My favorite dress silhouette

Outfit Details:

Vintage dress, but I also have similar styles from Stine Goya and Innika Choo and Sister Jane

Calzedonia shimmery dot tights

vintage floral scarf

Loeffler Randall heels

I’ve always had a thing for trapeze dresses. I especially love vintage ones, but they seem to be harder and harder to come by, so I always feel lucky when I find one. I recently got this one at a vintage show and paid a lot more for it than I normally would (that happens at vintage shows), but then I got the dreamiest pink one from Parasol Vintage that totally made up for it. What is your favorite silhouette?

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Our first Disney cruise

garland from HomeGoods, top, pants, and scarf are all vintage.

Bobby and I are currently at Walt Disney World for the Creators Celebration, and we brought our niece Roxy and nephew Ryder with us! We’re spending a few days at the parks and then we’re heading out on our very first Disney cruise. I know it may seem like we live at WDW (we have annual passes, so we like to make the most of them!) but this time is work related. Can I call a conference at the Most Magical Place On Earth work? Debatable, but let’s just roll with it. 

Anyway, we’re extra excited for the cruise because our family loves cruises. I’ve only been on one, but I loved that it kind of forced me to relax. This one is just a 3 day, so I doubt I’ll do as much reading and lounging about — especially since I forgot to pack my current book — but I’m hoping to rest my feet at least a little bit. After all the walking at the parks, I think I’ll need it!

Make sure to watch my stories to keep up with our trip. We spent the first day at Magic Kingdom, the second at Epcot, and we have a couple days left before the cruise. We’re also staying at the newest resort, and I have a little room tour if you want to see it. If you have been on a Disney cruise, please let me know any tips you might have!

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Elsie’s Holy Grail Skincare Routine

Hi! It’s been a while since I shared my skincare faves and a few things have changed. This past year, I’ve been more religious about my skincare but I’ve also become more consistent with the products I use. You’ve probably heard people say it’s not good constantly be bringing new products an ingredients in. So even though I LOVE to try out new products, I’ve been sticking closer to my favorites and it’s been really good for my skin.

Here are some of my tried and true favorites. These are items I’ve purchased over and over and/or have used for years. My skin type is combination, but I would say leans toward dry— especially in the winter. I’m 37 and am trying to embrace the natural aging process. For me, staying super hydrated (with products, extra water and less coffee/alcohol) are making a positive difference.

One more note— while I do use a few conventional makeup products, I stick more closely to only clean products for skincare. For me, I’ve noticed far better results using clean products and it gives me peace of mind to know I’m cleaning all the questionable ingredients off every night and sleeping in ingredients that will nurture my skin. So, if I had to choose between swapping to natural skincare OR makeup, I would swap the skincare first.

Masks: I do a face mask at least one time per week, but up to three times. I focus mainly on moisturizing masks with a bit of exfoliating, but I am careful not to over-do it. I stay away from anything that dries my skin, so clay masks are not for me.

Leahlani Mermaid Mask I have used this for years and re-purchased it over and over. With a base of honey it is ultra moisturizing and filled with superfood ingredients. I typically put this on 30 minutes before I take a shower or bath and it’s my go-to when I am feeling dry. For sure my most used mask.

Boscia Cactus Water Peel Off Mask I LOVE these peel off masks. I tend to stick with this one, the pink mask and the sake bright white mask. The peel off is super fun and they are hydrating.

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask This is my go-to mask to sleep in. It’s also good for flights (or anywhere you might wear it in public) because it looks like lotion—not a “scary” mask. haha

Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial I love this mask because it’s not harsh at all, but good for a light exfoliation during these winter months.

Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Lip Therapy This is the most glorious super-thick lip mask. I sleep with it every night because I struggle with chapped lips pretty often. I got some for my sister and she didn’t like it because it’s so thick, so make sure you want something super thick. For something lighter I recommend Weleda Skin Food Lip Butter.

