Dear Reader, March has been a pretty fun month for favorites! Some of these will be of no surprise if you’ve read some of my previous posts, some of these have been great audio treats for when I’m working on projects, and some are oldie-but-goodie skincare rediscoveries. Let's jump right in to the faves!
These past several weeks, I’ve been dealing with a lot of hormonal acne along my jawline and have been trying to change my diet and skincare routine to see if I can’t calm my body down, and nurture whatever needs nurturing. I’ve become more mindful of what I’ve been eating – I’d cut out coffee for two weeks and have only recently re-introduced it, I’ve been eating decidedly less gluten, and I’ve been cooking more with fresh produce – and I’ve pared down my skincare routine to just three steps (four products). Though I’m glad the coffee is not apparently to blame for some of this, I am drinking a little bit less of it, and I’ve begun seeing a little bit of an upswing with my gentler, less intensive skincare regimen!
One new product that I’ve been using is the Konjac Sponge Co. Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge that I‘d received in the February Petit Vour subscription box – I love it! Last year I’d used the One Love Organics charcoal konjac sponge and also really loved it, but after tossing it out (they don't last forever) I’d just never gotten a new one. I guess Petit Vour intuited that I’d need a new one… Anyway, this sponge is fantastic, and it’s also cheaper than the OLO brand sponge, so that’s definitely a plus too. Konjac sponges expand and bloat once hydrated, perform a gentle exfoliation whilst cleansing, and then dehydrate and dry up again between uses. I've been using mine both morning and evening for a couple of weeks now, and have been loving how it's performed. While the sponge is doing fine now being used twice daily, I'm not sure how long they really last being used quite as much; the packaging says three months, but I will assess mine in a couple of weeks (about 1.5-2 months of continued use) and determine whether or not it should be replaced. For now, though, it's spectacular!
With my hydrated konjac sponge, I’ve been using a drop of the Acure Facial Cleansing Gel – a product that had been introduced to me as a sample in the autumn of 2015, and my very first-ever clean skincare product! This cleanser is a mild one with loads of fruit extracts, rooibos leaf extract, and some essential oils (plus other ingredients) that combine to form a gentle gel cleanser that cleans well without stripping the skin. I also love that this brand is more accessible (I can find this cleanser at Target, Whole Foods, Pharmaca, Credo, etc) and this brand is much more budget-friendly than a lot of other eco brands out there! The brand is also vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free.
I’d also returned to using the Acure Oil Control Moisturizer: a moisturizer that I’d used and loved in the past, but had stopped using to favor face oils. I haven’t stopped using face oils since bringing this moisturizer back into my life; indeed, I’ve been adding a few drops of a face oil (usually Poetic Blend’s Hero Oil or Maya Chia’s Super Couple Ultra Luxe Face Oil) for added hydrating properties, and it’s been so, so lovely in conjunction with this thick face cream! I’m not the biggest fan of the way this moisturizer smells, but it is so creamy and hydrating so it’s easier for me tolerate for that reason. I also find that if I cut it with a face oil that has a stronger scent (like the Maya Chia Super Couple), the scent of the cream also diminishes.
I have a new beauty purchase (outside of the ones coming up – spoiler!) that I’d posted about in a previous wish list and was finally able to pick up at the beginning of the month: Rituel de Fille’s Inner Glow Crème Pigment blusher in the shade “Desire”! It is honestly just as perfect as I was hoping it would be. I’d wanted to see the product in person before I bought it, and my SO and I had made an LA trip to visit some new stores, so the new Credo location was definitely on my list! I wanted to test my theory that this RdF shade was a more economic dupe for the Kjaer Weis cream blusher in “Abundance,” and also make sure that I was as in love with the product as I thought I was. Turns out: yep! For both.
First off, I love visiting a Credo boutique (the other I’d been in was during a Thanksgiving trip to SF), and any other eco/natural beauty store, because nothing beats being able to see and feel the products that you are curious about – and they will give you samples! One of the lovely, amazing women of the store helping me offered me a sample of a facial balm that I’d been very curious about. Unfortunately, I still haven’t had a chance to use it because I’m working on calming my current sensitivities, but I will relish the moment that I get to finally try that product out! Anyway, I was able to see the RdF blush in person, compare it side-by-side with the KW shade, feel the texture of the blush, and another wonderful helper sanitized the product and let me try it on – all things you cannot do when buying a new-to-you product online. So maybe my trip to Credo LA is one of my March favorites? It definitely deserves to be.
This blusher does take some warming up to smooth and blend on the cheeks, but is the most beautiful cool, dusty mauve shade. Perfect for a bit of change when I’ve been so used to wearing peachy-clay and saturated rose-berry shades for the better part of the past year! I’ve not had much more experience with the Rituel de Fille brand products, but this blush is dynamite.
