Review: Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask

It’s been a long day.

And by a long day, I mean it’s actually been quite a nice day – it’s just had a lot of things to do in it. I started out frantically finishing up packing to head back to school before flying from Lexington to South Bend – in a private plane I might add, but more on that when I post the OOTD from today later this week – and finally making it back to school by early evening in time to get dinner with my friends and then unpack.

It’s days like these when I like to pamper myself a little – you know, to reward myself on a job well done of not messing anything up horrifically and actually getting a fair amount of productive “adulting” in. Those days don’t come by often.

Recently, my friends at Alya Skin sent me their Australian Pink Clay Mask to review, so it seemed like the perfect time to crack it open and give it a shot.

The first thing I noticed about the product was its nice packaging – a simple matte pink box, inside of which was a simple pink jar. Was it anything spectacular or artistic? No, but it was very fashionable, like something I wouldn’t mind having sat out on my bathroom counter. Minimalistic.

The mask itself was very standard mud mask fair – apply to cleansed skin, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with a damp cloth.

Alya Skin claims that their Australian Pink Clay mask helps with removing pigmentation clusters from skin’s surface, stimulating regeneration of skin cells, and drawing out and removing pollutants and toxins from skin. Did it live up to those claims?

(After application: no face makeup, some eye makeup)

To be honest, I’m not sure. I can say, though, that after one use, my skin felt smoother, softer, and more refreshed. I’m no facial mask expert – I’m don’t understand the chemistry of skin or the science behind skin care  – but I can speak to my own experience, and my experience was positive. I liked the rose scent, I liked the pearly pink texture, I liked that the product is vegan, gluten free, and not tested on animals.

(After application: full makeup)

In the end, I got everything I was looking for out of the Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay mask – some relaxation, a calming scent, and the satisfaction of knowing I was doing something good for my skin after having fallen asleep with makeup on a few too many times over winter break. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a simple way to pamper themselves every now and then, and to anyone looking for a quick way to even out their skin’s texture and tone.

You can check out the product over on Alya Skin’s website here, if it looks like something you might be interested in purchasing. Use code lensembledujour for 10% off at checkout!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

January 11, 2018 – Looks like Kentucky (OOTD #199)

When you think of Kentucky, what do you think of?

Probably some mix of horse farms, hillbillies, bourbon, coal mines, and bluegrass bands. Maybe throw in some University of Kentucky/Louisville sports for good measure?

I wouldn’t disagree with any of those descriptions, but for me, Kentucky is best represented by its small towns, which are usually less exciting than the stereotypical image- coal-mining hillbillies riding horses and drinking bourbon while bluegrass music plays in the background – would suggest.

Admittedly, I’ve never lived in a small Kentucky town, so I can’t really speak to their character, but I do like to visit them sometimes for little day trips to get out of the city. There’s usually not a lot to do, maybe some antique shops, a café, and if you’re lucky, historical site of some famous settlement or battleground or birthplace.

A few days before I went back to school, my parents and I went out to Harrodsburg and Danville KY to pass an afternoon. Like most small towns, there wasn’t a lot to do in either place, but that was sort of the point.

In Harrodsburg, there was an old pioneer settlement that had been converted into a park that we visited for an hour or two and where I did my photos. Being winter, it was pretty empty. The most exciting bit was honestly a cat that was roaming around and some friendly sheep that let us pet them.

Second most exciting was probably this cool old tree just outside the park. If I’d been wearing something other than a mini pencil skirt (which, interestingly, was ruined in the wash immediately after this trip) I would’ve climbed it more extensively because it was honestly one of the most perfect climbing-type trees I’d ever seen – knotty, twisty, and with thick branches in all the right places.

In Danville, about 20 minutes drive from Harrodsburg, we saw an old dollhouse museum, an antique shop, and got dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I don’t have any pictures from that part of the trip because the sun had started going down and the lighting made it so it wasn’t worth the effort, but it was more of the same: old buildings and old trees and old back roads.

I am not and will likely never be a country girl, but every once in a while, it’s nice.

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Compose Yourself

Have I ranted about how difficult flatlays are yet?

What? I have? And they’re not actually that difficult, considering all it takes is for me to gather up a bunch of knick knacks and then photograph them in a pretty composition on top of a white bedsheet, so I should probably stop complaining about stupid, meaningless problems?

Sometimes I feel like these blog posts, especially on days when I haven’t really done anything and thus have nothing to talk about, are just me coming up with a problem to rant about for a few paragraphs before pointing out to myself that that’s not really much of a problem.

That’s kind of the downside of doing blog posts every day isn’t it? There are only so many mildly interesting things for me to talk about.

As mildly interesting things go, I’m headed back to school tomorrow, and I’m actually kind of excited. All through high school, returning to school after winter break just meant dread and angst, but after having a month off, I think it’ll be good to go back to having work to do.

I mean, I’ll be complaining about all the work I have to do within a few days of being back, but for now, I’m optimistic!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

January 10, 2018 – Shorts In The Winter (OOTD #198)

Well, I was praying for warmer days, and we sure got them.

