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Ask Sabrina

Ask Sabrina | Part 2

January 17, 2021

Top Hair Care Loves Oribe, Olaplex and Christophe Robin

Welcome to my Ask Sabrina series Part 2! This week I’d love for you to share your answers to these questions in the comments so I can learn more about you as well!

1. What are your holy grail hair care items? Hair care routine?

My most recent Current Haircare Routine is rounded up here. If I had to pick my top 5 brands they would be: Oribe, Hair Rituel by Sisley, Olaplex, Living Proof and Dyson Hair.

Hair care depends so much on hair type, thickness and whether or not you have color-treated hair. I’m still in the process of growing out my highlights. You can see the first time I color-treated my hair in this post. Now that I’m growing out the bleached ends I would say my absolute top 5 must-haves are the Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, Olaplex No 5 Conditioner, Sisley Hair Oil, Oribe Detangling Spray, Moroccanoil Treatment.

For hair tools I just got the Dyson Airwrap Styler for Christmas and am absolutely obsessed. I think it’s the best hair dryer and curler in one that I have ever used. Working on a review + demo for you and hoping it restocks soon!

Hair Care Essentials for Smooth Blow Out

2. What’s your educational background?

I have a BBA from the University of San Diego and an MBA from San Diego State University. I studied business administration and political science in undergraduate school. For some time I had considered going to art school for photography or graphic design and I spent my freshman year attending 2 schools: one for my business degree, the other at a local community college for art classes to build my portfolio. My parents encouraged me to pursue my passion for the arts but I felt like it would not be an easy career. I decided to go the business school route instead.

I worked in the corporate world for 2 ½ years before applying for grad school. I went to San Diego State for my MBA and it was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve ever had!

3. What did you do in your career before you blogged full time?

I’ve worked as a financial analyst in a number of different industries. My first job out of college was at JP Morgan Chase – I worked in auto finance. Over the next several years I also worked in the mortgage industry, pharmaceutical world and also in commercial aerospace. Early in my career the best way to advance was to find new opportunities every few years at different companies that were either looking to grow or start new divisions.

Another thing many of you don’t know is that while I was in grad school, I worked part time in retail at Williams-Sonoma. It was a great experience and I had so much fun there so I kept working there after I graduated. Even after I found a full-time corporate job I stayed on for a couple more years. For several years I had a full-time corporate job, a part-time job and was trying to grow my blog. These were definitely some of my most stressful years but I know I was not alone. I worked alongside many others working multiple jobs while going to school as well.

Eventually realized I couldn’t do it all and keep my sanity, so I focused on my corporate job with blogging on the side. I learned a lot in that time – developed valuable relationships and friendships too. Different experiences both good and bad help you develop and grow.

4. Are APLs worth it? Can we see your collection?

APL Techloom Breeze, Cotton Citizen Sweatshirt, Lululemon Align Leggings

Above wearing APL TechLoom Breeze (color is Beach), Lululemon Align 25 Length Leggings, Cotton Citizen Hoodie, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Pillow Talk

Yes I think they are 100% worth it! My bestie and a number of readers had been raving about them and finally convinced me to try them. I love them for everyday wear, for weight training, and long extended walks. I am not a runner so I can’t really say how they hold up for runs. (I’ve never liked running no matter how much I’ve tried). My favorite style is the Techloom Breeze for comfort. Quick rundown of my favorites:

  • TechLoom Breeze is the most comfortable for my feet
  • TechLoom Pro has the most support, the shoe is more structured and has a more cushioned/stiffer sole
  • TechLoom Wave is more roomy in the front compared to the other two, the back is more elastic on the heel/ankle portion
  • TechLoom Tracer is the most structured and has a tighter fit around the top area of the foot – opening is smaller than the other styles so it hugs the foot/ankle more closely

For the other styles my bestie has the TechLoom Bliss and says they are like walking on clouds! My hubby says the TechLoom Phantom is his favorite style for the fit (they stretch nicely according to him) and he likes the look.

They run similar in sizing to Nike. In most shoes I’m a 6.5 to 7. In sneakers I’m almost always a 7 or 37 – I wear this size in both Nike and APL. I usually buy them from Athletic Propulsion Labs online. I’ve also ordered from Shopbop or Revolve. They’re easy to clean – I throw them in the washer and air dry them.

APL Sneaker Favorites SABRINA

5. How do you efficiently go through all your products?

The short answer is that I don’t. As a blogger I encounter a lot of products and new launches for testing and reviewing. It is not humanly possible to use up everything before its expiration date. For many years this stressed me out because of the waste. But I started this blog to be a resource whether it’s through a review, swatches or makeup looks. My main goal is to help you and others with the swatches and comparisons so as long I’m still good a resource I’ve achieved my main goal. I don’t review or try everything that is sent my way. I filter out products based on what I find the most interesting or what you’ve asked to see reviewed. I also still purchase product on my own that I don’t receive in PR and sometimes I don’t get to everything in a timely manner. Unused products that haven’t expired are either donated or gifted away to friends and family. Pre-covid times I also gifted away a lot of products to my readers in giveaways.

