July 22, 2014

The Easiest-Ever, Seriously Foolproof Pedicure Idea (For Last Minute Sandal-Wearing)

I apologize in advance for all of the close-up pictures of feet.

Also, if you are looking for manicure tips, you’re going to be sadly disappointed.  (Yes, I see the glam mums on Instagram with the coordinated nail polish and I have no idea either.)

So, duly warned, let’s continue.

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[crickets]

I know you are probably (certainly) underwhelmed, and if there is any sort of perking up at this photo it’s likely because of the fab sandals (which, BTW, are made in Greece of the softest leather).  Yes.  I feel you.  But here’s the thing:  I can’t seem to squeeze in a real pedicure.

IknowIknowIknowIknow.  Lecture all you want, stand atop the mountain and scream about Mama Me Time and how we’re all Worth a Little Pampering and I won’t argue.  But it doesn’t solve my pressing problem:  Sandals on, pedi gone.

One would think, if pedicure time was such an issue (#firstworldproblems) that over the years I would actually have developed a steady hand.  From all of that “practice”.  To those I say:

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA- no.

My pedicure skills are embarrassing.  Like, Raines-once-gave-me-a-pedicure-that-was-better-than-my-own-pathetic-attempts-and-he-was-four-at-the-time bad.

I blame my mother.  She’s no better (in both the making-time and steady-hand departments),  but she’s developed a genius nailpolish technique to make up for both lack of prioritization and skill.  It involves painting your toenails with wild abandon (seriously, paint everything – nail, skin, whatever.  Just cover those toes good.) and then, once they’re dry…take a shower.  It turns out that nailpolish will slide right off your skin in the shower (with only a bit of scrubbing required).  Seriously – try it.  You’ll be amazed.

So.  My problem, however, is that Mom’s technique requires a shower.  And I only seem to remember my naked toenail problem as I’m stepping through the doorway – fully prepped and primped –  and then CRAP.  I look down. And there they are.  My naked little piggies on their way to market.

So the other night as we were about to leave, in desperation I grabbed a random bottle of nailpolish from my basket of many (seriously why so many?).  I was determined – DETERMINED – not to eff it up.  I was going to paint the piggies with a steady, STEADY hand.  I was slow breathing, I was giving myself a Jack Handy-esque pep talk, I unscrewed the cap, cleaned off the brush a bit – OK too much you need some polish on the brush, S!! And then carefully….caaarreefuuuulllyyy….applied it all over my big toe.  GAH!

But here’s the thing:  It was glitter polish.

Do you have any glitter polish?  Not metallic nail polish, but glitter.  The clear polish with glitter floating around?   Yes. That.  And I do realize it is typically worn by 8 year old girls.  BUT!  BUTBUTBUT!  The clear polish part makes it rather foolproof.  So you can just kind of glop it all over and then scrape off the bits you don’t need.  Like, right there on the spot, no waiting for it to dry and then shower, and no nail polish remover required.  (I mean it’s better if you try to stay in the lines, but if you go over, no big deal.)

And because the glitter is so reflective, even if you only have time for a single coat, it’s fine.  It’s not great (as evidenced in my photo above) but I’ll give it the big ‘ol GOOD ENOUGH.  Especially if you are peering down at feet from up high.  (Ahem.  Let’s skip the short jokes.)

I was so enamored with this speedy little glitter trick, that I dug through the nail polish basket and UNEARTHED – yup – MORE GLITTER.

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This blue glitter nail polish was bought at Target that one day when both boys had been driving me crazy “Can we get legos?  Can we get pokeman? Can we get soop-hero?  MOM WHAT CAN WE GET?” that by the time we were making a beeline back to the checkout and passed the Essie display and even Raines was like, “Mom, if we can’t get anything FUN can we at least get that sparkly blue nail polish???” I was all SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR TWO MINUTES OF COOPERATION BOYS, FINE.

And then we got Starbucks and painted our nails and Pax fell asleep in the car.

And now?   I have another glitter polish for last-minute pedicure emergencies.  So there you go.

I hope you enjoyed this recent installment of BEAUTY:  MEH. GOOD ENOUGH.

xo,

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

By July 22, 2014 28 No tags Permalink
June 24, 2014

My Trick For Taming Short, Curly Hair on Humid Days at the Beach

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 (wearing: Free People leopard wideband, Tarte Power Pigment in flush, J.Crew star teesimilar sweatshirt both 30% off with code HISUMMER)

I've been working with these short, post-chemo curls as best I can.  But the one area that – ALMOST – completely beat me down was the beach (or pool).  Basically, any place where you combine wind, insane humidity, and the potential for a dunking was a total and complete disaster.  Remember when my hair was this short?  Yeah – in hindsight, that hair rocked.  This?  This length is just long enough to be trouble. 

Don't believe me?  Let's take a pop quiz.  In the picture below, choose the answer that best describes how this hair will look when dry (feel free to use the helpful hints below):

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A.  Oh pish-pish.  Short hair is so easy that it'll dry perfectly straight and piecey, like Mia Farrow's.  I'm pretty sure she rolled out of bed that way.  Helpful Hint:  NOT EVEN FREAKING CLOSE

B.  Remember when Felicity cut her hair short?  It'll look like that – cute little curls, all perfectly defined, BOING-BOING.  Helpful Hint:  NOPE-NOPE

C.  A cross between an old-lady bouffant and bad man-hair.  Helpful Hint:  Marge Simpson and Donald Trump had a baby….

 

The answer is C, people.  C!  

Well.  A last-minute trip to Free People cured my beach-hair woes.  Admittedly, a last-minute trip to Free People can cure just about anything, but I am especially thrilled with these little headband/turban things.  Unlike a scarf (which I did try), these things stay put really well, even in windy beach conditions.

