Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shake Your Stuff Like Your Mamma Taught Ya...

...with Sunscreen! As I prepare for departure to the sweet destination of McCall, Idaho this weekend, I remind myself to stock up on one particular item; SUNSCREEN. I cannot say it enough, and I'm sure you've heard it too much from me, but this product is most necessary for your skin's survival.

Hotdogs, beer, swimsuits and sunscreen. That is what my 4th of July holiday will consist of; along with great friends and boating, but hopefully, no sunburns!

I have made that mistake...too many times to count! Summer after my senior year of high school, I ventured down the coast of California with two of my best friends for a 10 day road trip. Our first stop; Santa Cruz. We chilled with the Banana Slugs on the Pacific ocean beach, but the light cloud cover made us think, "we don't need sunscreen!" Ah, the effects of adolescent stupidity. Needless to say, 4 hours later, my girl friend and I had burns that would scare a clown! Neon red all down the entire back of my body...butt included. It hurt to move. And it doesn't end here.

Spring semester of my junior year of college. Place: Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. I rubbed spf 15 all over my body, except for my legs because I thought, "My legs never get color." Greatest mistake. Let me remind you, m'friends, that there is NO ozone layer above Australia. Again, 2 hours later after avoiding all blue box jelly fish along the tourist-filled, topless babe beach, I had a sunburn that beat all sunburns. My legs were so swollen, I could barely move. (Thank God for the boxed wine). I couldn't sleep they were throbbing so horribly. A week later, my feet had turned purple they were so burned. It actually turned to be sun poisoning per information from a wise fella on my same program. Well, thanks dude for lettimg me know now. People, I was poisoned by the sun. Now that is scary.

So after years of burns, I think I finally scared myself straight. With more and more cases of melanoma hitting home, and with more among young people for that matter, I now try to take as many precautions as I can. Now, I'm not perfect. But, who wants to look like some over-tanned, leather belt? When did tan skin become the beauty icon and who decided this? I use spf chapstick, spf hand lotion, spf face lotion, spf makeup and sunscreen. You can only really truly shake what your mamma gave you if you protect those assets with the right sunscreen!

Below are my favorite sunscreens. Please do take note and purchase some for these summer scorchers! Your beautiful, unwrinkled skin will thank you in the future!

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock, spf 30, $9.49

Refreshes your skin, waterproof and sweatproof, won't clog your pores and doesn't leave a sticky film on your skin. Perfect for long hours in the sun and incredibly easy to apply-- you never need an extra pair of hands. Just spray and go!

Banana Boat Protective Tanning Oil Sunscreen, spf 15, $8.49

This tanning spf oil is for more of the bolder, darker skin ladies and gents. There is still a great level of sun protection, but the oil creates a stronger draw to the sun, making it more likely to burn if you are a fair toned person and don't reapply often. But still, this oil smells delicious, leaves a beautiful, glistening glow and rubs in easily. Just be sure to spread evenly, especially along bathing suit lines. If you are prone to breakouts, do not put this oil on your chest, face or back. Use a non-comodegenic product, like Aveeno or Neutrogena for acne prone, senstive areas. Overall, a product I love!

No-Ad Maximum Sunblock Lotion, spf 45, $5.99

One of the best beauty finds! A high level of protection, No-Ad is waterproof, sweatproof, and non-greasy, with vitamins, cocoa butter and aloe. Almost fragrance free, there is nothing fancy about this brand. Just great sunblock. Plus, your purchase will help further causes! A portion of all NO-AD sales is contributed to the NO-ADdiction Campaign, a non-profit drug and alcohol preventing and awareness program in schools nationwide.

And guess what? You can, of course, find these fantastic sunscreens at yours truly, Walgreens or Rite Aid, with great summer prices.

So hit the town with your best face forward-- a protected face. No one wants skin cancer. Enjoy the sun and be safe!

With love,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dare to Try: Red Lips Rave

The concept of deep red lipstick is often poo-pooed or pushed aside for most of the general public. Many woman, or more young ladies, see wearing red lipstick as a total no-no and think, 'what a freak I will look like!' However, m'friends, the 'new' rave of red lips is one challenge I dare you to try this summer...and into fall and winter.

I say 'new' because red lips have been around forever, obviously. Think old Hollywood glamour. Even black and white movies; the women were wearing red. But every few years or so, the trend seems to reappear. Magazines and fashion shows blast red lips across the media, trying to re-invent the colors and style of wearing red lips. Well I'm here to say, red lips are red lips and they will always be, your basic red lips. It does not need to be a trend; red lips are classic and timeless. All ages can pull it off (the correct red for your skin tone, clearly).

My mother has only ever worn bright pinks or deep reds. Her fair skin tone, light freckles and auburn-blonde hair has made it an easy beauty do of hers. For all of my Irish Dancing events, my sisters and I wore hot red lips. This is what we did. So I guess from an early age, red lips were in my genes.

A couple of years ago, I bought a red stain lip gloss by CoverGirl. I still have it in my lip gloss pouch today. I got really bold when I traveled to Amsterdam last fall and decided to wear out the flaming, red hot lipstick. Needless to say, I got a lot of compliments. And so can you! But only if it is worn right. I was then successful in persuading my roommate to purchase a deep, brick red lipstick for her tiny little pout. Her beige-olive tone skin and bright blue eyes made this color stand out beautifully! Success.

And so how do you wear a red lipstick correctly for your skin tone and lips? Well let us discuss...

For fair skin tones: you want to purchase a 'blue' red. This means a red that is bright and pops in color. Think apple red. Bright as candy or red licorice. For mine, I love CoverGirl Outlast Double Lipshine in Candy Apple, $8.99. In a double tube, one end delivers the colored stain while the other end of the tube is a high-shine clear gloss, to finish the look. Said to last up to 10 hours, this stain truly stays on your lips, but only the gloss needs application throughout the night.

