Category Archives: Beauty

Friday Favorite: MAC Studio Finish Concealer

Make-up favorites?  I have too many to count.  But this is something I’ve bought time and time again.  It’s always in my bag, and it’s never let me down.  Studio Finish Concealer by the masters of make-up… MAC!


In my opinion, the consistency is perfect.  It’s creamy but lightweight, so it provides a great medium-level coverage without looking like spackle.  I routinely use a little around my nose and on my chin.  It also works great to cover blemishes and dark spots.  For maximum camo, I’ll dab a little on, dust the spot with translucent powder, then apply a second thin layer of concealer.  It’s like a magic wand.  For reals.


Ready for the bonus?  MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer contains SPF 35!  One pot is $18, but mine lasts me almost an entire year.  Worth it.

There are 15 shades to choose from.  If you’re not sure what color to order, find a MAC store near you, and ask for help.  You’ll thank me later.  Or maybe you won’t, because you’ll probably leave the store with way more than you meant to.  I mean, isn’t their make-up just the best!?  Bright pigments.  Professional quality.  SWOON.

Do you have a go-to brand or product when it comes to beauty?  Let me know in the comments section below, or e-mail at  I’m always listening!


Soiree For Beauty, Wellness, & Sustainability

Just when I thought I kinda knew what I was doing in greening up my life… BOOM.  Mind blown.

Last night, I had the chance to hang out at a beauty and wellness event at The Circle Salon in Chicago, organized by my beautiful friend/hairstylist/wellness guru Sarah!  It was supposed to last 3 hours.  Instead, it lasted over 4.  That’s how much info was flying around.  The group was intimate.  We were all engaged and asking questions.  It was incredibly informative.  There was WINE.  And SNACKS.  And adorable jars filled with SWAG!


I connected with some really smart people, a few of who are actually planning on raising their own chickens at their apartments in the city!  Consider it on my list of things to research.  Wouldn’t Dexter love an adopted chicken brother?  And wouldn’t I love some home-grown omelets?

There were 5 different speakers at this event, all of which were in some way connected to natural wellness and how our decisions as consumers affect our environment.  I’m so happy to have this blog as an outlet to pass some of this knowledge along.  Awareness is the first step!  I’ll try to boil it all down to a few “take-away tidbits” helpful for novices like me.

Spiritual Wellness & Natural Stress Relief with Ann Marie of ohm.chi.ohm:SALON ANN MARIE

I’ll be the first to admit that I know nothing about meditation.  It’s nearly impossible for me to sit quietly in thought for any amount of time.  I have trouble sleeping because my mind is always racing.  But, in today’s world, I know I’m not alone.  Ann Marie, who’s a Reiki master, led us though a short bit of meditation.  She also gave us these amethyst crystals to reduce anger, impatience, and anxiety!  I’ll take two please!


Ann Marie’s take-away tidbit:  When in conflict with someone, imagine a mirror with the reflective side facing them, and the non-reflective side facing you.  In doing this, you’re refusing to absorb that person’s negative energy.

Urban Gardening with Todd of Every Last Morsel:  


Todd knows what it takes to grow good, healthy food.  He also has a great plan to get that food to the people who need it.  Every Last Morsel, which he created, is basically social networking for gardeners and other people looking for fresh, locally grown food.  The idea is to locate gardens, all kinds, on a map and connect the people selling the food to their neighbors who are willing to buy it.  This way there is less waste, users know where their food is coming from, and they might even make a friend or two.  I mean, how many of us really talk to our neighbors anymore?

Todd’s take-away tidbit:  He recommended a site for gardening beginners with limited space: Windowfarms.  So psyched to get started!

Environmental Education with Joey of Climate Cycle:


Through Climate Cycle, Joey is helping to bring up a new generation of environmentally-minded adults by educating and empowering school-aged children.  With Joey’s help, these kids are starting composting clubs, they’re powering computer batteries with hand cranks, they’re learning in solar-powered schools, and they’re participating in Climate Cycle’s big annual fundraising event, the Ride to Recharge.

Joey’s take-away tidbit:  This incredible video from NASA that shows trends in global warming.  It’s only 26 seconds long, but it’s alarming.  Definitely a must-see.

Maximizing Your Closet with Susan of The STYLE Principle


Susan has made a living out of playing dress-up.  Through her business The STYLE Principle, she helps objectively solve your most pressing fashion problems!  And you can tell she’s passionate about what she does.  Her energy was off-the-charts infectious.  Susan can help you clean out your closet, she’ll help you shop, and in this session, she showed us how to wear just 8 black and white items in a whole bunch of ways.  I tried to count, but I couldn’t keep up!

Susan’s take-away tidbit(s):  To stay current and add trend to your wardrobe, buy just a couple of items a season.  And, brace yourself for this one… wear your scarf as a shirt!  Seriously!  She showed us two different ways to do it.  Just make sure you wear a cami or tank underneath, or you’ll end up looking like a Christina Aguilera.


