Today, I wake up early and think.

Dearest friends bought me a livingsocial deal to make my own skincare products tonight (this shall be documented, of course), so I decided to take public transportation to work (I’ll omit the details). It really isn’t too terrible of a commute–about a little more than an hour of a trip. I hadn’t taken the metro in so long that I actually enjoyed it. The idea “distance makes the heart grown fonder”¬†has appeared once again. ūüôā What is your commute to work/school/life like? What do you enjoy doing during that time?¬†

I recently received an email from a dear friend who is teaching in Indonesia and was impressed that she was able to wake up an extra hour early to be able to have some quiet thinking & reading time. While I do not have the ability to wake up that early, the hour-long commute gave me a moment and an excuse to have that alone time, to read or catch up on the morning news. Loved every second of it!

Waiting for the lovely, free circulator to carry me to the metro.

Exiting the duPont Circle Metro, long escalators scare me.

Waiting in line for the shuttle bus. It looks like a school-bus. I feel like a student, once again.

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Today, I am enjoying the comfort of home and prepping…

Ahhhhh, tomorrow is TBD (THE BIG DAY). Sorry… not my wedding. I hope I didn’t get your hopes up. An interview! Epp! Excited, nervous, flurries of little butterflies hitting the lining of my stomach. OH NO. I found this photo on my computer as I was cleaning it up. It’s of a sign in a bathroom (I can’t remember which bathroom now… was it Parker & Otis?) of a brunch place that I dined in with¬†Markie back in April (DURHAM).


I’ll try to remember that whenever I get nervous or am feeling down. Also reminds me of a similar message of J. Cole’s song with TLC “Crooked Smile.” The MV is worth a watch; it’s sad, but it’s based on a true story. I won’t say much about it, however, it’s worth watching and then doing some research afterwards, whether you want to use news articles or Wiki or google.. up to you! But always remember, you look lovely! Ahhhh… good luck to me, have a lovely Friday and a lovely weekend!

J. Cole ft TLC – Crooked Smile (<– click on link to watch music video)

Today, I review my favorite products! What are yours?

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…¬†And today I bring you what I promise! Jarkie’s¬†Best of…. These are some of the beauty products that I have come to love this past year. What are yours? Have you tried any of these? What do you like/love?! Please leave comments below or feel free to send us an email at!

EDIT: totes forgot my make-up products! Here ya go!


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Foundation: Lancome Teint Miracle ($40.00)
My favorite foundation. Something about it… just makes you glow.

BB Cream: Skin 79 VIP Gold  ($30.00)
My favorite BB cream of all time. Unfortunately it has only one shade… so it won’t work for everyone… but if you can get your hands on a sample, definitely try to!

Eyeliner: L’oreal Lineur Intense¬†($8.99)
Cannot live without this felt tip liquid eyeliner in carbon black

Tints (Cheeks, Lips, etc): Benefit posietint ($30.00), highbeam ($26.00), and benetint ($30.00), Girl Meets Pearl ($30.00)
Benefit has awesome make-up. Posietint gives a sort of cherry/pinkish flush to your cheeks/lips. Highbeam is an awesome luminizer, and benetint¬†(one of their most well-known products) is the original rose-tinted stain for cheeks/lips. Girl Meets Pearl is my favorite products… a golden-pink liquid pearl luminizer that gives you that fuzzy blur that smooths the your face… very dreamy. Hehe.

Lips: Lancome Color Design in “Vintage Rose”¬†($22.00) & Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 (0.15 oz/ $22.50)
I’ve gotten both of these lip products for free! Lancome through gift bags and Sugar Rose Treatment through Sephora’s birthday gift last year. I’m not a fan of super glossy lips in the workplace (I don’t want to look like I smothered my lips in oil before coming to work) so both of these products are perfect, giving a nice color while keeping it sheer and professional. (Don’t get me wrong, I like me some lip gloss once in a while….). I love the the lip treatment is tinted, smooths my lips, and has SPF. Don’t forget to keep those lips from the sun! I definitely will invest in this when I run out.


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I mentioned on Wednesday night/Thursday morning that my favorite skincare products belong to Shiseido’s The Skincare and¬†White Lucent lines. I also love using masks, exfoliants, peels every once in a while to take away all that gross stuff. So some of my top picks?

Cleansing system: Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System
This is an affordable cleansing system ($20-$30) especially when compared to the Clarisonic system. You can purchase from walmart, ulta, or amazon. The main difference between this and the Clarisonic brush is that the Olay brush rotates while the Clarisonic brushes have a pulsating (vibrational) motion. I’m not at the point where I can splurge on a Clarisonic, so this is good enough for me. I love the results. If you find your face is losing it’s glow or has been dull lately, this is good for you!¬†Note: when I first started using this, I would use it +2x’s in a day. Bad idea. My skin started to get irritated, so don’t get addicted to it like I did! haha.

Facial Sheet Masks
There is not one particular brand I like… I love trying out different ones … If H Mart delivers to you, they have some nice masks. Click here. Usually not too expensive. Each mask should cost you less than $5.00 (of course, there are high end ones … ).¬†Why I Love These:¬†We all need a break at some point. These masks are easy to use, just open the package, open the face mask, place onto your face (holes are cut out for eyes/nose/lips so you can breathe) for 20-30 minutes. Lovely spa at home, no need to dig up cash and go to a spa.¬†Disadvantage?¬†If you don’t let people who you live with know that you’re doing this, they might think you’re a ghost. True story.

