the best of november beauty0

hi strangers. i don’t know how, but it’s freakin’ december.

life continues to spiral and swirl in NYC – in all of the best ways, promise. it’s just that everything seemed to get bigger, faster and more all at the same time. it’s a lot, but it’s GOOD and we’re adjusting.

i still collect, hoard and test beauty products at an above average rate, so nothing’s changed there. one day i hope to pop up here more often than monthly, but for now here’s the best of the best of what i found in november:

  • this hydator was in the beauty bag of a colleague (we were comparing eclectic brand mixes within our own bags – as you do) and once i read the ingredient list, i knew i had to have it. when i tell you this stuff LOVES my combination skin – it’s purely insane how the superfoods have tightened things up and smoothed them out. my face is deliciously plump and hydrated without getting greasy at all. if i could bathe in it, i probably would.

  • i’ve been having a bit of a schizophrenic moment when it comes to blush – i’m never satisfied and i always want that coveted winter flush. something that makes me look healthy and young, like i have a touch of a fever or have had a few too many drinks. (does that happen to anyone else?) this guy in the mini size and a stippling brush (i love this one) are delivering that dream and then some. the resulting pink is perfection – the vibrant coral red and muted champagne really come together for the ultimate tinted cheek.

(ps – can we just praise beauty in miniature size? it’s the literal best. maybe it’s me, but i’m on to the next thing before i’ve made a visible dent in most things, so the more tiny products, the merrier!)

  • i have some sort of adult-onset lip sensitivities going on and i’ve had more recent flare ups then i care to recount. i still love a bold, matte, lip (due to aforementioned sensitivities, i have sworn allegiance to this formula until the end of time – the bullet is the perfect size to give me a sculpted lip without a liner or mirror) – but that requires a flake-free canvas. this new lip mask kicks my old lip mask to the curb. my lips are smooth and soft, and i swear my lines are dissipating. thank you, thank you clinique gods and goddesses!

  • i love an intense, bold, lacquered lash – but my sparse little natural lashes can barely handle that kind of formula. it’s like they crumble under the weight or something. the formula here is very, very goopy and you must kind of expertly craft and build your lash look, using a lot of patience and a lash comb to clear out the clumps. the formula holds all day long, though – including on bottom lashes which never (EVER) happens for these watery eyes.

for extra credit, i recently replaced my original set of mini slants (purchased in 2001 – those things have some long legs!), purchased a second bottle of this glittery shade and treated myself to this (which i am admittedly still making friends with – she is BOLD).

next up – christmas wishes!

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it’s been waitin’ for youComments Off on it’s been waitin’ for you

oh, hello. hi – remember me?

did you think i forgot about you?

i have been thinking about this blog nonstop since i last popped in to share a beauty obsession (3 months ago – yowza). while i’ve been absent, my family and i have relocated from VA to NY – a bold and exciting move, for sure. all in the name of beauty.

it has been an insane whirlwind, but we are finally moved in and starting to get settled. i’m commuting daily into an NYC office (er, desk) in the empire state building and continuing to pursue this crazy beauty dream.

and when i’m walking through grand central or down park avenue to work, i think about this little blog. i think about what i should say to you guys after such a long time away, how i can ever thank you for coming to read my wandering thoughts on beauty, for telling your friends, your sisters, your moms to come read them, too.

so rather than dive into a long and ever-growing list of products to share (that’s coming, too – don’t you worry), i will start with thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart and a promise to be back to writing very soon!

but, in the meantime:

i can’t stop thinking about this moisturizer

i’m in love with this simple little lip in cherry

two style bloggers killing it for me lately: jen and gaby

one of my work projects launched (finally!)

this shampoo is topping my wishlist

officially lusting everything in salma’s routine

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caudalie vine[activ] 3-in-1 moisturizerComments Off on caudalie vine[activ] 3-in-1 moisturizer


ever since clearing up my skin from a heartbreaking stint with acne a couple of years ago (thank you so super much for that treat, postpartum hormones), when i now find something that works for my face, i tend to stick with it.

