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Kiss and Make-Up



I'm just an average girl with a lust for lipstick!



Last Build Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:29:56 +0000

 



Now's The Time To Say Goodbye...

Sun, 15 Sep 2013 22:12:00 +0000

Hi everyone! 

I took the summer off from posting and giving serious thought to makeup, skin care, etc., and you know what?  I enjoyed the freedom. 

I've been writing this blog since 2006, and it has been a lot of fun.  I learned a lot, tried a ton of products, and met a lot of cool people.  But all good things must come to an end. 

My personal interests have shifted, and keeping this blog up has felt more like an obligation than a labor of love as of late.  With that in mind, I think now is the time to say goodbye and end my blog.  I am not going to delete it, so you'll be able to access all my old posts, but I won't be doing anything new.

I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, and making this blog so much fun.  I had no idea what I was getting  myself into when I started, and I never expected that I would be blogging for so many years.  You can still catch up with me on Twitter!

Again, thank you for your support over the years.

Take care,
Lydia

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Time Flies...

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 22:14:00 +0000

I fully intended to write several blog posts before my two-week July vacay, but yeah...that didn't happen.  The way I'm rolling in July (that is, with much sloth and no work ethic to speak of), I probably won't post until August.  Who knows.

Everyone needs a break, even a beauty blogger. 

So...that said, have a great summer and I'll be back when I am back! In the meantime, you can always follow me on twitter or flickr, leave me a comment, or shoot me an email if you need me.

Have fun!(image)



New Goodies to Pamper Yourself

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000

During the summer, skin is exposed to heat, sun, humidity, saltwater, chlorine, sweat, and lots of other nasty things.  The result of this exposure?  Dried out skin in need of some TLC.  Thankfully, there are tons of great products out there to help your skin get hydrated.  Here are two new products to check out...
LULAHLulah is a new fashion-fragrance brand, created by the parent company, Thymes. Inspired by today's stylish woman, Lulah features a fresh, flirty, fun assortment of strikingly luxe aromatics and skin-enhancing ingredients. Thoughtfully crafted and wonderfully irresistible, Lulah provides sophisticated fragrances at everyday prices. The Lulah Collection includes lushly enticing body wash, body lotion, body mist and hand cream. Available in Peony, Magnolia Fig, Vanilla Orchid, Citron and Tamarind Ginger, this collection ranges from $9-$13.

I really like the Vanilla Orchid body lotion.  It has enough of a fragrance to be noticed, but it is light, fresh, and quite lovely.  I've been using it after I shave, and my legs are thanking me!
CHOCO-LUSCIOUS SKIN SMOOTHIE
Vermont Soap has expanded its popular organic bath and body collection to include a new Choco-Luscious Organic Skin Smoothie. The new moisturizer is easily spread and absorbed and doesn’t leave a greasy feel or film. Certified organic ingredients include coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax and rosemary extract. According to Vermont Soap Founder Larry Plesent, “Your skin will love you for it! And you’ll smell choco-yummy too!”

I adore cocoa butter and this product works really well on tough places like elbows, knees, and heels. I used to live in Vermont and have visited Vermont Soap on occasion.  Their products are great, and I love giving money to smaller companies.

If your skin needs some TLC this summer, be sure to check out these products!(image)



My Last Birchbox

Mon, 01 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time.  I was very, very busy with work, and then I got sick (thanks to stress and my crazy schedule).  I'm finally feeling better and now I'm off work for most of July.  I need the downtime.  I am planning to do some blog updates, but since it is summer and I need a break from all responsibilities, there may be periods of no posts for a bit.  I guess what I'm saying is hang in there!

In the midst of my feeling gross, I received my June Birchbox and a notification that my yearly subscription was up for renewal.  Here's what was in the June box:
  • Birchbox and Color Club nail polish from the Wanderlust Collection ($8 for 4 mini-bottles). I got Reign in Spain, but there are a total of four colors: London Calling (a sunny green), Reign in Spain (a fiery coral), Pardon My French (candy-colored lavender) and Mod in Manhattan (a brilliant off-white).  I am not thrilled with the color I got, but I may give it a try.  I'm pretty sure it won't look great with my skin tone.
  • Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (full price: $18).  This is an award-winning oil-busting dry shampoo that is beloved by celebs.  I have tried many different dry shampoos and always get the same result: disappointment.  I am so not a fan of these products.  I may try this one, but I have super low expectations.
  • Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser (full size: $32.95). This is a two-in-one cleanser and exfoliator that "magically" lathers and leaves a lemony smell.  I'll give this a try, but i am not impressed by the tiny, tiny size of the sample.
  • The Laundress Wash and Stain Bar (full size: $6). This is a "lifestyle extra" for the box, and honestly, I wish it had been left out.  It smells so strong that the minute I open the box, it is all I can smell.  It is a little bar that helps remove stains.  I like the idea of this product...I just wish it didn't have such a strong scent.  Blech.
  • Also included was a sample of Something Blue, a perfume from Oscar de la Renta.  

