keep it pretty: tower stacking boxes0


on my standard friday evening catalog browse, i stumbled upon this set of 4 stacking boxes from cb2. designed to organize your desk drawers, i instantly imagined the modular trays filled to the brims with eyeshadows, blushes, bobby pins, you name it.

the long navy base box is perfect for skinny things like eyeliners, lip pencils and my ever-growing brush collection. on top, i can stack foundation bottles, my daytime moisturizer, a current go-to scent and my lash curler to (start). i love the way that these set on top of each other and the easy way that you can change them around, or even spread them out across your vanity, bringing a pop of color and a touch of chic organization.

wouldn’t this be such a pretty way to display your dailies?

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avon beauty for a purpose kiss and tell0


over the years, the avon brand has become like family. they have been such fierce supporters of me and this blog – i would be nowhere without them. i get asked a lot what it is about avon and mark. that makes me so passionate and excited – and while yes the products are incredible, it’s the way that they have created an entrepreneurial opportunity (and thus financial independence) for women all over the globe and all of the amazing ways that they lift those women up everyday that really gets my heart pumping.

avon’s beauty for a purpose website launched in june and it stands exclusively for empowering women. it’s a hub of content centered around the company’s belief that empowered women will transform society and make the world a more beautiful place. i mean hello powerful messaging. as one of the largest networks of women on the planet, i am so proud to be associated with this phenomenal corporation as they make such a positive impact.

and if all of that feel-good energy isn’t enough to get you clicking over to beauty for a purpose straight away, today the site features me (!) in a little series called kiss and tell. pop on over there to read about my confidence-boosting lipstick moment – and get lost in all of the other awesome stories while you are there.

this year marks my third run as a blogger ambassador for mark. and avon!

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l’oreal revitalift #askskinexpert2

l'oreal revitalift triple power

i am constantly seeing changes in my skin – i can chalk it up to endless product testing, postpartum hormonal surges, diet choices, the weather, you name it. the problem is that i don’t want to go running to my dermatologist every time a new (non-serious) issue crops up. shopping for skincare is a mystery for many women, myself included, and if your skin is temperamental on top of feeling overwhelmed by choice, things can go horribly wrong.

l’oréal recently invited me to take their online skin consultation, test a range of products for four weeks, and share my results with you. we can probably all agree that l’oréal is a longstanding expert in the skincare department, so i was thrilled at the chance to conduct this little experiment.

after sharing my personal skin story with l’oréal, they sent three products from their revitalift™ triple power™ line my way. i found them to be excellent quality and really impressive in the way that they deliver quick results.

the revitalift™ triple power™ day lotion moisturizer SPF 20 folded right into my routine without causing any irritation or breakouts. i love the way that it primed my skin for makeup, gliding right over top. after repeated use, i definitely find that my mild sunspots are fading and i see an overall brighter look to my skin. i’m not suffering from any fine lines (yet) so i can’t speak to the smoothing properties, but this is a really nice everyday moisturizer with salicylic acid – great for the breakout prone!

at night, i substituted my current eye cream for revitalift™ triple power™ eye treatment. this stuff is so-o silky! it practically applies itself so there’s no added rough handling of the delicate eye area. i use my ring finger in lieu of the metal tip (just my cup of tea, i bet that thing feels amazing!) things felt more hydrated and definitely brighter right away. i don’t see much of an impact on my freshly developed fine lines, but the brightening factor is not to be underestimated.

the hero of the group for me is the revitalift™ triple power™ intensive overnight mask. it has kind of a unique texture (like melted marshmallow, maybe?) but it’s super lightweight and feels really good going on. it completely calmed my stressed out skin, erasing the dull texture and leaving me with what felt like someone else’s glowing and clear complexion. i kid you not, after the very first use, i felt like i had gotten a facial while i slept! since it arrived, i’ve been using it every other night and the results are incredibly good. (i especially love that it does not have to be rinsed off!)

i’m calling my l’oréal #askskinexpert experience a major win and would highly recommend giving the program and these products a test if you have mild skin concerns or want to be proactive in fighting the dreaded signs of aging.

endless thanks to l’oreal and conde nast for sponsoring this post!