Kentucky is the strangest state I’ve ever seen in terms of winter weather – you can have one day that’s 15 degrees and freezing, and the following day will be sunny with a high of 75. It’s not so much the 15 degree cold or 75 degree heat that bothers me – it’s that they follow one after the other. It just doesn’t feel natural, you know?

If you’d told me in mid-December when I was still at Notre Dame with its sub-zero temperatures and two feet of snow that I was going to be standing in front of my garage door in on January 10th in denim shorts, there’s no way I would have believed you.

Here I am though – shorts in January. The ice caps are melting and the polar bears are dying, but at least I got a little more sun than usual in a winter month.

I’m probably going to need to look back on these photos in a few weeks when I’m back in the frozen, sunless cornfields of Northern Indiana to motivate myself to make it through to the spring. Even my darkness-loving, cold-weather butt can get tired of the Midwest winter. For as weird as they are, the rare warm winter day we get in Kentucky can actually be a welcome reprieve from the cold.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: H&M

Shorts: American Eagle

January 9, 2018 – Strange Requests (OOTD #197)

“Hey, uh…would you mind taking some pictures in front of your garage door of my outfit? It’s just the uh…light is fading and I need pictures from today…”

That might have been one of the strangest requests I’ve ever made for the sake of this blog. But sometimes it’s 5:30 at night in the middle of winter and the sun is setting and you haven’t had any pictures taken of your outfit yet – and if you’re like me and you do outfits of the day every day, that’s a problem.

So I swallowed my pride and made the awkward request, tolerated the awkward look from my friend Amanda when she repeated “you want me to take pictures of you…in front of my garage?”

She agreed, thankfully – not that I really expected her to say no, but it could’ve been worse. I’ve had a few times at Notre Dame when I’ve asked someone to do my pictures for me and they’ve actually had a class to get to, so they agree but with reluctance. That’s always super awkward.

I’m not looking forward to next semester in the sense that I’m going to have to find all new people who are free during my lunch break to indulge my narcissism and take pictures of me. There’s that sort of weird conversation where I have to bring up that I have a fashion blog, and they give me that “oh, so you’re that pretentious type…” look, and then I have to prove that I’m not that pretentious type. Or admit that I am but that I’m still a tolerable presence.

In other news, Amanda and I went to the outlet mall in Kentucky, and it was a nice little day trip. We went on a weekday afternoon, so it was super quiet and almost eerie – but not in a bad way. Made me want to be a retired old lady so I can go to malls on weekday afternoons whenever I want.

January 7, 2018 – Average Teen at the Mall (OOTD #196)

The mall used to be one of my favorite places in the world.

Maybe it sort of was for every middle school girl – you know, when you’re in that phase when you’re just starting to shop for yourself, so getting to pick out clothes and put together your own outfits is a whole new experience? I distinctly remember getting really excited when my mother would agree to take me to the St. Matthew’s mall in Louisville because it was one of the only places to have both a Forever21 and a Hollister, which back then were my two favorite stores.

While malls aren’t as cool and interesting as they used to be for me, I do still rather like to shop. I find, now, that I tend to buy fewer things at a time – as a kid, I could go on a mall shopping spree and come out with five complete new outfits, but now, I tend to only buy a few things at a time.

Uh…minimalist living, I guess?

Alright, so not really – I love my excessive possessions and consumerist lifestyle as much as any American – but I do think I’m getting a touch better. Before I went to college, I actually went through my closet and got rid of a ton of stuff, which was something I hadn’t done for a while.

In fairness, I do believe I wear most of my clothes, even if they don’t get worn often. Take, for example this jacket – it was my dad’s originally, but he handed it down to me, meaning it’s huge and barely fits and I probably should have let him just give it to Goodwill. Regardless, I really liked the oversized look, and even though I have to roll up the sleeves like eight times and can’t move my arms normally when I wear it, I still choose wear it sometimes. I would just hate to get caught in a situation where I had an outfit that just needed an oversized denim jacket and I had given it away because I didn’t wear it often, you know?

…and that’s why I will perpetually live in clutter and disarray!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: thrifted

Sweater: thrifted

January 6, 2018 – Amelia Earhart, Is That You? (OOTD #195)

Ha, I wish.

Sadly, I am no pilot – I can scarcely drive a car, can you imagine me trying to fly a plane? I’m confused enough with a vehicle that turns and accelerates; I’d be a wreck in a vehicle that turns, accelerates, and changes elevation. Probably literally.

So while I will likely never live out my dream of flying an airplane – or driving a car without crippling anxiety – I can at least dress like I do, right? And by dress like a pilot, I mean wear a brown leather jacket and sunglasses.

As much as I’d love to break out one of those cool aviator hats with the goggles, that would probably take things into the costume territory, which would have been slightly inappropriate for the day’s adventures like grocery shopping and putting away Christmas decorations.

On the plus side, such everyday aviator chic as what I sported in this outfit is not likely to end up with me disappearing in the Pacific Ocean. I’m also probably not going to go down in history as a beloved female pilot and feminist icon, but you know –  you can’t win them all.

