Category Archives: Health and Beauty

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

Bridal Shower Beauty

I was lucky enough to have been given two lovely bridal showers over the weekend, so I spent a lot of time prepping for them, beauty-wise, nevermind how intense the search for something to WEAR ended up being (hello, 5 dresses I bought “just in case”). Curious what went into my beauty routine? It’s pretty crazy, so be warned.

General/Daily Beauty To Do’s
– Drink water constantly
– Drink green tea with lemon, no sweetener
– Limit salt and carbs
– Take Fish Oil and Biotin supplements
– Cardio; you need to get the blood flowing!
– Meticulous skin care morning and night
This includes AM and PM face washing, exfoliation 2-3 times/week, eye makeup removal, application of any acne medications, eye creams, retinol or glycolic acid (never both at once), and face oil or heavy moisturizers
– Slather on cuticle cream every night; sleep in moisture gloves

– Two Weeks
– Nightly, Neosporin any dry or cracked skin, cuticles, etc
Do you wear ballet flats, too? They are lethal! Switch to something else if you can so skin can heal! I admit, I wore mine drowning in lotion, with thick socks. It was so offensive.
– Every other night, slather on AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion on elbows, knees, and anywhere that needs it
The 12% lactic acid sloughs off dead skin like nothing else  (coupon here!)
– Use a benzoyl peroxide face wash on back and chest as needed to clear up skin
“Backne” is lethal, but so common. You just need to be constantly treating it. If you don’t see it, just know that it’s waiting for you to let up. Always treat for it leading up to a big event! Better safe than sorry.

One Week
– Start Jillian Michaels’ 7-day “Beat the Bloat” cleanse drink
*Note – I still ate actual, non-specialty food, if a bit lighter/healthier, so it’s not quite a “cleanse”, but it’s a similar idea
– Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Full-body exfoliation with body scrub in the AM
– Tuesday: Mary Kay Microdermabrasion at night followed by a fruit acid face mask, followed by the night serum with moisturizer
– Wednesday: Level II Spray tan at Glow ( spray tanning tips coming!)
–  Wear glasses every day to reduce redness from contact lenses
– Lighten up on daily makeup to give skin a little chance to breath
Shudder. I went out without foundation for FIVE days. Concealer didn’t help much. Agh. All in the name of beauty.

It’s pretty intense, but I am so passionately convinced that skin care is key to looking and feeling your best that I do this happily. If you have a shit canvas, no amount of makeup will help. And I’m all about the power of a killer outfit and hair style (hello, you know my hair obsession), but there are some issues that couture and a distracting hat* can’t cure.

*Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, at the Royal Wedding0429-tara-palmer-parkinson-royal-wedding-guests-crazy-hats_we.jpg

What I’m sipping on this week…

Does anyone out there ever feel like they retain water like crazy? In anticipation of my bridal shower this weekend, (and because I’m on hiatus from the gym), I’m giving Jillian Michael’s “Secret Drink Recipe” a whirl. It’s a diuretic drink designed to rid your body of excess water weight and bloating and claims to help you drop 5 pounds in 7 days.

Not pictured is the absurdly priced $6 Apple & Eve Cranberry Juice I splurged on to stay true to the recipe (ahg!!) But Ocean Spray won't cut it, so you must get it!

Jillian Michaels’ “Secret Drink” Recipe:
60 oz distilled water
1 TBS sugar free cranberry juice (not from concentrate)*
1 dandelion tea bag*
2 TBS lemon juice


Steep tea bag in a bit of boiling water, then discard bag after 2-3 minutes. Mix everything and drink each day for 7 days, (sipping throughout the day).
* Note: You will probably have to get these things from a health food store; I found them both at Whole Foods.

It’s day 1 for me so I’ll be back to update you in a week. I’m avoiding salt as much as I can which is torture and should probably limit the carbs, but I’ll save that extreme deprivation for two weeks before the wedding!

Bachelorette Countdown


Leap Day marked 100 days til my wedding, which means my bachelorette party is in 31 days!!!  Since I’m a list-maker and complete beauty-regime-freak, I have a massive plan of attack. Be warned. It’s intense.

Bachelorette-Prep Beauty Regime
& other things to think about…

– Remember to take actually take biotin supplement
– Actually take fish oil supplement
– Snack on carrots like it’s my business
– Eat clean – [Michael Pollen’s Food Rules is my fav book lately]
– Water w/ lemon. All the time
– No coffee unless I’m working out at 6 am

– Drink green tea. All the time
– Weekly overnight hair masks
– Nigh-time cuticle oil/cream, hand lotion, and moisture gloves
– Keep up with weekly manicures
– Stop picking my nails + cuticles
– Decide on bachelorette hair style
– Decide on bridal shower hair style
– Figure out what to wear to bachelorette
– Let’s be honest. It’s time to buy new spanx.
Schedule hair cut
Schedule color [highlights]
– Talk to Samara about a gloss treatment
– Cardio. Every. Single. Day
– Weights. [Lift them]
– Spinning. 2x/week
– Plank every night
– Do this hilarious/murderous Batwing workout w/ Tracy Anderson 3x/weekly
– Splurge on a fabulous special occasion foundation
[I‘m talking: throw down some serious green, people]
– Did I mention spanx? Might need to double up.
– Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate, 1x/week
– Exfoliate entire body 3x/week
– Begin self tanning on the 13th, repeat on 19th
– Maintain tan with Jergens daily after
– Facial

Let the madness begin.