For beige to light olive skin tones: find a bit deeper red compared to the apple red. Look for something similar to brick red or wine, which may have a tinge of orange (but don't go too orange)! Try Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, $7.99 in Wine with Everything or Teak Rose. The great thing about this product is how smooth the lipstick is; it isn't cakey or dry and goes on easily, making sure you stay inside the lines of your lips. Don't be afraid to really put on the coats, because with this product, you do have to re-apply multiple times.

Deep olive or darker skin tones: plum reds and more plum reds, that is what you want! Although the fad right now are bright pinks and fuchsias, red is still a staple. But for even darker skin tones, a plum red or a rich purple red is really the way to go. Try Maybelline New York Superstay Lipcolor, $9.49 in Ruby, Violet or Cabernet. Also another 2 tubed lipstain, the color is long-lasting with the other tube a conditioning balm to give you hydration and finish.

Putting on a colored lipstick can be tricky, and is quite an art form. Take your time, you may make mistakes, but that is OK. You are learning! Keep a q-tip handy to finish the lines. If you are brave enough, use a very light lipliner to help you stay within the edges of your lips. Also, foundation or concealer on your lips before the lipstick or stain will help the color stay and will thus, prevent the color from bleeding into the cracks of your lips.

Another point to remember is to keep the rest of your makeup simple when wearing red lips! Don't do any heavy eye shadow or dark, bronzed cheeks. Do a very elegant black eyeliner (do a 60's cat-eye for a bolder night), and very faint pink cheeks. Dab on some illuminator to your cheekbones if you feel up for it. Otherwise, clean and simple.

The great thing about purchasing these beauty finds at Walgreens or Rite Aid is the return policy. Even if you have opened and/or tried the product, and you still don't approve or like, you can bring back the product with your receipt and try again! Sometimes it is the luck of the draw, so be patient and find that perfect color for you. Don't settle. And with great return policies at places like Walgreens and Rite Aid, you can't really go wrong. Be sure to check within how many days you can return; I believe it is between 21-30 days. But don't quote me.
Pucker up! Good luck. Love,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mascara Mascarade

I've tried them all. Yes, folks. I've tested most tubed mascara out there. Since the age of 12, I have been on a search for that fabulous, glorious tube of black goodness; Mascara.

And what have I come to find out? You don't need to spend a lot. Nope, just a mere $8 and your eyelashes will be thanking you for days, along a few compliments here and there on your beautiful eyes.

Let me just say, the blacker the better! Keep your lashes dark and dramatic. I don't care what the experts say; brown for blue-eyed, blondes etc. Remain black! It will make such the difference. Mascara can create a look that is to die for, and so here we go!

What have I tried? I'm going to remain general, but so far, I have experimented with Maybelline, MAC, Loreal, Cover Girl, Wet 'n Wild, Estee Lauder, Sephora, Clinque, Bobbi Brown and Rimmel. And within these brands, I've tried at least 3 or 4 different versions.

A plethora, I know. Call me obsessive. But it's my obessive reality. My ex and still dear friend used to say, "Don't wear makeup, you're so much prettier without." Puh-lease. I would always return with, "You wouldn't have looked twice at me if I hadn't been wearing this stuff." Now, I'm not saying we all don't have the inner beauty-- we truly do, and when you find that right person, makeup really doesn't matter. However, you can't stop a girl's passion! *wink wink.

I hate the mascaras with sad bristles, or barely-there bristles, or stubby bristles, or those that carry heavy clumps and dumps of black crap. You either look like a hot mess or some weak soul with non-existent lashes. And don't get me started on the $38-$50 designer mascaras; are you KIDDING me? A complete waste of hard earned dollar bills. Sorry, we're not all Beyonce. No sir, no thank you. And so here I am, a girl with a love for makeup and the determination to keep on searchin. But alas, I believe I have found the mascara fit for any princess/working girl/suga mamma/crazy mother/dramatic sister/college student/pubescent teen.

For those on a money crunch, the BEST and simplest mascara you should 'invest' in is
Maybelline Full 'n Soft, $7.49

This puppy has a plump and full (hence 'full n soft') brush that will give your lashes real length and definition without clumps. It truly has the ability to extend your lash and give them a fluffy, soft look. I have been a believer in this stuff since high school and my sister is a true follower. I'm telling you, it will get you hooked.

If you are a little more bold and willing to take a bigger gamble and splurge, go for this!

Fresh Supernova Mascara, $25

My roommate is a hardcore user of this stuff and man, is it glorious! She so generously let me try it out for myself one night and it does the job right. The brush is not insanlely full or packed with bristles, but it almost perfectly separates and extends your lashes to a beautiful length with clean and non-clumpy definition. Yes, the price may be a bit spendy for some. But it also has a very long shelf-life, so stock up or buy when you have some room in your budget.

Reminders: Mascara is only good for a few months, if that. So be sure to replace. Do NOT share mascara (shh, I know, we've all done it) and be sure to use makeup remover when it comes to heavy mascara. You don't want to be losing your coveted lashes!

So get on out there and show those lashes off! The world will thank you.

Peace and love,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Women are from Venus

Loyal followers,

My apologies for the brief hiatus. The lack of internet connection at home proves to be a hindrance on my blogging abilities. So here we are, catch up time.

Finding the perfect razor is often a difficulty and frustration for many women. My best friend of 18 years has a continuous problem regarding the razor search; more than anything, she actually has an allergy. Yes, a nickel allergy. How is this relevant you may ask? Well, most razors that we shavers, the normal, general people, use are made with nickel. This will cause redness, burning and irritated bumps, harsh razor burn. My friend then decided to switch to the men's electric razor. Needless to say, the search for her is still on.

Until...she sneakily tried my Venus Spa Breeze, $6.99. This razor comes in a disposable pack of two (for those on a penny pinch) and has a razor head lined with gel bars, to ease the shaving fears. And guess what- no burning, itchy bumps or rash!

