ANDDDDD we're back

SO, it's been a hot minute since I've blogged due to an extremely busy month and a half, but we're back! Olive and Sebastien have been a bunch of bums lounging the summer away, but they're back and ready for blog action. Stay tuned for a few new product reviews and collaborations, plus many, many WEEKLY inspirations :) 

BEAUTY buys: HYDRATING vs. REVITALIZING serums

A few weeks back I reviewed two Valentia products that I raved about - their True Glow Eye Cream and Ultra Plumping Hydration Mask. Now I'm back with two more products of theirs that I've been testing for over a month now - their Royal Rose Hydrating Serum and their Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum. Since I'm already a fan of their products and company (cruelty free, vegan, 98% natural, made in the USA - the list goes on...), I already knew going in I would probably end up loving both of these.

I was right.

Both of these serums are incredibly luxurious and soft. My skin - even during the normally drying period from winter to spring (especially this particularly crazy transition this year)  - has never felt better. So in an effort to differentiate between the two, I decided to do a break down of the pros of each to get a better idea of the specific benefits each serum brings to the table. 

Royal Rose Hydrating Serum ($35)

  • The smell of this serum is intoxicating - like walking through an English rose garden in the spring. 
  • Medium-heavy texture, providing ultra-rich moisture.
  • Best for overnight wear (due to the slightly heavy texture).

Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum ($35)

  • This serum has a more tangy orange scent than a floral scent, which is refreshing and light. 
  • Light-medium texture, not as heavy as the Royal Rose Hydrating Serum.
  • Best for day wear (light enough to put on under makeup/lotion).

Overall, both of these are absolutely worth the money - and if you can do what I did which is divide them by day and night usage, I would recommend getting both. I took a few images of how moisturized and clear my skin has been since using them, and I can totally tell the difference. 

WEEKLY inspirations

These weeks have been flying by lately, but I think it's safe to say spring is officially here. Philly has been a mix of super awesome weather (70 and sunny), and super crappy weather (cold and rainy) - but it hasn't snowed lately, so I'll take those odds any day. This week is pretty jam-packed with social and work events (no complaints here), so I'm looking forward to a fast-paced productive week. 

What I'm digging this week (in no particular order):

  • If you haven't already voted for HONEY (SNORT Rescue's blind foster pug) in the Tournament of Tails, do it NOW! That's the rescue I volunteer for, and adopted my Sebastien from!
  • All the spring colors.
  • Spring style is officially in play, and I ain't mad. 
  • Gonna plant some colorful succulents to adorn my windowsills this weekend. 
  • Just a really,really pretty geode. 
  • Loving the colorful collages from Tyler Spangler
  • If there was ever a bag made for me....
  • It's asparagus season! The most wonderful time of the year. I'm already stock piling new recipes for the occasion. 
  • I'm not a bug fan, but the composition of this tattoo is beautiful.
  • The most perfect patterned fabric ever.
  • A deliciously healthy recipe that even includes (gulp) kale.

PHILLY street ART

I feel like the best street art always starts popping up right before summer. Everyone is bored of the cold, bitter winter, and the first hint of warm sunshine has the best of us running to walls and covering them with whatever awesome concept comes to mind first. Philly has an amazing amount of incredible artists crammed into one (albeit large) city, and I would be lying if I said that wasn't one of my favorite things about this dirty/beautiful/crazy/perfectly un-perfect city. Here's a few local artists/artworks that I've been loving as of late (seriously though - that #PhillytheBern mural is everything).

Old Broads - my god, when I first saw one of these pieces pop up in Northern Liberties a while back, I thought it was the best thing I've seen in years. "Geriatric Philly", as she calls it, is pretty much exactly what I imagine the Fishtown millennials looking like in 40 years - probably myself included {-_-}. Either way, it's a completely fresh and welcomed addition to the lonely Philly walls, and I'm loving it.

(images below via Old Broads)

Amberellaxo - I'm a big believer in the simpler the art, the better, and Amberella's work nails it. You can find her pieces hidden all over Philly (in fact I took a pic of her work last night at Tattooed Mom's here), and it's the perfect mix of sweet and sour. Her "Cat Call" series "stems from daily life encounters on the street as a woman. The Cat Calls are placed back in their original habitat and are made to be just as public and uncomfortable as actual cat calling." (via Paradigm), and her goth hearts give candy hearts a run for their money.

(images below via Amberellaxo)

#PhillytheBern (Old Broads x Disto) - like I mentioned above, this mural is everything. Color, concept, general freaking awesome factor - can we get this on every street corner? Of course, I am a Bernie supporter, so I love it a little more than say, a Trump supporter would (I heard there are actually people out there that do in fact support him - crazy, right?) - but politics aside, I think we can all agree that this is just a good piece of street art. 

