Behind LL&B

Student rambling about the things she loves: fashion, art, makeup, design, and of course her husky, Luna.

Daily Reads


July 2010
August 2010
September 2010

life, liberty and the pursuit of beauty
July 2010 August 2010 September 2010

My Daily/Nightly Skincare Regime
September 8, 2010 || 6:54 AM

Okay, first things first:
I have missed blogging so much! I have been SO busy with school, working on opening up the brand new Anthropologie (!!!!) and.. I also got a new PUPPY! Eep! So, as you can imagine I haven't been sleeping.. at all.

I figured it was time for me to introduce to all of the blog world my most beloved routine.
My boyfriend might tell you that it's annoying and time consuming, but I'm sticking with beloved.

For the past two or three years, I was having trouble with a couple of pesky skin problems:
1. Cystic acne, mainly on my chin. No one wants to hear about cystic acne, so we'll leave it at that.
2. Besides the cystic acne, during that time of the month, my entire face would also break out.
3. Red skin, which I attributed to being Irish for the longest time.
4. T-zone dryness.
5. Very sensitive skin.

I was having these problems for two reasons:
1. I didn't have a routine that I used to care for my skin. I figured that since I didn't wear much makeup, I didn't need one.
2. I was operating on a need-based system - trying to treat problems after they had arisen, instead of taking preemptive steps to make sure they never did happen.

So, without further ado, I introduce to you my skin-saving regime:

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (8 fl oz - $7.99)
Uses: Day and Night. This is the first thing I use when I'm in the shower at night, and it's the only facial cleanser I use in the morning. I've also had a lot of success cleaning my brushes with this. Are you guys sick of me talking about this now? :)

Avon Anew Clinical Micro-Exfoliant (2.5 fl oz - Discontinued, but you can find it from reputable Ebay dealers for less than $5)

Uses: At night, every other day. I've always been a bit skeptical of Avon products, and only tried this because a friend recommended it. And now, I'm addicted of course. I really like this exfoliant because the beads in it are really fine, and they are a-plenty. After the first time I used it, I was amazed by how much softer my skin felt. I also like that the cream isn't really thick, because you don't buy exfoliants for a cream cleanse, you buy them to get some super clean pores. Y'know? If you can get your hands on one of these babies, I guarantee you'll love it.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Night Cleansing Pads (60 pads - $7)

Uses: At night, whenever necessary. This is my back-up troop for when I wear a full-coverage foundation, sweat a lot, or just feel dirtier than usual. I don't use this every night because it is too intense (for my skin, at least) for daily use. I like these pads more than just squirting some astringent onto a cotton ball, you get more product and less cotton-y crap all over your face.

Clean & Clear persa-gel 10 (1 oz - $5.79)

Uses: Day and Night. When I say that I wasn't taking preemptive measures, this is basically what I'm talking about. This is a 10% benzoyl peroxide medication, so at first I was afraid of the damage it would do to my skin - and I am happy to report that there is none! I apply this to my chin, nose and t-zone twice daily (as well as any area that may have a blemish) and I haven't had a pimple in a MONTH, people! Since I have been using this regularly, I have not had a SINGLE pimple! I'm sorry. But, that is some exciting stuff.

Avon Anew Ultimate Transforming Lift Eye Cream (0.5 oz - $25?)

Uses: Day and Night. Once again, another Avon product! This product has noticeably lightened the color of the atrocious bags under my eyes, so of course I love it! It provides a good amount of moisture, and even reduces bag size a little. I know I'll thank myself later for using an eye moisturizer.

Olay Definity Self Repair Serum (1.7 oz - $20)

Uses: Day and Night. I'm almost finished with my first bottle of this, and I will be repurchasing. It's a light, quick-drying moisturizer that smells really good, and makes my skin quite soft. Need I say more? I also believe it has contributed to the evening out of my skin tone, along with the Persa Gel.

SO! That's my routine!
Now, tell me what you've been using and loving - I always enjoy suggestions!

August 26, 2010 || 8:44 AM

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been a busy bee this week. I also had a job interview with Anthropologie this week (it's opening in late September) EDIT: I got the job! :) and school has also been royally kicking my ass.

I've started using new shampoo and conditioner that my hairstylist recommended, and I'm loving it. It's called Biolage fortetherapie, and it's from Matrix.

