favorite lip products

lara ramos copy

i’m over on meg biram’s place in the blog world talking about my five most favorite lip products! meg has been tapping into the inner workings of several of my best beauty blogger girls and the resulting posts are incredibly fun. click on over to see the five products that made my cut, and rediscover a new go-to (or twelve).

stila baked cheek duo in pink glow

stila baked cheek duo in pink glow

what i want to tell you about this blush, is that we are embarking on our ninth year together. that’s right. NINE. i discovered this beauty back in the day when she was packaged in cardboard and boy has she come a long way since 2006. the essence of the product is still the exact same: two soft pinks that blend together for a gorgeous and natural glow. they balance eachother out beautifully and they apply like a dream. i like to dust my brush over both colors and swirl onto cheek apples for a surprisingly sun kissed flush. i am extremely heavy handed with blush, and this one tends to be nearly impossible to overdo. the shades are so right on that they almost eliminate the need for a bronzer. i like to think of it as the perfect blush and i find myself reaching for it again and again.

baked cheek duo in pink glow gets her own post today because i have been recommending it left and right lately. a quick search through the archives and WHAT? no post on this lady, so here she is in all of her glory. think you’ll give her a go?

stila baked cheek duo in pink glow, $24 >

what’s your longest beauty relationship? i’d love to know!

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes

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i am so sorry for the radio silence around here! it turns out that something attributed to pregnancy hormones has me experiencing some serious sleep deprivation and well, it’s just not a good time. i’ve had a dream pregnancy so far (minimal-to-zero nausea and virtually no loss of energy) so i really can’t complain – i suppose it’s mother nature’s way of getting me ready for the sleepless nights soon to arrive in august.

since i’m on night six of four hours or less, i’ve been relying on under eye concealer more than ever, and my expectations have gone through the roof as my dark circles become darker, and darker with each passing day. i picked up smashbox’s bb cream eyes a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t really needed to put it to a test until now – and either people are way too kind not to tell me how tired i look, or this stuff is really doing the trick.

in essence, smashbox has taken the best of a bb cream (benefits that moisturize, prime, perfect, control oil, and protect with spf) and combined it with the coverage of a concealer. the result is a wonder product that not only hides dark circles, but works to make them vanish (along with those pesky fine lines) with regular use. the thing that i like best about this formula is that it also illuminates the slightest bit (i hate concealers that fall flat under my eyes) and it actually hides that little bit of puff that comes with lack of sleep. it’s creamy and it doesn’t crease, plus it takes care of oil which has been helping to keep my mascara from smudging (major bonus). i love that i don’t have to use a primer and that it stays exactly where i put it, even through the longest of days.

i’m giving this one two very enthusiastic, albeit sleepy, thumbs up. mama bears and honorary aunties alike will all love the latest from smashbox.

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes, $25 >

mane message ‘the macaron’ package

mane message macaron package

olivia never fails to keep things fresh and oh-so-pretty with every passing season. i don’t know how she got inside my mind, but her latest selection of signature hair ties features my most favorite color combination of the moment: blush, aqua, navy, and gold. (for those interested in that sort of thing, this is the exact palette that i plan to use in our nursery! we find out gender tomorrow, so the inclusion of blush is technically tbd…) i love the gold foil polka dot print on cream and i just know that’s going to make the sweetest addition to my anna beck arm party this spring, whenever it’s not pulling back my pony. (anna beck, who you will also notice is a fan of navy, aqua, and blush!)

if you haven’t added these soft and stretchy hair ties-slash-boho-bracelets to your regime yet, i can’t think of a better time to get on board. (and if silver’s more your style, well she’s got you covered there, too.)

mane message ‘the macaron’ package, $11.50 >

10% off mark. products – today only

lucy hale mark. brand ambassador

yesterday’s snow storm has me experiencing a major case of winter blues. i think monday marks the 18th “snow day” that we’ve had in the dc area so far this winter and i could not be more ready for spring.

like a little beacon of light, mark. is offering 10% off all of their gorgeous products (which include lots of options for fresh spring color!) today only in celebration of brand ambassador lucy hale’s spring season finale of pretty little liars with code PLL10.

