Hello Everyone!!

Have you had that ghastly cold/flu that has been everywhere this winter? I have. Twice. How does that even happen? Anyway, if you have been wondering where the blog posts have been the past couple of weeks, they’ve been sidelined while I have been trying to get better!

I’m nearly back to 100%, so better late than never!

Friends and clients and readers are always asking me about which skincare products I use. I am obsessed with skin care, I believe that to look our most gorgeous, whether we have a full face of makeup on or none at all, our skin must be in its optimum condition, so I really put a lot of effort into my complexion.

skin care essentials

I have products that I use daily, products that I use weekly and products that I just use as needed. (Not shown here are all the sheet masks I use and the Reves de Sabine Rose Clay mask that I got from a photo shoot, and my eye cream, the tube of which is too beat up to photograph!)

I am a huge proponent of Korean skin care products and the multiple step Korean skin regimen, but it often confuses people when I try to explain the steps I do and how it all works. Invariably I get asked which specific products and brands I am using. I decided while I was cleaning out my skincare cabinet this weekend and getting everything ready for 2018 that I should photograph the skin care products I am using and put them in a step by step order so that you can see what has been working for me.

I buy my Korean Beauty products through Memebox. They now use Amazon as their fulfillment center, so I am putting Amazon links where I can .

I also get products sent to me by companies for my magazine work, and get others from my Zoe Report Box of Style and FabFitFun subscriptions. Some of those products make it in to the skincare favorites, others not so much! I don’t like to speak badly about anyone’s products, so if I don’t like something I just don’t talk about it.

I am a huge Tatcha fan and love love love their entire product line, but as a single mom they don’t always fit my budget.

skin care essentials

My Daily Skincare Routine

I think one of the most important components of your skincare wardrobe is your cleanser. If you are using the wrong cleanser for your skin type it sets off a chain reaction of everything going wrong. If your cleanser is too drying (think foaming cleansers and bar soaps) it strips your skin, leaving it looking parched. For oily girls a cleanser that is too drying actually makes your skin create more oil. If your cleanser is too heavy or greasy for your skin type it can make your skin feel slimy and slick.

Cleansing Oil

I'm Cleansing Oil

A cleanser should dissolve away your makeup and cleanse your skin without leaving a film on it. I have been using Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil  for several years now. I use the formulation for normal to dry skin, but they also make I’m Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin. You can find it online here at Amazon.com

I only cleanse my skin at night and just rinse it in the mornings, but in the official K Beauty system you double cleanse both morning and night.

All of these Korean products are super concentrated, so you only use a tiny amount of any of them.

CosRX Snail Mucin Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

The next step is to apply an Essence. I use CosRx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence. It took me a long time to get on board with using products containing something called snail mucin, but am so glad I finally did! I had been reading about it but wasn’t game to try it, and then I saw one of my girlfriends skin looking sensational, and when I asked her what she had changed she told me she was using products with snail mucin. You should have seen how fast I got online and started ordering!

This is the most amazing ingredient and my skin has never looked so good since adding products containing it into my skincare plan. Now I buy everything I can that contains snail mucin.

This essence from CosRx is nutrient dense and makes your skin glow. It boosts your skin’s brightness, hydration and overall tone. I buy it online here at Amazon.com

Scinic All In One Snail Ampoule

 Scinic Snail All in One Ampoule Serum

Morning and night after cleansing (or rinsing) I apply the essence followed by this next product, The Scinic Snail All In One Ampoule Serum. Don’t be put off by the name! My skin loves this product more than anything, and I always re-order it once I am half way through a bottle so that I am never without it! Again just a tiny amount goes a long way.

You probably don’t need to use both products, but I do and I like to layer them. This ampoule further boosts the skin’s hydration and its glow. It helps your skin to repair itself, diminishes redness and uneven color. When you have something working on hydration that goes this deep, your skin looks amazing all day. It also prevents and minimizes the fine lines and wrinkles that either show up or get worse because of skin becoming dehydrated. I find that makeup looks so much better when I have this on under my moisturizer, foundation looks super smooth.

Oolu Orchid Emulsion

During the day my next step is emulsion. This is a lighter texture of moisturizer that still is nutrient rich but doesn’t have a heavy finish to it. The essence and the ampoule are busy working away underneath, super boosting the skin’s hydration, so during the day I just use the emulsion. At the moment I have the Oolu Orchid Emulsion but you can find a similar product

I follow this with my Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100 It is important that you use a broad spectrum SPF product every single day. Broad spectrum SPF’s block both the UVA aging rays and the UVB burning rays and keep you looking youthful and pretty for longer!

