November 13, 2014

Putting Our Fav Lip Stains To the Kiss Test….And A Big Holiday Makeup Giveaway (No Really, It’s HUGE)

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Gang, I’ve been working on this article for almost a year (which explains the wig).  And it seems apropos, I suppose, since one year ago today I had my last chemo treatment.  On the phone this morning, Scotti pointed out that I should celebrate.  She’s right, don’t you think?  A little champagne may be in order this weekend.

But first, let’s talk about bold lips and our flawless face giveaway.  (I’m really, REALLY excited about this one.)

Tarte’s LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint

Tarte’s lip stains are my hands-down favs.  They have natural formulations (no parabens, sulfates, phthalates),  glide on smoothly, feel a little like peppermint, and wear off nicely (no strange ring-around-the-mouth).   But do they pass the kiss test?  MOSTLY.   Here’s a run down of the MATTE formulation.

Tarte Matte Lip Tint in Fiery

If I have red lips in any pictures on The Mom Edit, it almost always is Fiery (here’s just one of many examples).  Tarte’s lip tints layer like a dream, so you can get really intense color.  However, wearing several coats won’t pass the kiss test (more on that in a sec).  In the pics below, I’ve put on a single coat of Fiery, then blotted it, and then let it air dry for a few minutes.  You can tell that the red is not quite as intense (it’s *almost* pink) but wanted to give you some idea of how it would look most of the time.  (Unless you guys are really good about re-application; I am not.)

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Nuthin!  No lip tint print at all!

 

Tarte Matte Lip Tint in Eternal (limited edition)

I wanted to highlight Tarte’s Kiss and Belle set because it’s such a great value ($34).  This set contains both the matte and shiny formulations of the lip tint in a wide range of seriously pretty neutrals (and a few gorgeous brights).  Even the neutrals pack a punch.

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I’m wearing a few coats of Eternal, unblotted.

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Yup.  But when I blot it (on my hand) and then try the other cheek….

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Almost completely gone.  In another few minutes, the lip stain will set and leave no trace while kissing.

 

Here are two other Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lipstains I swear by:

Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lipstain in Lively

Lively is a bright, bright pink – almost neon – yet is shockingly wearable.  One of my favs.

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Tarte Matte Lipstain in Envy

I like the subtle purple undertones of Envy – more of a deep berry than a shocking pink like Lively.

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Tarte Lip Tints (The non-matte version)

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In addition to the matte formulation, Tarte also makes LipSurgence lip tints that are slightly glossy, so they feel more like balm.  Consequently, they don’t pass the kiss test quite as easily.  (Off topic: I love this pic.  I mean seriously, Pax!  OMG.)

 

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But with some blotting and drying, they will eventually.

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At this point, as you can see in the pic above, I’m left with just a stain on my lips.  It no longer looks like lipstick per se, just a dark stain.  I’m totally OK with this – especially since these reapply like a gloss or a chapstick rather than lipstick.  They’re pretty foolproof.

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The color I’m wearing is part of Tarte’s Kiss and Belle Lipsurgence set….but my favorite color, hand’s down, is Lust.  It’s this sheer orange-red and is amazing.  Of course, mine is gone and this product has been SOLD OUT on sephora.com forever.  (Hint:  It’s part of our giveaway, however, so keep reading…..)

 

Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick

If you want serious staying power, major color, yet something that will abso-freaking-lutely ALWAYS pass the kiss test?

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Yeah. Try Stila’s All Day Liquid Lipstick (I’m wearing Tesaro – sold out at Sephora, but fully in stock at Nordstrom).  No matter how many times I kiss this little face, there’s never a mark.

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We have a deal, Raines and I.  I’m allowed to kiss him goodbye at school drop-off….AS LONG AS I’m NOT wearing lipstick.  (There was this one day I left him with a lip print that he appartently never lived down.  Sigh. )  He will, however, make an exception for this lipstick.

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And seriously OMG I want to kiss his little face.  Over and over and over and over.  MWAH  MWAH MWAH MWAH.

I freaking love being a mom.

Anywho.

Scotti also loves Stila’s Liquid Lipstick.  Her color of choice?  Beso – a gorgeous red.  (Let’s not compare her immaculate lipstick application to my, uh, kool-aid mouth technique.)

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There’s the tiniest of lip prints on little Greenlea’s head.  Scotti was going to wait a moment (let it dry) and take another shot, but Greenlea had a little meltdown instead and YES:  We totally understand.

 

The Giveaway!!!

I’m over-the-moon that my sister is writing for The Mom Edit, and so. totally. thrilled. with her flawless face tutorial (seriously, I cannot even tell you how much this girl has completely changed my makeup game).  So I wanted to celebrate how gorgeous she will be making us with a huge giveaway (based on all of our favorite products).  Besides, ’tis the season and all that. RIGHT???