I do tend to use up a lot more skincare and hair care than I do for makeup. I share a lot of my skincare products with Andrew too so we tend to use them up frequently. Hair care is something I go through a lot of naturally. I’m one who has to wash their hair daily especially with sweating from workouts and Florida humidity. With the cooler weather during the winter though I will sometimes go up to 2 days without washing my hair as long as I don’t have a heavy workout.

6. Has your husband always been into taking care of his skin or did you have to convince him?

I feel lucky that Andrew has always had a really good skincare and grooming routine. I’m especially grateful after hearing from my girl friends who cry about the fact they cannot get their husbands to put moisturizer on their face at all! In more recent years I feel like he has been the one to influence me to take better care of myself in terms of health, strength, having a better diet and more.

7. How do you keep your house so clean? How do you have the discipline to vacuum daily? How do you prevent pets from ruining your furniture?

Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vaccum

We clean our house daily because with multiple pets we have to. Lucy is a Jack Russell with a long rough coat and Calvin is a Ragdoll with long hair. They both shed and are pretty active so cleaning daily is essential. Right now we vacuum daily with our Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner. We also give the floors a thorough wet clean around 2x per month which takes hours but I just discovered the Bissell Symphony Vacuum and Steam Mop – I partnered with HSN to show a demo of it on my Instagram stories it’s on sale at a special price at HSN.com 1/17/2020 only – you can see more on stories @beautylookbook before it expires at the 24 hour mark! In case you miss it I will save it to my Instagram HOME highlights for the mini review/demo.

My main secret to a clean house is Andrew. He’s the clean one and meticulous about keeping the house tidy. For our furniture we are lucky our pets are well behaved. Lucy doesn’t bite or dig at the furniture. Our cat only claws his cat tree so we don’t have any issues with our chairs or couches.

8. How do you feel about Botox, fillers, injectables, etc?

Botox is on my list of things to do this year. I’m terribly afraid of needles which is why I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve told myself THIS IS THE YEAR. Many of you have emailed me about Botox with encouragement and support about this. For that I am thankful! I have seen it work wonders on my friends and they have assured me it’s not painful.

I don’t know much about the other kinds of procedures – I have nothing against them, but since I already have full lips and feel like I will pass out at the sight of a needle they aren’t on my list to try yet. One of my friends gets lip injections to plump her lips and she usually has bruising for a couple of days. I think she is beautiful without the fillers but if it makes her feel better and she likes it I’m all for supporting her!

9. How old are you?

I am 39.

10. What’s your next handbag purchase?

I have so many on my wishlist! I’m trying to narrow down my next splurge but I think it will either be something from Celine (I have been eyeing the Pico Belt Bag) or Loewe (love the Mini Gate).

That wraps up round 2 of Ask Sabrina! I’d love to hear your answers to these same questions if you want to leave them in the comments! Also feel free to leave more questions below or you can email me.

Ask Sabrina

Ask Sabrina | Part 1

January 10, 2021

Ask Sabrina 1.10.2020 | The Beauty Look Book

I’m excited to start a new series called Ask Sabrina where I’ll be answering your frequently asked questions! I thought it would be a fun way to share more about myself and roundup the FAQs you’ve sent my way! Today I’m answering more personal questions to start but I’m open to other topics for future round ups! I have accumulated a long list already from recent polls so I have some I’ve saved for next week but feel free to leave more in the comments or you can always send me an email too.

Opening Image: Sweater Vince, Denim Mother, West Elm Side Table and Book Shelf, Article Boucle Chair, Dior Lip Maximizer in Ultra Pink, Dior Oblique Pouch, Perfume is Byredo Mojave Ghost

1. How long have you been blogging? How did you get started? Do you blog full time? Is blogging your career? What do you do in real life? How long did it take you to get noticed by brands? How many hours a day do you work on the blog?

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my story on how I started The Beauty Look Book. My first blog post was back in May 2009 and it started as a hobby while I was in graduate school. Karen of Makeup and Beauty Blog was looking for guest writers, I submitted an idea on Le Metier de Beaute, she accepted it and I had so much fun I started my own! The blog grew by word of mouth among other beauty junkies who loved luxury beauty or hard to find brands. At that time I didn’t know blogging could be a career let alone generate any revenue. I had no idea press samples existed either!