MIZON Snail Repair Cream

At night instead of emulsion, after essence and ampoule I use MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream. This is a lightweight but powerful ultra-nourishing gel-cream moisturizer. Your skin does all of its repair work while you sleep, so it is important to use products that help improve cell regeneration and recovery. This one also helps reduce pores, acne scars and blemishes. It is wonderful. And it is ridiculously inexpensive.

Osea Essential Facial Oil

Osea Essential Hydrating Oil

Osea Facial Oil. I got this in my Zoe Report Box Of Style. I love facial oils, especially in the winter months, or if I’m somewhere hot and dry in the summer. Of course I live in Phoenix, so my summers are both hot and dry, so I use facial oils during those months, but if I’m going to be somewhere more humid I don’t bother.

I don’t know a lot about this company (Osea) but their facial oil is wonderful. I use it after the moisturizing step.

Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack

SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Celluminator Mask Pack (Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack)

The final skin care step at night is a sleeping pack. This has the texture of a gel-cream, so is quite lightweight. Its job is to hold all the skin care products you just applied against your skin. It’s like the sealing product, holding everything where it is supposed to be, and keeping them all working. It also gives your skin some more moisture, and moisture is the key to youthful looking skin!

As for the Donkey Milk part? I have no idea what it does – I just bought it because the name sounded so funny! I have never bought a Korean skincare product that has been less than amazing, and this one did not disappoint!

The Add Ons

I have several products for exfoliating. I rotate them and only use them once every week or two. Exfoliation should be based on your skin’s needs.

SNP Peeling Gel

SNP Advanced Peeling Gel.

Once every week (or sometimes every other week) I will exfoliate my skin to keep the surface clear of dead skin cells and debris and to keep it nice and smooth. I don’t believe in using scrubs on your face. I think they scratch off the dead cells on the surface of the skin but then also scratch the baby skin underneath, keeping your skin in a perpetual state of roughness and grittiness. So instead I prefer to use enzyme treatments like this peeling gel. You pop it on after cleansing and let it set for 15 minutes, then rinse it off and you have gorgeous, smooth skin!

ORG Mineral Peel

O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Peel

This one is a Korean product that came in my FabFitFun box last spring. You can use it daily before makeup to keep your skin smooth, or less if you don’t need daily exfoliating. You spray it on and then using circular massaging motions with your fingers lift away the top layer of your skin. It’s pretty cool! I often use this on shoots when I need to smooth out a model’s skin.

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder.

I have used this one for ages. Right when my previous jar was running out this full sized jar arrived in my Zoe Report Box Of Style, the timing could not have been more perfect! This is a water activated enzyme cleanser and exfoliant that gently clears away any dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin, leaving you with a lovely, glowing complexion. You only use a small amount, so a jar lasts a really long time.

ExfoliKate

ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville.

This exfoliating mask has been around for years and is a celebrity favorite. It just arrived in the winter FabFitFun box so I have only used it a few times, but it is really lovely and very quick. You only put it on for 2 minutes then rinse it off, and you are left with beautiful glowing skin. You can find ExfoliKate at Sephora.

I have actually had several really amazing products from FabFitFun. The box is only $50 per quarter and they give you some really outstanding full sized skin and makeup products. You can read about their subscriptions here

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

I bought this one at Sephora a few months ago after hearing a lot about it from other people in the beauty industry so decided to give it a try. This is a nighttime retinol oil designed to work on fine lines and wrinkles, rough patches and dryness. I quite like it but it is expensive. Sunday Riley products are available at Sephora.com

Sunday Riley Tidal

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.

This one was also in a Zoe Report Box of Style. It is a really lovely, intense water drench for the skin. It is quite lightweight so is a great option if you don’t like the feel of heavy moisturizers. I often use it before makeup to make foundation look extra gorgeous. The trick is rather than rubbing it in like a lotion, lightly drum your fingers across your skin. You will almost feel water beads on the surface of the skin. I will do this about 5 minutes before I want to put makeup on. It’s fabulous! I also really like to travel with this product when I’m going somewhere humid. You still need to hydrate the skin in humidity, but most moisturizers just feel slimy. This one is magic.

You can find Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream online at Sephora  and you can read about the Box of Style subscriptions here

Sonia Roselli Water Balm

Sonia Roselli Beauty Water Balm Skin Prep

Sonia Roselli Water Balm. This one is a makeup artist secret and as far as I know is only available on Sonia’s website and Amazon. Developed for makeup artists, it is the ultimate pre-makeup treatment. It plumps up the skin, softening fine lines and wrinkles and giving it the most amazing hydration so that makeup looks gorgeous. You apply this one with a drumming of the fingers too and almost get a wet finish to the skin. You let it sit and soak in for a few minutes and then start the makeup application. Foundation looks absolutely beautiful when you use this product first. You can find it on SoniaRoselli.com and also here on Amazon.comhere at Amazon.com

Tatcha Indigo

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment.

