August 14, 2014

How to Do a Beauty Detox at Home

Beauty Detox


I don't know about cha'all, but I am READY for Fall. Truth be told, I was ready on June 1st. I have never been a fan of Summer. I hate heat. I am not a fan of the sun. Humidity makes me want to kick things. I hate most Summer fashion. Did I mention I'm not a fan of the sun? I know that doesn't make me popular, but oh well. It is what it is. Once Summer starts nearing an end, the "back to school" ads start running on t.v. and school clothes catalogs start rolling in, I get a little nostalgic for that new school year prepping I did as a kid. There was something so exciting and fresh about starting a new school year. Everything is bright and shiny and new! School clothes, a new haircut, new shoes, new binders and pens and paper and notepads....ahhhh I can still smell the aisles of the office supply store!

Well, that ship has SAILED. I haven't been anticipating "back to school" for myself in longer than I care to admit. But there is one tradition I still look forward to at the end of Summer and I call it my "Beauty Detox". A time when I take a long, hard look in the mirror and assess the damage done from the sun and elements as well as the late nights and early mornings (damn you, bright orb in the sky for waking me before I'm good and ready!)

It's time to bust out those lighted magnifying mirrors, ladies! Shit is about to get R E A L. Try as I may to shellac myself in sunscreen, take good care of my nails and protect my tresses from salt water, UV rays and styling products, there is always some major damage control to be done to "shed" my body of a few months of bad decisions. Get ready to slough off some dead skin, rejuvenate those parched strands, moisturize those over-polished nail beds and hydrate that sexy bod of yours.....we're in full-on detoxification mode....and I promise, you'll thank me when we're finished. We'll start with the face and work our way around, shall we?

FACE
YSL Natural Action Exfoliator I fell in love with this stuff when I was working for YSL. There's a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be obsessed. It has a thick, honey-like consistency and you apply it to dry skin. It goes from an oil-like consistency (upon contact with the skin) and changes to a milk-like consistency when it's ready to remove. You can either rinse off or tissue off if you're dry. Natural fruit acids, sugars and ultrafine oils slough off old skin cells and leave your face feeling like a baby's rear.
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask I love Boscia facial masks. And I really love a good peel-off mask. Nothing makes you feel like you're literally shedding your skin more than peeling off the thin, dried layer of mask and seeing little dry skin flakes stuck to it. The mineral rich clay draws out impurities while the antioxidants brightens and firms. 
Philosophy 'Take a Deep Breath' Energizing Oxygen Gel Cream I love love love this moisturizer. The name pretty much sums up what it does. Oil-free, detoxifying, super hydrating but still lightweight and non-greasy. It's pretty much perfect.

Body
Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap I first used this soap when I was at a fancy hotel and I was an instant fan. It's triple milled so it's extremely luxurious, but the seaberry and the exfoliating beads in it buffs away dull, dead skin. It's kind of like a loofah, a cleanser and a moisturizer all wrapped up in a convenient bar of soap. This is perfect for sloughing off all that scaly skin left over from too much sun exposure, but it won't strip you of all your moisture.
Alpha Hydrox AHA Wipes I have been a fan of the Alpha Hydrox line for years. It checks off two of my favorite product qualities: effective and affordable. I've been using their nighttime moisturizer for years and I always wake up with the nicest glow. I included these guys in the "body" category, but they could have also been included in the "face" category. I put them here because they are an incredible little secret weapon to keeping your neck and d├ęcolletage looking young and wrinkle and sun spot-free. They're wipes that are saturated in a 14% AHA solution, so here's the deal: they're pretty intense. Meaning, you're going to feel things when you use them. Namely, some tingling. You only want to use these weekly or else you are going to get irritated. If you have super sensitive skin, you can "rinse" with water (5-15 minutes after using) to "neutralize" your skin's pH. They're fabulous for lightening sun spots on the chest area. If you find they're too harsh for you, you can use them on your heels and elbows to get rid of rough patches and scaly skin!
AromaSoapLab Sore Muscle Foaming Bath Salts I do Zumba with the lovely gal that makes these. She makes the most amazing soaps and soaks and scrubs. All of her products are handmade with no animal testing, no parabens, no mineral oil, no sodium laurel sulphate and no phosphates as well as being all vegan. I am OBSESSED with her Sea Mud Tea Tree Mint Facial Scrub. I swear it looked like I used a Biore strip on my nose after I used it. It's AMAZING for unclogging your pores. Anyhoo, her bath salts removes toxins and lactic acid build up as well as relieving sore muscles. Also amazing is her Pink Sugar Olive Oil Soap and her Anise Mint Charcoal Olive Oil Soap. They rinse so clean with no residue and they smell good enough to eat (but please resist that urge).
PeterThomasRoth Mega-Rich Body Lotion Fancy packaging? No. Amazing moisturizer? YES. I am a Peter Thomas Roth fan to the fullest. Their products work. No frills, just great quality stuff here.

