Category Archives: Real Life Style + Beauty

All The Articulate Ladies!


This has been a week of good reads on the internet for me, and it’s only Tuesday. Sweet! Don’t you love when that happens? I thought I’d share some of the things that were speaking to me.

The first was an article by Jennifer Weiner on The Pressure to Look Good.

This is one of those coincidental articles where days before I had trying to articulate my thoughts on this exact issue when talking to Garrett but couldn’t find the right examples. It all started when I was getting ready to go Scottsdale with my cousin for her Bachelorette party. The entire week leading up to it I told him he was on his own for cooking dinner.

One night I was heading to the nail salon because I was needing rhinestone glue for nails to do my manicure and a pedicure. The next night I was returning the bathing suit cover up I had purchased because I had found one that was more flattering and squeezing in a quick brow wax. The night before I left I was having a lovely stranger come over while I stripped naked in my living room to give me a spray tan. (That one really freaking him out LOL) And he just kept saying “Dude, this relaxing ladies vacation sure seems like it’s a lot of freaking work!”

Then there was Spanx-gate. For reasons too long and humorous to explain, Garrett has only recently realized how prevalent Spanx are among all women and bless his heart he just can not comprehend why anyone would try and squeeze ten pounds of sausage into a two pound casing. (My words, not his.)

“Because foundation garments are game changers” I told him, “Duh.” But he still couldn’t wrap his mind around why someone would do something so uncomfortable.

Then one night we’re sitting on the couch watching Real Housewives of Orange County together (as you do) and there’s this scene where Shannon is in the bathroom discussing how she is wearing 8 pairs of Spanx so it’s going to take her a minute. Garrett again just can’t believe it and he basically says something to the effect of, “Wait a minute — she is only two pounds of sausage to begin with? Why would she be wearing 8 types of Spanx?” So I tried to explain why I understand that she would take all precautions, being on a reality show and all of that. And yet, he was still confused.

This article did a great job of articulating what I had been reaching for.


Second was Rashida Jones and her Guide to Happiness at Work

The entire article was funny and true and I could relate on may levels. But the nugget that spoke to me the most was this “Happiness is not the endgame.”

Sometimes someone will say something to me and the perspective it gives just zaps me light a bolt of lightning and this was one of those things. (The last one I can remember was when someone said to me “Balance is a moving target.” I can’t remember who that was, but man — I LOVE THAT.)


Last was my pal Melissa Joulwan who recently linked to a 2009 post she had written that sung to me like a personal anthem. It was all about the power struggle that sometimes happens between being fun vs. being happy.

This gets back to that brilliance about balance being a moving target, but after weeks of fun! things! on our calendar — I have never been so damn happy to eat grilled chicken and vegetables and to be working out twice a day.

You can call me crazy, but I just call me BLISSFULLY BLISSFULLY happy. Mel articulated exactly how I’ve been feel about this delicious phase that I am in right now.

“…this state of being is not forever. It’s just for a while, so I can re-charge my batteries and emerge feeling strong and happy.

You like me more that way, don’t you? I know I sure like me more that way.”

A hearty YES to that, my friends! A hearty, hearty yes!


Have you come across any super good reads on the internet this week? Please share!

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What I Wore: Scottsdale

Hilton Scottsdale Resort

I spent last weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona with 7 other fun gals for my cousin Jenny’s Bachelorette Party. We stayed at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas and it was a fun filled weekend that was light on the sleep and the vegetables (wait, does potato vodka count? :)) but heavy on the good times!

I knew going into the weekend it was going to be in the mid to high 80s and this was the first time this season that I felt like I had to be summer wardrobe ready. I thought I’d share with you some of the outfits that worked for me and tell you about some of the fun places we went to in Scottsdale. That town is awesome, and I can’t wait to go back!

Friday afternoon we decided to grab some lunch and pick up some groceries for the two villas we were occupying for the weekend. I threw on some white jeans and a tank which was perfection for afternoon patio-sitting and margarita drinking.


Speaking of patios and margarita drinking, if you are in the Scottsdale area – I’d HIGHLY recommend Blanco for all of your day drinking needs. And their famous mix and match tacos, of course.

Friday night, once everyone arrived, we went out to a late dinner at Salty Seniorita (skip it, the chips and salsa were gross. Who screws up chips and salsa?) and then we were on a mission to go dancing. I wore this…and can I make a confession?

