Best Of January 2017

It's that time of the month, guys. Not *that* one...

Amber

1.

Franco Sarto Kayda Boots

When we first decided to transition to a 100% vegan wardrobe I already anticipated how challenging it would be to find gorgeous, high-quality footwear. Every vegan complained about it. There was such a debacle getting these boots. I wrote numerous people, including the team at Franco Sarto to confirm that the upper, lining, and sole are all synthetic.

Truth: I wasn’t really looking for a tall boot for every day casual wear. But a cool thing about designer fashion (even some high-end designers) is that when making a shoe with a lot of material (typically any boots over-the-knee and above), they will use synthetic fabric so the cost is lower. However, the challenge is that they’ll still use a leather sole or lining. Why??? 

That’s why when I saw that these over-the-knee boots claimed to be constructed with all man-made materials, I didn’t just take the website’s word for it. I did my own firsthand research and verified all claims. It’s a lot of work, but I refuse to sacrifice aesthetics for my beliefs and you shouldn’t either.

2.

Herbivore Brightening Mask

If you caught this…you saw this coming a mile away. I’m a tad obsessed with anything that claims to have brightening effects on the skin because when I break out my scars get extremely dark, which means they persist longer than someone who doesn’t suffer from hyper pigmentation.

But I’m also obsessed with any beauty products that deliver results fast. Period. All of Herbivore’s range is filled with high-performing ingredients that work, no questions asked. They’re like the perfect lover: get in, get it done, I’ll see you tomorrow same time. You can shop the mask here (or below!).

3.

Tamara Kalinic of Glam & Glitter

It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite blogger because there are just so many who work extremely hard to inspire, influence, and consistently put out solid, beautiful content. But a favorite blogger a month, that I can handle.

This month I have to give it up to someone I’ve actually been obsessed with for the last several months. When she uploads a video on her YouTube channel I without hesitation add it to my “watch later” queue. I don’t even care what the title or topic is. Watching Tamara ramble on about her luxury purchases is so addictive. But it’s really her positivity and life philosophy that has me so hooked on her channel.

If you like pretty things and luxury, subscribe to her channel. Even if you can’t afford the things she mentions, you can take inspiration and find the look for less. The best part is she’s not some snooty little rich girl whose parents/BF spoils her. She works hard for everything she has and gives back a ton.

4.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Self-growth is paramount. One of my goals this year is to read a book that challenges my way of thinking once a month. When people are unhappy or dissatisfied or disillusioned these days, they tend to run to their surgeon’s office or spa to get more Botox, fillers, injections. They work on the outside thinking that will change the inside. It won’t. Seeking perfection on the surface will only take away from the time you can be using to strengthening what’s beneath. So instead, I read. It’s all about progress, not perfection anyway.

The Secret teaches about the Law of Attraction, meaning you become what you attract through your thoughts and feelings. The concept might go over your head and sound like weird philosophical bullshit. But I’m a realist (not a delusional optimist) so I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of it is silly (putting it nicely) and so clichéd you’re going to roll your eyes so much, you’ll have your cardio in for the day by the time you complete a chapter. But my main takeaway is that you don’t have to know exactly how something is going to happen for you in order for to take the first steps of making something happen; you just have to believe it’s going to happen (and then, of course, put in the hard work to make it a reality).

This simple concept was extremely powerful when I grasped it and has changed the way I view my entire world because it’s taught me how to believe in the things I want to happen without knowing how they’re going to happen, just that they will happen. It’s not that this concept changed anything I was doing or am going to do. The “secret” is a short-term solution that can, at best, alleviate any self-induced psychological turmoil, which I’m guilty of. Things like worry, stress, anxiety. Embracing the concept didn’t change my life because I’m by nature a doer. Even if I don’t know if something is going to work out, if I’m passionate enough about it and decide I’m going to do what it takes to get it, I just do. But the concept did calm down a lot of my daily neurotic tendencies.

I also don’t love everything about the entire philosophy behind the book. It’s one of those you just have to read carefully and make your own opinions about what is discussed. But in a nutshell, don’t fall for the “visualize being and it will become” thing. Um, you still have to get up off your ass and make things happen. Believing in what you want is just great for making you feel better in the moments where you’re doubting it.