Hair
Bumble & bumble Sunday Shampoo I included two different shampoos in this category because this one is only meant to be used on a weekly basis (any more than that and it'll be too stripping). This stuff is GREAT for removing product residue and hard water minerals. Also a great shampoo for infrequent hair washers.
Abba Detox Shampoo  Not only is this a great shampoo for removing heavy buildup and impurities, but their Pro Quinoa Complex contains quinoa, barley and soy proteins which rescue damaged hair fibers so it won't strip the hair of its moisture.
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Every woman should own Anti-Snap. I just can't say enough good things about it. A protein rich formula that fortifies the damaged area of hair and helps reduce breakage. Contains ceramides and fruit acids for added strength and shine. This is a MUST HAVE for dry, damaged, split ends in between trims. It's like a big, tall, glass of water for your hair. And it smells diviiiiiiiiiine.
Nature Made Fish Oil Adult Gummies Okay this one is kind of unconventional. I've always taken a fish oil supplement, and I'm sure it was doing everything it was supposed to be doing for me on the inside (heart health for the WIN!) but it wasn't until I started taking these babies in gummy form that I noticed my scalp and hairline were noticeably less itchy, dry and flaky. Seriously, it's like all my scalp issues disappeared after I started taking these. Buy them, eat them, love them.

Nails, hands and feet 
CND Solar Oil Similar to the Redken Anti-Snap, I really believe everyone should own a bottle (or three) of Solar Oil. It's not affectionately called "a manicure in a bottle" for nothin'! Seriously, this stuff is the JAM for dry, brittle, peeling nails. Got dry, hardened cuticles? Boom, this is your stuff. A handy tip (PUN!) that was given to me at a very young age by a manicurist is to massage some Solar Oil into your nails every night (even if you have polish on) and it will add elasticity to your manicure keeping it from cracking and peeling. 
Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream It kind of pains me a little (okay a lot) to be recommending a $28 hand lotion, BUT, in the words of my homeboy Ferris Bueller "It is so choice!" Honestly, this hand cream is like the Bentley of hand creams. If dropping 30 bones on hand lotion isn't an option for you (you're not alone) here is another favorite that is much more wallet-friendly: Neutrogena Fast Absorbing Hand Cream.
Emjoi Micro-Pedi My mom discovered this little gem while shopping at Costco one day. She brought it home, used it, and then went and bought one for me as well as my sister-in-law. It does some SERIOUS heavy lifting in the callous removing department. I'm not kidding. I hate wearing shoes and walk around barefoot most of the time, resulting in some less-than-sightly looking heels. This thing makes it look and feel like I had a professional pedicure every time I use it. You can find the replacement refill rollers on Amazon as well. After a summer of running around barefoot on the beach or pavement or your backyard, this little guy will be your best friend. Also makes a great gift idea for your girlfriends (just don't forget to include some cute bottles of nail polish to go with!)

Now that you have all your products lined up, get thee to your bathroom, lock the doors, turn on your Spotify channel of choice, and start from the top down! You can thank me later when you've removed 5 pounds of dead skin and split ends!

Also, don't forget to head over to Simply Classic to enter her contest! She's giving away an Urban Decay Naked3 palette, a Clarisonic Mia, a J. Crew gift card, a Deborah Lippmann pack of polishes, and a Jouer beauty pack! Awesome goodies!
August 5, 2014

Drugstore Beauty Products I Would NOT Buy Again

Drugstore Beauty Products I Would NOT Buy Again


How's that for a straightforward title, eh?! I want to put on my "nice girl" hat for a second here *starts digging around...hang on...* THERE! I knew I had it lying around here somewhere, nevermind that it's a bit dusty. Okay, now that we're playing nice, I want to preface this post by saying PLEASE don't be offended if you see one of your favorite products listed here. It's nothing personal at all. What I have included in my Beauty Graveyard (a.k.a. where beauty products go to die) are just things that simply did not work for ME. It does not mean they are garbage and it especially does not mean they are crappy quality (except for the e.l.f. concealer...that's just pure TRASH and I promise there are better affordable products out there that actually work). I had high hopes for some of these guys (namely, the L'Oreal Visible Lift foundation and the NYX Baked Blush) but truth be told, I was severely disappointed. And you guessed it...I'm going to tell you why! So refresh your beverage of choice, kick back, and peep some cold, hard TRUTH.

