Vacation Beauty Essentials

While on vacation, I like to keep it simple and summery during the day.

While on vacation, I like to keep it simple and summery during the day.

Next week I’ll be leaving on my honeymoon, flying from my current cold and rainy climate to one that is much more hot and sunny. As I’ve been thinking about what makeup I’ll be bringing along, I’ve come to the conclusion that vacation brings out my beauty split personalities – so simple for day, much more dramatic for evening. Below, a look at what I’ll be packing for a beautiful honeymoon.

Of course my number one priority is sunscreen, and since my husband and I are both paler than pale and burn easily, I’m packing SPF 70. However, that does not mean that I wish to look pasty white throughout my trip. Enter my newest obsession, St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion.

St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion turned my skin from pasty (right) to warm and glowing (left)

St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion turned my skin from pasty (right) to warm and glowing (left)

This smooth lotion looks scary dark and bronzy in the tube, but is easily rubbed into skin to create a warm, surprisingly natural glow. Once dry it does not rub off on clothing (or sheets), and it smells warm and summery. It makes skin feel ultra-smooth, and washes off easily with soap and water.

I’ll also be wanting smooth, unburned lips during my trip, so I’ll be sure to pack a tube of Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm in Lime Twist, an SPF 15 balm that is ridiculously silky, long-lasting, and has a refreshing, tingly feeling.

And since I’ll be busting out my sandals for the first time since last summer, I’ll need a punchy pedicure. Right now I’m loving Nailtini Lacquer in Mai Tai, a fun red-orange that looks great on pale skin or with a tan.

I'll use these gems to kick things up a notch for evening

I’ll use these gems to kick things up a notch for evening


I’ll stay pretty bare-faced while out in the sun, sticking to my favorite BB cream and my Carmex during the day, but at night, I’ll kick things up a notch. BareMinerals Mineral Veil will even my complexion and keep any unwanted shine at bay. I’ll swipe on my favorite summertime lip color, Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Coral, and a festive evening eyeliner, NARS Glitter Pencil in Le Sept, a sparkly dark purple. Naturally, I’ll finish it all off with curled lashes and my favorite vampy mascara, Eyeko Black Magic Mascara.

What are your vacation beauty favorites?

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Think Pink For Spring

In my neck of the woods spring has been taking its sweet time arriving this year; as I’m writing this I’m gazing out my window at stubborn banks of snow that at this rate may still be here in June. As a result, lately I find myself reaching for the happiest, most optimistic shade in my makeup bag: pink. The good news? Pink is a pretty universally flattering shade and it’s big for spring. If Mother Nature doesn’t want to brighten things up outside, I’ll do it on my own! Here are the pink products I’m sporting this season:
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Eyes: When I read in Allure Magazine that pink eyeshadow was a big trend for spring, I nearly jumped for joy. I’ve discovered the prettiest pale pink shadow; so pretty, in fact, that I chose it as my eye color for my wedding day last September! If you’re searching for a nice soft shadow that can be toned up or down, try Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Shimmer in Sweet Candy. Bonus points for using a pink applicator, too (I bought a pack of these at Sally Beauty Supply).

Lips: I’m guessing exactly no one will be surprised to learn that Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Punch has made it into my spring lip look rotation. ???????????????????????????????I’ve been alternating between that old favorite and another one – Jouer Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink. It’s a great hot pink shade that goes on sheer but can be layered for more color.

Nails: While I have an abundance of pink polishes in a variety of shades, right now I’m obsessed with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nail Polish in Anime (note: the brand’s matching lip tar is a great hot pink lip color if you’re wanting something bold!). A word of caution: a manicure this bright needs to be impeccable. Mine lasted 3 days before it started chipping, so be vigilant with the top coat!
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Extra Credit: When that manicure does start to chip, why not remove it with something equally cheery? Beauty Secrets Acetone Nail Polish Remover is the gold (or pink) standard in removing stubborn polish. Similarly, I can’t do without my MAKE Dual-Phase Eye Makeup Remover. It never bothers my sensitive eyes and gets every last bit of makeup off my eyes, waterproof or otherwise.

March 2014 Empties

Okay, so, nearly three months into my self-imposed shopping ban and I have successfully stuck to my guns! The only beauty product I have purchased has been deodorant (after using up all my samples) and I did get a free birthday gift from Sephora last month, but no purchase was necessary for that. Well done me! However, I will say that I feel like I’ve been coasting through these first several weeks, as I was well-stocked with many of my everyday favorites. As April approaches I find that I’m using up a lot of my go-tos, and so this little experiment should start to get pretty interesting in the weeks ahead.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the rundown on my latest batch of empties; it will be very hard to say goodbye to some of these products, but I have to admit, it’s really nice to see a little extra space on my bathroom counter!???????????????????????????????

