Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Holiday De-Stressor

This is very unlike me, but I am so happy that the holidays are almost over. For some reason this year, I feel like it's been unusually stressful. This might be that it's my first year ever to not have a Christmas break, but with the overload of family time, gift buying, and trying to be somewhat creative/thoughtful with gifts, decorating, Christmas parties (which I love) I'm just done!

When I starting thinking what relaxes me the most, of course the first thing that comes to mind is taking a bath. Anyone who has ever lived with me, knows that I take a bath every single night before going to bed. I know to some, this is overkill and not necessary, but I happen to think it is very necessary.

There are so many different kinds of bubble baths, bath salts, etc... and I know everyone has their own preference, so I thought I would share some of my favorites.

My staple bath product is just Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath. It's cheap, smells fabulous, and I've been using it for years. I like lavender smelling stuff right before bed, so that's why I'm drawn to this. This is my backup grocery store brand product that I love as well. It's Neutrogena Relaxing Shower & Bath Gel. Once again, it smells like lavender, so great right before bed. Johnson's Bedtime Bath is also wonderful.

Philosophy makes these fun, all in one shower gels, that are bubble bath, shower gel and shampoo. They come in so many fun scents, and my favorite right now is Bubbly, which smells like champagne. So whatever mood you are in, they have a bubble bath to match. I even got some of my friends these in scents like Mimosa and Strawberry Daiquiri for their 21st birthdays.

So even if you don't enjoy baths as much as I do, you can still enjoy these products every once in awhile... or after a stressful Holiday season :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

brush essentials

I know that for many of you, you can probably think of about 1000 things you would rather spend your money on than nice makeup brushes. After all, they can be expensive, and why not just use the brushes that come in your compact, right? WRONG!! I'm not saying that you have to have like 30 brushes in your collection (but please don't judge those that do :) but there are a few essentials that every girl should have in her makeup bag (or in their cute brush jar on their bathroom counter)

#1 - a blush brush. Those little plastic brushes that come in some grocery store brand blushes, should be burned. They are WAY too small, and end up leaving a streak of blush, instead of properly distributing it. My blush brush is from Stila, and I've had it for years, the only place I think you can find it is online. But the blush brush I love, and want to buy in the near future is Bobbi Brown.

#2 - an all-over eyeshadow brush. This is an eyeshadow brush that was my first brush to buy. I know so many girls who have this brush as their staple eyeshadow brush. It's from Stila, is best used when applying eyeshadow all over the eyelid. Since many girls only use one shade of eyeshadow, or at least have a shade that they apply all over, this brush can be used and appreciated by all.

#3 - a tapered blending brush. this one I get from MAC. I use this for the crease of my eyes, and pretty much use it every day. It is wonderful, and for anyone who uses more than one eyeshadow at a time, will benefit from this brush.

There are SO many more brushes that I have, use, and love, but if you are starting out, or only need the basics, then I would start with these.

Also, in general, I think MAC has the best selection of brushes, and if you can think of a brush you need, they would more than likely have it.

Brushes are an investment, and should be treated as such. You should clean your brushes regularly, especially ones that are used with creamy products (like my eyeliner brush) A cheap way to wash your brushes is with baby shampoo, and just lay them out to dry over night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Great Shampoo Debate

For probably about six years now, I have been an avid Bumble & Bumble fan. I have literally had the liter size bottles in every single type of shampoo & conditioner that they make. My all time favorite would have to be the Gentle Shampoo and Super Rich Conditioner. But it doesn't stop there, I love their styling products as well, and have probably tried all of those at some point in the past 6 years too. I feel like there are 2 types of people: those who can use "cheap" shampoo, and those who can only get their shampoo at Luxe. Unfortunately for my checking account, I fall into the last 2nd category. So I have a question, who out there has found a shampoo and/or conditioner that is so-called "cheap" that they actually like and think is just as good? Or is there such a thing? Or is there a middle ground product that you have found? Or are you like me, and only like the good stuff?? I would like to know your thoughts....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dry Skin Staples

