A Simple Beauty Routine with Elements Beauty Shop

2015.2.27 A Simple Beauty Routine - Elements Beauty ShopI will be the first to tell you that I am the worst about skin care. In truth, I just never bothered with it because I didn’t abuse my skin (no tanning (minus one small stint post college), no frequent heavy make-up/foundation, no smoking, etc.) and well, I’m just pretty lazy when it comes to skin care/beauty products. I want to use things that are simple, cost efficient and won’t take me years to apply/remove. As such, I’ve probably done some pretty suspect things to my skin over the years (anyone remember Sea Breeze?). Since I started working with Elements Beauty Shop (other posts in this series here and here), I have become slightly more educated regarding what I should be doing to care for my skin. Obviously there are a number of beauty products that could be recommended, but because I like to keep things short and sweet, I asked the owners to help me craft a beauty routine for those of us who hate beauty routines but still want to care for our skin.


LATHER Ultra Mild Face Wash / LATHER Ultra Light Face Lotion

AM – For the AM routine, you should cleanse your skin and then follow with a moisturizer. Simple right? I already do this as I would wash my face while in the shower and then apply a moisturizer. However, since Elements came into my life, I have stepped up my product game a little and am using both of these LATHER products. I sampled them both thanks to Elements and they were the favorites of what I tried. I have been using the full size bottles for about a week now (another thanks to Elements!).  I love the face cleanser as you truly only need to use a pinky finger tip full; it foams nicely and the smell is fantastic. I like the moisturizer as well (nice and light), but find I have to use a little more, about a two middle finger tips worth, to really feel like my skin is being moisturized and thoroughly covered. I think this is in part due to the cold, winter weather we are having, so it will be interesting to see how this might change come spring/summer.


Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel / LATHER Toning Eye Gel with Vitamin K / LATHER Licorice Root Eye Treatment / REN V-Cense Revitalizing Night Cream

PM – For your evening routine, things get a little more complicated with two additional steps and some different products (although you most certainly can just use the AM products again to keep it super simple). The first step is cleansing your face once again. I balked at this because surely I don’t really need to do this right? After all, I don’t use foundation so what am I cleaning off? Air pollutants that your skin absorbs was the answer. After that less than lovely idea processed in my brain, I was sold on the nightly cleansing. I purchased and currently use Thayers to cleanse my face in the evening because it’s as simple as dabbing some on a cotton round and wiping this over your face. After cleaning, follow with what I like to call my “add-ons” – items for your eyes such as fine lines, dark circles and the like. I sampled the licorice root eye treatment and really loved it. I am currently using the vitamin K gel as a sample and really love this as well. I plan on picking up a full size bottle of each at the Elements event in March. Finally, you should end your PM routine with a night specific cream or heavier moisturizer. I am using this REN sample from Elements currently and I really like how it feels. As I mentioned in my first post (here), it is a little yellow and has a different smell, but my skin feels so supple after using this. It is a much more expensive product ($55 for a 1.7 oz), so I may find a LATHER alternative when this sample is gone.

So far I am loving this simple beauty routine! It’s perfect for me and doesn’t add too many steps to my routine. The biggest change up has been actually cleansing my face and applying the creams at night. My face feels better in the month or so that I’ve been using better quality products and I’m excited to keep experimenting. If you have any go-to beauty products, please share them! I am trying out Shop Style (an affiliate program), so I’ve included a few of the products I have tried through Elements, some that were recommended and a few that I have used on my own below. Mini-reviews beside the links if I have used them!