A few years ago I did a shoot in Colorado and somewhere between the altitude and the cold dry air my skin took a beating! I even had windburn on the tops of my cheeks. I bought the Tatcha Indigo Renewal Treatment because it literally heals damaged skin. Indigo has fantastic healing properties. I have kept this product on hand ever since and use it as a rescue product.

Inside each Tatcha product there is a story written on a vellum scroll. I learned with this one that the ancient Samurai would wear cotton soaked in indigo next to their skin so that if they were cut with a sword the healing process would begin immediately as the indigo went to work. Tatcha has an entire line of indigo products, perfect for winter skin that needs healing. The indigo products from Tatcha are endorsed by the National Eczema Association. They are just that good!

This product isn’t available at Sephora, you need to get it directly from Tatcha.com

I think it’s a good idea to have a core group of products that you use every day and then have others that you rotate through, depending on your skin’s needs. When you find the products and the system that makes your skin look amazing, use just those until your skin stops looking amazing. I am super loyal to my skincare products and hardly ever try new things because I my skin looks incredible, it took a while to find the perfect regimen, and why would I change a thing?

I think Korean women demand an enormous amount from their skin care products. If a product isn’t performing extremely well and giving amazing results, the Korean woman will replace it with something that does. As such their products are extremely high performance.

American women tend to make their purchasing decisions based upon whichever celebrity is endorsing a product line, and don’t have such high expectations for their skin care products. If your skin isn’t looking amazing then you need to make some changes in the products you are using. You work far too hard to be wasting your hard earned money on products that don’t perform for you!

I hope you found this post helpful, and will try out some of these items next time you feel your skin needs some extra lovin!

If you have skincare products that you absolutely love, please tell us about them in the comment section below.

xo

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I absolutely love Barcelona. I used to spend much more time in Spain when I lived in London, but over the past few years hadn’t been back until this past December (2017). I am a huge believer in traveling on your birthday, if not every birthday then at least as many as you can. My birthday is the week before Christmas, which is completely lame as everyone is busy doing Christmas-y things, but it is also brilliant because it can be the perfect time to travel!

Related Post: Why You Should Travel On Your Birthday

This year I wanted to head back to Barcelona for my birthday. My best friend decided to join me, and we had no end of fun enjoying Catalan hospitality and Catalan culture. The Christmas markets were happening, and although it was cold (ish) with most days in the high 50’s to low 60’s, which is my kind of cold (for my non American readers the average day was 12.5 degrees celcius to 18 degrees celcius), almost every day had sparkling blue skies.

Related Post: Christmas In Barcelona – What Is Caga Tio???

One of the best things about being in Barcelona in December was the near void of tourists. If you have been to the Catalan capital between April and November then you already know what a brain-bending human crush it can be, especially when the cruise ships are in the harbor, disgorging thousands of tourists at a time. December on the other hand is perfect. You can wander freely through the streets, you can see everything you want to see, the cost of almost everything goes down, even the pick-pockets are taking their annual holiday. It is magic!

La Bocqueria Market

One of the things I love to do in Barcelona is to c shop at La Boqueria market on La Rambla.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

La Bocqueria Barcelona

La Boqueria has a history dating back to 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate from which butchers sold meat. Later, from 1470 it became known as Mercadi Bornet, and was a pig market. At some point over the next centuries it became known as Mercat de la Palla, or straw market until 1794. Then it was renamed La Boqueria, which is perhaps derived from the Catalan word boc, which means goat, and could therefore indicate it was a goat market or a market selling goat meat.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

 

In 1835 the decision was made to construct a market on La Rambla, mainly for butchers and fishmongers. Now on average 200 vendors open their stalls every day, selling fish and meat, nuts and vegetables, fruit and eggs. There are vendors selling snacks and there are bars where you can sit down and have a drink and a meal.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

Related Post: 10 Things You Absolutely Must Do In Barcelona

La Bocqueria Barcelona

La Boqueria is a visual banquet, your eyes just don’t know where to land next! As you wander up and down aisle after aisle of market stalls you get caught up in the explosion of colors that make up the local Catalan foods. The sights and smells and sounds are wonderful!

