkenstock essentials arizona whiteBirkenstock Essentials Arizona

The older I get, the more I despise flip flops. The sound when you walk. The way it feels between my toes. The fact that there’s no support. The only time I wear them is at the beach or pool, and I’d love to not even wear them at those times. So when I saw the Birkenstock Essentials Arizona I was PSYCHED! My beloved Birks (I’m on my second pair of shiny silver and have had other colors in the past) are now available in an EVA upper and sole that can survive sand, water, and sun. I got them in white… and I wear them all over town.

They’re super clean white, and since you can hose them down or wash them with some Dr. Bronner’s, they stay nice and white. They look fantastic with a fresh pedicure and a pair of cropped denim, as well as peeking out from a maxi dress or skirt. They come in a bunch of fun candy colors but I felt the all-white option would look the most dressy (meaning, I can wear them to dinner while at the beach). Best part? They’re under $35!

dior airflash spray foundationDiorskin Airflash Spray Foundation

Seems a bit ridiculous to follow cheap shoes with a foundation that costs almost twice the price. However, the older I get the more I care about my skin. Great beauty products can be found at all sorts of pricepoints. Problem is, I wasn’t finding any that I loved at the drugstore. They were… fine. They’d settle into my lines, make me look dry, make me look greasy, be too yellow or too pink, fade by lunchtime, cause me to break out, require 50 other products and a fancy brush to make it look decent. Screw that. I want to be able to walk out of the house in less than 5 minutes and not have anyone ask me if I’m under the weather. Well this foundation makes it happen.

I was at dinner with my beauty guru sister. I asked her about my current foundation and she got real with me. It was too dark, too yellow, and it wasn’t wearing nicely on my skin. After dinner we stopped by Sephora and she and a sales rep convinced me to try Diorskin Airflash. It’s a spray, but most recommend spraying it onto an applicator not directly to your face. The Sephora artist used a brush I don’t own; considering the price I decided to make it work with a brush I already own. I’ve tried a few brushes in my arsenal and a BeautyBlender, and I have the most success using this Sephora foundation brush. It fills in pores a bit, doesn’t settle into lines, is sheer enough to show my freckles but does a fab job of hiding redness, gives my skin a bit of a glow without being shiny, but is matte enough to not need a setting powder.

On the weekend I’ll use Airflash, fill in my brows, curl my lashes and add a coat of Maybelline Great Lash and maybe put on a lipstick as I walk out the door. During the week, I will add Glossier concealer, Perricone’s No Eyeshadow Eyeshadow, and maybe a bit of Elizabeth Arden’s liquid liner (see below). But my skin looks the same at 2pm as it did at 6am, and when it’s hot and humid it doesn’t make me itch, doesn’t ball up or melt, just fades a bit. I have 202 Cameo, which is a good match now but I can’t get any tan and still wear it. Just motivation to slap on the sunscreen!

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

Now I’ll balance the pricey foundation with an incredibly reasonably priced skincare product! A few friends have been raving about DECIEM, the Abnormal Beauty Company. Incredible products, amazing prices. I decided to try them out and got this, two oils, and a neck cream (and no the neck cream doesn’t smell like fish). All the products are nice, but this is the one that stands out.

I’ve been using retinol for… gosh a decade or more. Sometimes gifted, sometimes purchased, the only version I felt provided visible results was Neutrogena, but I didn’t find it to be Holy Grail or anything. So I figured I’d try this one out. First of all, it’s less than $10 which is insanely cheap. It comes in a dark glass bottle with a dropper; I add several drops to my hands and apply to my face, neck, and any leftover goes on the tops of my hands. I put serum (right now The Ordinary’s rose hip seed oil), then night cream (right now this one from L’Occitane that I received at the rewardStyle conference) over it. There is zero irritation, no breakouts, and after a week I thought my forehead looked softer, smoother, and more hydrated. It looks all retro apothecary hipster in my medicine cabinet, super effective, but it’s cheaper than what I can find at the local CVS. Gotta love it!

body shop exfoliating skin towelThe Body Shop Exfoliating Skin Towel

I worked for The Body Shop many moons ago. Once I became a blogger and started receiving gifted beauty product, I forgot about how great this company is. At the airport heading to Dallas, I stopped in The Body Shop and left with a whole bag full of goodies. And one item I got was this towel. I used to use these towels all the time and then forgot about their awesomeness. They’re freaking awesome. No need for a separate scrub, you can easily scrub your back, they ball up to be like a shower pouf, and they dry super-fast. They also last forever which is pretty awesome for just $5.

body shop satsuma shower gelThe Body Shop Satsuma Shower Gel

I don’t like a lot of popular scents. I’ve never been a gal who wants to smell like cookies, peaches, or warm cotton. When I worked for The Body Shop I had to shower as soon as I got home to get the pungent scent off me. Any time I smell the company’s Exotic home fragrance oil (or really any of their fragrance oils) it makes me gag. But I never tired of Satsuma shower gel. It’s so juicy and fruity and it scents up the whole house with one shower. But over the years I’ve used what I was gifted, what was trendy, what was on sale. I bought a bottle at the airport and realize how much I love and missed this stuff. While it lathers up a lot, I don’t find it drying. And while it does scent the whole house with juicy oranges, it’s not so strong on my skin that it competes with fragrance.

