OTK Boots & Spanx Leather Leggings

Listen, the word of mouth on these puppies is intense. Like just say the words "leather leggings" and the person is going to respond "SPANX HAS THESE NEW ONES." They are so awesome. Thick but not uncomfortable with a nice wide waistband and no seems to leave indentations. Leather-y but not shiny like dance pants, more like expensive smooth leather. Warm enough to be warn alone to about 35 degrees (if worn with high boots!) and magically flattering. I'm wearing them with my beloved Everlane Long Puffer, which is too small for me but they were sold out in my size and I had to have it and it's my favorite, plus like three layers underneath, plus a giant scarf that makes me look like a gloworm but in a snuggly way, and yet somehow from the legs down I feel sexyaaa. Which is probably why I was prancing around like the unicorn I am. 

 Also, how cool are these lights??







Metallic Holiday Party Makeup with Pat Mcgrath Metamorphosis and Glossier Haloscope





Here is a deep and abiding conundrum in my life - I LOVE sparkly, dewy, glossy things... but I hate glitter. Glitter is the herpes of the craft world. And also of the face world. It's itchy. 

So what's a girl to do?

Turns out the right kits, sticks of ground up real crystals, your fingers, and an amazing cheap eyeliner brush are all you need.



List of products:

Metamorphosis 005 in Bronze
Glossier Haloscope
Precision Eyeliner Brush ($5!!)
photography foundation in golden tan


P.S. If you're wondering what happened before this video: I started with this makeup as a base (video) and then I sketched on a rough cat eye using the graphite pencil from the Glossier Black Tie Set, which is very user friendly.

Wearing:
The Reformation Turtleneck (30% off right now) | Vanessa Mooney Tassel Earrings (also on sale)

You need Moonstone Haloscope for NYE



Moonstone Haloscope contains real moonstone. Moonstone boasts properties that are exactly what I feel like I need to start this new year on the right foot. Also it's beautiful.


Here's what my research turned up:

A stone for “new beginnings”, Moonstone is a stone of inner growth and strength. It soothes emotional instability and stress, and stabilizes the emotions, providing calmness. Moonstone enhances intuition, promotes inspiration, success and good fortune in love and business matters.

And by research I mean googling Moonstone properties and cutting and pasting the first thing that showed up. Sorry babes, this is a super lazy post. I am exhausted. I got my lupron shot on Friday and they shut down my ovaries. It is exhausting while your body gets used to not having essential hormones, not to mention it's like going though menopause in a week instead of the months and months it usually takes. Plus I got chemo on Friday. I feel like a deflated balloon. I feel like I am failing all of you because I want to write something amazing and inspiring, and all I've got working for me today is - love, moonstone, put on face, make pretty and sparkly. oogh. magic. soothing.

So if you love me, or you feel sorry for me, or this hippy voodoo sounds good to you, you'll buy all your amazing Glossier products via my link, which can also be found conveniently on the side bar. And if the moonstone magic is not enough to sell you on the haloscope, I can vouch for the fact that when used properly it will at the very least make your NYE extra sexy and cheekbone-y, as seen in all of the following images, which are old images because today my face looks like the pillow I am hiding under until I start to feel better.

I just keep reminding myself not to feel guilty for being so slothful. Sleep is healing. HEAL ME. Love you all. Come back tomorrow I promise I will have something cool for you.















Shows to Binge Watch This Weekend

While Doing Masks & Avoiding the Cold (subtitled.) Seriously, this morning in Chicago it was 2. That's a time, not a temperature. Plus I've had this yucky head cold, plus plus these shows are SO GOOD. So throw on some lotion, mist frequently, snuggle up with your loved ones, and prepare for 8 hours of your life you won't want back again

Stranger Things
If you've been living under a rock and haven't watched this yet, it's time to make it through the first kind of iffy episode and reap the reward.

3%
Brazil's sexy and dark answer to the Hunger games. I don't really feel the need to explain myself further than this. If you hate subtitles the english dubbed version is surprisingly not dubbed feeling.

The OA
I can't explain this or it will ruin it. Again, the first episode takes about 35 minutes to hit it's stride but then it's cancel everything, can't stop watching good television. Haunting, beautiful, confusing, but amazing. If Criminal Minds and the good parts of the Leftovers had a baby with Friday Night Lights.