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put some color back in those cheeks2


the mask of foundation that i have been wearing to give my skin the illusion of clarity these days also gives my skin the illusion of looking, well, very much dead. my skin has a natural flush and when my tone goes all neutral after applying my daily face, it becomes apparent that my cheeks desperately need a little color. for this reason and many others, i have always been in love with blush. i tend to think of blush (or more specifically “rouge”) as one of the founding products of makeup’s beginning – and if you want to get real technical, it’s been giving cheeks a youthful appearance all the way back to egyptian times.

but enough of the history lesson – let’s get down to favorites.

for a powder blush, urban decay is crushing all other competition. afterglow 8-hour powder blush is flawless and blendable, easy to build, and comes in some of the prettiest pigments around. my current go-to is called obsessed. it’s a light pink that looks scary in the pan but young and fun on the cheeks. i use this brush and could not be more in love with the radiant, easy, romantic finish.

if you’re into more of a dewy look, stila is leading the way. their new aqua glow watercolor blush debuted on the swim/resort runways a year or so ago and i’ve been a raving fan ever since. to use this very liquid blush, you shake up the jar and then i like to dip a stippling brush ever-so-lightly into the product that rests on the top of the lid. this blush is easy to overdo, so this technique helps to keep you from looking clownish. for shade, i opt for rosewater (a true tawny rose) and the finish is very similar to the photo above. it goes on smooth and slightly pearly. gorgeous!

are you a blush lover? please share your current faves!

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aol fall beauty awards0

aol fall beauty awards

a few weeks ago, the fine people at aol asked me to serve on their panel of  judges for the fall beauty awards in the skincare division. (for the record, when someone offers to ship you the lot of goodies show in the photo above, you don’t turn them down.) i will say that lending your face out to test this number of products is no laughing matter! it was a jam-packed couple of weeks, but it’s no surprise that i had a ball playing with the products looking to take the prize for best in lips, exfoliator, cleanser, night cream and moisturizer.

i loved all of aol’s selections for the nominees and landed on some early favorites. in lips, this new-to-me version of rose salve by c.o. bigelow was the clear winner. it’s moisturizing, long-lasting and makes a gorgeous addition to the nightstand. i am the biggest fan of the way that it smooths things out and leaves my lips feeling healthy and nourished in the mornings.

my favorites for cleanser and night treatment came from the same brand – gr8/skn – which i had never seen before. it’s a line made for teenagers, but when i tell you that these products waged an all out assault on my acne, i mean that the reduction in aggravated skin was impressive. the reset serum is my favorite product to come out of this little project. it’s a probiotic cream with the consistency similar to beaten eggs. slightly eww, but it does all kinds of heavenly things for my pre-pubescent skin (that’s actually 33).

my favorite exfoliator is still these pads from first aid beauty, so i was thrilled to see them in the mix. then for daytime moisturizer, i was most impressed with pca skin clearskin. it does what it says and while i needed to layer it underneath of my current favorite moisturizer, i do feel that it impacted my breakouts in a very positive way, protecting my sensitive skin and keeping my oil glands from going into overdrive.

participating in these awards was crazy fun and my skin thanks aol for all of the new products doing lovely things for my problematic face. you can view all of the winners in skin and other categories here!

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covergirl outlast lipcolor moisturizing topcoat0

birmingham bridesmaids

i had the distinct honor of serving bridesmaid duties for a dear friend in birmingham over the weekend. for me, the best very part of getting all dolled up for the occasion is sitting in the makeup artist’s chair and grilling her intensely about her favorite products. this time around, i had the best time chatting with kelsey at morgan ashley salon. (if you are in the birmingham area GO SEE THESE WOMEN NOW. you can see the absolute masterpiece of an updo that wendy crafted for me here.)

i was seriously impressed with all of the products kelsey used on me, but none of them was a more amazing performer than the moisturizing topcoat she slicked into my lips as the finishing step. first of all, it made the super sticky liquid lipstick that she applied feel like heaven (so hydrating!) and secondly when i tell you that my lip looked the exact same at 9:00 p.m. as it did at 9:00 a.m. that morning, i mean it looked the exact same. and i was no dainty doll the day of this wedding either. i ate bagels, drank coffee, drank beer from a bottle, drank beer from a can, sucked down way too many captain and gingers, ate sliders and wedding cake, and danced for three hours straight without so much as a crack or smudge.

