Lifestyle

Things I Loved This Month: October 2019

October has been sort of a funky month for me, so I don’t really have a lot of favorites if we’re honest. I can say that this month went by really fast and had so many ups and downs that I’m very glad it’s finally over. Here are just a few of my new favorite things for this month!

1. Corduroy Mom Jeans

Last spring, I found white corduroy mom jeans from Topshop that I fell in love with. I wore them a ton because they are so nice and cozy, very comfortable and they go well with tons of outfits. This year, I found the same pair and decided I should get them in brown and also black! They are some of the best corduroy mom jeans I’ve found and I had to talk myself out of getting the pink also!

2. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I’ve mentioned this product in a few blog posts (My Skin Care Routine and my Sephora Haul) and I’ve really grown to love this product. I love the way my skin looks in the morning after I’ve used it and I think the overall health of my skin is much better because of it! It’s so light and not sticky. I am definitely going to repurchase this since I’m just about finished with my sample!

3. Citrus Defender @ Starbucks

I was feeling really sick earlier this month and was sort of unsure what to do about it. I saw that the Citrus Defender tea at Starbucks was a good alternative to the Medicine Ball tea and decided to try it. Lucky for me it’s packed out with vitamin C because it’s made with citrus tea and lemonade and it’s absolutely delicious. I’m not saying it cured me, but I was feeling 100% again within 2 days…just saying!

4. Everything Brown

Seriously, I love everything brown. I don’t know how many times I have to say it. I have about 4 brown sweaters now, a pair of corduroy pants, I’m on the hunt for chocolate brown loafers, I have a brown satin body suit, I have issues. Brown is my color for this season, and next, and probably the rest of my life. Highly recommend you try this out in a monochromatic look or in satin-y materials because it just is really beautiful!

5. Similarly, Everything Green

This month I also bought the most beautiful green shoes and I want to cry every time I look at them. They are so cute and comfortable and exactly what my closet needed. I also recently acquired a few green sweaters and found a gorgeous green plaid coat that I plan on buying soon. Not sure what is going on but these colors are making me so excited for fall and winter!

6. Louise et Cie Kota Heels

I’ve shared these shoes a few times on my instagram and they are just the best. A beautiful, classic heel with a super comfortable heel height that will last you for years to come. They are from Nordstrom and I bought them in white, black, and navy and I can’t get over them. A great shoe for day to night and just about any occasion.

This post contains affiliate links to Nordstrom.com.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Beauty

Sephora Beauty Haul and Review

About 2 weeks ago I shared my updated Fall Skincare Routine on here and I shared a ton of new products. Now that I’ve actually used the products for a few weeks, I wanted to share my honest review of them with you too. I hadn’t changed my skincare routine in about a year, so this was definitely interesting to me to have to figure out what to try. I try to keep my skincare routine simple, because I feel that simple usually gets you the best results. Keep on reading to see how I like the new products I got!

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Honey Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask

This is a limited edition version of the original Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Mask that is made with honey which is a super moisturizing ingredient for your hair. It’s also not skincare, but it’s the only one I have that’s not, so I figured I should share first. It comes in a cute little teddy bear bottle, which I like better than the original tub version because it’s just easier to squeeze the product out and see how much you’re using. I like the smell sort of, it’s a little too sweet for me but it’s still nice. It smells sort of like synthetic/plastic sugar cookie so do with that what you will. The scent lasts after you get out of the shower and smells much better once your hair is dry. As far as moisture goes, I do find it more moisturizing than the original which is the point so it’s definitely worth looking into!

Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum

I love to use a Vitamin C serum for brightening and I had used the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum for a year and just felt like I needed a change. I had never used any Summer Fridays products before, but had always heard good things about the brand. I’ve also been a huge fan of Marianna Hewitt for a few years so when I saw this product, I figured why not? The texture is very light and reminds me of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. It’s got like a silicon texture once it’s applied on your face, which I actually like a lot. The texture feels really light and it’s got a very light scent. I don’t see a huge difference in brightness, but it’s only been 2 weeks so I wouldn’t mind giving this a little bit longer to work it’s magic.

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

I love this eye mask so far! I think it’s done a great job of brightening and depuffing my eyes. With my new work schedule and commuting an hour and a half every day (versus my previous 5 minute commute), I’m definitely lacking sleep so this helps me pretend like I’m not. The texture is really heavy and creamy which personally, I love for night time. I like to use it in the morning too, because it works very quickly to help depuff. There’s really not a distinctive scent which is nice since it’s an eye cream and sometimes fragrance can be irritating. I would definitely recommend this product if you’re on the market for a new eye cream.

