Sunday, November 25, 2018

{aging gracefully} this is 36

This is what 36 (for me) looks like!

This is a new tradition that I am imposing on myself - taking a self portrait(s) every year. The goal of this is to 1-allow myself to capture the moment, and 2-spend time with myself. Not like I do when I'm on the couch passing time with TV and/or scrolling through my phone. But really be with myself.

It also allowed me time to reflect on the past year. 

A year with some of my greatest highs - I stood before a small group of friends and family, while I shared personal vows to the love of my life, and vice versa. We honeymooned in Paris. We bought a house together to allow for a (hopefully) growing fur family.

This year also showed me some of the lowest lows in my adult life. Brian and I said goodbye to our little Linus after we couldn't watch him slowly dying anymore. 

I also got a jolt back to reality the day after we returned from our honeymoon - that mom had breast cancer. She needed a double mastectomy. And she was going to need chemo. *At this moment, I'm happy to say she only has one treatment left, and after surgery next month, we can start the new year healthy and start to regrow!

All this reminds me how important real life, human connection really is. The moments offline that you capture with your memory, not your phone - staying by your mother's side when she doesn't ask;  just "being there" so your father doesn't get overwhelmed and can take care of himself; holding your husbands hand on an ordinary Saturday morning while running errands. These are the moments that matter long term.  

What also matters for me, long term, is being kind to myself. I vow this to myself every year, but this year, that means looking after little Robin, and older Robin.

Little Robin wanted to be great. She wanted to be heard, but was too shy and insecure to speak. I have control over this now, so I need to stop waiting for things to come to me and start putting my hopes and dreams into action. Not making plans to do so, but just doing it. My goal with this is to build something that I'm extremely passionate about, that revolves around helping other women. I've always put others before me, but this idea has a deeper meaning that puts us both ahead.

Older Robin needs security. Last weekend I heard Sallie Krawcheck speak at the Girlboss Rally in NYC. She shared a clear plan for financial security - put 50% towards needs (rent/mortgage, food, utilities), 30% for fun (pretty generous!), and 20% for your future. Outside of my 401K which I have had at 14% for a bit, I have NOT been taking care of Iris (my old lady spirit, you likely can figure out who this is an ode to), and I need to start doing so now.

So, this is me. Starting my 36th year into my life. With purpose.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

{beauty} my skincare routine

A funny thing happened about 2 years ago.

I was laying down in bed, wasting my life away with Snapchat filters for my own amusement, and to my HORROR I looked at my neck and noticed that my skin was super wrinkly/had that paper-thin effect that happens as we age evolve.  I immediately screenshot it and sent it to a friend with a panicked "my neck looks like a vagina" caption. 

I started using a lot of products to try and combat this [if you happened upon my feature over on Into The Gloss, you'll see what I started with]. With trying new things comes the mistake(s) most people make - I tried too many new products all at once, my skin reacted very badly to it, and then spent months trying to fix my skin before I was able to see actual results. 

It may be too good to be true, but I swear that my current routine, sticking to less brands, and consistency, has done wonders for me. I am more confident wearing no makeup to work / on the weekends now than I was years ago. And, the compliments on those days are how great my skin looks. If that says anything at all.

I'm going to share my daily routine, but please remember: 1-I am not a professional, this is just what is currently working for me. 2-I am coming up on 36 so you may not need to use some of these as often as I do. 3-my skin is oily/dry combination so the winter months coming up are going to switch some of this up (thicker creams at night). And 4-all in moderation

These are all products that I have re-stocked at least once, and have been using for at least 6 months each, some closer to 1-2 years. I have a few other new ones I'm trying, but it's only been a few weeks, so come back for those!


For me, this all starts in the shower. During an amazing facial at my Bachelorette, I told my esthetician what daily facial cleanser I was using, and she mentioned that the ingredients in it were a little harsh/drying, and the line she was using (Jurlique) had more gentle ingredients, and was more natural. Between the feeling on my skin, the glow I saw, and the fresh scents, I was sold. I only bought one product at that time, but I now use multiple products from this brand because I see the difference. Note, a lot of these products have gotten a package refresh since I purchased them, so the bottles may look a little different.

Jurlique Soothing Foaming Cleanser in the shower to wash off leftover products/sweat from the night before. 

2x a week (typically on Saturday + Wednesday) I use Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. Right now, I don't use my Clarisonic (used to every day) because I'm just not seeing the dry skin I used to without this product. We'll see what happens in the winter months. 

I also use Neutrogena Light Sesame Body Oil all year round. In the summer, it helped skin from feeling super dry after the pool, and in the winter it definitely helps prevent itchy + sad looking skin. I keep this in the shower so after I dry off, I immediately put this on head to toe. It's also way easier than slathering on thick lotions. Note, it can be a little greasy for a bit.*

Once I get out and dried off, the first product I apply on my face for the day is Jurlique Herbal Recovery Signature Serum. It is super light, and not greasy. During the summer I feel like I have a glow without anything on top of it, and in the winter when I add coverage, it doesn't clump or feel dry. 

