The Essentials: August 2016

Sometimes things are so out of your control you just gotta step back and let it pass. That's basically what I did the last three months - wait for it to pass, heal some more, and take care of my pup (who is also healing from an emergency surgery).

Instead of stressing over my blog and lack of posts, I decided to take a hiatus from all things blog-related. Honestly, it was the best thing to do mentally and physically. And yes, I burned so many bridges but I finally feel stable enough. (Which is way better than half-assing my content).

It's been a while and I have so MUCH to tell you!! Let's get started with my monthly faves.

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Hair: Last month, I went blonde. Very blonde. Change is good and sometimes necessary after having a few rugged months. No regrets at all. Surprisingly, my curls came out unscathed but they are a little on the dry side more than ever. I've been on the Olaplex diet ever since but have found a pretty close alternative for those weeks I can't afford to splurge. The StriVectin Hair Ultimate Restore Deep Repair Mask is gentle on my colored hair but strong enough to give it vibrancy and increased softness.

Face: Skinn, a skincare line started by an industry veteran, is one of my favorite go-to brands when traveling abroad. I also implement a few of their pieces into my day-to-day as needed. The ones shown in images 7-9 above are my current favorites - especially their Hylighten Under-Eye Treatment. The cool to touch feeling is welcomed during these dog days of summer. Another favorite when it concerns the eyes is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer. The sponge applicator mimics the BeautyBlender so it's incredibly easy to blend and quickly hides late-night adventures.

Misc: I started my NYC Marathon training last month (crazy - right?) but before that, I wanted to train in a new pair of sneakers. You know, just to see if I should stick with what works or go with something new. I have heard of the Brooks GTS and finally got to test them out at an event. My flat feet were delighted by the support the lightweight sneakers gave. It's been three weeks so far and I haven't looked back.

Another great essential, the Krazy Coupon Lady app. Alright, hear me out because I know this sounds totally random. Ever since my move and the addition of two insane medical bills, I've been pinching pennies however and whenever. The more I pinch, the more I can pay towards the bills, and of course the more can go towards my "summer weekend funds". This is where the Krazy Coupon Lady app comes into play. It's run by a community and a great team of savvy savers and they give ALL of the hacks. I'm talking coupons and loyalty cards cocktails which make for incredible savings.

Shop my essentials below:
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve

The Beauty Round-Up:

Sorry about the radio silence guys! For those that didn't see the drama unfold via Instagram or Snapchat (find me at thestyleboro), I've been in fracture hell ever since April.

So two bone-setting sessions, one surgery, and a full week of extreme pain later... I'M BACK!

I'm still in recovery mode and life has been difficult (and slow) without my dominant hand, but staying in all weekend gave me the itch to talk beauty finds. Let's get started, shall we? :)

HAIR
A few weeks back I received a StriVectinHAIR's Ultimate Restore kit which includes a shampoo, conditioner, deep repair mask and densifying foaming treatment. I was a little unsure how it would react with my curls since I don't have any issues with dryness or breaking (if anything it's the opposite) but gave it a go since it claims to restore and revitalize hair from root to tip.

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AND, you GUYS, my hair feels so healthy and my curls look more defined and healthy after a month's use.

First and foremost, there are no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. The entire line is made with their NIA-114 Technology which reinvigorates the skin's surface and loads of other amazing things. The shampoo is rather gentle and doesn't lather, which is the norm in the no-poo world. The conditioner and deep repair mask work hand-in-hand to restore damage caused by heat styling, coloring, and environmental stressors as well as restore hydration. The scent isn't overpowering at all -which I prefer. I have mixed feelings on the densifying foaming treatment, but the other three are a must-have. Sephora currently offers a sample kit at a great price, so pick that up and let me know what you think.

FACE
There are a few stand-out brands in this category, the first one, Farmaesthetics, was introduced to me by Pearlesque Box. I reviewed their last impressive box here and loved everything. I can only imagine being blown away by what's inside this box. 

For the start of summer, Pearlesque teamed up with Farmaesthetics to create a box devoted to sustainable skincare. All of the gems inside the box are 100% natural with ingredients that are certified organic. The woman behind the brand has also been touted as an entrepreneur at the forefont of the natural beauty revolution. Amazing, right?

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Let's dive into the contents - three out of four being full-size products :). The first up, is the Nourishing Lavender Milk which I've been using for my face, body, and wrecked right hand - it just smells and feels so good. When used on my face the light formula doesn't cause that too-dewy look on my forehead which is much appreciated. Tansynella Organic Bugscreen was tested out next, and although there are no signs of mosquitos (yet) the moisturizing oil was perfect for my knees and elbows. The scent was also way better than any other bug spray I've ever tried - so that was a win.

