a new routine with origins0


on saturday afternoon, i visited the beautiful and newly redesigned origins store at market common clarendon. after a tour of the new space, i sat down with kristen for a mini facial. since my skin is so super finicky, i was a little nervous about diving into a slew of new products, but she made me feel very at ease. we talked through my current routine (basically throwing a lot of acids at my face in hopes that it clears up my acne) and all of my many concerns. kristen took copious notes and then went “shopping” around the store for my new regimen.

origins dr. weil mega-mushroom

we started with a fresh take on cleansing as kristen became keenly aware that i have been over-washing my face. she introduced me to mega-mushroom skin relief micellar cleanser and oh, my goodness! my skin has never felt so comfortably clean. she followed up with the corresponding toner and stressed the importance of this step for clearing away everything that cleansing leaves behind. usually, after cleansing and toning my skin feels tight and like i can’t soak it in moisturizer fast enough, but after these two steps, my face was feeling soft and smooth to the touch, not at all tight or angry. i was slowly becoming hooked!

Photo Dec 09, 12 03 02 PM

for daytime, kristen introduced me to mega-bright spf 30 skin tone correcting oil-free moisturizer. it’s aimed to help reduce spots and irritations (hello, acne scarring) while restoring clarity to uneven skin. this stuff could not be more specifically made for me and i would have never found it without my little visit to kristen. a pea-sized amount covers my entire face and doesn’t feel at all like a treatment moisturizer. i love knowing that it’s working its magic while i move throughout my day and i’m obsessed with the way that it feels on my skin. i have also been instructed to use the partner eye cream for instantly visible brightening. my eye issues are thankfully limited to bluish tones underneath and some emerging crow’s feet. kristen promised that this stuff will help to keep all of that happily under control.

Photo Dec 09, 12 02 10 PM

for evening, the name of the game is plantscription created especially to target, ahem, anti aging. kristen chose anti-aging power serum and anti-aging power eye cream as my evening regimen. both of these feel highly hydrating, but they absorb instantly. i’m looking forward to seeing all of the assured lifting and firming with continued use, but i can tell you that they feel so-o good and my skin looks insanely bright and clear in the mornings. i predict that they will be a part of my routine for a long, long time.

Photo Dec 09, 12 03 30 PM

as a bonus, kristen introduced me to the concept of cocktailing my masks. i’m not currently using masks so this was all new to me. she chose to mix out of trouble (for problem skin) with calm to your senses (for sensitive and reactive skin) and apply them with a foundation brush. the experience was heavenly and i would have never thought to counteract one mask’s aggressive treatment with another’s calming effects. genius!

my origins experience was so wonderfully positive. as i was sitting in the chair, i told kristen and her team that i hoped lots of people took advantage of the mini facials. not only do i feel like i walked away with a “home base” routine that i can stick to, but i feel like i finally have a targeted skincare consultant on speed dial.

i can promise you that i will be back to shop in this gorgeous store again very soon. if you’re in the area and you pop in, please tell them that i sent you – and send my hellos to the fabulous kristen!

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pretty gifty: best of benefit0


if you’re trying to win at the game of beauty gifting, benefit is your new best friend. they do more unique and fun combinations than anyone else – and if you ask me, they provide the best value, too. each season, their limited edition sets and palettes are bigger, better and more adorably packaged than ever. i had no trouble honing in on the three best options, but i highly recommend perusing their gifting assortment – because you’re bound to find something for a very lucky friend, or better yet, yourself.

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pretty gifty: my mark. favorites0

mark. sparkle bar soap

last month i joined the amazing women of avon, some of the best beauty editors in the business, mark. brand ambassador lucy hale and celebrity makeup artist kelsey deenihan for breakfast in nyc. they debuted all of the gorgeous new holiday products from mark. each one sparklier and more exciting than the last! this is the best work that the brand has ever done. i know that i say it a lot, but i am blown away every single season with how mark. steps it up creating prettier products with better performing formulas. it has been so fun to watch.

this year i am particularly taken with the clutch situation 5-piece pro brush set. these brushes are ultra soft and the exact combination needed to craft a going-out look, plus they tuck so perfectly inside a sequin clutch. two gifts in one? yes, please.

if there’s a palette-loving lady on your list (or you need something to dip those brushes into) look no further than this stunning dream sequins eyeshadow palette. i am obsessed with the sequin detailing on every shadow. each jewel tone is vivid and rich, blending beautifully and inspiring her inner artist. love!

for stocking stuffers and hostess gifts, you must see sparkle bar soap. i’ve already got one sitting pretty in my powder room and i’m keeping a stash to bring along to holiday get-togethers alongside of my favorite prosecco. as we are accustomed to from mark, the sparkle scent is super unique – fresh and festive without overpowering, featuring strawberry and chocolate layered in with jasmine. yum!

to top things off, (or if you are shopping for me) pick up this statement-maker baroque the mold ring or ultra pampering crazy for cranberry body scrub.

really, i could go on and on! think you’ll go for the sparkle and shop at mark. this year?


this is my third incredible year working with mark. as a blogger ambassador. i couldn’t be more grateful for their ongoing support – and yours!