Malin + Goetz Essentials Travel Kit, 6 x 29ml • Malin+Goetz • $30.00 – I tried the SPF moisturizer and felt it was too heavy for daily use, but still want to try out their other products. Besides, the packaging is just so pretty. Oh and it’s pronounced “Malen and Getz.” Who knew.
Somme Institute Starter Kit ($50 Value!) 1 ea • Somme Institute • $32.00 – Never tried this brand, but it was recommended by Elements. The starter kit seems to be a good place to start!
SOMME INSTITUTE Eye Cream • Somme Institute • $72.00 - Never tried, but was recommend. A Somme Institute rep will be at future Elements events so it will be a great time to ask questions if you are local. This is definitely a more expensive product and not likely to me in my routine any time soon. Unless I hit the lottery. And then I would probably go straight to Erno Lazlo.
Face Secrets Professional Exfoliating Cotton Rounds • Face Secrets • $3.99 – I use something similar now from my grocery store, but really want to start using reusable ones like these after seeing similar ones on Wardrobe Oxygen – Alison featured colorful, patterned ones but I am loving the all white in the link above.
Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Toner with Aloe Vera, Rose Petal, 12 Fluid Ounce • Thayer • $9.95 - Using and loving!
Farm House Fresh Hello Yellow Cream • FarmHouse Fresh • $30.00 - not the sample I tried from Elements, but every FHF sample I have tried has been beyond amazing. Seriously. This stuff is soooo luxurious.
Kneipp Citrus Fruit & Melissa Body Wash 6.8 oz (193 g) • Kneipp • $15.50 - I used the “Happy Life” (or something similar) and absolutely loved it – the lemon smell was heavenly. Couldn’t find it here, but if the one I used is any indication, the others should be great as well.
REN V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream V-Cense™ Revitalising Night Cream • $55.00 - Currently using and really liking this sample. This looks cheap compared to the Somme right?
St Ives Scrub, Even & Bright Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange 6 Ounce • St. Ives • $6.03 – My long standing go-to for exfoliant products!

PS – If you like Pinterest and beauty products, you could be entered to win a beauty an Elements Gift card! All you need to do is create a beauty wish list on Pinterest, pin at least 5 products from the Elements site and share the board on Element’s FB page. Easy. You can see my board here.

PSST – If you see anything you love and want to purchase it, make sure to use my code CHICSTRIPES for 10% off!


This post was created in collaboration with Elements Beauty Shop.  All opinions and post ideas are my own. 

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An Intro to Elements

Elements5I mentioned in this post that I am working with a local beauty shop, Elements. They provided me and several other bloggers (check out Christina, Whitney, Kristel and Caroline ) with a bundle of customized beauty samples for us to try and review. The world of beauty products is relatively new territory for me and I consider myself a beauty product newbie. Historically, I have never really been “into” beauty products, never really having seen the need nor wanting to put out the money for beauty products that I just didn’t use that much. Obviously I use the basics, but I have never been into that latest shade of eye shadow or the newest BB Cream. As I am starting to focus on curating a quality wardrobe, though, I have been wanting to extend that philosophy into other areas of my life. Learning about the products Elements sells has been so intriguing and I wanted to introduce you to their gorgeous shop.


Elements is a family (and specifically woman!)-owned, local business with a strong e-commerce arm that ships within the 50 United States (and Puerto Rico!). The shop’s owners, Sherry and Jeanie started Elements as an offshoot of Sherry’s over 25 years in the health care industry. They believe that we are not only what we eat and wear, but what we put on our skin and of their products are tested on animals. Besides beauty products, Elements carries an assortment of  make up products, candles and other luxurious and unique items. The Elements logo was designed by the owner’s nephew and represents the four elements in nature: air, earth, fire and water.

elements2Elements celebrated their brick and mortar two-year anniversary this past November. They are located in one of Richmond’s most historic and celebrated shopping districts, Carytown (across from the McDonald’s for you locals). Sherry and Jeanie are firm believers in their philosophy of “If we won’t use it, we won’t sell it.” They constantly evaluate their products, receive in-service training from the brands they offer and are happy to educate their customers on products that work for them and are within their price range. This is my favorite aspect of the owners – they don’t care if you know nothing about beauty products and they won’t try to up sell you. They focus on getting you products that work for you – both your skin and your budget. And (most importantly), I didn’t feel looked down upon or as a lesser customer for wanting to stick within a mid-price range.

elements4The Lather wall is probably my favorite stand in the store because it represents products that I tried and love AND are within my price range. I appreciate that the recommendations for me were targeted towards what I currently want to spend (prices for Lather are mid-range, approx. $20 ish). As I slowly get more into beauty products, I may try some of the more expensive brands (ahem Erno Lazlo), but it may take me a while to get there and justify the cost. But seeing as how I can now justify a $100 t-shirt, it may come quicker than I think (maybe)!

elements1Elements also has a whole wall dedicated to men’s products and I can’t wait to slowly introduce my husband to some of these. If you are local, be on the look out for various events that Elements will be hosting. The first is Treat Yourself on March 11, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. A rep from Somme will be in attendance as is the make up artist from TEDxRVA. I also hear there will be champagne. I will be there as will most of the other bloggers. I hope to see you there!