I’m a little sad I didn’t have my actual aviator sunglasses on me for these pictures, but I left them at school and I won’t be flying back there for another week. No, I will not be the pilot – I’d like to actually make it back to school rather than crash landing in a frozen cornfield somewhere in Indiana.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Altar’d State

Shirt: Free People

Jeans: American Eagle

January 5, 2018 – Welcome To The Matrix (OOTD #194)

Red pill or blue pill?

I actually didn’t much like the Matrix films; the first one was alright, had some good action scenes, but the ones afterwards were so bloated and wordy that I think I fell asleep halfway through the second one and I skipped the last one. To be honest, I can’t actually remember which pill was the one you’re supposed to take to go back to normal life and which one takes you to the Matrix – talk about a fake fan.

If nothing else, the Matrix series certainly had style though, in a leather duster coat and sunglasses kind of way. And I feel like this outfit is definitely something of a Matrix-y style – for good or for ill.

For good in the sense that it has that post-apocoyptic cyberpunk feel, which was honestly probably the best part of the Matrix films, and for ill in the sense that I feel like my haircut plus this jacket plus the shades gives off a 90s vibe.

Is it retro or just dated? Honestly, I’m not sure.

At any rate, it is all black, and I do love an all-black outfit. I think I’m trying to make up for having worn so many colorful outfits during Christmastime; I can only do so much color during the cold months at once, you know? I’ll bring out my bright colors again come spring.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: thrifted

Sweater: Francesca’s

January 4, 2018 – Do The Locomotion (OOTD #193)

Still haven’t learnt my lesson about playing near train tracks, I guess.

This lovely set was located somewhere not far from the Keeneland stables in Versailles, Kentucky. My friend, Amanda, had been there before, so she suggested we go as a cool spot for photos. She was right.

We were planning on going out at 9:00AM for the lighting but, being lousy teenagers whose only greater love than pictures of ourselves is sleeping in, we ended up going out more like 10:30. From there, it took us about another hour to actual find the place – as it turned out, Amanda had been before, but she didn’t really remember the location.

It was all alright though – country roads in Kentucky make for pretty drives, so neither of us were complaining. Amanda’s a fun driver as well, or as fun as she can be in her Prius. I’m glad I’m too short to see the speedometer on her car though. I’m pretty sure it often reaches numbers much higher than what the speed limit calls for.

Several wrong turns and a consultation with an actual physical map later (who knew? they still exist), and we finally found this spot of train tracks over the water that we had heard of.

It was a pretty easy climb to get up to the tracks, but once we were up there, it was significantly more nerve-racking. For one, the wooden ties were each like, six inches apart, which wouldn’t be a big deal if the tracks were just on the ground except, you know, they weren’t. They were ten feet off the ground, and at the bottom of the drop was a shallow creek. A wrong step would mean a potentially broken ankle.

There was also the what if a train comes and we actually have to jump into the water bit, which could also result in some broken bones, depending on how deep the creek actually was. I guess, also there was the what if the train comes and we actually get hit by it or something bit, which would have been a lot more than broken bones.

Basically, the outdoors are dangerous and I should probably just stay inside and never go out again.

Thankfully no one died and no one broke their ankle and no train ever came, meaning the only outdoors-related trauma we encountered was the miserable cold. Seriously, it was like 15 degrees out and snowing. That’s nippy.

Forgetting the cold and the slightly dangerous location, this was probably one of my favorite LEDJ locations to shoot at. We got some really fun stuff at a distance on top of the train bridge, as well as under the bridge and by a nearby horse farm. Honestly, these photos are probably up there with Shoreditch and my Dad’s and my canoe trip as some of my all-time favorites.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: Forever21

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Fickle Flatlays

Flatlays are hard to make.

I do them both for these posts and for the sake of having something other than just pictures of my face for my Instagram. I do find that they’re worth the effort, though they don’t get nearly as many likes as my outfit posts – it would just be boring to have a feed filled with nothing of pictures of me, so the flatlays break up the monotony.

They also look very nice on my Instagram page in terms of aesthetics, which, to me, is very important. I know there are some fashion bloggers out there who can do well with nothing but posting pictures of their outfits, and good for them, but I feel like maintaining an aesthetically pleasing feed is just as important.

You’ve got to be able to scroll on someone’s Instagram page and be struck with how pretty the colors and patterns all work together without giving each post more than a half-second glance. I mean, sometimes that’s all you get on Instagram – a half-second of someone’s time – so everything needs to look beautiful from a glimpse.

So flatlays are significantly less “authentic” snapshots of my life than my outfit posts – I mean, I do wear all of those outfits, but for flatlays, I usually just set them out, take pictures of them, and then put them away.

Because let’s be honest – I never have this many pretty things laid out prettily on a pretty background at once. I’ve never even used some of those things – the Blick Art materials book is only there because I liked the mint color, and the Christmas cactus is actually my mom’s and not mine. I’m significantly less organized than my flatlays would have a person believe, but what else is new?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!