Jag Jeans Penelope Slim Ankle ReviewJAG Jeans ‘Penelope’

In the comments of my recent fashion hits and misses post, Tee Eff recommended the JAG Jeans ‘Penelope’. I’ve had such success with JAG Jeans in the past, I immediately ordered a pair. I wanted white, couldn’t find it anywhere, so I went with a very light denim color (faded denim is back in style!). It seems the Penelope is discontinued by JAG, so if you find it somewhere consider getting it. Tee Eff was right, these jeans are awesome! I got the regular length and they’re short enough to look cute with sneakers or ankle boots; I cuff once to wear with sandals. They’re super soft, stretchy but thick, and don’t stretch out during the day. Jeans can look painted on with my “sturdy” legs so I went up to a 16. While it’s a bit roomy in the waist, they don’t slide down or look bunchy. They washed and dried great too. They’re hard to find online since they seem to be discontinued; Amazon has them in faded regular length (linked above) and petite as well as khaki or pale blue. Zappos has them in what they call Mineral Pearl, classic dark indigo, and Desert. 6pm has them in indigo in plus sizes. I also saw select sizes on the JAG website, 6pm, Lord & Taylor, and Nordstrom Rack. The plus to them being hard to find… you can find styles for as little as $35!

TC Fine Intimates Firm Control Open Bust Torsette BodysuitTC Fine Intimates Firm Control Open Bust Torsette Bodysuit

I bought what I thought was this bodysuit over a year ago and LOVED it. It was super stretchy, so it smoothed without making me look like a stuffed sausage. It was like a wrestling singlet, all one piece, no crotch snaps or adjustable straps yet it worked perfectly. I wore the heck out of it. When I was heading to the rewardStyle conference I decided to get another one in black. The one I received, though the same link from the last time I ordered it on Amazon, was a completely different product…. And way better!

This one does have hooks at the crotch, which I don’t like (ain’t nobody got time for that, just slide it to the side!). However, the material is smoother, the rear is more invisible (previous one was like a leotard, this one has invisible edges and some silicone strips to hold in place), and it does suck me in more, but not to stuffed sausage or gas pain points. I can wear it all day comfortably. It doesn’t make me a size smaller, but it just firms and smooths my midsection, goes all the way up over the bra so there isn’t any lump of flesh between underpinnings, doesn’t dig in anywhere, and makes me feel more confident/less jiggly under knits and more fitted dresses. The only negative is the “comfort straps” are wider than the original, which can sometimes show if a sleeveless dress has too open of armholes. While it’s cheaper on Amazon, selection is limited. Also it will be shipped from Bare Necessities, so consider buying straight from Bare Necessities where there’s always some coupon code available for a discount (always google store name and promo code; my fave site is Retail Me Not.  Tip: do this search in a separate browser so you don't end up with pop ups and unders and having ads for the product follow you everywhere you go).

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Bold Defining 24HR Liquid Eye LinerElizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Liquid Asset Liner

A couple months ago Elizabeth Arden was kind enough to send me a care package. In it was some lip and eye products. The lip ones are lovely, but not really my color. The eye products were two liquid liners – Gilded Brown and Electric Blue. Gilded Brown looked like a weird shimmery rust color and while I love the idea of electric blue liner I don’t really have the lifestyle for it so I left both in the boxes, figuring I’d donate them or add them to my giveaway swag bag. But then I had put my regular brown-black liner in my purse for post-work touchups and I was getting ready and the bag was downstairs and I didn’t want to go downstairs and stir the sleeping dog (dog parents, you feel me?) so I opened the Gilded Brown… and fell in love.

