Samantha Chic


GIVEAWAY! The one with my new Jord wooden watch...

Winter is here! And with winter weather comes winter layers... Well, not so much in L.A. Wait, I take that back! Los Angeles has been a little bit finicky lately with some cold and cool weather and, fortunately for us, lots of rain.

As much as I love the much needed rain (listening to rain storms is something I miss from the East Coast), I can't say I was too pleased to wake up one day last week and realize it was only 32 degrees! I guess the good part of that is I get to break out some of my winter weather attire.

I picked up this collegiate sweater from the Yale University Bookstore during my trip to Connecticut last fall for the Gilmore Girl's Fan Fest. Obviously I didn't attend Yale, but I couldn't pass up a chance to channel my inner Rory (even if it is technically a men's sweater—that's what sizing down is for!). And it pairs perfectly with my new wooden women's watch courtesy of JORD.

I've never been much of a watch person (that's what cell phones are for, right?), but JORD's beautiful wooden watches are the perfect understated statement piece to add to your winter wardrobe. The unique watch was the perfect compliment to my outfit for a day of museum hopping this past Sunday—and it kept us on time!

They have a variety of women's watches and men's watches in different finishes and watch heads to choose from (I chose the REECE series in Golden Camphor & Khaki), but most importantly they allow you to choose a band that fits your exact measurements. This meant I was able to site up a bit since I like to layer a watch over sweaters, as seen here, and have it hang loose with short sleeve tops for a more menswear inspire look.

That's not all though! JORD is offering each of you the chance to win a $100 gift code to use for anything on their site. One person will be selected as the grand prize winner, but each of you will receive a consolation code worth $25 at the end of the contest. Sign up now to win! Contest expires 2/19.

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Disclosure: The watch worn in this post was received 
free-of-charge from JORD. All opinions are my own.


The one where I read 19 books...

So one of the perks (and there aren't many) about commuting via mass transit is that instead of driving, you have some downtime to do other activites—listen to music, catch up on podcasts, read a book—because you don't have to keep your eyes on the road.

Between my round-trip commute to work five days a week, I have about 45 minutes a day where I can do anything, so most days I choose to read. Well, that paid off big time in 2016 because I ended up reading 19 books. Yes, NINETEEN books! Which is a lot for me! I usually average like six a year. My goal was 20 books, which I didn't quite make, but I'm still proud of myself.

Here are the 19 books I read and my one-sentence reviews...

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen A classic Austen novel, but wouldn't say it's in my top three Jane books.
  • The Princess Bridge by William Goldman Slightly different than the movie, but dare I say a little better (they're both worth indulging).
  • Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Caroll — A whimsical read, but I didn't quite enjoy it as much as the original first book.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey — A must-read in my opinion, but I'd definitely recommend it for anyone early in their career.
  • The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza Hands down my favorite book of 2016 for it's witty take on millennials vs. Gen X in the workplace against the backdrop of the fashion and magazine industry.
  • China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan Not quite as good as "Crazy Rich Asians," but still a captivating story that I didn't want to put down.

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey — I felt the same way about "Bossypants" as I felt about 30 Rock—I wanted to love it because I love Tina, but I just didn't.
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler If Parks & Recreation didn't solidify my love for Amy, this book definitely did.
  • The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women by Glynnis MacNicol Please don't waste your time—it's not worth it!
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple — Wasn't sure about it in the beginning, but turned out to be a fun and interesting read.
  • The Underwriting by Michelle Miller — My second favorite book of 2016, which left me wanting more and impatiently waiting on the edge of my seat for a follow-up.
  • The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabani — Despite being five years old, still offered a lot of great tips for digital marketers.

  • At the Water's Edge by Sarah Gruen — It's no "Water for Elephants," but it's pretty damn close and pretty damn good.
  • Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry — Another fun read in the same vein as "The Underwriting" that puts girl power at the forefront of the workplace.
  • Swimming Pool Sunday by Madeleine Wickham — Love Sophie Kinsella books, so I want to love her as Madeleine Wickham, but they're just not quite as good.
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling — Mindy is a goddess and my spirit animal and this book is a must-read!
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton — The original is just as juicy and entertaining as the Nate, Chuck, Serena, and Blair version on Gossip Girl.
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen — Probably my least favorite Austen book so far, not because it was bad, but because it didn't feel like Austen.
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Super long, but a well-written and classic Austen book that everyone will enjoy.
If you love to read as well, feel free to add me on Goodreads (I typically post longer reviews on there) to check out what my all-time favorite books are, what I'm currently reading, and what I hope to read in the future. I'd love to know what you're reading as well!