As we all know, I'm a mist-head so I was super excited to try The Cool Aloe Mist. Its cute travel size is perfect for tossing in your gym bag or toting along to the beach to soothe sun-kissed skin. After cleansing my face, I love misting this on before locking in hydration with the Lavender Milk. They're basically partners in crime. But, my entire favorite out of the box has to be the Herbal Hydration Complex - Remedy Reserve Mask. For some reason, my forehead has been super greasy and my skin (probably from stress) has been breaking out. No bueno. This mask sort of sops up excess oil (to prevent future breakouts) and hydrates my skin so it's dewy and plump in the right places. The 5-minute mask is a definite game-changer and one that has been immediately included into my routine bi-weekly. You must try the mask for reals!

What I really love about Pearlesque Subscription boxes is the value. This entire box is valued at $119 but if you get it through Pearlesque it's only $39.95. What's even better is that they threw in a bonus code AILEEN15 for an additional 15% off your first box. So, if you like what you read make sure you scoop up this box before June 3rd (last date to order).

All these beauty finds and no panel to speak on... Until AOL Lifestyle asked me to be one of their judges! They sent over contenders for their Summer Beauty Awards, and you guys, I found some real stars! You can see all the winners on their site here and check out my top moisturizing picks down below.

Face Moisturizer
When I was a wee blogger, I used to be obsessed with all things bliss. I loved their packaging, their brand voice, and how luxurious everything felt. To be completely honest, they did fall off my radar but after receiving their fabulous drench 'n' quench moisturizer all of the memories with this brand came rushing back. I found the cream to be incredibly hydrating, refreshing to touch after being out in the sun, and incredibly light. The moisturizer definitely felt more gel-like than cream-like, but I didn't mind that at all.

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Sleeping Mask // Sleeping Pack
Saved the best for last! I absolutely love a good sleeping pack and have stocked my cabinets with some of the best out of Asia. Then... I had my mind blown by Lumene. The brand comes from Finland and their ingredient list boasts some of the Artic's natural resources. Their Bright Now Vitamin C Sleeping Cream is incredibly hydrating and works to brighten and vitalize fatigued skin. Within a week I noticed how smooth and nourished my skin look. Mind you - I started testing this product right at the start of my accident when I could barely sleep. Highly recommend adding this to your skincare regime.

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Check out the rest of the beauty winners on AOL Lifestyle here.

P.s. Hope your Memorial Day Weekend was amazing!

Something Sweet

Only two more days until Tulum! I'm so excited to finally get some sun on these pale legs of mine and peace out for a little bit.

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I'm so pumped to retire the bulky suffocating layers and bring out the pastel and lighter jackets. Show a little bit of skin and get some necessary vitamin D.

With all my shifting around from one apartment to another I've misplaced a lot of things - RIP denim shorts. So you can only imagine my need to find cute shorts (perfect for spring here and the heat in Tulum) only increased tenfold. I also need to stick to a budget while on the hunt because of yet another possible move looming ahead - I swear it never ends. 

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I'm already a regular shopper at Gap Factory - lots of on-trend pieces for half the price. So, I logged onto their online store for a bit of shopping and...

Holy Moly... so many good options and so affordable too. Obviously, I got ALL of the pairs. Some were textured (like the one I'm styling here), printed, or solids. And as a tall girl, the length is perfect.

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I decided to do an all-white look which is perfect for Soho strolls and art gallery hopping. Not to mention it's a sweet way to pop in front of any murals you come across. I paired the Factory Eyelet Shorts with Boyfriend Utility Shirt and kept the look sweet with pink lace-up flats and chambray jacket. When the temps rise even higher I'll forgo the jacket, but for now, it'll stay on.

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Jacket: Gap Factory  Top: Gap Factory  Shorts: Gap Factory  Flats: J. Crew  Purse: Rebecca Minkoff  Sunglasses: Miu Miu via Ditto (use thestyleboro for one month free)  Bangles: Monica Vinader & Kenneth Jay Lane  Lipstick: Color 8 via YSL

This day, in particular, I stopped by Harry's (64 Macdougal St.) for this fun wall art and then headed towards First Street Green Art Park (33 East 1st Street, corner of Houston Street and 2nd Avenue).

P.s. Did anyone else watch BeyoncΓ©'s Lemonade more than once? I legitimately can't stop watching it.

Photos by Lydia Hudgens.

Today's post was created in collaboration with Gap Factory. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!