Night-time Face Regimen

I have always been blessed with fairly cooperative skin . I have also been blessed with an aesthetician sister ūüôā But now that I’m in my 30s (how did THAT happen?!), I realize it’s crucial to be on top of my game. While I do mix up my products depending on season, and to allow for any new additions, I have found a clutch night-time regimen that has gotten me through this winter that I’d like to share with you now! In order of application…

‚ÄčPeter Thomas Roth ‚Äč‚Äč‚ÄčAnti-Aging Cleansing Gel¬†¬†— ¬†I bought this after reading maaany reviews on anti-aging cleansers. I have been using it for about a year now so clearly my researched paid off!¬†It’s a gentle formula safe for everyday use for all but the most sensitive of skin. I don’t find it to be drying or leave a film either, which are the two deal breakers for me. The bottle is a little pricey for a cleanser, but it’s a big one and you only need a little bit, so it lasts ages.

Thayers Alcohol-free ‚ÄčRose Petal ‚ÄčWitch Hazel with Aloe Vera¬†— I forget how I first heard of this product, but I’m a fan. I was never big on using toners, but my pores are noticeably smaller since using it. It’s alcohol free and has aloe added, so there’s no drying out with this product either unlike many toners. The faint rose smell is the icing on the cake! It also comes in other scents if rose isn’t your thing.

‚ÄčApoterra ‚ÄčNight Regenerative Balm with Prickly Pear + Vitamin C¬†(c/o) — “This balm combines luxurious plant oils and extracts with vitamin C to fight free radicals, boost collagen production, and to provide deep hydration. Apply at night and wake up with a rejuvenated and clarified complexion.” So.much.yes. Beautifully packaged and marked by batch number, you open up this beauty to a slightly earthy scent that lets you know it’s made with real deal ingredients. In fact, Apoterra means “derived from the earth”. A little balm goes a long way and it absorbs very well into my skin. I credit using it nightly with avoiding the dreaded dry/red nose and upper lip when I ¬†was sick. Bonus: it’s a woman owned company with sustainable practices crafting their products right in NYC. No turning back!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm¬†(c/o) — I love my¬†lip products, so my lips need TLC. Like most people, I use lip balm on the regular, but I’d never used one of this caliber. My lips drink it in and even look fuller after applying. As a result, I’ve had less flakiness. Bonus:¬†the woman owned Newton, MA (!) based company makes allergy tested products that are free of parabens.

Ahava Dermud Intensive Hand Cream¬†— I actually use this one all.day.long this time of year. I know, I know, a $28 hand cream, get outta here. But you only need a little and it soaks into my poor dry winter hands immediately. Even after washing my hands, all of it doesn’t wash off. I’ve tried cheaper alternatives, but they didn’t cut it. You won’t be sorry if you splurge!

What are your go-to products? Do you change them based on season and/or whim?

**Full Disclosure: I received products marked “c/o” free of charge, but all opinions are my own. Anything you’ll ever see represented on A Sequined Life is something I have used and genuinely recommend without reservation. Your trust is something I value!**

DIY Cold Brew Coffee

I love coffee and, like any hardy New Englander, I drink it iced year round. While I know I’ll never stopping buying coffee out entirely, there’s certainly room to cut back. With that in mind, I have been saying I wanted to try making my own cold brew. So when I saw that Atlas Coffee Club was looking to work with Boston Bloggers, I knew it was sign to put my money where my mouth is…finally.

Atlas Coffee Club “sources premium single origin coffee from farms around the world and pays well above market prices for the beans, helping to ensure ethically sustainable farming practices and the highest quality coffee year after year”.¬†¬†I am making a conscious effort to be more aware of what I consume, where it comes from, how it’s made and supporting businesses that are operating above board so I was happy to have the opportunity to work with them. It also fits into one of my favorite categories of things– ¬†a monthly subscription service (individual bags are for sale too).

Based on my preferences, I went with Ethiopia, which arrived already ground. However, if you prefer to grind your own, whole beans are available as well. Either way, your coffee is roasted the same week you receive it, with the roasted date right on the package. It was cool that it came with a card explaining more about where my coffee came from, something I rarely thought about in the past, sadly.

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I loosely followed this recipe to make my cold brew, since a friend had used it and told me it was easy. And it was! You’ll need:

Pour your bag of ground coffee in first, top with cold water and put it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours. You can adjust the coffee/water ratio to your personal preference. I used less water than the recipe calls for because I wanted it to be stronger. I figured I could always add water to it afterwards, like you would a concentrate, if necessary.

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I let my cold brew steep for just shy of 24 hours, then I covered my fine mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth (remember– you want to keep those grounds out hence using both) and hoped for the best. It went well! None of the grounds got through and I had plenty of strong, cold brew to keep in the fridge. Keep in mind that this undertaking is going to be slightly messy, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was fearing.

Now you’re ready to enjoy! Cover and refrigerate the remainder.

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I had mine with just cream, my go-to¬†king cubes¬†and an umbrella straw (because life is short). It was delicious! ¬†The strength, freshness and quality all showed. I’d be interested to try this same technique with a different blend next time. To compare, but also to see if I can find my perfect coffee to water ratio.