No More Pores: Dr Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner (1 oz/ $45.00) and Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (8 strips/ ~$6-$8)
I have a dirty (haha!) little secret: I’m obsessed with removing blackheads. I hate them. I want them gone. Now I know that’ll never happen, but at least I can have my pores to be more “refined.” Two products that I’m currently using? The dr brandt vacuum cleaner (apply thin layer, goes on to skin like a moisturizer, wait a few minutes for it to dry completely … the color will change from clear to a light blue … and you’ll know it’s done!) and the Biore Deep Cleansing strips (wash face and then wet nose to apply the strip as directly. After it completely dries, peel off and you’ll see the results on the strip).¬†Tip: Use after a hot shower… the steam let’s the pores open up. No time for shower? Wet a towel a hot water and place on skin/nose. This is also just as effective.

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Eyecream (Daytime): Lanc√īme Bienfait Multi-Vital Eye SPF 28 Sunscreen¬†(0.5 oz/$39.00)
Perfect daytime eye cream with SPF. Don’t forget to protect your eyes!

Eyecream (Nighttime):  Rénergie Eye Anti-Wrinkle & Firming Eye Crème (0.5 oz/$64.00)
Very rich and creamy. I love it for nighttime usage! Absorbs easily, too.

Serum: Revaleskin Intense Recovery Treatment (1 oz/ $130.00)
This is one pricey product! My eyes did this when I saw the price tag: O_O. I must thank the skincare product gods for letting me try the full size product (Blush April Beauty Mystery Box – see my review here). This product has definitely evened the texture and tone of my skin. I used to see redness on my nose/cheeks area and it seems to have helped with that. It’s got 1.5% coffeeberry extract, smells wonderful (like coffee), and is easy to apply. I definitely recommend this! I really do not want my bottle to run out yet! The good thing? Just 1-2 pumps will cover your face!

Bath and Body

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Body Lotion: Burt’s Bees Natural Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion (6 oz/ $8.00)
I LOVE BURT’S BEES PRODUCTS. The milk & honey body lotion has been one of my earliest favorites. They’ve changed the formula a bit (and some people have not liked such a change) but I’m still a fan.¬†¬†The lotion combines milk, honey and vitamin E, along with coconut and grape seed oils to bring you one sweet sweet sweet lotion. Soft, smooth, supple skin sounds like something you want? This is it! This is it! ūüôā

Body Creme: Aveda Caribbean Therapy Body Creme (6.7 oz/ $27.00)
I love the rich scents of mango, lime, cocoa butter coming together to make me feel like I’m relaxing in the lush caribbean forests. This particular lotion is so rich and creamy that I love using it when it’s really dry (winters, especially). It’s also perfect for use on knees and elbows and knuckles.

Shower Gel: Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze Shower Gel (10 oz/ $11.00) 
The coconut + lime combination is right in time for summer. Always gotta indulge in my bath & body works scents!¬†Tip: B&BW always has deals going on (online & in stores)… where you can grab these gels for great deals. I wouldn’t suggest buying them at full price since there are definitely deals out there.

Body Oil: Caudalie Divine Oil (3.4 oz/ $49.00)
I was lucky to have a birchbox coupon + free shipping at the time to purchase this oil. ¬†The mixture of oils (grape, hibiscus, sesame, and argan) create a divine smelling oil that really makes my skin feel so soft. I spray this oil on as soon as I step out of the shower to retain the moisture. It’s so thick that a little bit goes a long way. Tip:¬†I also like using it for my dried/damaged hair at times (just spray a little at the ends).

Hair Care

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**Note: The Alterna Pure Kendi Oil is in the next photo

Shampoo & Conditioner: Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring Shampoo and Conditioner (Shampoo: 8.5 oz/$24.00; Condition: 6.7 oz/ $24.00)
I have really damaged hair. This set is perfect! It’s a bit pricey (as all Aveda products are) so I use it only 2-3 times a week… but it definitely makes my hair a lot healthier.

IMG_3535Hair treatment mask: Tendu Ultimate Hair Conditioning Treatment Mask (5 oz/ $60.00) 
Another product from my April Blush Beauty Mystery Box that I’m IN LOVE WITH. #1, lovely texture (see photo from my previous review here) … it is so easy to apply to the hair ( a little will also go a long way here). #2, the scent is so light and fresh (makes me happy every time I open the jar). I leave it in my hair for about 30-45 minutes and then rinse. Noticeable different. Hair feels SO SOFT, SO SMOOTH, SO WONDERFUL.

Hair oil: Alterna Bamboo Smooth Pure Kendi Treatment Oil (1.7 oz/ $25.00) 
Alterna haircare products make me happy. I use this oil, mostly on the tips of my hair, in the mornings and I feel a noticeable different in the texture of the hair. You can also use it as a treatment (apply generously to your hair , leave-in, & rinse…. however, I have the Tendu mask for that purpose now).

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Hand & Nail

Nail Polish: ZOYA
Pretty awesome, pretty long-lasting, pretty colors.

Hand Cream: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (5.2 oz/ $28.00)
Best hand cream ever hands down. Period.

Bonus Items

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Healthy living: Green Tea (pictured in Hand & Care photo)

Magazines: My two favorites (shhhh… don’t tell le significant other!) are¬†Glamour¬†and¬†Smithsonian¬†(if you’re in the DC area, you should be a member, awesome benefits!)

Sunglasses: Mine were purchased (under $10.00) from Vaguely Reminiscent in Durham, NC

Coasters: Lovely additions to the house from Udaipur, India. Makes me want to travel again!

Phew! That’s it! I’m excited to see what I find in the second half of 2013.

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