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The Mom Edit’s Perfect Makeup Giveaway includes:

  • Tarte’s Dream Come True set – Tarte’s Amazon Clay blushes are Scotti’s top blush pick, and hopefully this article has convinced you of the fabulousness of the LipSurgence lip tints.  This set comes with 6 (six!!!) full size blushes, and 6 full size Lip Tints (including sold-out Lust – my fav!!)
  • Urban Decay’s Obsessions Smokey Eye Set (includes their amazing primer -a Scotti must-have)
  • Scotti’s must-have brushes from her Flawless Face article (foundation, blush, concealer)
  • A $150 giftcard to Sephora so you can complete your flawless face kit – whatever it is that you’re missing

 

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below.  You can get one entry for referring a friend, one for following us on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook and 5 (FIVE!!) entries if you find the giveaway post on Facebook or Instagram and tag a friend.  (Follow @shanachristine on Instagram)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can I say ‘Happy Holidays’ yet?  Cause I’m DYING TO.  No?  Really?  Ok -I’ll refrain…FOR TWO MORE WEEKS, then it’s GAME ON, BABY.

xo!

S

ps.  Giveaway is open to US, Canada, Europe and AU residents.

 

 

 

By November 13, 2014 15 No tags Permalink
November 12, 2014

How to Fake Amazing Brows

How to Fake Amazing Brows

 

(photo credit: Vafa-Coffman Photography)

I was surprised to find that many of you had commented about my eyebrows after my first makeup post.  “Brow envy” was even a phrase that was used!  The ironic part of this is that I have insanely sparse eyebrows . . . like, barely any hair.  If I could go back in time to talk to a younger version of myself, I would tell her to STOP.  PLUCKING.  YOUR.  EYEBROWS.  They won’t grow back.  Really.  My middle school self was going crazy with the tweezers (for some reason super plucked brows appealed to me?) and my adult self would pay for it later.  SO, the fact that ANYONE is liking my eyebrows is AWESOME.  Because of my lack of “real” brows, I’ve had years (YEARS) to perfect faking them.  I have gone through COUNTLESS products . . . I’ve practically tried them all.  Brows are THE most important part of your face, but are often overlooked.  See how this woman looks totally different depending on the way her brows look?

Brows

I’ve put together two methods to fill in brows.  The first method is what I’ve been doing it for the past couple of years – it’s easy (fairly easy), and uses Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, brow pencil.  Keep in mind that this is the way I do it, but you may not need to do all of the steps yourself, depending on what kind of brows you have.  For example, if you’re lucky enough to have thick brows already, you may just benefit by brushing Anastasia’s Brow Gel over them to keep them in place throughout the day.

Method One

Skill Level: Beginner

 

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This is what my brow looks like before I’ve done anything to it.  I’ll pluck the stray hairs every few days, being sure not to over-pluck any part of the actual brow (I did enough of that when I was younger).

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Step 1: Brush your brows into place using the brush that comes on the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil.  I’m so glad they decided to put the brush right on it . . . it makes it very convenient as you’ll brush them a few times.

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Step 2: Use the pencil end of the Brow Wiz* to fill in your brows.  Make sure you follow the general shape of your own eyebrows, filling in spots that may be more sparse.  You can see here I’ve followed the general arch of my brow, going a little higher to accentuate it and filling in the front of it to look fuller.  *In this photo I’m using the “taupe” color.

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Step 3: To help “set” the pencil to make it last longer and to make it a bit more realistic (I don’t like the pencil lines you can see in the prior photo), I use Clinique’s Brow Shaper (in soft brown here) over the pencil.  This product is a powder that comes with it’s own applicator brush that works really well.  This product lasts a very long time, so you won’t have to purchase it over and over again.

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Step 4: To emphasize your brow bone and make your eyes appear more open and lifted, use a highlighter underneath the brow.  One of my favorites is Benefit’s High Brow, which is a chubby pencil.  It’s EASY to use . . . just apply the pencil directly under the brow . . .

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. . . and blend.  This is an example of how highlighting can really change the look of the features on your face.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Step 5: Brush your brows into place with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel.  This stuff not only holds your hair in place all day, but it acts as a sealer for the products you have on your brow . . . they will stay on and not smudge, which is important if your eyebrows are as sparse as mine!

