My Clean 10 Step Skincare Routine

I was always an allergic-to-something child…. so I tend not to be very adventurous with my skincare. Instead, I am often found reading the labels very carefully before purchasing my skincare. My general philosophy is to avoid products with too many ingredients, and if I can’t pronounce it – it’s probably not a good thing to put on my skin. When I can’t identify the ingredient, I pop over to EWG’s Skindeep website and type it in to determine if I’m willing to risk putting that ingredient on my face. (Tips for finding safer products here).

So, it was a surprise to everyone (even myself) when I found myself buying a 10 step Korean Skincare routine online without a nary glance at the ingredients. I reasoned that it would be a good idea to try – since the ten step routine was getting rave reviews and who doesn’t want better skin?! I was so excited to try it! It was probably the most adventurous and spontaneous skincare purchase I’ve ever made in my life. The minute the box arrived, I unboxed everything and immediately dove headfirst into the 10 steps prescribed in the box.

It seemed fine…. until 30 minutes after walking through the entire 10 step process. My entire face and neck broke out into an angry army of hives, and my skin turned an alarmingly bright shade of red. After a couple anti-histamines and a good slather of anti-inflamatory cream, I silently chastised myself for breaking my rules.

I’ve since (obviously) gone back to my normal routine – which is not very different from a Korean skincare routine. I’m listing the K-beauty steps below with my clean beauty picks and favorites, along withe some of my notes.

*Final Note. Please do keep in mind that these are products that I like – and you may not like the same things. While I do try to use as clean beauty products as possible, sometimes I have to make a compromise. I think the important thing is to try to use products that are as clean as possible, and take good care of yourself.



Step One: Oil Cleanser 

I tend to use oil cleanser and foam cleanser as needed. I find both steps everyday to be too harsh on my skin – so I use the oil/foam cleanser once or twice a week depending on how my skin feels. I find that an oil cleanser is very helpful on the days that I wear make up. 


Step Two: Foam/Gel Cleanser 


Step Three: Exfoliator

Similarly, I exfoliate once or twice a week maximum. I read an interesting article on exfoliators with plastic bits that damages the environment, so I have since eliminated anything with synthetic exfoliating pieces in them. I also avoid any salt or sugar scrubs because an aesthetician once told me that the rough sides of the salt and sugar make microscopic tears in the skin that cause infection and aging. So, when I do exfoliate I like to use a very gentle setting on the Clarisonic or Foreo Luna 2 with my foam cleanser. If I feel the need for even more gentle exfoliation – I will use luke warm water with a konjac sponge.


Step Four: Toner 

I like to avoid using cotton rounds with my toner, so I will splash a little in my hand and pat it gently over my face. I use a little fan to help speed the drying before I apply my next step. 


Step Five: Essence

There isn’t anything that is quite like a K-beauty essence, but I do like to spritz this beauty water before my serum!


Step Six: Serum

I will often use two different kinds of serum. I have very red and easily irritated skin across my cheeks, so I will often use a serum specifically to address the redness. I will then use another serum across my forehead, chin, and down my neck to address moisture and anti-wrinkle concerns. 


Step Seven: Masks/Treatments

  • Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay Mask – I use this as a mask once a month or so with a splash of apple cider vinegar.
  • I also like to spend a few minutes giving myself a mini facial massage – I’ll tap my face gently around the hollows of my eyes and across my forehead to help my circulation and products set.


Step Eight: Eye Cream

I’ll be the first to admit that I am absolutely terrible at applying eye cream. I do not like when it runs on my face or gets into the corners of my eyes…. but this cream is the best one I have found. I use a very little bit in the mornings, but I am much more generous with application in the evenings. 


Step Nine: Face Cream 

I like to change the type of cream I use – but this is a list of a few that I have really enjoyed and continue to repurchase.


Step Nine Point One: Facial Oil

I almost always use a facial oil after I’ve put on my cream – since my skin tends to be quite dry, I find a thin layer of facial oil helps lock everything in. I also find that this extra step helps my sunscreen glide on smoothly. 


Step Ten: Sunscreen 

I hate sunscreen…. there. I said it. Sunscreen sucks. Buuuuut! These are the two that are lightweight enough to forgive for daily use.  