By the way, if you want to watch the movie that the book is based off, you can on YouTube.

5.

Carli Bybel’s Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette

My name is Amber Brown and I have a highlighter problem. Seriously, strobing is life and I can’t believe how I avoided it because of my *oily skin* (more on that here). Everything changed when I tried Glossier’s Haloscope in Topaz. I love the easy-to-apply stick and the cream formula is ideal for contacts wearers. It’s also perfect for layering powder highlighters over (the cream helps the powder stick and give a more pigmented look). The only thing is that it’s not ideal for applying under the brows or down your nose or in the inner corners of your eyes because the diameter of the tube is too fat.

As soon as I saw Carli apply one of the highlighters down the bridge of her nose (I’m late to the game, I know!) I had to order it ASAP. It’s highly pigmented, which is a little scary for me because I prefer a woke-up-like-dis face, but they’re easily blendable. My favorite thing to do with powder highlighters is to wear them as highlighter and eye-shadow so this palette is perfect for me because I can just use them anywhere, basically.

Guys, here palette is limited edition and will only be up for grabs at BH Cosmetics for a couple more months or so. You know what that means – run, don’t walk! I’m planning on bringing this on my trip to Mexico this spring since it’s so diverse, but more on that below…

6.

Bookit.com

I don’t remember the exact moment when our mom told us that she’s never been anywhere (outside of the tri-state area where she grew up and currently lives), but I definitely still feel the acute pang of sadness that hit me. This had to be over fifteen years ago and it’s when Dani and I made the decision that if nothing else, we were going to take our mom on a 5-star vacation as soon as we had the means.

Sure, we put ourselves through a private university, started our writing career, and launched GOCO despite all the odds all on our own, but no other achievement felt as good as booking our week-long stay in Playa Del Carmen for the three of us. 

Bookit.com had this amazing deal for an all-inclusive Platinum suite package including round-trip flights that I knew I had to jump on as soon as I stumbled upon it. It was by far the best package I had found on my hunt: 24-hour room service, in-room Jacuzzi, ocean-view room, private swim-up pool with butler, private access to the beach, separate living area, champagne at arrival, robes, slippers, gift upon arrival – I could go on and on. The point is we’re taking our mom on her first vacation ever, all expenses paid. All she has to do is show up and get over her fear of flying! BTW, this is our first vacation we’re taking, too.

Dani

 1.

Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Body Scrub

The smell of this is my new obsession. I’m not the type of girl that likes to wear perfume during the day on an everyday basis, especially if I’m staying in the house all day. Which is why I love body care products that have a (natural!) long lasting fragrance. You wouldn’t think olive and green tea would be so appealing scent-wise, but take my word for it, it is. Shea moisture is one of my holy grail brands. Every product that I try from them is high quality and always gets the job done. A body scrub has recently become an essential in my shower routine. I legit get excited about showering now because of this scrub. It’s so creamy that it almost lathers up. Besides smelling absolutely amazing, this scrub has major anti-aging benefits, which is always a plus for me.

 2.

Josie Maran Argan Exfoliating Cleansing Powder

Exfoliating is such a big part of my skincare routine, and prior to trying this one, I was used to only using exfoliators with synthetic fibers. You know, the typical mini, ball-shaped bits that most drugstore exfoliators have. But after listening to Josie go on and on about how creamy this one is, I was convinced. After I ordered, the reviews online started to get me a bit worried; there were a few girls saying that the natural exfoliators were much too harsh for their skin and cased some tearing. But once I tried it for myself, I found that it’s actually the perfect texture to gently buff away any dead skin. And there’s always something about using a power cleanser or powder exfoliator or powder mask that makes you feel like you’ve stepped up your skincare game. Have you tried any powder formulas that you love?

This is just another product from Josie’s line that I absolutely love. I swear, her brand is flawless. I love the simplicity and honesty.

3.

Glossier Nail Polish

I’m definitely not a pink girl…by any means. However, this is Glossier pink and they honestly can do no wrong. I don’t know what possessed me to try a pink shade on my nails in the first place, but ever since I did, I’m obsessed. Somehow this color is fresh, but still feels neutral enough for me. Too bad it was limited edition!

By: Amber x Dani

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What are some of your favorite things this month? Let us know in the comments below!

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