if you’re thinking that kelsey must be a sorceress, you’d be half right (her artistry skills are impeccable) but she also has a little $4 trick up her sleeve from covergirl. she applied it with a lip brush almost immediately over top of my lip color and i didn’t put a single thing on my lips for the rest of the day or evening.

if you wear lipstick and can’t stand the thought of it fading in a weird way (or at all) this is quite possibly the very best investment that you can make. and if you’ve known about this product forever and you’ve been keeping it from me, my lips and i bow down to your product prowess.

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peter thomas roth acne-clear invisible dots4

peter thomas roth acne-clear invisible dots

so by now we all know that i was not blessed with good skin. call me the acne product testing queen, because i try them all. my biggest gripe with spot treatments is that i never feel like they are concentrated enough to make an impact, plus you have to rub them in, smearing them all over the clear skin around your spots that really doesn’t need any harsh doses. it has just never seemed like a very efficient process to me, and it’s nearly impossible to find something that makes an impact overnight.

peter thomas roth acne-clear invisible dots are changing the game a bit, solving all of my problems with one tiny and impossibly clear disk. for all intensive purposes, these are zit stickers. they are seriously concentrated and very sticky, so they don’t pop off in the middle of the night. they come in multiple sizes to treat offending acne of all varieties and they work.

here’s what i have found after using these dots to clear two persistent cystic spots:

they cover the area, completely sealing it off which does three things – it protects the sensitive infected area, it prevents the spread of bacteria to other areas of your face and (possibly most important of all) it prevents me from touching it, allowing it to actually heal. after wearing these overnight, each spot is drastically reduced (i’m estimating by at least 50% or more) and redness is also far less evident thanks to hyaluronic acid that calms the skin, preventing irritation and combatting the harsh effects of salicylic acid (that’s what actually kills the zit).

peter thomas roth is on to something major with these dots and any/all acne sufferers are going to sing their praises. it’s been a long time since i have tried a treatment this innovative and this effective – zit stickers for everyone! #yourewelcome

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my fashion week favorites0

fashion week walgreens

another fashion week has come and gone, bringing all kinds of gorgeous beauty trends to the scene for spring 2016. this season had some of my favorite looks to date and i love to see brands and artists pushing the envelope for new and exciting shapes and applications.

here are just a few of my top picks:

  1. barely-there face makeup.

almost every single runway featured nearly nude, fresh-faced models sporting some major glow. more than ever this season, i saw designers celebrating the individual girl instead of turning their model lineup into carbon copies. How refreshing! a quick glance and you’d think these girls were going makeup-free, but a look backstage into the artists’ kits told us otherwise.

to get seemingly flawless skin while still letting your individual freckles and tone shine through, reach for something like boots botanics radiance balm all bright. it delivers a smooth and radiant base, erasing the effects of fatigue and stress on your skin. it gives my face an instant lift and i love wearing it on its own.

if you want to help your skin along while you sleep, add a couple of drops of boots botanics triple age renewal smoothing facial oil. it restores moisture loss and nourishes skin, helping you to wake up with that youthful visage we all so desperately crave. this will give you some added confidence to let your skin shine through next season.

walgreens fashion week 2

  1. desert goddess bronze

while most designers stayed away from heavy contour, the scene at alice & olivia had a sunny look featuring gold encrusted eye makeup and a softly shaped and shaded face. the makeup artist used a bronze shade above the cheekbones and on the bridge of the nose to give the effect of sun gleaming off the skin. love that!

get your own sun-kissed glow by picking up no7 perfectly bronzed mosaic bronzer. you can blend a mix of shades together to get a customized color, then grab an angled brush and apply it to the areas of your face where the sun naturally hits.

  1. modern classic nails

mani monday looks extra fresh for spring. my favorite looks were simple, yet bold – like the spring garden mauve used at ulla johnson. it’s pretty and super easy to do at home with a shade like essie romper room. i love essie because you get gorgeous color saturation in one coat. to match the spring runways, finish it up with a matte topcoat to give it that modern edge.