It’s a bathing suit coverup I bought at Ross. HAHAHAHAHA

We had been at the pool earlier and I was feeling lazy, and it was a little bit too short to be a dress, so I thought PERFECT for Friday night club-dancing. HA! I threw on some sandals I bought at Target last year, hated, and forgot to return (nice, haha) Good thing this year I decided I liked them. 🙂 Ah, vacation fashion compromises.

We ended up dancing the night away at Dakota. That place was AWESOME! Lots of 90s rap perfection on the dance floor!


Great patio, great music, great drinks — again, all boxes checked!

Saturday morning we went to brunch and I just threw on my white jeans again and with an old standby black and white striped shirt that you’ve probably seen a million times.


We made a reservation at Olive + Ivy which has another excellent patio, and even better breakfast with table side mimosas.
olive and ivy
I mean, come on. That patio was made for sitting, right? Winner.

Saturday afternoon there was some laying by the pool. My bathing suit itself was pretty plain, but I am absolutely in love with this cover up.

It’s fun and vibrant and basically the exact opposite of my face and hair in that photo. 🙂 I also brought this bathing suit, which I love, but didn’t end up wearing. Guess I’ll have to plan some additional pool side time in the near future. haha

On Saturday night, I did it. I wore the freaking jumpsuit! (After a few cocktails, of course.)
About to wear a jumpsuit in public: WISH ME LUCK!

I had originally planned to wear it with heels, but after a Friday night out dancing, the thought of walking all over Scottsdale in heels sounded very unappealing (what can I say, I’m getting old!) so I just ended up rolling up the legs on the jumpsuit so they were ankle length and donning some old Target sandals. Target sandals for the win, apparently.


We headed out to dinner at Culinary Dropout


and then back to Dakota to dance the night away with Ma$e and P. Diddy. Excellent choice, I tell ya.

Sunday, let’s be real, I think I just threw on whatever I had left that was clean. Or maybe that black and white shirt again. Which wasn’t clean. Ah, well…what are ya gonna do?


(I’ll tell you what we did, we hopped on the back of the bell-desk’s golf cart and went to Blanco again for some goodbye white peach and hibiscus margaritas.)


All in all, it was such a fun weekend! 58 hours of cocktails, lounge chairs, laughter and awesome dance moves.

Of course today I probably won’t be getting out of my pajamas, but I think it was definitely worth it! This weekend made me feel like summer is right around the corner, and I literally CAN. NOT. WAIT!

Have you ever been to Scottsdale?

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Suave Professionals Moroccan Oil Body Products Review + Sweepstakes





Things you should know about me: I cannot spell Moroccan correctly without consulting spell check. Ever. Nor can I spell Sweepstakes. Can you imagine the distress writing this post caused me?

But after I just recently gushed about how GREAT the shampoo + conditioner in this line is (without anyone asking me to try/buy/or post about) you know I was over the moon to be offered an opportunity to review two new Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion products: the Dry Body Oil Spray and the Body Lotion. I think I got the email asking if I wanted to review these the day after the other post went up. It was kismet!

Except, of course, that it required I type the words Moroccan and Sweepstakes multiple times. But you know, life isn’t all fun and games. 🙂


Let’s Talk Products

The Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care line includes Body Lotion, a daily moisturizer that absorbs quickly for up to 24 hours of non-greasy hydration, and a Dry Body Oil Spray, a non-greasy formula that absorbs instantly, locking in long-lasting moisture. What is cool about the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care is that it offers women everywhere access to premium products infused with authentic Moroccan argan oil.

I mean listen, I am totally interested in high-end, miracle beauty products as much as the next person, but there is something really nice about being able to try out new things JUST by running over to Target and throwing down a few bucks, AMIRIGHT?

Real Life Style + Beauty FOR THE WIN.


Let’s Talk Promises

So as with most products, Suave makes a few claims with these products:

*NEW Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Lotion is a daily moisturizer that absorbs quickly for up to 24 hours of radiant, non-greasy hydration.

*NEW Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Dry Body Oil Spray has a non-greasy formula that absorbs instantly and seals in long-lasting moisture.

*NEW Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products, clinically proven to moisturize as well as Moroccanoil®1, feature a light, luxurious fragrance and are infused with authentic Moroccan argan oil, a lightweight miracle oil known to be rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

My Thoughts

So hey — did you get that they’re NEW? 🙂 In all seriousness though, let’s talk about what they *actually* do.

So let’s talk absorption/hydration. I found that both the oil and the lotion absolutely did absorb quickly. I am a big fan of dry oil sprays and I think they are a great way to hydrate your skin without feeling greasy. The lotion is also hydrating as well, and doesn’t require you wait 10 minutes for everything to sink in.

