nate berkus mirror

i’ve had my eye on this nate berkus mirror ever since it popped up on rue magazine. it just seemed like something i needed for my desk – because swatching is serious business, and i’m a bit tired of popping into my powder room every time i test something new. i actually saved the date for when it would be available (today) and was delighted to find that not only is it very well-priced, but it’s also 10% off with code april10. win!

to catch all of my favorite products-to-be-posted i am fully lusting this super sweet dish, made by hand in brooklyn. i’m undecided on which glaze to go for – lashes or little lashes – or, let’s be honest, probably just both.

for added inspiration, i’m all over this “make it happen” mug from anthro. i love the aesthetic and i think it will be the perfect motivational boost throughout the day. that, and a little bit of this essential oil formulated to help with concentration.

what do you like to keep at your desk?

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packing a daily makeup bag1

sephora daydream voyager bag

i’m starting a new job on monday – and it’s been a good long while (five years to be exact) since i have commuted into an office daily. when considering this change of pace, obviously the very first place that my mind went was to my makeup bag. what do i need to have on hand? what will keep my face looking fab from 9 to 5?

for starters, a good hand cream is a must, followed by the best nail file, floss picks (trust me) and a crowd-pleasing, office-appropriate mini perfume. the kai oil is my current favorite, but it shares a place in my heart with this one and this one.

i tend to get shiny (read: i can barely make it to lunch without some kind of oil absorber) and i’m really taken with this solution from clinique. i’ll be stashing a retractable kabuki in alongside it, because dirty brushes tend to cause breakouts and well, that’s just not professional.

to take care of any touchups throughout the day, i find that i get the most miles out of a concealer that works for both my under eyes and my spots. i like a super creamy formula – this one is popular, but i’ve chosen this guy to take up permanent residence. love that it’s oil free and love, love the price point!

finally, i’ll pack a killer coral lip, one that’s moisturizing and easy to swipe on before a meeting.

tuck them all into one great-looking bag (with pineapple lining) and the sky’s the limit.

(at least, that’s what i’m telling myself.)

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my hair cuttery spring look1

hair cuttery

the warm weather has me wanting to lighten up my dark brunette hair. i knew that lara had a great experience partnering with hair cuttery after her daughter was born, so when the team there invited me in to get a new spring look, i leapt at the chance.

stefanie ramos hair cuttery before

i chose to go to a hair cuttery in richmond, virginia and visit an old friend from cosmetology school. as soon as i walked in, i knew that i was in good hands. the employees were so sweet and made sure that i was comfortable. my stylist piper spoke my language – she knew exactly what i wanted to do with my hair. i had been craving bayalage, but because my natural hair is so dark, i am very picky about my highlights becoming too bright and brassy.

stefanie ramos hair cuttery during

while she worked, piper talked me through the whole process of doing my hair. she used a new lightener from redken called free hand, made specifically for doing baby lights and bayalage. there are no foils used which give the stylist the ability to basically hand paint the color wherever she wants. the product and the technique lighten the hair gradually making the bayalage look incredibly natural.

stefanie ramos hair cuttery after

the end result was remarkable. my hair looked perfectly sun-kissed, making me officially ready for spring and (eek!) my upcoming college graduation. i had an awesome experience at hair cuttery and i will most deffintley be back.

stefanie ramos hair cuttery spring look

about hair cuttery: hair cuttery is the largest family owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, with nearly 900 company-owned locations on the east coast, and in new england and the midwest. a full-service, value-priced salon, hair cuttery offers a full complement of cuts and styling, coloring, waxing and texturizing services with no appointment necessary, as well as a full line of professional hair care products. hair cuttery is a division of ratner companies, based in vienna, va.

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clinique dramatically different0

clinique dramatically different moisturizing cream

if you ask any makeup guru they will tell you that the most important step is prep. how you care for your own skin before laying down foundation or bronzer is key – and since this is the only face you will get, you might as well take excellent care of it.

i  have recently become more serious about my skin, mainly because as i have gotten older, my skin is more and more dehydrated. i get dry patches around my eyes and muzzle area very easily and i also have really sensitive skin, so i have to be careful with what products i use.

having troublesome skin can make it tricky to find those magical moisturizer formulas, but clinique dramatically different moisturizer has changed my skin. this moisturizer is so rich and leaves my skin hydrated all day long, but not greasy (which is very important). i have been using the dramatically different lotion in the morning and the dramatically different cream at night. the only difference between the two is that the cream is a thicker formula, so it works better for me throughout the night (more like a mask) and the lotion is lightweight, perfect for day-to-day wear.