This stuff is the BOMB! I have been a loyal fan of Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto for many many years. I love the Blackish Brown which isn’t too harsh of a color, and find the felt tip really easy to use. But this… this made me a convert. The formula is the perfect consistency, the brush is the perfect size and firmness to get a real tight line on the lash line, thicken the line gradually, and finally I have a liner where klutzy moi can do a little flick on the end and it looks like a flick and not a mistake. And the color? It’s lighter than Maybelline, it’s a medium brown with a warm tone to it, and it’s metallic. Not glitter, but metallic, like it’s still wet. And it’s so subtle people don’t notice it always, and when having a long one-on-one conversation sometimes people say, “Are you wearing metallic liner?” And I think yes, I am 42 and can wear whatever the hell I want and I’m down with a relatively subtle face with a flick of bronzy goodness on my lashline. And I find this liner so good, I ordered it in black (AKA Dark Valentine) and likely will order a Gilded Brown backup for my purse (so I don’t end up having to decide between it and the dog at 5am ever again).

Have you made any fantastic purchases lately?  Share in the comments!

22 Comments

  1. May 22, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    I have that open bust bodysuit and love it. I also have a version from Target – MUCH cheaper and not as high quality but good for smoothing out lumps.

  2. Laura Franzman-botha
    May 15, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Hi Allie,
    So glad you tried the Deciem products!! And – how do you find the neck product?

    • May 22, 2017 / 7:51 am

      I really haven’t seen a difference at all. I was getting a couple breakouts on my chin and stopped using it to see if it was the culprit and I think it was. No change in my neck from stopping it. 🙁

  3. Alison French-Tubo
    May 13, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Fun post to read…i had similar water friendly Birks years ago and happily wore the heck out of them. I love the JAG pull on jeans, after stumbling into them on Sierra Trading Post. Bought some more from JAG’s own site, great shipping and return policies . Intrigued by the eyeliner…i am too am a klutz who would love a little sweep or flick at the end. Thanks Allie.

  4. Jenny
    May 12, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    I was chastising myself for impulse buying the Birks because of this post– until they arrived from Nordstrom. I’m in heaven. This ranks right up there with the smart wool invisible socks as a great, great Wardrobe Oxygen recommendation. Thanks!

  5. May 11, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing! As you get older, you definitely realize you need to invest in your beauty routine so some spluge worthy products are necessary!

  6. Emily
    May 11, 2017 / 11:19 am

    Dior foundation is awesome. Sometimes with makeup (not everything, but skin products particularly) I feel like you do get what you pay for! The vitamin E moisturisers from the Body Shop are nice as well. Sometimes I find their scents a bit synthetic (the strawberry shower gel is particularly saccharine) but I might give the satsuma one a try!

  7. Nihongo Dame Desu
    May 11, 2017 / 4:05 am

    How do you find the sizing on the shapewear? I read reviews on Amazon and people talked about the fit being off, but I wasn’t sure if they were referring to the size chart or to their typical size.

    • May 11, 2017 / 6:09 am

      Not sure, I bought Large which is my usual size in shapewear and find it to fit just fine. I’d think a L would be 12-16

  8. Michelle Van Ellis
    May 10, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Also, I’m very interested in The Ordinary. I like that they are cruelty free and not expensive at all. I’ve been using Alba Botanicals facewash and moisturizer with an Avalon serum. I don’t want to spend a lot on makeup and have been having good luck with E.L.F.’s mattifying cream foundation.

  9. Michelle Van Ellis
    May 10, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    So the birkenstocks will work well on a wide foot? I wear an 8 or 8.5 wide and am worried that the top strap won’t accommodate. Do you think these will “give” after a bit?

    • May 10, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      I have them on the last buckle hole and they’re plenty comfy on my wide and high volume foot. Luckily with Nordstrom if they don’t work you can return them even if you wear them once and they’re awful. They did give a little bit for me.

      • Michelle Van Ellis
        May 10, 2017 / 1:52 pm

        Thank you much!

  10. alexa11221
    May 10, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I love the look of the EVA Birks but am worried they will feel sticky and plastic-y on my feet!

    • May 10, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      They’re more like foam, like quality flip flops. They don’t feel sticky when it’s hot out, only weird when super wet feet and shoes, same as flip flops. 🙂

    • bubu2
      May 10, 2017 / 12:29 pm

      FYI if you are looking for comfy, supportive flip flops I have had great success with LL Bean’s, and they’re quite affordable and come in some cute patterns too.

  11. Kathryn Braun Fenner
    May 10, 2017 / 11:17 am

    The size chart for them says the waist on a 16 is 33 inches. That seems very small. Any chance you could measure yours, please?

    • May 10, 2017 / 12:09 pm

      That makes sense because I am wearing them right now and they are far slimmer than other 16s I’ve tried from other brands. As an FYI I reached out to JAG and yes they are getting rid of Penelope but have some new styles that should have a similar fit!

  12. Tee Eff
    May 10, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Allie, I am so glad you liked the Jag Penelopes. You’ve steered me to many great choices, happy to return the favor. Now have a pair of EVA Birks and the Penelopes in Khaki in my Amazon cart. Cheers!

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