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(wearing: Free People leopard wideband, J.Crew Neon Bikini 30% off with code HISUMMER, Bobi Tank, Rayban sunnies) 

Not bad, right?  I took the advice of my fellow instagrammers who had suggest that I simply embrace the crazy hair.  So instead of trying to shellack it down with gel, I used a salt spray and curl defining cream to just mess it all up on top.

Of course, my hair started winging about everywhere.  But trust me when I say that this hair is much better with headband than without.

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(wearing: Free People tye-dye wideband in berryJ.Crew star tee, J.Crew sailor stripe lace-up brief, both 30% off with code HISUMMER, Rayban sunnies) 

 

I went back to shellacking it with gel, then artfully messing it with salt spray and Not Your Mother's Short Order Fiber Glaze Cream.  Whatever that means.  I don't even know anymore. 

 

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 (wearing: Free People tye-dye wideband in berry, Sincerely Jules popsickle tee, Blank denim relaxed straight leg jeans….on Pax: nothing we bought recently…I cut-off a pair of old cords…but these Old Navy shorts are seriously adorbs – especially with this striped tee)

 

So…yeah.  That's my new trick.

One final note:  Shannon (my stylist at Salon Ziza) used a pretty strong keratin treatment on the sides of my hair to help control some of the curl.  It REALLY helped.  Just an FYI for anyone who might be in a similar situation.  

Any other ideas?  (Hats, I know.  But so tricky with short hair, so hot on the beach.)

xo,

S

June 17, 2014

My Fav Faux-Tanners and Sunscreen

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Each year around this time I dutifully check the EWG's Skin Deep database and start the mind-numbing task of choosing sunscreen.  Weighing environmental safety vs effectiveness vs cosmetic appearance, I – with trepidation - order my top three.  They arrive, and from that point on my boys and I spend way too many days looking like greasy snowmen.  On a good year, the whitish cast is only observable for the first few hours.  The really good sunscreens, however,  provide a thick white layer that will last through several showers.  Sunscreen For Life!

At some point, we will meet friends at the beach.  Friends who don't obsessively search product ingredient lists for triclosan and retinyl palmitate or who can recite the list of the EWG's top ten safe sunscreens in their sleep.  These friends will come armed with the poison known as spray-sunscreen-in-a-can (not even paraben-free!!) and I will watch – ashamed by my jealousy – as they spray down their kids in 10 seconds flat.

"Raines and Pax?  Time for more sunscreen!" I call.  Raines, resigned to his fate, dutifully trods over and sticks out his arm.  It's covered in white streaks.  I squeeze out a blob of the safest-ever sunscreen and start rubbing.  Sand is stuck all over his body, combining with the sunscreen to form a particularly sticky type of sandpaper.  I resort to gentle pats.  Raines shoots me a death glare, his eyes very blue in his shiny white face.  Pax just runs screaming.  Can't blame him, really.

But at some point, I give up. I don't even care anymore.  I borrow my friend's poison-in-a-can or, if I'm being completely honest here, I just stop applying sunscreen altogether (my kids, like their father, don't burn anyway).  Somewhere in my warped brain I'm trying to weigh the risks of invisible chemicals vs the risks of sunburn.  Vitamin D is good for you, right?  I KNOW.  It's just…too much.  I am defeated by overabundance of information and fear.  So I come home burned to a crisp, my children annoyingly (thankfully?) tan.  I have tan children.  I AM THAT MOTHER.

I'm done.  I'm done with this whole mess.  This year I just want sunscreens that work, sunscreens that smell good and feel good.  Sunscreens that are a joy to apply, dammit!  Remember how exciting it was in high school to bust out the coconut-scented coppertone oil?  EXACTLY.  I want that.  But in, a, um…paraben-free version that actually works. ( My earth-mother bar has lowered, but it is still there.) 

For self-tanner, my requirements are simple:  no streaks, no orange, no parabens, NO SMELL.  Like, really, truly, none of that telltale self-tanner stink.  Don't try to hide it under stronger smell, just get rid of it altogether.  

And you know what?  I was shocked to discover that  products like this actually exist.  For the first time in a long, LONG time, I am L-O-V-I-N-G my sunscreen and self-tan products.  

Glow

 

1. Clarins Radience-Plus Golden Glow Booster, $30

This stuff is genius:  you simply add a few drops of this face self-tanner to whatever moisturizer you currently use.  Wake up the next morning with a little glow.  I typically use it a few days in a row to build up to the color I want, then take a few days off.  Or whatever.  It's pretty foolproof.

2. Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

Sheer and blendable, no strange smells, not greasy, no whitish cast at all.  I love this stuff.  I now wear it under my makeup everyday.

3. Vita Liberata Phenominal 2-3 Week Tanning Mousse in Dark, $54

This one blew me away.  The color is perfection (no streaking, no orange), it dries in seconds (literally seconds), and there is no smell.  I mean OK:  hours later, once the color starts to really develop, there is an ever-so-faint smell of self-tanner, but it's NOTHING compared to other brands.  And this stuff is organic! Happy Hippy Earth Mothers rejoice! However, ignore the claims that this self-tanner lasts 2-3 weeks.  If you are shaving and exfoliating this tan lasts roughly 5 days like all others.  The good news is that when it fades, it fades really naturally.  And you must – MUST – apply with a mit.  (See #5.)  One bottle of self-tanner typically lasts me all summer (my look is more OK, tan enough, rather than sun goddess).

4. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF 45, $30

I know powdered sunscreens get the EWG all worked up.  But here's the thing: I put sunscreen on in the morning.  Then I carefully apply concealer, blush, no-shine face powder, mascara, lippy….and so hell will freeze over before I smear goopy white sunscreen over all of that.  Talk about a hot mess.  So if I'm outside all day with the boys, I will end up sunburned and eventually turn into a wrinkled old lady.  Granted, wrinkles are inevitable, but until I succumb (NEVER SAY DIE), I'm touching up throughout the day with this stuff.  And ps.  I love this stuff for buffing onto my kid's scalp through little baby hair….or dusting their nose as they sprint past.

