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Eye Scream

Since all my eye makeup went to makeup heaven after I got pink eye, I’ve had to replace every single thing. The partially used pots of bare minerals, the barely empty quads of becca (who? check ‘em out. you won’t be disappointed), the hardly swiped tubes of a million different mascaras depending on whether I’m trying to achieve length, curl volume, waterproof-ness or any combination of the above, are all lying dead in the bottom of some landfill, probably give an unsuspecting rat pink eye.

As a I rebuild my eye makeup collection, I’ve had to be very judicious about my purchases. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the perfect smokey eye. I’ve started my collection 2.0 with products that are pretty versatile and I’ve had a lot of success. Here are my tried and true favorites plus a stand out, new-to-me mascara. Read on:

Benefit creaseless cream eyeshadow. I forgot how much I love this eye shadow. It goes on so easy and stays put all day. I usually just apply it with my finger. It’s so good. My favorite current colors are birthday suit and no pressure. They are actually pretty identical but no pressure is a bit more mauve. I think birthday suit is perfect for everyone and such a great color for daytime wear.



(birthday suit)

Urban Decay 24/7 glide-on eye pencil. I was actually thisclose to getting the Naked palette until I realized I have no idea how to work eleventybillion colors of eyeshadow. But, thankfully in perusing the Urban Decay display I remembered how much I love this eyeliner. Bourbon, a dark glimmering brown, is my go-to color but they are all really great depending on the look you are going for.


And finally, the rookie of the year award goes to L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara in carbon black. Y’all. Y’all!!!!! I am a bit of a mascara snob and trust me, I have tried them ALL. This one is hands down the best and beats out any expensive Dior or YSL mascara I have ever tried. EVER. It’s so good and it’s $6. Add it to your next Amazon purchase and be amazed.

(and if you can’t take the word of a random blogger, check out all the reviews)

Today’s Beauty Lesson

I received a few samples of these Dr. Dennis Gross tan towelettes in the Clarisonic Summer Essentials package (c/o) available exclusively at Nordstrom and I am obsessed with them. They exfoliate while at the same time providing the most even and natural looking color this fair skinned, freckle faced/armed/legged girl has EVER had. Plus they are super easy to apply and dry super fast. I’ve been on the self tanning train since 9th grade, which for those counting was in 1996, and I feel like I have tried almost every self tanning product on the market. There are some really good ones out there that I like, but this is hands down my favoritey-fave-fave one ever. You can buy it here.

And you can get the Clarisonic Summer Essentials package here. Which, if you’re in the market for a Clarisonic, you should totally get. You get a Clarisonic Plus which has a face brush AND a body brush, and you also get a whole slew of luxury tanning products to try out. It’s a really great deal if you’ve been considering a Clarisonic (which is an awesome thing to have. I loved my Mia for years before upgrading to this one).

(beauty) Get the Glow

A few random people have been commenting lately that I am just glowing these days and that pregnancy looks good on me. What they don’t know is that my glow was found on the internet when I snatched up this Laura Geller Blush and Brighten compact. (not so) Coincidentally, the compliments started rolling in right around the time I started using this. I definitely recommend this product if you’re trying to beat the winter skin blahs.

I hope your weekend is full of holiday fun. We’ll be spending it with my in-laws and celebrating our annual Secret Santa gift exchange and holiday party complete with Christmas play. Any guesses to who is required to dress up and sing in the play? If you guessed all the grandchildren no matter if they are 33 and married to a pregnant woman, you guessed right. Pictures next week, fo sho.

(beauty) My Skincare Routine

I got a question from this lovely lady about my skin care routine and I thought that it would be a great idea to share with y’all how I take care of my skin. Who doesn’t want to know what lotions and potions other peeps are slathering all over their face?

In a nutshell, this is how I tame my face on the daily:

Skincare for Blog

Morning Skincare:

  • Every morning, I wake up and rub a cotton ball soaked with Mario Badescu’s cucumber cleansing lotion all over my face. This removes excess oil and makes my skin feel all around clean with very minimal effort. I used to wash my face with cleanser in the morning but I quit that a few years ago because really, what dirt accumulated while I was sleeping? Not much. 
  • I follow up with a pea sized dollop of Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre and a light pat of Darphin’s Wrinkle Corrective eye cream around the eye area. I had first heard about Embryolisse from our lady of perfect skin, Gwyneth Paltrow, and then my beloved Birchbox started caring this moisturizer, so I snatched up a tube and have not been disappointed. I’ve been using the Darphin eye cream for a while, and I use it in the mornings because I think it really helps my eye makeup adhere better throughout the day.

