My 2017 Favorites!

I’m a little late to the game on posting these but sometimes a girl needs a few days  a month to figure out her sh*t. I know you guys get it.

So. In no certain order, here are my favorite products from last year!


MAKEUP

Foundation

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer

This two-year winner takes the cake for a menagerie of reasons. It covers well, lasts long, looks natural and is priced reasonably.

Concealer

Tarte Shape Tape

It’s true, everyone and their dog loves this concealer. Because it is perfection.

Powder

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Foundation

I fully realize that the reason I love this powder so much is because it is also a friggen’ foundation and therefore, the coverage is insane. But I don’t care and neither should you. This powder is velvety soft, beautiful on the skin and makes me feel airbrushed.

Bronzer

Benefit Hoola

Oh Hoola, I can’t quit you. I’ve tried so many bronzers and contour shades and Hoola remains always in my line-up. always on my cheekbones and forever in my heart.

Blush

Milani Baked Blush in Rose D’Oro

Where in the F has everyone been  on discovering this underrated color from Milani? Sure, we’ve all sung the praises of Luminoso but this color is absolutely stunning as well. I wore non-stop last year.

Highlighter

Revolution Blushing Hearts Highlighter in Goddess of Faith

 

I realize as I am typing this that this is the first time I have EVER spoke of this product. I am shooketh. This is hands down, 10 out of 10 the BEST HIGHLIGHT I have ever used. And it is from the DRUGSTORE. And it is heart-shaped. It is perfect on my pale skin, boasting a gorgeous icy champagne hue that is so extra I can hardly contain myself. Hat tip to sister Megan for discovering this gem.

Setting Spray

Milani Make it Last Setting Spray

Although the mister on this thing isn’t my favorite (FAR too much product is centrally distributed), the effects are great. YES it contains alcohol but if it goes in my mouth, why can’t it go on my face? TWSS.

Eyeshadow

Stila Magificent Metals in Diamond Dust

Why do I not own every shade of this product? WHY? I give SO many props to Stila for inventing thee most practical way to apply intense glitter.

Pencil Eyeliner

Too Faced Perfect Eyes Eyeliner

This liner is super creamy so take that as you may. I love how richly pigmented and black it is and being that I am not oily, I have no issues with smearing.

Mascara

TIE! Between Covergirl’s The Super Sizer and Total Tease

The one characteristic these two miracle-workers posses is their ability to separate and be buildable at the same time. If you’re a person who enjoys over 3 coats of mascara, then run out and buy these then come back here and thank me ;).

Lashes

H&M Lashes

Go figure, these .99 cent lashes on closeout from H&M have been easily my favorite of the year. I have worn them multiple times and I cannot get enough of the super thin and flexible band, the natural clumpiness and realistic curl. Here’s what they look like on me:

Lipstick

Mac Cremesheen Lipstick in Creme Cup

You guys saw this one coming 782378435 feet away. This color is just perfect on me and it just so happens to come in my favorite finish AND it’s Mac so it has the vanilla scent. I just feel more myself wearing this, ya feel me?

Lipgloss

Buxom Full-On Lip Creme in Bellini

I cannot recommend any of the Buxom glosses enough. They provide a lil’ plump and a healthy dose of color. What’s not to love?

Lipbalm

Brazilian Kiss Cupuacu Lip Butter by Sol de Janeiro

I know this is good because when I wear it to bed David always says I smell good :). It is super moisturizing and also a jumbo size.

AND of course, Treat Beauty Jumbo Lip Balm in Confetti Cake

These jumbo lip balms are the best! All natural, come in THEE BEST flavors, jumbo sized AND from Portland Oregon!? What more could you want?

Tools

Flower Beauty Makeup Sponge

As I said in this post, this has to be the softest, most bouncy-soft makeup sponge on the market. You can get yours at Wal-Mart for $9 or pay over $20 at Sephora for a Beauty Blender. CHOICE IS YOURS!


HAIRCARE

Shampoo +  Conditioner

Davines is where it’s at y’all. I have  thoroughly enjoyed each and every product from this brand. My stylist uses Davines color on me as well. The whole brand is great and I highly recommend!

Dry Shampoo

Batiste!

Absolutely nothing beats this dry shampoo and I have tried a few (RHYMING!). Yes it leaves a white-cast but I like me a white-cast! How else do you know it’s working?! The tropical scent is my favorite because it smells like coconuts.