Aussie Aussome Volume 2 in 1 Shampoo: I’m not sure how many times I’ve written about this product, but I really can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a great timesaver as it truly is moisturizing enough on its own to skip conditioner, and pretty much every good hair day I’ve had since discovering it can be attributed to this shampoo. It smells great, and I miss it already.

Avon Naturals Body Sugar Plum & Vanilla Shower Gel: I’m going to call this gem of a body wash the first “win” of my shopping ban experiment – I threw it in the shower after using up my previous one and have been in love with it ever since. The smell is a little exotic and totally lovely, it gets nice and sudsy, leaves skin clean and fresh, isn’t overly drying, and doesn’t leave you smelling overly perfumed, which can be a hazard of scented shower gels. This is my favorite new body wash, and the next time an Avon lady comes my way I’m going to purchase a dozen of them. After the ban is over, obviously.

La Fresh Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipe for Women: I really wanted these deodorant wipes to work better than the last ones I tried, but they did not. Once again, by mid-morning I was wondering who had the B.O. until I realized it was me.

Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Thankfully I have another full jar of this waiting in the wings because this is my favorite nighttime moisturizer of all time. It softens, brightens, and feels delightful. Plus, it’s great to slather on post-chemical peel.

Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm: Another old favorite that has made the blog several times, this is my favorite lip product ever. It feels great, plumps lips, and magically turns the perfect shade of pink for each wearer. Everyone at my wedding wore this, including me.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter: This tube of delightfully citrus-scented cream lasted me an incredibly long time. I used it as a hand cream and it was perfect – not greasy, not too perfumed, and very moisturizing. I’m a huge Pacifica fan and think you get so much for your money. If you’re looking for a nice hand cream, try this one.

Nail Polish: The Spice of Life

Turns out, a standard spice rack is perfect for storing and displaying nail polish!

Turns out, a standard spice rack is perfect for storing and displaying nail polish!

Are you a nail polish junkie? Do you love finding creative ways to organize your beauty products? Do you spend more time cooking up new looks in the bathroom than cooking anything in the kitchen? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on.

I actually do enjoying cooking in my kitchen, but I think we all know how much time I spend playing with makeup, and with an ever-growing collection of nail polishes, I was having some difficulty keeping them organized. That is, until I had the brilliant idea to repurpose my lovely spice rack as a nail polish organizer! It works perfectly! Not only are those tiny shelves the perfect size for my little bottles of nail color, but now I can see what I’ve got at a glance – no more digging through pails of polish to find the perfect shade!

Pedicures 101: Six Steps to Pretty Feet

feet2There are few beauty rituals I enjoy more than the pedicure. Going to a salon and having a professional pamper your feet is incredibly relaxing, and you leave with a frequently abused and overlooked part of your body feeling refreshed and healthy. Not to mention the fact that freshly-pedicured feet look lovely and well-groomed. It doesn’t matter how disheveled the rest of me is; when my heels are smooth and my toes are newly painted, I feel like I’ve got it together.

Unfortunately, I frequently do not have the time or money to spend on a salon pedicure. Plus, given how easy it is for me to reproduce a salon-quality pedicure at home, I have a hard time justifying the expense most of the time. The good news is, even when I do the job by myself I still feel amazing. So, just in time for sandal season, here’s your six-step guide to a perfect at-home pedicure. (Please note: this guide assumes that you’ve trimmed your nails and removed any old polish before starting.)

1. Soak your feet in warm water. I usually use water that’s quite hot. To me, it adds to the relaxing feel. If you have Epsom salts, scented oil or a nice foot soak, feel free to throw it in. If not, plain ol’ H2O will work. I generally soak for about five to ten minutes.

2. Scrub your feet all over with a specialized foot scrub. I’ve long been a fan of Freeman’s Bare Foot line, and their Creamy Pumice Foot Scrub in Peppermint and Plum works wonderfully. Rub it all over the bottoms and tops of your feet, paying special attention to your heels and anywhere else you may have rough spots.

3. Scrape away dead skin. Okay, this is the gross part but I promise it’s the most effective way to get rid of dragon feet. While your foot is still covered in foot scrub, use your fingernails to scrape dead skin off your foot, once again spending extra time on your heels and/or rough spots. When you’re done, rinse your feet (and hands!).

4. Slather a thick lotion or, better yet, specifically formulated foot cream all over feet, toes and ankles. I swear by Ahava foot creams. Let it soak in for at least five minutes.

5. Swipe nail polish remover over each toenail. Depending on the thickness of the lotion you used, you may want to do this twice. The goal is to remove all traces of product and oils so that your nail polish will glide on easily and stick to your nails.

6. Select a fun shade of polish and paint on a coat or two. Right now I’m loving hot pinks, like Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Poppy (shown).

Pretty Polish March 2013

March is here, which means spring is on its way. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best polishes to help carry us through the last days of winter and welcome the new season in style!