All-Natural, Toxin-Free Skincare with Marlene of AromaFace


It would not be a stretch to call Marlene the goddess of holistic skincare.  The conversation she led lasted maybe an hour, and when we ran out of time, we all decided that we needed a separate night just to talk skin!  And she literally wrote the book on safe and effective aromatherapy.  It’s on Amazon, and available for your Kindle!


Marlene is super knowledgable.  Her line is made by her from scratch without any of that nasty stuff you see in commercial products.  No parabens.  No artificial colors or fragrances.  Just yummy stuff for your body’s largest organ!


Marlene’s take-away tidbit:  The skin contains a delicate ecosystem of good bacteria.  Washing and exfoliating with harsh products can disrupt that.  Marlene actually recommended washing your face with yogurt!  It contains lactic acid, which can help gently dissolve dead skin cells.

Overall, such a cool event… and a really productive and positive way to spend a Saturday night.  I can’t wait until next time!

Friday Favorite: Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion

Suns out, guns out.  That’s my motto.  But unless you’re a butter pecan Puerto Rican, chances are that this time of year, you look like more like the albino guy from that movie.  You know the one.  And you’re probably just as sad, too.POWDER SAD

But hey… Powder, dry your eyes!  These days, there are an infinite number of ways to get a great-looking glow without sun damage.  My suggestion would be Banana Boat’s Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion.  It’s today’s Friday Favorite!


I have bought bottles upon bottles of this stuff, and I love it for 2 reasons:  A) It’s affordable and B) It’s idiot proof.

You can find Banana Boat’s Summer Color at most stores for around $6.  Maybe a little bit more, depending on where you live and where you shop, but I haven’t found anything as good for less.  And I’ve been using self-tanner for the better part of 14 years, so that’s really saying something.  There are different shades available for different skin tones.  I have a light-to-medium complexion, and the “deep, dark” bottle works the best for me.

Please DO NOT be afraid to try this lotion, even if you’ve had bad experiences with self-tanners in the past.  Like I said, it’s basically goof proof.  I’d suggest starting with a lighter shade than you think you need and building the color over the period of days with one application each day.  My process is simple and easy, and I’ve never had an issue:

  1. Gently exfoliate and shave in the shower.
  2. Once clean and dry, prime skin by applying regular lotion as a barrier to spots that may absorb extra pigment, like the ankles, the knees, the elbows, the writsts, and the hands.
  3. Apply self-tanning lotion all over.  I include my face, but decide for yourself… especially if you’re acne prone.
  4. Remain naked until lotion has dried.  Or really as long as you want to.  It’s a free country.
  5. WASH YOUR HANDS!   Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like you just ate a big bag of Cheetos.  Not cute.  If you notice any orangey spots after the color has developed, try removing it with a mixture of fine salt or sugar and lemon juice.

I shower at night, so I usually apply my self-tanning lotion right before bed.  That way, I don’t have to worry about it ruining my good clothes.  I also get to wake up with pretty tan skin.

And contrary to what you might think, you’ll need to keep exfoliating your newly-tanned skin each day in the shower.  It doesn’t have to be anything major.  A bath puff with your body wash will do.  If you don’t exfoliate regularly, your browned skin won’t shed evenly, and you could end up with dark, flakey patches of yuck.  If this happens, scrub your skin well during your next shower, and put the bottle down.  Wait for all of your color to disappear before re-applying.

Have you tried Banana Boat’s self-tanning lotion?  Maybe you have your own Friday Favorite.  If so, let me know!  We can chat in the comments section below, or you can e-mail me at

Have a healthy weekend!

Friday Favorite: Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Starter Kit

Happy first day of March!  Spring is so close, I can smell it!  Each Friday, I gush about things that I’m obsessed with.  I’m not paid to do this.  I don’t get free stuff for the mention.  I just love finding awesome treasures and sharing the news!  Today, let’s get pretty with the Sally Hansen gel manicure starter kit!

SALLY HANSEN KITFor about $65, you get an LED light to set the polish, a base coat, a color, and a top coat.  The kit also comes with acetone remover, a few alcohol pads for prep, a small file, and a wooden cuticle stick.  Additional colors are available for about $12.

I usually hate doing my nails, mostly because I feel like it’s a waste of time.  I spend 2 hours filing and prepping and polishing, only for them to chip them an hour later.  They also take forever to dry.  Every have to pee with wet nails?  Total disaster.

The Sally Hansen gel manicure starter kit has solved all of these problems for me.  The manicure lasts FOREVER with absolutely zero dry time.  I put it to the test a few weeks ago with a color that didn’t come with the kit.  It’s called “Pat on the Black”.  One of these photos was taken on day ONE and the other was taken a WEEK later.  Which do you think is which??


