Tag Archives: beauty

Making the Switch

About a year ago, I was taking off my dime store nail polish with regular Cutex remover. The nails underneath were off-color, which was par for the course, and would require that I paint them again asap to cover this up. I usually only painted my toes in the warmer months, giving them a good couple of months to rest, recover and look like healthy nails again, during the winter. I was also annoyed that my thumb and index finger turned extremely dry and rough after using the acetone polish remover and wondered if I’d have to wear gloves from now on. What a pain. I also always volunteered to take off my daughter’s nail polish, so she didn’t have to get her skin all jacked-up. But really I was sick of it.

The first switch I made was to use Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes, which are acetone-free, infused with argan oil and expertly take off layers of nail polish with minimal effort. They smell great (like grapefruit), nourish the cuticles (with argan oil) and leave my skin very happy. A jar ($9) holds 20 wipes and I typically use 2-3, depending on how dark my polish is. What a difference.


The second switch I made was to buy some Zoya nail polish, which is free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (they call it the Big 5 toxins). I bought 2 colors, plus the base and top coat formulas. I assumed that it wouldn’t last as long or be as shiny, but boy was I wrong. My first do-it-yourself application (so not professional) lasted 3 weeks without a chip in sight. It could have gone longer. And when it came time to take off the polish, my nails underneath were a happy, healthy rosy color, like they should be. None of that yellowish, off-color look.

I'm currently wearing Zoya Margo

I’m currently wearing Zoya Margo

That was last fall and I immediately threw out all of my other nail polish and remover. Now that it’s summer, I ordered a few more colors for me and a few for my daughter (she likes blues and this sparkly green one, Stassi). Zoya ($9) always has promotions going (love that), so we get bonus colors too. This time they sent full-size bottles of their new colors Kimmy and Kalmia:

Zoya Kimmy

Zoya Kimmy

Zoya Kalmia

Zoya Kalmia

Check out the new fall colors and consider trying it for yourself. I’m not paid to market any of this, I just love sharing good products with you.

Zoya Fall Collection Nail Polish

Zoya Fall Collection Nail Polish

Enjoy the day!

x Laura


Five for Fall

Sitting here in a sweater and pair of boots for the first time this season, I guess it’s time to fully embrace the coming of fall. It’s my favorite season, with the moderate temps, gorgeous foliage colors, and the introspective mood before the coming of winter. As nature scurries to prepare for the onset of cold weather, I follow suit with a new-found energy toward finishing projects and clearing out our nest. There’s no use in trying to stop the change.

Jason Wu Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear (New York). style.com

Making the summer-to-fall leap:

  1. Fashion shows for Spring have begun! New York, London, Milan and Paris will show collections over the next two months. I’ve started a Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear cheat sheet here to track trends, colors and fabrics.
  2. Donate, sell and consign. Good grief — the clutter! Create a haven in your space this winter by clearing out unwanted things now. Start small with a bag or two. Please don’t freak out and do too much. Slow and steady is better.
  3. Get the house winterized while the weather is still nice. Here’s a helpful list of maintenance items to get done now –  To Do: September Home Checklist
  4. My workout routine was non-existent this summer, so it’s time to make it a priority again. I’ve signed up for two classes and am ready to kick some booty. No time for the gym? Check out this printable No Running Required, 20-minute Cardio Workout.
  5. Plan the next vacation. Summer trips are still fresh in our memories, but fall and winter breaks will be here before we know it. Don’t get shut out by waiting too long. 5 Things Smart Travelers Should Do in September.

Lastly, here’s a 15-second beauty cheat. I just got wise to this brow product that is really fantastic. Gimme Brow by Benefit ($22) has a tiny mascara-like brush that fills in brows, even where they are seriously lacking. Covers little grey hairs, adds dimension to the arch and tail, and fills in patchy areas. It’s kind of a brow miracle and very easy to use.

Gimme Brow by Benefit

Enjoy all the good things that September brings.

x Laura

“My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it’s the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke – like the end and the beginning of something all at once.”
Lauren Oliver, Delirium

Beauty: On the Cheap

There is something so fun about trolling the aisles of a drugstore looking for low-priced beauty products. It’s a bit like Russian Roulette trying to find something that’s actually good, but since it’s not too hard on the wallet, I don’t mind taking the chance.

