That’s right, I celebrated a birthday earlier this month. While I don’t like to make a big scene about my birthday, I was really excited to be surrounded by cakes, balloons, and I even got sung to, twice! Lucky, lucky girl right here.
I usually spend my birthday with reflection heavy on the brain, but this year, I lounged by the pool and sipped on a peach + wine slushee (get the recipe here). And honestly, I got some pretty cool gifts! I know, I know, that’s not what birthdays are about, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case you’re looking to shop for someone on your list.
Laura Geller Summer Goddess Collection – I have gotten a few Laura Geller samples in my monthly Birchbox and continue to be impressed with the quality of this makeup. So, I was pretty amped to get this four-piece collection of full-size products! It comes with Spackle Tinted Make-Up Primer in Champagne (sheer soft gold), Baked Body Frosting Face & Body Glow in Tahitian Glow (mélange of swirled tan, cream and pearly pink), Dramalash Maximum Volumizing Mascara in Black, and Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Color in Beige Bite (rich nude).
So far, I’ve used the bronzer and the lip color – both I love. The bronzer is the perfect mix of color and highlighter, and even helps to cover redness. The lip color is good for every day, and stays on ALL day with a matte finish. I love it! You can purchase this collection at Ulta.
Q&A a Day 5-Year Journal – This was such a surprise gift, and kind of just what I needed without really knowing it! I’ve always had trouble keeping up with a diary, or a journal, but I’ve read so much recently about the benefits of doing so. This journal is good for five years, and provides a simple question for you to answer each day. This means you can keep a record of your years, but with less of a hassle – I love it! I started writing in it a week ago, and I’m excited to keep it going and then look back at my entries. You can get this journal on Amazon.
Rhinestone Trinket Box – Earlier this year, I met my mom and best friend in Vegas. For my birthday, my mom surprised me with a small, sparkly trinket box in the shape of a fortune cookie, which she bought in Vegas (this isn’t the exact one, but it’s really close). It’s gold, which goes with pretty much everything I own, not to mention that I love keeping my fortunes – especially if they have my lucky numbers on them.
Girl and Dragon Malbec – As a wine lover, any occasion for gifts brings an opportunity for wine. I will always drink wine, and if you’re ever in questions as to what to get me, it’s wine. I will never get enough and I’m always look to taste something new. So, I was pumped when I got a bottle of Girl and Dragon Malbec, which had a cool label (because of course), and later, I found out they’ve won loads of awards. I drank it with homemade vegetarian lo mein and it was scrumptious. You can purchase a bottle on their website.
“The Year of Voting Dangerously” by Maureen Dowd – I don’t often ask for books or buy books because I borrow so many from the library. But this book in particular, has been on my list, and isn’t available at the library. Here’s the description from Amazon: Trapped between two candidates with the highest recorded unfavorables, Americans are plunged into The Year of Voting Dangerously. In this perilous and shocking campaign season, The New York Times columnist traces the psychologies and pathologies in one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever. Dowd has covered Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton since the ’90s. She was with the real estate mogul when he shyly approached his first Presidential rope line in 1999, and she won a Pulitzer prize that same year for her penetrating columns on the Clinton impeachment follies. Like her bestsellers, Bushworld and Are Men Necessary?, THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY will feature Dowd’s trademark cocktail of wry humor and acerbic analysis in dispatches from the political madhouse. If America is on the escalator to hell, then THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY is the perfect guide for this surreal, insane ride. …And now I can officially add it to my reading list!
Miss Spa facial masks – Much like wine, face masks are another thing I can’t get enough of. If you’re ever wondering what I’m up to, the chances are very likely that I’m sitting in my bed, watching trashy TV, with some sort of clay, sheet, or bee venom mask on my face in hopes I’ll wakeup with radiant skin. Don’t stop believin’! When I was gifted a STACK of Miss Spa facial masks of different varieties, I was excited to add them to my stash. You can get them on Amazon.
Perhaps these awesome gifts I got can serve up some ideas for someone in your life, or heck, maybe you just need to treat yoself. Cheers!
One thing, among many, that has super sucked is my skin past the age of 25. Then, I chalked it up to my years working in the service industry, surrounded by smoke and guzzling way too much alcohol.
My skin at that point, was so bad, that after trying everything – from basic cleansers and treatments to the complete ProActive skincare line, I started getting professional facials once a week. My face was covered in zits, and not only was it embarrassing, it was very painful.
But, the facials were working (although they were also very painful and expensive) and over time, I was able to go once a month, and my skin was clearing up. Despite having gone through it all, I try to keep my skin routine simple – I am not someone who wants to spend 30 minutes at the sink before bed. I’m tired – which is probably why my skin looks haggard.
