I’m digging these thangs right now…

  • Colored/mirrored aviators. I see these on celebrities and fashionistas and I think “I need these.” In reality, I certainly don’t. But I think they look so summery-chic and fun. They add a pop of color to any outfit. If you’re in the market, click here
Beyonce sporting a pair of mirrored blue aviators

Beyonce sporting a pair of mirrored blue aviators

Hilary Duff sporting a pair of blue mirrored aviators

Hilary Duff sporting a pair of blueish mirrored aviators – hawt

  • @Home coffee AND espresso maker. We packed up our Keurig months ago…I was just over it. Now, we either use the french press or go to the local coffee shop (I love an early morning trip to the coffee shop!) But, recently, I’ve thought…wouldn’t it be nice to have an espresso maker? Then I could make myself a yummy spot of coffee and avoid the temptation that is half & half and raw sugar at the local coffee joint. But, we don’t really have the counter space for another appliance. That logistical detail aside, I came across the Nespresso Vertouline coffee & espresso maker at the mall a few weeks back. They were sampling coffee and espresso – I was mesmerized by this machine that makes delicious frothy coffee AND espresso. I wanted this “all in one” machine…alas, I didn’t want to fork over $200+ so I went on my merry way. But, I still think about this little gem. If you’re in the market, check it out here
Nespresso Vertuoline Coffee and Espresso maker - the ultimate caffiene machine

Nespresso Vertuoline Coffee and Espresso maker – the ultimate caffiene machine

  • K Kane Jewelry – I’ve been obsessed with it for awhile now. I recently got a necklace from her monogram line. I adore it. I’ve been pining over her new ring line. Simple yet unique designs. The ring will run you around $250 but would make a lovely gift for a special someone. Check it out here
Gawd, I love K Kane's designs

Gawd, I love K Kane’s designs

  • Jane Iredale tinted moisturizer. I’m not in the market for a new tinted moisturizer, I’ve been using Vitalumiere Aqua by Chanel and digging it. However, the other day I sampled Jane Iredale’s and really liked it. It’s light – paraben free – perfect for summer. Although it doesn’t have a heavy SPF (only 15) it at least offers some sun protection. Check it out here
Jane Iredale Dream Tint SPF 15 tinted moisturizer - I'm medium light...love

Jane Iredale Dream Tint SPF 15 tinted moisturizer – I’m medium light…love

  • This robe by In Bloom by Jonquil. I have a pair of pajamas by this line – the material is super silky soft. I love the colors in this robe and picture myself getting ready in it each morning. Alas, I don’t really need another PJ item…but dang, isn’t this pretty? Check it out here. *In Bloom also makes some lovely bridal lingere and robes
I want you robe, I want you!

I want you robe, I want you!

  • This eye mask by GLAMGLOW. I got a sample in a gift bag – it definitely feels soothing on my eyes. My eyes are my “trouble zone” since I’ve been squinting since birth.  I hope to find another sample soon – because a $60 eye mask isn’t in the cards right now. Click here to check it out
GLAMGLOW "brightmud" eye treatment...my tired eyes need ya

GLAMGLOW “brightmud” eye treatment…my tired eyes need ya

Hello Black Friday! 10 Holiday gift ideas

In honor of Black Friday – I thought I’d round up some holiday gift ideas. Although I’m avoiding “real” Black Friday shopping (at least for now while I write this post, watch Mrs. Doubtfire, and eat candy corn in bed) – today is a good day to find a deal. And the beauty of modern day Black Friday is that you don’t have to leave your house to get a deal. Especially with so many retailers offering free shipping! To sniff out online deals, I always suggest checking out RetailMeNot.com prior to making any online purchase – 9 out of 10 times I find a deal through this site.

Below is a list of 10 gift ideas – for spouse, parent, friend, lover, you name it. Price points vary and I tried to put the full price below but I bet you can find a discount, especially this time of year! Hopefully, you catch some gift-spiration below!

  • Silk pillowcase(s) ($150.00 for a set of 2 @ Lovasilk.com). A full set of high quality silk sheets would be expensive – so why not give someone the gift of silk to lay their head on? Not only does silk feel divine to sleep on (ahhh, who doesn’t love a nice cool pillow?)…it also has functional benefits including being easier on your skin than regular fabrics, which can mean reduced facial lines. And, it is easier on your hair. I recommend Lovasilk for high quality (25mm) silk pillow cases. And to read more on the benefits of silk – click here. Perfect gift for the guy or gal who likes to be pampered.
Midge (momentarily) enjoying the silk pillowcase

