bareminerals ‘the modern icon’ eyeshadow palette0

bareminerals 'the modern icon'

my eyeshadow routine is admittedly pretty lame. i have a handful of individual shadow pots rolling around, each one of them basically the same shade as the next. they’re a pain to travel with and i don’t feel like any of them really brings out the best in my eyes. it’s all very blah.

so, when bareminerals ‘the modern icon’ limited edition shadow palette arrived, i was instantly intrigued. the shades are vivid but not so much of a detraction from my traditional neutrals that i felt i could play with them. swiping them on my hand, the texture felt smooth and soft, so easily blendable – this is my kind of palette.

the pretty and pigmented shadows are each surprisingly wearable. i love that there are four shades, not fourteen, that take the guesswork out of crafting simple yet unexpected combinations. my favorite pairing is to dust chic (top left, a pink cashmere) on as a base using this brush and then sweep sophisticate (bottom left, a natural amethyst) into my crease for some subtle definition with this brush from modern minerals. (the white brush arrived in this month’s boxycharm, and i love it.)

it’s amazing how a few shades just a sidestep from my traditional choices can make me feel like i have totally upped my game. this palette is a steal at $30 and the formula is shockingly long-wearing aside from being a cinch to apply. if you’re in the market for something new, don’t overlook this sweet option – it won’t be around for long.

bareminerals modern pop ready eyeshadow 4.0 the modern icon, $30 >

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queen bee lip treatment by lipstick queen2

lipstick queen queen bee lip balm

obvious fact of the day: it’s freezing.

i don’t think i have ever been so consistently exposed to dry air in my life and my whole body is feeling the effects. my lips are craving comfort and at a time when i would normally reach for a business balm like aquaphor or my recent favorite, something super pretty steps onto the scene.

if you’re into designer balms, you’re about to start licking your lips because poppy king has created one that’s truly unique. at first glance, you’re probably thinking that there’s no way this luxe tube houses anything able to tackle this kind of dryness, but you’d be wrong. beyond the beautiful package lies a stick treatment with a sweet honey fragrance and an unexpected bronze gold finish. slick it on your lips and you’ll discover a formula that soothes chapped lips while softening and plumping as you wear it. it feels ah-mazing and the subtle shimmering finish gives a little life to your otherwise natural beauty look.

lipstick queen has delivered the antidote to suffering winter lips. with ingredients like royal jelly, chamomile and sunflower extract to nourish, repair and hydrate, this glamorous new balm is a beautiful way to combat the way harsh weather.

lipstick queen queen bee, $22 >

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bumble and bumble repair blow dry2


i wouldn’t have ever considered my hair damaged until i started using a product designed for damaged hair and noticed a tremendous difference. i guess that my regular cycle of blowdrying and straightening inflicts more pain and suffering on my hair than i realized because bumble and bumble has made a major impact on its strength and appearance, almost overnight.

their new repair blowdry is a serum in cream formula that is virtually weightless. it seals split ends and protects against heat damage while leaving my hair noticeably softer, with more volume. a small dose of this beautiful stuff gives me a better blow-dry than anything else i have used. it’s blowing my hair back to life! (miracle number one.)

perhaps best of all, the elixir can be left on my hair to air dry because there is a deep hydration blend inside of this tube that tames frizz and flyways without feeling heavy or sticky. i have never been able to air dry my hair without curl products until now. (miracle number two.) i can also rough-dry style my hair without using my flat iron in a pinch and it actually looks good – kind of tousled and shaped in a haphazard way that does not appear sloppy. (in case you are keeping track, that’s miracle number three.)

i got the tiniest dose of this product as a sephora beauty insider perk. it has already lasted me for weeks and there’s no fear of it running out anytime soon. a little (i mean a very, very little – we are talking a pea sized amount or less) goes a long way, bringing our total miracle count to four and sending me officially on my way to sephora to pick up a full-sized tube.

bumble and bumble repair blow dry, $30 >

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sachajuan scalp shampoo + conditioner2

sachajuan scalp shampoo conditioner

it has taken me most of my adult life to learn that good hair begins with a healthy scalp. just like your face, there’s a moisture balance there that must be maintained in order to enjoy the hair of your dreams.

my hair is not so dreamy. it tends to get greasy by the middle of day two after washing which leaves me looking a bit unkempt and has me hanging somewhere between needing to wash my hair daily and being able to get away with an every-other-day dousing. the struggle is real.

in recent years, i have had the best luck with shampoos designed to cleanse my scalp and sachajuan scalp shampoo is the latest and greatest thing to hit my shower shelf. first of all, the stuff is beautiful and unfussy at the same time. it has a gel-like consistency that i rub between my two hands and then scrub into my scalp. the lather factor is very low, but the cleansing results are super good. sachajuan has included ingredients to eliminate flakes and itching while also boosting its formula with lovely things like rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid and ginger extracts. in the briefest of terms, this is a treatment shampoo that leaves your hair looking really pretty.