Photo Sep 24, 12 53 14 PM

  1. pop art eyes

it’s always refreshing to see some color on the lash line. artists swiped a gorgeous royal blue eye paint onto the models at marc jacobs and monique lhuillier opted for an electric green. to make this trend a bit more wearable, you can choose something like circa beauty vivid vinyl eye lining fluid in blue topaz and shape a dramatic cat eye. it’s strong and sultry, the perfect complement to a girly spring ensemble.

if you’re even bolder you can venture into a pomegranate eye like shown at SUNO. the backstage artists used a lip gloss to get the look, but i’m a fan of more traditional formulas. you want the vibe to be unfinished so i like colour prevails eye shimmer powder in ruby rust. the addition of mica brings a brightness that will mirror the lip gloss effect without going all of the way.

colour prevails ruby rust

as i’ve said before, spring beauty is always my favorite. this season, i think these unexpected trends balance out spring fashion beautifully – bringing some edge to what is typically a whimsical and feminine season.

which one will you try first?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walgreens through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Walgreens Beauty, all opinions are my own.

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stowaway creaseless concealer0

stowaway creaseless concealer

during my early morning internet browse, i stumbled into claire mazur (of ‘of a kind‘) sharing her beauty uniform over on cup of jo. among other brilliant and lovely recommendations, claire called stowaway creaseless concealer “the single most dramatic change i can make to my face.” umm, that’s a bold claim there, claire – but, remembering that i had one of these little tubes in the glossarie test lab, i quickly put it to work.

let me just tell you that claire is not wrong. this is probably the best concealing, most seamlessly blendable formula that i have ever patted underneath of my eyes. it creates an un-penetrable and smooth wash of color where blue shadows used to lurk and it makes my whole face look as though it hasn’t spent the last 36 hours in a stress-filled wind tunnel of work madness in new york city. hel-lo, gorgeous!

my only tiny regret here is that i think i got a shade too dark. going one shade lighter into “fair” would mean that i am 99% certain this tiny tube could also make my blemishes vanish – and i do love a two-for-one product.  no harm, though. i’m in need of a second and third tube anyway, so that i do not have to be out of arm’s reach of this goodness.

if you haven’t given this buzzy brand a go, start with this perfect product and then expand into their other categories. lots and lots of bloggers and celebs are raving – and now i see why.

stowaway creaseless concealer, $16 >

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kerastase k curl fever radiant curl shaping gel5

kerastase k curl fever

almost overnight, baby lou has become a toddler – and i don’t have nearly enough time to shower as often as i’d like, so you can imagine that painstakingly blow drying and straightening my hair has become a thing of the past. my natural texture falls somewhere between wavy and curly, but it never really looks all that “done” when i let it air dry because it’s on the finer side. in short, while rocking the curls is less work than straightening the bob, it still takes work to look put together.

you might have noticed that air drying has become a thing. there’s definitely a revolution of leaving the hot tools behind and embracing natural hair. products have arrived on the scene totally dedicated to the air-drying phenomenon, promising frizz-free hair with minimal effort, but none of these has impressed me or my hair. i need a product made to work with curls and while i have previously professed my love of salt sprays, they’re just not giving me enough hold anymore.

kerastase is really on to something with curl fever. it was made for fine, lackluster curls. it’s billed as a gel, but it’s more serum-like if you ask me. there’s no stickiness at all and it’s a cinch to apply evenly without flattening my tendrils. once dry, it’s virtually undetectable. it vanishes right into my hair and all that’s left are beautifully shaped curls without frizz or fluff. the best thing about this stuff is that it helps my curls to last for more than just one day. i can sleep on them and scrunch them back to life in the morning, buying me even more time. win!

also high on my list of reasons to love curl fever is that it’s oil free. oil does three things to me – 1) it weighs my hair down 2) it makes it a grease-fest by day two and 3) it will surely cause an acne outbreak. obtaining hydrated curls that are soft and natural without oil is a wonderful (and rare thing) in my book.

so, thank you to kerastase for giving this crazed momma a little sanity and a lot of good looking hair.

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