I'm gonna tell you guys a secret - I have horribly, horribly damaged hair. I treat it like an ugly stepchild, and it doesn't deserve that. I get chunky platinum highlights every six weeks or so, and on top of that I heat style it almost daily.
I started using these two products about a month ago and they have helped my hair tremendously. I'm not usually one to be impressed by hair products because they usually just don't work well for me. But with this, it's much stronger, softer and all-around better looking.
I definitely recommend trying this if you're in a hair rut. I believe they're about $14 a piece.

Also, one last thing, funniest blog I've found in awhile: Hungover Owls


-- EDIT::

I also need some opinions on a headboard project that I'm about to take on!!!
I've been searching and searching for a new, relatively inexpensive headboard to no avail. I found this tutorial at Design*Sponge and I instantly knew that this would be taking up a weekend in the near future.
I like the shape, although it may be a little too tall for me. But what I'm really struggling with (of course) is the fabric.
I currently live in a rent house and have no idea what color my next bedroom will be, so it has to be a pretty versatile style and color. Oh, you know... basically everything - all in one!

Here are a few I'm considering, but if you have any in mind that you like, please let me know! I'm dying over here!

I really like this zig zag, and they also have in in black/cream, red/cream and then an off-white/cream

I really love ikat fabrics, and I consider this green to be a pretty versatile color. But.. I don't know?

As you can tell, I really like blues and greens, espescially for the bedroom. But I'm open to red, brown, grey and black, ect...

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks girls!

Back to the grind...
August 15, 2010 || 2:40 PM

Hello, everyone!
I've just returned from St. Lucia, totally relaxed and ready for the new semester today.

I'll save you the boring details and get to the important part: the pictures!

We stopped in Dennery to take this picture. Excuse the obvious travel lag. :)

If only Americans had afternoon tea...

The resort compound was so beautiful!

Amazing sunsets everynight.

Aptly-named lazy river.

We weren't on a private beach, so we got to watch locals like this walk by all day. So great.

The market in Castries. We got a condensed cocoa stick to make hot chocolate and almost 8 oz. of saffron for $2!

And last but not least a random picture of the wonderful man that took me on this beautiful vacation!! Gotta love him.

Have you been to a Caribbean island? If so, what's your favorite?

Hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Au Revoir!
August 4, 2010 || 9:48 PM

Bonjour, St. Lucia!*

I will be gone until Tuesday, wish me luck!

* - Pardon my horrible French. I'm practicing. :)

Hello? Fall? Can I move our next appointment to... say.. now?
July 27, 2010 || 8:11 AM

For the past month or so, the temperature here has been around 100 degrees. Now, not the Vegas 100 degrees with 10% humidity. That's do-able.
I'm talking 100 degrees before noon with humidity around 65%. Whew!
Having been raised in Seattle, I'd say that I have a very delicate comfort range when it comes to temperature. Like, 50-80 degrees, please? Is that too much to ask? ... Apparently so.
Needless to say, if anyone's ready for fall - it's this girl.
With the release of J. Crew's fall lookbook, I was inspired to start searching for my perfect fall wardrobe. Below are my picks:

Cotton cady Aveline dress in Black ($225.00)

Stretch vintage bootcut cord in Cobblestone ($79.50)
Does this color not just squeal fall!?

Stretch double serge pencil skirt in Slate ($98.00)

Marled knit Thandie blazer in Heather Graphite ($158.00)

Peekaboo sequin cardigan in Ochre ($118.00)

Dream v-neck cardigan in Heather Dove ($78.00)

Sutton fold-over leather platform boots ($350.00)

.. if it isn't readily apparent, I have two confessions: I live in J. Crew. It is my absolute favorite store and about 80% of everything in my wardrobe was purchased at J. Crew.
I also love monochrome colors. I prefer to play it safe wardrobe-wise, and add punches of color by accessorizing.

What are your fall must-haves?

And last, but not least - let me introduce you to the love of my life:
My husky Luna!

What chocolate puddin, ma?

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Define "over-hauling"...
July 22, 2010 || 9:04 AM

I almost feel guilty for going maybe a little too over-board this weekend.. but.. nonetheless, I'm pleased to say that I'm happy with (almost) all of my purchases.

