Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sunny days are back! Twist and Turn Open back top take 2!

Hello!
I have had such a busy weekend, with another on campus symposium where I presented my research again with a poster and then 12 hours of talks on Saturday! It was awesome but rather tiring! It's nice to be busy but I also enjoy having a few hours to relax. This past week it was very cloudy and gray, which is unusually for LA. But, alas, the sun is back!
Today I am sharing with you another look I created using the Twist and Turn Open Back top by Leaf and Crown that I posted about a few weeks ago! Check out the original post HERE! I wanted a more casual, chill look, so I went with a maxi skirt. Little secret - this is actually a dress that I just rolled the top part down to my waist so it would act as a skirt! I got this skirt/dress from when I went to Hawaii back in September from a local store.  I loved the mint green color contrast with the black pattern, particularly matched with the black top!  I also wore these sandals that I have worn before, that I also got from a local store in Waikiki.

The top detail in the back again I love, and it perfectly hides my bra straps in the back! Super easy to wear and style! You can find/shop for this top on the Leaf and Crown Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/leafandcrown), and it comes in a variety of colors! I particularly loved the black top but I also loved the top in purple or red!

Top: Leaf and Crown | Skirt: Maxi Dress, Hawaii Local Store | Shoes: Hawaii Local Store | Bracelets: Gift | Necklace: Swarovski

I love making new outfits with the same pieces, as a grad student I don't have a lot of money to spend on clothing (although I always end up spending a lot on clothes anyways!). I have worn both of these pieces with different outfits, and they match perfectly together! This casual outfit is great for a casual night hanging out with friends or even brunch with some friends! 

Photos taken by Dina Arrieta herself! :)

Do you have a lot of pieces that you can rewear with other outfits? What do you think about this outfit with a different look? Let me know in the comments below!

xo
Andrea

Check out my original post with this top HERE!




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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daily Face Routine - Feat InstaNatural Retinol Moisturizer

Hello Lovelies!
This post is in honor of yesterday's Earth Day and attempts at #goingGreen! 
I decided to share with you my morning face routine, using various products I have grown to like and have decided to try out! I received this InstaNaturals Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer to try out, and I decided to replace my current moisturizer (from CVS brand), to compare it!

I decided to use this routine instead of washing my face with the other face washes because it helps save water! This way I use cotton pads instead of water and while it does generate some waste, with California's drought, any water saved is good! So I think its a good trade off.

1. Deep Cleaning Astringent - This Clean & Clear Essentials Deep cleaning astringent is something I love using, I pour some of it on a cotton pad and then wipe my face with it. I feel it working and it has salicylic acid acne medication to keep control of your acne! It is similar to the other face washes with salicylic acid but doesn't require any water! 



2. Pore refining Toner - my next step is using this Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner - I have heard a lot of other bloggers using this in their skin regimens, and it does work! I get a lot of blackheads and I make sure I use this to reduce the size of my pores so less likely to build up dirt in my pores! I also pour some of this on a cotton pad and in upward circular motions, cover my entire face, focusing primarily on my nose and cheeks near the nose (thats where I get blackheads the most, might be different for you!)

3. Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer - This InstaNatural Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer is a good product, I was looking on Amazon for the list of products from this company that I got the Dead Sea Mud Mask from, and this had good reviews so I thought I would try it. It is supposed to repair and restore your skin, containing Retinol, Vitamin C, Halluronic Acid, Jojoba oil, Shea butter and Green Tea extract. I dispensed a dime size amount on my finger and used my finger to spread it over my face! 

One of the downsides of this moisturizer is that you have to use an SPF with it - they suggest if you use it in the morning that you pair with with some kind of sunscreen. The other moisturizer I was using from CVS brand oil free moisturizer, had SPF 15, but it doesn't contain all of these extra ingredients that are supposed to repair and restore your skin.