If you can't afford the dyson dryer...try this $30 special towel instead







But you still want smooth, fast drying hair... Why not try this plush, soft, super-fast absorbing towel instead. The fibers are designed to be extra gentle on wet hair, which is fragile and more likely to break. It doesn't rough up the cuticle like a traditional towel (read: less frizz) and it's perfectly designed to create a comfortable wrap. It's like the turbie towel's chic big sister.

After washing my hair I threw it up in the towel and then did a mask and make-up. I took it down when it was mostly dry, threw a hat on it (it's cold!) and an hour later I had silky smooth, frizz-free hair with waves. It's basically the solution to "it's too cold to walk around with wet hair but I'm too lazy to blow dry." Since it's the giving season I feel like I should mention this also makes a great, practical gift or white elephant or stocking stuffer if you fancy.

Aquis Essentials Hair Towel $30


How to Apply Glossier Haloscope





Now, as you know I am am obsessed with the Glossier highlighter in Haloscope, and can be found at any given moment in time sporting anywhere between two and three of them depending on my mood, other makeup and activity of the day. However, I was not shocked to learn that some people aren't as OMG obsessed with it as I am - I realized that there is an insider tip that makes all the difference. With that in mind I decided to compile a quick list of the best ways to apply it, how to blend it in (so it doesn't sit on top of other makeup or "pill") and other "secrets" I have learned in my obsessive usage of these sticks. I swear I don't just love them because they are made with real crystal.

1) Apply them higher than you think. This is in face true of all blush but about 6 months ago I saw a video interview with a famous makeup artist and she said this, and I tried it, and I was converted. Place your fingers on your cheekbone and then apply it above that, then blend upward. I know it seems extreme but trust me, it will open up your whole face and make you look lit by candlelight.

2) After you swoop it on, tap it in gently with your fingertips to "melt" the highlighter in. This is a special form of blending for any kind of thick, pigmented, oil based product. It should not be applied with a brush, because it needs the heat from your fingers to soften it into your skin and leave the right amount behind. No pilling I promise!

3) Highlighter goes very first or very last (or both). If you put it on before foundation as a primer expect to get a diffuse shine everywhere and use your fingers to just smoosh it all together. It will give you a nice radiant glow. Then apply bronzer or blush. Then do a thick, concentrated swipe and tap it in with the heat of your fingers.


Getting the Most from Festive Makeup







The thing about certain looks is that a) they scream holiday season b) they tend to involve various levels of investment in products that wont get tons of wear outside the holiday season. The result of the aforementioned combo is that I feel like you don't get the cost per wear that these kinds of investment that these kind of looks deserve. You can go one way, which is to stick to getting your "fancy" looks from CVS.  But what if you just can't live without that perfect shade and density of sparkling pigment that only the $65 Limited Edition Set from Pat McGrath can give you? So you say "THIS WILL BE MY HOLIDAY LOOK!" and you dig in your heels.

And then right around now, wearing the exact same makeup look (despite the variations in the line) starts to feel tired and well, boring.

Festive makeup is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE BORING.

So what do you do? Buy more things with an expiration date of two weeks from now?

Nope.

You say eff off to the rule that you can't do eyes and lips, and you do both. And this becomes extra awesome because then you can stay in the same pink turtleneck and jeans you've been wearing all day, but throw on a fur and suddenly look fancy as hell. Because really this look (just the eyes) and this look (red lips) is totally different than when you wear the BOTH together. Right? Just nod you head.

Metamorphosis 005 in Bronze
Glossier Haloscope
Precision Eyeliner Brush ($5!!)
photography foundation in golden tan
Foundation all over, blended with the beauty blender and some mist
Haloscope in Quartz on nose and upper cheekbones
Haloscope in Topaz under cheekbones
Lip Liner (well, Nars Velvet Matte in Red Square used as lipliner)
Gen G in Zip on lips (and blot like crazy) and also cheeks, very high on the cheekbone
Eyebrow Pencil

Morning After Make-Up










I'm so over the whole no-makeup makeup thing, which is not to say I'm over a natural looking face. What kills me is this idea that beauty is just this effortless thing that you have or do not have. Like there is shame in trying or putting a little effort into your look. I think not, and with that in mind I had the hardest time titling this post.

Tiny purse potential sleepover makeup? Woke up next to your husband who already knows what you really look like when you woke up but you still feel like putting on a little polish for your pajama brunch? At the end of the day, even though I am old married woman, morning after makeup just worked. Even if it was the morning after a 9pm bedtime, in a bed with two puppies and both your laptops. J/K not really.