Now don't be a nay-sayer. I, too, once boo-hissed all disposable razors. With sensitive skin like mine, most disposable, plastic, crappy razors would basically shred my skin and leave me with one scary pair of red, bumpy legs. This was until I was super broke as I cruised the razor aisle at Target, desperate for new blades. A pack of 4 Venus razors is practically $10. I'm sorry, no. So, I ventured out and tried the disposable pack of 2. And my, are they bomb-diggity!

For an even better, smooth protected feel-- lather up your legs with shaving cream. This, combined with the lubricated razor, will give you an undoubtedly silky and bump-free shave.

So, is my best friend a convert? Maybe...probably. But she still may be a friendly user of the man's electric razor. And to that, I have no answer.

But for those looking for a new beauty 'adventure', try this. It may save you the bucks while giving you touchably, baby-bottom soft legs.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Buys That Won't Chap Your Behind

For an hour last night, lying in bed, I restfully browsed the newest Lucky Magazine with sweet Becky Newton as the cover girl to find my next beauty conquests. The issue said, "everything under $100, and we mean everything!" so I was intrigued, seeing that I tend to look for the frugal beauty finds, while keeping splurging to a minimum.

And there they were; 3 cheap finds that caught my eye immediately. From lip care, to hair care, to brittle nails everywhere, these are the next products I plan on purchasing A.S.A.P! And seriously, I promise you, they will not break the bank. Not even close.

Therefore, welcome to: Buys That Won't Chap Your Behind!

As a blond addict, I tend and I know, that my hair is pretty damaged. Especially on the ends. I do not jest; the amount of bleach and hair color that has gone onto my head in the past (gasp!) 11 years, only proves that this baby needs some pampering!

Funny enough, one of my lovely co-workers was proclaiming last night that she does not condition nor comb her hair. I was shocked! Don't tell me these things over happy hour, I may spit my drink at you! But seriously, I just couldn't imagine, seeing that my hair sometimes looks like Tarzan was swinging up in my locks, making dreads and all forms of hideous knots to comb out. Thank you, years of product build-up and damage.

And so here we are; between those who do not need to comb or condition, to those who hair's livelihood depends on a comb and conditioner. This is when I came across (drums please)...

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave in Conditioner Cream, $4

Slated as a light-weight but sleek and deep conditioner that won't leave a heavy residue. Perfect for those with color damage, chlorine build-up or frizz from humidity.

Next, I found myself amid the lip dealios. For $3, you can purchase EOS lip balm that is shaped like a bizarre little sphere, which is organic and all natural. Shea butter, vitamin E and super long-lasting. Comes in 3 flavors: honeysuckle honeydew, summer fruit and sweet mint. Yes, please! Found at select Walgreens, Target and Safeway.

To terminate snags and help shape those lovely summer nails of yours, ditch the old sandpaper files (yuck!) and instead, welcome the Sephora Crystal Glass Nail file, $8. This puppy is worth those 8 buckaroos. The glass does not shred or break soft, frail nails and gives a smooth and fine shape. I always use my mothers when I am home and have been meaning to purchase my own. So, as Nike would say, Just Do It! *Note: be sure not to drop this file on any hard surface for it will break. It's glass, obviously.
Enjoy your summer frugal finds!
Peace, Love & Cheerios,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pesky Pimples

Let's not lie, we all get them. Whether they are small, surface pimples, or the deep, oily monsters, pimples happen to everybody (maybe less for some). However, it is part of our beauty evolution.

For myself, pimples have been there some, gone some, and too much some! Depending on my age, weather, cycle (*cough, ladies), and emotion/stress, the pimples took on thier own agenda.

Never was acne, true acne, a huge dilemma for me. However, at the ripe age of 14, they really began to make thier mark. 8th grade I sailed through 'puberty' with very little skin problems (courtesy of Clarins). And then BAM! High school started and the rest is history.
At one point, I believe college, I began to develop oil wells. Hideous, I know. They are deep and pesky and incredibly hard to zap. I usually got a couple a year. I blame the stress, lack of sleep, heavy eating and drinking of any normal college student for this occurrence. Nonetheless, not a pretty sight. Thank God for bangs and good makeup. But, I'm happy to say, now, that these oil wells have not made an appearance in quite some time. Yes, thank you real world!

Now, I don't want to get too graphic and deep about my personal pimples. Really, who cares? But more importantly, let's discuss your best options and my favorite picks to really help rid yourself of those annoying pimples. All of them.

Firstly, cleanser. If you have pimples that are both small, surface villains as well as the occasional deep pimples (whiteheads included), go for a foaming cleanser while also remembering to EXFOLIATE once a week to renew the skin cells. Try Biore Revitalizing 4 in 1 Foaming Cleanser $7.49, and Clean and Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub, $5.08

For those who have real acne, I do suggest Proactiv. But note to readers, this is a light exfoliator and drying. If you have sensitive skin, you may be over scrubbing your skin while drying out your oil glands, which will only cause you to produce more oil. Hence, more pimples. So tread lightly and approach with caution. Seek a dermatologist if you need serious advice.

Secondly, moisturizer. Be sure to find an oil-free, non-greasy, won't clog pores ("Noncomodegenic") lotion, that hopefully contains SPF as well as no mineral oils. Try Clean and Clear Morning Burst Shine Control Moisturizer, $6.49 (no spf). SPF will cause a bit more shine, so if you are hesitant to have a seemingly oily face (or if you already have oily-combination skin), be sure to wear make up that contains SPF if you skip the SPF lotion. Physicians Formula and bareMinerals all have SPF in their products.