to help with my under-eye dry patches i use the all about eyes eye cream. this is my first eye cream (fun fact – it was lara’s first, too!) and while i know i should have been using it regularly, i just always told myself that i was young and didn’t need it. since working this into my routine, i now know that eye cream doesn’t just help to prevent and combat existing wrinkles. my eyes are far less puffy, more hydrated and my concealer goes on like a dream!

you might be wondering how i truly know these products are working. as a college student, i came home for spring break a few weeks ago and forgot my new products at school. while i was home, i used any old moisturizer i could find and boy, did things go badly. my skin was so dehydrated, with so many dry patches, and foundation was breaking up on my skin. not a pretty sight. i found myself ticking down the days until i could return to school (ha!) and get back to my tried and true clinique line.

not surprisingly, this skin care routine has dramatically (see what i did there?) improved the way my face feels and (even better) the way makeup wears on my skin. i have ditched the dry patches and instead, i’m enjoying a natural glow.

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gel moisturizers0

gel moisturizer

all of a sudden, the moisturizer that i have been loving all winter long, is no longer soaking into my skin. it’s just kind of…sitting there. and it is not playing nicely with my foundation causing things to kind of ball up and flake off. so gross.

in doing a little research, it seems that this is a common complaint of said moisturizer, but it could also be that the one i’m using is suddenly a bit more than my skin needs. my face is indeed soaking up what it wants, but the excess moisture is left on the surface to “fight” with my makeup.

so, i’m officially on the hunt for a spring-ready gel moisturizer. i was already on the prowl, but after devouring this byrdie article which noted all of the options on my shopping list as contenders, this seasonal must-have has shot to the very top of my pretty priorities.

do you use a gel moisturizer? have you tested or made friends with any of the options below? i’m curious to know if this is a spend or splurge moment (clearly i’m leaning a bit more towards splurge…) and if the ones that i’m considering are holy grail formulas or to be avoided altogether.

can’t wait to hear your thoughts – please spill and share in the comments!

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march favorites0


sometimes the beauty goodness comes across my vanity so quickly that i don’t have time to share it with you in individualized posts. there are currently a handful of products rocking my world – and i just have to give each of them a little love.

for a go-to base, i’m fully smitten with becca aqua luminous perfecting foundation. the dispenser is genius with a unique pop up / dropper situation that automatically refills itself every time you screw the bottle shut. the foundation goes on smooth and glowy, disappearing into my skin and hiding all of my imperfections.

on my cheeks, i’ve been swirling a stippling brush through this blush and then swiping on multiple coats of this mascara for lash volume.

in the shower, i’m using these gloves (so genius!) to exfoliate from head to toe, including my face. where have they been all of my life?

at night, this lip mask is my everything. it plumps and smooths and i swear it’s reversing some very problematic lip lines.

in fashion-land, i’ve been super inspired by this instagram feed. it’s the ultimate combination of wearable, yet perfectly polished and put-together pretty.

also, for what it’s worth, i am living for this dress in hunter green. it has these unexpected slits in the skirt for ultra-pretty movement – and if you tend to see me in person, you will be seeing me wear it a lot.

happy weekend to you!

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drybar tysons corner1

stefanie ramos drybar

a couple of weekends ago, i had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the drybar in tysons corner. it was my first visit to the famed blowout salon – and i was psyched from hearing such amazing things about services and products.

you’re probably aware that the drybar performs blowouts only – no color, or cuts. the salon has a suggested menu with a ton of options, accompanied by a look book, or customers can bring in pictures for stylists to replicate.

upon walking in, the atmosphere of the salon is like no other. it will probably remind you of your favorite watering hole, with the addition of peppy music, an indulgent rom com playing (for ultimate relaxation) and a smiling face behind the bar offering you water, tea, and even mimosas!

for my chosen style, i opted for a blowout with a little curl and some volume – and holy wow, was i impressed. the stylist didn’t use any hot tools to achieve major shape. thanks to my natural frizz, i am practically besties with my flat iron, so i was pretty shocked to find that she could completely smooth things out using only a blow dryer. the results were ultra soft and bouncy.

while she worked, my stylist used a number of drybar products on my hair that i automatically fell in love with: the mr. incredible (leave in conditioner), hot toddy (heat protectant) and 100 proof (treatment oil). each of them has already been added to my sephora cart, because they work and they smell AMAZING.

since the drybar prides itself on blowouts that will last, you might be curious to hear how many days i was able to enjoy my stunning hair. the answer? 5 full days. i didn’t even use dry shampoo until the 4th day and it gave my hair that extra oomph to power through. much to my surprise, the body, movement and curls didn’t fall at all. if it’s even possible i feel like my blow dry got better as the days went on.

thanks to thick waves and curls, i almost never blow my hair out on my own. (i just don’t have the patience.) this was truly a treat for me and to say that i’m obsessed with this experience is an understatement.