Up & Up Renewal Cleanser | I picked this up on a whim. It's supposed to be the generic version of Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser (Pack of 3). I have never used either of them before picking up the cheap version and I just plain didn't like anything about it. The scent was off-putting (smells like flowers and sour breath), the consistency was too creamy and it left a gross film on my skin even after multiple attempts to remove it. Who knows, maybe it would work great for very dry skin in the colder, Winter months. But for someone with combination skin in the Summer? PASS!

COVERGIRL Bombshell Volume Mascara | If you read my blog regularly, you may remember a certain tar-like mascara that inspired THIS POST. Feel free to read why I think this mascara was formulated by Satan himself. I know he's sitting down there laughing at all the poor women trying to remove this shit at night.

NYX Super Fat Eye Marker | I really wanted to love this one, dang it! I love a good, thick, black lined eye. I thought for sure this one would do the trick. It wasn't awful right out of the gate, but it dried out SO quickly in the marker-like pen and it faded on my eyelid after only a few hours, even WITH a primer.

Revlon Customeyes Shadow | How cute do these look?! I mean, I bought this eyeshadow because they look like tiny little patches of sweaters! That's where the love story ends, folks. The pigment was pure garbage. I practically had to use a jack-hammer to get anything up out of the pan and onto my shadow brush. Once applied, the colors somehow all looked the same...which is surprising, seeing that to the naked eye, there is such a variation of shade ranges.

REVLON Photoready Airbrush Mousse | I was really bummed this didn't work for me. As you all know, I'm a HUGE fan of Revlon ColorStay Foundation (I use shade '180 Sand Beige') and I use it almost daily. I assumed the Photoready mousse would be a cool and different texture to keep around for when I wanted a bit lighter coverage and more of an airbrushed look. I found it worked best when you apply a dollop to your palm (it comes out like hair mousse from the 80s which with makeup, is a way for makeup companies to give you less product and hike the price up) and apply with a foundation brush. This applied streaky (no matter HOW I applied it), coverage was sub-par and it felt wet for too long. If I apply a water based foundation, I eventually want it to set. This one did not. Majorly gimmicky.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer | This one wasn't the WORST thing that ever happened to me, but it wasn't the best, either. It was much too dark (even the lightest shade) and it just felt heavy and silicone-like on my skin. I wouldn't be opposed to keeping this one around for my neck and chest for sun protection and to even out those areas. But it was just too heavy for my face.

N.Y.C Smooth Skin Perfect Primer No Color | You know how they say it's better to hate something as opposed to being indifferent towards it, because hate requires an effort...? Well, I'm indifferent towards this primer. I don't hate it because that would require me to make an effort. It was just....well...it was just an extra step with NO payoff. It looks pretty when you squirt it into your hands. It's white and pearlescent and shimmery without being glittery. It feels kind of "cool" on the skin. But it literally disappears when you apply foundation over it. It doesn't give foundation any staying power, it doesn't fill fine lines and wrinkles, it doesn't give a dewy look to the skin like it says it will. It just literally evaporates. Primer is meant to make all your complexion dreams come true, and this one won't.

NYX Cosmetics Baked Blush in Spanish Rose | Okay. Hear me out on this one. I wouldn't say I'll never buy this blush again, but I won't buy this particular color again. Is it pretty on? Yes. It's a beautiful, cool-toned pink with a slight shimmer, but it takes A LOT of elbow grease to get the product onto your brush. The whole point of baked shadows and blushes is so that you get an insanely pigmented color payoff with minimal effort. This one missed the mark. Once you DO get enough product onto your brush to see it, it is pretty. However, there are WAY better baked blushes out there for your money. I will try a few other colors of this blush to see if maybe I got a dud. I'm not quite ready to give up yet! Here are my favorite baked blushes: Milani Baked Powder Blush, Tigi Cosmetics Glow Blush Lovely - Pack of 2, and MAC Mineralize Blush (fave colors 'New Romance' and 'Petal Power').

Revlon ColorStay Shadow Links | These little individual pans of shadow click or "link" together so you can pick and choose your shades to make your own personal palette of colors. Great concept, horrible product. Exact same problem as the aforementioned Revlon shadow up above. Not worth your time.

e.l.f. Lip Stain | You get what you pay for here. Dries out in the container almost instantly. Does not feel good on the lips (drying, almost burning sensation) and the color is not represented well once on. As Michael Scott would say..."Doesn't translate."