Currently, my skincare routine goes a little something like this: at night, I remove my makeup using a makeup remover towel. It requires no chemicals, and is so soft – it’s quite nice. Then, I use my Clarisonic brush along with the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleanser.
Usually, every other night, I do a face mask of some sort, but other than that, that’s it! I’m currently debating using a night cream, so if you use one you love, please tell me!
In the morning, I skip the cleanser and use Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get any mascara that’s creeped up from the night before, and then I use Formula 10.0.6 Acne Astringent all over my face, followed by Liz Earle Tonic Spritzer.
So, pretty simple. I leave it up to my collection of face masks to take care of any “specialty” skin issues. A few months ago, I was reading all these articles about how Korean skincare regimens were all the rage, but these suckers were like 12-steps! Hells no!
If you doubt me, go to Ulta and find the entire AISLE dedicated to all the Korean stuff (at the very least, it’s got cute packaging). I did try a bubbly foam cleanser in one of my monthly Birchboxes, and it was very luxurious.
And they’ve also introduced us to the sheet face mask. Here we were, just slathering green clay onto our faces like slobs, when everyone in the eastern hemisphere was simply slipping on a sheet mask while sipping tea.
While I’ve tried several sheet masks over the last year, I am still trying to figure out the hype, so I asked for “various face masks” for Christmas, and I got exactly what I asked for. So, here’s four different sheet masks I’ve used in the last month, and what I thought.
Lanocreme Manuka Honey Intensely Nourishing & Revitalising Formula
Description: Lanocrème Manuka Honey Face Mask is a rich formulation infused with a unique combination of New Zealand ingredients including UMF Manuka Honey to intensely nourish and moisturise dry skin. The activity of the UMF Honey, recognised for its remarkable nourishing and revitalising properties helps soothe and moisturise the skin whilst Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid promotes firmness. Enriched with UMF Manuka Honey, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera and Argan Oil. Each pack contains 5 individual face masks in their own sachet.
This is the second honey-based mask I’ve done in the last few months, and I just love them. This one really left my skin feeling great. You only have to leave it on for 10 minutes, but you do have to rinse your face afterward, which I’m not a huge fan of.
The other bonus is that unlike most sheet masks, its pretty well-priced – a box of 5 sells for $16 on Amazon (get it here).
Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask (Animated Penguin) by Creme Shop
Description: Animate your skin with The Crème Shop Shop’s Animal Masks! Keep your skin smooth and dewy like a penguin’s perfectly polished coat. Infused with hyaluronic acid, this ultra-moisturizing face mask quenches your skin’s thrist or an effortless, radiant glow.
- Infused with hyaluronic acid
- Unparalleled hydration
- Made in Korea
So, this one is a penguin face, which is cute! It’s a little pricier at $4 a pop (here), but would be fun if you were having a pampering party. This one requires a little more face time (ha, ha) – 15 minutes, but you don’t have to rinse or dry once its done.
I normally don’t mind keeping a mask on for awhile, sometimes hours, but the sheet masks are chilly, and I find I can’t do much while they’re on (you know, like drink wine). Could just be a personal problem.
IPKN Dia Goat Milk Black Mask
Description: Fresh New Zealand goat milk and real diamond powder in premium charcoal mask supplies highly effective nutrition with whitening and baby skin-like complexion.
This one was my favorite out of the bunch. It was soothing, and really made my skin feel nourished. My only complaint? Why is the mask black? Goat’s milk is white. Is it the charcoal? I hope it was black for a good reason, because it was just sort of creepy-looking.
But other than that, this was a quality mask. The sheet itself was very thick, which felt more substantial, and didn’t feel like it was going to tear. Plus, you leave it on for up to 20 minutes, and then you simply peel it off and “pat the essence into your skin”. You can get a pack of 10 for $25 here.
Look Beauty Pretty Animalz Panda
Description: This Panda Character Print Sheet Mask provides intensive hydration while Lavender helps to calm skin with its aromatic and skin soothing properties.
Aside from looking like a little panda, I’ll give this mask props for smelling wonderfully of lavender. I used it before bed just a few nights ago and felt nice and relaxed. This is another one that stays on a little longer – up to 20 minutes – and you can just leave any remaining mask on the skin.
So, there you have it! The honey and the goat’s milk were my favorite, but I think I’ll keep trying others just to see what’s out there. If you haven’t tried one yet, definitely take a look.
There are all sorts of brands that make them, but I’d recommend looking at each mask’s ingredients before purchasing – no parabens should be in the mask. I also found a pretty informative article on sheet masks if you’re interested.
Happy at-home spa-ing!
I don’t want to call it “high-maintenance”, because A. I hate that term, and B. It’s not about material things or money, it’s just about the fact that my beauty regimen is endless.
