Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Delivery



It's the first day of December! Are you ready for Christmas? Last year I spent 10 days in Cancun for Christmas and yes I brought my own Christmas tree. I started my Tea advent calendar this morning and this evening will be cracking open the chocolate one. If you don't have an advent calendar yet, check out my list  of the best ones to get.


I picked up my favorite German Christmas wine from Trader Joes. For some reason it's no longer being sold in the city so I have to go out to the burbs to pick it up so I stocked up. Glühwein comes in a larger than normal bottle and is a mulled wine so its good cold or hot.


If you're hosting a party this month check out my post on Tips for a beautiful cheese board. For a festive cocktail try this Sparkling Pomegranate Punch.

I've started working on my Winter Bucket List. I already picked up a bottle of almond Holiday Nog from Whole Foods. I got a date set on the calendar to see Zoolights. Last weekend I went to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.



Here are some of my favorite Christmas things - Season of Joy!


I can't wait to start listening to my Favorite Christmas Songs but alas since my computer died it has to wait until I do the data transfer to the new computer. The old computer won't power on so I've been watching youtube videos on how to open a desktop to remove the hard drive. I'm not paying $150 for someone else to essentially connect a cord between two computers for me. lol 


My unit at work is doing a Secret Elf. We each filled out a questionnaire about ourselves then pick a name from a hat. Throughout December we treat our secret elf to little goodies to help spread holiday cheer! 









Saturday, November 26, 2016

Plus Size Fashion - on sale!

I played fashion stylist for my mom and bought her some new threads. I was really impressed with the plus size offerings out there, and am jealous those stores don't carry my size. I wanted to share some wardrobe essential pieces you need. All these pieces are on sale right now!

Flare Sleeve Peplum Top comes in 4 colors
Bell sleeves are all the rage right now and with a peplum style bottom it will be flattering to your waist line. 

Layered Tulle Midi Skirt also comes in black, everyone needs of these, think Sarah Jessica Parker from STC

The sleeveless vest/duster is the fashion accessory for the year. Everyone is wearing it as it makes you look slimmer. This site has it in a handful of colors.

Size down on this one.


These pants look amazing on all sizes! Pull on style with no pockets.





Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Deals!

For those of you, who like me, like to do all their post Thanksgiving shopping online, here are the best deals to hit today and Monday.

One of my long time favorite clothing stores The Limited is 70% off the whole site! I've never seen a sale this low! Use code HOLIDAY at checkout. I took this opportunity to pick up some of the stylish but pricey Eva Longoria pieces.

The LOFT is 50% off, I posted my picks in this post.

Nordstrom has put lots of clothes on sale. Check out my favorite tunic which I have in 3 colors and is very flattering for a slimmer tummy.

Sephora is having $10, $15, and $20 deals! Including sets from Tarte, Devacurl, Ole Henriksen, Urban Decay, Origins, Murad, First Aid Beauty. Plus new deluxe samples with your orders. Check out my Sephora Wishlist and Best Eyeshadow Palettes posts.

If you want to pick up some of the products I talked about in my skin care post, check out these beauty sales. A lot of these brands rarely have sales so be sure to take advantage!

Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow singles are 60% off check out my favorite colors here. Her famed contour kit will be 40% off, read my review here. Her lipglosses are 30% off. I just bought the Kristen color.

Butter London nail polish is 30% off. Check out my favorite color here. Oprah put this brand on her favorites list this year.

Drunk Elephant is 20% off with the code STUFFED, This is my new favorite skin care line as it's amazing products that are made with clean, non-toxic ingredients. The name Drunk Elephant comes from a myth that says that elephants love to eat the fruit that has fallen from the Marula trees. Marula oil, full of fatty acids and antioxidants. is found throughout their line. Right now I'm using their C-Firma Day Serum, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and Marula Oil. With their prices, you don't want to miss this sale. They now have smaller sized sample kits you can try as well.

MAC  has their Black Plum Friday Kit. You get  Vamplify, Pro Longwear Lip Pencil, and Rebel Eyes Gel Liner for $35 ($64 value). Look out for the Mariah Carey collection coming out later in December.


NARS is giving out a 3-piece gift with $50+ purchase with code DARETOLOOK. Or take 20% off your whole order with code TAKE 20. I want to pick up some of the Audacious lipsticks which are so creamy and you only need one coat! At $32 a lipstick you don't want to miss out on this!

Ole Henriksen is giving you a free $100 surprise gift bag with code 100GIFTBAG. Get a free Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask with a $50+ purchase using the code KNOT. I've talked extensively about this line as it's one of my favorites.