Pros of Brow Wiz:

  • It’s easy to use (mistakes can be fixed easily with the swipe of a q-tip)
  • Looks good
  • Comes in lots of colors
  • Brush is attached

Cons of Brow Wiz:

  • It can smudge (which is why I use the Brow Gel over it)
  • The pencil doesn’t last as long as I’d like for the price (replacing it can get expensive)

 

Method Two

I have been hearing about Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade forever.  I don’t know why it took me so long to try it, but I wish I had earlier!  This stuff is like my Holy Grail brow product.  I think I waited to try it because it seemed fussy and I had tried Anastasia’s Brow Genius Kit and was not impressed.  There was WAY too much fussing and putzing (and this is coming from someone who LOVES doing makeup).  I also didn’t want to have to buy the brush separately . . . so . . . I didn’t.   I finally gave in a few weeks ago and am happy to share that it.  is.  AWESOME.  There’s definitely a learning curve to this product, but once you master it you’ll be left with amazing brows that will stay . . . not smudge, not budge . . . even two days after.  Yes, I took the ultimate test for you, dear readers, and didn’t wash my face for two days.  Dedication.  ;)

Skill Level: Advanced

Brow Tutorial Using DipBrow Pomade

 

Again, this is my brow before anything is done to it.

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Step 1: You will need to buy the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12 to use with the DIPBROW Pomade.  The reason you can’t use, say, an eyeliner brush that is shaped similarly is because you need the brush to be stiffer.  The #12 brush is the perfect size, shape and texture for this product AND it comes with a spooly brush on the other end.  So, again, the first step is to brush your brows into place.

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To use the product, dip the brush lightly into the product.

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Using the lid, swipe both sides of the brush off so you have only a little bit of product left on the brush.  You want to use a minimal amount of the product.

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Step 2: Begin filling in your brows from the front to the back.  You can see that I had too much product on my brush because of the excess product on the front of my brows.  Remember, a little really goes a long way.  Brow Tutorial Using DipBrow Pomade-7

Working fairly quickly, fill in the rest of your brow . . . the reason I say fairly quickly is because the product will dry along the way.  Once it dries, it’s difficult to make any changes or fix any mistakes.   (Unlike the Brow Wiz, which is easier to fix mistakes but can also smudge throughout the day . . . so you have to decide which pro or con is better for you.)

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Step 3: To enhance the actual hairs of the brow to make the look appear more realistic, I swipe Benefit’s Gimme Brow (in light/medium here) over the pomade.  This product also keeps the hair in place like the brow gel I used in the first example.  Again, if you have nice thick brows already, this might be a good product for you.  The brow gel in the first method is clear, and Gimme Brow comes in two shades: light/medium and medium/deep.

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Step 4: Same as the first example, using a highlighter to make the eyes appear more open and lifted.  In this second example I used my other favorite brow highlighter product, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duality (in Matte Shell/Lace Shimmer here).  This product is easy to use just like High Brow (it’s a chubby pencil too), but comes with both a matte and shimmer end.  I like to use the matte during the day and the shimmer at night.  (I also use the shimmer end on the inner corners of my eyes to make them appear more rested.) Apply it directly onto the brow . . .

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. . . and blend.

Pros of DIPBROW: 

  • It LASTS forever (you won’t go through it nearly as fast as Brow Wiz)
  • Is waterproof and STAYS on
  • Lots of colors
  • The best product if you really need to fill in lots of brows

Cons of DIPBROW:

  • It’s difficult to master
  • You have to buy the brush separately

 

So there you have it!  Two ways to fake gorgeous brows.  I wish I didn’t have to fake mine, but I take the extra time to do so because it makes such a difference.  Brows and concealer are my two “can’t live without” products.  If you need any more proof that brows make a huge difference, check out these pictures of Jared Leto.  Yep.  The difference a brow can make.

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XO,

Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

By November 12, 2014 3 No tags Permalink
November 6, 2014

Perfect Makeup: 5 Easy Steps For A Flawless Face

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It all started with one blue eyeliner.  My mom and sister never wore makeup when I was growing up but I came across an old blue eyeliner that my mom had somewhere deep in her bathroom cabinet.  I played with that eyeliner and was fascinated from that point on with makeup and the way it could transform and change the way people looked.  As a makeup artist, I’m passionate about makeup and I’m always excited to share what I’ve learned over the years through my obsession with it.  I’m no fashion expert, but MAKEUP – makeup is my thing. In my first post, I wanted to start with the basics:  How to get perfect (looking) skin.  This technique is easy enough to do every day (or at the very least when you’re going out and want to look good)!  These are the products and techniques that we use in all of our pics on the blog.