In my early twenties, I can easily say that I pretty much looked the same with or without makeup. Now, I have always loved wearing makeup – I love putting it on, and I love experimenting with new things, different looks.
But now? The makeup isn’t really an option. My skin is tired. Part of this is because I spent way too much time in the tanning bed as a teenager, and probably because I’ve never gotten enough water. And well, now, I’m just getting old.
It’s not just about the makeup – my skincare routine is no longer just “take off makeup” or slapping a simple pump of orange Neutrogena on my face. It involves makeup removers, brushes to wash, specialty soaps, moisturizers and tightening creams, and of course, face masks almost daily.
There’s also the other areas of my body – my skin all over that probably can’t get enough moisturizer, and hair-inhibiting gels, and creams that fight cellulite. I use body scrubs in hopes of softening my skin, and shaving my legs? It doesn’t leave them as silky smooth as it once did. Bronzers and sunless tanners help with the tiny sunspots on my shins.
Hair? My hair is probably one of my least concerns, but that’s because I make a standing appointment for a cut, color, and deep condition. I do use color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and once a week I do an in-shower protein treatment. But for the most part, my hair has not been affected by my age (if there’s gray under the brown/red, I’ve got no clue and I’m okay with that!).
Nails. I feel like the at-home mani-pedi just isn’t cutting it. I’m not to the point where I regularly get manicures or pedicures (I’m a little too cheap for that), but no matter how long I spend soaking my feet or how carefully I file my nails, it just never looks that great.
According to Allure magazine, our skin cells start to dull around age 30, which is why we’ve got to do more to get that “glow” back. Le sigh.
I know it’s something I’m forced to accept; and some of it is kind of nice (I’ll take a nice facial or a mani-pedi any day). But it’s just one of those things… I’d love to know what some of your favorite products are, or how your beauty and skincare regimen has changed over the years.
I’m heading to the beach TOMORROW, and yes, this makeup junkie is not leaving home without her stash of cosmetics. I know what you’re thinking – ugh, don’t be THAT girl at the beach.
In all truth, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach wearing makeup, but I think I’ve just reached a point wear I don’t really feel comfortable going without it. And, if it helps my case at all, I’m going to a music festival, where there will be thousands of people, shirtless dudes, and selfies. That’s more the reason why I’m choosing to wear makeup.
But, I will also say that, after digging through my stash, I found lots of products that will be appropriate for the sun and sand – I am not going to wear my full face; I just want to even out my skin and appear very glow-y. So, here’s what I’ve packed, my beach-friendly makeup:
Silky Sheer BB Cream (tinted) with SPF 30 by L’Oreal – I’m using this instead of concealer and foundation. L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare introduces its first-ever BB facial broad spectrum sunscreen. It protects skin with a patented UVA/UVB filter and evens skin for a healthy tinted complexion. This multi-acting formula is infused with powerful antioxidants vitamin E and white grape seed to help keep skin healthy and youthful-looking.
Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 by COOLA – This unscented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural rose hip oil which is rich in free radical fighting vitamin c. Naturally calming evening primrose and flax seed oils deliver abundant omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural shea butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector plankton extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.
Brightening Illuminator by Cynthia Rowley – This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It’s an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes.
Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos by Cargo – This sweatproof, weatherproof blush has been tested by the make-up artists for Dancing with the Stars on the latest live tour. Water resistant blush stood up to hours of dancing. This long-wearing formula withstands moisture so you don’t have to fuss with re-application. Specially formulated with a unique silicone-coated powder that provides better adhesion to the skin and withstands water.
Eye shadow duo in Beach & Bridge by Cargo This duo of two highly pigmented eye shadows takes inspiration from the sand, water, and foliage found on the coast. Use Beach on the lid and Bridge in the crease.
Shimmer eyeliner pencil in black by E.L.F. – The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look. Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.
Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink by Wet n Wild – Illuminating powder in four harmonious shades can be used individually or together on face, cheeks and body for a luminescent radiance.
Lip Balmer in Mint with SPF 15 by Mission Skincare – With powerful sun protection and a long-lasting, vitamin-enriched formula, MISSION Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 is clinically proven to lock in moisture for up to 8 hours. It can withstand some of the harshest environments, so you know it can handle your busy lifestyle. Our Mint Lip Balmer contains natural moisturizing ingredients that keep lips feeling smooth and soft, whether you’re in the heat of competition or out on the town.
See? Nothing too heavy; I still want to look natural, and most of these products have an SPF. I am most excited to try the products by Cargo – I’m really curious about the water-resistant blush, and the Beach & Bridge eye shadows are so pretty!
I will also say that 75% of these products came in Birchboxes I’ve gotten over the last few months. Not familiar with Birchbox? It’s a monthly subscription, and for $10/month, you get a box of high-end samples (usually 5-6 samples) that are picked just for you, based on a profile you create.