THE ORDINARY Lactic Acid 10% + HA

This is a product that I’ve used for the last year, but only in the 5% version. Sephora doesn’t sell that one and frankly, I didn’t want to put in a separate order for a $6 product so I just stepped it up to the 10% version. It’s definitely stronger, so I don’t recommend using it if you have sensitive skin. I like this because my skin really feels smooth, soft and brighter after using this product. I use it once or twice a week depending on what my skin has been doing that week. I love this product and I like that there’s the option to get the less strong version also! Plus the price is nice too!

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

This is a product that I got as a sample with my order and I really like it actually. It keeps my skin really soft and healthy looking. It’s an oil but it’s really light and so far I would definitely consider buying the full size version. It’s a little pricey for a serum, but I think it does a good job at repairing my skin so I would probably purchase when I run out of this sample size!

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

This is another product that I got as a sample and I am definitely going to buy a full size of this. I love to use a super moisturizing heavy moisturizer/cream at night and this is not that. It’s super moisturizing, but not heavy at all. It feels really light, almost cooling, but it is so moisturizing. If you have dry skin, I would highly recommend this product but it’s also great for oily skin too. It’s so good and I think I’m going to look into a few more Laneige products.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Beauty

My Updated Fall Skincare Routine

It’s been about a year since I last shared my skincare routine, so I thought I would jump on here and share some new products I’ve incorporated into my skincare routine! I will do a full review of these products in a few weeks once I have a better idea of the effects they’ve had on my skin, but for now, here’s what I changed. My old skincare routine is linked here for reference!

Cleanser + Toners

For my cleanser, nothing has changed here and honestly nothing ever will. I will always always use my Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash. It’s been a life saver for me and the only cleanser that I feel really gets my skin clean without too much drying. I have acne prone skin, so this really helps when I get breakouts to get rid of them quickly!

For toners, right now, I’m using the Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner in the morning after I shower to make sure my pores are closed up nice and tight. I work in NYC, so there’s tons of air pollution, smog, dirt, etc EVERYWHERE so I find this necessary to keep my skin looking oil free and clean throughout the day. At night, I use the Clear Pore Oil-Eliminating Toner from Neutrogena to help dry up any breakouts and deep clean my skin from all the gross stuff that got on it during the day. Once or twice a week, I’ll use the Glycolic Acid Solution Toner by The Ordinary to exfoliate my skin after scrubbing with a brush to get smooth and fresh skin. I usually use this on a Thursday or Friday to prepare for the weekend and again on Sunday night to prepare for the coming week!

Serums, Acids, Oils

If I used my glycolic acid toner, then I’ll usually use my Lactic Acid 10% + HA from The Ordinary on top to get an even deeper chemical exfoliation. I don’t have sensitive skin, so using both products doesn’t have a major effect but if you have sensitive skin, I would recommend using one or the other because they can be very harsh.

If I used my Pore Refining Toner in the morning, I’ll then go in with my Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum to help with brightening my skin and lightening up some of my acne scars. I like this product so far, it’s very light and leaves a smooth finish on my skin.

If I used my acne toner at night, I’ll use my Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concertrate oil sample first to help with repairing my skin while I sleep. Not sure if I like this yet so we’ll see when I finish the sample! After that, because I have acne scarring and a real scar on my forehead from falling on the escalator a few months ago, I also use Bio Oil on my cheeks and my forehead. I honestly feel like this has helped a ton for my acne scarring, but I can only use it at night because it makes my skin REALLY oily. After that I’ll use some rosehip oil on my skin. This is supposed to be good for acne, as well as lightening up scarring and adding moisture. At night is when I go crazy with oils because night time is when your skin gets the chance to recover from the day and replenish all the moisture it’s missing.

Moisturizer + Eye Cream

I recently rediscovered Ponds moisturizers. I used to use it in college, because it was great for keeping my skin moisturized during the brutal Buffalo winters. I saw a new one in Target the other day, so I decided to try it out! It’s the Ponds Rejuveness Moisturizer, with the red cap which is good for anti-aging because it’s never too early. So far, I like it a lot and my skin feels moisturized, maybe a little oily, but good. For eye cream, I used to use the Origins GinZing brightening eye cream, but it just never gave me the brightening and depuffing that I was looking for. I recently switched to the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask which I saw another blogger using, so I was influenced and purchased it. I like how creamy and thick this is and so far, I do think it helps with depuffing and brightening but definitely want to keep using it for a few more weeks to see how effective it is. So far so good!