So for me, the hydration was more than adequate, but consider that I live in California, and we aren’t having an extremely cold winter. Quick Tip:  We did have one super cold and dry day when I was sampling the two and I actually mixed them together in my hands before applying. It felt very emollient, and worked just perfect for my needs.

Now let’s talk fragrance. Both products are infused with a fragrance that you smell in most argan oil based products—I mentioned this in my last post about the shampoo and conditioner, but the products definitely have a distinct smell you will either like or dislike. Honestly I think it smells perfumey, but in a really clean way, so it doesn’t bother me at all.

Funny Sidebar Story: On Super Bowl Sunday — a day that I was bound and determined not to shower and/or even get out of my pajamas (What? Sorry!), I ended up needing to run to the grocery store. I quickly changed clothes, and then because my skin was feeling a bit dry, I put on some lotion. As I was getting ready to leave (looking just BARELY appropriate enough to leave the house, trust me), Garrett was like “Uhhhhh, did you just put on perfume?”

PUH-LEEZ. Like I would be super mangy and then just put on perfume to cover all that up! Anyway, it took me a minute to realize that he was smelling the lotion. So yes, it totally has a smell. But it’s a pleasant one, and after a while the intensity fades to a more muted scent.

 For More Information

Find more information about the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products at Visit the Suave Beauty Facebook page to get tips for radiant skin, style advice from celebrity stylist Brad Goreski and enter the “Radiant Wishes” sweepstakes for a chance to win Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion products, a spa day or a trip to Los Angeles



For a chance to win a $1,000 gift card (just think how many awesome Suave Products THAT would buy), let me know which of the Suave Moroccan Infusion Body Care products you would most like to try!


Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/7/2014-2/28/2014. Be sure to visit the Suave Professionals® brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!



“1 When clinically tested vs comparable Moroccanoil® products. Moroccanoil® is a registered trademark of Moroccanoil®”

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Winter Blues

winter blues 1

We’ve been improvising winter a little bit out here in Northern California because so far it has been a long, dry season. The last few days of cold and rain though have me in a very blustery state of mind. These are a few favorites that have kept me embracing Winter Blues but with one eye on Spring. (Come on sunshine! Get Here!)

1. Bath & Body Works Rio Glow Candle

A yummy mix of tropical mango, papaya and guava this candle looks seasonally appropriate, but is a nice reminder that warmer weather isn’t too far off.

2. Paula’s Choise RESIST Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

I added this to my routine shortly after I told you what was new with my skincare stuff and it’s been such a light, but moisturizing step I can’t imagine going without it! I’m hoping, as the weather warms up, to be rocking a more natural makeup look. It’s never too early to start prepping my face for less makeup (EEP!)

3. Julep – Octavia

I am 100% OBSESSED with navy blue nails. They just feel so simple and pretty! Appropriate for winter, but I feel like even as the weather changes these will still look cute.

4. Village Naturals Therapy Liquid Mineral Bath – Stress & Tension Relief

This bubble bath is heavy on the menthol and soothing on the muscles. It’s been a wonderful addition to my mid week + weekend baths when I really need a piping hot soak, a deep breath and a moment of relaxation.

5. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Abyss

I’ve been toying with my eye makeup lately and switching up my eyeliner to make it a little more fun. I’ve been doing a lot of dark, smokey black and then sometimes just for fun I’ll add a hint of blue. This Urban Decay pencil is just playful enough, but not full on 80s crazy.

6. Le Creuset 5.5 Qt Round Dutch Oven

It’s soup season, for sure, and I have never made better purchases than my collection of Le Creuset cookware. WORTH EVERY PENNY. Chilis, Stews, Soups — OH MY! Your stovetop (and your belly!) will thank you. But it also helps get great color on chicken and makes spectacular carnitas when I’m looking to cook up something to top my fresh spring/summer salads.

7. Old Navy Pointed D’Orsay Flats

These shoes, while not appropriate right this moment, remind me to keep me one eye on spring. (IT’S COMING, BABY!) I want a pair in every color, but I am DEFINITELY going to come home with navy. Classic and cute, I think they’ll be just the nautical ticket when things warm up.


Hoping the winter isn’t getting you too down in your neck of the woods!

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A Very Long Post About My Updated Skin Care Routine

Updated Skin Care Routine

I’ve written so much about my skin care struggles here and it continues to be a work in progress. In an effort to improve what has been a 15+ year struggle I have tried many things — medications, antibiotics, expensive facials, and even Accutane (CLIFFS NOTES: DO NOT RECOMMEND!) — but since about 2010 I’ve taken a different approach.