5. Vita Liberata Tanning Mit, $6.50

Because the self-tanning mousse dries so fast, attempting to use your hands will leave your tan streaky, and your palms dark orange.  This mit will change your self-tanning game regardless of which self-tanning mousse you buy. 

Here's what you do:  Shower and exfoliate (aka shave your legs).  Then when your skin is dry, put on your tanning mit.  Pump out a single pump of tanning mousse directly onto the mitt.  Then, crunch up the mitt by making a fist a few times to distribute the product a bit.  Quickly use the mit to rub the tan on – really go ahead and scrub, for evenly distributed tan.  I used one pump of product on lower legs and feet, one pump on thighs, one for each arm, two for my back, and one for chest and stomach.  I was done in roughly 3 minutes. 

6.  Supergoop Sun-Defying Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $26

So…..that coconut-scented tanning oil of yesteryear?  This is exactly like that but SPF 50, not 5.  It's also lighter in both formulation and scent (which is vaguely citrus), and I actually LOVE putting this on.  It's a joy!  Really!  Even the boys don't mind it.  And while I know the recent sunscreen buzz has been all "NO SPRAY, SPRAY IS DEATH"….this is actually just…oil.  So I spray it on my hands, then rub it onto my kids.  (This is my current rationalization, anyway.)

 

Enjoy the beach!!

xo,

S
 

By June 17, 2014 45 No tags Permalink
April 16, 2014

Putting Lip Stains to the Baby-Kissing Test: Sephora and Lime Crime

Any long-time reader knows how much I luuuuv a bright lip.  But when hanging out with two very kissable kiddos, I have to find a lipstick that won't smear all over their faces (or mine).  

Hello, lip stains.  

I have a few favorites (remember this old article?) but I'm always – ALWAYS –  on the hunt for new ones.  So I thought I'd start sharing my little lip stain discoveries, the good and the bad. 

 

The Product:  Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion Lip Ink in Red Essence, $14

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Notes:

The Good:  The product goes on fairly sheer; color builds with additional coats.  After a short drying period (a minute or two), even multiple coats will have a matte, non-sticky finish that won't kiss off.  Because of the buildable color, this is a good product for anyone new to the bright lipstick game.  Also formulated without parabens, sulfates or phthalates.  It's only slightly drying (which is impressive for lip stains), and is the kind of thing I can throw on and then forget about.  In terms of longevity (compared to other lip stains), this one falls somewhere in the middle. 

The Bad:  I don't love the smell (ever since pregnancy I have super-human smell) or the slightly chemical taste.  And while the finish is decidedly non-sticky…there is a lingering….tackiness that remains and makes my lips feel weird.  Lastly, it tends to wear off in the middle first, leaving a lip-liner-like stain that drives me nuts.  

Would I buy it again?  

While I think it's a perfect starter lip stain, because of the taste and lingering tackiness, I probably won't buy colors that I can easily find elsewhere (like the Red Essence  I'm wearing in the pics).   However, Sephora does a great job of formulating trendy colors that are sometimes hard to find elsewhere.  For example, Magenta Ink has a subtle purple undertone that is really on-trend.  (I also have Tangerine Ink which is a dark, orangy-pink coral.)  

 

The Product:  Lime Crime Velvetine in Suedeberry, $20

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Well, now that I've blotted my lip stain on Raines' cheek, let's try that again on the other one.

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Notes:

The Good:  Super-intense liquid color with an easy-to-apply wand.  You can even get that nice defined edge (without using lip liner).  This stuff is for serious color-lovers, however.  It dries – quickly –  to a completely matte finish, and won't kiss off (once you blot it – see above).  Additionally, once it has dried, my lips feel pretty normal – I forget I'm wearing anything.  (Until I look in a mirror and then BAM – all I see is lips.)  This is one of the longest-lasting lipstains I've ever tried, and surprisingly non-drying.  I once wore Lime Crime into the shower…and re-emerged with PERFECT LIPSTICK.  

The Bad:  You have to be prepared to blot it well and let it dry, otherwise it gets all over your teeth, clothes, etc.  For this reason, I rarely take it out of the house.  Lime Crime tends to be something that I put on in the morning and then touch-up with gloss later on. (I am horribly klutzy with lipstick and attempting to use something as pigmented as Lime Crime in a public bathroom far exceeds my abilities.) Also?  I once wore Lime Crime into the shower…and re-emerged with PERFECT LIPSTICK.

Would I buy this again?  

Oh heck yeah. I haven't found a lipstick with the intensity of Lime Crime, much less a lip stain.  Truly a unique product.  In addition to Suedeberry (a bright coral), it also comes in Pink Velvet (an intensely bright pink) or Red Velvet (sadly, now sold out everywhere).

 

More to come!  (I'll be highlighting Tarte's next week….let me know if you've run into any other fabulous options….)

xo, 

S

By April 16, 2014 9 No tags Permalink
March 4, 2014

Hair Update: 3 Months Post-Chemo (Or That Time I Went From Bald To Pixie)

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So.  It's been three months since my last chemo treatment.  I'm feeling completely back to normal.  I still get tired (like, really tired) by the afternoon, but I can no longer remember if that's a chemo-recovery thing or a mom thing.  Probably a bit of both.  And I am making peace with my short hair.  I even…like it?  Mostly?

 

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It's just a lot to get used to, you know?  I never realized how much of my personal style was wrapped up in big, messy hair until it was gone.  So many of my go-to outfits now look…strange.  But I'm learning.  And when I look back at what my hair (or lack thereof) looked like just a few short months ago?

 I'll TAKE THE PIXIE, THANK YOU.  