Cleanser + Toner: 

Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser When removing makeup. I often do a double cleanse by first rubbing oil all over my face (any carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, argan etc) works for this step— it doesn’t have to be labeled as a “cleansing oil,” Next, I rinse the oil off with a warm washcloth. After that I cleanse with this water-based cleanser. On days I don’t wear makeup, I skip the oil step and go straight for the water based gel cleanser.

Thayers Facial Toner I use this after I cleanse, before oils and serums everyday.

Acid + Oils: 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 I use a couple drops of this every night before oils or serums.

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum Like I said above, I try to be very gentle with what exfoliators I use. This is perfect for my skin! I use it before bed either with an oil or by itself. This is one of my top must-haves for glowly skin.
*I love the gel mask version or Prism as well! These are definitely my favorite Herbivore products.

Herbivore Emerald This is a hemp-based oil. It’s super moisturizing and one of my favorite oils currently, but I will say— you have to be OK with a cannabis scent. If you’re not OK with that scent I’d recommend one of their other oils.

Serum: 

Skin Pharm Youth Serum This is incredible for helping my skin feel plump. I use it anytime I am feeling a bit dehydrated (in addition to chugging water and herbal tea).

Backuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum I’m avoiding retinols (or keep them super minimal) because they can be harsh. That said, I still want a potent serum. This serum has a thin gel-like texture so I use it anytime if I don’t want to go to bed slathered in oils. It is super moisturizing and gentle.

100% Pure Multi-Vitamin PM Facial Oil This is my oil-based serum. I love to go to bed with a super shiny face (aka a glazed donut face— lol) but since I wear eyelash extensions (oil causes them to fall out) I stay away from my eye area and don’t use this when my extensions are first filled each month. Swapping back and forth on my night serum has worked out pretty well for me!

Mist: 

Youth To The People Adaptogen Mist I am obsessed with this mist. I use it when I wake up, before and after makeup, before bed, and all over my body after a shower. If my skin is every looking dry I mist this on. I’ve used three bottles in the past six months— that’s how crazy I am about this mist.. Haha.

Other items I missed in the photo, but use ALL the time;

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen We go through a ton of this in our home— it’s a little pricey so I stock up every time I see a sale. I also use their makeup primer and finishing powder.

Weleda Skin Food Lotion I love that that carry this at Target. I use it as my hand lotion and body lotion. It’s perfect if you have dry skin— it’s VERY thick. I sent my grandma some (she wanted to try clean beauty!!!) and she hates it. So I guess it’s a matter of taste, but I love it.

Boscia Collagen Eye Mask I got these in a PR mailer recently (they’re brand new so I haven’t used them for long, just tried them out twice) and WOW. These are by far the most effective eye masks I’ve ever tried. They are crazy. My eyes looked so refreshed— I will definitely be repurchasing, but they’re pricey so I’ll be using them only for special occasions.

Other skincare tips This biggest change I’ve seen in my skin came a few years back when I drastically cut my alcohol, sugar and coffee consumption. I know that is no fun to hear, but it’s amazing what a difference it made for me. I had been using clean products for a few years, but when I made those diet changes I suddenly started to get a lot of compliments and questions about my skin.

There are two skincare treatments I got regularly last year that made a huge difference. They are both non-toxic. I got a lot of microneedling and a couple BBLs at SkinPharm in Nashville (they’re opening in Atlanta soon, too).

Microneedling is a collagen producing treatment. It can be pretty minimal (your face is a bit red) to pretty bloody (I started small and worked up to more intense treatments). I got prp injections with it a few times too, which is a natural treatment made from your own blood also known as “liquid gold.” I know it sounds gross, but it’s pretty much the best thing you can do if you want to work on skin texture issues the natural way.

BBL (or photofacial) is a light therapy that can help reduce sun damage. It was pretty dramatic on me and I definitely recommend it if you have an age spot you’d like to zap away. I’ve done my face, chest and arms and will definitely keep doing it over time. I have quite a bit of sun damage because I went to tanning beds when I was younger— the worst!