Without further ado, my first (recorded) haul:

1. Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit ($36.00)
I'm pretty impressed by this kit. The products are something you can easily work into your make up routine, using what you like. Here's a little review of all of the products:
. That Gal brightening face primer: I'm still not sold on facial primers, but I have used this product in the past, and out of all of the primers I've used before, I like it the best. It doesn't feel greasy once it's dried and it smells quite nice.
. Erase Paste brightening camouflage for eyes and face: Now, I've read mixed reviews on this is in the past, so I'd always skipped over it until I purchased this kit. I definitely believe that this isn't for everyone. This has is about as thick as a good body butter and about as creamy. So, if you already have more oil-prone skin, I'd skip this. But for someone with combination or dry skin, you should definitely give this a try. It blends very well doesn't get cakey or creased or any of that bad stuff. This will become a staple for me.
. Boi-ing industrial strength concealer: Now, I said Erase Paste wouldn't work for everyone. If you are one of those people, then you should consider trying Boi-ing instead. It has great coverage and great staying power. A little goes a long way with this (as with most Benefit products) and I guarantee you'll get your monies worth out of this baby.
. Eye Bright instant eye brightener: This is the one thing in the kit that has kind of let me down. It really doesn't do anything for me. I apply it like instructed by Benefit in the booklet provided by the kit, just in the corners of my eyes. If you have any suggestions for how I should use this, please let me know.
. Lemon Aid color correcting eyelid primer: This is perfect for concealing those sneaky little veins hiding under the thin skin of your eyelids. It is completely unnoticeable under eyeshadow.

2. Hoola by Benefit ($28.00)
Meet the life-saving Hoola. Say goodbye to shimmer and orange skin forever! I adore Benefit boxed powders because of their great value and beautiful colors, and Hoola is no exception. I needed a good bronzer than wouldn't leave me with chunky glitter all over my face, and this was the answer to my prayers. Just apply with a very, very light hand.

3. Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller ($11.99)
This product is decent. I don't recommend it to anyone just because the results are so minimal. The cool rollerball has the same effect as a cold spoon under your eyes, and I really don't believe the serum does anything. So, save your money gals.

4. Covergirl Lash Blast Fusion mascara in Very Black ($9.99)
I know, I know - I'm a little slow to hop on this band wagon. And, just like everyone else, I'm very impressed by this mascara. It lengthens just as well as any department store or high end mascara I've ever used, and it's pretty voluminous. I still use my DiorShow as the last layer of mascara just for the extra jolt of volume, but Lash Blast by itself does a fine job. And absolutely no clumping! Like I said, very impressed.

5. MAC Shadestick in Beige-ing ($16.50)
This is the perfect nude color for my skin. It's champagne-y but not too pink or gold. Just.. wonderful. I love the creamy texture and the application type. I apply it under my eyeshadow as a base and I basically makes my eyeshadow bomb proof. I went swimming last night and was so terrified to look in the mirror to see what became of my eyeshadow.. and it was still perfect. I may or may not have squealed. Swatch is below:

(Beige-ing is on top and also underneath both shadows)

With flash

Without flash

In all three pictures, Mulch is on the left and Woodwinked is on the right

6. MAC Woodwinked e/s ($14.50)
Yet again, a little late on this band wagon. This shadow instantly became a favorite when I put it on. I apply it on my lid up into the crease a little, shading with Mulch on the outer corner, simple and very flattering. This color would look great on any skin tone.

7. MAC Mulch e/s ($14.50)
As I said above, this is a beautiful color to use in the outer corner of your eyelid to shade. Can you have too many brown eye shadows? Can you?

8. e.l.f. Golden Bronzer ($3.00)
Three dollars people. Three. Dollars. This quad is definitely worth your money, a great introductory to highlighting and contouring. The pigment in these isn't great, but it's a lot better than anything I've picked up at a drugstore, and a lot cheaper. A run-down of the colors:
. 1: Shimmery light brown with a hint of copper. Let me just start off by saying that I do not like shimmer for daytime looks. But I like this for a night time bronze on your temples and forehead, ect.
. 2: I couldn't get this color to show up well on my hand, but the first picture is pretty accurate - a lighter pink color with a tinge of peach.
. 3: This is a very light champagne highlight color. I really like this and even used in for my day time look.
. 4: This is a darker brown with less of a copper tone in it. Perfect for the cheek bones.

9. Revlon nail polish in #85 Minted ($4.00)
I really, really wanted to like Minted. I did, I swear. The color is funky, yet acceptable. Even for the light color, two coats covered perfectly, and I love any cheap drugstore nail polish that is so obviously a dupe of more-expensive salon polish (Essie Mint Candy Apple, for this). But it chips. It chips horribly. Like, within four hours - chipping left and right and everywhere inbetween. I am heartbroken, Minted. Heartbroken.

10. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in #370 Commander in Chic ($6.49)
Yet another obvious dupe of a more-expensive salon polish (OPI Metro Chic). But not only that, it covers well and it doesn't chip! Ahhh.