Hairprogression

 

No wonder I always wore a wig.  You forget, you know?  You forget how bad it was.  Ugh – especially when I lost my eyelashes and most of my brows (middle pic).  That one just kills me. 

Shortly after the third pic (above) was taken, I made an appointment to see Shannon at Salon Ziza.  I was feeling slightly ridiculous – what could Shannon possibly do with so little hair?  (If you recall, Shannon and Salon Ziza have been my saving grace through all of this chemo mess.)  But I was desperate – I hated my hair, it felt mannish, not sassy, and it was looking like a helmet on my head.  If nothing else, I just wanted her to tell me that it was, IDON'TKNOW, growing back fast or something (lie, if you need to, lie!).

As it turns out, Shannon had a ton of ideas. Here's what she ended up doing:

1.  Warmed up the color overall.  The ashy brown (aka my natural color) wasn't doing anything for my skin tone.  Just by adding color, not only would it reflect more light, but the color would actually plump up the strands of hair, making it look thicker overall.  

2.  Once my color was done, she painted on a few highlights with a brush – just where the sun would naturally hit.  Tonal variations (even in short, dark hair) help to keep the 'helmet head' look at bay.

3.  Used a ton of product to "push" my hair forward.  You know those cute little Mia Farrow-like points in a pixie?  The ones that – and I'm reaching here – I'll refer to as "bangs"?  Yeah.  You have to make those.  With boatloads of product. 

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I've actually started carrying around one of those little hockey-pucks of molding cream in my bag so I can refresh my 'do.  The more I wear it like this, the more it cooperates, but we'll see.  I've heard horror stories of insanely curly hair post-chemo….soooo…yeah.  (Shannon assures me that we can relax it, if necessary.)

The other thing that really, really helps?  Not washing my hair.  I rinse it out in the shower, but it's been about a week since I used actual shampoo, and it looks so much better.  Food for thought, I guess. 

Anyway, here are the products I swear by for both growing out and styling a pixie.  I'm shocked by how well these have worked.  It's more than I dared to hope for.

Hairregrow

 

1. Biotin, 5000 mcg per day

This is the standard recommendation post-chemo.  (It helps to strengthen your nails, too.)  I suspect this is the biggest reason I'm seeing such massive growth.  (Hair typically grows only 1/4 inch per month….I've had almost double that.)  You can get fancier biotin, but I've just been using the Target brand.

2. Rogaine (AKA "Hair Regrowth Treatment)

Yup.  I'm rubbing Target-brand Rogain on my head.  Nothing about that sentence sounds like something I ever thought I'd say.  Sigh.  But this little tidbit is endorsed by breastcancer.org, so there you go.  Apparently, it helps to 'spur' the regrowth after your last chemo treatment. I used it twice a day at first, and now I'm down to once a day.  

3. Rene Furterer Vegetal Sculpting Gel

Nice hold, not too crunchy.  Helps to keep the hair pushed forward.  Shannon told me to think of 'shampooing' my hair with the gel (aka rub it all over) after I got out of the shower.  Slightly wet hair will help dilute it somewhat.  

4. Style Sexy Hair Control Maniac

I've been trying a bunch of hair wax products, and I think this is my favorite.  I apply it several times throughout the day, pushing the hair forward and sculpting my "bangs" into points.  American Crew's Fiber has great hold (and is Mike's fav), but I have to add something shinier on top (I like a little shine).  

5.  Latisse

My eyelashes (now) look amazing.  I still have a few holes in my eyebrows, but they are coming along nicely.  They didn't actually fall out until January, so this regrowth happened in just a little over a month.  All thanks to Latisse (I've been using it on my eyebrows, too).  Lovelovelove this product. 

 

So that's what I've been up to lately.  A little Rogaine, a little Latisse…you know.  The usual.  (snort)

Know what's funny?  Mike's been after me – for months – to ditch the wig.  He's always been a fan of the head scarf, and now the super-short pixie.  Which is weird – I always thought my long hair was so sexy, you know?  

He says health and comfort are pretty sexy, too.  

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This guy.  Love. Him.

xo,

S

 

 

 

By March 4, 2014 52 No tags Permalink
January 27, 2014

My Favorite Products for Chemo-Stressed Skin (Think: Insanely Dry and Sensitive)

The upside of chemo was the consistency.  The first three days after each treatment I'd be manic from the steroids.  This is when I would typically go shopping.  (I could distract myself and keep moving – perfect, no?)  And if I was going to get nauseous, the nausea would hit sometime during this period.  But thanks to a drug called Emend, it never really did.  Days Four through Seven I'd be in what I like to call "The Chemo Crush."  It's like a really bad, seriously aching, awful bout of the flu.  It sucked.  Dark, dark days.  Day Seven was the day I could expect a little bone pain from the Neulasta shot (used to keep your white blood cell count high).  Oddly enough, Claritan helped prevent bone pain – and worked!  So mine was never too bad.

And by Day Eight I would start to feel miraculously better.  On Day Eight, I knew I would be…ok.  I could even joke.  Gosh, I loved that Day Eight.

But when I woke up on the morning of Day Nine – each of the four times I had chemo – my face would be covered in what looked like horrible, teenage acne. 

Welcome to the Day Nine Chemo Rash.

The doctors think the rash may be caused by the steroids you take along with your chemo drugs.  And the good news is that this is a rash, not acne, despite it's appearance.  I say 'good news' because it means that roughly five days later…the rash is gone.  Every. Time.

The chemo rash that popped out after my first treatment was the worst.  It was the most red, the most widespread, and actually hurt – it felt like I had been slapped on both cheeks.  Oh goody – I have a pic:

Photo (100)

 

After that first treatment, I was able to reduce the severity somewhat by having my docs reduce the steroids and by giving my skincare routine an overhaul.  The main thing when going through chemo?  Hydration.  Drink water* and slather on cream.