Other Hair Products

Davines Oi Oil

Here’s Davines again! This smells amaaaazing and I love to use it on my ends.

Davines MELU Hair Shield

I love how lightweight this spray is. It smells nice and provides the best protection for my hair.


BODYCARE

Lotion

CerVe Renewing SA Lotion

As you might have read about in this post, I have KP (keratosis pilaris). This lotion was recently recommended to me by my dermatologist and I do really like it. Being the winter time, I have not had to be as diligent about putting it on everyday but I do apply it to the affected areas after bathing. It uses salycilic acid to exfoliate and break down the keratin around the hair follicle.

Brazilian Kiss Body Mist by Sol De Janeiro

(in this set)

This body spray smells like everything I want to be. That should tell you all you need to know.

Dr. Teals Epsom Salts

Call me old fashioned but I love me a good ol’ epsom salt bath to cure what ails me. So great for sore muscles and the Dr.Teals brand has so many scents to choose from. I have tried nearly every one and haven’t found a dud yet!

And that wraps it up folks! What are YOUR favorites from 2017??

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How I Deal with Keratosis Pilaris

Hellerrr.

Today, let us delve in to the oh-so-fun world of KP!

But first! A disclaimer.

I am not a dermatologist or scientist. I am simply a girl with KP. What works for me may or may not work for you and by no means am I an expert. Ok? PROCEED.

Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin as I sometimes call it, is defined by Google as, “a condition that develops when the skin produces too much of a protein called keratin, which can block hair follicles and cause bumps to develop”.

Tons of people have KP and the severity ranges. The areas that typically get affected are the thighs, arms and cheeks. Unfortunately, it is hereditary and I have my Dad to thank for mine. THANKS GARE.

So, you get it.

I’ve tried LOTS of treatments for KP and I am here today to report my findings…what worked, what didn’t and all that I have learned.

HANDLING

Handle your KP as you would a newborn baby or quilted Chanel purse. Be super gentle. Contrary to what one might think, exfoliation and scrubbing only irritate the area and can make the bumps worse. Also – DO NOT use super-hot water on KP, exfoliating loofahs or body scrubs. Believe me, it only makes the bumps uglier! Even when I take a bath, I keep my lower thighs out of the water…also because I’m TEN FEET TALL.

 

TREATMENTS/CREAMS

Lots of common lotions contain ingredients like glycerin, mineral oil and alcohol and while these things are not bad for your skin, they certainly are not good for KP. Steer clear of using lotions with a scent, as hard as that is, and instead go for a more medicinal option. A dermatologist can look at your KP and based on the size and severity of the affected areas, recommend a lotion that is best for you.

What I like to do is use a menagerie of lotions when I get out of the shower. I’ll use a KP lotion on the affected areas and then use smelly or firming lotions other places.

The same rules apply to body wash, powders or just about anything else that touches those areas.

If you’re more of a visual learner, I’ve made this handy graphic for you!

Here are some of the treatments/creams I have used:

Prescription Urea Lotion

Urea is basically a tissue softener, which can help soften the build-up of keratin around the hair follicle. My issue with this cream was that it felt so chalky and gross. I couldn’t stand to have it on my body.

Derma Doctor KP Duty Lotion

4 ounces of this stuff is $38 which is the main draw-back. It has a glycolic acid base but contains a bunch of other good ingredients (like urea). I did notice a difference with this lotion but you have to make sure and use it every day or even twice a day. I would keep purchasing it to have on hand but it’s almost $40 and I need other things like 348975 liquid lipsticks.

Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream

This formula does contain urea as well as salicylic  acid but the concentration must not be high enough because I didn’t really notice a difference with this.

CURRENT TREATMENT

I recently saw a new dermatologist for a skin cancer screening (which every one of you needs to go do!) and also asked about my KP. He took a look and based on the size and severity of the affected areas, he has recommended  salycilic acid and gave me this lotion to try out. Salycilic acid is a beta-hydroxy often used as an acne treatment. According to an article I read on Allure.com,  “Salicylic acid is considered a keratolytic medication, which means that it’s perfect for supreme exfoliation. ‘Keratolytic medications cause softening and sloughing of the top layer of skin cells,'”. TOTALLY PERFECT for KP too!

He also mentioned that I could use a body wash with salycilic acid, but that using the lotion on it’s own might make a big improvement.