I hope you liked this one and let me know if you decide to try any of these products out!

This blog post contains affiliate links from Target.com.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Things I Loved This Month: September 2019

September has been a good month, I think. Very busy and lots of travel going on so I’m excited to share this month’s favorites with you. Keep on reading to see what some of my favorite things were!

Punta Cana, DR

Earlier this month, I went on vacation to Punta Cana and stayed at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana. It’s an all inclusive resort in Bavaro Beach and it was a really nice trip. I was so happy to relax and lay on a beach for 5 days without a care in the world. We spent a good amount of time relaxing by the pool/beach, eating good food, and drinking yummy drinks. It was an exciting, and romantic trip and I was so happy that we got to go!

Toronto, Canada

I also took a little trip to Toronto for work, which was also a great time. Though it was busy during the day, I was able to get out and explore one night. I took a stroll down Yonge St. and treated myself to some of the best sushi I’ve had in a while! Toronto is such a young, happening city so I’m looking forward to going back to explore some more!

Pumpkin Cream Nitro Cold Brew

Say what you want but Starbucks and all things pumpkin got the best of me this month. I’ve been drinking the pumpkin cream cold brews non-stop all month long and I see no end in sight honestly. I will usually get a nitro because of the caffeine but when I’m not so sleepy, I’ll stick with a regular cold brew. It’s just sweet enough that you don’t need to add any other creamer or sweetner to it. Definitely try this if you’re into pumpkin drinks!

Pumpkin Beer

I tried my fair share of pumpkin beers this month also and I have to say it’s hard to choose a favorite! I’m really into local beers, so I’ve tried mostly the ones at breweries around Long Island. My favorites so far are the Montauk Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale and the North Fork Brewing Co. Butternut the Hutt, but an honorable mention to the Blue Point Brewery for their Pumpkin Ale also!

Target

I’ve been all over Target this month because they’re getting in all their new fall fashion. Target has really stepped their game up in recent years as far as fashion goes by adding in all new brands. My favorites are the Who What Wear brand and the A New Day brand. They have really pretty pieces for work, but also some of the best quality basics for under $20 (think: tees for $10 and leggings for $14). Plus they often have dupes for other brands, like Madewell which has such cute pieces but the price point is not necessarily affordable. Definitely check out some of the new styles there!

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

I put up a question sticker on my Instagram Stories recently asking for suggestions for drugstore foundations and this is one that was recommended to me by a friend. I decided to try it out because I liked the $5.99 price tag and I fell in love. It’s got a medium coverage, but it’s definitely buildable (just make sure it dries in between layers). Plus the shade range is insane! I found my exact match and only needed to try out 2 shades. Love this and highly recommend for a drugstore alternative foundation.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Beauty

My Easy, No Foundation Fall Makeup Look

Today, I’m sharing a super quick and easy fall makeup look. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out! I took inspiration from all the pretty fall colors I’m starting to see and decided to base my makeup off of that.

I started off using my Too Faced Hangover Rx Primer Spray, and then adding my Too Faced Born This Way Concealer under my eyes and on my cheeks. I use the color Caramel first under my eyes and on my cheeks to cover my acne scarring and then I go back in with Warm Beige in the inner corner under my eyes to brighten. I set everything with my Laura Mercier translucent powder.

For blush, I used an old limited edition Anastasia Beverly Hills blush kit in the color Vegas and I used my favorite bronzer, the Too Faced Dark Chocolate Soleil bronzer. I love the way these two look paired together, it’s very pretty and warm. Be sure to use a light hand on the blush because it’s VERY pigmented! For my highlight, I used Chocolate Geode by Becca Cosmetics. I finished off my face by filling in my eyebrows with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer and set it with clear mascara.

