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Holding on to my 26 year old skin

Some beauty guru’s say the chase of a limited edition makeup palette is what gets them excited but for me, trying out new skincare products is just as thrilling.

In the last year, my skincare routine has changed frequently because I’m fortunate to have some generous PR packages sent my way as an industry insider. Thank you by the way to all my incredible PR contacts, you keep me smiling! I’m always grateful for that lovely perk.

Discovering advanced technologies and organic blends of effective anti-aging, skin clearing, texture smoothing, pore refining, luminosity boosting items are often much more intriguing than a bold lip color. The feeling of waking up w baby soft skin from the night before’s skincare detox always keeps me in love with the beauty industry. Plus, night is my usual time I set aside for writing and winding down from the day’s hustle; a good face mask is my go-to cure for a relaxing moment to myself.

These are a few of my current skincare favorites; not everything I’m using but my most used products of the moment.

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(Not in any particular order)

  1. Dior One Essential Serum has been a part of my skincare regime for nearly 4 years and I can always tell when I skipped a day of applying this miracle treatment. It’s worth the price tag and can be used with any brand making it perfect for my lifestyle. (photographed is the little sample size since it was taken on a weekend trip away from home but I have the bigger version in my bathroom)
  2. Caudalie Enzymatic Peel Mask is a tingling treat as it stimulates exfoliation and provides instant skin clarity. I have been using this religiously 1-2x a week for a few weeks and my skin is loving it.
  3. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Mist is a product I use anytime of day. The fine mist feels completely refreshing and doesn’t sit on the skin as water beads, it absorbs quickly and smells divine.
  4. Muji Cleansing Oil is a product I picked up as an impulse add on during a trip to the store in Downtowm San Jose in a trial size and I’m absolutely obsessed! The oil feels luxurious without a ridiculous price and removes makeup completely. I will most definitely be purchasing the full size version once mine runs out.
  5. One Love Organics Morning Glory is a lightweight oil that moisturizes and protects skin from free radicals while offering on contact comfort. I have used this on myself and also makeup clients and I cannot praise it enough for imparting a naturally dewy glow. Love, love love this! ( One Love Organics sells ‘discovery’ sizes and full size options, the one in the photo is the discovery size)
  6. Laura Geller Beauty Lip Strip is my new best friend. Being a lipstick monster, my poor lips go through periods of extreme dryness making this the idea treat for flaking and dry patches.
  7. Earth Tu Face Palmarosa + Aloe cleanser creates just the right amount of purifying without stripping my skin of any moisture. It’s made by San Francisco herbalists which makes it that much more unique than any other foaming wash I’ve tried.
  8. Caudalie Cleansing Water is always at my bedside with a jar of cotton pads for nights when I’m feeling to tired to be by the sink. It removes makeup quite easily and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. I’m pretty sure the packaging available in stores now comes in a green bottle; I have the older version at home.

Have you tried any of my skincare favorites?

Perpetual sweet tooth by nature

Eating habits are a direct reflection of the skin’s physical appearance.

Frequently rotating skincare and makeup is part of my lifestyle as an expert in all things beauty. However, this constant introduction of new ingredients can cause unpleasant reactions including breakouts, redness and overall skin stress. Although greens and an abundance of water are staples in my daily nutrient intake, I have a counter productive attraction to sweets.

While I’m working on limiting sugar consumption, keeping a photo diary is quite helpful in suppressing my random sweet tooth cravings. Looking back at the week’s photos displays a visual showing improved skin vitality on days that don’t include a hefty dessert.

Here is a taste of my bipolar eating habits from the last two weeks:

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If the saying ‘You are what you eat’ is true than I must be an sweet vanilla, arugula, tomato, and spinach explosion. Right?

Feeling Forever 21, I mean 26

While I pretty much live in all black with the exception of frequent gaudy accessories and bold lip colors, this week’s Forever 21 shopping trip had my radar on retro inspired floral prints and bright chiffon.

It’s been nearly 9 months since my last visit to a Forever 21 store somewhere in South Orange County and after a somewhat unpleasant experience it had not appealed to me. This time, the two level Forever 21 in Cerritos was the spot literally getting more than an hour of my time searching the racks for some new wardrobe updates. They were having a 50% off sale on sale which is always lovely!

Although the one downfall I had was escaping the annoyance of too many hi-lo dresses and tops, I committed to 3 lovely dresses without the awkward trendy hemline and a basic black cardigan for work of course.

Here’s what I went home with:

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I was also totally impressed with the black and white sleeveless day dresses. The fit and fabric weight was quite expensive looking but I was trying to expand my color spectrum so I passed this time but how cute is the houndstooth and diamond print?