The History

I changed my diet to a Paleo template and as most most people know, many folks in the Paleo community have a real shared love for finding the root cause of health issues instead of just trying to make the symptom go away — myself included. I firmly believe acne is a symptom of an underlying health problem, and more specifically an underlying gut problem. I don’t think it’s just something that happens as a fluke, it’s absolutely an indicator of something going on inside your body.

With that in mind, over the last few years I’ve tried many different things in order to uncover a solution. I have experimented with eliminating foods, learned a ton about digestion and it’s relation to skin, I’ve added helpful supplements (Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide has some great advice here) and then in the middle of 2012 I made a marked effort to move all of my products toward the “natural” side of the spectrum. I know “natural” doesn’t mean a whole lot these days, but essentially I decided I was going to simplify the sheer amount of products I was using, and leave as much of the chemical skin care stuff behind as I could.

I focused on gut health and how it relates to skin for about a year and in many ways my health got better. But my skin results were always inconsistent. I’d go through periods of time where it was great, and periods of time where it was only ok with no rhyme or reason, but even at its best, my skin was still so very far from where I wanted my skin to be. Also not to state the obvious, but I’ve continued to get older. Prevention is still important with respect to skin, but also I would like to UNDO some of the damage, scarring and pigment issues I’ve got going on as well.

Recent Developments

In October of last year, I decided go back to a few “more traditional” skin care items. I did it in response to giving nutritional ketosis a try (man I still have to blog about my Keto experiment)  because among many  developments, my face was overtaken by SUPER SEVERE acne. So bad it felt equivalent to the time in my life when I decided I should try Accutane.  I was literally having some mini panic attacks about it and my coconut oil and baking soda face wash was basically laughing at me on the sidelines. I was fretting about the potential for scars (I already have enough!) feeling sad about the additional pigmentation problems (I’ve had freckles since I was born and breakouts don’t make it better!) and so one day I just impulsively made a bee-line into some retailers who sold my old tried and true skin products from my back in the day.

Probably two weeks later I was ASTOUNDED by the change in my skin. But truth be told, I was also conflicted about the positive results.

The Conflict

Day after day my skin was improving — the look, the spots, and the texture were all getting better. Consistently. All of the things that I had hoped to attain by moving toward more natural solutions were happening — except natural skincare lovers would certainly say my products had “questionable” ingredients in them. I wrestled with this for a while, and then one day I woke up, shook myself, and said “Save your stress for the things that matter, Holly! You can’t win every battle at the same time.”

The facts are: I am really happy with my current results. Do I wish I was accomplishing these results with only coconut oil, baking soda and the sweet breath of unicorns? YES! Absolutely! And someday I might get there. I aspire to get there, actually. But I also have a lot going on in my life right now, and a finite amount of resources in the problem solving department. I believe in allowing yourself some evolution (Paleo Joke!) and in my opinion, the people who are the best example of this Paleo LIFESTYLE (gag) are the people who interpret all the ancestral wisdom through a modern lens. And right now, I’m happy that in these modern times I have a Clarisonic and a Sephora.

I know this has been a lot of words so far and I haven’t even talked products, but I wanted to give you some context. If you have any other questions about why I turned on a dime and went running back to retinol — feel free to leave them in the comments. But for now, here are the things that are just rocking my world lately when it comes to taking care of my face.


The Game Changer: Clarisonic Mia 2
Clarisonic Mia 2

At the beginning of last year I finally ponied up $100+ for a Clarisonic because I couldn’t go five feet without hearing someone rave about it. I used it for a few months and was only mildly impressed. Then I found out IT WAS A FAKE! A fake that I had purchased on Amazon from an unreputable retailer. (Be ye not so stupid. Only buy on Amazon from legit places!) I went most of the rest of the year without it but when I had my skin care scare that I mentioned above in October I decided that the next time I saw a good deal from a legitimate retailer, I would pounce. And on Black Friday I did just that. I purchased a kit from QVC, that included a cleanser that I didn’t care about at all and a travel case, and from the first week on I’ve been absolutely in love. If you need additional endorsement? I got Garrett to use it (“Hey babe, try this vibrating hot pink face washer the next time you’re in the shower, ok?” HA! You should have heard his response) and even HE is an evangelizing devotee now. Masculinity be damned. It is worth it.