Thirdly, pimple concealer. I don't wear drying pimple cream at
night unless I have a real bugger of a pimple. Therefore, I use Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Concealer, $6.99. This concealer click pen contains an active ingredient of 0.5% Salicylic Acid to help reduce the redness and growth of the pimple, while drying it out. It comes in 4 shades so wear under your normal makeup. Be sure to blend and cover/pat with a dry powder. It is also small enough to carry in your clutch when you have a serious pimple! REMINDER: do not try to pop pimples and do not pick at your face. It is a vice, and we all try it, but you will give yourself nasty pimple scars. Who wants that? Nobody.
So tackle those pimples and face the world pimple free (hopefully)! ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Freckle Fanatic

An underestimated beauty feature: the freckle. I love freckles and find pure childhood joy in seeing anyone with freckles spotted all over their face and body. The freckle represents all that is natural in the world-- a colored spot that gives someone the perfect amount of character and childish charm. My sister, a friend, my roommate, my mother. Even myself as a child: a summer in the sun and my face was covered in freckles. Even the dreaded...freckle mustache.

After years of sunscreen in my face lotion, my freckles are definitely minimal. However, the summer glow (or a good burn, yikes!) still manage to bring out a few on my cheeks and forehead. Often times I find myself envious of those who still produce gourds of freckles (*cough, Kirstie). It is real nostalgia!

I came back from 10 days in Mazatlan Mexico last year (with 9 of the best women alive) and didn't think much of my sun time. However, when a friend picked me up from the airport, he shouted, "Whoa, look at all your freckles!" He was amazed. Literally. I was laughing because, who is really so surprised and astounded by a few freckles? (Maybe it was the freckle 'stache that got him?)

And so it is my ode to freckles, the very beloved charm of anyone's beauty. Below are some of my suggestions and beauty favorites for the freckle face babe!

Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Moisture Lotion Spf 15, $11.79

The must-have, must-use beauty product for year round; to protect those God-given freckles from the harsh summer sun.

Burt's Bees Super Shiny Natural Lip Gloss, $7.00

A super hydrating natural gloss in colorful hues; choose a color like Pucker Berry or Zesty Red for more sass and drama, in a good way ;), to bring out the freckles!

bareMinerals Glimmer, $13

A translucent and soft shade for your eyes; choose a gold, or light sun yellow so as not to draw away from the beautiful freckles. Keep it simple and toned down. Try shades like, Ecstasy, Queen Phyllis, Sunshine or True Gold.

Keep on keepin' on. Kudos to the freckle face beauties and all other faces out there!

Bee loved,

Friday, June 12, 2009

What I'm Coveting Now: Seaweed

Yup, you read that correctly. Don't let the seaweed surprise you-- it is a natural beauty essential from our very own, beautiful planet; our salty sea. And trust me, if you try this product, you will become a true follower and believer.

My freshman year of college; nervous, excited and bewildered. At this time, I was still using Clarins, via my mother's generous beauty spirit. I think I started using Clarins in the 5th grade, no joke. Now I'm lucky if my mother buys me some Clean and Clear pimple cream! But I digress. What happened this freshman year that forever transformed my beauty regime? Mario Badescu.

Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream, $20.00

My sweet sister Natalie gifted me with the Seaweed Night Cream and I was HOOKED the moment I placed that truly silky lotion all over my face. A completely non-greasy, oil-free lotion enriched with seaweed, collagen and hyaluronic acid to soften, hydrate and nourish the skin without clogging your pores. It is also practically odorless. The bottle is small, but has a long shelf life. You only need a dab. It almost feels like an extra layer of the softest skin you've ever felt on your face.

It is $20, so more of my little splurge when I can. But I am continuously coveting this product. Blush Beauty Bar on 23rd always has it in stock.

Maybe it is my love of the sea that keeps me coming back for more seaweed. But 'tis true, this is a beauty buy I will always covet.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cheap Fave: Makes Me Wanna Holla

That dewey summer glow we all want, especially during the dry, dull winter months? I've got the fix. And it works wonders all year long; summer, winter, spring or fall. Use it year round, please.

Not only is it cheap, the size lasts for a very long time. I'm still using mine since December! This product makes me wanna holla!

As part of my affordable finds, I give to you:

Wet n' Wild's MegaGlo Face Illuminator, $2.99

For my fair to beige skin tone, I stick with the light pink illuminator. The above color would be for beige to olive tones.

In 3 or 4 different shades, the creamy formula blends easily and gives you a hint of color and glow. Use on your eyes, lips or cheeks. I focus on my cheek bones, above the apple of my cheek and up around my eyes, contouring your bone. It's fantastic! If you are traveling or need one essential item in your bag for the summer, bring this!

*There is just one little reminder and beauty fix fact you should be aware of: watch out for MINERAL OIL or any suspicious oils in makeup and lotion. These will cause breakouts, no doubt. Therefore, especially with Wet n' Wild products, I make sure to check there is no mineral oil.

And I'm out. Peace and love,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cami D and SJP, How I Love Thee!

Two of my ultimate beauty icons-- I'm obsessed. I don't have much to say other than there beauty screams GORGE (as in gorgeous). Just some of my favorite shots. Take some pointers from thier faces; cream blushes, berry or citrus lips, gold and smolderous eyes. Bueno!

What'cha Gonna Do for Me, Wen?

One of my many loyal followers asked me today, "Have you tried the Wen hair products?" This is a question coming from my dearest and most hilarious auntie, who is also my godmother, whoop whoop! Anyway, back to my point...

She asked about Wen and I thought, what the hell is Wen? I've never heard of it. Maybe it is my little beauty bubble that I live in, but I generally think of myself as someone who has a wide knowledge of beauty products out there.

Well, first reason I hadn't heard of it: I don't watch QVC. Thank you.

Secondly, the creator's name is Chaz Dean. I'm sorry, Chaz is it? Can't be real. I think it's fake, like most British accents I hear (true, ask my friends, I never believe it). But it seems as though this is his real, God-given name. Oh, and just watch the little video they have of him pushing his line. Yikes!


Now, I do wonder about this line of hair products, Wen. The website writes that Wen is different because it doesn't strip your hair of its natural and essential oils. It doesn't lather or use any sulfates or detergents. Skip the shampoo, it's more of a conditioner. I've heard through the beauty grapevine that sulfates aren't the best for your hair, but there are many other shampoos out there that are sulfate free, but also less cheesy.