So...this is my last Birchbox.  As I mentioned, I got an email saying that my annual subscription was up for renewal.  This email came around the same time as my June box.  I was not impressed with the June box, and haven't really been digging the samples in the Birchboxes this year.  So I canceled.  And I feel good about this decision. 

Over the months, the size of the box got smaller, and I was less and less impressed with the products I received. If I could fix Birchbox, I would include a full size product every month, have a wider variety of products, and stop sending stupid samples of perfume (the kind you get for free in department stores) in each and every box.  I seriously have a Birchbox that is overflowing with perfume samples that just need to be thrown out. 

I love the idea of Birchbox and subscribed for two years.  Yes, I'll miss it, but I think it's time to move on.  Who knows...maybe I'll check out a different monthly service, like Glossybox.  We'll see!
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    Beauty Product of the Week: Skin Rescuer

    Thu, 13 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    What is it? Kiehl's Skin Rescuer is a "highly efficacious formula clinically demonstrated to reduce the visible signs of stress on skin: skin fatigue, de-hydration, blotchiness and redness. Addresses both the short-term visible signs and long term premature aging effect that stress can have on skin. Clinical results showed that 100% of those tested showed a significant improvement in overall skin quality, dryness and blotchiness. The formula with Rosa Gallica Botanical Extract helps minimize skin's visible response to stress. Mannose, a barrier protecting rare sugar, shields and helps maintain skin to promote recovery."  Available at Kiehl's for $40.

    What did you think? This has been the Spring of Stress for this poor little beauty blogger. Work has been insane.  My reward for all the long hours and loads of stress will be July off.  But that seems a long way away at the moment.

    Stress does horrible, weird stuff to us.  It can make us gain or lose weight, it can make our hair fall out, and it can mess up our skin. Thankfully, this Skin Rescuer from Kiehl's seems to help.  It is a lightweight, fragrance-free formula that is just right for sensitive skin.  It absorbs quickly and doesn't make my skin feel greasy.  It seems to be improving my skin's texture, and--despite my crazy stress levels--I've had no weird skin issues to deal with.  No redness, no strange dry patches, no breakouts.

    Final verdict? I really like this one!  It has done a nice job of keeping my skin calm during a very stressful time, and it's perfect for everyday use.  Another reason to love Kiehl's!(image)



    Curing Summertime Beauty Sadness

    Wed, 12 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Have you ever heard of nyakio?  It is a new luxury collection of skincare products formulated with  ingredients from and indigenous to Africa. Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, the brand’s founder and namesake, is an American beauty entrepreneur of Kenyan descent. She created the nyakio brand not only to pay homage to her family’s heritage and share their beauty secrets, but also to fill a gap in the marketplace, bringing the timeless beauty traditions and sophistication of Africa to women everywhere. Just as Africa represents many cultures and ethnicities, nyakio products were formulated to benefit women of all ages, skin types and backgrounds.

    This summer, nyakio’s luxurious products offer the perfect solutions to common summer skincare dilemmas.

    Problem: Your regular hydration cream is too heavy for the summer 
    Solution: nyakio Hydrating Face Oil with Kola Nut ($49) is a light, non-greasy fusion of African Kola Nut, Ximenia Oil, Chamomile Oil and Trichilia Oil that invigorates and hydrates for 12 hours, leaving skin with a naturally healthy radiance. The caffeine-rich Kola Nut contains more caffeine than coffee beans and is known for its skin-energizing properties. With only one-to-two drops that are quickly absorbed, all skin becomes smooth, moisturized, and more youthful-looking.

    Problem: Your self-tanner application is uneven
    Solution: Smooth, even skin is key for an even self-tanner application. Achieve this by exfoliating with nyakio Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub ($55). This scrub blends naturally energizing and exfoliating Kenyan Coffee with sugar to remove dull skin while providing antioxidant benefits. With Mongongo Nut Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Grape Seed Oil and Avocado Oil, this unique fusion leaves all skin moisturized, smooth and soft.

    Problem: Too many late night summer soirees have left you feeling (and looking) exhausted
    Solution: nyakio Kenyan Coffee Face Polish ($34) blends naturally energizing Kenyan Coffee with Jojoba to gently remove dull skin while providing antioxidant benefits. With Lemongrass and Neroli Oils, indigenous to Africa, this unique fusion leaves all skin toned, moisturized, soft and immediately radiant. nyakio Kenyan Coffee Face Polish wakes your skin up revealing fresh, more youthful-looking skin!

    The products shown above are available on HSN and HSN.com and on nyakio.com(image)



    Boots for Your Boy

    Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Father's Day is Sunday (yikes!).  Yesterday I gave you some ideas for spiffying up your man with some great hair care products.  Today, it's all about the skin.