The AM/PM Everyday Cleanser: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Fresh Soy Face CleanserRemember the cleanser I got with the Clarisonic that I couldn’t have cared less about? It was this! And I was shocked by how much I loved it. It’s incredibly gentle, has only a few ingredients, a very light cucumber scent and it makes my face feel wonderful. When I first purchased it I was just using my Clarisonic with Cetaphil thinking the cleanser you used didn’t really matter, but the difference was remarkable. I’ve already repurchased a second bottle. It’s pricy, but it’s so worth it.

The Wild Card: Acure Unscented Argan Oil Facial Cleansing Towelettes

Sometimes on days when I am wearing a lot of makeup I like to do a little pre-wash before I use the Clarisonic. These work great to get a ton of makeup off. Also, these are awesome in my gym bag. They don’t dry out my skin, are very gentle, and have a non existent scent.

The 3 Nights Per Week Cleanser: Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Wash
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

I used this years ago when the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion was all the rage and I didn’t even have a hint of a reason to use anything glycolic (For the record, the drying lotion does NOTHING for me.) I picked this up on a whim at Ulta around Thanksgiving and it’s just an awesome AHA exfoliating face wash. I only use it 2, maybe 3 times a week (usually at night) — depending on if my skin is feeling dull and it brightens it right up. This is also one that Garrett rolled his eyes at and is now using religiously. It’s a really great product that makes a noticeable difference in my face.

The Toner: Dermalogica Multi Active Toner or Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist
DermalogicaPost washing, I like to use a light toner, but I don’t have the patience for liquids and cotton rounds and all of that. Dermalogica makes, HANDS DOWN, the best toners out there in my opinion. I’ve been a long time user of the Multi Active Toner, but decided to try the Antioxidant Hydramist because it is a part of their Anti Aging Line and I am VERY. ANTI. AGING. 🙂  Not sure which one I like better, but I will always keep at least one in the rotation. I love that Dermalogica makes travel sized products, and it is a great way to try out their line without breaking the bank. I think it is worth every penny, but it’s always nice to try a small size if you’ve never used something.

The Everyday Moisturizers: CeraVe AM Lotion with SPF 30 + CeraVe PM Lotion
CeraVeAbsolute Drug Store STEALS, and really amazing moisturizers. I like the separation of AM and PM because of the sunscreen issue, and they are really hydrating without using a lot of product or making you feel greasy. I find the bottles last a long time too, which makes a $10 purchase feel like even MORE of a deal.

The (2-3x per week) Night Cream/Tip Toe Into Retinol Products: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Roc RetinolThis was an impulse purchase (what isn’t in my life, JEEZ!) and honestly I am not that up to speed on Retinol type products so I’m still sort of researching my holy grail version of this or if I even want to continue using it. But I got it in a 2 pack, and I’m going to use it all up. Mostly because it is gentle (probably because it doesn’t have a large percentage of retinol? retinoids? See? I’m still researching) but when I use this a couple of nights a week, I wake up with the tiniest pores in the morning. It’s actually kind of weird. But good weird, you know? Plus it doesn’t smell too chemically.

The Spot Treatment: Bremenn Clinical Zit Stick
Zit StickI’ve already raved about this. Seriously, do yourself a favor and go get it.

The Occasional Nightime Dry Skin Reliever: Julep Luxe Repair Skin Serum
Julep Luxe Repair Skin SerumThis is a little too oily for me to use on a daily basis, especially as part of my morning routine, but we’ve had a couple of weeks this winter where it was really cold (For California! I know!) and the first thing to revolt was my skin. Those days when I was feeling a bit parched, I would just slather on this serum and be right as rain the following day. And despite it’s viscosity, no breakouts at all. I’m on the hunt for a better serum, but I do like this one in the meantime and will happily use it all.

The Once Per Week Anti Aging Treatment: Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel
Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple Acid Brightening PeelHands down this is my favorite skin discovery in probably the past five years. It is an at home chemical peel that I use once per week (I do some juggling with my skin care schedule to use all of the products for sure!) and usually once I put it on my face and neck there is enough to use on my chest and hands. It’s amazing, feels luxurious, and in is far, far better than similar products like this that I’ve tried by Bliss and Peter Thomas Roth. The best price around is at QVC and while it seems spendy, it last forever because and remember it is only a once per week treatment that you will make a NOTICEABLE difference.  $4 each is a steal and I’ll skip a latte in favor of this brightening peel any day.

The 2x Per Week Spa Solution: Karuna Masks
Karuna MasksI have always been a sucker for masks, and I find that as well as they work for my skin, they also work for my LIFE — because to sit down (on my couch or in a bathtub) twice per week for 20 minutes to do a mask on myself is such a great stress reliever! I love these Karuna masks but you can always find fun ones at TJ Maxx or Ulta to stock your collection.