I look forward to getting the box each month, and as you can tell, I love being able to try products I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. And, if you buy the full-size product, you earn points and can use the points for cash toward more products (I used points to get $20 off my Clarisonic brush). Check out Birchbox here.
Alright, I should probably go finish packing. But don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! See y’all right here, tomorrow!
Valentine’s Day is two days away, and I’m single, very single. I don’t even have a crush and I ALWAYS have a crush. I mean, I’ve still got John Mayer, so no worries there. So, what does a single girl LOVE on Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you what:
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I treated myself to the “starter kit” when I got a coupon for the Birchbox store. The face wash itself is kind of like Noxema (hello, 90’s!) in texture, but it gets off ALL my makeup. I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. So, the other part of this system is the muslin cloth you use to remove the cleanser: it’s gentle, but exfoliating so it really gets things clean. Try Birchbox to get exclusive Liz Earle products!
Origins Active Charcoal mask – I use a mask at every night. I am really trying to up my skincare regimen, and I love trying different things to see what works. My latest purchase is the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins. I get blackheads on my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows, and I use this at least once a week to (hopefully) dry up the suckers.
Green Chef meals – It’s been about two months since I signed up to have organic ingredients delivered right to my doorstep each week. I really love this service more than I expected! The ingredients are always fresh, the recipes are things I’ve never made before, and they are easy to make, but it still feels like I’m cooking. I rarely have to go to the grocery store, so it saves me time, and it even cuts back on my food costs since I’m not loading up my cart with unnecessary purchases. Want to try it? You can get 4 FREE meals using my code! I’d love you know what you think.
Ban.do Drink Sleeve – “Fries Before Guys” is my life motto. I love fries, and fuck it, I’m putting them first in my life, forever. Calories be dammed. The cool thing about Ban.do, is that aside from having all sorts of bad ass goodies, they also have free downloads on their website. So, I promptly downloaded a “Fries Before Guys” phone wallpaper, so I won’t get it twisted. Ever.
Amazon Prime – Who doesn’t love free two-day shipping? It makes me want to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon (and I probably have). But, I also enjoy watching free videos (such as seasons of The Newsroom), streaming music, and getting free Kindle books. It’s a pretty great deal, and another excuse for me to avoid public shopping situations. Are you sensing a trend here? Try Amazon Prime for 30 days, for FREE, and see how awesome it is!
ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – This crazy, cool lip balm adjusts to your unique pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect, just-for-you hue. It also contains mango seed butter to hydrate and protect lips. Another perk? It boasts a lovely minty scent. I like to keep this in my desk drawer at work, because I know I can slather it on before a meeting, and without a mirror, it looks perfect!
DW Home hand-poured candle in Sun Bleached Denim – “Fresh hints of brushed cotton with bright bergamot, zesty lemon, and herbaceous greens over silver sage leaf, earthy patchouli, and cool woody musk.” Holy hell. I don’t know why this is called “Sun Bleached Denim” because it smells like a fine ass man stepping out of a hot shower, and he can’t find his towel ANYWHERE, and I about fainted when I got a whiff of this thing in T.J. Maxx. Get this candle, like, now. It is everything fantasies are made of.
Dexter reruns – A few weeks ago, I discovered FM is airing old episodes of Dexter, in chronological order. Record series. Get popcorn. Binge. Drool. No second thoughts. Who doesn’t love a sexy Mr. Morgan battling crime in his unique code so we all can sleep at night? Count me in.
Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Funny name, but seriously awesome! Each scent uses the power of smell to hack away at your problems: from relationships to struggles at the office, just hit the shower with this stuff. I’m currently using “Liquid Freud“, which smells of mango and coconut, and aims at calming. Next? I’m getting “Bathing with Sharks” to boost confidence in the boardroom. The bonus? It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and is never tested on animals.
SkinnyGirl Popcorn – I have a love/hate relationship with popcorn, but when I saw SkinnyGirl popcorn at the grocery, I wanted to try it. I got the “Sea Salt and Lime” flavor, and it is unique and delish! The box is filled with mini bags, which are good for a low-calorie, delicious snack. I’ve seen ads for the “Rosemary and Olive Oil” flavor, but haven’t seen it in-store yet. I cannot wait to try that one!
…And there you have it; all of my lovely favorites right now, just in time for Heart’s Day. If you’re coupled and have something fantastic planned, hey, I’m happy for you. If you’re single, head up, and pop some bottles (See: my complete guide to bubbly). Me? I’ll be at dance rehearsal for a good chunk of the day. This year, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating strength, and being okay with my #CatLady life! See y’all right here on Monday! xoxo