Until next time, Forever 21.

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Jo Malone serving up romantic, elegance in full effect

Working in retail for many years, I’ve developed a strong eye for merchandising and recently stumbled upon some incredible window displays. It may sound strange but sometimes on my day off, I like to snap pictures and peak into a few boutiques that catch my eye for the purpose of capturing some new inspiration. Here is a pic that shows off a recent window from one store that makes me smile: Jo Malone.

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While Jo Malone always looks luxurious, this delicate interpretation celebrating their new fragrance, Peony & Blush Suede is totally feminine with the pale cream and soft pinks against the contemporary black table. Pretty, chic and glamorous, what a combination!

Current relationship status: in love with false lashes

False lashes and I have been in a love/hate relationship for the past eight years.

From age 18-22 I had a major romance with false eye lases as I’ve always been a fan of over the top glamorous makeup; most likely from my pageant days and adoration for luxury beauty ads. On minimal makeup days, I loved to pair my huge false lashes with no foundation and a bold colorful lip. Even during my pregnancy, false eyelashes made me feel just a little bit more fabulous than I felt on exhausting days juggling school and work.

Experimenting with different lengths was especially fun when working behind the makeup counter but I gradually grew bored with the chore of applying them every morning.

Since then, I occasionally rocked a pair of lashes but luckily my natural lashes were easily boosted with my what seems like a lifelong supply of Dior Lash Maximizer and Mascaras from working with the legendary mascara brand for so many years.

Lately I’ve succumb to some frequent lash cravings. Yes, lash cravings! Going a little bit crazy on rebuilding my false lash stash with some amazing brands: Ardell, Japonesque, Eyelure and a new discovery True or False Lashes.

Today I’m feeling the false lash love, let’s see about tomorrow.

My current stash excluding a few pairs on top of my vanity:

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5 step makeup transformation for extra tired mornings

Being guilty of living off caffeine, it is always exciting to discover new methods of hiding sleepy eyes and dull skin. Luckily, I have mastered makeup techniques over the years and would like to share my favorite beauty secrets with my Saturday morning makeup transformation that happened just yesterday.

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I woke up with major puffy eyes, dry skin and overall not a good look; possibly a result of my lack of sleep and slight emotional breakdown from a stressful week of motherhood and life. If you follow me on instagram there are multiple snapshots of my extensive 7-10 product nightly skincare ritual but this unfortunately did not happen the night prior. So I sat down in my bathroom and began a bit of artist magic to get my face into presentable shape before work.

  1. First, begin with products that will suit your biggest concerns. Using the right texture is everything when it comes to looking pulled together after a poor night’s sleep. Strategic highlight and shadow contouring is your ultimate best friend in the morning for recovering a tired face. For the most part, stick with matte textures all over except on a few distinct areas to conceal any morning after distressed skin.
  2. De-puff by pressing an eye cream along the curved bone under the eyes. Don’t apply any cream close to the lash line as the product will move on its own with your natural facial muscles. Across the lid prime with a lasting eye shadow base and use a matte dark eye shadow across the entire lower lid to recede the puffiness. Blend the top of the dark shadow with a medium matte shade to create an easy eye look. Use shimmering shades only in the inner corner of the eyes unless you want to emphasize sleepy, puffy lids.
  3. Fill in your brows! Those blessed with full eyebrows should still give the hairs a good brush and set with a brow gel. As the brows create structure to the face it can absolutely provide an instant lifting effect when shaping into the right arch. Sparse brows can easily be fixed with a little bit of matte eye shadow, an angle brush or a fine brow pencil.
  4.  Prepare skin with a good moisturizer and apply a long wearing foundation to even the complexion. Layer a color corrector and concealer under the eyes and set with a fine loose powder to keep the product from moving around and if you love a good contour like I do, shade the face with either a darker foundation shade or matte bronzer in the hollows of cheeks, on the temples and under the jaw line.  Highlight the skin with an iridescent product at the high point of the cheeks to add a faux glow. This illusion is a simple step but makes a huge impact on the overall makeup look.
  5. (totally optional) Apply false lashes. Enhancing the length and thickness of lashes can be a great choice for making eyes look bigger and more awake. Choose lashes that aren’t too overwhelming for your eye shape. Since my work environment is creative, a pair of wispy strip lashes are appropriate but if you work in a more constrained atmosphere, than half lashes or a few individual lashes may be a better fit.