*With the taste bud changes and fear of nausea, I found drinking water really hard.  So I started getting an IV of fluids before each chemo and again when I'd go in the following day for a neulasta shot.  It really, really helped.

 

Hopefully, no one you know will ever need this list.  But sadly, I've received enough emails from mamas in the last few months to know that this won't be falling on deaf ears.  And heck – some of these products are so fabulous for beating dry skin in general that I plan to keep using them.

Fav-skincare-chemo

 

1. SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Mask

If you do nothing else, get this mask.  This mask is intended to be used for 10 minutes, then washed off.  However, my esthetician recommended sleeping in this mask and rinsing it off in the morning.  It made a world of difference.  I still do this from time-to-time when my skin is dry.  One of my new favs.

2. Pevonia Hydrating Cleanser

This is the only cleanser that didn't further irritate my rash.  It's perfect for when water feels too harsh.  You just wet your fingertips, then massage this on to your dry face.  I'd gently wipe off with cotton balls.

3. Pevonia Balancing Combination Skin Cream  

This is the impossibly creamy skin cream I'd use every night.  Pevonia does have a cream that's formulated for sensitive skin, but I actually found this balancing cream to be more soothing.  When I first showed up at the estician's office in tears – my stinging face covered in chemo rash – she spent 10 minutes gently massaging this product onto my cheeks.  Sting gone.

4. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream 

This product is cheap and amazing.  It even rivaled the Pevonia Balancing Skin Cream, above.  However, it's much lighter.  So on days I used this cream instead of the Pevonia, I would need to apply multiple layers before my thirsty, irritated skin would calm down.  Also fantastic for my dry, cracked hands.  I'm still using it whenever I feel a little irritated, and it's worked miracles on Raines' perpetually wind-burned cheeks.

5. Pevonia Power Repair Hydrating Toner 

I ended up using a toner to remove some residual makeup since my skin was too sensitive to rub.  And this toner also helped cool and soothe my itchy, chemo-burned arm. 

6. Korres Lip Butter, Guava

Best. Lip Balm. Ever.  My lips were epically chapped during chemo.  I tried everything.  EVERYTHING.  Like, really seriously freaking everything.  The only thing that worked was this unassuming little pot 'o gold from Korres.  Nothing else was even close.  Shocking, right?  It was the pot that came for free in a set that I bought for the other color.  Go figure. 

7 & 8. Jane Iredale Mineral BB Cream and Primer

These products were the only things that were able to successfully camouflage my chemo rash without causing more irritation.  BUT:  The first time I tried the BB Cream, I looked like a mime.  Correct application is key (watch the video on proper technique).  I managed to shortcut this whole thing by mixing a pea-sized amount of primer and BB cream together, which is what I'm still using for foundation now.  This product is astonishing, actually.  Here are a few un-retouched photos of the BB Cream/Primer in action:

10 days after my Second chemo treatment (right in the thick of the chemo rash period)

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Now - With a wig and fake eyelashes but HEY my skin looks alright. 

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So there you have it.  What doesn't kill you….right?  You know the rest.

xoxo,

S

"Having had cancer, one important thing to know is you're still the same person at the end. You're stripped down to near zero. But most people come out the other end feeling more like themselves than ever before."

                                                            – Kylie Minogue

By January 27, 2014 9 No tags Permalink
July 15, 2013

A Summer Mom Uniform and Five Fav Things: Life in Mod

1

Hi!
It's me, Cams. Some of you may know me by now, but if not…well, hello. Nice
to meet you! :). I blog over at Life in Mod- all about being a mama, styling
through all of the changes life brings, yada yada. It's a fun gig. ps. I am now
14 weeks pregnant with our 2nd…which is awesome

Sooo…S.
She's amazing, eh? Let me just say that first and foremost. She has been such
an amazing example of strength for me these past few months. Every time I have
spoken to her within the past couple of months she has blown me away with her
positive attitude. It's like, wow…if I was in the same situation would I
handle it with such grace, patience and …even spunk? Probably not. She's a
superwoman. S, I am so happy to have met you via the blogosphere. I consider you
a dear friend (as silly as that may sound since all of our communication has
been 99% blog related). Still. I really do. You are a blessing to so many. xx.

Now
that all of my sap is gone, let us move on… ;)

 

Summer Mom Uniform

My
favorite go-to Summer momiform is denim cut-offs, a tee, sandals and aviators.
It's just a win on all accounts- simple, yet gives me that
I'm-still-cool-even-though-I'm-a-mom look. I think… ;)

 

1.  My Most-Worn Item of Clothing

Well, very recently I
became the proud owner of a pair of white Converse Chuck Taylors. Why the H did
I just think to buy them? They are glorious (and I found them on E-bay *brand
new* which makes them that much cooler). I have been wearing them everywhere…with
almost everything (except maybe to bed with my pjs). Here's where you can find
yourself a pair.

 

2. A Fall Piece I'm Currently Coveting

Either these or these.(Molly's note: the Wyatt Disc shorties are to-die, and they're included in the Nordstrom sale for $219 – SOLD!). *swoon* Take me now,
Frye..with your genuine leather and rough, edgy-ness. I am putting these at the
top of my 'Honey, I love you. Can I buy these? I'll never buy anything again'
list.

3. Something That Makes Summer-With-Kids Easier

Moo
& I are currently becoming sidewalk chalk artistes. It keeps her busy for
at least 20 min (which is a long time for a toddler). I'm all about the
"old fashioned" ways of Summer entertainment for kids- chalk,
sprinklers, bubbles etc. 

4. My Fav Summer Recipe

Anything
grilled, really. I just pinned this grilled
Salmon with Corn recipe and would really like to try it. Really

5. The One Make-Up Product I Can't Live Without 

BBCream.
Yeh, I jumped on that train…and I love it. It's lighter feeling than a
foundation, but seems to give me the same amount of coverage. I've heard
there's a new runner-up. What is this CC Cream? Hmmm. For now I am sticking with
my BB. FYI, I pick it up at Target.