Spoiler alert!  The picture on the bottom was taken last… ON DAY SEVEN of the manicure.  Can you believe it?!  The shine is still incredible.  Chips are non-existent.  I was doing dishes and housework all week, and it’s still perfect.  I’m in love!  I ended up taking this color off after about a week and a half, and not because it looked bad.  I was just getting bored with the shade.

As long as you follow the directions carefully, you should have a perfect manicure every time.

QUICK TIP:  Darker shades may require more than two coats of color.

QUICK TIP:  Keep the bottles of polish away from the LED light when in use.  You’ll end up ruining your colors by hardening them on accident.

QUICK TIP:  If you do happen to get a chip, it’s VERY easy to do emergency spot repair.   Just apply coats one through three on to the area that’s chipped.  The LED light will help the old coat melt with the new one like nothing ever happened!

Have you tried this gel kit?  Maybe you have your own Friday Favorite.  If so, I want to hear from you!  Let’s chat in the comments section below.  You can also email me at

Have a healthy weekend!

Friday Favorite: Clarisonic Mia

We made it to the end of the week!  Here’s your reward – a New Friday Favorite.  Each Friday, I gush about things that I’m obsessed with.  I’m not paid to do this.  I don’t get free stuff for the mention.  I just love finding awesome treasures and sharing the news!  Today, we’re going to celebrate a little miracle called the Clarisonic Mia.

CLARISONIC MIAI asked for one for Christmas.  My wish came true, and I haven’t washed my face without it since.  Mine is turquoise.  Gorgeous, right?  The system comes with a cool magnetic wall charger and a trial-sized cleanser.

CLARISONIC TURQUOISEThe Mia is the smallest system sold by Clarisonic and the most affordable at $119.  I know.  At first it sounds pricey (that’s why I didn’t buy it for myself), but I promise it’s worth the investment.   According to the Clarisonic website, the Mia cleans your skin six times better than your hands alone in just 60 seconds with something called “sonic technology”.  Basically, it vibrates really fast to dislodge all the crap trapped under the surface.  The brush gently exfoliates, too, which has eliminated my need for at least two other products under my sink.  And with skin this clean and fresh, lotions and potions are more easily absorbed.

I asked for the Mia, because at 30-years-old, I’m dealing with just about every dermatological issue you can think of:

  • Hormonal acne on the chin
  • Deep wrinkles on the forehead
  • Fine lines around the mouth and eyes
  • Patchy dryness
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Clogged pores

I’ve used the Mia twice a day for about a month-and-a-half, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of those problems is exponentially better.  I’ve seen the biggest improvement in my acne.  Breakouts for me almost never happen now.

Aside from the initial investment of $119, you’ll need to replace the brush heads regularly.  Clarisonic recommends you buy a new one every 3 months.  A twin pack costs $40.

Have you tried Clarisonic products?  Or maybe you have your own Friday Favorite.  If so, I want to hear from you!  Let’s chat in the comments section below.  You can also email me at

Have a healthy weekend!

Friday Favorite: Coconut Oil

Each Friday, I plan to highlight things that I’m obsessed with.  I’m not paid to do this.  I don’t get free stuff for the mention.  I just love finding awesome treasures and sharing the news!  Today, it’s coconut oil.  Guys, seriously… it’s time you bought some.

coconut oil

Make sure you choose the 100% organic, virgin, cold or expeller-pressed variety as seen above.  The refined brands don’t have the same benefits.  Some can run you up to $10 for 14 ounces.  I found the 16 ounce jar above for just $5.99 at Trader Joe’s!

If you’re worried about the saturated fat content of coconut oil, don’t be.  Yes, there are about 12 grams in a tablespoon, but all saturated fats are not created equal.  The kind in coconut oil, lauric acid, is a medium chain fatty acid, processed and burned off more easily by the body than the saturated fats found in animals products.  Some doctors claim it can raise levels of good cholesterol and aid in weight loss.  Others say it has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, meaning it can help you fight off all those nasty bugs trying to make you sick.  Also, I can tell you from personal experience that this stuff smells incredible.  All reasons to give coconut oil a try!

Nutritional Content:

  • Serving Size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g


  • Cooking to medium heat (280 degrees)
  • Baking (in place of butter or shortening)
  • Smoothies (add a teaspoon to the blender)
  • All-over moisturizer (slather on after a shower)
  • Shaving (use like you would soap or shaving cream)
  • Most shockingly… FACE CREAM.  Yes, people.  I put pure, unadulterated coconut oil on my FACE.  I was desperate to get rid of some stubborn dry patches on my chin, and was advised by a friend to use coconut oil to clear them up.  Not only did it work, but I didn’t break out.  A modern miracle in my book, because my chin is a total danger zone.  Perhaps all that antibacterial talk is true!
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