What I used:

Skincare: Dior Diorsnow White Reveal Gentle Purifying Foam, Lush Cosmetics Breath of Fresh Air toning water, One Love Organics Morning Glory Brightening Complexion Booster, Dior Hydralife Protective Cream SPF 15, VBeaute Eye Never Nourishing DNA Repair Eye Crème

Complexion: Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation in G40, Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach, Illamasqua Skin Base Lift concealer in Medium 1, Sleek Makeup Cream to Powder Foundation in Hot Chocolate (contour), La Femme Blush in Hibiscus, Koh Gen Doh UV Powder, Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden, Cargo Limited Edition Vintage Escapes Eye Shadow Palette ( Shades Chestnut and Hot Cocoa on the lids/ Chestnut and Black Crow in the brows), Butter London Wink Eye Pencil in Union Jack Black, Ardell Demi Wispies

Lips: Treat Beauty Soft Candy Pink Buttercream Old Fashioned Jumbo Lip Balm, Cle De Peau Extra Rich Lipstick

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Hello Stranger

I’ve decided to start using a personal blog again partly to relieve stress and also because I miss it.  I wiped clean my old posts and want to start fresh.

Hello this is me:

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When I was about 9 years old I vividly remember secretly deciding my career path. Of course I kept it to myself for many years but I just knew I would grow up to be Linda Wells, the Editor in Chief of Allure magazine, pouring my insights on the beauty world I’ve drooled over since I can remember. In my preteen years I snuck into my mom’s bedroom vanity and religiously read her monthly issues of Allure and Marie Claire fantasizing my future self being surrounded by luxury fragrances, makeup and pampering myself in high end spas.

Early on I recognized my skill for writing and creativity and pursued every opportunity to feed my passions for beauty, writing, and later on educating others on my skincare and makeup knowledge. To put my way through earning my Bachelor’s in Communications I worked part time at a Christian Dior Beauty counter, and with an unexpected chance of luck, I met my first mentor who taught me to multitask and pursue what was in my heart no matter what others thought. Strangely enough her name was Linda, well actually Lynda with a ‘y,’ and she connected with me on more than a working relationship. She was kind, supportive and nurtured my early entrepreneurial ideas. Part time turned into Counter Manager and then an upgrade to a higher volume Counter Manager role all in the scope of Dior’s whirlwind circle of fellow passionate people who craved the luxury beauty products as much as I did. In my last of the nearly six years at Dior I actively pursued steps to become an Account Coordinator but unfortunately the stars were not in line for me and it led me to leave to pursue a role in a flagship style boutique where I sacrificed less money and no title with the hopes of turning my natural drive into someday being a beauty educator. Over the years I’ve started multiple blogs, contributed to notable websites, painted the faces of some incredible clients and shared my love for skincare on countless canvases.

Sorry, long post but there’s more!

There is a memory of my daughter at 3 years old asking me what she should write down on her preschool classwork when the teacher asked what her mommy does for a living. “’Beauty writer, makeup artist, skincare educator, retail sales specialist, wife and mommy’  probably won’t fit on one line Tessa, but write anything you want because what really counted was that you know mommy was a hard worker who was following her dreams.’”

Perhaps it was the fact that I got married and became a mother at the young age of 21 that pushed me to gain strength in telling others what I really wanted in life.  I mustered up some brave energy somewhere to really focus on displaying my whole self; letting people into my mind (and into my makeup bag, bathroom vanity, and more) through my writing on Examiner.com where I can proudly say have built an international following and work closely with Public Relations Executives representing over 55 beauty brands. Some may say that would fulfill their passion but there is still a frustrating limbo I face daily. Readers, beauty big names and people across the globe who I never met or some briefly met, praise my work on the daily but here I am working part time at a boutique to sustain a steady cash flow, doing freelance makeup work, writing 24/7 and I’m not quite living the glam life I thought I would have from my 9 year old memory.

There is nothing I would trade for the sacrifices I’ve made in lieu of first and foremost being the best wife and mom I can be but there is always ‘Rochelle,’ the hustler hidden in all of life’s stresses. Would I have ended up in New York trying to intern with 100 girls wanting the same things? Maybe; but I know in my heart there’s a path for me that no one else will have.

Some days I surprise myself on where I find energy and organic ideas but writing and beauty have always been calming and slightly therapeutic for me. So now, I am 1000% putting it out in the universe. There is no one job title for me but my talents are far beyond the average 26 year old. Writing professionally outside of the comfort of my personal computer and letting the world in on my inspired thoughts will happen for me. For all those who have believed in me along the way, thank you for feeding my passion.

Linda Wells if you are out there, I still love you and would kill to see my name listed on the Allure masthead. Just saying.