Evening Skincare:

  • Before bed, I wash my face using my Clarisonic Mia and a pea-sized squirt of Benefit’s Foamingly Clean facewash. I am absolutely obsessed with this cleanser. It is so thick and foamy that a little bit goes a long way, and it really removes all of my makeup from the day. This cleanser was a Birchbox discovery from my October box.
  • After cleansing, I apply a smear of Burt’s Bee’s Carrot Night Creme all over my face, including the eye area, and pat Darphin’s age defying lip balm on my lips. I picked up the Burt’s Bees night creme in a random act of desperation at Whole Foods. My once normal face had turned totally dry a few weeks ago when the temperatures started to drop below 50 degrees. One day, I literally went to the bathroom at work and looked in the mirror and my whole forehead was peeling off in teeny tiny flakes of skin and makeup. It was gross. This creme seems to have solved that problem. However, it is a really thick and heavy duty moisturizer, so I can’t imagine using it year round, but it’s been perfect for winter. The lip balm is just a really great nourishing product that keeps my lips soft and smooth. I use it year round.

And that’s how I’m handling my skin these days. In the early days of my pregnancy, I was breaking out a lot, but that seems to have calmed down. Coincidentally, I also wasn’t using the Mario Badescu Cucumber Cleansing Lotion as diligently as I had been. Now, I make sure to use it every single morning and I really credit it for removing bad bacteria and excess oils to keep my skin pimple-free.

What tips or tricks do you have? Any ladies out there notice their skin going totally haywire while pregnant or after you turned 30?

That Time I Realized that Some Thing are Better Left to the Pros

Let’s rewind today and go back to the late winter of 2010. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was at the top of the charts and the romcom Valentine’s Day was getting ready to hit the theaters. Jeffrey Campbell Litas were all the rage, and so were bangs. I am nothing if not a sucker for some trends — the bangs, not the Litas.

(Me, feeling very empowered with my new bangs, obviously)

On a whim, I had my hair stylist cut me some thick Zooey Deschanel-esque bangs. And she assured me that I could come in and she could trim them any time, for free! What I didn’t realize is that you have to get your bangs trimmed like every two weeks, lest you look more like Cousin It and less like an indie hipster. I don’t know about you ladies, but popping into the hairdresser every two weeks for my free bang trim was not something I really had time for. So, I watched a few tutorials on YouTube and just began trimming my bangs myself.

All was going well until my birthday in March. On March 28, 2010, I trimmed what would be my last bang. Here I am at my birthday party picnic on March 29, 2010.

That fateful day in March, I turned another year older, and unbeknownst to me, I was about to be another hair tip wiser. You see, I’m wearing these sunglasses because my eyeball underneath is totally red. After some Google research and some “help” from WebMD, I was convinced that somehow I had scratched my cornea during my bang trim. Every time I would blink, my eye got redder and more irritated. But, the birthday party must go on and the pain/irritation wasn’t anything that a couple carafes of sangria couldn’t cure.

The following Monday, my eye hadn’t gotten any better, so I made an appointment with an eye doctor. After investigating my eyeball with a magnifying glass, he found that a teeny tiny hair had gotten lodged in my tear duct, so every time I opened and closed my eyelid, I was irritating my eyeball. The next step? Remove the teeny tiny hair, obviously. And how did he do that? I lay very, very, very, very, very still while he used a pair of tweezers to remove the hair while looking at it under the microscope. That’s right, folks, there was a PAIR OF TWEEZERS NEXT TO MY EYEBALL THAT COULD HAVE STABBED MY EYE IF I HAD MOVED EVEN ONE MILLIMETER.

The next day, I promptly began the arduous process of growing out my bangs and will never ever cut my own bangs again, no matter how many YouTube tutorials I watch. And neither should you. Some things should be left to the beauty professionals.

This post is part of BlogHer’s Transformative Beauty editorial series, made possible by Sonia Kashuk at Target.

