Category Archives: Beauty Haul

August Beauty Routine Wrap-up

My beauty routine has been pretty simple to wrap up the summer: Focus on skin care, some Moroccan Oil in my hair for air drying, and a pop of pink-y color on lips or cheeks. Despite slathering sunscreen like it’s my job, I’m pretty tan so I’ve been skipping foundation and just smearing on this Josie Maran Argan Oil cheek tint stick, $22, alone or on top of a little of Benefit’s “Posie Tint,” $30. I do a little mascara (not pictured because I literally use anything; the trick of it is in the application technique and the curling, I swear) and head out the door. Easy!

As I approach 30, I’ve tried to be a little more vigilant about an anti-aging regimen. I’m convinced that the lack of deep forehead lines is due to tri-weekly Retin-A use for the past few years, but I’m always on the lookout for new goods.

During a Friends & Family sale in early July, I picked up Kiehl’s “Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate,” $77. I can happily report it works incredibly, applied nightly. If you try, heed this: A little goes a long way! Don’t pump the dispenser all the way down like I habitually do or you’ll find yourself spreading product onto your neck, chest, back of your hands, and occasionally — your partner! (If they don’t object to a little beautification, that is.)

Another goody my terribly oily, summer-distressed skin is loving is the Cinq Mondes Spa Phyto-Peeling Lotion (toner). The fruit acids (AHAs) and Glycolic Acid are key. My pored have never looked tighter or cleaner. Obsessed.

New favorite products

I have been on a bit of a beauty bender lately buying products left and right. Here are a few of the finds I have been especially happy with for fall/winter 2012:

1. Murad Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer with SPF 15
I think we can all agree that my skin is not my best feature. It’s super oily and I basically have to keep my dermatologist on speed dial for emergency cortisone injections. Since the weather turned colder and I’ve been outside more during the day, I’ve been looking for a good moisturizer with an SPF. This is light and refreshing and has earned me more than a few “hey, nice skin” compliments, so something is working!

2. Koh Gen Doh Cleansing Spa Water Cloths, $39
OBSESSSSSSSSED. Remember my love affair with the Clarisonic Mia Face Brush? I love these more. These little beauties gently remove every single trace of mucky disgustingness I bring home from the city, but still manage to leave my skin feeling perfectly smooth, balanced, and cleansed. I am finally convinced that a wipe can do better than a fashwash and some elbow grease. But seriously. These cleanse my skin better than my cleansers and scrubs so my treatment creams and other nightly concoctions can get to work without gross barriers like dead skin and other yuckiness. The price scared me too, but you get 30 total and they are really big, so reasonably, you could cut them and make them last 2x as long. I’ve been saving them for the full-makeup days, so I really only use 1-2/week. My point: You must try them.
3. Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
As I type, this is smeared all over my face because this awesome product also doubles as a mask. And you know I love masks. I love the gritty texture of this especially, but my favorite thing about it is definitely the clay. Just 1 mask a weeks takes care of all my excess oiliness in the T-zone, yay! And I especially like to sleep in it if I feel a breakout coming on. Just dab a little on the offending area before bed and wash off in the AM.

4. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
An all-time favorite. I have the largest tub possible right by my bed because I cannot exist without it. It’s moisturizing, indulgent, thick, and smells like heaven. My lovely blogger friend Justine was nice enough to share a great coupon for 50% off recently —thanks Justine! Check out her blog: Short is the new black, it’s lovely.

5. Bobbi Brown Bellini Lip and Eye Palette, $75
Bobbi Brown is one of the few makeup artists whom I inherently trust. My impression is that she has a very realistic approach to beauty, aging, and women in general which I really respect and admire. (This also translates to brand loyalty on my part in a big way.) This palette is my go-to for work since the colors are so soft and wearable for daytime. The colors are perfect for me whether I’m pale or doing a little faux tanning now that it’s winter. Definitely check this one out if you’re on the hunt for a subtle new daytime palette.
So those are just a few of my favs lately. I have more coming soon. Get excited!

Be in the Know: Gilt City

I AM OBSESSED. As a beauty-minded girl, I keep running lists of products I want to try, treatments I want to get, and salons and spas I want to visit.