What I’m Still On The Hunt For: A “worth it” Vitamin C Serum. Haven’t found one yet — any suggestions?  Anything surprise you? Any questions for me?

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Four Cheap Thrills You Totally Need

I’ve mentioned before that I think January is the perfect month for cheap thrills. We’re all having a little money hangover after December, but if you’re anything like me you miiiiiiiiight have gotten used to being a little bit indulgent at the end of last year and who wants to just quit that cold turkey? (Related: Can somebody come over here and delete the QVC app off of my iPhone, please. My credit card thanks you!)

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few fun things that I am absolute loving lately because they are making me feel all special and luxurious and stuff but they are super duper inexpensive. In fact, they can all probably be impulse purchased at a drugstore near you! (PS — this post is not sponsored by anyone except my wallet and my need to have a shower overflowing with awesomeness.) So let’s get to it, shall we?


1. Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shampoo + Conditioner with Argan Oil


I picked these babies up on impulse at Target (WHERE ELSE?) and at under $4 per bottle I thought to myself “Moroccan Oil? This is probably more like Canola Oil at that price.” But every once in a while I like to add a little drugstore shampoo combo into my rotation. My second concern was when I first smelled them. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them because they were a little bit perfumey, and I’m usually a more “natural smells” kind of person. That just made me sound like I like the smell of body odor. For the record: I DO NOT!

So hey, this is a ringing endorsement so far, right? WOW.

But here’s the thing, when I got them home and start using them, they made my hair SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO soft and silky. And while the fragrance was outside of my fruity/citrusy scent comfort zone, I thought that it made my hair smell super clean and delicious all day long. It was sort of the hair equivalent of having your clothes smell like clean laundry detergent. So if you are someone who likes that (and soft hair) then you need this! (Trust me. Even if you do think it smells strong and perfumey at first!)

I figured because it was a cheapy relatively inexpensive shampoo/conditioner it would eventually weigh my hair down and stop working, but I am about to be done with my first bottles and I am literally chomping at the bit to pick another couple of bottles up. Suave Professionals, you have stepped up your game! I’m even considering buying this 4 Piece Gift Set on Amazon because it’s only TEN BUCKS! And on Prime! Which means it will show up at my house in two days and I won’t have to go to Target where I can’t be trusted not to make impulse purchases. And THAT, in itself, is priceless!

2. St. Ives Revitalizing Pear and Soy Body Wash
St Ives

This is probably the most non-natural, non-hippie body wash you could possibly buy (and for only $4! WOOT!) but hot damn does it lather well, smell edible, and probably the most surprising — moisturizes like a boss! I’ve been so exceptionally dry skinned this winter and I find the difference notable when I DON’T use this product. And it’s a $4 product. I mean — what the heck?

If you are a fruity/citrusy fragrance lover, hightail it to your nearest retailer and get your hands on this. You won’t regret it. And if you use it on a little puffy loofah spongy thing (the technical term, I’m sure) BONUS POINTS! You’ll practically be taking a bubble bath in your shower.

3. Spongeables Pedi Scrub Foot Buffer


Listen, it’s January. I’m not actively getting pedicures. My feet are all mashed up in boots. Real Talks: they need a little TLC. And these old school foot scrubbers have been a totally fun addition to my shower. I have the Tea Tree Oil version, and whenever I use it I just want to shout “Treat Yo Self” but I can’t really do that without gesticulating wildly, and since I’m in the shower and also clumsy, that’s an unnecessary danger. But this little foot spongy thing? DEFINITELY necessary.

4. Bremmen Clinical Zit Stick

zit stick

This easy to use salicylic acid based cream treatment has totally helped me out of a pinch in the last month since I purchased it. (At Costco, in a 2 pack, for $8, so try that if you’re a member.) It dries clear, doesn’t irritate, and most importantly: TOTALLY WORKS. I feel like I will never be without this again, it has worked that well for me. The applicator is gentle, it hasn’t dried my face, and I’m just so happy with it! Highly recommend! Oh but wait, YOU don’t have any zits. Nevermind. 🙂


So there ya have it. If you bought everything on this list it’d cost ya a little over thirty bucks, but I swear it’d make you feel like a million! Tell me about your newest cheap thrill discovery, because I do have a Target trip in my future… 🙂

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It’s That Time Again

Internet, I’d say twice a year I make you pick out a haircut for me. Man, I’m just a TYRANT aren’t I?

