SKIN SAVIORS: HADA LABO.

hada_labo_reviewOh, Monday. If you’re a regular reader of blogazine Into the Gloss, chances are those little Monday morning posts, “Because it’s Monday and we don’t want to work yet” somehow perk up my morning, serving as the perfect reminder that somewhere out there is a kindred spirit that feels the same way I do at the beginning of the beginning of a very long week: lethargic, lazy, and stuck in a daydream about the oh-so-distant weekend. If you don’t read ITG, then you have no idea what I’m talking about and I’ve probably helped you doze off back to sleep. No matter, here’s a few products to help wake you up and banish those Monday morning blues. Hada Labo is a brand off the high street in Japan that’s available in Ulta, as well as certain drugstores Stateside, and let me tell you, you need to try this stuff. The products are affordable but effective, doing the hefty work of some of the most luxurious skincare products I’ve tried. In a word, the Replenishing Hydrator* is, well, fabulous. Is there any better way to describe a serum that feels like a cool splash of water to the face, sinks in quickly, and leaves skin supple, plumped, and without any dry patches to speak of? Maybe, but come on, it’s Monday, and I don’t want to work yet. So we’ll stick with just calling it fabulous. It’s so good that a bottle of this stuff apparently sells every two seconds in Japan. The Hydrating Facial Cleanser* is a great in-between for those who love the hyper-clean feeling of a foaming cleanser but don’t like the way skin feels afterwards- think dry, tight, and generally like it’s had the life sucked out of it. Hada Labo’s offering is described as a:

  • Rich creamy cleanser with foaming action, deeply cleanses to remove impurities, dirt and oil. Rinses clean.
  • Restores and preserves skin’s natural moisture while cleansing.

Check, and check. It’s the creamiest foaming cleanser I’ve found, and it truly does get rid of all that unwanted grime either from a day of walking around town or in the morning to remove residue from skincare products the night before, and yet skin somehow feels hydrated after washing it off. My only gripe? It does have that odd scent of fragrance-free products, but that’s something I can deal with as it’s completely safe for skin that’s prone to breakouts. Both products are hyaluronic-based, making them perfect for both dry skin and oily-combination that’s simply dehydrated. Overall? Yes, you need this in your life ASAP. Simples. 

(* denotes press sample)

GET IT WHILE YOU CAN: BENEFIT’S BELLA BAMBA.

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L-R: (Unblended Swatch on Left, Blended Swatch on Rt.) Benefit Cha-Cha Tint, Bella Bamba Blush

Behold: my first-ever Benefit Boxed Blush. While I am well and truly prepared for the collective “WHAT?!” ‘s that those words are likely to incite, ’tis the truth: never have I ever used Hoola on my cheekbones, Coralista for that peachy-golden flush, or any other famed boxed cheek product from the brand. I’ve had Bella Bamba on my list for a while now (thanks to Ms. Sharon Farrell of YouTube, check her out here) and somehow always shied away from picking it up on trips to my local Sephora. Until, that is, I heard the buzz around the beauty community that it was being discontinued. Lo and behold, the fates provided the push needed for me to snap it up in my online shopping cart and, well, here we are. Bonus: I got it in this Hot 2 Trot set along with their Cha-Cha Tint, something I’ve also been meaning to try for the longest time. 2 for the price of 1. Could the whole charade be any more perfect? And so, in response to the news that Bella Bamba is no longer available separately and is being phased out entirely, I’m telling you now: get this while you can. The blush itself is stunning: an iridescent warm coral/pink shade that has a bit more punch than Coralista, especially if you found the latter lacking slightly in the pigmentation department on application. Think of it as a brightened shade of Coralista/Nars Orgasm varieties everywhere. One more thing: it smells fantastic. Odd thing to say about a blush? Most definitely. But completely, totally true. If you’ve ever tried a Benefit Boxed Blusher before (which, unless you’re me, you most likely have), then the glorious scent isn’t such a novel concept, but… I can’t get over it. Enough said. Cha-Cha Tint was no disappointment compared to its kit mate; creamy, long-wearing, and a beautifully natural shade of mango that adds a bit more of a sunkissed glow to the cheeks. Just apply with the nail polish-like applicator along the cheek and blend, blend blend as fast as possible; this stuff has a tendency to set quickly and leave stripe marks behind if you don’t get to it with the blending action.