The other day I picked up some newbies and I found these three fantastic products. I definitely got lucky — they are my new faves:

Physicians Formula Multi-colored Highlighter

Using this Physicians Formula mosaic highlighter as my new go-to face powder. It helps with redness, winter dullness and evens out skin tone with a baby-fine powder that’s not overly matte. The overall effect is brightening.

maybelline concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser

If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried a gazillion concealers. I’ve tried high-end, low-end and everything I could get my hands on. Most of the time they make me look worse, so I just went without. But this one, I like a lot. The Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser spongy applicator is fool-proof, the formula is light and it doesn’t settle into my wrinkles, making them look worse. It just lightens, covers and easily blends, without making a big announcement that I AM TIRED AND I HAVE CONCEALER ON! Good for pigment spots, dark circles, breakouts, etc.

Maybelline Concealer

Maybelline DreamLumi Touche Highlighting Concealer

I’m going to put this jewel in the best supporting beauty product category. While the concealer above, does the heavy lifting, the Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighter makes for a good finishing touch, especially for nighttime makeup. It’s nice in the corners of the eyes to brighten up after a long day. Also, you could try it blended all along the tops of your cheekbones, for a lifting effect and subtle sheen.

It’s funny, as I get older, I’m more interested in having better-looking skin, than wearing colorful lipsticks, blushes or eye shadows. So glad to have found 3 cheap products that work so well.

x Laura

More like this:

Hate Your Sunscreen Yet?

Sunburn Barbie

Sticky, hard to rub in, smells toxic, ghostly white, too greasy, stings your eyes, rolls your makeup and irritates your skin. Are you sick of your facial sunscreen yet? If you’re ready to ditch your current tube, have I got the thing for you (cue the music).

Josie Maran moisturizer sunscreen

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+

In my (humble) opinion Josie Maran has hit it out of the park with her chemical-free moisturizer + sunscreen duo for face, neck and chest. It’s an Argan Oil based moisturizer, with the added benefits of micro-mineral sunscreen and a SPF 40+. The silky, mild lotion (almost a milk) has other skin supporting ingredients like jojoba oil, pomegranate oil, green tea and chamomile.

Here’s why I love it so much:

  • chemical-free sunscreen in SPF 40+
  • feels more like a moisturizer than a sticky sunscreen
  • no white residue — the mineral sunscreens immediately disappear
  • less products, less steps in the morning (1 step, rather than 2)
  • Argan oil moisturizes without looking shiny
  • acts like a make-up primer (now that’s 3 steps covered)

I’ve been using the Joise Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+ ($32) for over 5 months now and haven’t had a single complaint with this product. It smells very good (fruity), pumps out easily and my first bottle (the 2.0 oz) lasted 3 months with daily use. I then sent a bottle to my mom for her try out and she loves it too. I’m onto my second bottle now (the jumbo 4 oz) and plan to use this until the end of time.

Reviewers over at Sephora give it 4.7 out of 5 stars. Nearly a perfect score. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

Also, if you’re into natural skincare,  you’ll be happy to know that it’s formulated without: Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances and Dyes, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, GMOs and Triclosa.

What about the rest of my me?

I’m using the Josie Maran product strictly on my face, neck and chest. For the rest of my body, my go-to sunscreen is still Dr. T’s Supergoop!. Read my review of it over here. This sunscreen gets high marks from my whole family and we buy it in the large size pump, which lasts a fair amount of time. This formula sinks right in, is invisible on skin, leaves a slight sheen, is water-resistant, and free of parabens, fragrance and oxybenzone. Also available at Amazon.com.

Have fun in the sun this week!

x Laura

More posts like this one:

  1. Beauty Reviews: Does Natural Deliver?
  2. Much Ado About Sunscreen
  3. Why is Everyone 35?

Each Other’s Eyes

Eyes of the World via AFAR

Eyes from Around the World, Photo: AFAR Magazine

We are all unique and yet connected. I find this picture of eyes from different women around the world to be beautiful and mesmerizing. Click through to see a larger picture with the country written under each set of eyes.

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”

— Henry David Thoreau

x Laura