Urban Decay is having their annual Black Friday sale for 20% off use code BLACKER. I've spent ridiculous amounts of time at Sephora trying on all their lipstick colors.

Mrsmeyers is offering 10% off and free shipping. It's the only soap and cleaners I use because they use green ingredients. Be sure to pick up the line scent for next month.

Kate Spade and Zara are 30% off.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sweater Weather


Sorry for the lack of posts but my computer died a couple weeks ago and I'm waiting to hit the Black Friday sales to get a new one. I was in the market for some new sweaters and stopped by my old favorite the LOFT and saw they had lots of great options!  They're embracing the bell sleeve trend, leather pants, and bold prints on dresses. Today everything is 40% off!


Sweater Weather

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Do you want to transform your skin?



I’ve always been a skincare aficionado, I got it from my mom who used to get monthly facials. When I was a teen she introduced me to facials and brought me to the dermatologist often to keep my skin clear. Now I get facials every other month or so. I love reading up on new products and reviews. The gold standard in skin care for beautiful skin is to use sunscreen daily, a vitamin C serum and retinol.

I wanted to share my current skin care regime that has really working for me as I’m really happy with how good my skin looks right now.  My routine is a bit involved that I had to print out a daily AM/PM schedule that I keep posted in the bathroom since I don’t use everything every day.  I've found that using the products below have produced the best results for me.

First a little about my skin, I used to have oily skin but now I think it’s normal and I’m in between the acne and wrinkles stages. My main focus is just brightening my skin and keeping it exfoliated. My goal is to not have to get botox until I'm in my 40s. So you ask what is the magic combination of products that will produce the best results? 

Sunscreen
Sunscreen really is the fountain of youth. UV Rays are the number one enemy when it comes to aging. Sunscreen protects against premature aging, spots, and loss of elasticity. You can use a bronzer to give you face some color if you want. The main thing is to always wear a hat at the beach and wear sunblock daily year round (which I do). Some brands of sunscreen can be loaded with nasty chemicals, so it’s important to look for a product with zinc oxide as the main ingredient and does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. My favorite brands are:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios
Coola
ColorScience

Vitamin C
If you pick just one product to use on your skin for anti-aging benefits, pick vitamin C. It aids your collagen and elastin production which fights wrinkles and ensures you have an even skin tone and texture. If you're fighting discoloration on your skin, Vitamin C will help lighten it. Not all vitamin C products are created equal, I know because I tried out a $40 product off amazon. The serum was orange, it’s supposed to be a light yellow.  When it becomes oxidized by light and air it turns colors and some manufacturers hide this by adding color to it. There’s different types of Vitamin C- you want to make sure the ingredient list says L-ascorbic acid, the highest quality. Vitamin C is meant to be applied during the morning for daytime wear because of their ability to neutralize free radicals.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

Retinol
Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A. Retinol stimulates collagen production, which helps to plump up and reduce fine lines so it’s something you should start using in your 30s. It helps with cell turnover and hyperpigmentation. My mother will tell you it makes her skin glow. You can get it by prescription from your doctor (which your insurance won’t cover) or over the counter. The OTC versions are a lower strength concentration of ingredients and will take longer to see results. However with a prescription, as I have, be prepared to experience some skin sensitivity and minor peeling. You'll need to start off slow by not using it daily. My doctor said that a lot of people give up early because of the initial side effect of peeling skin and thus they don’t give the product a chance to work. You just have to build up your tolerance. A retinol should be part of your PM regimen. If you’re also using an AHA product, you should avoid using them the same evening. I used a whole bottle of Neutrogena's Rapid Repair whose commercials promise results in a week, but it did not deliver on that promise. Instead I recommend these products:
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM
Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
DERMAdoctor Picture Porefect
Nuance by Selma Hayek

Exfoliation
Sloughing off your dull top skin layers help prepare your skin to better absorb the other products you put on it. There's several methods to exfoliate your skin. You can use the Clarisonic brush to break up the dead skin and get rid of the tiny bumps on your forehead. It's basically a large electric toothbrush with a powerful motor that turns the bristles in a circular motion. It has a timer so you know how long to be on each section of your face. It's waterproof so you can use it in the shower. The head does need to be changed every 3 months but the body is rechargeable by plugging it into a wall. There are different versions of it depending on your needs. I honestly can tell you that it truly is amazing! I've read various articles that compared it to cheaper drugstore brushes and in each test the Clarisonic outperformed cheaper models. It comes in so many pretty colors and gift sets with product combo packs. Yes it does go on sale occasionally, on Monday QVC had it on sale for $110 and last week on Clarisonic's website although most have sold out by now. 