Will you be picking up this set?

OF SKIN BATTLES (& OTHER STORIES).

Beautiful-young-woman-with-face-maskMy skin is not happy. Quite the chatty post today, as I’ve been testing out quite the hefty roster of skincare products for the past week; serums, oils, cleansers-you name it, it was probably on my face in a hundred different forms at some point in the past seven days.On a good day, my skin is far from perfect-being frequently harassed by under-the-skin bumps and blemishes-but it is rather hardy. That is, I don’t usually get the feeling that someone’s burning my face from the inside after slapping on tons of product. In case you can’t tell, this has not been a good couple of days for mah face. Apparently there’s only so much it can take; yesterday’s plan of cleansing, then showering, then re-cleansing with a light scrub and then plopping a mask on top was halted short after the phase three (the re-cleanse). As soon as the mask I was applying touched my skin, the area just burned. Stubborn skincare fanatic that I am, I kept going, trying to smooth it out on both sides of my face in a maybe-it’s-supposed-to-burn-at-first fashion. Hint: it’s not. I’m sure you can guess what happens next, but my entire face went up in flames and it was all downhill from there. After some frantic splashing to try to rinse it off, an attempt with a muslin cloth, and various expletives yelled out in the heat of the moment, I was left with a red face that burned to the touch. My first thought-blame it on the mask-proved to be wrong, since absolutely everything I tried to put on to soothe my skin afterwards burned in exactly the same way. A few days later, I think it was probably just down to the fact that I had been constantly bombarding it with stripping scrubs and enzyme peels to the point where I had finally rubbed it raw, but thankfully I seem to be on the road to recovery these days after banishing all makeup from my face and taking a breather with the simplest moisturizer I could find. Not perfect, but better. I’m still dealing with quite a few rough, dry patches and my skin still isn’t completely healed, but I’m slowly nursing it back to health. I’ve started re-introducing some of the products I’d been using (one at a time), and so far they’ve all proved excellent, so I think it was just too much for my skin to handle all at once. Right now, it’s a slow uphill climb with regards to my face; I think the super deep cleansing wrath brought out by my little bout of burning skin is actually helping get rid of all my little pimples and spots: think, “It’ll get worse before it gets better”, but who knows. I have to say, it was the single most bizarre experience I’ve dealt with skincare-wise, so I thought today’s post would be the perfect chance to chat with all of you about skincare troubles, concerns, etc., and what products you use to save your skin when it’s going through a rough patch.

Let’s chat! What are your most bizarre skincare stories? Drop me a comment below:)

 

ELIZABETH AND JAMES NIRVANA: BLACK+WHITE.