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dove dry spray antiperspirant0

dove dry spray antiperspirant

there are few brands that have been in my life as long as dove. in fact, probably one of my youngest beauty memories is opening a new bar of dove soap as a little girl – and that scent, yum!

these days, dove is still a constant in my life. as someone with sensitive skin, their deodorant has been a lifesaver for me and i have used it faithfully through every generation that the brand has released. (you might remember this post.) several months ago, i switched over from dove advanced care to dove dry spray antiperspirant – and i haven’t looked back since. so, when the brand asked to partner with me to spread the word about this groundbreaking product and major glossarie-approved beauty essential, i was more than happy to share my very positive experience.

to be honest, i was originally swayed by the commercial promising me that visible residue on my mostly black wardrobe was a thing of the past. while that is definitely true, i’ve been more excited to find that the spray goes on instantly dry (seriously, no waiting – it’s a big time saver), is invisible on skin (hello, tanks and sleeveless dresses!) and lasts for 48 hours. there’s no denying that this product is a total workhorse, but my favorite scent, the soothing chamomile, makes it seem more like a luxe beauty item. it’s soft and understated, yet so much more sophisticated than your traditional antiperspirant.

the true test for me was to see if it performed at the same level as my beloved solid in taking care of my sensitive underarms – and it does. dove somehow magically balances meeting my needs for protection from sweat with my needs for moisturizing skincare, resulting in softer and smoother skin under my arms.

i could not be a bigger fan of this little discovery and i’ve already been telling everyone that i know. if you’re curious about (or already craving the convenience of) spray antiperspirant, but your skin also requires a touch of TLC, you’re going to want to get on board with this one. there’s a reason why women everywhere are obsessing!

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embracing my hair’s natural texture1

naturally wavy bob

for years i have been saying that i’m going to do it. i’m going to part ways with my sleek bob and make way for the wayward curls and bends that are a part of my hair’s true dna. i don’t know if it has been a journey of finding the right products, finding the right motivation (hello, motherhood! goodbye, spare time!) or even if it’s some underlying desire to instill confidence in lou, who has her own head of curly hair (that i’m fairly obsessed with).

either way, it has been a good long while since my hair has seen the likes of a flat iron and i kind of feel like celebrating. here’s what’s been working for me:

i stopped using shampoo and conditioner dedicated to curly hair and started using products geared towards reversing damage. i like to keep things interesting, so i’m rotating this set from l’oreal, this one from pacifica and this one from bed head. all of them are great and i love how my hair performs on all three. (side note, i have also been playing around with conditioning my hair first and then shampooing second, but i don’t really know if it’s making a difference…)

out of the shower, i’m using this comb from phuse (the wide teeth don’t interrupt my curl pattern) and my favorite hair turban. i probably wear my hair all wrapped up for too long while i get work done, etc. but i like it to be about halfway dry before i add in product. i love this cream from briogeo and this new release from r+co. they add in the right mix of softness and support for my medium-fine waves.

i can get one washing to last a full three days without getting greasy (although this stuff does help me out on day 3 – as does a top knot when necessary) and i like to finger comb and shake out the twists on day two so that they don’t look too “perfect.” there’s also something about showering before bed, doing this whole routine, then sleeping on it that gives me the lived-in look i prefer.

as an added mini bonus, i have finally found the holy grail of products for baby curls and it’s no surprise that they come from ouidad. this shampoo and this conditioner are incredibly gentle and they smell delicious, making one curly mopped little tot and her momma both very happy.

do you have curls? what works for you?

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zoya nail polish in haley0

zoya haley

it’s been awhile since i’ve fallen hard for a polish shade. my nails are normally an of-the-moment color or completely naked and rarely do i find a polish worth going back to again and again.

while in nyc a couple of weeks ago, i sat down for one of the city’s famed express manicures and was instantly captivated by a flashy, shiny red-orange by zoya. it’s brand new for spring and brighter than i normally go for, but the compliments have been pouring in, so i know that i’m on to something good.

if you’re not familiar with zoya, the brand is big 5-free. i have found them to be the most long-wearing, toxin-free formula and there’s no doubt that they do fashion color better than anyone. the shade haley looks extra gorge on fair skin tones (ahem, like me), but i know that it will flatter everyone – in fact, i can’t wait to get a tiny bit of a tan and try this color on my toes.

something about looking down to see red nails makes me feel extra confident and pulled together – plus, the pop of orange in this particular polish means that it’s not just your average nail color. it’s a step above the rest and sure to draw attention to your individual sense of style. haley by zoya is my pick for the ultimate spring shade and, if you grab a bottle, it will definitely become your go-to!

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