Almay Wake-Up Liquid Makeup | Poor Almay. They just can't seem to get it together in the foundation department. Well, their makeup just isn't the best as a whole, come to think of it. I grabbed this foundation because it was on a major sale at Target. It's not good. Zero coverage, zero staying power, weird smell (and not because it went bad, it was just.....weird). I immediately threw it in the trash.

L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation | Out of everything listed here, I'm most disappointed about this one. The Visible Lift line from L'Oreal has many different products in it (different foundations, concealers, blushes, etc.) and I REALLY love their L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer. I read so many good things about this foundation online and LOVE L'Oreal products, but this one fell flat. I really hate it. I was hoping it would give me a semi-matte finish and medium coverage. I found that right out of the tube, the consistency seems promising, and the coverage initially wasn't bad. But I didn't get more than 3 hours out of it (maybe less) before I started turning into a major grease slick. I'm not typically that oily or greasy and I felt like this stuff was literally melting off my face. This might work well for dryer skin types that tend to feel super tight after they apply foundation, but for me, it was a major disappointment.

NYX Eye Shadow Base Primer | This is another one I'm just kind of "meh" about. It wasn't horrible, but I'd rather spend a little extra and get a good lid primer that doesn't budge. This particular NYX lid primer comes in white (which is what I have), white pearl, and skin tone. I bought white because I wanted to "white wash" my lids to get my more vibrant shadows to pop. While it did help me achieve that, it just didn't hold everything in place like I had hoped it would. I will be going back to my NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base because, well, it's just the best.

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer | I was surprised I didn't like this one. I was actually kind of impressed with the foundation from this line so I thought the primer would be good, too. It didn't start off bad. After applied, I had the "matte" finish I was expecting before I applied my foundation. However, after only a couple hours, it seemed to settle into my pores and I was SUPER shiny (even with a finishing powder on). Bottom line: I just really disliked how my foundation reacted to this primer. It was not matte and smooth as it should have been. Again, you get what you pay for in this case. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Targeted Pore and Line Primer if you need an oil-controlling primer that will help hide pores. It's amazing.

e.l.f. Studio Complete Coverage Concealer | Where do I even start. There's just not even enough time in the day to list all the things wrong with this crap. I'll try my hardest to keep it short(ish). Color is chalky. Consistency is horrible to blend, cakey on the skin, yet...somehow doesn't cover imperfections. Settles into pores and fine lines, makes skin appear sallow. Are you getting the gist yet? If you see this guy in the drugstore, turn and RUN in the opposite direction. He'll only break your heart.

Ulta Mineral Powder Foundation | This was another letdown. I read incredible things about this in online reviews. Sadly, it didn't blow my skirt up. I'm not a huge fan of powder mineral foundation, but I bought this to use as a loos finishing powder over the top of my foundation. The first day I wasn't sure what to think, but the more I used it, the more I realized it didn't blend well AT ALL, even when I used my biggest, fluffiest powder brush and tried a light dusting. I tried my kabuki brush, no bueno. I tried using it as actual powder foundation...didn't like that either. It had a very slight luminosity to it which would be pretty if it sat well on the skin, but...it just didn't deliver. I wonder if it just wasn't as finely milled as what I'm used to. Luckily I got it on sale.

I'm sure over the years of wearing makeup, I could come up with just about a billion other items I'd consider "duds" but these were the few that came to mind. I'm always curious...what products do you hate? Or what haven't you been impressed with? Shout it out in the comments if you get a chance! Maybe you'll save someone the disappointment!
July 31, 2014

Our Wedding Day | Celebrating 5 Years of Wedded Bliss

I'm writing this blog post on the eve of my husband's and my 5 year anniversary, but by the time all you lovelies will be reading it, it will be in fact, our anniversary (hooray for scheduled posts!) I'm not typically a sappy and sentimental person, but while I was collecting photos for this collage, I couldn't help but get a little nostalgic (no that's not a tear, I got something in my eye!) Do we have moments when we want to strangle each other? Yeah, you betcha. But for the most part, I can honestly say, that 5 years with this guy have been a breeze. A blast. And an honor. I don't know what I did right in my life to deserve someone as kind-hearted, patient and funny as he is, but I was taught not to question the good things in life, so I'm rolling with it! I can't help but to look back on this day with an incredible feeling of love and appreciation. To my husband, to all our friends and family for celebrating with us, and to my amazing parents for footing the entire bill and putting up with my crazy. It was the PERFECT day. The only thing I would change was the fact that it was 105 degrees outside which all of us Washingtonians know is straight up CRAY for our state (just our luck, right?) However, I was thankful for an air conditioned church and golf course country club for the ceremony and reception (I couldn't find the photo of me standing over an A/C vent with my dress all "poofed" out, but I promise you, it exists somewhere).