So hey, guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? Snip snip!

So, do you have your voting fingers ready, because here’s the deal. My hair right now is kind of Ugs-ville. I got it cut 6 months ago, and what do you know, if you don’t keep it up or something, it just turns into a shaggy mess that doesn’t cooperate:
Blazer weather is back! YESSSSS! #ootd

I’m not saying I look like Medusa or anything, but it takes a long time and a lot of product to work with it in the morning to make it look decent, and by the middle of the afternoon it looks crap-tastic no matter what I do, so therefore I can never leave the house without a ponytail holder for fear of an EMERGENCY. It’s time to let my favorite hair genie work her magic, is what I’m saying, but I need to bring some inspiration.

Here are the random picture options from Pinterest (what did we do without Pinterest?):

Option A – Super short with bangs

short hair

Pros: Hello, how cute is this hair? It’s short. It’s sassy. It has bangs! But not COMMITMENT bangs, you know. And she looks like she has a rounder face so maybe if I do something similar I won’t look like a weeble wobble. Thumbs up.

Cons: There are two. One is that short hair gives me workout rage. I LOVE LOVE LOVE short hair in real life but I have yet to find an acceptable system in my workout life to really enjoy working out with short hair. The second is that I anytime I have hormonal breakouts (chin/neck) there just won’t be ANY hair safety net. All my business will just be OUT ON THE STREET. Nervous about that.

Option B – Leave the Length, Change the Part, Get Some Layers

Jessica Biel

Pros: I kind of love a middle part and I have been wanting to change it for a while. It would be nice to actually cut my hair with the part in mind. Other pro – it’s taken 6 months for me to get any length going, and it is a GREAT length for workouts. I can put it up, get it out of my face – YAY! Also this cut is versatile style wise. Maybe I just need some layers and shape to my current hair length.

Cons: Let’s be real, I am not Jessica Biel. I am also not doing any color and part of why this style looks so great is because she has some fun ombre action going for her. Also, this overall look requires curling, which I don’t usually do on the daily, but could. But then again, my hair is very fine/thin and I imagine from this picture hers is not.

Option C – Side Part, Layers, Bangs

side part short with layers and bangs
Pros: This is cute, same side part. More layers. Bangs. The haircut definitely has SHAPE. Clearly I’m potentially feeling out bangs again (as I always do.) Scarves look cute with shorter hair!

Cons: It’s getting to be winter and hats look stupid on me when I have short hair. Let’s revisit Workout Rage.


So — let’s discuss!

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Real Life Style: Tide Pods Review (Sweepstakes Closed)

You all know I am the queen of wash and wear fashion. I have an entire category on this blog devoted to Real Life Style + Beauty because I have no desire to be an aspirational arbiter of fashion. Yes, I love pretty clothes! But I also know myself really well, and the truth is if I buy something with a Dry Clean Only tag on it, chances are I’m skipping it in favor of something I can wash and wear. Afterlight The Laundry Room is my church. Here is the Stackable Altar where I pray And while I am outing my style sins can I tell you one more superficial confession? I HAVE A LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE SMELL OF LAUNDRY DETERGENT! And dry cleaned clothes kind of smell icky. There, I said it. When I was offered a chance to review Tide Pods — calling it a powerful 3-in-1 detergent that cleans, brightens, and fights stains — I thought sure I’ll try it — my life right now is in serious need of some short cuts — but will it still make my clothes smell like laundry detergent? We shall see… photo I spent a weekend doing my laundry with the Tide Pods, and I’m happy to report they were easy to use, unfussy, and MOST IMPORTANTLY my clothes still had the fresh laundry smell I was used to. I washed a jacket I recently picked up at Target that I think is going to be one of my FAVORITE pieces for fall and now it is just waiting for the weather to cool down so I can wear it! YAY! Fresh Smelling Fall clothes! target jacket I’m a simple gal, and if my clothes look stylish, can go in the washer and dryer and smell like a Spring Meadow all day, well COLOR ME HAPPY! I’d like to color YOU happy as well, which is why I’m going to suggest you enter the Sweepstakes below by telling me about your favorite fall pieces for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Tell me – what is your favorite item to wear for fall?

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.   The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 10/3/2013 – 11/03/2013.

