Dermstore Haul

IMG_1393I’m a SUCKER for a sale because I will never buy anything full-price. Last year when I was just dipping my toes into the water of skincare, I learned about Dermstore, an online retailer with an amazing selection of brands. Each year they have an anniversary sale with 20-25% off the entire site. You absolutely cannot miss out. Last year I sprung for a Harry Josh hairbrush but this year, I went a little bigger. My selection was a variety of new products as well as some repurchases.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – One of my tried and true cleansers. It smells a little like olive oil and is so smooth on the skin. I always apply it to dry skin and then wash it off with a warm wash cloth. It’s the first oil cleanser that has worked for my acne prone skin. It leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped of moisture – it’s great when you just want to balance and simplify your routine.

Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash – I bought this purely because I knew Audrey Gelman uses this product. I don’t love the smell of it, but I have noticed that I keep reaching for it in the morning over my milky jelly cleanser. It lathers up really nicely and leaves my skin super bright and smooth. I’m interested to see if I’ll feel inclined to repurchase once I finish the bottle.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O – This is my ride-or-die make-up remover. It takes everything off without stinging or leaving a residue. It’s just simply a really awesome product that I wanted to repurchase since I was running low and it happened to be on sale.

RMS Beauty Un Cover-up in 22 – Me, before I tried this product: Concealer is pointless,


This product is truly so awesome and doesn’t budge all day. The shade 22 matches my skin so nice (light-to-medium with yellow undertones). It’s buttery when you warm it up with your finger and applies really nicely. It’s medium coverage but doesn’t cake up or feel heavy. The best part is, it’s a clean, natural product so you don’t have to worry about it’s effect on your skin. When I put over my blemishes it doesn’t make them flair up.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial – I have been wanting to try this mask since it was released but let’s be real – it’s an $80 mask and I’m a college student! I felt very pleased with myself snagging it on sale because it’s a real good mask. My go-to chemical peel before this was Caudalie’s Glycol Peel, but Babyfacial now takes the cake. The first five minutes of having it on your faces really stings but after it goes away and you wash off the mask, you have bright, but not red, baby soft skin. I’ve been doing this twice a week since I got the mask and I’m so happy with it. At-home chemical peels can feel really weird but since the product is from the clean, natural brand Drunk Elephant I feel really good using it.

*Bonus* Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil – This sample size came with Babyfacial which I was super pumped about because I’ve heard great things about the product. It’s super smooth oil that doesn’t drag when rubbing on the skin. However, I’ve felt like it doesn’t absorb super well into my skin and leaves me a little greasy. I’m going to save this for the colder months and see how my skin responds to it then when it’s more vulnerable to dryness in the cold.

GlamGlow SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment – This was one of the first really nice masks I’ve tried. I knew I loved it, but being young and only having so much money to spend it never felt like a responsible purchase. However, now that it was on sale and my skin has needed some major detoxing since I’m a year-round city resident officially, I purchased a full-size, and I’m really pleased. After one use, the pores on my nose did look visibly smaller and the blemishes lingering on my skin were nowhere to be seen.

I really love Dermstore as a retailer since their products are up to a really high standard. I highly recommend them for an online skincare retailer.


Summer Skin

For the first few months of summer, (read: before I started getting a regular paycheck) I had to make the most of my skincare because I ran out of products and didn’t have the funds to restock them. This meant, I returned to some products I needed to use up and the routine ended up making me love the way my skin was looking.


  1. Warm Wash Cloth (not pictured because do you really need to see my old rags of washcloths?!)

First things first in the morning… gentle exfoliation! Most physical exfoliants don’t work for my skin and trigger breakouts (I’m looking at you St. Ives Apricot scrub), however, scrubbing my face is the best way to exfoliate my skin. I don’t like to strip my skin so I avoid using a cleanser in the morning. Just some warm water and a good ole washcloth!

2. Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist

To rehydrate my face after I cleanse, I’ve been use this mist to tone. I always thought toning had to mean stripping your skin with acids and alcohols but this mist has flipped that idea on its head. The ingredients are: Distilled Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline, Silica, Vitamin C, Boron Citrate, NaPCA, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Citric Acid, Tincture of Iodine, and Oil of Spearmint. It looks clear in the beautiful packaging. Then you shake it up and it makes the mist look foggy but it’s just activating the minerals and creating straight up magic. This has shrunk my pores, keeps my skin clear, controls redness and makes my skin feel hydrated ALL DAY.

3. Origins Original Skin Essence

I bought this after seeing goddess Christine Nguyen use it in a GRWM video. It is so good. I had never heard of this line until I started using it and discovered so many others who swear by it. I give it all the credit for evening my skin tone and clearing up my acne scaring I’ve had since being the dumb teenager who picked at her acne.

4. Super Pure or Super Glow

I bought the serums because Glossier has me wrapped around their finger. Now they’ve become a part of my rountine. Glow makes my skin look like I got eight hours of sleep, and Pure helps control breakouts whether they’re hormonal or I haven’t been eating well.