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I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth and James for years now; the line has this very contemporary, edgy-feminine feel to it that always brought me back. On a completely separate note, I adore the Olsen twins. Like I want to be them. Then again, who doesn’t? Probably the Olsen twins on a really bad day, but I digress. The anatomy of the Olsen street style is a subject I am well versed in, and yet how I had no idea that two things (three, counting each twin) I have followed closely over the years were related is putting me in something of an existential crisis. ‘How could I not see this? I should have known… My life is a lie…’ and so on and so forth. Not really, but you get my drift. The Olsen twins had a clothing line. This I knew. That it was specifically E&J? Nope, I did not know that. The fact that it took the launch of a perfume years later for me to realize this is more than a little disturbing. Alas, Mary-Kate and Ashley have me covered. Their two new fragrances, Nirvana White and Nirvana Black, soothe all struggles, I promise. I snapped these two rollerballs up in Sephora a few months ago, and I can definitely say, we’re in love. Albeit we’re going through a twisted sort of love triangle, but these two scents are nothing short of gorgeous. Both are quite musk-based scents, with Nirvana White being the lighter of the two. The other notes in this more floral offering are peony and muguet, while Nirvana Black sees strong Violet, Sandalwood, and Vanilla. *I’m still working (very hard) on my fragrance terminology, so forgive any of my naiveté you might read.* In human terms, I find that the White version starts off quite fresh-smelling; it’s sweet without being garish. More of a soft, powdery floral than any Flowerbomb type scent. This one lasted around four hours on my skin, but being that it is in rollerball form it wasn’t much trouble to re-apply. Still, if you’re like me and prefer a fragrance to last all day, this doesn’t quite have the staying power. On the dark side we have the spicier scent of the two, Nirvana Black. This one had better lasting power on me at around six hours, but still shorter than I might have hoped. The scent is absolutely divine, especially if you like perfumes that have a slight masculine sort of feel to them. Never fear, things don’t get too manly with this one, as it does tend to sweeten over time. Again, very sophisticated scent that feels edgier than its sister. The real magic trick here is the two worn together, something I think the Olsen twins did really well to reflect the image of their brand: feminine with an edgy masculine kick (hence the name Elizabeth and James after their siblings). They work seamlessly to make the perfect mix of a deeper, richer floral that keeps things from getting too girly in any way. Overall, I think both scents are lovely, and I think most people will find one of the two that suits them quite well. Again, I’d like to get the smaller 1 oz size in each to be able to mix the two, but it does seem like a lot of hassle to go through for a perfume that doesn’t last well enough on the skin. In the end, I don’t think the hunt for my signature scent is quite over yet.

What are your favorite perfumes? I’d love to get your recommendations, let me know in the comments below!

THE SIMPLES. SUITCASE PART 1: BEACH HOLIDAY.

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Packing for a trip is probably one of the most tedious parts of travel: what do I bring? how many pairs of socks do I need? does that pair of heels have space priority over three pairs of shorts? Such are the burdening questions that must be dealt with before we fly off to soak up the sun. Whether you’re jetting to the Bahamas to sip piña coladas, taking a road trip for a city holiday, or heading for a weekend getaway in the countryside, I’ve got you covered.

THE ESSENTIALS:

Swimsuit. A beach holiday is no beach holiday without-you guessed it-the beach. There are few feelings as horrible as realizing you’ve left your bathing suit at home just as you’re getting ready to descend to the shore. Make sure you pack one of these before anything, and I do mean anything, else; you don’t want to end up having to buy an overpriced swimsuit that makes your bum look sub-par when you reach your tropical locale.When in doubt, hit up your local Victoria’s Secret. You can find the bikini pictured here. They do some gorgeous patterns and styles that last forever, though I’m having serious daydreams about getting my hands on a Triangl bikini

Sunblock. Everyone loves a good summer tan, but getting your glow on certainly isn’t worth developing skin cancer later on. The sun can be incredibly damaging, especially to the face, causing premature wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, etc. Is it a joy to put on? Absolutely not. But let’s be honest, you’re on holiday at the beach. Slathering on sunblock before exposure next to the ocean blue isn’t the worst thin in the world. I find that using the same sunblock I use on my body for my face tends to break me out; try using a facial sunscreen separate from your regular sunblock for the rest of your body to be safe. Neutrogena makes excellent offerings, and if you want to use the same sunblock all over, I highly recommend their Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunblock range. Works like a charm, smells decent, and doesn’t break me out. Love.

Sunglasses. Not only do they look beyond fashionable, these really are essential when out and about to protect eyes from harsh sunlight. You can find a ton of cute pairs as cheap as chips at stores like Forever 21, but it’s a much better plan to invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses to get the most bang for your buck in terms of eye protection. I’m very picky when it comes to shades; my general philosophy? If you’re not still in shock over how much you love them weeks after buying, you’ve got the wrong pair. I first got my hands on a pair of Tiffany lenses back in December (blogged about here), and ended up exchanging them for my current pair of Ray-Ban clubmasters, which I’m still head over heels in love with. Definitely a must-have for any summer holiday.

THE MAKEUP BAG.