There is one more post in my series on Elements for this month, so tune in next week to see a customized beauty routine for those of us who want to cover the beauty basics, but still keep it short and sweet.

PS – interested in trying out some products? Use the online promo code CHICSTRIPES and get 10% off your order!

This post was created as a collaboration with and sponsored by Elements Beauty Shop. All opinions and post ideas are my own.   





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Life Lately & Updates

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Hosting the Thrifting Twitter Chat with YMSSSS while eating lunch at Good Stuff Eatery in Georgetown

Blogging/styling projects have been going strong, if not as steady as I want them to. It can be hard building a business when you have several other businesses/jobs that you do/need and I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take and build a business slowly. I do not believe in taking on debt to build a dream. This may fly in the face of what ever other entrepreneur out there is doing and while I can be envious of them living the dream they want NOW, I would rather take my time getting there if it means doing it debt free. We have lived with debt (albeit small, less than $5K credit card debt and the typical home, student loan debt) and it’s not fun and I have no desire to be there. So I get a blogging/styling job, I buy another clothing rack. I get a job, I buy a printer, etc. Maybe it’s not ideal and I have to continue to remind myself not to compare to others, but it will come in time. In the mean time, I just deliver the most amazing services and am a dream to work with.

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Cute outfits that don’t make it to blog shooting. Because you know, life. And it’s cold.

That said, actual blogging has been slow lately. I am working on making some updates and layout changes to the blog, updating social media handles and overall having things a little more streamlined and getting this blog to look a little better. The blogging landscape has changed so much since I started this in 2009 and it can be crazy trying to keep up (Grit and Glamour has some great posts on this topic (looks like she’s doing updates now too! so check back later)). I’m in the market for a new camera and have a purchase date of late April (see – there’s where that no debt thing comes in), so until then, I haven’t been shooting a whole lot of things for the blog because I don’t want my projects to be sub par. That said, I am working on some fun posts and collaboration projects with Elements Beauty Supply (first here) and a few outfit photos will be scattered here in there. To stay up to date, make sure you are following on Twitter and Insta since that’s where the magic happens.

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The most beautiful sunset over NYC

We have also been doing our fair share of experiencing life. My husband is going back to school and taking a few night classes (I’m beyond proud of him and he’s doing amazing!). We hit the rock climbing gym when we can and I climb with a climbing partner on nights he is in class. We traveled to New York to surprise my best friend for her birthday. That drive is hell on earth, but when will we ever get to do that again? In the 18 years of us being friends, we have only lived within driving distance three times. So we easily agreed and packed it up one weekend for a very cold, fun weekend. We started Serial (so very interesting but ultimately disappointing) and are now hooked on pod casts. I’m reading a lot (The Divergent trilogy – super quick read, pretty interesting) and placing a lot of online orders like getting a few of these fun swim suits to try on for our trip to St. John this summer, finally getting this coconut milk for my morning coffee (it is JUST coconut milk, NO guar gum), and getting into a few beauty products like this and this. All of these things were blogger influenced and I’m excited to try them. I’m totally into online shopping now since ordering things for a client. Just click, buy and then keep or return. Better watch those return policies/fees though! I have some Sole Society shoes headed my way thanks to their exchange only policy. I have also been doing a lot of yoga lately. It is my work out of choice now since my Colorado knee injury. I love these YouTubers: Yoga with Adriene who is down to earth and really puts forth a “Find what feels good” approach to yoga which I appreciated as a yoga new comer. I found Fightmaster Yoga a few days ago and love her. She is much more advanced than Yoga with Adriene (at least in the youtube videos) and tends to do things very fast or do poses I haven’t learned yet, but I love the challenge of these. If you need even more inspiration, here are two of my favorite insta yogis: Superhuman Yogi and Fit Queen Irene. I  mean, can you even imagine doing what they do? It’s crazy I tell you! But I also really love them because they remind their followers constantly that yoga is a journey and they started out not even being able to stretch all the way to the ground. So there ya go, midweek inspiration and life updates.