 

Shana Update:

Hey Mamas!  Shana is at home and resting with her family.  Keep sending those good mama vibes! -M.

February 20, 2013

Make-Up Link Up! Our Fav Products, and a Video Tutorial For the Sleep Deprived

Mamas!  Let's talk makeup! I'm excited about this one.  For the first time ever, I actually feel on top of my make-up game.  I mean, OK: keep your expectations low.  I'm not going to venture into *real* makeup.  I'm not recommending the blending of multiple eye shadows, nor will I use confusing words like "contour" or "crease" (I'm not clear on what they mean, exactly).  But I will share my very favorites: makeup that is tried and true, makeup that is fool-proof to apply, makeup that helps restore my hot mama mojo, even on mornings when I feel (and look) roughly 153987 years old.

You know.  That stuff.

Makeupfavs

 

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Dollface - I call this 'barbie pink'.  It perks up my most tired face, and lasts all day.  

2. Fresh Lip Sugar in Rose - So natural, so pretty. 

3. Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Stain in Fiery - I've tried a TON of red lipsticks/stains, and this is the best.  It does come off on Pax's cheeks (and belly)…but…it's all natural?  So it's ok? 

4. Tarte Smooth Operator Clay Finishing Powder - Makes my skin look flawless and lasts almost all day.  I don't understand why this stuff is so good, but the Sephora gal recommended it for my sister's wedding.  I looked airbrushed in the pics, and never stopped using it.  It makes me happy every day. 

5. MAC Eyeshadow in Mystery - I use this eyeshadow to define my brows (with this brush)…or for smokey eyes (with this other brush).  Love that it can do double-duty.  I also had trouble finding the right brown for my brows – so many of them turned too orange.  This brown has a subtle gray tone, so it just looks…completely natural.  Weird, but true.  

6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer in Original - Not only will this (really!!) keep your eyeshadow in place all day, but it's perfect for tired mornings.  (More on this in the video.)

7.Tarte Lash Enhancing Primer - Layering this under mascara makes my eyelashes look fake, in the best possible way.  I instagrammed a pic (@shanachristine) and talk about it in the video below.

8. Make-Up Forever HD Foundation - Another recommendation from the folks at Sephora.  They promised that it would make my skin look amazing for my sister's wedding photos.  It did.  It also makes my skin look amazing, period.  It's pricey, but I'm still using (daily!!) the bottle I bought in June, so…PPW*, right?  Not as natural as I typically go for, but it is paraben-free.

*price per wear

9.  Tarte Maracuja Glow in Candlelight - I use this to distract from wrinkles and undereye bags.  You can see it a demo in the video.

 

Now.  Here's a quick video "tutorial" (snort) of my makeup routine on those very, verrrry tired mornings.   Warning:  It's fairly awkward – I had to talk over Pax's gun-shooting, growling and shrieking in the background.  Awesome.


 

Ummmm…yeah.  That's all my tricks.  That right there.

BUT HEY!  Mamas!  You guys are a veritable wealth of information…so share!  If you have a blog and have blogged about your fav make-up products or tips, feel free to add your links into the little Linky Tool below.  You can also add in pics from Instagram, Flickr, etc.

If you aren't digitally linked, also feel free to leave a comment with your fav stuff or tips.  I'm dying to see how everyone else is handling the tired morning shuffle!

xo,

S

ps.  The video.  Umm….let me know:  helpful and fun or totally annoying?

 

 

 

By February 20, 2013 60 No tags Permalink
January 30, 2013

Mom Street Style: Frances and Her Hair Piece (it’s awesome…I promise)

IMG_1169

Frances, without the hair piece

Mamas!  Meet the adorable Frances, mama of the two cutie-pies above!  She emailed me a few weeks ago with a genius/crazy hair idea that I had to share.  Check it out:

It is about my one year anniversary since I discovered your blog and I am just as enamoured with it now as I was on the first day.  I am a mama of two boys, 5 and 2 1/2, and still on the fence about having that third (have you decided yet?  might help me decide, lol!).  I have always been a clothes horse and having kids has only slowed me down a bit (re: buying kids clothes instead of office clothes)  My go-to's for shopping suggestions and styling tips are People's Style Watch (used to be In Style, but no time to peruse and study fashion like I used to, go figure) and of course ANMJ.  I am sure if we lived in the same city we could cause some major retail trouble together. [S's note:  YES.  We would.] 

Why I am writing today is to share this amazing hair trick from one of my friends.  My friend's hair hits just above her shoulders and once when we met for dinner, I was amazed by how fantastic and full her updo looked, especially since I knew she had just come from the gym.  Voila!  It was fake hair!  She bought this piece from a little shop in a mini-mall in Miami and next time we were there together I picked up a piece "just in case". 

IMG_1270
[S's NOTE:  My sister was able to find one online at WowWigs for $15 - thanks for the help, Scotti!]

I am a very low maintenance person when it comes to hair so if I am going to do my hair, it has to be fast and easy – and this trick is both.  

Franceshairpiece

 
Holy crap.  Frances, that is AWESOME.  Seriously jaw-dropping.  Your finished updo looks like it took hours to do, and is much better than any updo I've paid for at a salon.  I'll be honest…I've always passed by those kiosks in the mall because, well…fake hair can look a little creepy.  But I do own that fake braided headband that M wrote up here (and still love it)…so I think I'm ready to take the plunge with this one.  

I cannot thank you ENOUGH for sending in these adorable pics and taking the time to write up a little something for us!  Totally inspiring, and so very easy.