You, you, you oughta knoOOoow…

… that birchbox is currently offering 25% off of all their full sized products through 10/31 using the code bblove25. Trillas, that is a great deal!!!

What is birchbox? Do you live under a rock? It’s a beauty product ecommerce site with a twist. You can pay $10/month and get a box full of fab samples picked for you (I’ve been known to get full sized products too, like nailpolish and Stila eyeliner). I’ve discovered some tried and true products this way. In fact, some of my favorites are pictured below. And yes, you can get 25% off ALL of them. And if you’re not a birchbox member, here’s my invitation link for you to use to sign up. It’s well worth the monthly fee of $10. 

Top Row:

By Terry Light Expert Foundation Brush: This is a great foundation for days you don’t need as much coverage. The color looks kinds of weird coming out, but it truly disappears into your skin and just makes you glow. Love it!

Benefit Foamingly Clean Facial Wash: I got this in my September birchbox and was amazed at how easily it removed my makeup at the end of the day. It comes out as a cream and foams up nicely. It also has a really lovely smell.

Jouer Moisturizing Lip gloss in “birchbox pink”: I’m a lipgloss junkie but couldn’t really justify purchasing yet another pink lipgloss, even though I’d been oogling the subtle yet vibrant shade on this one for months after I’d received it in a birchbox this past summer. Enter the 25% off coupon and justification is complete.

Boscia BB Cream: I didn’t really get the hype behind beauty balms, until I received a sample of this goodness in a tube. It moisturizes, minimize pores, provides SPF and has great skin coverage all in one easy step. It was actually the first full sized product I purchased from birchbox and I’m almost out! Thank goodness for 25% off!

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner: I actually received a full sized version of this eyeliner in a birchbox and loved it so much I’ve since bought it in other colors. It glides right on and is easy enough to maneuver that you can go with a light line or a big ole heavy line without many makeup skillz required.

Bottom Row:

Twistband hair ties: I’ve gotten a few of these in my birchboxes over the months and always keep them handy. They aren’t so great for holding your hair for working out, but I keep one on my wrist at work and when I’m out and about for a quick and cute ponytail or bun on my head as needed.

Kerastase Cristalliste Lumierre Liquide: Whew! That’s a mouthful. But, if you have long hair, this product is essential. It’s pricey, but get 25% off and it’s about the same price as most other salon quality products. And it’s totally worth it.

Zoya Nailpolish: I fell in love with this brand after getting the prettiest neutral shade (called Pandora) in my birchbox, and miracle of miracles, it went on totally opaque after two coats! I have grown to love Zoya polish not only because of the range of fab colors they offer, but also because their polish is free of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. Now, I honestly don’t know what those are except that they use formaldehyde to preserve dead animals, so I’m pretty sure I don’t really want that on my nails.

Happy shopping and if you aren’t a birchbox member get on that! I think there is a short waiting list right now, but you better go ahead and sign up so you don’t miss out any longer than you have to. 

Feeling Beautiful as a New Preg

I think it’s only natural for every woman to want to feel like her best self. When you look good, you feel good! True story.

Since we learned that we are expecting, my body has gone through lots of changes. My bod is at the stage right now that I lovingly refer to as pregfat (pregnant plus fat). Instead of pregnant, I mostly just look like a plumper version of myself. All of my regular clothes still fit, but I have an obvious stomach pooch that is no longer suck-in-able but doesn’t quite look like there’s a baby in there.

Now, I’m really excited that my belly is ever-expanding, but I’m sort of just ready for it to go ahead and poke all the way out instead of looking like I’ve just eaten too many cookies. I mean, one could probably argue that I have actually eaten too many cookies, but c’mon, there’s a baby in there and I want the world to know it when they look at me.

Shopping has lost its luster since most clothes in my old size are a little too snug, and what’s the point of buying new clothes that won’t fit at all later this season? I’ve also cut down the number of beauty products I use because I’m trying to limit most of them to things that are all-natural, and preservative and paraben-free. (Most. Not all. Some things just require chemicals.)

So, when a gal has limited options but wants to look good and feel good, what’s she to do?

Here’s what I’ve found:

Picture 6

Regular exercise. Even though I don’t quite have the energy or endurance I had pre-baby belly, squeezing in 30 minutes of toning and taking the dog on regular walks really makes me feel good about myself. It has something to do with the fresh air, endorphins, and general sense of accomplishment I guess.