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Elements Beauty Shop VLOG

I have been working with Elements, a local beauty shop, on a series of posts to feature a few of their products. When they reached out, I immediately let them know I wasn’t a beauty blogger and was, in fact, pretty lazy and lax when it comes to my own beauty regime. They were so gracious when I responded to their beauty quiz with what basically amounted to: “I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to beauty products” and “I don’t want to spend a fortune.” They hand picked samples for me based on my (not so helpful) feedback and I have been testing them out over the past few weeks. I love filming VLOGs and thought you would appreciate a first impressions video. I have included all of the samples I received below along with my commentary thus far. I have gotten through all but 2 of the samples and some were clear winners, others are growing on me and some, not so much. There are two more blog posts in this Elements series, so I hope you enjoy. And let me know your own beauty routine and products you love – I can use all the pointers I can get!

 Lather Ultra Light Every Day Face Lotion – I absolutely LOVE this stuff. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t have SPF because I can see myself using this every day, morning and night., but it smells so nice, absorbs easily and quickly, leaving a clean feeling (not greasy or heavy) on your skin. I loved that a little tiny bit went a long way. I used the 3.1 ml sample 5 times before running out.

Lather Licorice Root Eye Treatment – Another winner. I was hesitant with this at first because anything that adds another step to my beauty routine is likely not gonna happen. But again, the feeling and smell of this product was so light, so airy. A little truly went a long way as I have used this 8 times and still have product left from the sample size. I haven’t been able to see a noticeable difference yet, but I like the idea that I am caring for my face, especially the delicate eye area. My husband noted that I do have bags (yikes) so hopefully this helps over time. I am also looking to Elements for something similar to this that maybe works better/faster? Will keep you posted.

Lather AHA Hand Creme with Evening Primrose – On my notes for this product, I wrote that I liked the smell, that a little goes a long way and that it felt a little greasy (not in a bad way, just didn’t absorb into my skim completely). I don’t know that I would buy a whole bottle of this, only because I tend to go through lotions on my hand quickly and I don’t think I noticed a huge difference.

Kneipp Almond Floral Body Lotion  (not exact match) – I felt that the texture of this lotion was nice, it glided on easily and absorbed quickly, but I did not like the scent. It had too much of a floral scent for what I prefer for body lotion. I love things with softer or non existent scents.

Lather Lip Green Tea - I like this product, I’m glad I got to try it, but I think I would opt to try another brand/type the next time. It felt awesome going on and helped, but I tend to have really dry/easily chapped lips and it almost felt like I would need to reapply every 10 minutes or so.

Kneipp Lemon Body Wash (not sure of exact match) – Oh. My. Gosh. This stuff was amazing! I love lemons, the smell of lemons, everything about lemons and this was the best body wash I have ever used. I tend to use Oil of Olay, Dove, etc. things that are simple/plain smelling but this was so fun and girly that I would totally buy this again just for when I wanted something fresh.

FarmHouse Fresh Sweet Cream Body Lotion – OK, so you know where I said I like body lotions that are subtle and sweet? This one is my soul mate. It smells divine (seriously, that’s what I wrote down in my testing notebook). The small 2 ml sample size was enough for just my arms, but this is totally going on my “want to spoil me, buy this lotion” list for my husband.

Lather Sweet Almond Exfoliating Cream – This I thought smelled absolutely luxurious. It was a mix of a cream base with small exfoliating beads. I used this four times from the small sample and really enjoyed it, although I would like to try a range of other exfoliating products before committing.

Lather Bamboo Silk Foaming Face Wash – I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I liked the smell but I did not like the foaming feel.

REN Reinitialize Night Creme – I was/am very excited about this product as I know a night creme is something I need to begin incorporating into my routine. I have used this twice and both times loved it – the smell is so nice, it goes on well with a very light feeling to it. I will note that the creme has a yellowish tint which can be off putting at first (I guess I just expected white?) Since I’m lazy, I hate washing my face at night (I don’t use any makeup on my face, so typically no need to do anything but remove eye makeup) and haven’t found a good toner/cleanser wipe that I can just wipe my face with (vs. washing with water/soap), so I haven’t used this as frequently as I feel like I should since I feel like I should have a clean face before applying. I have heard good things about this Thayers Witch Hazel and plan on purchasing a bottle for this purpose.  So hopefully there will be an uptick in this product as the sample is large and should last for a while.