    Have you ever tried Boots No7 products? I use Boots face wipes all the time--they're amazing. Now, Boots No7 is expanding and offering a whole new line for products just for him, the Boots No7 Men collection. Products just became available at Walgreens and all their products are super affordable – all under $25! The line includes:
    • Energising Hair & Body Wash $7.99 
    • Energising Face Scrub $8.99 
    • Energising Face Wash $7.99 
    • Rapid Revival Eye Roll On $16.99 
    • Protect &Perfect Intense Day Cream – SPF 15 $22.99 
    • Protect & Perfect Intense Anti-aging Serum $24.99 
    Men need skin care products just as much as we do...and they like to be pampered (even though they sometimes say they don't!).  Give your dad or other special man some of these great products so they'll start taking better care of themselves.  It's a gift that keeps on giving!(image)



    Spiffy Your Man Up

    Mon, 10 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    My 11 year old nephew's last day of school is this week, and he informed me that he wants to "spiffy himself up" for the special day.  In his mind, this means slicking his hair, scrubbing himself down really well, wearing deodorant, and maybe, just maybe, a little cologne.  God help the fellow 5th graders.

    I like that the kid wants to "spiffy" himself up.  That's a great way to think of it.  Just like women, men also benefit from a bit of spiffying.  Check this chart below for ideas on how to spiffy up your man...complete with products to use.  Father's Day is just around the corner--why not give the man in you life some product to spiffy himself up?


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    Free Beauty Events This Month

    Fri, 07 Jun 2013 18:02:00 +0000

    What are you doing this weekend?  Head over to freebeautyevents.com  for find free makeovers in your area, free samples, and a chance to win beauty products in the monthly contest.

    This month, you can take advantage of the CVS P&G Event. Makeup artists will be giving free makeovers with the latest CoverGirl products and giving away samples and coupons. Also in June, the CVS L’Oreal Haircare Event features free samples and coupons from L’Oreal’s new Advanced Haircare line. This is a great opportunity to see which products work best for you! To find out if an event will be near you, just enter your zip code in the upper right hand corner of the home page. You can enter your zip code to find out what makeover, gift with purchase, spa open houses and sampling events are happening near your home.

    Freebeautyevents.com also features a blog on product reviews (http://www.freebeautyevents.com/beauty-blog) and a monthly contest http://www.freebeautyevents.com/contest. They also do a contest each week with a smaller prize on their blog. For the month of June 2013, they will be giving away 10 prizes. Each prize will consist of Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes, Yes to Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub, Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15, and Yes to Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment. The Contest runs from 6/1/2013 to 6/30/2013, winners will be chosen on 7/2/2013 and notified by 7/15/2013.To enter, all you have to do is go to http://www.freebeautyevents.com/contest and supply your name, email (only used to contact winners), and zip.
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    (Shit) Shave and Shower

    Thu, 06 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    I love tools and products that multitask.  With peak travel season coming, I tend to hunt down products that will make my life easier when it comes to packing.  Why pack three different products when you can get one to do it all?

    I recently received a sample of shhh. by Stormsister.  shhh. looks like a normal bar of soap, but it can be used for cleansing, as a shampoo, and for shaving.  That means packing one bar of soap instead of a bar of soap plus a bottle of shampoo plus a can of shave cream.  Think of how much space that will save in your traveling makeup bag, your gym bag, or your backpack if you're camping or going to a multi-day concert/festival.

    shh. is a luxury grooming/beauty bar designed for both men and women .  It was created by a hairdresser for travel, gym, and home. shhh. is free of parabens, gluten, phthalates, mineral oils, petrolatum, synthetic dyes, preservatives, artificial fragrance and coloring. All packaging is 100% compostable and recyclable.

    That's all well and good, but how does it work?  Pretty well, I must say!  It smells good (it has a natural, lavendar-y smell) and is fun to use.  You lather up your hair and then use that lather to clean your body, shave, whatever.  I still needed to use conditioner, but that's ok.  Like I said, it will still take the place of three products, so that's pretty awesome.

    Click here to check out shhh. and other Stormsister products for yourself.(image)



    Going Coastal

    Wed, 05 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Now that the cold weather is behind us, I am really looking forward to spending time at the beach.  When I was a kid I spent every summer at my grandparents' boardwalk and oceanfront condo in Ocean City, MD.  Now as an adult, I have access to my parents' beach house on the Pacific Ocean in Washington State.  I feel like I need to see the ocean on a regular basis to keep from going crazy.

    I love everything about the ocean: the sound of the wave, the smell of the sand, the cool breezes off the water.  I love the way my skin smells after spending the day at the beach: a combination of suntan lotion, sand, sun, and saltwater.  It's perfect.

    When I am not at the beach, I like to have things around me that remind me of my carefree beach days.  I have tons of sand dollars, tumbled rocks, and a jar filled with sea glass.  I also like using products that smell like the beach, whether it's a candle, a body cream, or a room spray.