For my eyes, I decided to use a NYX eyeshadow palette that I had and my Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette. I started off using Low Blow from the Urban Decay Palette in my crease and then went in with a warm nudey-mauve color all over my lid from the NYX palette. For the outer corner, I took a pretty cranberry color from the NYX palette and lightly added that in also. I finished it off using a pretty shimmery light pinky-cranberry color on my inner corner, also from the NYX palette. I added some black winged eye liner and finished it off with my Too Faced Bette Than Sex Mascara, because I ran out of my favorite Dior mascara. For lips, I used my Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner is the color Undercover.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Things I Loved This Month: August Favorites 2019

August has flown by and I can’t believe it’s over. Although I keep saying I’m ready for fall, it’s always sad to see summer go. For my favorites this month, I don’t have your typical favorites honestly. I’ve had a lot of big changes this month, which has forced me to rearrange a few parts of my life. Below I’m taking about a few things that have really helped me get through this month!

1 . Suave Rosemary + Mint Shampoo & Keratin Conditioner

Okay, this one is kind of funny to add in but I really am excited about these products. Recently, I decided that it’s silly to spend $30+ on conditioner or treatment masks when my hair is super healthy right now. So, I decided to switch to something more affordable. Originally, I only wanted conditioner but I figured why not test out a new shampoo also since I’m not partial to any particular kind. I was not only shocked by the $2.99 price tag (!!!) but also shocked at the quality. My hair was soft, frizz free (!!!), but still felt clean. If you want drug store hair products, I recommend looking into Suave!

2. Starbucks Coffee

Recently, I started commuting by train/subway to work so I’ve had to switch up my morning routine quite a bit. One thing I’ve noticed is that I hate carrying around a crazy heavy bag while on the train and walking the streets of Manhattan. It’s just inconvenient with the crowds which means I’ve had to eliminate some things from my purse. One thing I’ve decide to nix is carrying around my giant coffee mug. It’s just way easier for me to buy it in the morning. I’ve always been a huge fan of Starbucks, but it’s really become my lifeline over the last month because I’m sleepy majority of the time. My go-to order has always been a Venti Starbucks Doubleshot on ice with half & half and vanilla, but now I’m really loving the grande Nitro Cold Brew. It’s so smooth! So I add some half & half because I can’t drink it black (yet), and it’s all I need during the day. It literally lasts me until 3:00 pm sometimes. Highly recommend!

3. A Planner

With my new busy schedule, I rely heavily on a planner. So much so, that I have 2! I have one for work that I use to mark down deadlines, travel dates, and any meetings/calls. I also have one for personal use that I mark down any plans I have for the week/weekend and when I plan to post blogs. It’s color coded and comes with me everywhere. If you’re struggling to get organized, I HIGHLY recommend starting with a planner. I use a Lily Pulitzer Large Planner one for personal (been using this brand since college!) and a Kelly Ventura for Blue Sky one for work.

4. Instagram Stories

I’ve been really into using Instagram stories lately! I like them because it’s a chance to experiment and try out new content without messing around with my grid posts. I think there are so many apps available for you to customize your Instagram stories that make it so easy to work on. It’s also a great way to show your day by day activities and interact with your followers. I’m not comfortable talking on them yet (because the thought of listening to my own voice makes me cringe) but I’m practicing and experimenting and will get there one day! My Instagram is linked here for you to check out!

5. Pinterest

I’ve put Pinterest in my favorites before, but I’ve been REALLY into it this month. I just recently figured out how to maximize my Pinterest usage to promote my blog and my Instagram posts and it’s been a game changer. Not only can I use it to find outfit inspiration (or inspiration for anything else) but I can share my blog posts and Instagram photos there too and direct traffic to those sites that I didn’t have access to before. It’s HUGE. It’s such an underrated platform but it offers excellent results!

6. Punta Cana

I’m currently on vacation in Punta Cana so I’ll have some more details about it in a post next week, but of course, it’s part of my August Favorites!

What are some of your favorites this month? Let me know in the comments below!

This blog post includes affiliate links from Amazon.com.

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Fashion

My Hair Journey: How I Repaired My Damaged Hair!

Today, I wanted to share a little bit of my hair journey so far. I’ve had my fair share of of hair troubles and bad haircuts just like anyone else, but now I’m feeling like I have a better understanding of what my hair needs after 24 years. I’m still figuring out some things, like what products work best for my curly hair, but I think we’ve come a REALLY long way!

To start, I’ve had super curly hair my whole life and I’ve always had it pretty short. I’ve dyed it a bunch of times and spent most of my life straightening it because I really had no idea what to do with it. Growing up and being mixed race, I didn’t really have anyone to look up to for that sort of thing. No one I knew had hair like mine. It wasn’t quite kinky curly enough to resonate with the black girls, but it definitely wasn’t straight to identify with the white girls. It was something I struggled to figure out for a very long time and because of that I spent a lot of time experimenting with it.