For the last couple of months, lotion seems to be the gift of choice to both give and receive. (All starting with Lindsey's birthday) As I've gotten older, at the ripe old age of 23, my skin seems to be getting continually more dry. So of course I have my lotion staples that I have come to love. I am finally in the habit of putting lotion on nightly before I go to bed, which I recommend everyone to do, esp on your elbows, hands and knees. But I'm actually quite picky when it comes to lotion b/c I HATE feeling greasy. I know people who lather up with lavender baby oil every night, and I say more power to them, but for me, I'd be afraid I would slide right out of bed. I think this is why I have never been great about sunscreen (except on my face which i DO wear everyday) Skin care will be a whole different blog, so I won't get into it now :)

Okay, right now, I have 3 favorite lotions for 3 different times. One for night, one for in the morning before getting dressed, and the other for when your skin is killing you because it is so dry, or you spent the day in the sun. One thing that they all have in common, is that they all smell FABULOUS!!! that is a huge factor when it comes to lotion. I think most lotion lovers would agree with me there. Okay, now here are my top 3 (not in order)

Kiehl's Gardenia Hand & Body Lotion. I can't find it online, but it's a Neiman Marcus exclusive. You can ask anyone I lived with, but this lotion is amaaazing. Katie would always sneak in my room and use it because it is just that great. This is the lotion I use in the mornings. It is so light, and is easily absorbed so you can get dressed right after putting it on. This is not to say that it isn't moisturizing, because it definately is, but it is just that fabulous to be such a multi-tasker. I even use this lotion as my perfume because the smell stays with you for most of the day. For a big bottle of it, I think it runs about $30ish which is a tad on the expensive side, but once you use it, you will be hooked. That's a promise.

Korres Body Butter in Guava. This lotion is my miracle worker when it comes to dry skin. If my skin is extra parched, this is who I turn to. Lauren and I discovered this lotion a couple of years ago, and we both keep going back to it. It is a staple during our beach trips, and I think it even smells a little tropical. If your skin is so dry that you think nothing would work, then you clearly haven't tried this. For me personally, it's a little too heavy for daytime, but for nighttime, it's dreamy :)

The 3rd lotion I received for my last birthday by Lindsey. I used hers one time and she knew just how much I loved it, and thought I needed my own, and how right she was! It's from Sephora, and it's Sephora Brand Super Supreme Body Butter in beurre fondant. It's smell delightful and is the best of both worlds. It's super rich, but it suprisingly absorbs rather quickly. The scent is very light, which is nice and everyone who has tried it has fallen in love with it. So thank you Linds!

I know it sounds like I have a love affair with lotion (I promise you I don't) but take my word for it, and if you try any or all, they will become a Dry Skin Staple for you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Eyeliner

Living with 8 girls in college... I had my fair share of doing other people's makeup. Without a doubt, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, one of my friends would ask me to do her eyeliner. For some reason, eyeliner seems to be very tricky to a lot of people. Most can't seem to get it as thin as they want to, or maybe they were just lazy and knew I would do it for them :) Either way, I have gotten more practice at doing eyeliner on myself and on others than most people get in a life time.

Clearly, there are several different types of eyeliner and ways to wear it and I'm sure everyone has their preference... so I'm going to fill you in on my preference... (I have a few)

First of all, (and my cousin Lauren knows this drives me nuts b/c she is terrible about doing it) but in order to make your eyes appear bigger, more alert, etc... your eyeliner should always be thicker on top than it is on bottom. I'm not talking about a drastic difference between the two, but if your eyeliner is significantly thicker or heavier on the bottom, then it makes you look tired, and your eyes appear smaller, and it drags your eyes down. (and who would want that?) You may think that it doesn't make that big of a difference... but I promise you, you will start to notice.

For quick and easy eyeliner, I think MAC makes great eyeliner pencils. For me, having blonde hair and light eyes, I tend to stick to navys, greys, and purples when it comes to eyeliners. Some of my MAC favs are Blooz, Prussian and Navy Stain.

But as most of my friends know, I normally do not use pencils. My all time favorite eyeliner would have to be Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I honestly could not love this product more, but I will say, it takes some practice and patience getting use to. My favorite colors for this product are Graphite Shimmer Ink, Bronze Shimmer Ink, Violet Ink, and Sapphire Shimmer Ink. One trick that I've discovered is having the right brush. The brush you need is a tiny angle brush like this one from MAC. I know it says it is a brow brush, but you don't always have to use brushes for what they are intended for. Now this type of eyeliner can require some skill, and maybe in the near future I can post pictures of how to do it.. I just need to find a volunteer to let me practice and take pictures of her....