Whether I put on lipstick over it or just want some hydration, it's all about Glossier Balm Dot Com for me. I used to always use Vaseline, but it's PETROLEUM people, and you are eating it. This gives me a similar hydration, but way easier and less sticky to manage. I have 4 total (Cherry, Mint, Rose, Original) - one on my nightstand, one at my desk, one in my bag, and one in the bathroom for when I'm getting ready. I never lose them this way. 

After I'm dressed, I like to use Aesop Hand Balm before I put on my rings. It's my preference because you don't need a lot of it, it feels like it lasts forever, and it's the only hand cream that I've used that I don't get a greasy feeling from. Not to mention the heavenly smells.



The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% is what I use pretty much every night. I've been using Retinols for a few years now (only other brand I used was RoC, they were the first in this category...), but the consistency of this one is incredible. It's very liquid-y, which was a bit surprising since all others are pretty thick, but it felt like it was absorbed immediately and not sticky at all. AND Cruelty Free. 

I apply Jurlique Purely Age Defying Firming Face Oil if I know I'm washing my hair the next day (I worry about the oils getting on my pillow, then my hair). I also like to give my skin a day or two off from more intense ingredients to "breathe" a bit more.

PINCH HITTERS (not as frequent)

I don't do this every day because I can barely get myself ready for work as is, but on the weekends I will use Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Eye Patches instead of using eye cream for a bit of brightening. 

Hanacure All-in-One Facial. Ok, if you haven't tried this, I'm recommending this is the first thing you do after reading everything in this post. And don't get sticker shock, this is a facial for under $30.  Here's what happens. 
  • You mix up the mask, and paint it on your face, neck, chest and hands (their directions, not mine). It's very wet and thin when you first apply. I make sure to get a little bit everywhere, and then I go back to problem areas - neck, forehead, smile lines - and apply a thicker coat. 
  • What happens now is different than any other mask I've tried. While you fan yourself/sit under a fan, the mask starts to dry and you feel it tightening on your skin. Over the coarse of the 30 minutes, it tightens up more and more, pulling your face back like a lift.
  • When you wash it off, your skin feels like a baby's butt. I thought I was having a reaction the first time since certain areas became very red, but it's because it's pulling the blood flow to your face. I do this at nighttime and when I wake up in the morning, no redness!
  • I see instant results, and for the next 24 hours specifically, certain lines on my face, like 3 deeper forehead wrinkles are. not. there. 
  • I let my skin fully dry, and then I add the Jurlique Face Oil to soothe the skin for sleep. Plus, I love seeing my skin so happy and glowing.
  • Right now, I buy the 4-pack and use the night before a big event, or if I need some pampering. Leading up to my wedding, I did this every Saturday for 5 weeks, INCLUDING the night before. 
  • I really, really, want to show you my "during" photo, but I am not that brave. Other people are slightly weird looking. I look like one of the Pig People from The Twilight Zone. And I'm not being dramatic, I have shown colleagues this photo on my phone (no one will ever have it) and they have screamed. Loss of skin elasticity is a real thing for me, ladies.
  • CAUTION: With the above, do this in a private setting. If you laugh it will break the mask, and if you let someone see you they may run in horror, depending on your skin. 


The reality is, it's not just amount the products themselves. And, not for nothing, when you end up spending this much on your skincare, you want to make sure you are applying everything as efficiently as possible. These are not things I taught myself - between listening to the Fat Mascara podcast, getting tips from friends, and reading Into The Gloss, I have logged + applied what some of these experts said immediately.

  • It's not just your face! When I apply serums in the morning, and products at night, I apply it to my face, neck, chest, ears (those age too, and we never care for them!!) AND your hands. While I use Aesop during the day, at night when your skin is drinking this up more than any other time, I want the good stuff (definitely retinol) on these areas.
  • When you are putting on eye cream, always use your ring finger to gently dab. This finger uses less pressure than say your pointer finger and will do less damage to THE thinnest area of skin on your entire body.
  • Be gentle with exfoliators. I only exfoliate 2x a week now, before I was just using Clarisonic with face wash for a gentle "buffing". Using exfoliators every day, or products that have hard ingredients, can actually scratch your skin and cause damage. Yes, I know that it feels good, but gently rubbing these on as needed will be better for the long haul.
  • Add Retinols in slowly. Retinols are the real deal and can be really strong for a lot of people - starting by using it (sensitive version, too) once a day, every two or so days. And/or just test a small spot on your arm if you have super sensitive skin.  It's also very sensitive with the sun, so if you do wear it during the day, you must be careful with SPF. Hence, why I only use it during the night.
  • Layer! In the winter, I do sometimes add a thicker cream over the Retinoid, but I like to wait a few minutes and also make sure that there aren't any intense ingredients that will compete/conflict with an active ingredient like Retinoid. Chriselle Lim uses multiple serums, so mix to your heart's content. Just start from thinnest to thickest.
  • Balm Dot Com alter-ego. I want to say I heard this tip from Nicole Richie in an interview years ago. When you are traveling, applying a vaseline-type product on and slightly in your nostrils protects your nose from "grabbing" all the germs that are flying around. You know how your nose gets super dry? When it does, it's more prone to catch these germs and this acts like a barrier. I have used both the Mint and Rose versions just last week, and having that smell in your nose versus other plane things is just an added bonus. If you are shy, do it in the bathroom, if you have no shame like I started to not have with this, just do it when you sit down.

What are your favorite products?