    Thymes has a new line of household and personal care products that have an amazing beach smell, their new Azur line.  Reminiscent of the ocean breeze, this collection has notes of white tea, white pepper and moist water lily combined with scents of jasmine blossoms, fruity bergamot and fresh green herbs. It's a refreshing scent that I just love.  Click here to check out the Azur line of products and pick some up to add some oceany goodness into your routine!(image)



    (Frankie Says) Relax!

    Tue, 04 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

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    Sorry for the awesome 80s music reference...and if it made you have an earworm for the rest of the day.
    As I have gotten older, I've learned a weird rule: when you're rushing around and running late, the best thing you can do is slow down.  Similarly, when you want to panic, you really need to just chill. It seems to make no sense, but it's true.  When you're in a huge hurry, you tend to make stupid mistakes that end up costing you more time in the long run.

    Here's a great example: you hit your snooze button a few times and, when you finally wake up, you're running late. You respond by rushing through your shower, skipping breakfast, blow-drying sopping wet hair, and doing your makeup in the car on the way to work (which you're already late for).  All bad ideas. 

    When it comes to showering, you're best bet is to turn down the temperature of the water (I love hot showers, but the hot water zaps your skin of much needed hydration) and take you time.  Give your conditioner a minute or two to work.  Slow down when you're shaving (otherwise...ouch!).  Sure, you're running late, but take a minute under the water to relax and wake up.

    Skipping breakfast is a horrible idea.  There are days when the last thing I want to do in the morning is eat breakfast.  When that happens, I have a cup of coffee and something small.  It's important to eat a decent breakfast when you can.  It sets you up for a more successful day, better concentration, and a lower overall body weight. 

    When it comes to your hair, drying soaking wet hair is going to end up costing you more time in the long run.  Wet hair takes longer to style, and dripping hair is more elastic, therefore, more prone to breakage from the tug of the brush. Instead of hitting your hair with heat as soon as you step out of the shower, start by taking the nozzle off of your dryer, flipping your head over, and blowing your hair around just enough to get rid of excess water. Then, let hair air dry while you put on your makeup and get dressed. When hair is about 80 percent dry, you can start styling (if you’re hair is coarse, curly, or dry, air-dry by only 25-50 percent to avoid introducing any frizz).

    It can be hard to get yourself up and out the door in a timely manner...especially on long, stress-filled work days, but the next time you're running late, slow down, take a deep breathe, and enjoy your morning rituals.(image)



    Basking in the After Glow

    Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    It seems like more and more people have gluten allergies these days. Thankfully, I am not one of these people (because I love bread, pasta, and all things gluten), though I do suffer from my own weird food allergies.  According to some counts, as many as 1 in 133 people in the USA suffer from extreme wheat and gluten sensitivities.  I have never considered this before, but these folks have a tough time when it comes to personal care and beauty products.  I didn't know that there was a need for gluten-free beauty products, but there is.  Thankfully, companies are becoming more responsive to these unique needs.

    Afterglow Cosmetics is the first (and only) cosmetics company to be certified gluten-free by the gluten-free authority, GFCO.  This is important to people with gluten issues because about 40% of the products we use are absorbed into our skin...and we apparently eat a ton of lipstick every year.

    So...they may be gluten-free, but how are the Afterglow products?  Happily, they're pretty damn good.  I've received a few samples and am impressed with their quality.  The eye shadows have excellent pigmentation, and their lip products have plenty of shine and staying power.  Check out their website if you're looking for organic products, if you have a need for gluten-free products, or if you just want to add something new to your toolkit. 

    Gluten-free girls: now you can have your lipstick and eat it too!(image)



    Product Preview: Foreo Luna

    Thu, 30 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Instead of a Beauty Product of the Week review today, I am going to introduce you to a new face cleansing, anti-aging tool that just might give other facial brushes a run for their money: the Luna by Foreo.

    What is it?
    The Luna is can be used to both clean your face and help fight the signs of aging.  Here's some more info...

    Activate your skin’s natural potential with just 2 minutes of use both morning and night. By applying pulsations that have been shown to improve blood flow by up to 450%, the Luna delivers sophisticated facial care that revitalizes skin and melts away the signs of aging.

    The Luna’s gentle Cleansing Mode provides the essential foundation for any facial care regime. The Luna's Anti-Aging Mode works by gently directing low-frequency pulsations beneath the skin’s surface, relaxing facial muscles and promoting cell renewal, leaving your skin looking smooth, luminous and naturally youthful.

    Fitting seamlessly into your daily routine, the Luna clears away dead skin cells, opens pores and drives out dirt, oil and makeup residue. The result is a much deeper clean than washing by hand, enhancing the benefits of your favorite skincare products while preserving your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

    Regular use not only promises a fresher, more radiant complexion right from the start, it also lays the foundation for a lifetime of younger, healthier-looking skin.