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The one where I bought a bunch of products at Sephora...

This year I've actually been trying to curtail the amount of products I have and use. When I moved across the country with a carry-on full of hair, skin, and makeup products (plus another pouch), I realized I might have a problem.

But when I won a gift card to Sephora through the Glamour Popularizer Chic Peek network over the summer, I couldn't pass up the chance to try some products that have been on my list for a long time. After a few months or so of trying out these products, I ready to tell you if they're worth it or not.

Here's the verdict...

Diorshow Mascara in Black - Out of all the products, I think this one is my favorite. It's just slightly more than my normal favorite mascara, but it definitely gives more of an impact. The mascara coats your lashes easily, give a deep black color that's bold and stands out, but doesn't irritate your eyes or flake off easily (a common problem I have). Overall, I loved this mascara a lot and will probably reinvest in the future.

Murad Acne Spot Treatment - Now, out of the products, this one was my least favorite, mostly because it made my skin really irritated (that's my fault though because I didn't spot test before like recommended). I typically use salicylic acid, but this acne treatment is benzoyl peroxide based and didn't agree with my skin at all. It was way too strong and left my cheek blotchy and red without really improving my acne. I had to abandon it after just two uses.

Bliss Firm, Baby, Firm Moisturizing Gel-Creme - I wanted to like this product a lot - and I did like it - but it wasn't what I hoped it would be. I use a retinol and a moisturizer at night and thought, "Hey, this is great! I can combine them!" The cream is good, but it's more cream-based than gel-based, which I prefer, and I felt like the retinol wasn't as potent as when you apply separately. If you like to save time, then I'd recommend this product, but if you want a potent retinol and/or prefer gel over cream, then I'd pass.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo - This was probably my second favorite product from what I ordered. I've always heard great things about Living Proof, had a good experience with samples and absolutely adore Jennifer Aniston's hair so I had a hunch this dry shampoo would live up to the hype. And I'm happy to report that it does! It left my hair clean, fresh, volumized, and without any white residue - even after 4 days of not washing (hey, it happens)!

Colorescience Sunforgettable Loose Mineral Sunscreen - I only got a chance to try this product once so far, so I don't want to say too much just yet. But overall, I'm loving the idea of a mineral powder sunscreen. I get so oily and sweaty in the summer and normal sunscreen makes my face breakout so I have high hopes for this mineral version!

Benefit Gimme Brow - Another product I really liked, this was subtle enough to not be overbearing, but still strong enough to give you that bold brow look that still trending. One thing I can't stand about the bold brown look is when the lines are sharp are look drawn in. This product gives your existing brows some oomph to look fuller in a natural way, or it can be layered over penciled in brows to take things up a notch.

Bumble & Bumble Don't Blow It - This is another product that I haven't used too much yet, so I don't want to say too much, but so far I am liking it. Basically, you put this cream in your hair, let it air dry, and it works with your natural texture. I've really embraced being more "natural" in California by not doing a lot to my hair, wearing less makeup, etc. and this fits the bill.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask - I've overhauled my skincare routine this year in an effort to battle adult acne and this product features prominently in my new routine. Every Sunday I put on this charcoal mask, read a magazine, and feel my pores getting cleaner! It helps to draw out impurities and, over time, make your skin clearer. After I wash it off, my skin always feels so clean and fresh, but not in a tight and taut way.

Dior Addict Lipstick in Smile - This was a guilty pleasure buy in every sense of the word. The brand, the type, and the color were all selected because of seeing Jennifer Lawrence in the Dior Addict ad (way to go, Dior, with that advertising)! I'm not usually a lipstick person, but this one went on smoothly, didn't dry out my lips, and wasn't too overpowering. The color was a lot more subtle than I expected but made my lips look like a natural rosy color.

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Disclosure: The items in this post were purchased using a free Sephora gift card from Glamour. All views are my own. This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission off of any item link click and/or purchase.
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