Lather Blemish Serum – This is the stuff of gods. I have what I would consider average skin, not too oily, not to dry, but prone to blemishes from time to time (and more so when consuming dairy products). I had a blemish start to form, I dabbed on the serum, and within a day, it was less red and was diminishing in size. It has tea tree in it so it smells amazing. It goes on like a gel but doesn’t dry like most cremes tend to do. The price is similar to what I spent on my last blemish item (from Arbonne, which I still have), so I would not hesitate to pay $30 for this again based on my experiences thus far. Plus, a tiny bit will last 6-12 months depending on how often you use.

Malin + Goetz 30 SPF Face Moisturizer – I really wanted to like this product, but I just don’t, at least not for everyday use. I love that Elements included this because I asked for a face moisturizer with SPF, but this one was just too heavy and greasy for every day wear. I felt like I should be headed to the beach. I would love a travel version of this one for summer traveling, but otherwise, I would prefer something lighter and less sunscreen like.

Lather Cucumber Milk Facial Cleanser – Another one I just didn’t like. The cleanser was very thin, almost milk like (which I guess makes sense), but the cucumber smell was too weird. I tried it twice to use up the sample and both times I did not like it.

Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash – I haven’t tried this one out yet, but I have a feeling I am really going to like this if it is similar to the everyday moisturizer. *Post update – in the spirit of being accurate, I tried this this morning in my shower. Loved it! It smelled so nice (lavender) and foamed just right. I still like using exfoliating cleansers, but could see this as an alternative on days I don’t exfoliate.

Lather Honey Moisture Mask with Propolis Extract – I haven’t tried this one yet either, mainly because it says I have to let the mask sit on my face for 20 minutes and frankly that just seems like too much time/work. On the plus side, you don’t rinse this mask, but rub it in like lotion, so maybe that will work in my favor. *Post update – As I type, I am wearing this face mask. My husband kindly informed me that I had lotion all over my face and I kindly informed him it was a mask. It literally smells like honey. 5 minutes in and it’s already absorbed into my skin. I kinda like this type of mask. Put it on and you’re good to go.

I was very happy and pleased with the recommendations from the Elements team. They picked things that matched exactly what I said I wanted/thought I could use and provided products that addressed issues I have (needing SPF, having dry hands/chapped lips, wanting a night creme, etc.). I have two more fun posts in this series, so stay tuned!


This post was created in collaboration with and sponsored by Elements Beauty Shop.  All opinions and post ideas are my own. 


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Chic Stripes 30 Day Style Challenge – Week 5 Updates

2015 style challenge week 4

Happy Monday – last week of updating on the #chicstripes30daystyle challenge. You can view the recaps here, here, here and here. My original goal for myself was to wear more skirts, which I was failed abysmally.

Day 26 – While this outfit appears all black, it’s really a combination of navy pants with, well, all black. I had a client wardrobe meeting and closet cleanse so flat shoes and an easy to move in outfit was a necessity.

Day 27 – Snow day! Which in Richmond, Virginia means less than an inch of snow and all schools closed. I still haven’t purchased real snow boots, so the Hunters will work in a jam (my feet are always cold though, need to start doubling up on socks). Wearing an old thrifted sweater, scarf and bling earrings to dress up an otherwise very casual outfit.

Day 28 – Blue pants + black boots combo again but this time with an olive green army jacket over top. I think I would like this better with a white button down. Suggestions?

Day 29 – Completely forgot to take a photo, but was wearing hounds-tooth skinny pants and the same top as Day 26.

Day 30 – Cropped navy pants with thrifted sweater and black accents (necklaces and kitten heels). I really liked this outfit, but the necklaces kept coming out of alignment. I took two, clasped them together and them wrapped them around three times. I should have secured them with a safety pin in the back, but I’m hesitant to do that with shorter hair (easier to see if you jimmy something together).

Day 31 – Andrew and I helped his parents move on Saturday so the day was spent in my Fabletics capris (mini-review – love them because they are my “modern” capris, thick and my husband says they make my butt look good, but they easily attract lint and seem dull and faded after washing.) and old tennis shoes and various layers.




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