on the conditioner front, sachajuan counteracts scalp shampoo’s treatment abilities with more shine and volume than i have ever received from a conventional conditioner. after my scalp is clean, i remove as much water as i can from my hair and apply the tiniest bit of their normal hair conditioner on the bottom half, keeping it clear of my scalp. it smooths and detangles, and when all is said and done, the hair at my roots is left with lift and body. the shafts and ends are clean, but not dried out. everything feels soft, but doesn’t look flat or greasy.

sachajuan is making my hair oh-so happy and i’m only wondering why it took me so long to discover this absolute gem of a hair product line.

sachajuan scalp shampoo, $25 >

sachajuan conditioner, $13.50 >

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jouer anti aging moisture primer0

jouer anti aging moisture primer

in the last six months it has become abundantly clear that a lack of sleep truly does read all over your face. for me, sleep deprivation is coming across loud and clear, in the form of tired, lackluster skin. there’s puff, there’s sag, and there really is a begging for some tender loving care.

these days, my favorite go-to makeup just isn’t cutting it. kind of like an ill-fitting dress, the stuff i once clung to in order to bring an even brightness to my face seems to be highlighting all of the wrong areas. it’s clear that i need a little something extra in order to put my best face forward. i need a primer.

i don’t know about you, but i have historically had a love-hate relationship with primers. while they make my skin look flawless, they tend to create new problems and blemishes by way of clogged pores, perpetuating a vicious cycle of creating and covering flaws. i’m yet to find one that i can use daily as opposed to just when the occasional dire need arises to look flawless.

jouer has changed the game up a bit with their anti aging moisture primer. the difference is noticeable at first touch. it feels heavenly on skin and adds the exact right amount of hydration and complexion perfection. there’s just the slightest touch of pearly shimmer in the formula – only barely visible on the skin, but apparent if you peek at your fingers after smoothing it on. once in place, my makeup goes on seamlessly and has an elevated look. there’s a glow and an evenness to my skin tone that wasn’t there before, plus a liveliness that i’ve been lacking.

this stuff is very good and it has not broken me out in the least. it’s the helping hand that my graceful aging process has been calling for and the perfect boost to my daily routine so long as this lack of sleep thing keeps going. (and unfortunately, i hear that it’s going to keep going.)

jouer anti aging moisture primer, $38 >

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mario badescu alpha-grapefruit cleansing lotion0

mario badescu alpha-grapefruit cleansing lotion

i’ve been suffering from a ferocious case of the tiny forehead bumps – for weeks. i cannot for the life of me figure out what is causing them and i have completely overhauled my hair routine (twice) to uncover the culprit. since they’re not terribly visible, i can just feel them when washing my face and applying moisturizer, i chocked it up to hormones and carried on.

then, a week or two ago, a gorgeous box of mario badescu replenishments arrived and in it was a new-to-me toner. i’ve been using these pads religiously with no complaints, but i’m always up for finding something better, so i gave it a whirl and went to bed. unbeknownst to me, this new toner worked all manner of miracles while i slept and – i kid you not – the next morning, all tiny forehead bumps had vanished. my smooth bump-free forehead was BACK!

i thought it might be a fluke, but i had to travel recently and pads are much easier to tote on a flight than a bottle of toner. after a few days away, surprise! the nasty forehead bumps had returned with a vengeance. i didn’t think too much of it, but now that i’m home and have worked the mario toner back into my routine for one night only, i am cured again! (i know – this is a roller coaster.)

the exfoliation powers in this gentle toner know no bounds and there is no itchy or harsh feeling like i have previously experienced with chemical exfoliants. the citrus ingredients rapidly decongest pores and break down dead skin cells (the two likely culprits of my atrocious forehead bumps) for clear, healthy skin. the addition of aloe means that it doesn’t tear up your face while it works and skin is left refreshed and glowing.

yet another win for mario the magician! please tell me you have tried these products – if not, your skin is seriously missing out.

mario badescu alpha-grapefruit cleansing lotion, $15 >


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avon big & daring volume mascara4

avon volume mascara

it would seem that my baby daughter already has me beat in the eyelash department. she was blessed with her father’s insanely full fan of fringe, the lucky little duck, and i’m sitting over here sparsely lashed and pouting about it.

awhile back i had teased a big mascara round up because i had so many mascaras sitting on the glossarie vanity and i just knew that there were winners among them. i had plans to share the best everyday mascara, the best one for volume, the best one for sensitive eyes, the best one for length, and so on. however, as i tested them one by one, one by one they disappointed me. the clear winner from the massive mountain of mascara’s was avon big & daring. it blew all of the others away. 