So here's what I had to work with in my tiny purse from a previous night out, two kinds of concealer (concealer for eyes and concealer for acne spotsfollowed by some HA Blur around the nose and photography fluid everywhere else. I'm obsessed with both of these products because in addition to making my skin look freaking epic, they also do an amazing job of keeping me dewy in frigid mars-like Chicago, and the photography fluid is oil free. A swipe of haloscope in moonstone on the cheekbones and on the tip of my nose, and Gen G in Cake on lips and cheeks, all smudged in with my fingers. Then it's a curling mascara, which doubles for a lash curler, and which I always buy in travel sizes so I can throw them away every two months for hygiene.  

All in it took about 5 minutes, including frequent puppy interruptions. I feel like my adorableness was the root cause of the amazing breakfast sandos my hubby made, and afterwards in my head to toe cashmere we had a snuggle party with the puppies of truly epic proportions. PERFECT DAY. 


Wearing the Everlane $100 Cashmere Sweater (Men's XL, we share) and cashmere joggers from the Nadaam sample sale which puts all other cashmere to shame. 



Sheetmasking for Combination Skin



I sometimes feel like I have two different faces - the top half is a freeze dried strawberry I am constantly trying to rehydrate, and the bottom half is a sensitive, hormonal teenager who doesn't know how to wash her face after soccer practice. I used to treat whichever version of my face needs the most love and attention, but I realized that just because the sheet is for the whole face doesn't mean I need to use it on my whole face. I'm a genius, right?

So watch the video to see how I boost and customize my sheetmasks, or read the easy steps below.
You glow get them (crying laughing emoji)





1) Cleanse and tone your face. Toner primes your skin to help it better absorb nutrients, which makes it an essential first step before masking. I start with P50 toner and let it soak in. Then I use the Glossier Soothing Mist to help gently PH balance my lower face, and the Hyalamide Hydra Density to plump and treat my top half.

2) Boost with serums. The sheet mask will help these super hero ingredients to penetrate more effectively - just make sure to only use things with a thin watery texture so you don't block the absorbency of the ingredients in the sheet mask. I used the Glossier Supers in Pure and Glow, which are sold out right now, but you can dupe them with The Ordinary  Niacinamide + Zinc and Hyalamide Booster Glow. I finish with Hyalamide SubQ Anti-Age.

3) Apply sheet masks, using scissors to cut shapes that fit your needs. I used the Cremorlab Peptide Plumping Mask for the dryer parts and Witch Hazel Pore Tightening Mask for my breakout prone areas (thank you Peach + Lily for gifting these to me!)  Sit for 25 minutes. I recommend using the time to read one of these novels, because they will help you tune out and relax.

4) **Finish by gently massaging in the ingredients, and then applying a moisturizer on top to lock all the good stuff in. I used the Lagom Cellus Deep Moisture Cream.

**BONUS STEP: Before applying your moisturizer use the Nuface with Damask Rose or Aloe Gel, the microcurrents not only tone your face but also boost absorption of all those great ingredients.

How to Reuse Your Sheet Masks 

Making your own DIY Microcurrent Gel




I've been kind of an obsessive fanatic about microcurrent treatments for awhile now. I love me a device, especially one that provides instant and lasting contouringand/or increases the effectiveness of your skincare.  Emily Weiss and Hannah Bronfman are both basically skincare goddesses, and both are devotees of the treatments (albeit the expensive professional version.) The home versions are almost as effective, and with daily use provide the same benefits.

But they are not cheap. So after you've plunked down the bank for the device, (and then the LED mask, and the silk pillowcase) and all the other serums, potions, etc. etc. it's kind of like, enough already! Am I right?

Fear not, because you do not need to throw down an additional $40 a tube for a months worth of sticky, thick gel. Not only is the DIY version as effective, it's super customizable, and in my opinion feels a whole let better. Plus, you don't need to wash it off after.

Also, it's super easy.

Here's what you do:

1) Wash and tone your face as usual. Then apply any serums you like to your face. I do an anti-acne around my chin and mouth, and a brightening/moisturizing combo around my eyes. I love the Glossier Super Serums.  The only rule is they have to be oil free, because oil blocks the microcurrents. That means wait to apply anything in a cream base (eye cream, moisturizer etc.)