Anyway! If you have any questions I am happy to try and answer them! If you’re curious to learn more about clean beauty, see my article Why Clean Beauty Matters. And remember, I am absolutely NOT trying to shame anyone who uses and loves conventional skincare products. Even just swapping out a few clean items is a great step! Nobody is perfect and no one has perfect skin. xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

5 Valentine’s Day Outfit Ideas

I love Valentine’s Day mostly because I love the color combination of pink and red, and also…I like chocolate. And candy. And Bobby and I always go to Shake Shack. I put together 5 Valentine’s Day outfit ideas for you to try, but to be honest I would wear these any day of the year. Which one is your favorite?

Look 1

H&M Red Cardigan (old, but this sale version in black and burgundy is very similar)

Heart Print Skater Dress (on sale with extra 20% off using code ASOSSALEHAPPY) — this plus size option is similar

Lirika Matoshi heart fishnet socks 

Seychelles Cascade pumps (they come in 5 colors)

Charlotte Olympia clutch

Fenty “Uncensored” Stunna Lip Paint

Look 2

Bonlook Keiko Chan glasses in Sakura (shop the full collection)

Pink Chunky Knit Sweater (similar affordable option)

plaid skirt (on sale, use code ASOSSALEHAPPY for extra 20% off)

Strappy Black Heels (old but these are very similar)

Look 3

Mini Swing Dress with Fringe Cuffs

Different style dress, but very similar color and print plus size option

Over the Knee boots (old but these are similar and affordable)

Flynn black circle bag (similar, less expensive option)

thrifted belt

Look 4

Pink Frill Neck Sweater

Pink Corduroy Skater Dress (on sale for $19.50 and extra 20% off!)

also available in plus size and petite

Madewell Glitter Mary Jane Shoes (old but these gold ones are cute!)

Pop & Suki Pink Box Bag

 

Look 5

Custom Denim Jacket from Daily Disco (using a Levi’s Trucker jacket)

Heart Print Mini Dress (cute plus size midi option)

Red Tights

Red Strappy Heels (old but similar, low block heel version)

Strathberry MC Nano Bag 

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Elsie’s Complete List of Clean Makeup Must-Haves

Hello friends! About four years ago, I made the switch to clean beauty and have been trying out different makeup brands and products. In this post, I want to share all the products that have become my go-tos. At first, I tried a few disappointing products, but for the most part I feel like the clean beauty selection has become super solid. Switching to clean beauty has been relatively easy. I tend to find brands I like, who focus intentionally on clean ingredients and keep trying more products from their lines. I’m a bit of a “fan girl” for my favorite beauty brands (and even more hardcore for skincare, which I’ll save for a separate post—I am fanatical for skincare).

I also want to be transparent that my routine is not 100% clean. I’m getting a solid A-, which I can live with. There are a few products I use (which I will still include here) that are conventional makeup (meaning they contain questionable ingredients). My stance on this is that it’s better to have a routine that is 90% clean than to not try at all. Although I have searched and searched, there are a few products that have less than perfect ingredients that I haven’t been able to replace. I share this because we all have one or two vices that maybe we’re not willing to part with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make big improvements! It doesn’t have to be perfection or nothing.

Anyway! Let’s jump into it! Here are all the makeup favorites that I have bought over and over—most of these I have been using for years now!

Foundation:
This category has been the most tricky for me. I am kind of an all-or-nothing makeup wearer, meaning I am comfortable with no makeup days (I’m definitely not someone who worries about leaving the house without makeup), but when I do wear makeup, I want it to look like I am wearing it. I like to have a bare face or a full face of makeup. I have tried half a dozen clean foundations, maybe more, that are too light for my preference. Here’s where I finally ended up …

Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream: This is my top choice out of all the clean foundations I have tried. It contains SPF, which I love. It’s a very good product, especially if you prefer your foundation not to look heavy. Although it is labeled “full coverage,” I would consider it medium coverage, but it does offer more coverage than most clean options. It’s definitely my favorite option out there. I also recommend the primer—I use it daily as well.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Foundation: (this is a conventional product) This foundation is my go-to for photo days and other times I want to wear a lot of makeup, like a date night. It’s super full coverage and very nice. Simply put, it’s unbeatable. I blend with a beauty blender and then a flat foundation brush. I still use my Jane Iredale primer under either foundation option.