4. CC Cream - After my moisturizer dried, I used my favorite Smashbox Camera Ready CC cream that has SPF30. I tend to wear this anyway to cover up blemishes and any dark spots/redness on my skin, so it wasn't too bad that I had to wear an SPF with the Retinol moisturizer. And it gives my skin an even, polished tone!


So did the product work? I have been using it for about 2 weeks, and I don't think I see a big different in my skin, any repair or restoration, although I am 26 years old, so maybe I don't have much damage to repair? The list of ingredients lists Aloe Vera as the top ingredient - which may be the reason why skin feels so smooth and soft, rather than the effects of the added ingredients.
Hyalluronic acid is typically used in cosmetic injections to reduce the presence of lines, so I'm not sure how much applying it to your skin in a small concentration will actually help, and the amount of Retinol (Vitamin A), doesn't seem to be in its active form (retinoic acid), so I'm not sure how much of anti-aging this product is actually doing. In addition, it is supposed to protect your skin but you are advised to wear sun block when going outside after applying it during the day -- meaning it must make your skin vulnerable to damage instead of fixing it!
Being a chemist, I was interested in looking at the ingredient list, and while there are several reviews out there on these kinds of products, no one actually looks to see what these compounds actually do and if they are in their active forms. All of the amazon reviews list the ingredients and how they are for smoothing your skin, hydrating your skin, providing anti-aging effects, deleting lines and wrinkles... but do you know how? A little google searching can do a body good. Looking up hyalluronic acid (just go to the wiki page!) made me not want to use this product! But this product is safe to use, and hyalluronic acid is at such low amounts, that it is commonly used, as I said, in cosmetic injections, so applying a small percent to your face shouldn't be an issue.

Overall, the product was nice, and I have a lot of it, and will possible continue to use it, but not on a regular, daily basis. It will be nice to use this to repair my skin if I feel like it is dry or damaged.

What is your normal daily face routine? Do you use any other products like an exfoliator that I missed in my routine? Have you tried any of these products before? Do let me know in the comments below!

xo
Andrea


PS. I was given this product at a reduced price to give my honest opinion and review, which I have given here! You get to see my inner chemist come out in this post! :)
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunny days and Stress free weekend!

Hello everyone!
Happy Monday! I am back with an outfit post, something that I was able to put together rather quickly based on some new finds from this weekend!
I was very stressed out the last couple of weeks because I was preparing a manuscript/paper for publication, and we finally submitted it on Friday to the journal! I was so happy and excited, and it literally felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders! I had some recurring headaches due to stress and now they are gone! It is a relief.
On Saturday I went to a sidewalk sale in Santa Monica, where a store was selling lightly used clothing, shoes, jewelry, etc. for $1, and all of the proceeds went to charity! I bought three pairs of shoes (which I will showcase in some outfits soon!), and some dresses and tops! I bought this really cute button up top from Express, which I am wearing here, and the material is just so soft. The color was a little blah/beige but from how I styled it, it really looks good!
On Sunday, I needed to get out of the house and have a change of scenery. I went to the Getty Villa Museum with the boyfriend, and it was beautiful! It sits on the Pacific Coast Highway, with amazing views of the ocean, and the gardens are just so beautiful. I have been wanting to go for a while now. There is one garden where there is a large pool of water with lots of pretty trees and flowers around it, but the water was drained due to the horrible California drought we are having. But it was still beautiful, nonetheless, and I am happy that the museum is making efforts to conserve water during this tough time!
I am actually wearing this outfit to lab today, even though I wore it yesterday as well (hey, who says you can't wear the same thing twice?!), and instead of the black shorts and sandals, I am wearing dark jeans and sneakers (running around all day, decided to opt for comfort over style in the shoe department). I originally was going to wear the new heels I bought from the sale that matched great with this outfit, but were were going to be walking around the museum and I really didn't feel like wearing heels... especially since my legs were super sore from starting to work out again!


Some super pretty flowers and lily pads for your viewing pleasure! Loved how pretty it was!