2) Apply a thick layer of organic aloe vera to the area you want to treat. You want it to stay moist so apply as you work, section by section.  I prefer the ones linked for texture, and the cuteness of the packaging TBH, but you can also get the huge cheap jugs if you don't mind a thicker gel. So far these bottles have lasted me since March so I still feel like the price is reasonable. I would advise that since you are super charging the absorption into your skin that you pick an organic version, because yuck, pesticides.

3) Follow with eye cream and moisturizer.

BOOM. That's it.

Pictured: Glossier Super Serums, Mizon Water Essence (used as toner), organic aloe vera, Renee Roulou Anti-Cyst, Nuface Trinity with ELE Attachment


Red Lips Are So Fun & Easy










First off, I'm pretty sure I decided to like respond to ITG's amazing holiday series with my own look, because I am so so inspired by them. I put this makeup on and pranced around the house drinking La Croix from a champagne glass. By the time I actually started my little holiday party with sexy husband to decorate for xmas, I was already back in leggings. Sigh.

That said, this look actually took me about 10 minutes, total. That's five minutes to do the base (which is what I shot for my morning after tiny purse/brunching at home post coming soon) and then adding in some brows, a quick liner flip, and a dramatic red lip.

Now, don't ask me how I got my hair like this - I literally have no idea. My friend Beth calls it hair karma, and that is the best explanation I have to work with. Here's what I actually did:

 I washed it with the Ouai Shampoo in Volume, then threw on some of the treatment masque. When I got out I wrapped it in this special towel.  I went to bed and woke up with hair like this. I think I brushed it once, but it just bounced right back. I think this is day 3? But maybe it's 4. I am disgusting.

After that I did my skin prep, and then decided to challenge myself to only do my makeup with the things I had packed into a tiny purse for a night out a while ago. Could I pull it off? It was like a morning after look from when I was single, except I am married now and he knows what I look like without makeup on for reals.

So on went the simple base: concealer (eyes) and concealer (acne) followed by some HA Blur  around the nose and photography fluid everywhere else. A swipe of haloscope in moonstone on the cheekbones, boy brow in black on the eyebrows and lower lashes, curling mascara on the lashes, and Gen G in Cake on lips and cheeks. I shot the other look over brunch, which was an amazing egg sandwich my hot husband made for me.

Then I realized I wanted something more fun to go with the fun outfit in my head, and I decided to channel this 90s Snow White vibe.

With that in mind, on top of the previous makeup I added the following:

Eyeliner
Foundation all over, blended with the beauty blender and some mist
Haloscope in Quartz on nose and upper cheekbones
Haloscope in Topaz under cheekbones
Lip Liner (well, Nars Velvet Matte in Red Square used as lipliner)
Gen G in Zip on lips (and blot like crazy) and also cheeks, very high on the cheekbone
Eyebrow Pencil

I'm pretty sure all of this cannot fit in the tiny purse, but I was also proud of myself for how fast this went on. Now granted, I was blessed by the wing fairy today and got mad flick game, but still. Red lips are so easy, and they look so fancy. Like, instant holiday cheer. Also, I kept drinking out of the glass and realized it was not coming off at all. Look at this. How awesome is that?




Dress (only $20!!!)  | Shirt 

I tried the IPL Laser and here's what happened...


It was awesome. As if we needed proof that with access to enough funds and a reasonable pain tolerance your skin could be the skin of your dreams. And the willingness to trust the polish goddesses at the medspa you found with a groupon, let's not forget their role in all of this.

So here's how it happened. I realized I was getting those headaches I get from squinting at computers when my forehead botox runs out/. I went into the groupon app and found the cheapest one I could find in an area I was willing to walk to (have to factor in transpo costs to total price, right?) I decided to go in on Friday, which was the soonest they could take me.

Little did I know it was Black Friday. Dum dum dummmmm. Who even knew medspas did black friday? Well I walked out having banked a whole bunch of things, non the least of which was a set of 6 IPL facials. How did they talk me into this? Well, as I was waiting for the poor overworked nurse (the specials were so good everyone was taking them, like $6/unit for botox, $275 for filler, $50 an IPL...) the goddess that is Monica offered to have the nurse zap some of my chin zits. Just to see.

I agreed, more out of curious than anything else, and before I knew it she had in fact "zapped" my chin, and also done a quick sweep of the orange peel pores by my nose.