New September Gym Mix

You can’t look good if you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s simple. My lovely friend Michelle wrangled me into running a 5K with her this weekend which I’m SO grateful for; it was on the to-do list and she took care of it for me.

I cannot run without music though and my gym playlist is in desperate need of some love, so I posted on Facebook to ask for some recommendations which I thought I’d share. Thank you guys, there are great! Special thank you to Lauren for sending me some mp3s. I’ll add those to this list this afternoon.

I’ll post my old summer playlist here later in case anyone is interested. (Don’t judge. I am really into early 90’s rap and hip hop for my workouts!)

My Body – Young the Giant
Cheers (Drink to that) – Rihanna
Opposite of Adults – Chiddy Bang
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
Where Them Girls At – David Guetta (almost as good as Sexy Bitch)
Young Blood – The Naked and Famous
Hello – Martin Solveig and Dragonette
Around My Head – Cage the Elephant
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Party in the USA – Miley Cirus
Robym – Fembot (lyrics make me smile)
Little Boots – Remedy
Marry The Night – Lady Gaga


Just like Kate Middleton

Earlier this summer I got my first ever professional skincare and makeup lesson from a friend at Mary Kay. I learned a lot, but the biggest takeaway was just being reminded of the things I already know but don’t always do.

For example, most of us already know we should be doing the 3-steps of skincare: Cleanse, tone, and apply moisturizer. We should use sunblock every day. We should own a decent set of makeup brushes and use them to apply our makeup. We should delicately dab on our eye cream with our weakest finger. We should use eye cream, period. Blah, blah, blah.

But somehow it’s different when someone else tells you to do these things. And explains why you should. Especially when that someone is a professional. I also learned that Mary Kay is the number one-selling skin care line in America which was news to me, miss beauty junkie.  {Did you know this?}

Since my beauty class/wake-up call, I’ve been using the TimeWise facewash, moisturizer, and the day and night serums for combination-oily skin and can speak to the incredible improvement in the tone and texture of my skin. And I love how smoothly my makeup goes on over the day serum and moisturizer especially, like I’ve used a fabulous primer. Give them a try if you can. I bet you’ll be as smitten as I am.

Post on what Make-Up & Skincare Kate Middleton uses.

And most important, try to be more mindful of your daily beauty routine. If Kate Middleton has taught us anything, it’s that mastering and sticking to the basics is key to beauty.

Hair Powder… code name: dry shampoo

It’s not often that two friends separately ask me about hair powder in the same day, soooo…

What you need to know:
Umm, apparently no one calls it hair powder anymore?! Apologies, Shawna and Hannah. No wonder you couldn’t find!

  • Anyways. Dry shampoo is definitely on my list of top 5 favorite products because it is such a versatile time saver.
  • If you color your hair at a salon like me, you’re aware that every time you shampoo, you’re kissing some of your precious hair color goodbye.
  • Paired with the bevvy of hot styling tools I live and die by, it’s no wonder my hair feels like a bale of hay when I don’t baby it with a gazillion products.* So, I make a point to shower as little as possible  wash my hair as little as possible.
  • Enter, dry shampoo.

We all know that hair at the scalp gets oily after so many days. I know, yech. Hair thickness, products, how much you hit the gym and even horomones affect how often you need to shampoo. Finer hair tends to show it sooner than thicker hair, while curlier haired girls tend to notice it after an even longer period of time, (bitches!) How much product you use in your hair and where you put it also makes a difference. And we all know how we look after a sweat session at the gym. Finally, hormones. I think I went through a bottle of Head and Shoulders a week as a teen. Shudder.

How to:
Just lift hair along the crown of your head and lightly sprinkle spray a little hair powder dry shampoo directly onto your roots and  lightly massage in/fluff. I like to use a thin, natural bristle brush** or fine tooth comb to brush through, then hit it with a blow dryer for volume.

Additional benefits:

  • It adds awesome fullness to hair because you are essentially beefing up your puny strands’ root base with a physical product, while also stimulating blood flow to your roots which encourages growth.
  • At the same time, you’re also mussing hair at the root, which I call “finger teasing” (wow, that sounds dirty!!) Essentially, your doing a gentler version of teasing hair with a comb, which we all know, gives hair crazy volume.