    How does it work?
    Transdermal sonic pulsations, rather than standard oscillation, gently stimulate blood flow beneath the skin’s surface, cleansing from the inside out and smoothing away the signs of aging in a similar way to the Botox effect. Nonabrasive brush surfaces made from soft, smooth silicone – the first of their kind - making it ultra-gentle and actually pleasant to use on the skin.

    The promise?
    So effective, you notice a visible difference in skin tone after just 3 days, and your face will feel softer and invigorated after just one use. Organic design – 100% waterproof, fully rechargeable for 450 uses at a time, and it looks beautiful as well!

    First impressions
    I'll give you a full review later--after some more uses.  I have used this a couple of time so far, and here's what I noticed:
    • It is easy to use.  Much like my Sonicare toothbrush, it seems to have a built-in timer, so you know how long you're working on a particular area and when you need to move on.
    • Since it is waterproof, you can use it in the shower, making it convenient for use in the morning when I am pressed for time.
    • It is gentle.  
    • It seems to make my skin feel smoother when I'm done with it.
    • So far, I like it!  As I said, I'll let you know more after a longer test period.
    More information is online.  I'll tell you more about my experiences later!(image)



    Get Naughty Nautical This Summer!

    Wed, 29 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

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    Gatsby Style

    Tue, 28 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Have you seen Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” yet?  If not, go see it.  I re-read the book last summer (for fun, because I am a nerd), and I was very happy with the movie.  It seemed loyal to the book and it created an opulent world filled with eye-popping style. If you check out Gatsby (and you must!) you'll have so many beauty and style questions to answer, like:Just how does one create sleek waves? What shade of deco red rouge is appropriate for both a Gatsby-themed office party and a Saturday night dinner date?Hair: Nexxus Youth Renewal™ Rejuvenating Elixir, $17.99 Show up to the nightly outdoor summer parties with a perfectly styled wavy bob. Nexxus Creative Director Kevin Mancuso recommends using “a curling iron to create waves then brush hair straight down.” Preserve and strengthen your look with the new Nexxus Youth Renewal™ Rejuvenating Elixir and finish it off with a perfectly-placed headband.Availability: Nexxus Youth Renewal™ products are available at mass, drug and grocery stores nationwide.Eyes: Laura Mercier Crème Eye Liner in Noir $22 and Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush, $20Laura Mercier Crème Eye Liner and Angled Eye Liner Brush make it easy to recreate the sharply defined and lined eyes of the 1920s. The unique formula combines the finish of a gel with the precision of a liquid liner and applies in one effortless stroke.Availability: www.lauramercier.comCheeks: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color in Medusa (PK107), $30 Delivering a glow true only of a day in the Buchanan garden, this color illuminates with a delicate blush radiance.Availability: www.shiseido.comLips: Shiseido Perfect Rouge in Salon (RD305), $25 This beautiful deep red exudes chic ‘20s elegance, creating brilliant color definition with a smooth matte finish.Availability: www.shiseido.comFace: RéVive Glycolic Renewal Peel Professional System, $295Instantly achieve glowing, evenly-toned, smooth skin – a trademark of any true society woman – with the NEW RéVive Glycolic Peel Professional System. Created by RéVive founder, Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, this advanced, easy-to-use, 2 step skin-transforming system reveals skin that looks younger, brighter, and overall healthier – now and in the future.Availability: www.ReViveSkincare.comBody: St. Ives Revitalizing Pear & Soy Body Wash, $2.99 It’s the 1920s and it’s the first time people are showing off their skin in the 20th century! Make sure yours is silky and smooth with the St. Ives Revitalizing Pear & Soy Body Wash with a fresh and delightful scent that will make you feel like you’re enjoying the summer in East Egg.Availability: St. Ives is available at mass, drug and grocery stores nationwide.[...]



    Let it Be!

    Wed, 22 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

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    My current mantra.  Better than "whatever..."
    This Spring (April through mid-June, and possibly this August...we'll see) is filled with one stressful event after the other.  My work life has exploded and I have way too much to do.  I'm doing my best to stay sane and get through it without letting too much fall through the cracks.

    Due to the high volume of work (and stress) currently in my life, I am doing my best to keep this blog up-to-date.  I know I am going to miss a day or week here or there, but that doesn't mean I've lost interest or that I'm closing up shop.

    To counteract all this craziness, I realize that I have to be kind to myself first and foremost. I have to take a "let it be" approach on things that I just can't deal with.  Yes, I'll get my bills paid, but I won't stress about updating my checkbook.  Yes, I'll try to make healthy choices with food and exercise when I can, but I won't torture myself by checking the scale or punishing myself for not being perfect or gaining a pound or two (or five!) during these stressful times.  Sure, I'll do my laundry each week, but cleaning my house from top to bottom may just have to wait.  In other words, I am going to let it be.  Keep calm and carry on...or whatever you're favorite saying is for just going with the flow.