Now I love Groupon and BuyWithMe and all the others as much as the next saavy shopper, but I feel like you have to be choosey with your buys. I don’t always recognize a lot of the places, so

I feel like it’s best for:
1.) deals on products you know you want
2.) trying and discovering a new place for cheap

But where is the deals site for the more luxe products and services? The answer is Gilt City. Launched in the fall of 2010, Gilt City is a spin-off of the hugely successful, members only – a national luxury online shopping site. Basically, what the original site is to clothing, Gilt City is to beauty. But the best part?? The deals are for EXTRAORDINARY spas, salons, and services that I’ve heard of and are ALREADY on all my lists!

In the last month I have seen deals for Bella Sante spa, Bliss Spa, Gretta Cole, eye lash extensions, BCBG, and Kate Spade. [Aside: It is a wonder I am not broke.] So what are you waiting for?! Sign up!

Gilt City: click here for 20% off coupon on your 1st purchase

Review: Rene Furterer Fioravanti No Rinse Detangling Spray

Rene Furterer Fioravanti No Rinse Detangling Spray, $26
About the brand: With 50+ years of hair care experience…ok, that’s good enough for me. Healthy scalp = healthy hair.
Usage: Spray all-over damp hair to help detangle and add shine
Special redeeming qualities: Smells like herbs. Shine-enhancing. Essential Oils. Makes combing out my hair 1/10th the bitch it used to be.

I went to a new stylist at Dellaria’s recently and he asked me what I use to detangle my hair. I slunk in my chair and mumbled that I’ve been meaning to invest in a better brand, blah-blah-blah  …but that Aussi’s detangler has been my main squeeze SINCE HIGH SCHOOL.

Oh the shame. Not that there is anything wrong with Aussie. On the contrary, they are a quality brand, but I pay oh…let’s say $1000 a highlight for my color, so using something that’s not gentle enough for color-treated hair is basically a waste of time (a 1-process w/ highlights takes some serious upkeep) and money I don’t have.

So he starts spraying my longggg hair all-over with this fabulousness and glides a comb right on through my horrendous tangles. I perk up and have to ask, what IS this magic? It smells like an herb garden. Less floral/more “parsley” which might be a little weird, I know, except I’m a-liking; a lot. It’s $26.

{HOLDUP. I don’t like it for that much.}

So I did what any saavy, budget-minded girl does. I jotted the name down (taking note of every.single.other.product. this genius hair dresser had on his counter) and immediately went home and ordered it on Amazon for $18.


Verdict: This product has changed my life and you must go buy it immediately.

xoxo, Wendy

Sephora Friends and Family 2011


I missed it. I feel like I slept through Christmas. Or the dance/ball scene in “Enchanted.” (You know that you secretly love this scene with Amy Adams and McDreamy! How could you not? Watch here.)

For those who don’t know, Sephora F & F is a 20% off promotional sale that happens every fall. It’s the highlight of my fall basically. I’d been researching products and putting together lists of my favorites to re-stock and things to try and time just escaped me. It’s not the end of the world though. There is still Black Friday annnnd I just cashed in a bagillion Discover Card points for an absolutely MASSIVE Sephora e-gift certificate so I am d-y-i-n-g  to shop!!

Still, do yourself a favor and like Sephora on Facebook now so you’ll know when promotions are coming. There is also a pretty sweet deal-of-the-day offered for “liking” the page aannd a $10 Black Friday preview starting this Friday, 11/18!!! (Yes. It’s on my calendar.)

I’ll post my haul once I zip over to Sephora so stay tuned. Did you make it to the Sephora F&F sale? What did you get?!

Products You Should Try

Got my hair ‘did a few weeks ago and have been too lazy to finish up this post and picked up a few items I’ve been lusting for, but also learned a new blow-dry smoothing trick I thought I’d share. It’s embarrassingly obvious so don’t judge.

I decided to get fancy and dust off my Photoshop skills (above pic). I know. Blowing your mind.

If you’ve never tried the Shuga line, I highly recommend this Dellaria’s salon brand – – it’s amazing quality. They’re a bit different from your traditional styling products because they are made with yogurt proteins and natural plant and milk sugars instead of synthetic ingredients (RE: fake stuff).

1. Shuga Leave-in Conditioner, $20: I’d probably die w/o leave-in, that’s how much I adore it as a styling product. My hair feels like hay. Not kidding.