My recommendations:
If you’re blonde, save the money and just buy baby powder! Brunettes, you can try using it too, just be really particular about blending it into your roots, or you will look like you’ve got dandruff!

My favorites:

  • Johnson & Johnson baby powder, available at drugstores
    (Tip: I love the cute little $0.99 travel ones for my gym and makeup bags)
  • Pssst Instant Spray Dry Shampoo, available at drugstores for about $6.99, or online here
  • Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray, $19

Do you use dry shampoo? What do you think? If you try my method out or try any of these recs, please let me know how it goes.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate.
You know I love to talk products :-)

*applied sparingly
**Natural bristle brushes help distribute oils better than synthetic brushes and are worth investing in. There is a REASON the Mason-Pearson hairbrush is famous and $150. It’s amazing. EDIT: Oh my god. And it’s on sale for $95 on Amazon

Brand review: Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics was founded in 1976 by sisters Jean and Jane Ford, but it entered my life by way of their incredibly fun, whimsical catalog when I was in my early teens. I remember thinking the products were a bit too mature for me, but loving how stylized the packaging and brand image was. Now that I’m older and LOOKING for an eye brightening undereye concealer, I can see why this brand has lasted. The products WORK and unlike other makeup brands that just aim to conceal, Benefit is beneficial (hey now!); products fix AND correct. The whimsical packaging just makes it more fun to use.

Best of the Best:
(but if I had to pick just a few all-stars, they’re starred)

Bad Gal liner (waterproof) black w/smudger – it stays put and glides on so smoothly
*Bad Gal Lash -a mascara like Diorshow, but better. The brush alone is worth the money for coaxing my stubby lashes into big, fluffy, sexy lashes
*Posie Tint – a sheer, pinkie-toned little sister to Benetint, the better-known eye, lip and cheek tint (apply to 100% bare cheeks for a dewy, pinkie flush that lasts ALL day. Interesting tidbit: Benetint was created in 1977 at the request of an exotic dancer who sought something that would make her nipples look pretty and pink, and would LAST. TMI?)
Porefessional – a mousse-like primer (TIP: Works best by pressing into the skin, like you’re pressing a button, not by rubbing in)
*Erase paste – a brightening concealer (phenomenal)
*Boiing – industrial-strength concealer – silky and easy to blend
*High Beam – a pinky-toned liquid highlighter that I call “supermodel in a bottle” (TIP: Get the $10 travel size one, a little goes a LONG way)
Eye bright – a pinky-white brightening crayon for the inner corners of the eye
*One Hot Minute – very light bronzer with a little shimmer  (TIP: Do you have ivory skin? Then BUY THIS)
*Hula – matte bronzer (one of the best bronzers I’ve ever used)
Coralista and Dandelion – two beautiful blushes that suit all skin tones (I’d buy both, they’re that good)
That gal – a brightening skin primer (smells amazing!)
Girl Meets Pearl – an iridescent primer that gives a gorgeous all-over glowy pinkiness (TIP: Apply to bare skin, with foundation, or on top of foundation. All gorgeous)
Cream eyeshadows – stay on all day and work great as a base or on their own

Read more on these and other products from Benefit here.

But my hands down favorite, favorite, favorites product from this line?
The incredibly luxurious, gorgeous, and fun to use “Kitten Goes to Paris”, a shimmery powder in a puff.  I remember lovingly applying it to my collarbones and shoulders for proms and just looked it up for my wedding, only to learn that it was discontinued! :::Whimper::::

Do you have a favorite product that was discontinued? How did you deal?! I am in mourning right now and may have to postpone the wedding while I grieve. Sob.

Health + Beauty

I don’t know if you are what you eat(!), but I think we’ve all heard about the health and beauty benefits of eating foods like almonds, salmon, and blueberries and drinking things like pomegranate juice and coconut water (I admit it, I read this in People StyleWatch!).  I love products and primping as much as the next girl, but I also love reading up on health and wellness.  Yes, I want to look great, but I want to feel great too and maintain myself so I’ll be around for a while!

If I’m not managing stress, making time for exercise and taking active ownership of my health, I don’t feel good.  I grapple with the balance of it all daily so I am thrilled to have found a website (that I immediately bookmarked!) that gives me daily doses of health and wellness advice.  I hope you all check it out:

Word of Wisdom Living bills itself as A thoughtful conversation about nutrition, by real people. I love the “weekly healthy change” features in particular.

[full disclosure: The author of the above site is a Mormon, and although there are posts about things like religion and diet that you can choose to ignore, I don’t think you have to be Mormon to benefit from a lot of the really great nutrition advice. Totally up to you.  This section in particular, on nutrition and diet, sounds eerily similar to the basic tenets of just about EVERY healthy diet I’d ever heard.