    One thing that is non-negotiable: getting enough sleep and maintaining good habits like washing off my makeup before going to bed.  The last thing I need is to be stressed, sleep deprived, and broken out!

    How do you get though stressful periods when time is tight and expectations from almost every corner are sky-high?  How do you find balance?  Add some thoughts, because I think this is something we all struggle with.

    Enough for now.  Hope you are having a good week.  I'll try to get a Beauty Product of the Week up for tomorrow...if not, I'll get to it later (or not!).(image)



    May Birchbox

    Tue, 21 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    I've been super busy this week, so it was nice to come home last week to have a new Birchbox waiting for me.  Here's what I get to try out this week:

    Amika Obliphica Hair Treatment: a fragrant hair oil that adds manageability and shine (full size: $34).  I hope this is better than the Amika shampoo I tested out a few weeks ago!

    Cargo Lipgloss (in Sunset Blvd.): brand new gloss; comes in pretty hues and is clinically proven to keep lips hydrated all day long (full size: $14).  I can always use a new lipgloss.  Cargo stuff is typically pretty awesome, so I have high hopes.

    COOLA Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face: this is a mineral sunblock that is infused with organic anti-aging ingredients like evening primrose extract and borage seed oil (full size: $32).  I love the idea of an anti-aging SPF and adding cucumber should make it seem cooling and pleasant.

    Isaac Mizrahi Fabulous Eau de Perfum: Isaac's first scent A fanciful blend of mandarin and jasmine laced with vanilla (full size: $20-$69).  I sprayed this to get a whiff and it was strong!  I need to give it another go.  On a side note, I just love Isaac Mizrahi.  He's fabulous!

    Also included in this month's box was a pen from Pilot.  Since I love books, ink, and all sorts of wordy-nerdy stuff, the pen makes me just as excited as the lipgloss.  Lame, but true!

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    Award Winning Beauty

    Mon, 20 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) celebrated this year’s breakthrough beauty products at the 19th Annual CEW Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards. This year, CEW awarded 36 products across 30 product categories, plus Best Seller Awards, the Indie Beauty Award, Eco Beauty Award, and QVC Beauty Quest Award.The award-winning products included bath and body care, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and the newly-added skincare tools and lip treatment categories. The CEW Beauty Awards is the only awards program in which the winners are determined exclusively by beauty industry professionals, CEW’s 5,500+ members who know the best in beauty.The complete list of winners is below.  Did any of your favorites make the cut? The 2013 CEW Beauty Awards winners are:BATH AND BODYBath and Body MassEucerin - Professional Repair Lotion Extremely Dry Skin LotionBath and Body PrestigeBliss - FatgirlsixpackSKINCAREAcne TreatmentGLAMGLOW, Inc. - Super-mud Clearing TreatmentAnti-Aging MassAvon - Anew Clinical Pro Line Eraser Treatment A-F33Anti-Aging Prestigephilosophy - Full of Promise Treatment Duo for Uplifting Days and Volumizing NightsCleanser & ScrubFresh, Inc. - Rose Cleansing FoamEye Treatment MassL'Oréal Paris - Revitalift Triple Power Eye TreatmentEye Treatment PrestigeLancôme - Génifique Eye Light-PearlLip TreatmentFresh, Inc. - Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced TherapyMoisturizer MassNeutrogena Corporation - Naturals Multi-vitamin Nourishing MoisturizerMoisturizer PrestigeClinique - Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying HydratorSkincare ToolsNuFACE - Trinity Skin Boosting System with Microcurrent and Red LEDSun ProductElizabeth Arden - Prevage Triple Defense Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50+++HAIRHair Care ProductOjon™- Rare Blend Oil Total Hair TherapyHair Coloring ProductRita Hazan New York - Foaming Color Gloss in Tones Down BrassinessHair Styling ProductOjon™ - Super Sleek Restorative Blowout PerfectorMAKEUPEye Product MassMaybelline New York - The Mega Plush Mascara by Volum' Express MascaraEye Product PrestigeDior Beauty - Diorshow New Look MascaraFace Product MassSonia Kashuk for Target® - Chic Luminosity Bronzer in GoddessFace Product PrestigeSmashbox Cosmetics - Photo Finish More Than Primer Dark Spot CorrectingLip Product MassSonia Kashuk for Target® - Satin Luxe Lip Color with SPF 16Lip Product PrestigeDior Beauty - Addict Extreme LipstickMEN'S GROOMINGJack Black - Dry Erase® Ultra-calming Face CreamNAIL PRODUCTSally Hansen - Salon Insta-gel Strips™SCENTMen's ScentViktor & Rolf- SpicebombPerfumer- IFFWomen's Scent MassCoty - Closer by Halle BerryPerfumer- FirmenichWomen's Scent PrestigeCoty Inc. - Dot Marc JacobsPerfumer- FirmenichINDIE BEAUTY AWARDJulep™ECO BEAUTY AWARD** Sponsored by Givaudan and vetted by The Natural StepNourish | Organic Food For Healthy SkinQVC BEAUTY QUEST AWARDNeydharting MoorBEST SELLER MASSL’Orèal Paris Colour Riche NailBEST SELLER PRESTIGEEstée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming SerumBEST SELLER FRAGRANCELancôme La Vie est Belle[...]