during the great skincare cleanup phase of early 2016, i discovered this caudalie moisturizer and oh man, has it brought me some happy pores. i have repurchased more than once and i scoop up the mini version every single time that it’s available with my sephora points. it has been a long-term love affair for sure.

but now that things have been clear for awhile (knock on all of the wood) i have started to want a bit more from my hydrator – some anti-aging power and protection would be extra nice. i returned to the caudalie family (because if it ain’t broke) and was delighted to discover the new-ish vine[activ] line. the moisturizer was especially intriguing and i loved the way it felt on the back of my hand during an in-aisle test. it’s lightweight but glides on super smooth, soaking right in. it feels really refreshing, smells incredible, and after a longer test, i found that it did not irritate my sensitive skin in the slightest.

well, no surprise, now it’s mine and we’re a few weeks into daily use. my skin LOVES this moisturizer. it has improved my complexion even further (my no-makeup days have me doing a major double take in the mirror), faded my acne scars due to some brightening ingredients and it fights the effects of aging through polution all day long as i wear it. it also has the oh-so-slightest mattifying effect that grips on to my go-to foundation without the need for a primer.

my only hope is that caudalie adds SPF because then it would be straight up holy grail status – but they have gotten it pretty darn close to perfect (at least for me) and that’s worth far more than the $44 investment.

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laura geller diamond dust baked gelato swirl illuminatorComments Off on laura geller diamond dust baked gelato swirl illuminator

so highlighter pretty much ranks up there with liquid eyeliner for me. i never know if i’m doing it right and i always kind of feel like a poser. i can very much appreciate its purpose and all of the glowy gals on instagram make it look super inviting, but in my day to day? it has mostly felt silly.

last month, i attended a big beauty expo in florida and everyone there was walking around with this KILLER HIGHLIGHT. i stopped several girls to see what was happening and they directed me to the laura geller booth where i was plopped down by an adorable MUA and dusted in diamonds. (not really, but the highlighter she used is called diamond dust and i’m going to call that pretty spot on.)

what happened next was something like –

me (looking in the mirror): “whooooa…what is that?”
adorable makeup artist: “it’s your color.” wink

(it was apparently everyone and their mother’s color at this expo, but whatever. it looked hot and i wanted it.)

fast forward to my return from orlando, prompt email to my sweetest-ever friends at laura geller and a happy dance when diamond dust arrived on my front steps. i have been swirling my favorite brush into this goodness daily and applying it in a reverse c, grazing my brow bones and the highest, most outer parts of my cheeks.

the sheen it gives off isn’t yellow or gold which i think is what makes this so universally flattering and not-at-all scary to wear. it’s a translucent glow that shifts only very very slightly pink from its white base. and when i tell you that people stop me in the street to ask what this highlight is, i am not exaggerating. i have had coworkers, waitresses and perfect strangers tap me for details because it’s that good.

sneaky laura geller has made this limited edition so i would scoop it up quickly or run into ULTA to give it a test and let the compliments pour in. (seriously. don’t say i didn’t warn you!)

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christophe robin cleansing purifying scrub with sea saltComments Off on christophe robin cleansing purifying scrub with sea salt

real talk: sometimes life gets in the way and you forget to wash your hair for a week. (real’er talk: these days, life sounds something like “mommy, what color is my big girl bed going to be?” or “mommy, can we bring cinderelly’s castle to the new house?” or best, “mommy, is there water to drink in new york?” #moving) and while i am all for praising dry shampoo and my ever sharpening top knot skills, sometimes your scalp reacts unfavorably to not being cleansed.

lately, when i need to hit the reset button on what’s happening at the top of my head, i reach for this scrub by christophe robin. it’s kind of the coolest. the consistency is super thick (think paste, or peanut butter) and is basically a detox shampoo all mixed up with chunky sea salt crystals to exfoliate. i grab a tablespoon full and distribute it from my hair line to the base of my skull and it feels so-o amazing.

