Essie “Big Spender” Thursday, May 17 2012 

Trendy. Edgy. Bold. Fashionable. Exotic. Spectacular.

 

All words that have bandied about in my brain to describe the “dark” world of nail lacquer and the hands lucky enough to wear such colors.

 

Even during my acrylic nail days, I was always just a bit secretly envious of ladies who could pull off bold, dark nail polish hues. My sister, who has very similar coloring to mine, has long been a fan of OPI’s famous “Lincoln Park After Dark” and has been a friend of the darker manicures. I always covered away from anything beyong white French tips for years, and during my natural nail journey, this is by far the darkest I’ve ever gone.

 

Essie “Big Spender” has warmed my heart and welcomed me into the magical world of darker nail colors. The perfect purple undertones and clean lines (ahh, I admit, the application was a bit trickier than with “Mademoiselle” or another pale hue) have been a beacon of hope for my future in the world of darker manicures. Such a brave new world!

 

What’s your favorite dark nail polish color?

 

 

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of well.ca.com

second photo courtesy of frugalupstate.com

third photo(of my manicure) from my iPhone

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My Very Own Pink Monday, May 7 2012 

As much I am loving my new strong nails and embracing bolder, brighter colors for the Spring/Summer season, sometimes, a girl just needs a good “pale pink” moment at her fingertips!

 

 

A soft, pale pink keeps your hands looking clean, elongated and feminine. I’ve gushed before about how much I love Essie’s Mademoiselle, but upon recent application I found it just a touch too pale for me. To brighten up my look, I applied a few coats of good ol’ Essie and then layered another coat of OPI’s In The Spotlight Pink. 

 

I’ve created my own little marriage of OPI and Essie wonder! All hail the pale pink manicure!

 

It was nice to sift through my Essie arsenal and come up pink with a nice OPI standard. I was extremely excited to create my own custom color. What are your favorite nail polishes to blend to create your very own perfect color?

 

Media Credits:

all images taken with my iPhone

Spring Nail Style: Essie “Play Date” Wednesday, Apr 4 2012 

In efforts to keep up with the “bright” trend that is everywhere this Spring, I’ve become much braver with my nail polish choices. Essie “play date” marks my boldest nail hue to date.

I’ve always favored pinks and purples for my pedicures, and now, as my natural nails are finally starting to show some strength, I’m having a great time experimenting with new Essie colors!

 

This playful purple is all about fun, and isn’t Spring supposed to be fun? Not sure I would wear this if I had to perform surgery or appear in a court case, as it’s not the most professional or grown-up manicure, but I’m lucky enough to be able to play with some fun fashion and colors in my daily life.

 

Thoughts?

 

Photo courtesy of my iPhone

Rave Review: Collin Skincare Line Tuesday, Apr 3 2012 

I’ve been using Collin Skincare products for almost three years- the French line was first recommended to me by my facialist after a summer spa day.

 

GM Collin Paris was first launched in 1957 by a dermatologist in France. Their fabulous products soon began to gain recognition and crossed the pond. They are masters of tailoring various products for each skin type and each skin concern, whether it’s anti-aging or fighting blemishes.

 

I swear by the “Normal to Oily” line (that code is the blue semi circle) made up of their Oxygen Puractive Cleaning Gel, Acne Complex toner and the Puracne Oxygen Gel (which is just delicious, by the way.)

 

I’ve also used their grapefruit-smelling Intensive Exfoliating Gel in the shower, and loved it.

 

I’ve had my skin problems for years, ranging from major hormonal breakouts to pesky blackheads. When you’re a pale, freckled redhead, the sun is not always your friend. My skin is insanely sensitive so when I find something that works, I tend to stick with it for a while.

Unlike other skin care systems I’ve tried, like ProActive, the Collin line continues to work year after year. Better yet, the more I use it, the more it works! Sometimes I use the Garnier Exfoliator at night if I’ve had a heavy day of sweating or wore more makeup than usual, but I’ve found that if I use Collin at night and in the morning for several days, my skin thanks me.

Their products aren’t cheap, but they are worth every penny. Hey, an ounce of prevention…I’d rather spend my money on great skin care than expensive concealers! Collin has won countless awards for their bevy of products, and I still have more on my wish list to try!

 

I love this line so much that I even use them for my Tinted Moisturizing needs. On days when I just don’t feel like slathering on my Chanel foundation, I turn to their Tinted Mineral Sun Veil, complete with SPF 15.

 

Check out www.gmcollin.com to learn more! I also use beautybridge.com for my ordering.

 

Media Credits:

first four images courtesy of gmcollin.com

fifth image courtesy of skinrejuvenex.com

Lady Like Thursday, Mar 22 2012 

My obsession with Essie and their plethora of perfection nail colors has brought me such joy in these spring days.

This is an actual shot of all my Essie products on my bathroom counter. Told you it was an obsession!