For chemical exfoliation try out an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Glycolic acid is an AHA that comes from sugar cane and will break up the debris on the skin's outer layer. I still like the old school, abrasive physical scrubs but you want to be careful with this and not over exfoliate. Don't buy a product that has plastic beads in it. A ban was put on those products last year to protect our environment. Below are my tried and true products:
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic 10%
Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum
Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion
Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub
Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub

Masks
Masks are a weekly boost to your skin care routine. It's a great pampering session if you can't make it to
a professional.  If you have oily skin, clay and charcoal masks are great to soak up some of that oil. Dry skin benefit from a moisturizing mask. My favorite masks in my monthly rotation are:
Dermadoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Mask
First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Mask
Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay
Clinique Brightening Moisture Mask


Supplements
Beautiful skin is also a job on the inside as well. We all know we need to drink a lot of water, but you also need to consume omega-3s and healthy fats which help moisturize your skin. On a daily basis I consume avocado, chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds and either olive oil or coconut oil. I take a vegetarian Omega-3 vitamin in lieu of fish oil. I also take a silica vitamin which is an essential mineral that supplies your body with nutrients by binding water in our cells. Silica helps to keeps your skin hydrated and delays the aging process and collagen formation. I got this tip from reading Christie Brinkley book. Silica also strengthens your hair and nails. I make my pesto sauces with walnuts as they are a cheaper replacement for pine nuts. I keep a bag of sunflower seeds on my kitchen counter and sprinkle a tablespoon into salads and on top of my smoothies. They are high in Vitamin E and rich in the antioxidant selenium which preserves elastin to keep skin smooth and tight. I eat red bell peppers every week because they are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. I often drink green smoothies.
Biosil
Ovega-3
Mineral Complex
Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails

Facials
If it's in your budget, you should try to get facials regularly (every month or so). Facials gets rid of dead skin cells, stimulate new ones, improve hydration, clear up blemishes, and even out your skin tone. They also improve the blood flow to your skin and are just relaxing. The result is it allows your regular products to work more effectively. I'm not a fan of basic facials that just wash you face and put a mask on you, I can do that at home. I only like facials that use some kind of equipment as follows:

Microdermabrasion - is a machine that gently sands your skin and has been effective in treating mild acne scars, enhancing collagen and elastin production, and improving blood circulation. You need a series of these to see results. If you're brave, you can buy your own device and do it at home.

Hydrafacials - Similar to microdermabrasion,  it exfoliates but at the same time pumps nutrients such as  Antioxidants, Peptides and Hyaluronic acid back into the skin. It reduces fine lines and makes your skin look radiant. It is very customized as there's different percentages of the chemicals and different serums to treat your specific skin issues. I always see immediate results afterward!

LED lights -  You wear sunglasses and expose your face to red and blue lights. The light stimulates collagen production and tissue repair. I've seen some celebs post on instagram at home masks that they use, Neutrogena just released a model specifically for acne. In the past I used the Tanda device for my acne.  It uses a blue light to destroy acne-causing bacteria while it gives a gentle vibration and gentle warming to help to open pores so bacteria is exposed to the zit-zapping light. It does eat up batteries very quickly so I used rechargeable ones. But I was shocked at how great this worked at reducing any bump under the skin I felt coming up. In 24 hours there was a visible difference.

Chemical peels - I do light peels, not the kind where your face is red and peeling for a week. The idea behind a peel is that you damage the top layer of your skin so that a fresh layer of skin appears. Jessner's solution peels are popular at my doctor's office but I stick with a Lactic Acid peel which is a light AHA peel made from sour milk. It's good for exfoliating your skin, stimulating collagen production, and treating hyperpigmentation. Speaking of which, Kojic Acid is a good option to treat hyperpigmented areas. I think lasers are starting to replace peels, but they're pretty pricey so I stick to the peels. For instance I read that movie stars ask for the Clear + Brilliant laser to be put into their contract, but my Dr. charges $500 for it. I still think a regular peel regimen can do wonders. There are some even lighter versions you can do at home:
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel
Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel

Facial Oils
Facial oils have been used by women for centuries and I think are regaining momentum in popularity now. In the winter time I add a little to my forehead to nourish and replenish my skin. It's great to use under powder so your skin doesn't look as dry, but dewy. Facial oils are okay to use on oily skin as well, as it will slow down your skin's natural oil production. You should look for 100% oils with no additives. I rotate between Marula (South Africa's beauty secret), Squalane (from olives, which you'll see in tons of beauty products on the market) and Camellia (Japan's beauty secret) oils. But you can also use Argan, Jojoba, or Macadamia nut oils. Instead of buying the expenses mixes from Sephora,  I buy my facial oils from etsy, it's just so much cheaper there.  You just add a light dab to your skin and you'll find them fast absorbing.