I didn’t start monetizing my blog until around 5 years later and it was only possible thanks to another blogger (Amy from @cafemakeup) who referred me to an affiliate network and helped me get approved. I had applied to a few over the years and every single brand rejected my application. At this time I was still working at a corporate job in finance and as the blog grew it began to take more and more of my time. It got to a point where I could not have work/life balance, but I was so passionate about the makeup I made it work. I’d wake up at 4 am to write articles, I’d rush home after work to take some photos before the sun went down, I’d blog on weekends and every waking moment! Once my blog generated enough income to surpass my corporate job earnings, I decided to leave my corporate job and blog full time. It took about 6 months of consistent earnings before I felt confident enough in myself to pursue blogging as a career. I talked it over with a few close friends and family before I made the leap. Most of them told me “don’t do it!” “you can’t leave your corporate job” and that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I am 1000% happy I took that risk because I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s allowed me a lot of freedom and flexibility to be my own boss.

Working for myself has had its fair share of ups and downs. For me it was a risk worth taking. I am happy that this type of career has evolved over the past decade and is being recognized more as a legitimate career. Today brands, retailers, agencies and affiliate networks are more accessible to bloggers and influencers who want to partner and work together which I think is great! A lot of people still ask me “what do you do in real life?” and I think they forget that bloggers, influencers, YouTubers are still real people and that blogging, taking photographs, making videos, writing etc. is in fact “real life” for many of us.

I feel like I could write an entire series on my blogging experience! I’ll save more for another post.

2. What’s your favorite TV show?

The Office – best show of all time!

3. Favorite movie?

Tie between Elf and Love Actually

4. Favorite ice cream?

Jeni’s anything! My favorite flavors are Cream Puff and Brambleberry Crisp, although Andrew says Gooey Butter Cake is the best one, he actually ordered some individual gooey butter cakes after trying the ice cream lol!

5. Favorite handbag and why?

My favorite right now is the Goyard Cap Vert in black. It’s a versatile everyday bag and I love that it’s crossbody and small but not super mini. I still love my Tory Burch Perry Bombe Bag but it’s really small. Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit more room which is why I love the Goyard. You can see what fits inside in this reel @beautylookbook.

Below wearing: ATM School Boy Tee and Agolde Parker Shorts, Celine sunglasses

Goyard Cap Vert Bag | The Beauty Lookbook

6. What kind of camera do you use to shoot all your photos?

I’ve used the Sony a7RII for years and really love it! I just recently replaced it with the Sony a7RIII which has a lot more features and really like it as well. For the lens I mainly use the FE 24-70 mm/2.8 lens. For videos and vlogging (which I haven’t published any videos yet) I’ve been playing with the new Sony ZV-1 and I really love it. I mainly buy my equipment (cameras, lens, stands, flash attachments etc.) from B&H, Adorama or Amazon.

Sony a7RII and III | The Beauty Look Book

7. What does your husband do? How did you meet? Can you show us your husband?

Andrew and I met nearly 20 years ago! We were both attending different colleges in San Diego at the time and we met on a study abroad trip in Oxford, England. He was one of the TAs, I was one of the students. We started dating several months later after and we’ve been together ever since! I guess you could call us college sweethearts. After college he went on to pursue a law degree and now practices family law. I would love for him to be a full time Instagram husband (which he probably thinks he already is). He’s made a few appearances in my stories and also this reel and this one too.

Andrew and Sabrina

8. As a Florida transplant, how do you feel about Florida? Do you miss California? Will you ever move back? Are you planning on staying in Florida long term?

Both Andrew and I love Florida. I am surprised it has grown on me over the past three years given how attached I was to life in San Diego, California but Florida definitely feels like home now. When we first moved here I was so homesick I cried myself to sleep every night for nearly 3 months. But we’ve found a lot to love here. We love the weather (heat, humidity, rain and all), the people, the beaches, the casual laid back atmosphere and the sunshine. I do miss California a lot and I’ve only been back a couple times to see family and friends. Right now we don’t know if we will move back or stay here. So much has changed in the past year we really don’t know what the future holds – but we are very happy living in St. Petersburg, Florida!

9. Biggest changes in beauty habits during quarantine, if any? Any changes in purchases, beauty routine, or what you decide to wear?

The biggest changes for me have been what I wear (or don’t wear) on my lips outside. Lip gloss is a disaster with face masks! I still wear lip balm or a matte liquid lipstick if I have to wear a mask. Lip Balm has been an essential for me, without it my lips dry out and start peeling. As long as it’s not super sticky or thick it still works for me (I like the Fresh Sugar Advance Therapy Lip Treatment). Stores and malls have opened up here in Florida but you still cannot touch the testers so I tend to order things online more often. It feels safer to me anyways to order online versus going to the mall, even with social distancing. I’ve also been more aware of acne prevention and hyperpigmentation from acne scarring. I wash my face more often. I have to be super careful of acne where the mask covers my face. I feel like I’ve been using spot treatments more often than I have in the past!