the sizable tube holds a behemoth brush that delivers lush, plush lashes. the brush itself takes on a lot of product and may take some getting used to, but i can get the look and separation that i like without bringing a lash brush into the equation. you get buildable volume and length that is insane and the staying power is other worldly. no flaking and no smudging, although i will warn that it borders on waterproof. i have found that you can still get it off with your regular cleanser and some gentle determination. this one seems to have no trouble breaking it down. (i’ll do anything to avoid eye makeup remover.)

if you’re in the market for lashes that are nice and plump for less than $10, call your local avon lady (or scoop it up online). i mean, i don’t know about you, i’m just trying to keep up with my five month old…

avon big & daring mascara, $6.99 >

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l’oreal paris lift blur concealer4

l'oreal paris visible lift blur concealer

as much as i love makeup, it’s always nice to simplify. if i can eliminate a tube or bottle from my drawer in favor of a multitasker, well then i’m all for it. historically, for whatever reason, it has always been difficult to find a concealer that works for both blemishes and under eye circles. i’m not sure why since the science behind what you would want in each concealer is mostly similar: something that diminishes dark pigment, adds brightness, and masks the imperfection. under eye concealers, however, are typically too heavy for blemish coverage, drawing more attention to the spot that i’m trying to hide and blemish concealers never quite cut it when it comes to brightening up my under eyes.


in a recent journey across the blogs, someone recommended l’oreal visible lift blur – from the drugstore. i had to try it, so i scooped it up on a target run in the fair shade. i instantly appreciated what it did for my dark circles – lightness! brightness! flawless application! it goes on featherlight yet completely hides the blue-ish tones and takes the edge off of any puffiness. lift and blur are the perfect descriptors here – this concealer is giving me back the firm and bright-eyed look of my youth. you need it.

then, on a whim, after developing a monster chin zit (ugh, need i remind the universe that i am nearing 33 years of age?), i dotted my concealer brush into my new friend from l’oreal and patted it onto the offending blemish. holy crap! it vanished and some sort of light-deflecting magic was left in its place. it didn’t irritate or dry out my skin and it lasted throughout the entire day.

i’m just going to say it: that this concealer officially solves all of your problems and for less than $12 there’s no reason for it not to live in your beauty drawer.

l’oreal paris visible lift blur concealer, $11.99 >

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love your curls2

oh, dove. you’re really tugging at my heartstrings with this one.

the love your curls campaign was designed to encourage women and girls to celebrate and take pride in their curly hair – something that i fail to do, always. with baby lou in the picture (curls pending – baldish at the moment), it breaks my heart to think about her feeling frustration, anxiety or dislike towards any single part of her. admittedly, this video was a bit of a wake up call and a reminder that the littles in our life look up to us. it’s important for us to set the stage and instill confidence in them. dove has nailed this message and done it in such a sweet way that it has me thinking hard about (sigh) giving the flat iron a rest…

do you have curly hair? does your daughter? i’d love to hear how you #loveyourcurls!

ps – curly hair favorites here, here, and here

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bareminerals complexion rescue tinted hydrating gel cream0

bare minerals complexion rescue tinted hydrating gel cream

i do love it when a brand knocks itself off of the beauty pedestal!

until very recently, i didn’t think buxom (technically under the bare escentuals umbrella) show some skin foundation could be topped. as i have inched closer and closer to the end of my tube, panic started to set in. would i repurchase the same foundation? has something better come onto the scene since march of last year? (i would surely hope so, but fruitless product tests and endless sephora sampling have proved otherwise.)

as fate would have it, i repurchased my beloved show some skin the very week that my friends at bareminerals released complexion rescue tinted hydrating gel cream. when my sample of complexion rescue (in shade opal) arrived, i tore into it and rubbed a little on the back of my hand to see what the fuss was all about. standing at my kitchen island, i actually uttered “wow.”

from the hand test i could tell that this was going to be a game changer and now that i’ve been applying it daily, i can tell you that this is more than just a crush – it’s a full-on love affair of the long term variety, and here’s why:

bareminerals has create a gel formula that makes this more-than-a-tinted-moisturizer blend invisibly into my skin and feel like the most heavenly moisturizer. coverage is buildable, light to medium, so you get the natural, dewy look of a top-notch foundation with a lightweight and super hydrating feel. i have applied complexion rescue with my fingers (not my favorite), with this brush (even less my favorite) and settled on my #1 foundation brush to be the best vehicle. using something with dense bristles will give coverage that’s more even and you’ll be shocked by how very little of this stuff you need to cover your entire face.

as with any foundation, hop along to sephora to grab a sample to make sure that a dewy and moisturizing formula is going to work with your skin type. i’m predicting that this winter launch is going to make a lot of ladies (and their skin!) very pleased.

bareminerals complexion rescue tinted hydrating gel cream, $29 >


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