Midge (momentarily) enjoying a snooze on the silk pillowcase

  • Clarisonic Mia – ($125.00 @ Sephora/but check Amazon too). Oh the Clarisonic (the “electric toothbrush for your face”) – this baby sits on my bathroom counter calling to me each night. This handy beauty tool is a staple in many spas as well. The Clarisonic has been around for some time now – and comes in a smaller travel size, which I love. The Mia is perfect for everyday. You replace the brush every 2-3 months. I go with the “delicate” brush. The Clarisonic does an amazing job cleaning your skin – removing make up and dead skin cells without irritating. It is a handy tool and you can use your normal face cleanser with it. It is also great to travel with and has a long battery life once charged up. Great for someone who likes to spice up their beauty routine OR visit the spa
The handy dandy Clarisonic Mia

The handy dandy Clarisonic Mia

  • Electric wine opener ($39.99 @ Macy’s) – we registered for this for our wedding. I never really knew how handy this baby is until I opened my first bottle of wine with it. It comes with a foil cutter which is super fast and easy. The actual wine opener part is FUN to use. It takes the cork out of the bottle in less than 30 seconds and spits the cork out. It makes getting into a bottle of wine easy & fast. Great hostess gift!
Waring Pro Electric wine opener. once-you-use-it-can't-live-without-it-bar-accessory

Waring Pro Electric wine opener. once-you-use-it-can’t-live-without-it-bar-accessory

  • Aromatherapy Diffuser (Sharper Image Aromatherapy Diffuser; $59.99 @ Sharper Image) don’t get me wrong, I love candles. This is a great gift for a candle lover. And the added bonus is it uses essential oils to fragrance the air. You can find great, all natural essential oils at Whole Foods – think eucalyptus, lavender, etc. A couple drops of an essentail oil and some water in this diffuser and the air will be smelling soothing and clean
Sharper Image Aromatherapy Diffuser

Sharper Image Aromatherapy Diffuser

  •  Satin Pajamas ($59.99 @ Victoria Secret) – I LOVE these satin PJs by VS. They are silky soft and although they cover you up, they are still cute. I wear them winter and summer…because they are loose fitting enough for warm weather (no need for sheets!) but also warm up nicely against my skin under the covers in the winter. VS has a lot of different colors and patterns. These might look familiar because The Kardashain’s often sport them on the show! Great for the gal who loves to lounge
Ahh I love this pic. These are my bridesmaids in their VS satin PJs. Love it!

Ahh I love this pic. These are my bridesmaids in their VS satin PJs. Love it!

  • French press (Bonjour Maximus 8-cup French press, $49.95 @ William Sonoma) – I always thought this thing would be too complicated to brew coffee in until we bought one at William Sonoma. A couple scoops of your favorite ground coffee, pour boiling water over, let sit, then drop in the lid/press and BAM delicious coffee. You can control the brew strength. Great gift for the coffee lover. Pair with some nice ground coffee such as Starbuck’s Christmas Blend (they’ll gorund the beans in store for you!)
my first experience with a french press was on our honeymoon. Pairs well with a chocolate croissant ;)

my first experience with a french press was on our honeymoon. Pairs well with a chocolate croissant 😉

  • Travel tea mug/infuser (Bodum Stainless Steal Travel Press/Mug, $34.50 @ DavidsTea) – I’m big into tea lately, the loose leaf kind. I feel like I’m conducting a mini science experiement when I pick out my tea, measure it into my mug, and let it seep to perfection. I try to replace my afternoon coffee with tea to avoid additional caffeine. Also, there are so many yummy tea flavors from fruity to floral…it’s a great treat with no calories. This mug travels well and keeps tea hot. Great for the commuter/tea lover!
Bodum travel tea mug @ DavidsTea

Bodum travel tea mug @ DavidsTea

  • Faux Fur throw blanket (Donna Salyer’s Fabulous Furs, Mahogany Mink Faux Fur Throw starts @ $329.00 – join the email list to get 20% off your first purchase!) – we were given this throw a couple winter’s ago, now, it is a couch staple. It is super soft and luxiorous. Perfect for cuddling under or falling aasleep with. It is such a nice, heavy, super soft blanket – a perfect couch accessory.
the cream of the throw  blanket crop

the cream of the throw blanket crop

  • NutriBullet by Magic Bullet ($99.99 @ Macy’s) I first tried the bullet a couple years ago after getting sick of my full size blender which was a pain to clean. I love this small serving blender. I love that it makes the perfect smoothies and I can take the cup on the road. I throw my protein smoothie ingrendients in this and within 30 seconds, boom, its done and I’m out the door. Clean up is easy! Beyond smoothies, you can make dips, shakes, salsa etc. it’s a great appliance to have around and the size means it takes up minimal counter/cabinet space. Great for the gym-goer, or someone with a smaller kitchen who loves gadgets but might not have the space
Nutribullet by Magic Bullet

Nutribullet by Magic Bullet

  • TRX Home Suspension Training Kit ($199.95 full price) – TRX is a phenomal work out. Now, you can bring it into your house. When it gets cold and harder to get ot the gym – this baby will help give you a great work out without leaving the house. And there are so many YouTube videos showing you how to do different TRX work outs. You can get a true full body work out with this. And it takes up minimal space! Great for stretching as well. Great gift for the work out enthusiast or even someone who travels and wants to have a work out “in a bag” that they can do in their room
Binny and I TRXin' with more than enough space to spare!