When I started my wedding planning, basically the morning after we got engaged (I'm well aware that makes me a little bit of a whack-job...whatevs...I'm at peace with it) I knew I wanted something classic and formal but with a bit of glamour and punch as well. Enter my color scheme. All I decided on was "purple and green" but this is where hiring amazingly talented wedding vendors comes in to play...what I got was the most beautiful mixture of purples, lilacs, and lavenders to go with the emeralds, mints, and kiwi greens. Everything was so lush and lively with just enough kitsch to make it fun.


That amazing vintage, mint-green Studebaker has been in our family for decades. It has a pretty meaningful story behind it, too. My grandpa on my dad's side (who passed away on my birthday when I was in the 4th grade) got the old rusty frame and completely rebuilt with my uncles and turned it into the beautiful car you see in the picture. I wish I had the "before" pic, it looked like something you'd see in a pile at a junk yard. It meant so much to me to have a part of my grandparents from my dad's side as a part of our wedding since they couldn't be there in person. My Uncle Tim, who helped my grandpa rebuild the car, drove us from the church to our reception. My Aunt Jan made the vintage-esque "Just Married" flags and sign for the back window and hung the adorable wedding bells from the rear view mirror. She could not be any cuter.


I love looking back on all the little details and remembering the significance behind them. Like our champagne flutes that we used for our toasts. My parents (who have been married for 33 years this September) found them for us in a little shop in Leavenworth which is one of our favorite places to go as a family. They were so "us" and every time we go into that little shop and see that specific stemware, it makes me think of our awesome friends and family who toasted us 5 years ago.


Or the beautiful diamond and ruby ring that belonged to my grandmother on my mom's side (who passed away when my mom was 5 months pregnant with me) was such a cool way to honor her memory since she couldn't be there either. It served as my "something old" and my "something borrowed" although it's still in my jewelry box and I still need to give it back to my mom....5 years later...*nervous laugh*


I still think we had one of the most attractive wedding parties on the planet. I mean, LOOK at all the gorgeous faces here....


It doesn't get much sexier than that! It just doesn't!

We danced to Adele's version of "Make You Feel My Love". I think the truly remarkable thing about the below photo is that is all my real hair. No extensions. *Le sigh* Oh...and that it was a very special moment, too. Obvi. We still look at each other like that by the way...but only when one of us surprises the other one with ice cream or french fries.


And my last but certainly not least favorite memory was dancing with my daddio. Our favorite movie is "Tootsie" and every time we would hear the song "It Might Be You" we'd stop what we were doing to call the other and tell them it was on the radio and that we were thinking of each other. It seemed like the perfect choice. If you haven't heard it, click the button below the photo. Then go get the movie from Netflix and thank me later for the time of your life.




Happy Anniversary to my best friend! Here's to another 5 years times ten!
July 27, 2014

Win an It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Matte Luxe Transforming Eyeshadow Palette

Who doesn't love a good palette?! It seems like over the past 5 years, eyeshadow palettes have become all the rage. Just about every line out there, from drugstore to luxury line, is offering at least one palette in their product line. It's a great way to be able to achieve multiple different looks without having to schlep around an entire makeup bag worth of single eyeshadows. I have been in love with this palette for a LONG time. I love the fact that there are neutrals, warms and cool tones. But what makes this palette extra special is the "Transforming Pearl" shadow that comes in the longer, rectangular pan in the bottom right hand corner. I love that not only do you have a range of color options, but you are in control of your finish as well. You can choose to wear them all matte if you like, or you can sweep your brush over the Transforming Pearl and it will magically transform the finish into a soft pearl finish. Because if you're anything like me, you like a pearl finish on your lid, a matte finish in your crease, a shimmery finish on your inner corners and a flat finish on the outer corners...and then you completely switch it all up the next day! Additionally, BONUS alert! You can wear all of these shades wet OR dry! (For anyone wondering why you might want to wet an eyeshadow, it intensifies the color and makes it much more dramatic).
Okay...now that we got all of that out of the way, here's the fun part! You can enter to win this beautiful bad boy via the Rafflecopter box below. If it takes a moment to pop up, don't panic, sometimes it can take a few moments to load up and appear. There are multiple ways to earn extra entries so feel free to choose as few or as many as you would like and GOOD LUCK! (Please see the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of the entry box for all of the fine print and legalities if you are interested). Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of end of giveaway. Open to US residents, 18 years of age and older.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
July 24, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Top Beauty Picks & Exclusives