I’ll keep y’all updated and let you know how my KP is doing because I know you’re all dying to know.

Do you have KP? What do you use (if anything!) on it?

Origins GinZing Vox Box

It’s time for another Vox Box!

This time I was sent a few items from the Origins GinZing line for testing from Influenster.

*And remember, Influenster is totally free to sign up for. All you do is link up your social media accounts and you’re in! Click here to register and hopefully start getting free stuff too!

Here we have the Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer, the  Refreshing Eye Cream and the Refreshing Scrub Cleanser.

The Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer

I have actually tried the regular (non-gel version) of this moisturizer before in a sample size and I do like it. Is it THE BEST moisturizer out there? No. Is it THE MOST moisturizing? No. I like this product however, for a few good reasons. First, it is priced well at around $30. Second, it does a good job at hydrating the skin and the product absorbs quickly. And lastly, (as with the eye cream) it adds a slight radiance to the skin. The brightening effect is not too noticeable with the gel cream but I do notice a nice subtle radiance!

The Refreshing Eye Cream

I have used this product before and I LOVE it. It has a slightly pearly finish after applying which is really nice and brightening under there. I like to wear it everyday, regardless of if I am wearing makeup or not. But it does beautifully under makeup as well.

The Refreshing Scrub Cleanser

I have never used this before but it is coming at a great time since my Soap & Glory cleanser is almost out! I am anxious to try this with the entire line to see how it performs.

And that’s it! Have YOU ever tried Origins skincare?

How I Wrecked My Skin

Hello little sweeties!

Today I bring you some words of wisdom, courtesy of Brian, Nick, AJ, Kevin and Howie D.

Lookin’ back on the things I’ve done
I was tryin’ to be someone
I played my part, kept you in the dark
Now let me show you the shape of my heart

In my case, the “shape of my heart” is in the form of small, brown dots that grace m’mug. Otherwise known as age spots. sun spots or grossest of all, LIVER spots, I have noticed these little b*tches poppin’ up since I hit 30. How did they get there?

The motherf*ckin’ sun, y’all.

TRUE LIFE: The sun wrecked my skin.

All of you know that I am not a stranger to the tanning bed. At one time, my skin tone resembled that of Beyonce’s left butt cheek and I was darn proud of it.

just. don’t judge too hard.

So many gals my age can relate to this I think. The tanning bed was one of my favorite places on earth. Warm. Cozy. Perfect for a power nap. And best of all, I came out feeling prettier. As messed up as THAT sounds.

Not only did I tan in the beds, but I tanned outside. I embraced the sweet little freckles that would sprinkle themselves across my nose each summer. I slathered on the Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, the Australian Gold, the Maui Babe Browning lotion. YOU KNOW the lineup.

I didn’t think anything of this behavior until my mom had her second melanoma removed. Her doctor basically told me that we are all putting ourselves at major risk of skin cancer by tanning all the time. It was that easy for me. I just stopped.

I cancelled my tanning membership, stopped tanning outside, wore sunscreen and hats. I was maybe 25, but unfortunately the damage was already done. Because today, years later, I am suffering the consequences.

Here are my sun spots with a tiny bit of foundation, blush, bronzer etc..

NOT CUTE guys.

And don’t get me wrong, I know they’re not unsightly or anything but they are big and they do bother me. So what are my options?

Well, skincare is just not going to work. Any topical treatment that promises to get rid of dark spots is just LYING. No chemical can remove this puppies, or at least, none that I’ve heard of. From the research I’ve done, it’s gotta be a laser.

IPL Photo-facials to be exact. They are offered at lots of Medi-Spas and are actually becoming quite popular in removing age spots, acne scars and other imperfections.

I am reallllly thinking about scheduling one of these to help diminish the appearance of my sun spots, but I know it isn’t a permanent solution. You have to get one or two a year in order to keep up the results or else the pigment just comes back.

But ANYWAY – just stay outta the sun will ya? Your face will thank you later 🙂

What do YOU think? Anyone our there ever have an IPL facial?

Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Serum and Lotion

Good day spring tulips!