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current favorites1


recently, my skin is loving this foundation. the coverage is beautiful and it doesn’t streak, cause my skin to dry out or break out (both of which have been struggles with other formulas). i use this $7 brush to apply and i rarely need to go back in and spot conceal.

i’m still growing out my brows (the agony!) and as they get a bit unrulier, i’m finding that a brush-through mousse or gel really is the key to keeping them in check. glossier’s option outranks other similar products for color match, natural finish and just the right amount of boldness. it thickens, fills in and tames in one quick-as-a-flash step.

on my lashes, i have discovered colored mascara. this deep, purple brown adds a richness that traditional black cannot compete with. the shade isn’t scary at all – in fact it brightens up my eyes and the color is practically undetectable on lashes. the formula? amazing, super fat and lush volume that wears all day without flaking or smudging.

finally, if beautycounter hasn’t popped up on your radar yet, i highly recommend giving them a look. their products are beautiful, effective, and setting new health and safety standards to boot. i reviewed their lip sheers awhile back and i just picked up a new one in a shade called twig. it would look gorgeous on just about anyone, but i’m reveling in the fact that i have finally found a nude that works for me.

now please, pretty please share any favorite new beauty obsessions with me!

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pretty gifty: bareminerals holiday 20150

bareminerals the regal wardrobe set

bareminerals has delivered some of my very favorite products this year (see here and here) and the way they have continually put such winners onto the market while still maintaining their position as a classic brand that everyone can relate to really solidifies their position as beauty force to be reckoned with.

not at all surprisingly, for holiday 2015, the brand is offering all kinds of awesomeness. they make giving makeup a total breeze – from a sweet set of lip glosses (which you can give to one person on your list, or split up) to a gorgeous wardrobe of shadows and powder blushes, bareminerals is a perfect place to shop for the ladies on your list.

i’m personally hoping to find this versatile brush and special edition lip balm in my stocking. see below for a few more of my favorite options – and happy shopping!

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murad complete reform0

murad complete reform

miracle of all miracles, after months (and months) of trying to clear up my face, it is now blemish free.

on a  recent business trip, one of my coworkers tipped me off to this glycolic acid treatment from murad. desperate to try anything, i procured a bottle and slathered it on my face the very first night it arrived. not expecting big things the following morning (such is the way my acne battle has been faring), you can definitely say that i was shocked to find out how smooth my face was when i woke up. all of my red spots and underlying skin bumps were gone. my face wasn’t red or flaky, it was just beautifully calm and clear.

obtaining some major results on the first night is great (and rare!), but i find the proof to be in repeated use to see if a product really makes a long-lasting impact. in this case, i have been using complete reform on a nightly basis every evening since and my skin has been getting progressively better without a single new breakout cropping up.

i should warn that this is intense chemical exfoliation, but it is actually working for my sensitive skin. it turns out that my face can handle a bit more ammo than i thought it could and mural’s combination of powerful acids with some more calming ingredients are giving me fast and furious results without any irritation.

to say that this little gray bottle has quickly become my holy grail would be a bit of an understatement. i won’t be skipping a dose anytime soon and i have already pre-ordered my next batch so that i do not have to go a night without it.

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pretty gifty: stephanie johnson mini pouch in chelsea pink0


goodness, i am taken with this painterly/metallic floral from stephanie johnson. her mini pouch ($33) is one of my go-to presents for friends and darling, ultra-patient daycare teachers. it makes such a gorgeous presentation and since all of her prints are so unique, i know that it’s unlike anything else that will be under the tree. for a bit of added flair, i will include the removable wristlet and if you want to create a bigger gift, i love the flat pouch (hi, tassel!) and matching snap mirror.

much more #prettygift to come since (apparently) holiday gifting season is officially here! what’s on your beauty wish list? (see also: where did 2015 go!?)

