Buy It: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel

About a year ago, I wrote about my skincare routine, and in reading that post now, I'm amazed by how much has changed. I had a life-altering facial last fall and started using another all-natural product line, but in spite of subsequent facials and a steady dose of Retin-A, I felt that my skin was just not being all that it could be. Serendipitously, a few weeks ago, I was invited to an event whereby I received a free chemical peel from the office of Dr. Dennis Gross, and while I was hoping it would simply buy me some time until my next facial, I was blown away by how amazing my skin looked and felt. I'm talking baby soft, smaller pores, diminished wrinkles, the whole nine yards. It was like I had spent the last decade living clean in a fresh-air cave, versus drinking my way through NYC while the grime and stress settled into my pores. I was ready to do or pay anything to continue looking this way, but luckily my new BFF Salvatore sent me home with the Alpha Beta Daily Peels and thus a new era in my life began. 

The peels come in individually-wrapped packets that look like Wet-Naps; you wipe the step one packet all over your face, wait two minutes, then repeat with step two. Your face may burn a bit at first; I started out using the peel every other day until I felt that my skin could handle daily use. (Side note: I have truly sensitive skin that turns red and rashy at the slightest provocation, but it takes the Alpha Beta Peel like a champ.) Once my skin dries, I dab on Dr. Gross' Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, which is also doing its part to make my skin brighter, softer, and tighter. (I will also rave about his cleansing foam, and when my eye cream runs out, I fully plan on buying the eye serum.) I then finish with whatever lotion I find laying around, but I've found that the peel makes my skin way more sensitive to sun, so I'm on the hunt for a new moisturizer with SPF (look for a post on that sometime in the near future). I like to do the peel in the morning, but if sun sensitivity is a major issue, you can do it at night instead. 

Important things to note: Dr. Gross' products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates, and the line is vegan and cruelty-free. True, it's not the all-natural, organic blah-blah-blah I'd been using before, but as a wise friend of mine once said, you get to the point in your life where you care more about results than ingredients and, well, here I am in my mid-thirties. It should also be noted that the line is not cheap; a month's supply of peels, while less than a facial—which I feel like I no longer need—is still $86, or almost $3 a day. (A slightly more economical option: $145 for a 60-day supply.) Am I  a crazy person? Maybe. But at least I'm a crazy person with the skin of a 23-year-old. 

Downsize Your Bag, Upgrade Your Life

A month or so ago, I read this Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth Holmes, in which she discusses forgoing one's usual tote for a smaller handbag, or what my grandmother would call a "pocketbook." I promptly laughed—yes, I do need my iPhone charger, 57 gift cards I'm never going to use, full-size notebook, three lipsticks, extra shoes, and collapsible umbrella—and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, I was getting a massage. The masseuse guessed that I carry my bag on my left shoulder. She was right, but I figured she had a 50-50 chance of guessing correctly, and I told her so. Bemused, she then pointed out all the problems my (heavy) bag was creating in my body: cramping in my opposite foot, tightness in my opposite shoulder, inflexibility in my neck, tilted hips, and so on. She was right about all those things, too. "You need to carry a smaller bag," she said, "or you're going to have to start wearing orthopedic shoes." And you all know how I feel about that.

Phase one of my plan involved a move I picked up from Holmes' article: I traded my huge continental wallet for an Alexander Wang Fumo wristlet and stashed it inside my usual bag. When I ran out to grab lunch, I'd throw my iPhone inside (it fits perfectly) and leave my albatross, er, tote at my desk. The Fumo is great because it has a well-structured series of pockets and compartments; it forced me to pare down to four credit cards, but it still has room for cash, receipts, coins, and whatever else you want to throw inside. It also has a removable wrist strap, which makes me feel a bit more secure about walking around Midtown with my wallet in my hand. It was truly liberating. I wanted more.

A few years ago, MW bought me a fantastic book called Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do, a must-read for anyone with road rage, and I cite it repeatedly in conversation. There's a chapter that talks about road congestion and the strange thing that happens when you add more lanes to a highway: it gets more crowded.  Ok, really, stick with me—I do have a point. Anyway, the book concludes that the best way to control traffic is actually to restrict it, and thus I saw the parallels: A bigger purse allows me to carry around more crap, and so I carry around more crap. The only way to carry less crap is to get a smaller purse. Less space, less crap.