 

Changing over my nail polish, experimenting with various hues and embracing the warmer weather means a new favorite! I was searching for that perfect nude-but-not-taupe color, with just a hint of a light purple to give me some color for my pink complexion.

 

Enter Essie’s “Lady Like.” Per-fec-tion. As the summer months arrive and I get bolder with my nail choices, I’ll experiment with some of Essie’s brighter, darker colors.

 

What’s your favorite Essie color?

 

 

 

Media Credits:
first photo from my iPhone (my bathroom counter! Ah!)

second photo courtesy of lacquerwear.com

Sun Kissed Tuesday, Mar 20 2012 

Happy First Day of Spring!

Spring has definitely arrived in Charleston, and those summer temperatures as well!

Summer always makes me grateful for my fabulous cosmetics products, and one of my all-time favorites is Guerlain’s “Terracotta” blush powder. I just worship their sheer bronzing powder in “Fair”- blondes and redheads alike can rejoice in this wonder. One swoop of this blush/bronzer extraordinaire is all I need to look like I basked in the warmth of the sun all weekend.

 

What’s your favorite beauty product for summer weather?

 

Media Credit:

photo courtesy of instyle.com

Nuts for NIVEA Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

Skin care is of the utmost importance. Removing makeup each night, although sometimes a dreadfully unpleasant task after a long night when your bed is so-lovingly-close and you have to splash cold water on your face and launch into a full cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturizing regimen, is one of the best things you can do for your health and appearance. Your hard work and extra moments of forced consciousness will pay off in a beautiful, radiant, glowing, healthy face.

 

But what about the rest of your body? In all this cleansing craze, have we neglected our neck, hands, elbows and legs, which can also fall prone to skin problems? Dry, irritated skin-especially in the winter months- creeps up all over, not just where your moisturizer hits. To solve this dilemma, one of my favorite brands to turn to is NIVEA.

Their “Prepare to Be Kissed” campaign is all about lip care- and their extensive line is divine, by the way. I have at least 4 tubes of NIVEA currently in use at all times- in my purse, my car, my husband’s car, at my desk, etc.

 

One of my favorite NIVEA products is their “Smooth Sensation” lotion. It’s practically a staple on my bedside at all times- I use it twice a day and love every minute of it. The silky feeling afterward is like a little spa treatment, sure to keep you calm all day long.

 

They also have a line of men-friendly (read: smells yummy but not too yummy) products. This is literally one of the only lotions my husband will endure. I think he secretly looks forward to it, like a mini massage. Maybe it’s the masculine packaging. In any case, their post-shave options are simply the best.

 

 

 

If you want to prep for Spring by adding a skin-kissed glow to your look, forego the tanning bad and enjoy NIVEA’s lathering sun products.

Of course, what most women want these days is that fountain of youth. While NIVEA makes no extraordinary claims of being carded while out for your 50th birthday celebration, these creams have been proven to improve skin’s elasticity and youthful appearance. Need more proof? 30-year old Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with all the beauty resources of the globe available to her, stocks up on pots of NIVEA cream that cost a whopping 5 euros! Read the full story here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/8571208/Duchess-of-Cambridge-expected-to-fuel-sales-of-5-face-cream.html

 

What do you think of NIVEA? What is your favorite skin care product?

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of ukate.net

second photo courtesy of stayathomesaver.com

third, fourth, and fifth photos courtesy of nivea.us.com

sixth photo courtesy of beautybets.com

Must-Have MakeUp Brushes Tuesday, Mar 6 2012 

I’ve become a bit of a beauty junkie lately. I’ve always loved cosmetics and make-up, but ever since the world read that Kate Middleton, before she was officially Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, would do her own makeup for the world’s most-watched wedding, the beauty product obsession has taken a turn.

 

 

Of course makeup selection is important, but equally important is what you choose to apply this make-up with. You could spend $80 on bronzer, but if you apply if incorrectly, it looks like utter rubbish. The best part about brushes is that they will last you through several seasons, trends and cycles of makeup. I have a few in my collection, but these are my all time go-to favorites:

 

 

My favorite new tool for all blush and bronzer application is the large, round powder brush my Trish McEvoy, known as the “Brush Powder Blush” in her collection. The soft bristles are perfect for an even, flawless, polished look. I have an old Sephora blush brush that I travel with and use occasionally.

My favorite new brushes, however, are for my eyes. The Trish McEvoy system of eyeliner brush application has me addicted. I really don’t know what I did before I discovered the “Brush 50 Angled Eye Lining” creation. I still sometimes head for my Kohl pencil, but nothing beats the simple, smooth lines that I achieve with the thin brush. The slanted line plays like a “connect-the-dots” along your top eyelid, and I find I get more control on the bottom lid by being able to angle my hand away from my eye, rather than trying to navigate a bulky pencil.

I also obviously love all of Trish’s brushes, but the one “dark house” in my makeup brush collection would be by MAC. The “Eye Shader” brush is perfect for adding a darker color on top of my neutral everyday shadow. I like to have separate brushes for nude-toned colors and those with darker pigments. The bristles in this MAC brush seem to cling to the color perfectly until I sweep it across my lid.