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LOLA feminine care2


i don’t normally stray from beauty here in the glossarie, but last month i was introduced to a product that i’m so taken with, i have to share it with you.

simply put, the people at LOLA have decided to build a better tampon. they have created a new breed of feminine care products that are 100% hypoallergenic cotton, unlike what’s currently sitting underneath your bathroom sink. i won’t get into what those products are probably comprised of, but i will tell you that it’s not good for you – and i can’t believe that i never questioned it.

after reading about LOLA in some of my favorite internet places like here, here and here, i had to get in on the action. i switched last month and could not be happier knowing that not only does this product provide superior protection (just as good, if not better than my former favorite) while also giving me peace of mind about what i put inside of my body, but it shows up at my door every month. how about forever crossing tampons off of your shopping list? yes please.

i will avoid publicly broadcasting all of the reasons why these made / are currently making my period a more pleasant experience, but if you’re curious, please email me and i will share! i will just say that i can feel a major difference and i am obsessed with the subscription feature – this is coming from someone who subscribes to nothing.

if you’re interested in trying LOLA, they are currently offering your first two boxes for $9 (usually $10 each) and each box is fully customizable in terms of size to fit your needs. i hope this is helpful to some of you – and that you are compelled to share it with your moms, daughters, sisters, friends. i feel strongly that the beauties behind this business are really onto something – and it’s something that i can definitely get behind.

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smashbox brow tech gloss stick0


let’s talk brows, shall we?

beauty trends have been giving this facial feature a whole lot of attention in recent seasons, increasing the pressure to maintain the perfect set. over the years we have been encouraged to wax, tweeze and beat them back into submission only to find now that big and bold is the way to be. (see also: beauty trends are exhausting.)

at my most recent threading appointment, my brows were abused. they were left in an odd un-natural shape and i was actually bleeding after the session. super frustrated (and in pain), i decided to take matters into my own hands and avoid the waxing table / threading chair in the future. so, recently i have been tweezing strays as they crop up and trying to encourage my brows to come back to life without growing out of control.

since my hair is dark but my skin is fair, my eyebrows can look like they are kind of sparse. they require lots of filling in on the inner corners and some shaping in the middles thanks to aforementioned threading hack job. i’ve tried very hard to find the perfect tool, in the perfect shade to fill them in without looking harsh, but the brow pencil struggle is real.

the innovators at smashbox have created a fab little option with brow tech gloss stick. it’s different from others in that it has a shiny finish that is more natural and it fills in the spaces between my brow hairs without looking garish or obvious. the pencil itself is super slim so i can easily execute short little strokes and it lasts all day without smudging or fading. the difference is in the “gloss” factor that mimics the sheen of brow hairs – but it’s not greasy or glittery, so don’t be thrown by the name.

in a world of flat and matte brow pencils, this one stands out for all of the right reasons –  a definite must for anyone experiencing some growing pains their your brows au natural.

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hair cuttery share-a-haircut veterans day 20150

william j. callahan

you might recall that around this time last year, i surrendered my tragically overgrown new-mom hair to the experts at hair cuttery and the results were fabulous! to say that the stylist brought me back to life (and back to being myself) is an understatement. i will never forget how kind he was at a time when i was feeling pretty fragile – after bouncing back from giving birth and adjusting to life with a demanding newborn.

so when hair cuttery reached out to me with details on their share-a-haircut campaign for veterans day, i jumped at the chance to share it with you. this time of year is precious to me because it marks our wedding anniversary (thanksgiving weekend) and it’s also the month during which i completed the fertility treatments that ultimately brought louisa into our lives. needless to say, i feel super thankful in november – especially for simple things like my family’s safety and my freedom.

in short, here’s the deal: for every adult haircut purchased at hair cuttery on wednesday, november 11th a free haircut certificate will be donated back to a veteran in need. to find deserving vets, hair cuttery is partnering with organizations local to the communities around hair cuttery’s almost 900 locations in hopes of reaching 25,000 veterans this year alone. so, so amazing!

my husband is a loyal hair cuttery customer (i actually won’t let him go anywhere else because too many stylists have botched his cuts!) so he has been preserving his hair for a veterans day chop in order to participate. i hope that you will consider taking part in this awesome campaign wherever you are, or share it with your social media following to help spread the word. our veterans deserve to feel like the superheroes that they are – and coming from someone who knows the confidence boost that accompanies a good haircut at the right time, i am a big fan of hair cuttery’s efforts.

happy veterans day!

my grandfather, dr. william joseph callahan, is in the photo above. he was a world war ii army veteran and he sure did he have one great head of hair.

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