hallelujah!

this spring, i’m looking to add products to my collection that are equal parts bright and wearable – things that represent my style without being over-the-top expensive. right off the bat, i honed in on mark. blooming pretty highlighting face powder ($16) as the perfect way to add a soft sheer glow to my cheeks who are desperately craving color. (for the record, i’d pair it with this fluffy blush + bronzer brush ($8) to get the ideal placement of pink.) to balance things out, i can’t get enough of the go-to neutrals in the color swing eye palette ($20). they are just what my hazel eyes need to counteract that bold cheek pop! then, just for fun and as a little icing on the cake, it’s impossible to resist the combination of sunny yellow and spring-ready mint (plus that cocktail ring!) in the nail this look set ($28).

i’m thinking these are just the ticket to helping me fight off the blahs brought on by this never-ending winter. will you take advantage of 10% off mark’s spring goodness?

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greening my routine with mario badescu

mario badescu green routine
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my skin care routine has quite literally gone green.

besides being perfectly fitting for saint patrick’s day, the truth is that this trio has saved my pregnancy hormone-ravaged skin. the team at mario badescu must be getting pretty used to my panicky emails at this point and seeing as though i am yet to present them with a pickle that they cannot get me out of, it’s really no surprise that they sent me the perfect solution to my latest problem.

they informed me that my sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin requires a combination of chemical exfoliation, gentle disinfection, and soothing nourishment to keep it from getting inflamed. here’s the very festive combination of products that is keeping everything in check:

mario badescu enzyme cleansing gel, $12
forget everything you know about washing your face. add a drop of water to this mint-colored gel, massage it over your skin and every trace of makeup is dissolved, without drying. it provides a deep clean without being harsh – just be sure to avoid your eye area.

mario badescu seaweed cleansing lotion, $15
a very green toner to remove any left-behind smudges of makeup while also giving something back. it cleans out all of my pores with witch hazel, soothes my sensitive areas with aloe, helps to prevent dryness and preps skin perfectly for my night cream.

mario badescu seaweed night cream, $20
this green cream restores hydration (essential for helping my skin to repair itself overnight) without adding oil. collagen and hyaluronic acid leave things feeling so smooth and plumped up in the mornings, while also reducing redness and shrinking pimples.

all three products have made a visible (and fast) improvement in my skin – completely turning things around from the broken out turmoil that i have been experiencing. lucky for me, and thanks to mario badescu, going green has saved the day!

detox your locks

ouidad superfruit renewal, phytoneutre

sometimes my hair feels…congested. product buildup can cause it to go heavy and limp and kind of dull at virtually no notice. i used to rely on drugstore detox shampoos like this one to get things back to normal, but i’ve found that they really strip things down and dry them out unnecessarily – almost creating more trouble than they are worth. lucky for me detox shampoos have come a long (and i mean long) way. i’ve been playing with two new releases from phyto and ouidad to the tune of squeaky clean and extra gorgeous results.

ouidad superfruit renewal clarifying cream shampoo, $18
anyone with curly hair knows that it’s notoriously sensitive to product buildup, so it’s no surprise that the queen of curl has created the epitome of clarifying shampoos. this cream shampoo feels more like a conditioner, but lathers beautifully to get all of the gunk out of your hair. it smells heavenly, making my shower feel like a sweetly scented oasis that really adds to the whole experience. while it’s a wiz at detoxing, the addition of five superfruit acids add vibrancy, shine, softness and bounce leaving my hair looking the best it ever has.

phytoneutre detox clarifying shampoo, $19
this option from phyto is also a cream formula that eliminates buildup, but eucalyptus oil means that your hair’s natural protective barrier remains intact. chamomile, sage, and witch hazel break down even the strongest-holding styling products while delivering a boost of oxygen to your scalp that you can actually feel. i find that the scent here is weighted in eucalyptus for a fresher, deep clean (and tingle!), but that the results are incredible. with mostly natural ingredients and a concentrated formula, you’ll notice that a little goes a long way.