Top: White tank top, Forever 21 | Button Shirt: Express | Shorts: Old | Sandals: Charlotte Russe | Necklace: Charlotte Russe | Bracelets: Gift

The outfit was very versatile and easy, a plain white tank top layered underneath the brown/beige button top was a great match, accented with some white and gold jewelry - I loved this look and hope you do too!

Let me know of any amazing sales you have gone to recently, or if you have put together any simple yet chic outfits !

Have a great week,

xo
Andrea

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

20 Conference Essentials: A packing list!

Hello everyone!
Today I bring to you a Conference Essentials packing list!
After attending and blogging for the recent conference in Boston, I decided to come up with a packing list to help you prepare for a conference or meeting, for whatever topic it may be, scientific, educational, blogging, etc.! 
I decided to check my bag, so I could fit all of this in a big bag, but you can always scale down for a carry on bag!


Toiletries: 
I decided to buy a lot of travel sized goods, such as toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, and face wash! I also bought some makeup remover pads from Target, as they were super easy to use and remove all of my day's makeup with one wipe! I originally forgot my toothbrush so I had to stop at CVS to get a new one. If I had this list when I packed I probably would have remembered it!

Business-wear:
I decided to bring two different blazers, two different colors so I could match with multiple outfits. I had a navy blue and a black one. This made it super easy to create 5 different outfits using combinations with my dress pants and skirts! I also brought some simple solid color tank tops, in black and white. I wore them under the blazers, so it was simple, and would match well with any statement necklace I decided to wear! A statement necklace was great because it was stylish and brought some nice color to my outfits! Dress pants and fitted skirts are great for conferences, because they look professional and super stylish! I found a really cute fitted skirt at Ross (like TJ Maxx), and it was such a great buy! Comfortable shoes are also a must! If you will be walking around all day, attending talks, going to networking sessions, you want to make sure your feet aren't killing you! I know I regretted wearing a certain pair of heels after a long day of walking around the conference!

Blogger Essentials:
What to bring when you are a blogger? I brought my Nikon camera to the conference with my every day, so I could snap some photos whenever I needed! I also packed my tripod with me, not to bring to the actual conference but so I could take photos of my outfits when I needed. Also need to bring all the camera accessories (lenses, battery, memory card, etc.). One of the most important things you can bring are your chargers!!! If you have an iPhone or any USB charged device, I wouldn't leave home without a portable battery USB charger, even if you think your phone battery can last all day. You never know where you might stay out later than anticipated and then your phone is suddenly dying! Definitely look at amazon, they have some good deals! Also your laptop or tablet may come in handy, I bought both, mainly because I knew I would be having to blog and do some other work and I would need my computer. The tablet I brought to take notes at the various sessions I attended! Last but not least in this section, are Business cards! When you will be meeting a lot of different people, be sure to have some business cards with your contact information on them, because believe me, you won't remember the names of everyone you meet and they won't always remember your name!

Hair/Makeup essentials:
To minimize the amount of makeup I was bringing (believe me, I have A LOT of makeup), I decided to only bring one versatile makeup palette, that I could use to create a lot of different looks! I brought my Naked2 palette, as I knew I could make simple, professional looks! Really, any of the Urban Decay palettes would be good for this, any of the Naked or Vice palettes. Then the usual liners, cover ups, etc. are always necessities. A hair dryer is important, because hotels will have hair dryers but I always prefer my own. And lastly, a hair straightener and/or curling iron, depending on your hair. Extra points if you have a hair straightener that also curls (like the one I brought, super handy!)

At the Conference: 
Lastly, what to bring with you to the actual conference. I brought a big black tote bag, that I could fit so many things in. Every day I would bring my camera, chargers, laptop on days I knew I would have downtime to do work in between sessions, my tablet to take notes, among other things! It's nice to also bring a paper notebook and pen, incase your tablet/laptop dies, you have a back up! You never know when a piece of paper or pen will come in handy! A water bottle to keep hydrated is also important! Make sure you are hydrated as you are running around! Small snacks are also good to give you energy in between meals!