    A New Week Already?

    Mon, 13 May 2013 00:34:00 +0000

    I typically take some time during the weekend to update my blog for the coming week. This just didn't happen over the past weekend. Let's blame Mother's Day and genuine exhaustion for my slack. I'll do my best to post later this week, though I make no promises. Hope the coming week is a good one! I'll be back soon. (image)



    Beauty Product of the Week: Kombucha Cleanser

    Thu, 09 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    What is it? emerginC's Scientific Organics Kombucha Cleanser is a "gentle, effective, deep cleanser for all skin types that helps remove environmental pollutants, excess oil and make-up without drying the skin.  The main ingredient is Kombucha, with grape stem cells, algae extract, glycerin, brightening complex with xylose and galactose from palmaria palmata, spirulina, green tea, white tea, aloe vera, and maritime pine bark."  Available online for $34.

    What did you think? emerginC recently launched an all natural results-oriented line of skincare products under their Scientific Organics brand.  These products are made from organic ingredients and do not contain nasty chemicals like parabens and petro-chemicals.  In other words, this cleanser is pretty darn clean. 

    I have combination skin, so it can be tricky to find a product that cleans well, controls my oily spots, and doesn't over dry my dry patches.  This cleanser seemed to be a good compromise.  It seemed to remove my makeup well and it left my skin feeling clean and fresh.  It has a light, bright, almost citrus-y smell that I really like.  It doesn't lather up as well as I would like, but that wasn't enough to keep me from liking it. 

    Final verdict? This is a spendy product, but it seems to cleanse effectively without stripping all the oils from the skin (overdrying is a bad thing!).  Plus this smells amazingly good, so go for it if you have the cash. (image)



    A Kiss for Your Mother

    Wed, 08 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 12th. What better gift to give mom than a kiss! Kiss My Face has created gift baskets that bundle all natural skin love to pamper mom this May. In addition to these gift baskets, Kiss My Face invites you to raise the bar and let mom indulge in the new collection of all natural bar soaps. The traditionally drying properties that once supplied a bar soap have been reformulated into lush, hand made, triple milled offerings that are just perfect for mom.



    All Olive Collection ($29)
    Nourish mom’s skin with the unique benefits of olive oil with this five piece collection of soaps, moisturizers, shaves and balm. Includes:
    • Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap 
    • Olive & Aloe Moisturizer 
    • Green Tea & Bamboo Moisture Shave 
    • Olive & Aloe Liquid Moisture Soap Olive 
    My Body Soothing Body Balm The Spa Collection ($99)
    Bring the spa home for mom with this eight piece spa collection of premium body care products. Contains:
    • C the Change Ester C Serum 
    • Pore Shrink Deep Pore Cleansing Mask 
    • Start Up Exfoliating Face Wash 
    • Eye Witness Eye Repair Crème 
    • Clean For A Day Creamy Face Cleanser 
    • Balancing Act Facial Toner 
    • Brightening Day Crème 
    • Lavender Candle 
    Kiss My Face Olive Oil Bar Soaps ($2.99 for 4 oz and $3.99 for 8 oz)
    Olive Oil nourishes skin and fights aging. No foamers, artificial colors, or additives. Suitable for all skin types. Available in:
    • Olive
    • Olive & Aloe
    • Green Tea
    • Honey
    • Lavender 
    All Kiss My Face products are available at KissMyFace.com.(image)



    Spa DIY

    Tue, 07 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    As much as I enjoy going to a spa to get pampered, I also like being able to have a DIY spa day in the privacy of my own home.  As the summer season is finally upon us, Josie Feria, Director of Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau, shows us how to bring luscious Lapis Spa treatments home and get rid of dry, unseen skin just in time for summer!

    Pre-Summer Body Exfoliation Simulates Spalicious Body Scrub 
    Skin softening natural all body exfoliating treatment
    Ingredients:
    ½ cup olive oil
    ¾ cup fine sea salt
    drops of your favorite aromatherapy oil (Keep in mind the oil selected should be specific to treatment goal – citrus is energizing – lavender relaxing – peppermint stimulating)

    Place all items in a bowl and blend together.
    Next, step into the shower and moisten the body; apply the blend by hand in circular motion or for increased exfoliation apply with loofah mitt or body brush
    Rinse off thoroughly.
    Skin will feel smooth and soft and supple. For further hydration apply body lotion directly to moist skin.