Also, what does Wen stand for? Oh, I see, it's "New" backwards-- "a new way of looking at how to cleanse your hair." Thank you, Chaz.

Pleeeease. I say it's all a marketing ploy. If you have some extra dollar bills, please, try for yourself and prove me wrong. *be sure to use for a month-- you generally won't see a difference in a shorter time period.

But, do your research and find a cheaper and more accessible non-sulfate 'shampoo' out there. All serums, conditioners and shampoos are practically the same. Don't be duped! John Frieda is my personal cheap favorite.

God speed and good luck! Toodles,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Can't Live Without...

My beautiful sisters; yes, I've got two of them and they are GEMS! I truly don't know what I would do without these two ladies. Funny, brilliant, humble and stunning. I cherish them, even when I may seem like the crabby baby sister. We can sit for hours upon hours and talk beauty. It must be something that runs in the blood.

And here we are: I Can't Live Without per my dearest sisters. Take joy in reading the products they Can't Live Without, and be inspired! Toodles!


Charming, funny, covered in gorgeous freckles and quite the sensitive soul. I like to call her the "Intellectual." She is incredibly smart, a total card shark (watch out!) and takes shear joy in beauty products.

As a self-professed beauty nut, and now (cough) well into my twenties, I’ve tried countless cosmetics products. I become giddy with trips to Sephora, the cosmetics counters at Nordstrom, the beauty aisles of Target and my much beloved Walgreens. I’ve also been known to buy a magazine or two (or three or four…), specifically for the beauty sections. What can I say, they are my vice. But as most girls would agree, finding the ‘perfect’ product takes time and effort! And I am a willing participant. It must run in the family ;) With that said, it’s difficult to narrow down my top Can’t Live Without products. But here are just a few of my faves!

Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, $14.99
I have to admit, I’m a new convert to Garnier Nutritioniste face products. But I am in love with this eye cream! I resisted using an eye cream for years, thinking I could get away with using nothing (oh the horror – why did I think I was invincible?). But I know it’s high time I treat my eyes right. Is it too late to believe that this is a ‘preemptive strike’ on crows feet and fine lines? Who knows, but I might as well try to prevent their appearance as long as I can! This is the best eye cream I’ve tried – it doesn’t have SPF in it so I only wear it at night. And boy is it luxurious! It’s lightweight but creamy, and feels so silky on the delicate skin around my eyes. One of the main ingredients is Omega 3 + 6 so it locks in moisture and helps those pesky fine lines from settling in. Just what your eyes need! I know you might balk at the price for such a small product, but it is pretty standard for a drugstore eye cream. And right now that suits me just fine! Be sure to use it correctly – you don’t need to slather it on, a couple small dabs will do, and it should last you a while. So try this eye cream – your precious peepers will thank you in the long run.

N.Y.C. Color Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder, $2.99

Let’s face it, sista needs some color! And now that it’s summer and the sun is shining bright, I am sure to wear my bronzer! Everyone gets naturally darker in the summer months, but it doesn’t hurt to add a little ‘something something’ to your cheeks. Especially me, since I have a hard time getting any darker than pink with my fair skin. So I turn to N.Y.C. bronzer in “Sunny” shade. It’s the lightest shade of bronze and goes on ever so smoothly, so it doesn’t leave any brown streaks or ruddiness to my cheeks. It gives me the faintest hint of color when I need it. Obviously with bronzer you don’t want a heavy hand – I use my powder brush to lightly dust it on my cheeks and around the hairline, jaw line, and nose (where the sun naturally hits). I stock up on this bronzer at Target where I first discovered it, since it’s an absolute steal at $2.99 a pop (I thought it was too good to be true and that Target had obviously mis-marked the item)! However, I’m pleased to say that it continues to be insanely affordable; thus it is my summer bronzer mainstay. Also note, be sure to still add a little blush to the apples of your cheeks to help maintain that fresh, rosy, natural look, instead of just looking bronzed. Because as everyone knows, you’re not supposed to look like you’re wearing makeup! (Tip: NARS makes an amazing blush/bronzer duo in “Orgasm/Laguna“ that is perfect on most skin tones; and for $37 if you have the money to spend, it is a fabulous 2-in-1 product!)

Maybelline Full and Soft Mascara, $7.49

I don’t know how many tubes of mascara I’ve bought in my lifetime. But for me, mascara is a must have in my makeup bag, and essential in making my eyes pop (or even just in making me look awake!). So far Maybelline Full and Soft seems to do the trick better than any others! It is one of those things that I am SURE to put on my face every day, no matter what. Even if I’m stepping out for coffee, or to get groceries, or a simple day at the office – I won’t go without my mascara! Let alone a night out, when I tend to put on several coats. And yet it’s okay because Full and Soft doesn’t get clumpy or give me those dreaded ‘tarantula’ eyes. I like to think that this mascara gives me the longest, lush lashes ever. Personally, I buy Blackest Black because, well, I always have. I don’t do brown mascara. And frankly I believe that most women should be wearing black. What I love most about this mascara is that the brush is just what it claims to be – full and soft. Most mascara brushes are too skinny, or they pull on my lashes, or they don’t have enough ‘oomph’ for my lashes. And heaven help us with the mascara wand that comes out of the tube gloppy and just a big mess. Who wants to put that on their lashes?! Not me, which is why I will always be a faithful follower of Maybelline Full and Soft because it makes my eyelashes full and soft! What a concept.