I love a good sheer base, especially in the summertime, so of course my trusty Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation in B40 got drafted for the trip. Easy to apply sans brush faffing with just the fingers and long-lasting, she’ll be your best friend if you’re willing to take the plunge. Pinky promise. In terms of powder, of course it came down to another Chanel offering, this time in the form of their Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder, also in B40. It’s incredibly lightweight and practically invisible, but keeps shine at bay and comes in a touch-up friendly compact with packaging that’s absolutely to die for. To avoid any greasy situations on the ‘ol face, Korres’ Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is a gorgeous primer that really does keep oil at bay underneath it all (review here), while this teeny-weeny sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in the shade Opal is perfect for travel to add some glow back on them cheekbones after all this “mattification”. Lastly on the skin we have another Becca offering (are you sensing a theme here?), their mineral blusher in Songbird, which I spoke about in my last post. I love this stuff: it’s one of the longest-lasting blushes I own to beat the summer heat, and looks absolutely stunning in sunlight with the most gorgeous micro-shimmer that just makes you glow. On the eyes, the only thing we’re packing here at succhisimples. is the ever travel-friendly Clinique Neutral Territory 2 Palette (review here), which is the size of my palm but miraculously fits eight gorgeous, buttery shadows, making it the perfect smokey eyes product for the girl on the go. Last but certainly not least, Nivea do a great lip balm/sunblock hybrid (yes, your lips get sunburnt too-never a good look) that’s slightly mattifying and works as a great base under any lip product. On top, we’re doing Revlon’s lip butter in the shade Tutti Frutti, a delicious coral/orange that’s hydrating and easier to use than  Delphine from Orphan Black (did you SEE the finale? Let me know below. Let’s chat:)

What will you be packing on holiday this summer? Stay tuned for the next installments to come this week. So about Orphan Black…

 

 

WHAT’S ON MY FACE: URBAN DECAY NAKED 3.

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naked 3 review3Hello all. It’s been a while since my last post; I’ve been so busy for the last month with exams and work that I hadn’t had time to sit and take some decent photos for the interwebs. Now that summer is well and truly underway, I’m finally back into the swing of things with blogging and work and my Vitamix. Oh, the Vitamix. Yes, it’s a new relationship we have, but I think I may have found the one. Not to state things prematurely, but I am one hundred and seventy-seven percent positive that thing is God’s second gift to man (after lip gloss, or Ryan Gosling. Take your pick.). Hint: expect a post later this week. For now, let the tour of my face begin…

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Oh yes, she’s a beaut. This was actually a gift for my birthday back in March, but I never really thought it suited my skintone until I tested it today. Of course all the shades are gorgeous, but I always thought it would look better on someone with fairer ski, purely because of the lighter rosy tones in the palette. I’m happy to report I was beyond wrong; if your skin is similar (or darker) in shade to mine, fear not. This one really does seem to be universally flattering. On my skin, the rose gold leans very pink/purple, a welcome change to my usual neutrals and golds. I used the shade Liar all over the lid with Nooner buffed into the crease and sheered into the outer corner, and then followed up with Strange on the browbone and Covergirl’s single eyeshadow in 710 Champagne in the inner corner.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in 70 Beige

Base comes in the form of my all-time favorite foundation, Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua. They’ve actually expanded their shade range as well, and #70 matches me perfectly for summer. It’s a wonderful all-rounder, especially for warmer weather. Stays put and looks flawless, while still being one of the lightest feeling bases around.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger

I’ll save you having to read on about how much I love this stuff yet again. The breakdown: blends like a dream, good coverage, never cakey. Consider me obsessed.

Nyx Blusher in Pinched

Of course we’ve all heard the hype around Nyx’s blushers, but I never really saw them as anything to write home about until now. Don’t be fooled by the way they swatch; whenever I came across them instore, they always seemed dry with low color payoff. With a brush, though, these really are gorgeous buffed onto the cheeks. Think Nars Orgasm, but more pigmented with less blending required. Love.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Nude

Great for opening up tired eyes, and really stays put. My eyes water like nobody’s business, so much so that I spend more time looking like I just saw P.S. I Love You than not, and this little number holds better than a lot of the high end eyeliners I own, especially on the waterline.