Revlon Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Passionate Pink: This cheerful medium pink goes on glossy and looks fantastic against fair skin.

The prettiest pink polish.

The prettiest pink polish.

I’ve turned to it time and time again to help ward of the winter blues, but it’s also a perfect shade for early spring; it reminds me of some of the first flowers to bloom in my tulip garden.

Nailtini Lacquer in Frappe: A sheer, subtle shade, this peachy nude looks fresh and is just right for a professional manicure. Might I suggest wearing it to a job interview?

This peachy nude polish is always a perfect professional choice.

This peachy nude polish is always a perfect professional choice.

I did, and I’m happy to report that I landed the job! This polish adds a warm, healthy shine to nails, leaving them looking clean and well-maintained. A five-star polish any time of year.

Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer in Wild Cactus and Put a Pin in it: I discovered these polishes thanks to Birchbox, and I love them both for this time of year. Wild Cactus is a highly pigmented emerald shade.

Better together: try your hand at some at-home nail art and create a fun, regal pedicure.

Better together: try your hand at some at-home nail art and create a fun, regal pedicure.

Put a Pin in it is a gorgeous shimmery gold. Both polishes have a very regal feel. I like both of them on my toes, and I really love the two shades together. Why not try your hand at some nail art? Green with a cluster of gold polka dots? Gold with a slim green stripe? Have fun with it! A word of advice: the dark green polish stains nails almost instantly. Definitely don’t skip the basecoat when using this one!

What colors are you sporting this season?

Holiday Pretty

Happy Holidays! How quickly the year has flown by! Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and before we know it we’ll be ringing in the New Year with midnight kisses and champagne. We’ll have lots of reasons to celebrate — and get dolled up — over the next seven days. After all, as one of my closest, chicest friends likes to say, the best part of the holidays is having an excuse to wear a dress and high heels!

I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping my stocking is stuffed with tinted lip balms (you can’t go wrong with Burt’s Bees), cool nail polishes (anything in the gray family will do) and designer fragrances (I’m looking at you, Dior Addict). But regardless of what I get tomorrow morning, tonight I’ll be turning to some classics to get me looking lovely and feeling festive while I kick off the holiday at not one, but two Christmas Eve parties! I still haven’t made a wardrobe decision; I could keep it cozy in jeans, boots, and a cranberry colored sweater, or perhaps I’ll throw on my new black wrap dress and perfect red scarf for a slightly more glamorous look. Either way, I know I’ll be sporting the following fun holiday makeup looks:

1. Glittery Gold Manicure: I believe that, for the most part, a girl shouldn’t wear glittery nail polish if she’s old enough to legally buy booze. Not only does glitter tend to read really, really young, it can often come across as ditzy, which is never a look that I’m going for.

This Nailtini polish can be layered for a very pretty, sparkly holiday manicure.

This Nailtini polish can be layered for a very pretty, sparkly holiday manicure.

However, we are currently enjoying a season that almost mandates a certain amount of glitter in daily life. I’ll be taking advantage of this with a pretty, glittery gold manicure. I prefer polishes that have smaller pieces of glitter that, when layered, almost look like solid pigment rather than little chunks of confetti suspended in topcoat. I’ll be rockin’ this Nailtini polish. Essie also makes some decent glittery polishes, in both gold and silver. Go forth and sparkle, my friends!

2. Red Lips: I don’t care how you do it. Gloss, balm, lipstick, liner, whatever your preferred method of lip color application, nothing is more timeless, glamorous and holiday-appropriate than a red lip. Being a definite gloss girl, I’ll be sporting my new favorite, this thick Bare Minerals gloss that smells like holiday spices and turns my mouth the most flattering shade of red. The color is a little darker in person than it looks in the photo (please excuse the obnoxious kissy-face) and it really takes any look up a notch, adding a kiss of ladylike sophistication.

This Bare Minerals gloss is a little darker in person and smells like holiday spices - the perfect holiday gloss!

This Bare Minerals gloss is a little darker in person and smells like holiday spices – the perfect holiday gloss!

3. Liquid Liner: I generally wear a little eyeliner during the day. A quick swipe of pencil along my upper lashes and I’m good to go. When I’m dressing up, on the other hand, I want to give my eyes a little more oomph, and nothing does that better than a sleek swoop of liquid liner, which makes a statement that is both sexy and classy, all while making your eyes pop. This year I’ve fallen for a new favorite: Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in purple. The liner itself is unbelievably easy to apply; like my former favorite liquid liners, it comes in a pen-tip style applicator, rather than the skinny brush that I don’t think I will ever master. The color comes out smoothly and evenly, and dries quickly without smudging. I’ve always been a fan of purple eye pencils, and this purple liquid version is just too good not to use. I’ll be sporting a slight cat-eye tonight.

So, will you be rocking any of these looks tonight? What’s your go-to holiday makeup look? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a beautiful Christmas!