Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hopefully you all enjoyed and indulged in some much needed time off over the holidays! I certainly participated in my fair share of sleeping in, spending time with family and friends, shopping, imbibing and reflecting on all the happenings of 2011. 

Today it was back to reality for me, and like many people this time of year, I tried to stay mindful of my resolutions (and hopefully build some habits that will stick around beyond February). One of my intentions this year is to be more present and grateful in the day to day happenings of life, so I wanted to share a few things that made me happy today in their own special way. 
Sources: Book, Quote, OPI Polish
Book - What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style by Jessica Quirk. I've blogged about Jessica Quirk's fantastic "What I Wore" blog before, so I was super excited when I found out she was penning a style guide. I ordered mine last week, it arrived today, and I've already read it, cover to cover. It's a comprehensive, yet straightforward personal style manual that offers simple steps on how to build a "smarter closet". Starting with basic pieces in core colors, Jessica illustrates how to build out endless outfit options with secondary colors and add ons (accessories). Included throughout are Jessica's own fashions sketches which lead you through each season (and sometimes occasion - weddings and Valentine's Day, anyone?) to help you create your own stylish arsenal of outfit options. I've been inspired countless times by her blog and know this book will be my new style bible for years to come. 

Quote - It's so easy to let doubt and fear take root and smother our dreams and ambitions. This quote really hit home for me. It's a keeper.

Polish - OPI nail color in I Think in Pink - I don't care if it's winter and polish should be dark. Today it was sunny and nearly 55 degrees, so when I got my nails done earlier today, a light candy pink just felt right. And as I type this, my cotton candy digits are still making me smile. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just Do It

In high school, I had really long, layered hair (nearly down to my waist), but I constantly toyed with the idea of chopping it off. I remember tucking it into my collar and pulling it out just enough to see what I'd look like with a more chic, shoulder-length bob. Unfortunately, I never really garnered the courage to make a dramatic change, and after a series of painfully gradual hair cuts over the course of a year or so, I managed to ditch only six inches of length.

The first drastic change to my hair didn't actually happen until about five years later when I went from light brown to bleach blonde, and then again 10 years later when I was 27 years old. I basically had a bad day at work and marched into a salon for a cut, thinking that would make me feel better. It did. I went from a medium length cut (four to five inches below my shoulders) to a chin-length asymmetrical bob, and LOVED it. There's something so instantly gratifying about making major changes to your hair.

So recently when I started thinking about going back to a dark color again, I knew I wanted a drastic, not gradual change. Behold the results:
Keep in mind the "before" was during warmer months, thus the nice bronze glow, and the "after" was just last week where I'm nice and pasty for winter. Nevertheless, I love the dramatic change and how I sort of feel like a completely different person at times. My point is, when you get the urge for change, just do it, because it's only hair and it will grow back (or can be dyed back). 

One caveat: with any major change, I recommend consulting with a professional stylist first to avoid accidentally ending up with a brassy, pink or green hue, or with an uneven cut (unless, of course, that's your goal). I am lucky to have my good friend and expert stylist, Christine Van Meter, in my corner, and she always takes good care of me and my tresses. 

So be bold, be brave and definitely don't be afraid of change. You just might be surprised at how great it feels!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pretty in Pink

I know all things red and green sort of steal the spotlight this time of year, but as far as I'm concerned, it's always a good time to interrupt this message to share something fabulous and pink.  

The majority of mud masks I've encountered in my beauty travels look just like that - mud. Shades green, brown and tan typically dominate the category. On occasion, I've seen blue masks and of course, there's the Boscia's fantastic Luminizing Black Mask. But never have I seen anything like Borghese Fango Brillante Brightening Mud Mask for Face and Body. 

Image courtesy of Borghese.com

Upon application, the thick, rosy-hued formula begins to tingle and skin immediately feels tighter. After about 10-15 minutes, a warm washcloth easily removes the product, leaving skin brighter, clearer and somehow, richly moisturized. I saw results after just two uses, and especially noticed improvements in skin appearance after my vacation and some unfortunate sun damage. 

Do you use mud masks? If so, what is your favorite mud mask?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Say "Yes"

Earlier this summer, I waxed poetic about the awesomeness of Ole Henriksen's Truth to Go Wipes. But I recently said "Yes" to Blueberries and discovered another fantastic option for wiping the day away (and for a lot less money, to boot).

Photo courtesy of YesToCarrots.com
Now, you know how attached I am to my Truth wipes, so it's purely by happenstance that Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes even ended up in my Target shopping basket in the first place. See, a few weeks ago, I was packing for a trip Down Under, which includes a V E R Y long flight. I wanted to have some face wipes handy in my carry-on, but didn't want to take up precious space with my full-size pack of Truth wipes (and didn't have time for a special trip to Sephora to pick up the travel size, either). The bright purple packaging, along with the convenient travel-size option, piqued my interest, but an ingredient list including coconut, lemon peel and apple sealed the deal.

Anyway, 35,000 feet later, half-way over the Pacific Ocean, I did a little product testing in one of the most skin-unfriendly environments around: airplane air. I was pleasantly surprised that the gentle formula removed all that re-circulated air nasty-ness without taking any extra moisture with it. In fact, my skin felt so much better - like a dried out raisin that was re-hydrated back to a plump grape. And the soft wipes were just the right size to refresh my entire face and neck.

I used the wipes while on vacation, too, when it was humid and sticky. Yet, somehow, they still delivered the appropriate amount of moisture and left my skin feeling clean, soft and refreshed. They are a great alternative to the Truth wipes, and at $7.99 for 30 towelettes and only $2.99 for the travel eight-pack, the price is nice, too. 

Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes are available at Target or online at the "Yes to" brand website.

p.s. The aforementioned vacation to Australia is the reason for my recent post hiatus, but things will be back on track soon. Here's a sneak peak at upcoming posts to close out 2011 and kick off 2012.
  • Australian beauty products I picked up during my travels
  • A review of my recent visit to the Four Seasons Hotel Denver Spa (which honestly, was a mini-vacation in its own right)
  • Sunscreen that doesn't clog pores
  • Best of 2011 products
  • Getting Naked (again) with Urban Decay
  • More men's product reviews (increasingly requested from a few of my male friends that secretly read this blog)