*SPLURGE* Kate Somerville ExfoliKate, $85

For the lady who wants to treat herself, this is your product! Yes it is expensive but it is hands down the best exfoliator I have ever tried! I discovered it a couple years ago – where else – in a magazine. Kate Somerville is a celeb favorite, who owns a spa and line of products, based out of LA (you can always buy her products through her website, but Sephora also sells them now). She caters to giving stars their best skin possible, and the ExfoliKate is her best known product, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Boy was I glad I did! It is a leave-on exfoliating treatment (mini home facial really) that is made of fruit enzymes. You leave it on your skin anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes and then rinse off. Don’t scrub though! Just after applying a thin layer to your face, the fruit enzymes work their magic and you don’t have to touch your face until you rinse. The particles are very fine and not harsh on your skin. Afterwards, your skin will be so smooth and soft, everyone will want to touch it! Be aware your face will be slightly red for a few minutes afterwards, but it will calm down (it is just because of all the blood circulation – a good thing!) I can’t really say enough about this product, even though I only buy it maybe once a year as a treat, it might be my ultimate Can’t Live Without face product ever. Truly! It is my favorite face savior, especially when I’m in need of sprucing up my dull skin. (Added bonus: applying a hydrating serum or moisturizer afterwards will make your skin GLOW!) While I realize that for the price, this is definitely a luxurious treat; but it is so worth it. After all, you gotta put your best face forward….


Energetic, spiritual, spicy and uber intuitive. She will look forever youthful and has the abs to show it. Creative and intelligent, she is my little Yoda. My Bruce Lee. My Buddah. Only about 14 months apart from her big sis, Natalie, she also shares our obsession with beauty products.

With so many products a part of my daily regime, I have a tough time choosing only a few to share. But at the request of Beebs, here are my absolute favorites – the “must have, do not leave home without!”

Nearing the 30 year mark means I’ve kicked my skincare into high gear! As a contact wearer, I touch my eyes constantly, and the fine lines have begun to show around my peepers. There’s a general dullness to my skin as well, like the day after too many glasses of bubbly (champagne that is, not Perrier). My two saving graces have been a.) My lovely dermatologist who works her magic, and b.) Vitamin C Power Brightening Cream w/SPF 25 by Grassroots Research Labs.

Vitamin C Power Brightening Cream w/SPF 25 by Grassroots Research Labs, $28.99

As someone with dry skin living at high altitudes, I have tried countless moisturizers, and this one takes the cake! It’s a great day lotion, and creates a smooth palette before applying your make up. It’s oil free, but feels so silky. The best part is the brightening affect from the Vitamin C – my skin glows! The SPF 25 is a must, although I recommend an additional UVA/UVB sunscreen if you are in the sun a great deal. This is not the cheapest moisturizer on the block at $28.99, but worth the bucks! You will find it at Kohls (gasp! I know.)

MAC Blushcreme, $18

I suppose I’ve always been a little addicted to blush. Let’s face it - I’m obsessed with the pseudo “flushed” look, like you’ve just had the best run of your life. Since I battle dry skin, I said good bye to powder blush years ago, and never looked back.

MAC Blushcreme is my second “must have” at $18 a pop. I can’t tell you how amazing this little pot of color crème is. It creates a fresh, dewy finish that stays put all day. For a natural look, you can wear alone with a little concealor, or layer with your favorite bronzer for that post-vacation glow! Ladies, it’s all about the supple skin. My only guff with MAC is they tend to discontinue colors and seasonal products. If you find one that works perfectly, stock up! I am gingerly making way to the bottom of my favorite Blushcreme color, and I dread the day it runs out. Did someone say obsessed?

Avalon Organics Lemon Bath and Shower Gel, $10.45
As someone who loves her daily showers (they’re necessary after work outs) I realized it’s crucial to find a body wash that wouldn’t completely strip my skin. I came across Avalon Organics Lemon Bath and Shower Gel by accident, and I’m hooked! At $10.45/bottle it can dent your wallet over time –especially when your husband or roommate lather up consistently – but well worth it. If you love citrus then you owe it to yourself to try this product! The smell alone is heavenly – as though you’re standing in the middle of a lemon grove on a hot summer day. The essential oils keep your skin soft, and even though my skin is sticky after the gym, I don’t worry about using an antibacterial body wash for a thorough cleanse. I usually purchase this at Whole Foods (where I could spend an entire day perfectly happy), but I also noticed it at Longs Drugs, so take your pick!

Die to Try: CoverGirl Me Pretty

With a plethora of beauty products out there, I am continually looking for my next obsession. What shall I try next I often wonder? Well, I have found it...or them!

My current Die to Try is the CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain, $7.49.

In colors like Coy Coral, Flirty Nude and Wild Berry Wink, you are sure to find a suitable shade for your lips. This looks like one interesting beauty buy-- it is even shaped like a pen for better precision and gives a long last stain to your lips, better than lipstick (or so they say). Is it all that it's cracked up to be? Let's find out, shall we? Try it with me! I hope we aren't disappointed.

Signing off. With peace,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tool Belt

Dearest followers and beauty blogger fanatics,

In order to make this beauty blog worth your while, you must have the toooools. Just like any carpenter, architect, or artist, your tools will help create and build your masterpiece (your face). Now hold on, I'm not doubting your inner and natural beauty, but hey, these tricks of the trade will only bring out that natural glow of yours. Don't be timid.

Not all of us can afford the gorgeous and ever-lasting MAC beauty brushes, or even Trish McAvoy, but there is an an inexpensive and fabulous line that will do just the job!

If you are in a budget bind and need a basic starter set, EcoTools is your best choice. Called "Earth-Friendly Beauty," EcoTools has a fantastic line of products; brush sets, bath accessories, and grooming kits (my next "Die to Try"). On top of this aray of products to choose from, the brush material is the softest I've felt. Better than Bare Minerals and almost just as good, or should I dare say, better (gasp!) than MAC. Serisouly, it feels like butter on your face. Smoother than a baby's bottom....I kid you not.

So it's no secret that the brand is ecofriendly and sustainable...duh! The tools are from natural and recycled materials, most with handy-dandy tool kit bags made of hemp and organic cotton. Another friendly fact: all products are cruelty free and made from highly sustainable bamboo plants. The best bonus of all, knowing you are purchasing products for a cause; EcoTools joined 1% for the Planet and will donate 1% of thier annual sales to environmental organizations. Your beauty is literally helping save God's green earth. Now if that isn't a reason to buy this line, then I don't know what is. So hop on the green bandwagon!