A major purge was in order. I filled an entire makeup bag with junk from my purse that I now keep in my office drawer. I call it my "lady bag," and it contains coupons, tampons, ibuprofen, an emergency flash drive, and, yes, that iPhone charger. I traded my giant Prada makeup bag for this small nylon pouch from C. Wonder , which conveniently has a C for Cheryl already on it. I have two pens (what if one dies?!), a tiny notebook, headphones, my MetroCard, work ID, card case, Baggu, silk scarf, mini pack of Kleenex, purse hanger, sunglasses, and keys. I pared down to the bare minimum. I was ready.

Phase two had several false starts—I severely overestimated my downsizing abilities and ordered (and returned) two comically small options—until I came across the Rebecca Minkoff Swing bag, which I promptly bought in red, pictured here. Minkoff makes a darn good purse, and the Swing is testament to that: There are pockets galore (three zip, two slip), the bag itself is expandable via a zipper along the base, and the shape is such that you can put bigger items on the bottom while still being able to close the magnetic snap at the top. My favorite part, however, is the chain strap: It can be doubled and worn on the shoulder, or be lengthened and worn as a crossbody, giving it versatility without adding an extra (read: heavy) strap. I'm also amazed how easily the chain strap stays on my very sloped shoulders; Coco Chanel, to whom this bag owes a great debt, was onto something. Even more amazing, however, is that the Swing bag fits all my stuff, and I haven't even needed to expand it yet. Then again, I have everything I need now—why carry more?

TheFind Guest Post: Finish Getting "Naked" with Urban Decay's New Pressed Powder

 I'm a big fan of Urban Decay's Naked line, whether it's their lightweight line of foundation and bases, or their sexy smokey eye palettes that hardly appear naked at all (in a good way). And now the ever-popular collection is expanding with a new finishing powder that'll be sure to top off any flawless makeup look – whether "naked" and neutral, or not so much. Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder works to cut shine and set makeup without the chalky residue or ghost-like powdery aura like some mattifying powders tend to leave behind. It comes in five different shades, and it's super blendable so you don't need to worry about spending far too long at your neighborhood Sephora swatching shades for an exact match. I know, it seems counterintuitive to add another product layer to a makeup routine that's designed to seem "naked," but this new powder is so lightweight and long-lasting, you won't even need touch-ups throughout the day!  —Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops. 

In These Shoes: Frye Wyatt Disc Boots

The comedian Louis C.K. has a funny bit called "of course...but maybe," in which he addresses the ill logic behind political correctness. In spite of all the crazy crap that's been going on this this country the last few days, however, I'll stay away from politics, lest you, dear readers, be subjected to my diatribes on the injustices of the world. But I will borrow Louis' setup to talk about shoes. Or, more specifically, boots.

Of course it's in the mid-nineties in NYC this week (there I go again with the weather!). Of course, I mean, it's July! But considering Nordstrom's legendary anniversary sale is now on, maybe—maybe!—it's a good time to buy boots. The mere thought of putting your feet in boots might make you sweat, but, hey, you're getting them on sale in the pre-season, and come fall, you're going to wear them evrrrrwhrrr.

The pair in question is Frye's Wyatt Disc boots, which are very on-trend for the upcoming season in that they're short and embellished with a low heel. I like that the studs are rounded and more beat-up-looking, thankfully moving away from the faceted pyramid studs we've been seeing for seasons. Frye boots are typically made of really nice leather, and these have been artfully broken in already, which, as a Frye owner, I can tell you normally takes years (but is worth the effort). I like the shape of the shaft—between the width and the little dip at the front, they're practically made for wearing with skinny jeans, making Wyatt your go-to weekend boots. They're a slight investment at $218.90, but after the sale, they go up to the regular price of $327.95, which now makes them seem like a veritable bargain, right? Of course it's too hot for boots right this very minute, but maybe you'd be nuts to pass them up.

