Multi-taskers

It’s been far too long since I last posted. In my defense, a lot has happened in the past six weeks or so. Not only did I wrap up the holiday season with plenty of parties, but my boyfriend surprised me with a New Year’s Eve proposal. In January the thrill of being newly engaged was temporarily overshadowed by the onset of a mysterious lung infection. Said ailment caused me to miss a week of work, so the rest of the month was spent working long hours to catch up on important beginning-of-the-year projects, and my growing office task list was made longer by the loss of a co-worker (and good friend) who bravely decided to start a new adventure in a new city in the new year. Add to all of this the fact that I’ve been helping with wedding plans for my sister’s April nuptials while also trying to track down the perfect venue for my own wedding, and I clearly haven’t had a moment to spare. Which is why I’ve completely revamped my beauty routine and am now sticking to a pared-down collection of beauty multi-taskers that get me in the shower and out of the house in 30 minutes flat. If you, too, are finding yourself swamped and searching for a few more precious moments in your day, try one (or all) of these beauty MVPs:

Aussie Aussome Volume 2 in 1 Shampoo: I’ve blogged about this drugstore wonder before. In the past, I praised it for its ability to make my hair look cool-girl perfect the day after I washed with it. Now it has returned to my shower because, as far as 2 in 1 shampoos go, it’s the best at cleaning, conditioning and adding some oomph, all in one quick lather and rinse. It also has a fun essence-of-bubblegum scent that my fiance loves – he says it reminds him of when we first started dating (Aussome Volume has long been a staple on my shower shelf).

Nivea Touch of Cashmere Cream Oil Body Wash: I’ve searched high and low for a body wash that is truly moisturizing enough to nix the need for a post-shower layer of lotion; so far, this one comes the closest. The bottle boasts an orchid blossom scent, but I find the scent to be so mild it’s barely noticeable. The body wash does have a magnificent lather. It creates an abundance of silky smooth bubbles that softly caress the skin, leaving it smooth while keeping dry, itchy winter skin at bay. While I recommend using a body lotion on days when you have time, this body wash moisturizes enough so that you can skip it on days when you don’t.

Votre Vu Bebe Duette: This fun, fancy French hand cream is a beauty double whammy and is great in the morning, at work, or anytime you need a boost, day or night. The tube of rich cream smells fantastic and comes with a smooth raspberry lip balm in the cap. The cap also holds a mini mirror for on-the-go touch ups. You’ll want to keep one at home, in your purse and at work, so you can gloss your lips and smooth your cuticles while you’re running out the door, to a meeting, or before you collapse into bed. Just because we’re too busy to take a breath doesn’t mean we can’t look polished!

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Something for Everyone

I know, I know, it’s been weeks since I posted last, and many of you are probably jonesing for your weekly dose of gloss. Have no fear, my lovelies! I have been working on a major upgrade to the blog, which will be launched in the new year. In the mean time, I thought I’d help you finish off your holiday shopping with some gift ideas for everyone on your list.

For your best friend: I love a good holiday gift set, and this year my favorite is the Philosophy Peppermint Bark gift set. It comes in a cute candy cane striped tin, and contains a mint-chocolate bubble bath/body wash, as well as a matching sheer red lip gloss that I LOVE. You might want to get one for yourself as well – I did.

For your brother/boyfriend/husband/dad: There are many more man-friendly products and gifts on the market these days than you might think. Brands like Nivea, Axe, and Old Spice all make gift sets. I particularly like Old Spice, which comes in a variety of new scents that are amazing. Check out the Matterhorn and Denali scents; my boyfriend and I both agree that these smell the best.

For your mom/sister/grandma: Why not give the gift of lovely hands this year? A gift certificate for a manicure is always appreciated, but if you want to give a gift that’s a bit more hands-on (pun intended), there are several great hand products to choose from. Tweezerman makes mini nail-files that come in a matchbox and couldn’t be cuter. Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat is my absolute favorite when it comes to day-to-day nail maintenance – it is a clear gel that strengthens nails and leaves them with a healthy, sheer pink shine. And a nice hand cream rounds out any at-home manicure kit. I like Aveeno Active Naturals Intense Relief Hand Cream, and the full line of Arnica hand creams (available at yvesrocherusa.com).

Stocking Stuffers: If you’re like me, you love walking down the sample-size aisle of any drugstore. Mini bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, and body lotion are not only adorable and affordable, but they make great testers and stocking stuffers. If you want to snazz up your stockings this year, you can also check out the beauty minis section at sephora.com. You can find anything from itty bitty perfumes and moisturizers to travel-sized mascaras and lip balms.

Merry Christmas, and happy shopping to all!

Lazy Beauty

Maybe it’s the sweltering mid-August heat, or maybe it’s just that I’m way too busy these days, but lately I’ve been practicing what can only be called lazy beauty. My once meticulous nighttime skincare routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and doing regular at-home chemical peels (I like Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel, available from Avon) has fallen by the wayside. I’m lucky if I can be bothered to wash my face before falling into bed. Fortunately for my face, I recently tried the new EZ4U 2 GO 4-in-1 facial towelettes from mdskincare. They come in convenient individual packages and are about as easy to use as it gets: remove from package, swipe over face, pass out. The package claims that they cleanse, balance, treat and moisturize in one step, and I have to say, my skin has glowed every time I used one. And, unlike most of the other facial towelettes I’ve tried, these don’t dry out my skin.

Other time saving, multi-tasking products I’ve been using? Venus Spa Breeze disposable razors, which have bars of shave gel built in. In my experience, they don’t give you as close a shave as traditional razors, but they make shaving so much less of a pain that I don’t mind shaving a little more often.

Since it’s summer, I’ve also been skipping out on body lotion (come fall I will have to go back to slathering on a layer of the stuff every time I step out of the shower) and instead have just been spritzing on Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Body Double Mist. The perfumed body spray has skin conditioners in it to make you soft while you smell good, and it comes in a variety of scents. My favorite is Coconut Craze.

As far as makeup is concerned I’ve been taking the very easy road: tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, and a little powder on my nose. To give myself a little color, I’ll dust blush on my cheeks and eyelids for a natural, all over pick-me-up. My favorite blush? The classic, can’t-go-wrong shade, Nars orgasm.

I’m not the only one paring down my routine. My boyfriend recently starting using Nivea for Men Active 3 Shower Shampoo and Shave, and 3-in-1 product that, you guessed it, can be used as a shampoo, body wash, and shaving cream. He loves it, and I’ve gotta rave about it too. His hair is soft, his skin is smooth, and boy does it smell fantastic.

Lazy never looked (or smelled) so good.