    Pre-Summer Facial for Extra Dry Skin 
    Skin softening avocado mask for combination or dry skin
    Ingredients:
    ½ avocado
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
    1 tablespoon of coconut oil
    1 teaspoon of baking soda.

    The avocado and coconut oils work as an instant skin softener as the baking soda works as a mild exfoliator.  Place all items in bowl and blend well together
    Apply the mixture to your face and leave on for 10-15 minutes
    Rinse off with warm water

    Foot Scrub for Dry Feet and Heels Simulates Foot Rehab Pedicure
    Begin by soaking feet in ¼ cup baking soda to reduce inflammation and cleanse feet thoroughly for 10 minutes
    Using a wet pumice stone rub heels thoroughly yet gently to remove dry callous
    Next, apply coconut oil to feet
    Finally, wrap feet in plastic and cover with soft socks for 30 minutes. The plastic and warmth will help the oil to soften the skin.(image)



    Shady Lady

    Mon, 06 May 2013 12:00:00 +0000

    Now that it's May, it is finally time to fully welcome warm weather and a whole lot more sun.  This weekend was the nicest weekend of the year so far in the Seattle area.  We've had a string of sunny days and warm, bordering on hot, temps.  To prep for the change in seasons, I got my first pedicure of the year.  I also did something much more important: I threw out my stash of old sunblocking products and restocked with new stuff.When it comes to sun exposure, I think you can't be careful enough.  I really believe that tanning is deadly...because it is.  In my mind, excessive tanning is the same as smoking: completely unnecessary, potentially lethal, and entirely foolish.  People tan because they want to look good.  They think that pale is gross.  Well, I find premature aging, cancerous moles, and orange skin to be gross.  If you're a regular tanner, stop it.  Now. If you're sensible, you already know that you should be wearing SPF every day--no matter what the weather is like.  I prefer to use cosmetics that have SPF built in, and it's easy to find it in moisturizers, foundations, and lip balms.  When I'm going to really be out in the sun, I like almost all the sunblocks from Neutrogena.  Most of the sunblocking products provide broad spectrum helioplex protection, which means they'll fend off skin-aging UVAs and burning UVBs.  My three faves are:Neutorgena Clear Face Broad Spectrum SPF 55: This is breakout free formula, which I appreciate.  It is oil-free, feels light, and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy mess behind.  It also has a very light scent that doesn't linger.Neutrogena Beach Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 70: This formula provides a barrier to both water and sun, so it's perfect for the beach.  Like the Clear Face SPF, this is not greasy at all.  It has a pleasant tropical smell that feels very beachy!Neutrogena UltraSheer Body Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 100: If you like a spray-on sunblock, give this a try.  It goes on cold and covers easily. You can also spray it in your hands to apply to your face. I like the high SPF, and on a warm day, the cold spray feels good.Before you go, here are a few reminders to stay safe with the sun:Replace your SPF products every year--they may seem ok, but you really need to toss them out and replace them regularly.  Buy smaller bottles if you hate being wasteful.Apply the product before you go out in the sun and later if you're still in the sun.  It doesn't last forever.Don't forget to use SPF on weird places like your ears, the back of your neck, your lips, etc.  You don't want to get a burn anywhere, but these places are easy to overlook.Wear sunglasses and a hat.Check your skin regularly for abnormal moles, dark spots, etc.  If something looks weird, get it checked out by your doctor or dermatologist.  Be smart.  Even one burn can increase your chances to get skin cancer.Make sure the men in your life use sunblocking products, too.  Men have high rates of death from skin cancer, probably because they don't take precautions.  Insist that they use something before getting out in the sun. [...]



    May 2013 Free Beauty Events

    Sun, 05 May 2013 22:07:00 +0000

    Love beauty products?  Love free events?  Then check out freebeautyevents.com for free makeovers, free samples and a chance to win beauty products in our monthly contest. Below are highlights of this month’s best events that are being featured on freebeautyevents.com.

    For example, on May 10th and 11th, demonstrators will be at Rite Aid giving free samples and coupons of the new Revitalift Miracle Blur just in time for Mother’s Day. You can also celebrate Mother’s Day at H-E-B in Texas with a complimentary Almay makeover on May 12th.

    Freebeautyevents.com also features a blog on product reviews (http://www.freebeautyevents.com/beauty-blog) and a monthly contest http://www.freebeautyevents.com/contest. They also do a contest each week with a smaller prize on their blog. For the month of May 2013, they're giving away 10 prizes. Each prize will consist of Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash with NutriumMoisture, Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash with NutriumMoisture, and Dove Beauty Bar for Deep Moisture. The Contest runs from 5/1/2013 to 5/31/2013, winners will be chosen on 6/2/2013 and notified by 6/15/2013.To enter, all you have to do is go to http://www.freebeautyevents.com/contest and supply your name, email (only used to contact winners), and zip.(image)