La Bocqueria Barcelona

Although there is a tourist presence at the market, this is also a place where locals come buy their meats, fish and produce. Half the fun of being there is watching the locals interact with each other and with the vendors.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

You also get a keen understanding of Mediterranean cuisine, and how it is driven by the array of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

When I travel in Europe I like to stay in vacation rental apartments instead of hotels. I love being able to shop in local markets and eat some meals at home, others at cafes and restaurants. Even if you’re just buying ingredients for a salad or something super simple to cook at the apartment it is so much fun shopping at La Boqueria! You can buy everything you need for a simple picnic or a giant dinner party, or anything in between.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

If you are only in town for a day, or are staying in a hotel, or don’t want to cook while you are in Barcelona you should still go check the market out. You can buy snacks or a takeaway lunch, or just visit it for a look around.

La Bocqueria Barcelona

Before I leave La Boqueria I like to have a glass of cava (the Catalan version of champagne) and a snack at Pinotxos, the bar at the entrance to the market.

Corinna B's World La Bocqueria Barcelona

Pinotxos is family owned and family run, and has been around since long before my first trip to Barcelona a lifetime ago. It’s kind of fun to go back there after years and still see the same faces behind the bar!

Pinotxos La Bocqueria Barcelona

Barcelona, like many popular European cities, has a problem with pickpockets. They are incredibly quick and incredibly wiley, so any time you are in a crowded place such as a market or any major tourist spot you need to be super vigilant and very aware of your belongings. Keep you hand on your handbag at all times. You ideally should wear a cross body bag and keep it close to your person at all times.

Travelon makes an anti theft cross body bag that is perfect for travel. A cable running through the shoulder strap makes it slash proof, the body of the bag itself is slash-proof, it has RFID blocking slots for your credit cards and passport, keeping the digital information on your credit card magnetic strips and the digitized information on your passport unhackable. The zippers on the bag have caribiners that prevent pick pockets from slipping the zipper open and getting inside your bag. You can also loop the shoulder strap through your seat so no one can grab it and run while you are eating. You can find this bag online at The Container Store in a variety of styles.

See the video below for more details.


728 x 90 Orbitz Lost Stolen Passport

 

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One of the truly fantastic things about travel is learning all about the different traditions that people celebrate around the world.

Some holiday traditions are really crazy. They make no sense at all. Such as a rabbit that delivers chocolate eggs to celebrate the death of Christ. Or a fat man who flies through the night in a carriage lead by reindeer, who then land on your roof so that the fat man can come down the chimney and leave presents in socks. And Caga Tio. This one blew my mind, in a hilarious, too fantastic to be true, lord-I-wish-my-son-was-still-13 kind of a way!

Caga Tio Christmas markets barcelona

I have just been in Barcelona, roaming the Christmas markets and reveling in December in Catalonia. Catalans are wonderful people, I adore their culture, I adore Barcelona and I adore them. I truly hope that no Catalans take offense to this post!

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Let me tell you about one of the funniest Christmas traditions I have ever come across in all my years wandering the world, it is the Catalan tradition of Caga Tio. (Pronounced Cacka-tee-oh)

 

Caga Tio

Everywhere I went in Barcelona I saw Caga Tio, and he was the absolute super star of every Christmas market. Caga Tio is a log with legs, a blanket, a stick, a red hat and a huge smiling face. You can buy little ones and huge ones, most of them are actual logs but some are in soft toy form. He is essentially the Catalan version of Santa Claus. Tio means uncle but it also means log, and caga means poo, so the literal translation is Poo-log.

Caga Tio

From December 8th until Christmas Eve it is the kids’ job to take care of Caga Tio. They put a blanket over him to keep him warm, and every night they feed him turron and orange peel. They more they feed him and the better care they take of him, the more he will poop out presents at Christmas!

Caga Tio christmas market Barcelona

Just like we have different sized Santas here in the USA, in Catalunya they have all different sizes of Caga Tio!

The story gets even crazier and funnier! On Christmas eve the children get sticks and beat Caga Tio while singing him the Caga Tio song. They literally beat him until he poops! My Catalan friend told me that after the beating the kids run away and hide while the parents put presents under the blanket. Apparently they call out “Eeeeeewwww! It’s getting really smelly in here!” (I about died laughing at that!!) Then the kids come back into the room and look under the blanket that has been keeping him warm these past few days and weeks and find that Caga Tio has pooped out their Christmas presents!

Isn’t that just the funniest thing ever?? If you know some fun Christmas customs from around the world please tell me in the comments section below!

Very best wishes to all of you, my readers, all around the world for an absolutely wonderful Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate). I hope your holiday season is full of love and happiness!


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Barcelona Christmas Caga Tio