Picture 3

Sleep! This one has been easy, mostly because I’ve been extra tired. Though I’m not nearly as exhausted as I was in the first trimester, I still try to get nine hours of sleep each night. I hit the hay around 9:30 or 10 p.m. and don’t wake up until 7 a.m., and that is a-okay by me.

Speaking of waking up, let me get mushy for a moment here because I do not get up with an alarm. Every morning, Jason comes and wakes me up with kisses and a hug and it’s the best way ever to rise and shine. I think if I could invent an alarm clock that did that, I would be a millionaire. A creepy millionaire, but who cares when you’re rich?

Picture 7

Taking my time. I’ve shifted my regular workouts to the evening, which means I always shower at night these days. I love not feeling rushed and getting to take my time for deep conditioning, extra moisturizing and picking out my outfits for the next day. I know that time won’t be a luxury when the baby arrives, so I’m enjoying all the me-time I can get these days.

Picture 2

Cooking. I’ve always loved cooking. Something about combining different ingredients into one delicious meal brings out my inner chemist (fact: I majored in a chemistry discipline in college.) In August and September, I basically lived off of carbs and candy. The sight of raw meat could make even my beloved peanut butter cups seem unappetizing, so I’m really enjoying using some seasonal ingredients to bring dinner to the table now that I’ve got my energy back.

Picture 1

Just get out and do stuff. When my friends invite me to dinner, a movie, or to get a manicure, I just do it, man. My time is mine these days, but that will all change in April, so I’m enjoying doing things on my schedule until I’m a slave to crying and diapers.

And that’s about it! These are small things, and admittedly, most of them I incorporated into my daily routine before there was a baby in my belly. But I do them now with much more purpose and awareness and it really helps, especially when I can’t button my skinny jeans.

This post is part of BlogHer’s My Beautiful Moment editorial series, made possible by Olay.

If you have long hair, you need this product in your life.
Two words: Game. Changer.
I apply one pump to the bottom half of my strands while my hair is damp. Then, blow dry and apply another pump to the bottom half and a little bit on the hair around your face once your hair is totally dry. Looks like you just stepped out of the salon.
You can buy it on Birchbox, but it’s on sale on Amazon right now.

If you have long hair, you need this product in your life.

Two words: Game. Changer.

I apply one pump to the bottom half of my strands while my hair is damp. Then, blow dry and apply another pump to the bottom half and a little bit on the hair around your face once your hair is totally dry. Looks like you just stepped out of the salon.

You can buy it on Birchbox, but it’s on sale on Amazon right now.

Skin Products I’m Loving - The Cheap and Chic Edition

Cheap: Sweet Almond Oil

I’ve been an avid user of coconut oil to moisturize my body post shower, but I recently read about almond oil and had to give it a whirl. Verdict: I love it! It comes already as an oil (not a solid that you have to smear about to melt), so you just rub it in and it’s absorbed very easily. It’s not instantaneous absorption, but after a couple minutes, I feel comfortable putting on my clothes without fear of oily spots getting on them. I also feel like my skin is moisturized for the entire day. Sometimes, coconut oil left me feeling a little flaky (literally). Perhaps the best part is that there is NO smell whatsoever. As a girl who loves a spritz of perfume to suit my mood, I’m grateful that there is no coconutty smell to compete with my Chanel. If you are averse to the smell of coconuts, this is a great solution.

Chic: Luminaze Catalytic Skin Tone Illuminator

I have freckles from my teenage years spent lifeguarding at the neighborhood pool and my early twenties spent trying to get tan from a booth (which never worked, I just got more freckles). So, I’m really into products that claim to reduce dark spots. Typically, I just buy whatever magazine ad or tv commercial swayed me in a particular week. But, I recently discovered this product, and after a week of religious use, morning and night, I can tell a major difference in my skin. I wake up with rosy cheeks and I find myself using less powder on my nose to conceal what lies beneath. It’s hard to attribute just one product to improved skin because so much of the appearance of your skin also depends on your lifestyle (i.e. what you eat, what you drink, what you smoke), but all things even, I’m betting my money on Luminaze. 

So, that’s what I’m loving lately. Anyone out there also smearing oil on their bodies (not like that, you perv) or reducing dark spots with any success? Holler atcha gurl.