Hello, Blog World! And an introduction to my Eight Current Obsessions
July 18, 2010 || 7:35 AM

This is (obviously) my first post on Blogspot, so before I get into the meat of my post, I'd like to get all formalities aside and quickly introduce myself!
My name is Alana, I'm a college student currently living in Mid-West America, soon to be transferring to the East Coast! I learned how to knit, sew, cook and garden at a very young age (I'm so accidentally domestic, it hurts!) and those remain my most favorite hobbies. I've also recently become very interested in the art of makeup, and this is where I intend to swoon over all things fabulous. Feel free to swoon with me. :)

Now, onto my eight most obsessed over items!

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($7.99)
Okay, I know I'm beating a dead horse with this one, but this stuff deserves an internationally recognized shrine. I have exceptionally sensitive skin, and this is the only cleanser that I can use on a daily basis that won't make me break out, or make my skin too dry or too oily. I also clean all of my brushes with this, and I get better results (cleaner + softer) than I do with actual brush cleaner.

2. DiorShow Mascara ($24.00)
This is my holy grail mascara, hands down. I have mismatched eyelashes, and this is the only mascara I've found that: 1. Evens out my lash length 2. Provides volume AND length with very minimal clumping 3. Doesn't smudge 4. Stays all day. I recently bought mini-sized DiorShow + DiorShow Blackout from Sephora for $18, and I have to say that I still like the plain ol' DiorShow better. (I really recommend the package though, great for having tiny mascara handy in your purse!)

3. Coldpiece Pottery Cube in Tuber Rose ($68.00)
YES, my third most-obsessed over item is, in fact, a candle. This is not just any candle, it is more of a good-smelling statement piece, and the terracotta will instantly make any room feel much cozier. Have you ever paid attention to the scent of tuber rose? Neither have I. Now, I equate it to the smell of happiness, and you probably will, too. You can view the entire Coldpiece collection here.

4. Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Lavender Pure-Castile Soap ($14.99 for 32 oz.)
This is exactly as is stated - an all-in-one soap. Just like Cetaphil, I use this maybe too much. In addition to using this as body wash, I was my delicates, my dog and occasionally my pillowcases with it. The scent of lavender is usually really obnoxious to me, but this has the opposite effect. After washing at night, by the time I wake up in the morning, the lavender scent is gone, which is preferential in my opinion.

5. Aveda Dry Remedy Conditioner ($24.00 for 6.7 oz.)
This is my all-time favorite Aveda product.. ever! I use it as a masque on my hair twice a week and I really, really notice the difference in my hair. After murdering my hair over and over by heat styling and chemical processes, I decided to try Aveda Damage Remedy, and was honestly unimpressed. Because of that experience, I was hesitant to try Dry Remedy, but I am so glad I did! It out-performs Damage Remedy by a million.

6. Mac "On The Scene" and "Partial To Pink" Cremesheen Glass ($18.00 each)
Hi, my name is Alana, and I'd addicted to Mac Liglass. Someday I might muster up the courage to actually present a picture in proof, but right now I'm still working on acceptance. Okay, moving on. "On The Scene" is my absolute favorite day-time lip product. It is a marvelous light coral color that slightly lightens the color of my lips and provides excellent shine without stick. And my boyfriend loves it, kudos!

7. Revlon PhotoReady (002 Vanilla - $12.99) and Revlon ColorStay (180 Sand Beige - $9.99)
Okay, I first have to give props to Laura from Lollipop26 because she introduced me to foundation "mixology", and she highly regards the mixture of PhotoReady and ColorStay on her blog. Now, second, I purchased two very different shades because, first of all - Revlon didn't have anything near my color, and I also like the option of mixing colors to achieve my perfect shade. Aaaaand mixing foundations with an artist spatula makes me feel like an artist at 7:00 a.m., which is a good way to start your day. The mixture of the two creates a long-lasting medium coverage, with that all-too-wonderful "dewy" finish.

8. L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum ($14.99)
As previously stated in item #2, I have a set of very different lashes. The lashes on my left eye are short and very tightly curled, and the lashes on my right eye are longer and much straighter. This bugs me, as it would anyone who puts on mascara everyday. I started using this serum after reading several good reviews, and I am pleased with the results. I wouldn't say that my lashes have actually grown in length, but they have multiplied. They also feel softer, which I'm assuming is a good thing, right? I have also noticed less lash fallout, which is always a good thing. For the price of the serum compared to others like LiLash, I'll stick with L'Oreal, because I'm getting the results I want.

So, that concludes my first-ever blog post!

Now, a question to readers: What are your current obsessions? Any recommendations for must-haves?

Thanks for reading!

- Alana