 

I never wash my face before bed.  (I know, I know!) I’m not a big skin care person, although I know I should be.  By the time bed rolls around, I’m exhausted.  I want to go to bed as fast as possible (sometimes I don’t even make it off the couch where I’ve fallen asleep) and washing my face is just NOT happening.  I’ve had to get really good at faking great skin.  Here’s the way I do it:

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Step One: Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.  Exfoliation is important for a number of different skin issues including acne, wrinkles, dry skin and hyperpigmentation.  If you don’t have enough money to get microdermabrasion or chemical peels (I certainly don’t), Philosophy’s Resurface – The Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel is a lifesaver!  It is one of those products that DELIVERS.  (And also about the only skin care product I swear by).  Read the reviews on this one, Mamas – it is amazing.  I use it about once a week (it’ll last you a long time) to exfoliate and smooth my skin.  It only takes a few minutes and leaves my skin SO soft.  It’s especially great in the winter months when I have areas of dry skin.  The VIB sale is a great time to try it out (20% off) and with Sephora’s great return policy, you don’t have to worry about being stuck with something you hate.

Step Two: Primer + Foundation

Primer is one of those products that is often overlooked but is essential in producing awesome final results.  Primer “preps” your skin and creates a smooth canvas for your foundation to go over.  It also helps your makeup to last much longer than it would without it. There are primers for all types of skin issues, but I’ve highlighted my favorites here.  (Primers can be applied with your fingers.)

Foundation isn’t the thick, cakey makeup you may think it is.  Liquid makeup can literally transform the look of your skin and erase imperfections with the swipe of a brush (which is the key to applying it!).  Here are my favorite foundations for all skin types:

*Shana and I both LOVE the Naked foundation by Urban Decay. It improves your skin over time and it’s easy to find your shade using their number system.  If you have pink undertones, choose a shade that ends in .5 and if you have yellow undertones, choose a shade that ends in .0.  For reference, Shana has pink undertones and I have yellow undertones.

  • No matter what foundation you choose, Urban Decay’s Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush is a necessity for applying it.  This brush is worth every penny and helps your foundation go on flawlessly, getting into pores and wrinkles and creating an even finish.  Your fingers (or even a sponge) simply can’t apply foundation as well as this brush can.

To apply, put a little foundation on the back of one hand, dip the brush into it and apply it in small circles all over your face until it’s evenly blended.

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Step Three: Concealer

Concealer works WONDERS to brighten and wake up your face.  I have clients who are amazed by how refreshed they look after I apply concealer to their under eye area.  The key is using the right products and applying it correctly.

*If you have yellow undertones, choose a “golden” shade.  If you have pink undertones choose a “beige” shade.

To apply, put a small amount (a little goes a looong way) on the back of one hand, dip your brush into it and dab onto skin in a “v” from the inner corner of your eye, down your nose and up to the outer corner of your eye.  Blend using the brush.

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This pic of Shana shows you where to apply the concealer . . . blend it all together within the lines you see here.  You don’t want to apply in the typical semi-circle shape under your eye because this can create reverse-racoon eyes and doesn’t draw the eye up to look more open.

Step Four: Blush

Some women shy away from blush, but it really warms up the face and creates a healthy glow when used correctly.  There are a ton of options when it comes to blush; stains, creams, liquids, sticks, etc.  The EASIEST form, however, is good old-fashioned powder.  The key here is finding one that has great pigment so it will last throughout the day and again, correct application.

To apply, tap brush into product (don’t drag as you’ll end up with too much product on your brush) and dab onto your cheek from mid-apple of your cheek up to top of cheekbone.   Don’t smile when you apply it, as your cheeks are higher when you smile . . . which will make you apply it lower than where you actually want it.  If you have blush applied too low, it drags your entire face downwards and makes you look older (or sadder or saggier)!  The goal is HIGH cheekbones so remember that next time you’re applying blush!  :)

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In this picture, you can see I’ve applied the blush from the apples of my cheek upwards, blending it so it fades toward the hairline.

Step Five: Powder

To set and blend everything together, use a pressed powder applied with a brush.  This last step creates a flawless finish and seals your makeup so it lasts throughout the day.

To apply, tap the end of the brush into the product and swirl onto your face in circles.

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So there you have it!  No matter what makeup look you’re going for–whether you want dramatic smokey eyes or dark lips or if you want a natural glow, you have to start with great skin.  Great skin will always look good, no matter what you’re wearing! Let me know if there’s a specific makeup tutorial you’d like to see in the future!  Remember the Sephora VIB sale starts TODAY, so get your code and get your shop on!

 

XO,
Scotti

 

 

[Note from S: After going through 12+ pages of coats…. The Mom Edit’s Nordstrom Clearance Sale shop has been updated….with coats. #obviously Mostly puffers. But I stand by my puffers.]
By November 6, 2014 44 No tags Permalink
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. 

 

DSC_7030

 (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.

DSC_2826

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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)

DSC_7564

 

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?

 

DSC_7565

 

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. 

DSC_7572

 

 

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.