Every week, I clean my brushes thoroughly by submerging them in a coffee cup ( I have a special Christmas-themed one I use solely for brush cleaning now) with 2 tablespoons of dish soap and warm water. I let them soak all day and then dry overnight before wiping them clean on a (non-white) towel. I also like to store my brushes in a ceramic, decorative coffee cup, with the bristles pointing out. Germs and infections, be gone!

 

Kate Middleton Obsession Side note: I’ve been a Nivea addict for years, but that obsession has also charged into full swing once it was reported that Kate favors the 5 euro face cream. Check this out! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/8571208/Duchess-of-Cambridge-expected-to-fuel-sales-of-5-face-cream.html

 

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

 

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of glamour.com

second photo courtesy of trishmcevoy.com

third photo courtesy of trishmcevoy.com

fourth photo courtesy of home-ec101.com

fifth photo courtesy of blisstree.com

At-Home Hair Mask Wednesday, Feb 1 2012 

As any beauty junkie will tell you, we are always on the hunt for the latest, greatest at-home routine to spruce up our look.

Looking to Hollywood’s loveliest ladies provides great inspiration, and it’s always a treat when they share their favorite secret recipes to perfect beauty! Recently, the gorgeous Brooke Burke tweeted a link to her YouTube video about an at-home hair mask that she swears by. It sounds kind of wacky, but hey, her hair is spectacular, so I’ll try anything beauty-related once.

The recipe for this hair mask is: half a ripe avocado, 2 tbs olive oil (I’ve also read in other places that olive oil is great for hair conditioning), 2 eggs and a spoonful of mayonnaise. It’s impressive that with the access to all the incredible resources and hair stylists that Brooke has, she still prefers a cheap, kitchen-ready regimen to condition her flowing locks. Here is the link to her original-and adorable-video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUQ_sWACfXM

 

I tried this hair mask a few days ago, and I have a few words of advice if you’re up to trying it. First, it’s not a pretty look, so definitely give yourself a few hours of nothing to leave the mask on without having to interact with people. I was able to hang out all morning and clean my house, and my kitties promist that they don’t care what my head looks like.

 

Also, secure a towel you don’t care about around your shoulders to protect from drips. I think it was the egg, and it kept plopping off my hairline, like really goopy sweat. I was able to dab with tissues and use the towel to keep my shirt clean. I also used an old hair elastic that I just threw away after this mask.

This was my hair during the mask treatment. I told you it wasn’t pretty, but it felt sort of luxurious, in a gooey kind of way.

 

I can’t say I’ve noticed a drastic difference in my hair in the five days since my hair mask experience, but it can’t hurt, right? Maybe it has to be a weekly ritual or you have to indulge in a few treatments to start seeing Brooke-like results. I will definitely try this again.

Do you have a favorite at-home beauty secret? Will you be trying Brooke’s hair mask?

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of misikko.com

second photo courtesy of hairstyles.tk.com

third photo courtesy of healthsociety.com

fourth photo courtesy of my iPhone

fifth photo courtesy of hownwhat.com

Review of Clarisonic: Mia 2 Wednesday, Jan 18 2012 

Unfortunately, I think I am allergic to the Clarisonic.

I received the Mia 2,, the fanciest Clarisonic on the market, as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. She had seen me admiring it in a magazine- she promised she wasn’t suggesting I desperately needed facials or a new beauty regimen!

 

I began using the Mia as directed on January 2, 2012. It seemed like a great experience, and I used it in the morning, followed by Cetaphil moisturizer and at night, followed by Olay’s Touch of Moisture cream. My skin felt tingly and clean afterward, and I definitely noticed a change for the smoother.

 

But after a few days, I noticed a few tiny pinkish bumps all along the left side of my face, almost forming a circle on my cheekbone under my left eye (avoiding skin that I did not clean with the Clarisonic.) I thought it was nothing- maybe my pillowcase or something else that only affected the left side of my face. But as they did not go away for another two days, I stopped using the Clarisonic all together.

 

After three days off of Mia, the little bumps were faded and completely gone. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but my skin is way too sensitive and breaks out way too easily for me to attempt to use the Mia again. I’ve heard great things about it, so I wish it had worked for me! I am literally allergic to almost every other product I try (had a horrible reaction to a new Trish McEvoy eye color on New Year’s Day!) so I don’t blame the Clarisonic. Maybe I was too rough on that side of my face or I wasn’t properly storing the brush head.

 

I’ve gone back to my pre-Mia routine, which includes the French line of products by Collins, and Garnier’s own mini-Clarisonic brush head “The Brusher”- it doesn’t rotate but it scrubs with its own cleanser.

 

 

Has anyone else tried the Clarisonic Mia 2? What were your results? What are some of your favorite beauty products and gadgets?

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of clarisonicreviews.com

second photo courtesy of sandra.wed.com

third photo courtesy of thestylespy.com

 

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