As of late, I have been hyper aware of certain areas of m’bod. You know the ones…

zee gobbler…zee batwings. I’m not saying they’re huge problem areas for me, but like duh – they will be someday. And I decided it was time to ARMOR UP. After watching a few vids on the subject and doing a tiny bit of research, I decided on  the Nivea Skin Firming and Smoothing Serum. It contains a couple of ingredients meant to help tighten, tone and smooth and the box boasts results in just a couple of weeks. Maybe tonight I’ll take some BEFORE pics. Omg you guys. Am I really a before/after person?

I decided to also get the gel-cream, as I figured I could apply that to larger areas (ahem, BUTTOCKS) to see if I noticed a difference. The cellulite  struggle is real, girls. I found the serum at Rite Aid and the gel-cream at Targs, btw.

Leave me a comment below if you’d like a follow-up post in two weeks to see if the claims are legit because I am totally down.

Origins Skincare VoxBox

Influenster’s at it again!

A wise person once said, “Free things are the best things” (surely someone has said that) and I personally couldn’t agree more. If you have lots of Facebook friends, a blog, a strong Instagram following, or a combination of everything then you can totally get free things too. Sign up here!

Back to the Origins Skincare VoxBox. I received the following products:

Origins High Potency Nigh-A-Mins – I have never used this night cream before and am very excited to give this a shot!

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – This is a new-to-me mask as well, but the charcoal trend is going strong and I plan to do a full review on this later.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream – While the GinZing line is something I have tried out, I have not ever used the eye cream. I am really pumped about getting this stuff on m’bags.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash –  I pretty much love that the word “frothy” is part of the name of this stuff. I have used this before and absolutely love it! The consistency is super thick which gives me the feeling its really pulling everything off my face. I also love the way it rinses off and leaves my skin feeling nourished.

Origins GinZing Moisturizer – I have been a longtime fan of Origins VitaZing Moisturizer, which has a very subtle tint-release and SPF so I am really excited to try this one!

Have YOU tried any of these products from Origins?

 

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Buying Beauty Products from T.J Maxx?

Those who know me best, know I’m a Maxxinista through and through.

Not just because I love TJ Maxx, but because I’ve become extremely knowledgeable about the products to hoard from there, but also the ones to steer clear of.

As an example, here are great things to BUY at TJ Maxx:

  1. Obviously clothes, shoes
  2. Towels, bath mats, etc.
  3. Candles!
  4. Greeting cards/wrapping paper (really good quality for CHEAP)
  5. Wall decor (just try not to buy too many of the quotes signs. I say 2-3 per home is acceptable)

However, there are few things to def NOT get at TJ Maxx:

  1. Hair products
  2. Headphones, electronics
  3. Sometimes candy
  4. Sometimes perfume

Also, historically I have been super wary of makeup/skincare from TJ Maxx. I always see brands like Elizabeth Arden, Shiseido and Bliss but more recently they’ve added Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Erno Lazlo etc. And when a Clinique eye serum is selling for $16.99 I always wonder…what’s the catch?

Is it expired? Discontinued? Is it from a bad batch? In my wildest fantasies, these products are all just overstock, fresh and just a SWEET DEAL. But then I wonder why errrone isn’t snapping these things up right and left.

Needless to say, I rarely buy anything from the bath & body section of T.J Maxx except the odd hand soap, Body Shop Body Butter or nail polish. I am scared to death of wasting my money on products that simply don’t work.

So the other day at lunch when I spotted two lowly GIANT bottles of St.Tropez Dark Tanning Mousse  for $14.99, just in time for our trip to Hawaii – I squealed inside my mouth a little. I inspected the bottle from top to bottom, looking for signs it had been in a fire, damaged or used, to no avail. I even googled all the random numbers on the bottom of the bottle to see if anything fishy turned up. Nothin.

So I bought ‘er and took ‘er home.

The next day, I took a pre- self tanner shower (exfoliated, scrubbed, etc) and excitedly jumped out in anticipation of applying my new tan! I shook it up generously and pumped it out into my tanning mitt.

It. Was. GREEN.

Just, completely Shrek green.

I know lots of self tanners have an olive undertone so I wasn’t that surprised and thought maybe this was just the color of the product, not the tan. So I rubbed a tiny bit into my forearm and it dried just straight-up green. Then I google imaged the product to see what color it is supposed to be…

Definitely NOT green!

I figure it must have just been expired. So. Yeah. I wiped the green right off my arm and plopped the bottle back in the T.J Maxx bag  to be returned. I guess the moral of this story is…

Do not buy tanning products from T.J Maxx 🙂