Here forth, my faves:

Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set, usually on sale at where else but, Walgreens for $10-$11 measly bills.

The best kit for all your needs-- Powder brush, Eye shadow brush, Eyeliner brush (angled, perfect!), Lash and Brow groomer and Concealer brush.

Bamboo Foundation Brush, $5.99

Bamboo Blush Brush, $6.99

A bit smaller than the Powder brush and perfect for contouring your cheekbones.


And so I beg of you, check out the above website and browse. Remember, Walgreens generally has the best deals.

Bee green, bee earth friendly, bee beautiful. Buy EcoTools.

With love,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bee Kissed

"Kiss me, you fool!"

Boy, do I love me some lotion! Every day, I have to moisturize my entire body. After showers, after the beach, the pool, before going out, at night. Really, all the time. I think I have become somewhat OCD about it. But, with dry skin like mine, it's a necessity. So with this, I need a delicious smelling lotion.

I have tried all types out there; St. Ives, Jergens, Bath and Body Works, Neutrogena, Eucerin, Cetaphil etc. I could go on and on. Walgreens carries a yummy, thick body butter, a melon and papaya blend, which I wore religiously in Australia. But there is one brand to which I have remained a faithful and loyal follower: Kiss My Face, Peaches and Creme Ultra Moisturizer for $11.95.

In 7th grade, I lived down the block from Nature's in NE. Any lifelong Portlander will remember Nature's. Imagine Whole Foods and New Season's combined. I lived for the days my mother and I walked up the neighborhood to Nature's, while she shopped for groceries, and I wandered up and down the Organic Beauty isle. This is the year I found Kiss My Face in the peach scent. Holy cow, I was hooked. I wore it, literally, all summer long.

Many of you may think, why would I spend $12 on body lotion? The reason: this lotion is all natural, safe and gentle for any skin type. The alpha hydroxy acids gently unblock your pores while naturally exfoliating. The peach extracts are extra soothing and the shea butter moisturizes and helps retain skins elasticity. The product contains no animal ingredients, artificial colors, unnecessary chemicals and is not tested on animals. It goes on light and absorbs quickly, without leaving a heavy film on your skin, which is my pet peeve (one of many).

So when I am able to splurge, I go for Kiss My Face. Not only do I cherish the scent, I can't help but laugh and smile when I am brought back to my 7th grade summer. It warms my heart.

So love, live and bee kissed!

Happy summer.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Color, Color and More Color!

If you know me well, I love color. Bright clothes, bright jewelry, bright eyes. Sometimes I will even venture out and do a red or pink lipstick or gloss. Most nights out, I'm wearing some version of blue, purple or green on my eyes.

My love of color has clearly come from one person alone: my mother. I can't give her enough credit. I'm sure you've noticed I reference my mother a lot, but the woman has classic style; both in her beauty, fashion and home. But along with her chic digs, she is funky and takes risks. This is where it all began for me...having to buck up and take her advice, sometimes unwillingly. However, this is how my love for beauty and color blossomed and became my own. She now takes advice from me!

Working at a high school with teenagers will also give you some perspective on color; they all wear neon yellow, green, hot pink, satsuma orange, aqua blue. It is awesome. The more I wear bright colors, the more I hear: "You on fire!" or "That outfit is cute!" People, color is a good thing! It will only make you feel happy.

Obviously, I am not suggesting wearing bright colors on your eyes to work. Yikes, no way. Keep to browns and golds with brown eyeliner on the top only for work. However, there is nothing harmful in branching out, taking a risk and experiencing with color on your eyes...and even lips. But let's start with eyes.

I am obsessed with the current Gucci eyewear ad: just look at that matte neon purple shadow, all over the lid and lining the bottom. Now, this is definitely out there. But worn with a simple outfit with nude lipgloss/lipstick and light blush, it is HOT.

I also love the look of this vintage ad, I believe for the New York Magazine. It is a little retro, but you get the idea of green, blue and light purple. The trick is to keep it fresh. Avoid yellows, unless you have very dark, olive skin.

If you are too afraid to do bold, purchase a light sea blue or sea green and line your bottom and top lips, especially into the corners. Bare Minerals has amazing colors for this, where you can make it as light or as dark as you wish.

For those who are bolder, buy a shimmery or matte deep purple, blue or green and go over the entire lid, lining the top and bottom of your lids. Who best for this? MAC, hands down!

Basically, I love color and you should too. Blue eyes, green eyes, hazel eyes, brown eyes; they all can do it! Especially in the summer. The two best shops to check out color eye shadows: Blush Beauty Bar on NW 23rd and Glisan (I highly suggest Bare Minerals) in Portland, OR or any MAC stores. Be sure to talk to a counter rep or assistant if you are nervous or have more questions. But don't let them sway you otherwise. Stick to color.

Your goal I give to you: purchase one bright colored eye shadow this summer. MAC's eye shadows are about $13 but WELL WORTH THE SPLURGE. My favorite, definitely. Don't Bee Afraid of color. Picasso, Andy Warhol, Monet: Geniuses with color. Be an artist with your look.

*Stay tuned for my next post on a "How To" for work eyes and evening eyes for those who need help in application.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Skin

After a full day in the sun as I step out of the shower, buffed and ready for dinner, I remember why I love summer so much when it comes to beauty; simple skin!

Generally, the summer months give all of us a sunny glow, totally kissable and approachable skin. So for this, very little makeup is needed on a day to day basis. Breakouts are less, skin is more even-toned and thus, we are more comfortable going naked...on our face that is.

Here in lies the best summer beauty regimen; wear an oil-free, tinted moisturizer spf 15 or more. Use a sponge so it goes on light and evenly, moving the strokes outward, so the tinted lotion isn't heavy in the middle of the face. Neutrogena makes great tinted moisturizers that won't clog your pores.