10. What is an interest or hobby you have that would surprise us?

I think a lot of you might be surprised I’m into fitness and weight lifting!

That wraps up my first Ask Sabrina round up! Happy for any feedback or if you want to send more questions feel free to leave them in the comments or email them to me. If you can put in the subject line Ask Sabrina Series suggestion or something along those lines it will help me filter and sort them! Let me know if you think 10 is a good number of if you want more questions answered per week! Topics can be anything! If there is enough interest in a blogging/social media topic I might dedicate an entire post or few series of posts.

 

Uncategorized

A Few Questions Answered

April 27, 2011
What kind of camera do you use? I use a Sony Cyber-Shot Carl Zeiss 8.1 Mega Pixel digital camera, I’m not sure of the exact model but the top says DSC-N1. The lense says 2,8-5,4/7,9-23,7. It was given to me as a gift around 2005. Update – all photos are taken with either the auto or forced flash settings. Photoshop is used for all photo editing. As many have noted, you don’t need a super expensive camera to take decent photos! Play with lighting, angles, zooming – the fun is in the experimentation.

What’s your favorite brand? I don’t have one favorite, but these are my current top picks: Chanel, Dior, Edward Bess, NARS.

Can you post pictures of your eye makeup? I’ve tried numerous times and they just don’t turn out so great. So, no, sorry.

Have you written your update on Chanel Vitalumière Aqua? Yes. See it here. It’s no replacement for Teint Innocence, but it’s the next best thing in my opinion. I am still crying over the discontinuation of Chanel’s Teint Innocence Liquid Foundation. I’ve stocked up on 4 back up bottles.

How do you find the right nail polish for your skintone? My answer is two-fold. 1) I don’t think there is a right or wrong color for skintone, it’s just a matter of personal preference 2) My personal preference is subject to occasion, mood and mostly a matter of being brave to try almost anything (except certain green, blue and yellow). But then I could be completely wrong in what I like. I’ve definitely had occasions I’ve fallen in love with a color to be told by close ones I trust, “that’s not good with your skintone.”

How do you like Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer? I feel like a broken record saying this yet again, but it is my holy grail of bronzers. If you do a blog search, you will find a number of features, swatches and reviews on this beauty. Note I am a Southern California girl who loves the sun and always prefers to be tan. My personal style is natural but for bronzer I will do anything from a soft to a dramatic bronzer. I don’t stick to one look for anything, bronzer included. The Edward Bess bronzers are extremely versatile and layerable.

Is the EB Daydream better than the new bronzers from Chanel or Dior? I cannot say whether I think one is better than the other – they are all unique and different in their own way. I find EB Daydream is my go-to staple (my personal current favorite) but the Chanel and Dior are equally gorgeous. I do personally believe the Daydream is more universally flattering for fair to medium skintones. Everyone has a different preference for what they envision the perfect bronze to look like, I cannot tell what will look best on you, I only know Edward Bess’ Daydream looks good on everyone I’ve seen it on (I’ve probably observed it on about 10 different faces). This is not to say the EB Daydream is better or the best. I think there are a number of other great bronzers out there. I lived on NARS Laguna through my college days and still love it. MAC Golden and Bronze are fabulous natural looking bronzers that are soft and glowy (and very affordable). Armani has great bronzers. Right now my favorite is the Edward Bess.

Can you link my blog and/or website or can I write a guest post for you? At this time I do not take guest posts and I like to keep my blog advertising free other than consumer to consumer. I will link outside of my blog when I feel it is relevant to what I am writing about. I do not appreciate aggressive bloggers who pressure me to link them. This is one reason why I do not publish comments with spam links.

Do you receive special perks or treatment for being a blogger? No, I do not. I’ve only told a very small handful of people who I am (literally less than I can count on my fingers). They kindly respect my privacy. For PR lists, I think I’m on a total of only 4, which may be surprising to many of you. I have not actively requested to be added to PR lists. I’ve been invited to a small select few and of those few, I am very selective (you will note if you search hard through my blog I have only featured 2 items that were sent for review).

I’m a new blogger, can you check out my blog and tell me what to change and how to get more traffic? First, welcome to the blogging world! Second I think all of us always wonder about hits and web traffic. I’m not one who has really figured it out. Patience is key and I will say if you’re mostly concerned about traffic you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Third, I’m flattered you would ask for my opinion about your blog – but I believe blogging is a personal process you need to discover on your own. Even after a couple months, many are impatient wanting to get it perfect right away. Appreciate that you are doing something creative on your own and be original. Don’t try to mimic someone else. Almost 2 years later, I’m still developing my own blogging style.

Can you show more pictures of your dogs? It’s hard to get both my JRTs to sit still together in one spot. I would love more photos of my pups, but I tend to get pictures of only one at a time. They just have way too much excitement! Here’s one with their baby from several years ago. His first baby steps.

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