Thursday, October 27, 2016

October Shopping Reflections

This month was a somewhat shopping-light month when it came to clothing, though not for lack of trying. I was hoping to add a few more long-sleeved blouses (from Loft) to my work wardrobe, but that didn't pan out. I'm surprised because the floral-printed top I bought last year was one of my "best purchases" of 2015. I particularly wanted to love this paisley lantern sleeve blouse because of the print, but the sleeves were oddly proportioned, the bow is impractical. This collarless henley tunic was also strange: It was practically as long as a dress, but with very high side slits. I also tried on a few sweaters from Loft, and I had better luck there, as I usually do with their low-maintenance synthetic-blend sweaters.

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New additions to my closet-wise, I was also grateful to receive a pair of riding boots as a generous birthday gift from my mom.  It was purchased during the Tory Burch Friends and Family sale quite a few weeks ago, with a 30% discount. A version of one of my birthday gifts last year, a gray 100% wool H&M Premium Quality scarf that has held up wonderfully (and seems to me to be a decent knock-off for those popular Acne scarves), is also back in stock. Note, though, that this year's version appears to be smaller than the one from last year, and less amenable to being used as a blanket-like shawl, one of the ways I use last year's scarf.

I also replaced quite a few items in my skincare routine. I've been using the CosRx BHA Skin Returning A-Sol and BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (Amazon is cheaper) for almost four weeks and three weeks, respectively, and I must say, I'm very impressed with both! Though I was a very old hand at using my former holy grail product, the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, on top of other fairly harsh treatments like prescription Retin-A Micro 0.1%,  the Paula's Choice still irritated my skin sometimes, causing occasional breakouts. Not so with the CosRx. Although I was previously skeptical about the CosRx hype (there are times when the r/AsianBeauty community seems to over-hype certain trendy products), their BHAs have proven both gentle and effective. My skin still isn't perfect, but these products, used in combination, have yielded fairly quick and noticeable improvements in my acne. They also seem to noticeably improve my skin's overall appearance, which was not a benefit I saw with the Paula's Choice.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $49.50)
  • Loft Chevron Sweater - $24.75 - Both of these sweaters run bigger than usual for Loft sizing and are designed to have a slouchy, relaxed fit that is definitely on the casual side of the business casual spectrum.  With this one, the relaxed fit would have been a surprise if I hadn't read the reviews. The picture on the website makes it look more fitted. This sweater is cut rather wide and flares down and out in an almost a-line shape and is wider than a similar design from, say, Madewell, might typically be. I think most people, especially those who are less busty than me, would want to size down, though I got my usual size S for that very "casual business casual" look I favor. 
  • Loft Stitched Tunic Sweater - $24.75 - This design isn't cut quite as wide as as the Chevron sweater, but it has more of a a-line shape in back. The overall slouchy and slightly flared out shape is made to look more dramatic because of that side seam detail that curves toward the front. Note that the fabric is quite thin, and most people may think of this as a spring or fall sweater rather than one suitable for winter. (I don't mind that for my office-wear sweaters as I tend to layer my clothing the winter and wouldn't get cold regardless!) 

  • Tory Burch Jolie Riding Boot - This was purchased at 30% off retail during the Tory Burch friends and family sale a few weeks ago, which came around at just the right time to shop for my birthday. As I mentioned last month, I've owned my other pair of Madewell Archive (similar) riding boots for five years now,  and while they're still in great shape (with a few visits to the cobbler for reheeling and once for weatherproofing), I think I'd get much more wear out of a zip-on pair. These also have a sleeker, dressier look than the Archive boots. I do feel a bit sheepish about getting such a generous gift from my mom, and I do wonder if a deeper discount would have been available if I had waited to get these as a late Christmas gift instead.

Beauty and Skincare - (TOTAL: $61.99)
  • CosRx BHA Skin Returning A-Sol - $13.45 - Other bloggers describe this, and other skincare products, much better than I ever could, by the way! I use this as the first step after washing and drying my face (often both morning and night, though sometimes just in the morning), before moving on to the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. The actual concentration of BHA here is supposed to be quite low. The more prominent active ingredient is propolis. (I've previously used two different propolis serums that didn't do anything for my skin, so this is the best propolis product I've tried so far.) The A-Sol is a runny liquid that smells like tea-tree oil, which is also among the active ingredients, but in too low a concentration to be irritating.
  • CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (Amazon) - $17.00 - There seem to be at least two formulations out there, one that has a distinct smell and one that doesn't. (Either that, or at least half of users can't pick out the scent. I'm in that group.) Of the two CosRx BHA products I'm using, this one is supposed to be the real "workhorse" and the replacement for the Paula's Choice BHA Liquid. Please do introduce both of these products slowly if your skin is not used to BHA and other potentially harsh skincare products! I patch-tested both of these products for around two days before introducing them, once on my wrist, and then on my neck. I had been testing the A-Sol for a week before I started using this.
  • CosRx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid - $16.00 - I haven't gotten around to trying this product yet, so a review may come in the future. 
  • Biore SaraSara UV Perfect Bright Face Milk - $7.30 - This used to be my holy grail sunscreen though, full disclosure, I think this may have been reformulated in the last year or so, or it no longer suits my skin as well. It's still good, but it doesn't absorb quite as quickly as it used to, and it sometimes leaves a white cast that takes 15 minutes or so to fade, which wasn't my experience before. 
  • Biore Aqua Rich SaraSara SPF 50+ Gel - $8.24 - This is maybe my third time buying this product, and I use it occasionally, on and off. More people actually prefer this over the Biore face milks because it is a gel that goes on clear, and is easier to apply. I personally prefer opaque liquid "face milk" sunscreens to clear gels, even if it doesn't have a practical basis, but I occasionally go back to this. 

Linking up to Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers this month, as usual. Be sure to go check out wha everyone else bought this month!

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