January Q&A

January Q&A | Peeling from retinol, best work bags, and more reader questions

Today I’m kicking off a new Q&A series! In these monthly posts, I’ll be answering reader questions as well as sharing helpful tips and favorite links.

Let’s jump in!

I bought the Zo Retinol you recommend and my skin is peeling a lot. Is peeling from retinol normal?

Yes! My aesthetician says that seeing peeling from retinol means it’s doing what it’s supposed to. If it’s excessive or you notice redness and irritation that are uncomfortable, try reducing the number of nights you apply (2-3 per week, for example) and slowly increasing over time. I use my retinol seven nights a week and no longer experience irritation.


Looking for a cute briefcase/laptop bag for work. Any recommendations?

I love this reasonably priced work tote by Beis (Shay Mitchell’s line!). The Cuyana work satchel and trapeze satchel are investments, but Cuyana products hold up well in my experience. If you’ll be using your work bag five days a week, it’s worth the investment.

How many days a week do you workout? Do you take classes?

I workout 5 to 6 days per week but try to walk at least 10,000 steps every day. My job is 100% sedentary so this makes me feel good! I don’t take classes at my gym but have been wanting to try. Here’s my exact workout schedule from last spring if you’re looking for a routine to try!


Did you like the BBL treatment that you shared you had in November?

Yes! I’ve noticed a more even skin tone (less redness, freckles, pigmentation) and a reduction in fine lines. I think I’d need more treatments to see significant results, though. I hope to get 3 to 4 more BBL treatments as well as some microneedling this year and will share updates!


Sorry if I missed this somewhere, but any negative to using face wipes vs. face wash?

I’ve always felt that a good “sudsy” face wash is more thorough in getting all the dirt, oil, and makeup off of my face, and I’ve personally had some irritation from makeup removal wipes. Wipes are so convenient for on-the-go (think travel), but I wouldn’t recommend using them in place of a traditional cleanser.


What paint colors did you use in your house?

We used Benjamin Moore Simply White (trim, hallways, kitchen) and Oxford White (bedrooms). Simply White is a classic white that isn’t dull and Oxford White has a tad more warmth. I shared pictures of the living room walls and trim in this post that are Benjamin Moore Simply White.


Favorite basics in your closet right now?

I found these black faux leather pants by Joe’s Jeans this year and they are SO GOOD. I bought them in cognac too (seen on me here)—they have slight stretch and are very flattering on. I also love my James Perse long sleeve crew tee, Veja casual sneakers, J. Crew smartphone gloves, and layering pieces as winter basics.

Where do you get your fashion and home inspiration?

Pinterest is a staple. I’m always updating my seasonal boards! My current fashion inspiration is Kate Bock. For the home, I’ll always be a neutral girl but am currently a mix of California and traditional style. Lately I’ve taken more to modern pieces, though, which has surprised me.


Do you sell your clothes?

Yes! I sell them on Poshmark.


Where do you eat/shop/stay in NYC in December on your girls trip?

We stayed at The Nolitan hotel and I would stay there again. It’s spacious for NYC and the location is amazing. We ate at Rubirosa, Noodle Love, Seamore’s, Van Leeuwen, Levain Bakery, Blue Bottle Coffee, and a few other chains.


Tell us about YOU! How’d you get here? Also fav restaurant in Raleigh?

I did a big Q&A last year on my birthday where you can learn more about me! The skinny is: I’m from Raleigh, went to school nearby, lived in Cali for a bit, and moved back three years ago for business. I currently blog, have a freelance writing business, and am considering starting another venture this year. We’ll see! As far as restaurants, Tazza is a favorite catchall. I wrote a full post about the best restaurants in Raleigh, too!



Product Faves

Things I loved last month.

Puffer Coat / The athletic puffer continues to be a staple of my daily routine.

Hairdryer Case / Purchased this travel hairdryer case to protect my new Dyson.

Blue Light Blockers / These light-blocking glasses help me sleep and come in such fun styles!

Everlane Bootie / My most-worn winter boot. Size up.

Headband / A Lele Sadoughi headband lookalike under $25 in seven colors!



Link Love

Blog posts, great reads, and occasional giveaways.

My winter capsule closet.

An affordable skincare routine.

These are my my top purchases of 2019.

Stay warm in these essential layers.



Thanks for reading, friends! Feel free to leave comments below or on Instagram for next month’s Q&A feature. xo!