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Top Beauty Picks & Exclusives


I am SO late to the party here as I've been drooling over Nordy's Anniversary items since 'Early Access' started for us cardholders back on the 10th, but I needed to give a shout out to some of my FAVE beauty exclusives that are only available during Anniversary Sale time as well as some items that are just on sale. I tried to keep my picks to 10 items so I didn't look like a wild beauty product glutton. These are the things I've either been OBSESSED with lately in my own life, or have been waiting to get my grubby mits on since I heard they would be making their Anniversary Sale debut (hellooooo, NARS trios?!) And let's not even get started on all the brightly colored Nikes I need. But I digress....

1 | Trish McEvoy is the reigning Queen of 'beauty on the go'. This "Makeup Planner" concept (aside from the insanely high-quality products) is what made her line of cosmetics such a hit. When traveling, it's all about being able to get as many different looks as possible without having to pack every single piece of makeup you own. Enter this 'Power of Makeup Planner'. You get: New Little Black Card™ for Eyes and Lips (includes 8 Eyeshadows and 8 Lip Colors), New Full-size Eye Base Essentials in Pink Bare, Full-size Instant Eye Lift, New Full-size Long-Wear Lip Liner in Barely Nude with sharpener, Makeup Wardrobing Page® that includes: Deluxe Travel-Size Bronzer in Sunlit, Dual Resort Highlight, Illuminating Cream Blush, and Deluxe Travel-Size Translucent Finishing Powder, Deluxe Travel-Size Intense Gel Eyeliner in Black, New Full-size Dramatic Lash Mascara. This is $350 worth of makeup for $168!
2 | BABYBEARSHOP 'Cheeky Baby Butter' Organic Baby Balm. Don't let all the baby talk scare you off, folks! This stuff is a GOD SEND for dry hands, elbows, cuticles and anything else that needs intense moisturizing. If you have a baby, well then, BONUS! You can slather it on their nether regions during diaper changes and then (after you've washed up) rub some of this super nutrient-rich, organic cream into your own hands! No need for an extra tube of hand cream! And we all know how precious that diaper bag real estate is in the early days!
3 | I was SO excited to see that NARS made these awesome limited edition full-size trios (lipstick, gloss and nail polish) in my two favorite NARS shades! And they come in these great keepsake boxes. How lucky can a girl get?! First fave is 'Dolce Vita' which can only be described as...like...the perfect dusty rose that literally looks good on every single person in the world. 
4 | Next up, one of my all time favorite hot pinks everrrr 'Schiap'. I'm pretty confident that every gal needs some hot pink in their lives at some point...this shocking pink is your girl.
5 | You know when you get asked "if you had to choose 1 body lotion to use for the rest of your life?" and you're sitting there, frantically wracking your brain, going through all the lotions you've ever used, panicking that you don't have an answer? Take a deep breath and answer with confidence: "Kiehl's Creme de Corps". I promise, it will be the surest bet you'll ever make. This stuff is a cult-favorite for good reason. It's SO moisturizing without being greasy, it sinks into skin very quickly without feeling like it disappeared, and you can use it everywhere. They only do the 33.8oz pump bottle a few times a year so hop on it. The whole family can use it.
6 | This Tory Burch fragrance has been my daily fragrance since I received it from my birthday in May. I'm obsessed. You get a full-sized bottle as well as a travel size for only $115. For die-hard fragrance lovers here are the notes: neroli, grapefruit, cassis, bergamot, peony, tuberose, jasmine, sambac, vetiver, sandalwood. But if that means nothing to you, just know it smells crisp and floral but still manages to smell young and chic without being obnoxious like some of the fruity scents that are out there.
7 | MAC always puts out fun little goodies during Anniversary Sale and this year was no exception. I'm loving this 'Look in a Box' (plum) palette because you can get SO many different looks out of it! Plus it includes one of my ALL TIME favorite MAC lip colors "Up the Amp" which is a killer, creamy lilac color in their 'amplified finish'. Kit includes: Eyeshadows in: Elementary Pink (satin finish), Stormy Sunset (satin finish), Lingering Dusk (frost finish), Blackboard (frost finish), Fashion Beat (luster finish), All Races (matte finish). Powder Blushes in: Style Cast (satin finish), Lesson in Love (satin finish). Lipsticks in: Dress to Impress (amplified finish), Up the Amp (amplified finish) and a Duo-handled 275SE Brush/316SE Lip Brush.
8 | I think just about every female has some memory or experience with Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. It's been around forever and is another one of those cult-classics. I remember stealing it from my mom when I was in junior high and I felt so grown up. It's just a no-frills moisturizer that really does wonders for the skin. Leaves you glowy without being greasy and still somehow works great with combo/oily skin as well. I love when they do the 'jumbo size' duos like this during Anniversary Sale. Killer deal.
9 | The first time I ever used Bliss products was the first time I stayed at the W Hotel in Seattle about 10 years ago. I instantly fell in love with their 'Fabulous Foaming Face Wash'. I think I grabbed about 5 little bottles of it from the housekeeping cart that was parked in the hallway (along with the 2 I already swiped from our bathroom). It's oil-free, it foams and it exfoliates but it doesn't leave your skin feeling tight. I just about fainted when I saw they were offering this "duo" that's basically a two-for-one deal. Hop on it if you need a new cleanser. This one is IDEAL for Summer.
10 | Last but certainly not least....Voluspa candle trio. In the words of Ferris Bueller "they are so choice." Seriously, if you haven't hopped onto the Voluspa candle train yet, get to steppin'. They're worth the price (the scents are magical) and they burn beautifully even and no icky black smoke. This is a great time to swoop some up and hold onto them for when you need a perfect hostess gift. You'll get invited to every single party known to man if you show up with these in hand.