Lazy shopping: July clearance sales

Conventional wisdom says that if you wouldn't pay full-price for something, you shouldn't buy it on sale. I say conventional wisdom is boring. When prices hit 50%, 60%, even 70% off, that's the time to go nuts and buy something kah-ray-zy. Sequined shorts? Okay! Scuba dresses? Why not! Fun prints? Totally! When you take a risk and push your fashion boundaries, you end up with cool statement pieces that live in your wardrobe forever. July is the perfect time to score major fashion bargains with staying power; here are some of my favorites.

Clockwise from top left:

B Brian Atwood Fontenay Hologram Pumps, $222
Milly Neon and Mesh Dress, $170
Diane von Furstenberg Suki Sequin Shorts, $159
Rag & Bone Large Pilot Bag, $359
L.A.M.B. Carter Lucite Sandals, $130
Joie Mehira Printed Blazer, $180
Marc Jacobs Leopard-Print Pouch, $150
Milly Twill Peplum Skirt, $80
Giles & Brother Cortina Bracelet, $82.50
Equipment Brett Silk Leopard-Print Blouse, $125

Buy It: Oribe Apres Beach Spray

June was, to put it mildly, a bit nuts. It was so nuts that I managed to squeeze out only four blog posts, a record low in Cheryl Shops history. For that I am a bit ashamed, but I'm happy to report I spent the last two weeks chilling the eff out. The good ol' MTA nearly harshed my post-vacation mellow today, but alas, I beat on, boats against the current, et cetera. In other words, I'm back and ready to talk about stuff you need to buy.

So, I realize I start out a lot of my posts talking about the weather—I'm not a 72-year-old man, I swear—but, whoa, this heat! And while we're at it, this humidity! I am not kidding, it was 97 degrees in my apartment yesterday when I got home from vacation. Twelve hours of A/C blasting later, it was still too hot to blow-dry my hair this morning, so I decided to prolong my vacation a little bit—well, as far as my hair was concerned. All last week, I practiced a very low-maintenance hair routine, which was as follows: 1) Rinse hair in outdoor shower. 2) Spray liberally with Oribe Apres Beach spray. 3) Pour a cocktail and let hair air-dry. Which was exactly what I did today, minus the outdoor shower. And, okay, the cocktail.

Apres Beach spray is gem among gems in the Oribe line (I'll save my gushing over Maximista and Dry Texturising spray for another post). I find it to be much more moisturizing than similar beach sprays, which is important when you have parched, processed strands like mine; Oribe's is full of rich oils that give your hair that beachy texture without making it stiff and crunchy. It comes in an aerosol can, which I've found delivers the product more evenly than the traditional pump spray. And then there's the scent—like all Oribe products, it carries a rich, sexy fragrance that smells like nothing else on the market; close your eyes and you could be on a yacht anchored in St. Tropez, as suggested by the copy on the back. Of course, considering the rate at which I'm going through the $37 can, I won't likely be going to the South of France anytime soon. But with beachy waves like these, looks like I don't even need to.

TheFind Guest Post: Love It or Loathe It: ASOS x Nylon Pom Pom Sweater

Nylon Magazine is always championing expertly-done, mixed-and-matched layered fashion. I mean, who else would know that Rachel Bilson would totally rock a metallic skirt with a letterman jacket? Or that a sweater dress and knee-high nylons and rhinestone cat ears would work so well for Lea Michele? Now, aside from giving us inspiration to raid our own closets and rock our existing clothes in totally new and hip ways, Nylon is teaming up with online retailer ASOS to create their very own quirky, layering-friendly wardrobe addition. The cropped pom-pom sweatshirt may not scream "summer," but somehow it totally works. A cropped crew-neck sweatshirt, embellished with hot-pink pom-poms makes up for the perfect throw-it-on-and-go piece that still has plenty of personality. Pair it with some quirky cut-off shorts and heeled booties for the next music festival on your busy summer schedule, or layer it over your favorite on-trend pair of overalls (if you dare!). This adorable little number is sold exclusively at ASOS (obvi), so be sure to snatch one up before it's gone for good!  - Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.