I was a litttle skeptical of a this one bc of the can, but it was phenomenal. And the scent is fantastic, like candy.. you’ll want to huff it.  Spray all over your wet hair to detangle and condition.

2. Shuga Gel Creme, $18: Use a dime to quarter-sized drop of this and scrunch in for incredible hold before blow drying. I especially love this when I’m going to curl my hair but it’s an advanced-level product I think b/c you really have to work it in! *Note: I don’t recommend this if you don’t plan to blow dry. I’ve found that it gets a bit sticky. Imagine dumping a yogurt in your hair? Ew. I’m not saying this is how this product works but I want to be clear that you must blow dry if you use this one.

3. Moroccan Oil – Light, $42: Amaaazing!! I admit I avoided this one because of the price, but my friend Michelle raved about it, so I splurged when I saw a 20% off back-to-school sale at Dellaria’s and I’m glad I did! If you have fried ends or overly processed hair, this is for you. It’s a TREATMENT, not just a styling product, so it does double duty, which I love.

4. Medium Ceramic Barrel Brush (2- 2 1/2″), $28 (but you can find them for more/less, too) Seriously, cue the violins. I often skip a blow dry at the salon to save time after my color, and a few $$, but I had plans after my last salon visit, so I dried it myself before leaving. I used a little of the Shuga leave-in, combed it out, and did my thing using a paddle brush and looked like I stuck my hand in a light socket. I frizzed out so much I was embarrassed to make eye contact with my stylist, Samara.

Normally, I use a lot more products to tame the beast, so I’m convinced that is why it looked so awful, but Samara had a few spare mins and offered to finish the blow-out for me. Using a medium-sized ceramic round brush, she just grabbed small sections of hair at the root and brushed down the length of each section while she hit it with a little warm air, completely smoothing out the crazy fly-away pieces around my hairline and angles. It was incredible.

I realize now that my own round brush is aluminum which is great b/c it speeds up blow drying time, but isn’t quite doing the smoothing job that a ceramic brush does. So this is a redic long-winded way of saying that using a ceramic round brush to smooth out your at-home blowout is a MUST! I’ll post once I decide which one I want to buy, but I’m liking what I read about the MoroccanOil one I linked to above.

Sephora Strategies

Last week after a mani/pedi sesh with the bridesmaids for my friend Shawna’s wedding, I stopped by Sephora (with my friend Michelle!) to replenish my beauty stash.  I have to admit, Sephora overwhelms me, like Ikea.  I’ll start aimlessly wandering the aisles and staring until the tubes and pots all blur together. Do you know what I mean?

I find that going in there with a list always helps me stay focused so I leave without having a breakdown. I try to ALWAYS at least arrive with one of the following:

1.) Products I think I need that I want some brand guidance and assistance with choosing (re: a full-coverage foundation, a concealer, a non-shimmery black shadow, ect)

2.) Recommendations/products I might have read about and want to try out in-store

Now, please, know that I don’t just spend my hard earned dough on just ANY beauty products. I research the heck out of every.single.product., which is really why I have this blog, so I can share this crazy passion of mine with more people.  Happily, Sephora has made the research process EXTREMELY easy; their customer reviews are fabulous.  Seriously. I cannot give enough raves, props, and applause for how consistently up to snuff these things are, which brings me to my next Sephora shopping strategy – aka my “I am the laziest beauty blogger ever” secret tip.

3.) My most secretive, top-secret, secret: Surf the website’s “Top-Rated Products” list. I cannot tell you how many of these items are favorites. It’s NUTS. Don’t believe me? OK, I’ll share my favorite one.

[Related tangent: I’ve also taken up a similar strategy for clothing shopping, too. Don’t have enough time to run into Banana Republic/The Gap/Anthropologie/J.Crew, etc? Just look in the windows. Chances are, the best, most on-trend (or else, classic)-pieces are probably featured there.  Just snap those up and you’re in and out and likely, not regretting your purchases. I mean, I am not a scarf person, but just last week after mindless browsing in Francesca’s, I nearly went to the register with TWO. You do pay full price for items, it’s true, but if you’re like me, you spend very little on classic pieces found at T.J Maxx and Marshals, so you can afford supplementing with a few outfit makers bought in-season at stores like these]