I hope these tips were helpful, please let me know what has worked for you.

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Best Eyeshadow Palettes


Today is the last day to save 20% at Sephora so I wanted to share the best palettes to get there. As you can see I already own every color eyeshadow from MAC and some from Urban Decay. I also bought Anastasia Beverly Hills singles before she made palettes so I put them in MAC containers. Instructions on how to do that at the bottom of this post. Check out this article on how Sephora is making shopping easy easier.


 I recently got my first makeover at Sephora, free due to my VIB status, and learned new techniques and discovered new products (see pic above). I highly recommend booking one for yourself! If you're stuck in a makeup rut, check out some of these palettes, makeup is the cheapest way to change your look. I don't recommend using the brushes that come with any of the kits, a good brush allows for a better application. This Fall/Winter think about  revitalizing your color palette for a fresher look.

Clinique Very Honey Holiday Palette $32.50
Has 13 eyeshadow colors with a purple theme.

Tarte Pretty Paintbox Collector's Makeup Case $59
You get 24 eyeshadow colors, a glossy lip paint, eyeliner, mascara, and a four-piece cheek palette to contour, highlight, and blush cheeks.

It has 15 neutral, berry and orange eyeshadow tones. It includes the shade Burnt Orange which is a favorite of mine and wear often. It comes in a nice quality velvet box.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette By Mario $45
Made by celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic who has done a KimK's youtube makeup videos. The palette has 12 neutral and jewel-toned shades.


It has lots of pretty purples. I bought this as a gift for a friend and it got rave reviews. You can find it on amazon.
One bonus one that I haven't read any reviews on so I can't recommend it. But it's a dupe for the Naked palette and a fantastic price point at $7! It's a collaboration between singer Demi Lovato and NYC cosmetics. I use their liquid liner because it's the best, but I don't know about the rest of their cosmetics. Just wanted to throw it out there for you to keep an eye out for at Target. 
 I use these acrylic drawers to store my makeup, it's 5 rows of drawers, the bottom one is closed so you can't see it. When I buy something new, something has to come out of the drawer. I figure there's only so much I can use in my rotation. This way I can easily see what I have so I don't buy anything similar and can attempt to empty some containers. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sephora Wishlist

Sephora Wishlist



This weekend everything at Sephora is 20% off! This only happens once a year! First make sure you check the sale section because it's also 20% off the sale prices. And just hope your favorite brand doesn't have a better Cyber Monday sale. I put in my order today and my strategy was to get higher priced items I wouldn't normally spulrge on.


1. Bite BeautyGold Crème Lip Gloss $22 - A limited-edition Lip Gloss for a gold-foiled lip look.

2. Smashbox Light It Up Lipstick + Mattifier Set $29 - You get 6 (almost full size) lipsticks plus the Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer.

3. DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask $58 – This is my favorite mask, not just because it’s purple, but because this clay mask clears up my skin, helps shrink my pores, and leaves beautiful skin.

4. Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask $56 – this sticky mask will leave your skin super hydrated!

5. Ole Henriksen POWER Bright 3-step Professional Brightening System $55 – It’s a 3-step system that includes his power peel, sugar glow polishing mask, and a cleanser. It’s like getting a facial at home.

6. Drunk Elephant Lippe $22- I know you’re thinking this is so expensive for a lipgloss, but it’s amazing. It’s made with avocado and marula oils to deeply moisturize and hydrate your lips.

7. Sephora Lavender Foot Mask - $5 It’s a disposable sock mask soaked in rich formula that alleviates fatigue and aching feet with a soothing and refreshing effect thanks to lavender extract and menthol.

8. Drunk Elephant Nightbright $28 This is temporarily out of stock, but its smaller sized versions of Drunk Elephant products so it’s a great deal to try out the brand.

9. Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating $48- Meet your new night cream to give you amazing skin turnover and transformed skin. It’s an excellent AHA product that promises results of greater clarity, smoother-looking texture, and a revitalized look and feel.

10. Boscia Baby Soft Foot Peel $20 A natural exfoliating foot peel treatment, formulated with alpha hydroxy acids and fruit extracts, to reveal softer, smoother feet over the course of a week. I’ve gifted this to my mother before and what happens is after using the product, your skin peels like a snake over the next week.
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