This list is not exhaustive, but I think I have listed the major things I would bring! Feel free to screen shot this/save it so the next time you are going to a conference of any kind (this can be applied to any kind of meeting or conference), you can more easily pack! Now I wish I had this packing list when I was going to the conference! 

Is there anything important that I missed? Do let me know in the comments below!

xo
Andrea


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Magenta Florals and new eye wear - Firmoo

Happy Monday everyone!
Hope your week is off to an amazing start! I am off to the lab for another week full of experiments and classes!
I wanted to share with you this cute new pink/magenta outfit I styled with my new glasses from Firmoo.  I bought this really cute magenta floral peplum top from Express during their 40% off sale when I recently went shopping, and I fell in love with the color and print! And it just so happened that the new glasses I ordered from Firmoo coincidentally were magenta frames as well, so why not wear them together for a cute, chic outfit?!
I love the flattering form of the peplum top, along with the really pretty print! I matched it with my deep red lipstick from Hikari in shade cabernet, which I have worn before, and some light jewelry that I will describe later. Along with jeans and my little booties also from Express, This is a great outfit to wear to work, or out with some friends! And the glasses are a nice little touch!

I ordered these glasses from Firmoo, and it was super easy on their website! I had a hard time choosing frames, since a lot were really cute, and I wasn't sure what would look good on my face, since I don't wear glasses frequently. I did need a very slight prescription last time I got my eyes checked, so I thought why not get a pair from this site! Their site is cool because they have a feature where you can upload your own picture and "try" on the glasses! Pretty fun, and it was using this tool that I finally decided to go with these fun magenta frames! I already have a black pair, so I thought I would change it up and go with a little splash of color! And I am able to match these with some of my outfits!

After deciding what frames I wanted, entering my prescription was relatively easy, and you are able to add various extra features, like anti-shine, anti-reflection, etc., features that will really up the quality of your glasses and help you see a little better! It was then really easy to submit the order and I got my glasses within a week, which is amazing, since I was expecting glasses with custom lenses to take a longer time and I think they were shipped from China so it was relatively fast! The glasses came in a really cool map case, shown below, very durable and hard, definitely will protect my glasses. It also came with a cleaning cloth, which is super soft and smooth! perfect for keeping my glasses smudge free and dust free! Customer service was also super friendly and prompt; I was in contact with one of their customer service agents about my order and I was amazed at how fast responses were and super helpful!

Upon trying on the glasses, I felt like they were a lot easier on the eyes than previous pairs I have ordered from the optometrist. My other pair of glasses really weirds my eyes out, versus these Firmoo glasses were really easy to put on and take off - without making me feel dizzy. It was great, and I have been wearing them a lot more frequently!
I don't wear glasses very often, mostly for reading things far away, as I have a very very slight prescription.

If you want to check out their selection of frames, you can get 50% off your order site wide by following this link: http://www.firmoo.com/z/new-50-off.html. They have some really cute frames, and a variety of styles, and I am sure everyone will find something they like on their site! Check em out on me! What do you think of them with this outfit?!


CHEESE'in! 

Top: Express | Jeans: Zara | Shoes: Express | Eyeglasses: Firmoo | Bracelets: Gift and Pandora Charm bracelet | Necklace: Swarovski

I also bought some charms for my Pandora charm bracelet when I went shopping! The charms are relatively expensive, but oh so pretty! I am going for a purple themed bracelet! (Purple is one of my fav colors, sneak peak at something coming on the blog soon!)

Do you have any cool colored glasses you wear? Do you try to match your glasses with your outfit or do you just have an every day pair that you match with things? 