with results like these, you’re probably wondering why i don’t make either (or both!) of these my regular go-to shampoo. the truth is that detoxifying shampoos should really only used once a week, but either of these beauties would make a perfect complement to whatever shampoo/conditioner duo you’re already committed to – and will probably make them work even better.

sephora upside down mascara

sephora upside down mascara

sometimes i feel like mascara wands have all of the fun. we’ve certainly seen our fair share of innovative shapes and designs in this department, but this new double-brush from sephora may just take the cake. there was no way that i was going to let something this crazy looking pass me by without giving it a test, more out of curiosity than expecting any earth-shattering results.

here’s the deal: sephora’s new upside down mascara features a double brush that promises length, curl, volume, and definition. (those are some real bold claims, sephora!) you can use this contraption many ways, which makes it kind of fun. 1) place lashes in a clamp between each brush to coat the tops and bottoms in thick, black pigment

sephora upside down mascara closed

2) hold the “v” closed and use both brushes in line together to fully coat each lash, kind of like how you would use a regular mascara wand, but this version is on steroids

sephora upside down mascara open

3) open the “v” and use each brush individually on top and/or bottom lashes (or use them to layer) to really customize and maximize the effect.

once you get the hang of opening and closing the brush to create various looks and you figure out how to minimize clumping (i say, just keep a lash comb handy – the end results are worth the clumps), the possibilities here are pretty endless. i like the idea of this “all in one” mascara and you really can create day or evening lash options delivering length or volume (or both!), depending on your preferences. i will say that this formula is a bit on the heavy side, but that’s what delivers the drama. i find that i have to really let it dry in-between coats and it did smudge a tiny bit on me. (note: i have the wateriest eyes on the planet, so don’t judge it too harshly.)

all in all, i’m calling this one a win for innovation and for impressive results. beauty buffs will have a lot of fun experimenting with the wand and your lashes will definitely display the fruits of your labor if you’re willing to give it a go.

sephora upside down mascara, $22 >

falconwright wallet pouch

falconwright wallet pouch

i really don’t care to discuss the fact that it’s going to be 70 degrees today and 25 degrees tomorrow. (because that’s just crazy.) all i want to talk about right now is this adorable pouch from falconwright. done up in bubblegum pink with a white print and a mint suede tassel, this little beauty is shouting spring. i love pouches for many reasons, but mainly because they keep the depths of my daily tote organized – catching all manner of things from receipts to change, stray otc meds and let’s not forget about that #lipbomb. this one is perfectly sized at 7×5″ and is beyond cute enough to be taken out on its own for an errand or a mocktail.*

falconwright’s shop is chock full of pretty pouch options, each more fabulous than the next. if your clutter or your business cards are looking for a new home, definitely give their handmade selection a good long look.

falconwright pouches ($28 – $68) >

note: my non-water drink of choice these days? it rotates between a refreshing lemonade and the occasional chick fil-a cookies & cream milkshake. gotta get my kicks where i can get ‘em while i’m the wagon!

stila sweet treat bronzing powder

stila sweet treat bronzing powder

i’m aware that not everyone suffers from my particular shade of pale, but the way i see it, we can all benefit from a good bronzer. something about the month of march with its long, dragged out end-of-winter (please, let it be the end of winter) days has me so disgusted by the lack of color in my skin that i had to take action. i did a little research into how to treat “ghost face” and kept stumbling upon stila’s valentine’s day bronzing powder in sweet treat. it’s the right mixture of matte and shimmer, with shades of brown, pearly sand, and even peach to deliver depth and glow to my sad complexion. the trick is to get your hands on the softest, fluffiest brush you can find (i love this one) and dust it ever so lightly all over your skin for a touch of warmth. it’s bringing me immense happiness, and is serving as just enough saving grace to get me to spring. (come. on. spring!)

to tempt you even further, stila is currently offering 25% off and free shipping through friday with code spring25, bringing this little beauty down to a perfectly bite sized $10.50.

stila sweet treat bronzing powder, $14 >

(use code spring25 to get 25% off and free shipping through 3/14)