July 21, 2014

Is Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara Worth the Hype?



Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of Younique's 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I've known about this product for quite some time but I hadn't gotten around to trying it. Why? No real good reason, I just thought I knew what the deal was and I was too lazy to look into it. Been there, done that sort of thing. Years back when I was doing makeup for Gene Juarez, we had a very similar product that was totally new to the scene (at the time). You applied a "base" gel, then while it was still tacky to the touch, you applied these little hairy fibers and then your regular mascara over the top of it. It worked quite well (aside from the little black fuzzies that inevitably dropped onto your cheekbones) but I personally never wanted the extra steps seeing as I have pretty long lashes as it is. I just figured if I wanted the "wow factor", I'd apply individual flare lashes.

Last week I was contacted by Alecia, an Independent Presenter with Younique and she asked me if I would be interested in trying out the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I was very interested to see how it differed from the product I had used years ago with Gene Juarez. For the record, it's MUCH better. As in, I'd actually use Younique's on a regular basis and I wouldn't use the above mentioned "fibers" from years ago. Alecia said she would send me a couple things to try out. Read on for my completely non-biased review and opinions as well as my before and after picture at the top of this post (I apologize for my shiny nose in the photo, I was chasing my son around and making dinner right before I snapped the photo so I look like a bit of a grease monkey....this is real life, folks.)

First off, the packaging. How cool is this? You get your own personal hard shelled carrying case for your Transplanting Gel and your Natural Fibers. Such a cute idea to keep everything all in one place. I'll be tucking my favorite mascara in here as well so everything is handy. Great for travel.
 
So here's the deal: You first want to apply a very thin coat of your favorite mascara. I found that using a defining mascara (lengthening) as opposed to a volumizing or plumping mascara works best. Otherwise you'll be combing clumps out of your lashes for days. Once your mascara of choice has dried, you apply a coat of the Moodstruck Transplanting Gel to your lashes. I was expecting a clear gel, but to my surprise and delight, this was a creamy black gel (see top wand in the photo below).

While the Transplanting Gel is still wet (this is important, make sure you work relatively quickly so that your little fibers have something to "grab onto") you will take your tube of Natural Fibers and apply to your lashes, concentrating on the mid-shaft out to the ends of your lashes. If you get too close to your waterline, you'll get them in your eyes and we all know that's no fun! I was really surprised how little "fall out" this step had. I was expecting to see the little black hairs all over my cheeks much like the old Gene Juarez version. Totally didn't happen! I'm not sure why, but as I always say "don't question the good things in life".


After you've applied your Natural Fibers, you want to get your tube of Transplanting Get and "lock in" or secure your fibers. Then you're finished! The directions say you can repeat the last two steps as many times as you want to achieve the results you desire, but I found that I was able to get insanely dolled up lashes after just one 'go-round'! It seriously looked as if I had applied a hefty dose of my Ardell Flares! I mean, just check out the picture below (center).