the product removes buildup and zaps oil for when you’ve taken your hair one day past its due. the results are super fluffy, boosted roots with hair that’s lightweight and full of volume. somehow the salt is not at all drying, but, depending on your hair type, i would recommend following up with detangling conditioner. i steal my daughter’s because 1) her spirals snag like no other and 2) it smells like a fruit smoothie. you could also work it through with something like this for extra credit. to finish, style with your favorite air-dry product and take your soothed, balanced, happy scalp out on the town.

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kjaer weis mascaraComments Off on kjaer weis mascara

you can keep your better than sex, your perversion and that l’oreal mascara every celebrity and their makeup artist won’t stop talking about. (newsflash: it smudges!) i have found the little black dress of mascaras. the splurgeiest most covetable of metallic tubes, and it comes housed in the most gorgeous little red box.

packaging aside, the best thing about kjaer weis mascara is that it glides on easily, coating lashes with a thick and glossy black tint and holding curl like no other. it doesn’t smudge or flake, feels like i’ve got nothing on my lashes and, at the end of the day, it wipes clean with my favorite micellar water and a cotton pad without any jabbing or tugging at my delicate eyelids.

i’ve heard good things about this yummy little discovery through the beauty pipeline but feel like no one ever shouts about it. in fact, it has been on my wish list for so long that i finally treated myself to it a few months ago and i’ve been asking around to see if people understand how fab it truly is. apparently, it is flying far beneath the radar because no one else knows my little secret – but i had to share it with you.

if you invest (and i recommend you do!) you’ll be delighted to learn that not only is the formula organic, but it’s refillable at a digestible price point. this preserves the beautiful pack (the inner tube and wand just pop right out so you can put a fresh set in) and it allows the kjaer weis team to provide you with exactly 3 months of mascara at a time which helps to keep bacteria away from your eyes.

in summary? this mascara is stunning and smart and you need it. happy long and healthy lashes to you!

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colourpop forget me not super shock highlighterComments Off on colourpop forget me not super shock highlighter

i dipped my toe into the colourpop pool and i may not ever be climbing out.

my fling started innocently enough with this icy pink highlighter. i was on the hunt for something to layer underneath of my go-to-blush and was carefully considering making this investment when forget me not popped up in a roundup of millennial pink beauty goods.

i had to have it.

since then, i have learned that the super shock formula is pretty much what put colourpop on the map. it’s creamy and cushiony, but dries to a soft powder finish that does not budge. i have been using my middle finger to tap it on as a primer-highlighter and then layering orgasm over top for a skyscraper-high cheekbone that lasts all day.

i don’t know how i have been sleeping on the stuff since it’s just so straight-up gorgeous. it’s pearly, smooth, beautiful – and at $8 each, plus a dozen ways to work it into your routine, it’s one of the most valuable beauty buys i’ve made to date.

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patchology poshpeel pedi cureComments Off on patchology poshpeel pedi cure

freak bursts of warm weather tell me that it’s almost sandal season (also known as: time to think about preparing my feet for public consumption).

normally i would go running for the nearest pedicure chair and let them go to town on my calluses and dry heels, but this season i did something very unlike me: i opted for a DIY solution and tried an at-home foot peel. you’ve probably seen this phenomenon pop up in your social feeds, but i have avoided it like the plague. please know that i was full-on terrified before tackling this, but i could stand my squirrelly feet no longer.

thankfully, the patchology poshpeel process was super simple and before i knew it, i was donning plastic booties filled with AHA and BHA designed to dissolve my calluses and dry skin. i soaked my feet in hot water for a few minutes before getting started, poured one full pack of acid essence into each bootie (although you can do less depending on how tenderfooted-slash-brave you are), then left things to sit for 60 minutes.