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Thank you so much for visiting! Let me know in the comments if you have recommendations for other types of clean skincare products, or if you have tried these products!



Highlight: North Carolina Museum of Art

I visited the North Carolina Museum of Art back in August (and I’m so very belatedly sharing my trip). The stop was unplanned, and I cannot tell you how happy I was to have made the detour. It was just the perfect place to recharge and soak in the beautiful art. The pieces were incredible, and the space that the museums has is wonderful. My words are not justice enough – so I’m posting these pictures to entice you to visit (if you haven’t already). I’m already planning another trip in the new year!



The grounds are incredible – vast and filled with amazing art work. It’s a wonderful way to explore art outside. There is a sustainable irrigation system (pictured above) that is a fascinating way of managing water and weather – definitely worth walking through and reading about. Below is a Jaume Plensa work that is absolutely stunning…. this was the first place that I had seen Jaume Plensa. I’ll never forget the moment I rounded the bend in the museum park and saw this work – it is so beautiful… words and pictures do not do it justice.


The indoor collections are varied… I adore the sculptures (this gold one below is a fast favorite).







You can find the NCMA on their website and on Instagram (they are very responsive, and just lovely!)

Thank you so much for visiting – tell me in the comments if there is a museum that speaks to your heart that I should visit! ❤




NYE Sparkle

Version 2

Last year, I rang in 2017 this scintillating sparkly dress. I paired it with a furry shrug from Parker, and with my favorite gray pumps. Nothing like a little sparkle, a little fur, and some high heels to start the new year on the right note.


Version 2

Tell me, how are you going to be ringing in the New Year?

Thank you for visiting! ❤

“The” Coach Bag


When I was 7 or 8, my grandmother gifted me this Coach bag. The deep red suede bucket bag with a long cross body strap was a curious choice for a child. I remember taking it out of the packaging and holding the strap level with my eyes and the bag resting on the floor. It was giant for me at age 7 (maybe 8). And at that age, the significance of such a beautiful bag was completely lost on me. I promptly dumped it with the rest of my toys and dress up clothing. I used it occasionally to store my blocks or drag it behind me as I played pretend with my friends. And then, for a very long time, the bag was squashed and forgotten in the laundry room.

I don’t remember how or why – but I pulled it from it’s little forgotten corner of the laundry room and hung it in my room. It hung in my room for years, until I finally thought to unbuckle one end of the long strap and double it back to turn it into a shoulder bag. Since then my “forgotten” bag has turned into a very well loved wardrobe staple.

There isn’t quite anything like this bag anymore – after all, I have had it for over two decades. The color and size are now perfect for me… and even after weathering my childhood abuse, the bag is still beautiful and I adore it the more for it.

Red is one of my favorite colors to wear, so this bag is often on my shoulder.




Tell me in the comments if you have something in your wardrobe that has a meaningful story too!!

Thank you for visiting!

Coach Favorites

Holiday season and gifting are upon us. I’m rounding up my Coach sale favorites! I treated myself to a fun little leather good treat as well (check it out on my insta!)

Four Favorite Lip Colors for Winter

I find that a bold swipe of lipstick is all I need to brighten up my look during the winter when I feel like I’m inundated by black, gray, and navy blue clothing.

I spent the afternoon fiddling with my collection of colors, and thought I would share my favorite picks for this winter.

I think deep tones are always winter appropriate – they are moody, dramatic, and beautiful on every skin tone. This year, I’m leaning more towards the deep berry tones that are still in the red family, but have a distinctly plummy feel.

My second love this winter is the orangey-flame colored satin lip. I love a good matte lip, but this year, I am adoring a slight sheen to my orange-red lip.

And of course, I love a peppy magenta pink…. I prefer this deep pink on my skin tone to a red lip. I also find it less dramatic and a little unique. My year-round favorite is this one from Buxom in the shade Monte Carlo. You can find me wearing this lip color all year round.


From left to right:

Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Monte Carlo (my all time favorite color and formula)

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Tanin

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Jam

Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rouge Red


Tell me in the comments your favorite brands and colors for this winter – and what I should try next!

Thank you for visiting! ❤