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Waterproof Mascara

If you’re into lashes of the semi-clumpy variety, look no further. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good mascara; builds volume with a single swipe, grabs all the lashes (even those pesky outer corners), and stays put with my oily eyelids. But… I’ve had it for around a month now and it’s too clumpy for my taste. I normally like mascaras after they’ve dried down a bit, but this one doesn’t layer up too well, even after drying slightly. It’s good for a one-swipe-wonder kinda deal, but anymore and things go from spidery (in a good way) to clumpytown until it looks like I only own four very wide eyelashes. Good, but not great.

NYC Liquid Lipshine in Pink Breeze//MAC Fanfare Lipstick

I went for a peachy-pink lip today, thanks to one of my favorite MAC Lipsticks. Fanfare is a gorgeous coral/peach shade that’s vibrant enough to avoid ever looking washed out on the face. It’s a great everyday shade when patted onto the lips for a subtle pout, while it layers beautifully for a pop of peach that looks fresh all day. I think this shade of the NYC Liquid Lipshine might be discontinued, but definitely still check out their range of current colors. These are among the stickier lipglosses I own, but they give the most amazing, almost metallic glow to the lips and stick around longer due to the tacky consistency. Pros>Cons.

What products have you been wearing lately?

 

 

 

 

 

SMARTY BROWS.

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DSC_0255Anastasia (of Beverly Hills), you must be a genius, because you’re a wiz at creating good brows. I swear that sounded a whole hell of a lot better in my head than it does written here. If you didn’t pick up on my terrible joke, today’s product in question happens to be my first-ever foray into the realm of brow pencils, the Anastasia Skinny Brow Wiz in the shade Ebony. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big eyebrow lover; I love the look of a good strong brow that looks very modern and chic, I just tend not to faff around with my own brows much, mostly because I’ve never really had much experience with them. Brows have always been that area of beauty that fascinated me but I kind of never took the jump to start obsessing over. Until now. After having recently gotten my brows waxed at my local Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta, I picked up this itty bitty pencil to get to work with my face mane. I have quite bushy brows naturally, so I really wanted something to focus on just taming and defining my brows. Let me get this out now, I think I’ve found the one. Skinny Wiz and I get along quite nicely; it’s the sort of no-brainer product that’s quick and easy to use for even the most amateur eyebrow lover such as myself. The pencil is absolutely tiny, making it magic for drawing in hairs where before there were only gaps. The spoolie on the other end is one of the best I’ve tried; firm enough to disperse product but not so stiff that you feel like you’re raking through your brows. Plus, it cuts the time normally spent on scavenging around for a separate spoolie brush. Overall, it’s a great buy for quick and easy perfect brows. While it is on the expensive side of products, I think it’s well worth the price tag. Definitely a must buy for anyone looking to improve the look of their brows.

What are your favorite brow products?

FOTD FT. MAC FACE+BODY.

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DSC_0262I’ve kind of fallen out of love with MAC in the past year; I think it’s the first brand we gravitate towards when we first fall in love with makeup, and as you learn more, you branch out and want to try new things, and poor buddy MAC gets left on the train travelling off to the far reaches of your mind (can you tell I’m feeling a little off today?). While at the mall this past weekend, I passed by my local MAC store and popped in for a look and realized, I need everything. It’s safe to say I am well and truly smitten with the brand again, and in the spirit of us getting back together, I finally got colormatched for their Face and Body foundation and picked up samples in the shades C3 and C4. C4 is definitely more my color, especially with summer coming up, and so far I’m in love; sheer yet buildable without looking cakey, very dewy finish that still looks like skin? I’m all over that. Review to come. I thought I’d share the look I’m sporting today for all of you: I opted for more hazy than smokey eyeshadow, a berry-tinted lip, and bronze-y peach cheeks in the spirit of summer. Shimmery, beachy, easy. Simples. 