Do let me know in the comments below! Would love to know how my glasses-wearing ladies style their glasses with their outfits!

xo
Andrea

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beautiful LA Day - Twist and Turn Open back top - Leaf and Crown

Hello loves!
I am attempting to get back to my regular posting schedule, traveling, conference, and lab work has really worn me down the last two weeks! I feel like I already need a vacation and I just got back to work! I am also taking classes on top of lab work, so I am going crazy! 
But anyway, here is a recent outfit I wore to lab and lunch with a friend, and who actually designed the top I am wearing herself, Dina Arrieta, owner, designer and blogger of Leaf and Crown (Leafandcrown.com). It was really hot here in LA, but I had to have my legs covered for lab, so I wore my Zara jeans and usual heeled boots from Target, and I wore this Twist and Turn Open Back Tee. I love wearing black, and this black top was just way too cute and flattering! The neckline was perfect and it hugged my curves in all the right places! The open back detail was just great, I really liked it and it hid my bra straps well! (sorry if thats TMI... but that is a big problem with us girls who can't just not wear a bra!)
I felt fine wearing it to lab, it usually gets cold from the central air in the building, so I ended up wearing a sweater over it when I was sitting at my desk and I got chilly, but it made for a very easy transition to going out for drinks with some friends after work! Even wearing it to walk around on campus for coffee, it was nice and casual while still super stylish!
You can find/shop for this top on the Leaf and Crown Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/leafandcrown), and it comes in a variety of colors! I particularly loved the black top but I also loved the top in purple or red!

A little about Leaf and Crown: a fresh, flirty lifestyle brand designed by Dina Arrieta, made locally in San Francisco with top quality materials. She is launching her brand with a small clothing line on Etsy, but Dina plans to grow her offerings further with art, home accessories, and more. Pretty cool seeing as she is just my age and already started her own brand!


Top: Leaf and Crown | Jeans: Zara | Boots: Target | Sunglasses: Gift | Bracelets: Gift | Necklace: Swarovski

Photos taken by Dina Arrieta herself! 

What do you think about this outfit? What do you think about the top details? 

Let me know in the comments below!

xo
Andrea
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Saturday, April 4, 2015

ExpBio Day 5 - The Final Presentation

Hello everyone!
Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I was exhausted with all the running around at the end of the conference! I bring you the last post in my series of Conference Fashion posts for the Experimental Biology Meeting I went to in Boston this week! The last day of the conference was Wednesday, and I was presenting my data in a poster session (see last photo of the post!). I was sad to be done in Boston, as I fell in love with the city and the city life. I was also sad the conference was over, as I had learned so much going to all of the talks and interacting with all of these great, intelligent people! 
A lot of people came to my poster, and I was excited because most of the people I saw give talks came to talk to me and hear about my research. I got a lot of great ideas and had some amazing conversations about new research in the field! I am inspired to go back and do more experiments!

I wasn't going to photograph my last outfit, as I had a really hard time deciding what to wear (I changed about 4 times, all too early in the AM before I had to pack my things and check out before setting up my poster at the convention center! can you say STRESS??!). BUT, I am really happy with how my outfit turned out, very professional and sleek! 
I decided I wanted to wear this greenish-turquoise statement necklace from Forever21, so I tried to put together pieces that would be simple and work well with the color and piece! (Statement necklace dictating the outfit for the win!)

I decided to wear my really cute gray dress pants from NY&C (finally got to wear them!), along with a simple white tank top from Forever21 covered with a simple black blazer. The blazer was simple enough, with only one button, which I think was really flattering versus a traditional long blazer. It cut well, and fit just perfect at my waist. It was just the right length and cut for my body shape!
I wore my boots under the wide leg of the pants, and it was perfect because they were comfortable and gave me just enough height that I wasn't stepping on the pants (Dress pants tend to be too long on me, but these pants were "Petite" from NY&C but still managed to be a *little* long). 
I absolutely loved this lipstick I put on, the shade is really flattering on my skin color, it was from Hikari brand, shade Cabernet, which was the perfect deep shade of plum/pink. It really completed my look! 

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