immediately following, my feet were much softer, but visibly no different. peeling actually didn’t begin for a full 4 days and i basically walked around wondering if i had made a huge mistake.

once the peeling action began, it wasn’t at all the full shed that i was expecting (at least not all at once). it was mostly subtle, intensifying over a day or two. i had read that you can use a pumice stone to speed things up a bit and get the most smooth results so i powered up my amope to help my heels and big toe calluses in the shower.

by the third day of peeling, my feet were in full nirvana with no rough heels or calluses in sight: it absolutely eliminated them! (also weird side note: the acid essence does attack any nail polish you have on, causing that to peel up and off immediately following the treatment. i was super weirded out by this, so just a warning!)


i’m obsessed with my new feet which are in better shape than the best pedicure i’ve ever received. there’s just no amount of sloughing and scrubbing that could equal this level of skin renewal. it’s been a solid two weeks and things are still perfectly sandal-ready. such a win! best of all, i love that these kits come with two full treatments (including the booties) so essentially, my feet should be in glorious shape until fall.

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fresh sugar lip treatment perfecting wandComments Off on fresh sugar lip treatment perfecting wand

oh fresh, how i love you.

you had me on lock back in the early aughts with sugar lip treatment untinted and since then we’ve been through every shade under the sun, plus advanced therapy. you have only very (very) rarely let me down and that’s why i knew perfecting wand would be something special.

the treatment itself is smooth and glossy – it brings a nice shine to my lips and keeps things hydrated until i slick on my bold lip of the day – but, the magic in this wand is in the applicator. when i pass it over my lips each morning, dead skin and rough patches disappear. the tiny little scrubbers stimulate and exfoliate bringing out a natural flush of color and seriously plumping up my pout.

over a couple of weeks, this product has actually sharpened my weak lip lines, giving shape and dimension where there used to be none. it has also worked serious magic on the fine lip wrinkles that have sprouted up in the last year or so. i have been looking for something to do this for-ever, trying every balm and mask i could find – but something about the increased circulation brought on by this little wonder is doing the trick.

the ingredient list claims to seal in moisture, improve skin flexibility, fight dryness, moisturize, soften, support suppleness, hydrate and protect. (phew!) i can check the box and approve every single one of those based on the results i’ve had. in fact, i’m loving this much more than a traditional lip scrub. it’s easier to use, less messy, and more effective.

so, fresh, you’ve got me once again – and these deliciously hydrated, younger-looking lips thank you very much.

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curel hydra therapy wet skin moisturizerComments Off on curel hydra therapy wet skin moisturizer

please let it be known that i am the laziest.

this is why i don’t wear eyeliner, don’t blow my hair out with a round brush, and i rarely mask. these beauty sins are bad enough, but possibly nothing pains me more than putting on body lotion.

the problem goes beyond dry elbows, though. as i age, taking care of the skin below my chin is becoming increasingly important, but even though i know it’s wrong, i still just can’t seem to stick to a hydrating routine.

thankfully the industry is wise to this issue because there are all kinds of gimmicky body moisturizers out there. i tried this spray version and found mild success (it now lives under my sink) but it seems like the only thing that could possibly save me is an in-shower concept.

curel kindly sent me their hydra therapy wet skin moisturizer and after first use, i was hooked. this is a lazy beauty addict’s match made in moisturizer heaven. let me walk you through:

the bottle lives in your shower and after you turn off the water, but before you towel off (while you are still soaking wet), you apply a few pumps of this balmy gel-like substance to your skin. it requires hardly any rubbing in at all because the water on your skin lets it glide over everything. so, if it takes you longer than 30 seconds, you’re doing it wrong.

because your pores are still open from your hot shower, all of the hydrating benefits penetrate deeply and immediately. the second you’re done lubing up, you can towel off all of the slime and voila! you’re done. skin is left silky, silky, silky – even for days after i’ve showered.

it’s effortless, greaseless, and my skin is looking the best it ever has.

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