BASE//Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer/ MAC Face and Body foundation in C4/Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger/Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette/MAC Harmony Blush/Nars Blush in Luster

EYES//MAC Eyeshadows in All That Glitters (over lid), Mulch (in crease), Wedge (transition), Naked Lunch (highlight)/Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners in Twice Baked, Perversion (to tightline)/Maybelline The Falsies Flared Mascara

LIPS//Revlon colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie

BRUSHES//Sigma F84 (for foundation)/EcoTools Bamboo powder brush (to set foundation, to bronze and contour using MAC Harmony blush)/MAC 109 (for blush)/MAC 239, 217 (for eyeshadow)

Let me know if you like these “what I’m wearing”-type posts. What have you been wearing lately?

FUZZ OFF.

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nair 3Welcome to succhisimples., where we chat about how to get rid of your mustache. Is there any better way to put it? Let’s take a second to explore the beauty world’s elephant in the room. Wouldn’t you know it, people have hair. Oh yes. It’s true. I said it. I am a hairy person. Some people are blessed with not having to deal with this subject area, but, such is life. And like many hairy people, I’ve been battling my own Joaquin Phoenix-esque mustache for what seems like forever. I was always a wax advocate; it really does provide the longest-lasting results, but it can be painful and leave redness in its wake. Enter, Nair Brazilian Clay Face Trio. For those of you who prefer a quick way to get rid of any upper lip madness, look no further. The set comes with a balm to be applied with the applicator before the cream to help hydrate, the cream itself, and a moisturizer to keep everything in check post-op. I like the idea of the before-treatment, but I’m not sure it really makes a difference when the cream actually starts to work, so I think you’d be fine to just by the cream alone for around five dollars. The moisturizer is actually a great addition, since it contains ingredients to calm the skin after the treatment that aren’t in normal day/night creams you might use. The cream does a great job of getting rid of all the hair in just five minutes. The timing really is crucial; I left it on around eight minutes the first time and ended up with angry red bumps that turned into breakouts, so I’d say six/seven minutes at the most, depending on the length of the hair you’re trying to remove, but I’d recommend removing with a damp washcloth in five minutes. No redness with fast results. If you’re looking for a new product to deal with any unwanted hair, I’d definitely give this a try. For the price, what used to be a process of heating wax or prepping strips is complex made easy. Simples.

Will you be giving this a try?

 

THE CAPSULE BAG #5.

capsule bag #5The week’s makeup bag is very Nyx-heavy, which is strange for me, since I’m really not a big fan of the brand as a whole. First up, I’ve kind of fallen in love with their cream blush in the shade “Glow” (here), which I’ve had in my collection for ages now. It’s much more of a bright, neutral pink than I’d normally go for since it’s nearly pastel, but it looks lovely on the cheeks to pull together a very fresh, dewy look. I think going in to spring, it’s nice to move away from that “Snow White” berry flush and get into some more dewy peaches and pinks, so this is a great transition color. Again from Nyx we have the lipgloss in “Beige”, which is not beige at all. People of Nyx, please re-name this, it drives me insane. The actual product, though, I love. It doesn’t add much color to the lips, but paired with a my-lips-but-better shade like MAC syrup (review here), this adds some glow and doesn’t feel sticky at all. Love. I’ve been very into smudgy liner this week, (as usual, but we’re talking like, uber smudged. Review here) and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Crave paired with the Elf studio contour brush used to blend it out has been perfect. I bought the brush on kind of a whim a while ago and really hadn’t found a use for it until now; it’s too dense to use to contour around the nose and isn’t the greatest for blending large areas, but on the lower lashline, this is perfection. The liner is just barely gray enough that it doesn’t look harsh when blended, so it doesn’t seem too over-the-top rocker chic for everyday wear. I’ve especially been loving the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. I know everyone harps on about this, but it really is incredible; I actually wore this without primer boating today and it lasted a full eight hours. I kid you not. Lastly, my itty-bitty sample of the Benefit Watt’s Up! highlighter from my recent haul has been a lifesaver as cheek topper this week, swipe, blend, done. Simples.

What have you been loving lately?