I feel like half of the posts I’ve written feature Glossier now. Not really, but I’ve been so entrenched in Glossier this past March, and I’ve loved these first three products I’d purchased at the beginning of the month! I purchased the Stretch Concealer in the shade Light, the Boy Brow in Black, and the Balm Dotcom in the Coconut scent; these have since become a standard part of my makeup capsule, and I’ve been using them every time I’ve done my makeup since I received them. I won’t expound about the products too much more here, but if you’d like to read some more brief reviews of the products, you can read more on those at my first order update here!
When I work on my projects, I absolutely have to listen to something – or I will lose it. I’ve made heaps of playlists on iTunes, I love listening to playlists on Spotify, but I have a real passion for finding new podcasts and listening to entire podcast catalogues. There were three new podcasts I found on March and I – quite simply – devoured them. These are all more historical in nature (which is perfectly fine with me!), and really entertaining in their own, different ways.
The first was Crimetown, from Gimlet. This podcast explores the crime culture of specific towns in America, and this first season they are focusing on the New England town of Providence, Rhode Island. Before starting this podast, I had no idea that there was so much organized crime in the streets of Providence, or in their own local government. There are some key players in the city’s history, but there are also lots of side characters (so many that I’ve lost track of names and how they relate to the stories they tell), and the producers and narrators do a great job of tracking down these players and finding expert testimonies wherever possible. Being born in the late ‘80s, and being from the other side of the country and more entrenched in what’s going on locally to me, most of what's covered in the first season of the podcast is such exciting recent and contemporary history that’s new to me. And it’s presented in a narrative similar to a documentary: there are sound bytes, narration, interviews with lots of people that were actually involved in these situations, bits of news from the time, and it all combines for a really interactive snapshot of the city’s interesting history.
Not too dissimilar to Crimetown is the podcast Hollywood & Crime, from Wondery. This podcast covers Holloywood-centric crime from the 1940s – a lot of them cold cases, and all of them murders. One of the most famous cases from this time is the case of the Black Dahlia, and the narrator covers this case and many others from before and after that one. If you are not a fan of true crime, or you are squeamish, a lot of the cases from this time can be rather grisly, and I honestly had a hard time listening through some of them. Each episode kind of plays out like a radio play: there is a narrator walking the listener through various stages of the crime (from laying the scene, to discovering the body, to finding and interviewing suspects, etc), there are voice actors reading their roles of the various players in each case, they’ve Foley-ed in some sound effects, and it’s all kind of Law & Order but with real historical facts. The first season recently ended, and they’ve vowed to return next season, applying contemporary methods of forensic science to the facts known from these cold cases. I am on pins and needles waiting for it!
The last podcast that I’ve discovered and loved this past March is Stuff You Missed In History Class, from HowStuffWorks.com. This is a podcast that’s been around for a while, and you’ve probably heard about it from someone too – I’m very late to the game on this one. Luckily for me, because it’s been around for so long, there is an extensive backlog of episodes for me to listen to! This podcast researches lesser known events, or inventions, or people, and presents one each episode, not different from a college lecture. The hosts, Holly and Tracy read books, watch documentaries and find all the academic sources they can, then they pull all the best stuff and give their listeners a crash course on lots of cool topics that our run-of-the-mill history classes probably didn’t (or wouldn’t) cover. I’ve listened to loads of WWII-centric episodes, lots of flash-biographies of amazing women from history, alternate holiday-season characters (think Krampus), and I’ve even listened to an episode dedicated to the history of carousels. Carousels. There’s something for everybody on this podcast, and it’s really friendly for kids and classrooms; there’s usually a disclaimer at the top of the episode if it’s not suitable for younger audiences, but all of their episodes are done so well, and the narrators are so knowledgeable and open to finding different viewpoints on a subject.
I’ve got some things that I’m trying out this month (April) already, and – who knows! – I might be running into some old favorites along the way. I’ve also started some new reading material that has been speaking to me on such a deep level, so I’m truly delighted in every moment I’ve had with it so far. I don’t know what it is about this month, but I really feel like I’ve been starting it off on the right foot, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me. That being said, I’m carrying these March favorites into April with me, and they’ve already been so great to me for many weeks! What were some of your favorites this March? Please share them with me – I’d love to hear what has resonated with you recently!
For those interested in giving Glossier products a try, you can shop through my referral link here. By shopping through this link, you will receive 20% off your first purchase, and all orders over $30 always receive free standard shipping (also free returns). By shopping through this link I also receive a small perk.
As a disclaimer: All products and/or services I mention on this site are 100% paid for myself, unless I state otherwise. I take time to research products and services, and I believe that other people do the same – especially when we’re talking about spending our own hard-earned money. If I don’t like something, I will be open and forthright about it – I want absolute honesty, integrity and transparency (here and in all aspects of life). Tl;dr everything said here is entirely my own opinion about my experiences with brands and/or specific products, and I’m just happy you’re here!