I left feeling a little glowing but not really with any expectations. I bought the IPLS, mostly because I liked how they immediately made those bugger cysts feel dried out and smaller and less throbby. Then when I got home I looked in the mirror.

HOLY SMOKES.

The pores around my nose were gone. GONE. Where did they go?

Needless to say I've been hooked. She talked me into going every week (the internet will tell you 2 but I spoke to a rep who said it was OK) I have now had 6 sessions and my normally pretty stellar skin has shot into unknown territory. It was never. This good.

People say "I just feel like I look younger but I can't put my finger on why." And I would have to agree. My skin is plump (the IPL boosts collagen) but also smoother, more even toned and poreless. The above picture I am basically just wearing a few dots of concealer and some "photography fluid." In this picture below I am wearing the same but also lying down (oh gravity.)

SO what're the downsides? Price, obviously. At $50 a session it's a bummer but they can run up to $175 and with the risks of burns you don't want to cheap out if you can't find a place you trust. Pain - it feels like all lasers, with that "snap and burn". I have a crazy tolerance for pain but it was definitely not pleasant, and afterwards felt like a mild sunburn.

Will I keep up my treatments? Hell yeah. They recommend an initial series of 6-8. followed by touchups. So. worth. it.


Slip Silk Pillowcases - Kind of Worth the Hype







When it got cold, the first sign of my skin drying out is what I like to call "crinkle face." That's when I wake up in the morning and my face is crisscrossed with adorable red lines from the fabric of the pillow. It only happens when my skin is dehydrated (something I work diligently to combat!) but it's winter, and a girl can only do so much.

Now, they go away after about a half an hour, but if you have a mother you may have heard the expression "if you put your face like that it might stay that way" and you know the fear. Just how much damage is my pillow doing to my face?

Of course, there is a solution for this. That solution is a silk pillowcase, oft lauded for it's gentleness on hair, and also on skin.

Some of the claims made by the manufacturers of this luxury item:


    This anti-aging, anti-sleep crease, anti-bed head pillowcase by slip for beauty sleep is like an eight-hour beauty treatment every night. Crafted from pure silk inside and out as recommended by dermatologists, plastic surgeons, hairdressers and beauty experts alike, this pillowcase elevates beauty sleep to a whole new level.

    We spend a third of our lives in bed, so what you sleep on is important. Silk fibers are significantly less absorbent than many other fibers, so they help keep your skin’s moisture and expensive face and hair products where they belong—on your face and hair, not your pillow. Ordinary pillowcases can cause hair to pull and tangle throughout the night, leading to bed head in the morning and potentially damaging hair. Slipsilk can help reduce friction, too, which also aids in reducing stretching and tugging on delicate facial skin.

    Ugggh, right? This sounds amazing. But $89 for a pillowcase? Woof. So I decided to cheap out. I found a silk pillowcase on Overstock and Amazon for a fraction of the price. I ordered them. I unwrapped them. I touched them. I recoiled in disgust. I sent them back. I wont even bother linking to them here because I hate being mean. I decided for the sake of science and debunking and also Black Friday sales that I was just going to cave and buy the name brand one that I kept seeing in all the fancy department stores (Nordstrom, Saks, **and on and on...) 

    It came in this adorable box. Being the sucker for packaging that I am I shot the unboxing. I took it out. It felt really good. Noticeably better than the other, cheaper options. I left for a second and came back to find a dog on it. We've been fighting over it ever since... There's a reason Princess Fenway's coat is so soft, and it's not because he passes up on silk. 

    Anyways, I've been sleeping on it for the last week and not once have I gotten a face crease. My hair is also not staticky, something I truly appreciate as a newbie to winter (you don't know what you don't know!) and my blowout has lasted me longer than I want to print on the internet. Yes, it's more than a week. Yes, I plan to wash my hair soon. 

    So if you haven't written to Santa yet, or you just subscribe to the treat yo self manifesto, or if you are looking for the perfect gift for Fenway, or ahhhh. Listen, I hate myself for loving this $90 pillowcase so much. Like, who am I? The queen of Sheba? My entire linen sheet set costs about as much this one pillowcase. But if you calculate the cost per use, and you compare it to a jar of skincare that gets used up, you can quite possibly justify the insanity of this.

    SHHHH, let me believe this.. 


    **They stock different colors, so if you don't see the one you want click both links...