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A Well Kept Shoe Secret (Giveaway Closed)

That moment at the end of the day when you finally get to kick off your heels! For a long time this, right here, was my favorite moment of the day. Standing in the parking garage at my job when I’d kick off my heels and throw on the pair of flip flops in my car for the drive home. I mean, SWEET JESUS, I know you know this feeling. Garrett is always giving me a hard time about wearing uncomfortable shoes, and I always say back, “Baby it hurts to be beautiful.” But you guys, WHAT IF IT DIDN’T? I’m sort of at this crossroads in my style life. I love looking and feeling cute and on-trend and like I am taking care of myself, but I am also 100% OVER walking around in shoes that bring me more excitement when I take them off, you know? When I got an email from BlogHer at the end of a long work day asking if I was interested in a campaign opportunity with Clarks I took a long deep breath. Because the truth was, HELL YES I was interested. Comfortable, quality well-made shoes sounded AWESOME. But then, honestly, I had a moment where I was like, “Wait a minute, am I turning into an old lady? SAY IT ISN’T SO!” So of course, I took to the internet to do some research. I hopped over to Zappos and was actually very surprised by what I saw: Yes, shoes that were well made and crafted with comfort in mind. But also beautiful, stylish shoes for someone who is NOT an old lady. I rejoiced right there in my car! 🙂 photo Clockwise from top: Valley Moon // Purity Snow // Sapphire Stel Immediately I knew I wanted to participate. Because stylish ladies of the world, HEAR THIS: you can totally have both gorgeous AND super comfortable shoes. It can be done! And no one will be the wiser. Clarks sent me a few pairs of shoes to review and honestly they have really worked well into my wardrobe. My feet are ready for fall! If only the weather would catch up! #booties #ootd Wessex Azure I wore the booties they sent me the other day and all day long people kept complimenting me. Each time I felt the need to lean over to whisper “You’ll never guess where they are from…” Every single lady I spoke to was shocked to hear they were from Clarks, but I think the secret is getting out. And the best part? At the end of the day, I didn’t even look for my flip flops!

The Giveaway!

You can call (800) 927-7671 or go to the Zappos site to purchase your own Clarks! But Zappos and Clarks have teamed up to offer one lucky winner a $100 Zappos Gift Card! For a chance to win, tell me in the comments below: 

“What comes first when you’re buying shoes? Style or comfort?”

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 10/1/13 – 10/31/13.

Be sure to visit the Zappos page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!



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Review and Giveaway — Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer


This is a sponsored review for Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer and BlogHer. While I was compensated for my review and provided with free product, all opinions are my own.

True Story: My mom & dad used to call me the ‘queen of lotions & potions’. For my entire teenaged life I had no less than 20 different scented lotions and body sprays sitting on the top of my dresser to mix and match as I saw fit. Every birthday or holiday that was what I asked for.  I wanted it. Of course, when you aren’t responsible for paying any bills, spending all of the money you own on ‘mall lotion’ seems like a good idea. Also, when you have nothing but time on your hands to do homework, gossip about boys, and hang with your friends, your moisturizing routine seems like a reasonable priority. But these days things are a little different. I still love things that smell delicious, and I will never NOT be a moisturizing junkie. Whether it be on my face or on my body, there is nothing that skeeves me out more than itchy dry skin, so I will always stay on top of it. But I have to be honest, during the summers in Sacramento when it’s over 100 degrees outside and I have to shower and blow dry my hair in the morning, I don’t always feel like making the time to moisturize and then stand around and wait for the lotion to dry, you know? Obviously when BlogHer asked if I wanted to try new Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer (specifically the Total Moisture® variant)– a continuous spray lotion that moisturizes (and absorbs) in seconds– I was interested just out of pure curiosity. While I don’t have quite the lotion collection that I used to have, old habits die hard, and I am always interested in trying out the newest products on the drug store shelves. Going into it, I thought it would feel a little bit like using spray sunscreen so I was doubtful it was going to be super moisturizing. I was also afraid it would be sticky (spray sunscreen PTSD, again) so I wasn’t expecting to be impressed. But after using it for a few weeks now, I have found myself grabbing for it over any other lotion I own. It absorbs quickly! And more importantly, it doesn’t go on super thick, but it still hydrates your skin appropriately. And while it feels NOTHING like sunscreen, the scent is super light and smells just like summer should smell. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a fun new shake-up to your moisturizing routine. Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer is the perfect hybrid for summer, and it genuinely has saved me time in the mornings. Head over to their Facebook page to learn more about their Spray & Go products!

******* Think Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer could help maximize your morning? Leave a comment on this post with your answer and each comment will automatically be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 SpaFinder gift card 🙂 Entries will be pooled from participating blogs and one winner chosen. 


Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.


The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/1/13 – 7/31/13.

Be sure to visit the Vaseline® Spray & Go page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

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