2010: Summer after freshman year of high school
2010: Spring of freshman year of high school

Just before starting my freshman year of high school, I got probably the worst hair cut and dye job ever. It looked actually horrible and I was so frustrated with what to do with it, so I spent my whole freshman year straightening my hair. Just before my sophomore year, I finally found a new hair salon and worked with a woman who really knew what she was doing. At that point I started getting keratin treatments every 6 months and that was truly what changed my life as far as my hair goes. It took a few years, but eventually, it completely tamed my curls to a point where I could manage them. I still didn’t know what products to use on my hair, but at least I was okay with just braiding it and letting it air dry. After that, It was uphill for a while! By my senior year, my hair was finally healthy and long(ish) and I felt way better about it.

Fall 2013: Freshman Year of College
Fall 2013: Freshman Year of College (Sorry this was from snapchat when it had the absolute worst quality ever)
Spring 2014: End of my freshman year of college

After starting college, my hair was still really happy and healthy and the longest it’s ever been. That, of course, is when I made the BIGGEST mistake of my life. Literally ever. During my sophomore year of college I decided to bleach my hair because I wanted to have blonde hair so badly. At first, it was okay and my hair survived and was pretty healthy. But when I went for my 2nd touch up, was where things went really left. My hair was completely fried and broken. I didn’t realize how bad it was for a little while, so I continued to bleach it for about a year until my hair had broken off and was completely dead. It was the worst experience ever seeing huge clumps of my hair fall out in the shower because it was so weak and brittle.

Spring 2015: My first full head of blonde highlights! It looked so healthy still but just wait.
Summer 2015: Still not too bad, but definitely had a lot of fall out and shedding at this point
December 2015: When I finally realized I had to do SOMETHING

Finally, I dyed it back to brown and did my best to let it recuperate but about 8 months later, I tried it again and got another set of balayage highlights. But unfortunately, my hair just wasn’t strong enough to handle it and it was the same thing. Lots of hair falling out all the time! Finally, after another few months, I decided enough was enough and I dyed my hair back to brown and vowed to never bleach my hair ever again. This was my senior year of college. After that, I did my best to keep from putting heat on my hair by braiding it or putting it up into buns most of the time. My hair was so damaged that it never stayed straight anyway. Now once I graduated, I moved back home and had to find a new hair salon because my old lady’s shop closed down and I was honestly terrified of working with someone new. Now I went to a new salon and got a few hair cuts there, and they were not great but eventually we got into a good routine and I trust her!

2016: After dyeing my hair back to brown, attempting to start the healing process
Summer 2016: Went back to blonde cause I wanted to try it again and made the second biggest mistake of my life (aside from trying to contour my nose???)!
Fall 2017: Back to brown and finally actually trying to help my hair (like a smart girl)

In March 2018, I decided to finally chop most of my hair off and start over. I had horrible damage in the back of my hair from the bleach still so I decided to get back into getting keratin treatments and I cut my hair up to about my collar bone. After that I also started taking the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair gummy vitamins and held off on heat for just about 6 months. I think I only straightened or curled my hair twice in the whole 6 months. After that I got another very small trim and a keratin treatment that lasted me another 6 months and that leads us to where we are today. In June 2019 was my last hair cut and I’m proud to say this is the healthiest my hair has been since my horrible bleaching fiasco and it grew about 6 inches in the last year which is amazing. I gotta say it took A LOT of patience and a lot trial and error but I’m proud that I was able to do this.

April 2018: One month after my big chop and arguably the best photo I’ve ever taken
August 2018: Still figuring out how to have curly hair
August 2018

To be honest, I can attribute majority of my hair success thus far to my big chop in March 2018, keratin treatments, very little heat, and the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair gummies. Without these things, I honestly don’t know where my hair would be right now. Patience was a major key as well and I’m happy that we got here! I also have a code for for $10 off your first order of Hum Nutrition vitamins if you’d like to try! Just add in the code 15DDAD at check out!

February 2019: After getting my second hair cut for the year in October 2018
April 2019
June 2019: About week after my most recent haircut and keratin treatment
June 2019: 6 inches of growth in one year!

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’d like to see more of these posts, let me know in the comments! xx

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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