The above (center) photo is me with no other eye makeup on other than the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I wanted to leave my eyes bare so you could really see the lashes. Alecia also sent me a GORGEOUS tube of Younique's Lucrative Lip Gloss in shade "Ladylike" which is a beautiful shade of bright, orangey-red coral (she must have sensed that I love me a bright, sassy lip!). What I thought was incredible about this gloss was the pigmentation! Holy smokes this was more like a liquid lip color than a gloss. In the future I can't wait to use this with my Prestige Classic Lip Liner in "Poppy" and then this gloss over the top. It's a perfect color match.

So, to summarize...is it really worth it? Yes, I'd say so. I was able to get some seriously mega-long, full lashes with this stuff and it really did take much less time than applying my falsies. Now, the only thing that begs to be seen is whether or not it will transfer onto my brow bones or underneath my eyes. I usually have an issue with mascara "wandering" due to the size of my eyeballs (read: GIANT). I had the Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara on for about 4 hours and I didn't notice it had budged (yay!) but I'm excited to see how it holds up after 8 hours in the summer heat! As far as the lip gloss goes...AMAZING. Like I said, the pigment is right up there with the luxury lines from the department store (at least in the shade I tried, anyway). I can't wait to try "Loveable" which is a yummy-looking bubblegum pink. If you get a chance, take a peek around Alecia's site! I was surprised to discover how many different products Younique makes. Everything from skincare to a full range of cosmetics!

You can find Alecia's contact info on her website which I have linked all over this post, but just to make it easy for everyone, here it is:  Website | Contact

 
Let me know in the comments if you've tried this! I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are if you've tried the Fiber Lash Mascara or any other products from Younique! 

July 17, 2014

How to Make Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste



This may be the easiest "how to" tutorial you will ever see here. It's literally 2 steps and it will really make teeth whitening maintenance a snap for y'all. But first, let me tell you what happened to me last night while I was whipping up this little concoction to give you a tiny glimpse into my glamorous life:

I was upstairs, in my bra and underwear (it's hot as Haiti here lately) just finished waxing my eyebrows so you can imagine how attractive my red, puffy forehead was, and had all my "supplies" ready to whiten my teeth and then mix up some toothpaste (see photo above). If you haven't seen my post on using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth, CLICK HERE, baby! Well, I had just finished with the whitening and was ready to start mixing the toothpaste when I accidentally shook my container of charcoal a bit too aggressively and all the powder shifted too quickly and fell into my sink and surrounding countertop (LUCKILY this stuff doesn't stain). That wasn't even the worst part, when this stuff "moves around" it creates this creepy black dust that looks like something from a Harry Potter movie (or that weird black smoke from ABC's 'Lost'). Of course my husband would come upstairs at the very moment I'm standing there in my unmentionables amidst a mushroom cloud of charcoal looking something like this:


But I didn't care. That guy is used to seeing me looking questionable (at best) especially when I'm experimenting with beauty-related procedures. He didn't even bat an eye. He just told me I looked like something from 'The Exorcist' and walked out of the room. True love, folks. Here's an added bonus: my sink and tile countertops never looked as white and sparkly.

Aaaanyhoo...trying to find activated charcoal toothpaste is trickier than you might think, so I'ma gonna show you how to do it YOself! DIY ftw!

You're going to need a few things:
1 | A clean, empty plastic or glass container with a lid
2 | A small spoon (a measuring spoon would work handsomely)
3 | Activated charcoal powder (please refer to my original post HERE on where to find/buy)
4 | Toothpaste of choice. My all time favorite toothpaste is Colgate Optic White. I buy it in bulk.
5 | A small utensil to mix with (I used a clean toothpick since I used such a small jar).
6 | A toothbrush

Mix about equal portions of activated charcoal and toothpaste (I just eyeballed it to get the consistency I wanted) until you get a pretty light, gray mixture. It's normal for the mixture to get kind of "foamy" or "puffy" looking so make sure you leave enough room in your container for the mixture to expand a bit before putting your lid on. Then you just dip your toothbrush in and brush your teeth as usual! You may need to rinse a bit more to make sure you remove all the little black particles from your teeth. I love this method because it forces people to floss and we ALL know how I feel about regular flossing...if you don't know, I feel strongly about it. Do it. It's important. *Steps down from soapbox*

That's it! I keep my container in a cool, dark area on my bathroom countertop and I brush my teeth with it each night. Because there is no sensitivity associated with whitening with activated charcoal, I use this toothpaste as maintenance in addition to my regular whitening routine.

There you have it! Cheap, easy and most importantly...effective! Now go show off your blinding pearly whites!
 
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