My gosh.  You readers are the best.

xo,

S

ps.  Your comments on yesterday's hair post made my day.  I now have a whole list of new hair styles to try.  Some of you have requested pics from each other…feel free to send 'em my way!  I'll update the post with any reader pics and ideas as they come in.  aintnomomjeans (at) gmail (dot) com

By January 30, 2013 3 No tags Permalink
January 28, 2013

Hair Resolution: Just Try…Harder. Here’s My Plan.

DSC_0733

 

Earlier in January, as part of my mama-style resolutions for 2013, I vowed that I would try harder with my hair.  Before anyone gets too excited, allow me to issue a HUGE disclaimer:   I suck at this.  If my hair has ever looked good on this blog, it is for one of two reasons only:

1.  Hair gods were smiling that day

2.  I get blowouts.  I found a cheap(ish) salon here in Philly and blowouts are my new fav thing.  Manicure-smanicure.  Give me a blowout any day.

Thus:  If you are the type of talented mama who keeps Pinterest boards of cool hairdos to try (and then actually do it)….this article probably isn't for you.  If you were known amongst your high school friends for your elaborate prom updos…this article isn't for you.  If you already own (and use!) multiple curling irons…yeah.  Wow. I'm so not at that level.

But if you (like me) frequently gasp in horror when you catch a glimpse of your hair in the mirror (so greasy???)…keep reading.  If a pom-pom hat is your best styling tip…this might be for you.  If you read the words "curling iron" and actually snorted…yeah, baby.  We have that in common.

Got it?  Awesome. Therefore, in 2013, here are the ways that I'm going to try harder with my hair:

1.  …With Cute Hair Accessories

My sister bought me the adorable star bobby pins from Giant Dwarf (pictured above).  I love how they add a bit of whimsy to any outfit and instantly make my hair look cooler (even my typical pony).  Of course, if you are handy, you could always DIY some, like Camille.  

My other hands-down new fav, are J.Crew Tortise barettes.

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 6.07.54 PM

When I'm pulling half my hair back, these things really keep it in place…and they look SO much better than alternatives.  J.Crew stores also have a giant version that's big enough to pull all of my hair back into a low pony.  I've tried the cheap imitations from Target, but they typically break after one or two uses (I have a TON of hair).  Mamas, if anyone else has found high-quality, LARGE barettes, please let me know!

 

2.  …By Faking a Blowout With Dirty Hair

The real thing is pretty fabulous, but I don't have the time or money to get them as often as I'd like.  Instead, when my hair is driving me NUTS with the flat-greasy-blahs, there are two products that work wonders:

Bigwonders

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo | BigSexyHair Flip It Over Texture Spray

I've known about these (or products similar) for a while now, so here's my big resolution:  USE THEM.

I read on a Cup of Jo that dry shampoo works better when you spray it in before bed, then sleep on it. Which…ok.  I did that exactly once and yes, it worked.  However, at night my husband and I are usually too busy in our nightmare of a bedtime routine (approx length:  3.5 HOURS, I kid you not)…and the last thing I can remember to do is apply dry shampoo.  Instead, for mornings when I know a shower isn't in the cards and grease abounds….I simply spray a boat-load of Clean Freak on my hair, then BLOW DRY IT.  No white residue, and insane volume.  To pump the volume up even more, I'm in love with Bigsexyhair's Flip It Over Texture Spray.  You basically just do what it says: flip over your hair, spray around, flip it back.  On really bad days, I've stashed this stuff in my purse.  

This combo is the closest I've come to a dirty-hair blowout.

 

3.  …By Adding Random Braids

DSC_1990

When my bangs get greasy, I've started braiding them away.  I just french-braid them down the side of my head, then slide a bobby pin in to hold it in place.  Spray with hairspray.

Or…when pulling my hair back into a ponytail (or half-back, as mentioned above), I've also started braiding a few thin pieces in random places on my head.  You spray the thin braids with a crap-ton of hairspray to keep them together (don't bother with an elastic) then pull your hair back into the usual ponytail, bun, whatever.  Voila!  

 

4. …By Creating BEACHY WAVES

Yup.  I'm serious.  Despite my propensity to snort whenever a curling iron is mentioned…I have managed to master come up with some moderately beachy waves.  And it only cost me two different curling irons (OMG!!) and 8 burns.  So…you know.  TOTALLY WORTH IT.

But here's the thing: I've tried two different methods, in an attempt to determine which one was easiest.  In the end, they both have different pros/cons…and since I've already splurged on both curling devices, I've found that I use them both, depending on the situation.  So while I was hoping for a definitive THIS IS THE BEST, EASIEST, FASTEST METHOD VOILA…let me just show you the two.

Method One: With a Curling Iron

Pros:  With touch-ups that literally take 2 min in the morning, I can make this hairstyle last 5-6 days.  For realz.

Cons:  This method is quite the process (shower, blow hair dry with diffuser, then curl omg).  And if you are as unskilled as I, expect a few burns, and uh…be prepared for mixed results.  (Mine always looks better the second day).

I was inspired to try beachy waves by this tutorial I found on Cara Loren's blog.  Go check it out – her hair is gorgeous.  My hair NEVER looks that perfect, but I am (usually) happy with the results. However, I do things a little differently, because at NO POINT EVER do I have time for a shower, a blow dry, and messing around with a curling iron.  I'd have to forfeit clothes. 

So here's what I do:

Beachwaves

 

Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Cream | Hairdryer diffuser | Nume Pearl Classic Curling Wand

At night:  I shower, then run a ton of Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves through my hair.  Then I blow it dry using a diffuser (Cara Loren demonstrates the diffuser technique in her video).  I was hoping that the diffuser would miraculously be enough and then I could skip the curling wand altoget–

DSC_0872

No.

SO THEN…I sleep on the mess.  In the morning, it's just me, my coffee, and my curling wand*. (Obviously, it has to be a weekend or something.)  