Concealer: 

RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up: If your goal is to quickly cover up an under eye circle or a blemish, this is all you really need. I’ve been using this for years.

2nd Skin Corrector: On days I don’t wear much makeup, I use the yellow and the peach on my undereye circles, and it improves the color significantly without looking like I am wearing makeup JUST on my under eyes. It’s very natural looking.

Eyeshadow: I find it easy to buy way too many eyeshadows and never be able to use them all, so I’ll narrow it down to my two absolute favorites and most used palettes.

Aether Beauty Rose Quartz Crystal Eyeshadow Palette: I use this one pink shadow so often to brighten the inside part of my nose beside my eye. It’s a great palette. I prefer a bit of sparkle, but it’s not over the top by any means.

ILIA Necessary Eyeshadow Palette in Warm Nude: I love this palette for the bright champagne-y white and also the matte orange/peach shade right under it. I use those two colors constantly.

Blush: 

ILIA Multi-stick: I use these pretty much 100% of the time now. I personally like the colors that sit somewhere between a reddish tone and a bronzer. They are easy to get a subtle application, but also buildable.

Highlighter:

ILIA Liquid Light Serum Highlighter in Nova: I LOVE highlighter and this is the best I’ve ever used. I used it constantly. Just a drop on my fingertips and I pat the tops of my cheeks with it.

Mascara: 

Full disclosure! I wear lash extensions and have for over a year (and on and off before that). I love not wearing mascara and when I did briefly remove them a few months back, I immediately felt compelled to buy false lashes. For me, mascara is never going to be a go-to product. I would rather just wear falsies or nothing. That said, since I know most people love wearing mascara, here are my top picks!

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

Eyeliner: 

Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner: Another tricky area for me, personally. I don’t wear mascara daily, but when I do I like to do a dramatic cat eye. I’ve tried so many different products and this is the best one, by far.

Brows: 
I’ve got micro bladed brows, which is a kind of tattoo. They are perfect for days I am makeup-free, but when I wear makeup I like to fill them in a bit darker.

Ecobrow Defining Wax: I use this with a small brow brush. I like the ability to control it between a subtle brow and something darker. A lot of products I’ve tried are either too subtle or too strong—this one is controllable. I use the color Rita since my hair is reddish brown.

Lipstick:  
Lipstick is definitely my guilty pleasure, as far as trying new brands and colors for fun! I like to keep my lip color pretty natural, but I still love experimenting with different products.

Bite Beauty Lip Crayon (in the color Glace): I use this the most and get the most questions about this product. I like to line my lips, but in a subtle way. It makes them look bigger and defines them. I use this alone quite a bit or as a first step.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Therapy: This is what I am using in the photo above to make my lips super glossy. I wear this to bed every single night; it’s a part of my night routine. It’s the thickest, richest lip gloss ever.

RMS Beauty Lipstick in Brain Teaser: The perfect peachy color.

100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Plume Pink: My favorite matte lipstick. I wear this when I want more color on my lips. It lasts really well.

I also have LOVED and used our own brand, Oui Fresh. My most worn lipstick is Buffy. I wear all the glosses, but my favorites are Central Perk and Jelly Shoes. We’ve decided to stop making them, although it was so much fun to try it out! You can buy one lip product and get THREE free—no discount code is needed, but you have to add four glosses or lipsticks to your cart for the discount to show.

Are there any categories of makeup I missed or specific items you’re curious about? I’d love to chat more with you in the comments!!!

XOXO! Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.