5. Glossier Priming Moisturizer

This is my favorite moisturizer. I have oily skin, but this cream moisturizer keeps me balanced while controlling my redness. I don’t foresee me giving this up anytime soon (ed: future me is laughing because I have — more on that later.)

6. Glossier Invisible Shield

I didn’t wear sunscreen before Glossier’s because I didn’t believe SPF could be this good. Now I’m a believer. It applies like a serum, smells fresh and lemony and is effective. The price point is higher than drugstore sunscreens, but you’re paying to not breakout over pore clogging formulas.


Now for my night routine!


  1. Bioderma Sensibio

I tried every brand of drugstore Micellar water, but I couldn’t find one that I liked. They either didn’t work, left a weird residue, and in some cases tap water would have been better. I finally splurged on this and I’ve had it for over 6 months, and it hasn’t run out! It’s pricier initially but in the long run, it is cheaper. I highly recommend getting it with the pump because it lets you use less and therefore save product (which equals money!)

2. Cetaphil

I have a love hate relationship with Cetaphil. I first began using it, and it did nothing for my skin. Then I came back to it at the end of my junior year of high school and loved it. Then after a while, I didn’t love it anymore and tried other cleansers (some of which I loved, and others which I did not). I eventually came back to this at the start of this summer because I didn’t want to splurge on the DHC cleansing oil which had been one of my favorite cleansers. My skin has actually learned to love Cetaphil at the moment, but I love trying new cleansers.

3. Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist

Just as I do in the morning, I mist at night because Cetaphil can be stripping so it’s important to replenish skin. I love love love this product but hate the price on it.

4. Super Bounce

My skin is dehydrated because I am terrible about drinking water when it isn’t at a meal. So to compensate, Super Bounce has come in to soothe my dry skin as well as even out the texture on my cheeks which had forever been red and bumpy. I will never stop using this product.

5. Dr. Jart Water Drop Moisturizer

I won’t lie — I don’t love this moisturizer. I originally bought it for the cool effect and kept using it because I don’t want to waste it, but I’m looking for something else (ed: I have found something else!). For a really long time my night moisturizer was Nivea Creme which sounds crazy, but I would use it forever if I didn’t get milia around my eyes from it. I’ll be on the market for a new moisturizer soon.

Gourmet Dumpling House

I was embarrassed to say that in the months that I’ve been in Boston, I had yet to dine in Chinatown. However, I have now officially checked it off the bucket list. Two weeks ago, my roommates and I ventured out for a “family” dinner in Chinatown. On that chilly fall night, we found ourselves in the cozy (aka crowded) Gourmet Dumpling House.

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Mini Juicy Dumplings with Pork

You can’t trust a person who doesn’t like dumplings. Dumplings should honestly be its own food group. However, there has to be a special subcategory for soup dumplings which are pictured above.These were my first attempt at soup dumplings, and they were totally delicious. Thanks to this Buzzfeed video, I knew going in how to eat soup dumplings like a pro so I wasn’t looking like an amateur in Chinatown. They’re fun to eat and taste delicious! You can’t beat that!


General Gau’s Tofu

For my entree I got General Gau’s Tofu. I didn’t get chicken because I usually prefer the vegetarian option when it is available out of personal preference (I love tofu/used to eat vegetarian/still try and eat vegetarian most of the time). This was so yummy and I really appreciated how the tofu was fried because it gave it a meat-y texture and taste that was great. My roommate who is actually vegetarian really enjoyed this dish too so it is a crowd pleaser!

Dinner at Gourmet Dumpling House was fantastic. It’s quite crowded so if you’re going at night expect a short wait, but it’s definitely worth it for the yummy, authentic Chinese food.

An Introduction

Hey there. Yeah, I’m talking to you. Thanks for stopping by!

My name is Samantha! I’m a college student currently studying in Boston. I hail from a small coastal town in Maine, but I am very much enjoying city living.

Some things that make me happy include: going on a walk everyday, online shopping, watching TV (The Mindy Project and Scandal are my current favorites), seeing a movie that makes me feel something, reading (and finishing!) a book, spending time outdoors (especially in the Fall!), sweater weather, and eating really good food.

Now this last thing brings me to why this little corner of the internet exists…

The food at college is fine, but it certainly isn’t something to get excited about. I love to cook and thanks to my father who is a chef, I’m pretty good at it too. However, college doesn’t make cooking easy. So sometimes when you’re sick and tired of the dining hall, eating out is the best option. It can also be a very expensive option, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And the other day I was feeling that desperation because I got a funny kind of homesick. I was homesick for the food from home. I was fortunate to live near a place with the most restaurant per capita in America, and have parents who were great cooks. I grew to have my favorite spots, but now that I’ve moved to a new place, I haven’t found my new go-tos.

So this blog is a way of curing my homesickness while also introducing me to all the food Boston has to offer! (Or at least that is the goal.)

Boston has so much to offer, so where do I even begin?! Well thanks to a generous family member who gave me several gift cards to some eateries in my new neighborhood, and along with the aid of a couple helpful articles from Spoon University and Buzzfeed, I have plenty of places to start!

Until next time. Xx