*I bought the Nume Pearl wand above, because Cara Loren provided a discount code that gets you one for $50 (down from $200).  But you don't need one.  I have it on good authority that you can use a regular 'ol curling iron for beachy waves by wrapping your hair around the barrel of the iron.  No clamp.  Don't use the clamp at all, or you'll get ringlets.  Just the barrel.

But in all honesty, the whole curling process doesn't take that long.  Maybe…15-20 minutes?  And I've got it down now to only one or two burns.  But when I'm done?  On a good day, it looks like this:

DSC_0945

Cute and messy, right?  

On a bad day, however, it's more like this:

 
IMG_1758

 Awww.  It's Curly Sue.  All growed up.

But regardless of whether my hair looks awesome on Day 1 or spends the entire day pulled back in a ponytail/smushed under a hat…by the following day, it always looks like this:

DSC_1074

 And with a few minor touch-ups every other day…it pretty much stays that way.  You remember the pic earlier in this post, of Pax and I with the braided bangs?   That was day 5, Mamas.  DAY 5.

Method Two:  With a Deep Waver

Pros:  Super easy, lasts a couple of days

Cons: Only lasts a couple of days, looks vaguely like an instrument of torture

Thedeepwaver

My new sister-in-law Amber (from my sister's wedding…you follow?) is also an insanely talented stylist.  With the cutest hair ALWAYS.  I was gushing over her hair on NYE, when she recommended the DEEP WAVER
(she didn't say it like that, it just begs to be written that way).  Everyone she's recommended it to (including her sisters, my sister, etc. etc.) LOVES it.  So of course, two cocktails in, I phone-surfed over to Amazon and bought it on the spot.  And you know what?  She's right.  It's super-easy to use, and looks awesome.  Like this:

Amber & Annie, NYE.   

Amberandannie

Amber was nice enough to play around with the DEEP WAVER at her salon, so we could show you guys how it looks on different hair types.

One of these may be me.  Hint:  I was not at the salon.

Deepwaver

 

Amber says:  

The bigger the sections of hair, the less of a wave.  The thinner the section of hair, the deeper the wave.  Also, let the sections cool before you touch them.  Touching before they've cooled will make the hair frizz. 

Ah.  I use pretty thick sections simply because it's fast.  By the next day, my hair looked like this:

IMG_1749

I wouldn't call this beachy waves, but it's still cute.  I'll take it.  And while this method doesn't have the staying power of the first method (at least not for my hair), the total time commitment is under 5 min.  Seriously.  I've busted this out a few times before taking Raines to preschool*.

*We may have been 5 min late.  Which should tell you something about my time management skills.

Although, I suspect that if I tried pre-treating my hair with curl cream, then applying some hairspray after, I could probably increase the longevity of the style.  More research needed!!

Here are a few other DEEP WAVER tips from Amber:

This tool is perfect for second day hair (not freshly washed).  If you angle the tool just slightly around the hairline, it softens it just a bit.  But when you get to the top of your head, hold your hair straight up in order to get the waver close enough to your scalp.

Awesome!  Thanks, Amber!  Mamas, if anyone is looking for a stylist in the North Carolina area, go see Amber at the Beauty Bar Boutique.  She is amazingly talented.

ps.  Amazon is currently selling the DEEP WAVER for $38, down from $68.

I actually have one more trick up my sleeve…but it came to me via a reader, and I'm going to wait until tomorrow for that one (she included lots of awesome pics).  This post has started to feel like a dissertation anyway.  Let me know if you have trouble with the load time of this post – GAH!  All of these pics!  Now I see why so many bloggers just do videos.

That's it for now…but Mamas! If you have any easy (or insanely long lasting) hair tips, please let me know!  I need all the help I can get….

xoxo

S

UPDATES – The below pics are from readers who sent in examples to go with a few of the comments below…

From reader DJ: The InStyler! It LITERALLY changed my life!  I have a lot of thick wavy frizzy hair. I pretty much look like a lion if I don't do anything to it (sigh). The InStyler only takes max. 20 minutes to not only straighten my hair but I can also curl the ends out in the same amount of time.  I can go 3-4 days without washing my hair (of course I try not to go that long but you know how it is)and my hair will keep the hairstyle THE WHOLE TIME.  Also I've been using it for 2 years and it hasn't damaged my hair at all. 

3rdDay

Scotti (my sister) and Beth were talking about the Deep Waver:

Scotti: Another plug for the deep waver? I can go 6 days without washing/doing my hair when I use it. I can wear it down 3-4 days (always looks better 2nd or 3rd day), then I'll pin half up for a day or two and finally all the way up the last day or two. Honestly, one of the best parts is that my hair is much HEALTHIER after using it for only a few weeks because I use much less HEAT on my hair. I bleach my hair, blow dry and have been straightening for years so my hair is fried. Even my stylist noticed the difference! 

Beth said in reply to Scotti …

Scotti- that is my hair exactly! Fine hair that is easily damaged. Thanks for the insight…any chance you can send in a picture????

Yup.  Here they are…down (on day 4) then pinned half up, then pinned all the way up.

Scotti

 

From Reader Lauren:

I was the one who commented on your hair entry a few days ago and said I have naturally curly hair and struggle with my "cute rut".  I had a few people ask about photos…literally, I was looking for some to send, and EVERY photo of myself that I like has my hair done the same way.  I let my hair air dry, then pull the top part back above my ears; the portion I end up with in my hands I then twist and lift to the left side, and I bobby pin it in place. I go with more or less fluff/volume up top depending on my mood, and sometimes I change up the part (or lack thereof) or use a fancier bobby pin…but that's my daily mom hair.  

Hair Photos

 

 

Also Mamas, it might be easier to do a little Linky party.  If any of you have pics with a cool 'do, just link up here!

By January 28, 2013 79 No tags Permalink