(image below via Streets Dept)

VEGETARIAN eats

Lately I've been thinking a lot about going vegetarian again. It's been a hot minute since I last full-on gave up meat (in college I was an on-off vegan/vegetarian for almost three years). I pretty much always cook vegetarian food for myself these days (with the exception of the food I make for my dogs, which is beef or pork based), partially because I love vegetables and often don't find the need for meat, and partially because the idea of eating meat totally turns my stomach as of late. Maybe it's the 6,000 dog and animal rescues I follow and read about every day on Facebook that really makes me think about how much pigs and cows are not that different from my own dogs. I would never eat a dog - so why eat a pig? Unfortunately, meat tends to be really delicious in some cases (Filet mignon! Cubanos! Bacon!), but I've been really trying to curb my cravings for anything meat-related. Luckily I live in a fantastic foodie city, with some of the best vegetarian meals right at my fingertips, so it's not quite as hard as I expected.

Either way, I've been brushing up on my vegetarian recipes, and these are some of my favorite ones I've been cooking lately. I make those sesame noodles at least once a week (with tons of sesame seeds on top, btw), and I'm making those black bean tacos tonight. The only issue left is how I'm going to get my dogs to choose vegetables over meat ;)

Bon appetite! 

WEEKLY inspirations

Sorry for the long pause in posts - the last two weeks have been FILLED with lots of work, night events, and most importantly, beautiful weather! With days that are close to 70 degrees here in Philly, who can sit and focus at a computer? Not me - which is why this is a short and sweet post with some things I've been loving as of late.

So here's what I'm digging this week (in no particular order):

  • Seriously considering this haircut/color combo. LOVE IT.
  • Reorganizing my clothing rack this weekend. Hello spring clothes! 
  • I've been on an asian food kick lately (when am I not though?), and this rice and tofu recipe sounds amazing.
  • This awesome reusable/removable wallpaper in SO many different designs (I want them all!)
  • Cutest little cottage/guest house.
  • How gorgeous is that pink canyon? 
  • And also....how gorgeous is that pink couch? 
  • Obsessed with this yoga girl pattern - and all DesignComb's other patterns here
  • 70's style is back, and I'm not mad.
  • Super cool wall-mount skull bottle opener.
  • Simple and beautiful fern tattoo.
  • Love this LED heart light from Target.

BEAUTY buys: EYE gel

I've been on a BEAUTY buys roll these past few weeks, and I have another awesome skincare product that I recently tried and loved - so I thought I'd share the wealth. This eye gel is a bit different than the eye cream I reviewed a few weeks ago, but is definitely equally great. OZ Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel is another product aimed towards decreasing your dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines around your eye area, but what makes this really stand out is that it's a gel, not a cream - which I love. I have an obsession with anything that is cooling, so gel is always my preferred skincare base. 

Since I use my other eye cream in the morning, I decided to use this one at night (although a lot of the reviews online say that it's great under makeup too - so you could do either or), and I have to say after a month of use, my eyes are SO much brighter looking. My dark circles have retreated almost entirely since I started using this product (even with the occasional late night out), and the price is on-point (less than $20!). It's also become one of my favorite nighttime rituals - since it's so refreshing and perfect to put on right before bed. 

Check out the above before photo, taken in late December, and the after photo, taken yesterday. I can definitely see a difference in the dark circles!

WEEKLY inspirations

Yesterday was an amazing little taste of spring here in Philly (it was 65 degrees!), and it's almost like I completely forget other seasons exist until a day like that happens and it's like wow. Just wow. I took a great hike around a park near my parent's house with the pups, and spent the day relaxing and enjoying not being bundled up in layers and jackets galore. I'm hoping that easy-going mentality (and the unbelievable weather) lasts throughout the whole week. Happy Monday!

What I'm digging this week (in no particular order):

  • Flight of the Conchords will be touring this summer! As a super fan of them, you better believe I'll be there. 
  • These grilled asparagus and ricotta pizzas look amazing.
  • Another easy chickpea and feta salad - love these recipes.
  • Watercolor-y pink and yellow tones for spring inspiration.
  • Dreaming of sandal weather. So close, yet so far.
  • This incredibly realistic forest wallpaper.
  • Beautiful mandala tattoo.
  • I love Hattie Stewart - and her addition to this Playboy cover is phenomenal.
  • These blackberry and meyer lemon gin and tonics sound delicious.
  • Donut cones are now a thing, and I must have one. Must. Have. One.