Do you make coffee at home, buy it out, or both? Have you ever tried making cold brew before?

Disclosure: Atlas Coffee Club provided me with a complimentary bag of coffee of my choosing for my review. Using it to make a cold brew and all other opinions expressed are my own. 

Galentine’s Day Guide

Although I have my funny valentine (A), I also have many galentines. The women who bring as much love and support as a partner and whom I cherish dearly.


“They” say to write about what you know. With that in mind, my Valentine’s Day guide¬†is comprised of ideas for the ladies. Fittingly, these companies are all owned/partially owned by women.
 
Everything listed¬†I have used myself (and in some cases, bought as gifts) guilt-free, as the companies below all find ways to give back and are based out of the US. So for all your galentines (and/or yourself– you’re worth it!),¬†here are my suggestions:
 
K-Deer leggings— Kristine Deer is a friend of a friend, and although we’ve never met, I’m a huge fan of her and her NJ-based¬†company. Her leggings are out of this world comfortable, do not budge one bit– for real–¬†and come in the most amazingly fun patterns. Her signature stripe patterns, which recently were copied by Athleta (who has since removed them¬†from their site and stores), are named after women she¬†admires to give back and bring awareness to specific charities tied to said women. As if that wasn’t reason enough to support this small business, the class and grace with which the company weathered¬†the situation¬†was inspiring. I am not sure I would have kept my head cool in that situation, but K.Deer did. Join her mailing list or follow along on social media to find out about promotions and new pattern releases. I promise you will not regret buying a pair of these!
 
Colour Pop lippies— Thanks to Courtney Kerr, I was made aware of this extremely affordable¬†LA-based company last summer. I cannot get enough of their lippies and recently bought a blush as well. I used to be a Nars lip pencil devotee, but now I get can the same pigmentation and long lasting wear for a fraction of the price… which just means I buy more ūüôā For real though, you won’t believe the quality you’re getting for the price point. You’re also supporting a US company¬†who doesn’t test on animals¬†so it’s a win-win. Plus, proceeds from their Puppy Love shadow ¬†go towards rescuing animals. Join their mailing list for $5 off your first order and enjoy free shipping on orders $30+.
 
May Designs planners— I don’t remember how I was first made aware of May Designs, but¬†I am on my 4th eco-friendly planner so it’s safe to say it’s been awhile. I prefer to keep¬†it old school and write down my plans. Completely¬†customizable, small yet durable enough to survive my purse, these cheery books come with all sorts of¬†options for inside as well– calendar, meal planner, wedding planner, baby diary etc. I now have several friends and my mum hooked on these. Follow them on social media or join their mailing list (20% off your first order) for fairly regular promotions. There’s even one going on now through 2/1!¬†
 
True Moringa lavender facial oil— I was given the opportunity to test out a sample (size pictured– full size is 1oz)¬†of¬†True Moringa’s products and I picked the lavender facial oil. I’m a fan! I love using¬†oil in the winter and I’m a sucker for anything lavender so it seemed like a no-brainer. If you’re scared, don’t be. As long as¬†you’re using pure oils, it will not make you break out and can actually prevent your skin from becoming too oily.¬†The Boston-based company is ethical and sustainable, working directly¬†with 700 farmers in Ghana to better their lives, so you can feel confident that the top quality (paraben free, sulfate free, vegan) product you’re receiving is also doing a lot of good for a lot of people. Their affordable product line also includes hair care and body care. Give them a follow!
 
What’s on your Galentine’s Day list? Let me know about other companies I should check out!

February in Portsmouth

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family in Portsmouth, NHРseeing all the ships, walking around Strawberry Banke, eating seafood. Now I still love to make it up there whenever I can and it never disappoints. A had never spent any real time there, which needed to change, so we decided that our Christmas gift to each other would be a night away during the off season. We chose The Hotel Portsmouth and both could not be more pleased with our experience there. The staff was wonderful and the property both modern and charming. We cannot wait to stay there again and I was so happy to share a city so dear to me with my main man!

After a super easy check in, we had a late lunch (and the best.mussels.ever) at The Portsmouth Brewery, then walked around a bit even though it was so freezing we thought our faces would fall off. Next was upstairs at Fat Belly’s, where the bar has a strip of built in ice to keep your drinks cold because even when my face is nearly falling off, I still want my¬†libations served frigid. After that, we went over to The Thirsty Moose to continue our walking two person pub crawl, where I got to try two new fruit beers– Wachusett Strawberry White¬†and Seadog Sunfish– and I am OBSESSED with both. Also recommend their BBQ chicken nachos, which we got to go so we could eat them in our jam jams in the room. Heaven, essentially.

The next morning, we had some fresh (and free!) breakfast at the hotel, overlooking the falling snow. As much as I am SO COMPLETELY OVER all this friggin’ snow, it was pretty beautiful to watch– while inside with my bagel and coffee.¬†After check out, we poked into a couple of shops, then had an early lunch at State Street Saloon (hot dog and tots!) before heading home. All in all a wonderful mini vaca and more memories made in a place that’s extremely special to me ūüôā

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