If you have heavy, dark circles under the eye, do dab a few dots to cover the problem area. For pimples, use a light powder close to your summer skin tone and dot onto the pimple after the tinted lotion is blendid. *Note to readers: go a shade darker than your winter skin shade-- you don't want to look ghostly and drab with too light of makeup during the summer.

Now, you can never use too much spf. After reading more and more articles on skin cancer in magazines, it is becoming even more important at an early age. I can't stress enough-- wear spf daily! My mother insisted I start wearing spf in my lotion and makeup at the age of 15 and I haven't stopped. My freckles may be lighter, but I know I'm saving my skin.

Next, load up the bronzer! The most essential summer product for your skin. Obviously, don't go overboard. Be sure to use a large powder brush. The key is to add bronzer to all areas of the face: nose, forehead, cheeks, up around the eyes/hairline and a tad on the chin. Be sure you are blending into the neck. Too dark or heavy? Use one sheet of toilet paper to lightly drag and remove the excess off your face. But this will give you the best summer glow without a lot of prep.

To finish the look, swoop on multiple coats of mascara and you are ready to go. This whole process shouldn't take you more than 5-7 minutes. Tops. Going out at night? Add eyeliner or gold shadow in the inner corners of your eyes to make them pop.

Enjoy and remember: keep it simple! No one wants to look like a tranny in these hot summer days.

Off to eat some guacamole and sip the vodka...

Peace & love,

Lengthy Lashes Quick Tip

Whilst a thunderstorm above shook Sacramento's core last night, I found myself nervously and anxiously pulling at my eyelashes. Not a good practice to follow, seeing that I already have minimal lashes to work with. Hence, my quick tip of the day.

Who likes short, stubby lashes? No one. Who wants to avoid the tarantula look? Everyone. However, we all have many different lengths to work with, but with this tip you can make your lashes full and long without surgery or prescription mascara (yes, they actually make that. Anyone seen Brooke Shield's commercial?). Ridiculous.

First, purchase an eyelash curler. Before you say no and think, 'those things are scary looking', if done right, they can create a beautiful, extended lash. Don't pay more than $5 on a curler, it is just unnecessary.

Second, take your hair dryer and on a warm setting, about 5 inches away, warm the padding on the eye curler. Leave for 15-30 seconds. *Be careful, the metal may be a tad hot, so take a second before bringing to your eyelid.

Third, curl and hold for 5-8 seconds. Be careful not to pinch your lid.

Last, add multiple coats of mascara. For the cheap, I LOVE Maybelline's Full and Soft in Very Black, only about $7. If clumpy, take an eyelash brush and pull through in order to separate each eyelash. Finger tips work also.

For special occasions or a big night out, add a few fake eyelashes that come in 3 piece sets (can be purchased at good ol' walgreens). Add these to the end of your eyelashes BEFORE adding mascara. Give at least 5 seconds for the glue to set. Fake eyelashes are a perfect glam look without hurting or harming your real lashes. Just be slow and deliberate as you pull them off at the end of the night.

Bon Chance! Toodles,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Guilt Free Beauty Steals

It's hot, I'm sitting in a wet bathing suit, and yet, I wanted to finish my blog regarding Walgreens, The Mothership.

You may not be convinced about Walgreens, and maybe you don't really care to walk into a Walgreens, and so be it. However, for those adventerous ones who wish to learn some of my beauty steals, here they are, so take notes.

Physicians Formula, Shimmer Strip $12.95
Perfect for summer! What is great about this product is that it can multi-task. We've all gotta love multi-taskers and this is the best bang for your buck! It comes in a variety of shades that will match your skin tone and doubles up as eye shadow and bronzer for your cheeks. Brightens any dull skin and is absolutely beautiful. My best friend is hooked. Truly an essential for summer. But note to readers: it is quite shimmery, so for those who do not wish to glisten like fairy dust, I would suggest finding a more muted bronzer, which Physicians Formula carries in all shades.

Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother, $6.99

Kiss me with those lips! This lip shine is insanely smooth, glossy and even has SPF 20. It contains cucumber and chamomile for super-hydration and comes in colors like gleam, glimmer, glisten and sparkle. What the hell does this mean? Just subtles hues of pink, orange and red to give you the perfect dab of color with sun protection and high shine! My favorite is gleam, hints of both red and orange. This is a keeper and always on my must-purchase list when I run out.

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil, $1.00

A dollar you say? Yes, one buck, one fetti, one scrilla. It is one dollar! Do I need much more justification in this purchase? I think not-- now this is a real steal. It's dark as coal (hence, the name) and goes on smoothly. Really punk it up with thick application on the top and bottom of your lashes, or keep it 'work appropriate' by thinly lining the top eyelid only. You can't really go wrong with this product. Just be sure to have a decent eye pencil sharpener so as not to ruin the tip and create a rough edge. No one likes splinters on their lids. And I don't know why, but I absolutely love Kate Moss. She may be a crackhead, but God she wears this makeup right! Gorge (as in gorgeous).

John Frieda's Root Awakening Health Boosting Detangling Spray, $6.49

Knots, chlorine, bleach, wind, sun...all villians to a girl's hair. But John Frieda is the hero and has the cure: his Root Awakening Detangling Spray. It is AH-MAZING. Infused with natural eucalyptus and peppermint, the spray leaves your hair smooth, silky and light, instead of heavy and stiff. The vitamin-enriched spray nourishes your hair and protects your locks from the heat. Use after your daily shower or at the beach after wind, sun and sand have made thier marks. And the green, eco-friendly bottle keeps me coming back again and again. Go Green!

Well...what about mascara? You will have to wait for my upcoming ultimate mascara review. Nonetheless, I hope these few beauty bargains will inspire you to make some guilt free, decent summer purchases!

Peace, love & cheerios,