Binny and I TRXin’ with more than enough space to spare!

Toner…a step worth adding to your routine

A few weeks back I posted a pic of Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel alcohol free toner which I picked up in Kansas City, MO while visiting my sister Katy Lou.

Thayers toner picked up in Kansas City, MO but available in most areas or Drugstore.com

Thayers toner picked up in Kansas City, MO but available in most areas or Drugstore.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although it claims to be alcohol free I still wondered if it’d dry out my skin. I’ve always been a fan of toners because they make my skin feel clean and extra fresh after washing. But, it’s taken me some time to realize, I shouldn’t be using something that’s drying…and that “squeeky” clean really isn’t a good thing for your face. You want something that will walk the line of picking up excess residue, cleaning out & minimizing your pores, and also adding some hydration.

After using Thayers for the last couple weeks I’m in love! It comes in a big bottle with a squirt top (warning, not very travel friendly – I recommend picking up a small bottle with a screw cover to pour some toner into for traveling). It makes me skin feel fresh, clears off the remaining make up my face wash doesn’t pick up, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry. It also has a nice, light rosey smell. In a couple words: refreshing, hydrating, and just plain lovely.

You can pick up the 12 oz. bottle for less than $10 on Drugstore.com. It’s a good value. Below is how my skincare routine works – both AM and PM:

1. Wash – I rotate between a cleanser and exfoliator. I use the Clarisonic with my regular cleanser once a day

2. Dry my facec with a gentle cloth

3. Use my Thayers toner with a Swissper (one of my fave beauty tools). All over my face and neck. Allow to air dry for a second

4. Apply a hydrating serum, let dry for a moment

5. Moisturize – I’m currently using this by Darphin at night and LOVE it

Tools of tha’ trade…sharing some secrets here!

We all have a few beauty tools up our sleeve. Tools we’ve used for years and ‘swear by.’ Below I wanted to share a couple of mine with you. Some of them ain’t that sexy – but they do the trick. If it’s pesky hairs, dark circles, or greasy hair…we all have our gripes…so please feel free to share your beauty tool staples with us!

  • Sephora Targeted eye remover swabs – ($9 @ Sephora) I saw these in the check out line at Sephora. Those damn bins full of goodies always get me while I wait! This time however, I found something great AND functional. Ever have trouble getting the left over eyeliner or mascara off of your lash line? These babies will do the trick. They are also travel-friendly. No more spilling liquid eye remover! These swabs can fit easily and legally within a carry on or purse for seamless airline travel

    Uber convenient Sephora Eye Remover Swabs

    Uber convenient Sephora Eye Remover Swabs

  • Pssssst Dry Shampoo – ($7, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com) yes, I’ve blogged about the wonders of dry shampoo before. I even have another favorite brand (Suave). But the other day when my husband was swinging by CVS, I asked him to pick me up a bottle since I was running out. Apparently, he couldn’t find the Sauve brand. So he brought home Psssst. I laughed out loud at the name. But then I tried it. It works! Perfectly. And smells nice too. They also re-designed the bottle so it’s a bit more modern 😉

    dang, look at that product re-design! Psssst Dry Shampoo is modernized and works great!

    dang, look at that product re-design! Psssst Dry Shampoo is modernized and works great!

  • Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller in Sheer Tint – ($12.99, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com)  I’ll start by admitting that this isn’t a “natural” beauty product but I often exercise the saying ‘everything in moderation.’ Same thing with gummy frogs. I bought this roller off a recommendation from a friend. I was skeptical. But it has become an AM staple for me if I am running out of the house to do some errands or, even going for a work out. No, I don’t think I ‘need’ make up for these things but sometimes I need a little ‘spruce up’ so I can feel better. So I do one roll under each eye, a couple pats, and BOOM, I look less tired. Love this product. I’ve tried other ‘higher end’ alternatives…and still haven’t found one better than this

    bye bye raccoon eyes! Garnier's eye roller works MAGIC

    bye bye raccoon eyes! Garnier’s eye roller works MAGIC

  • Plackers Dental Flossers Gentle Fine – ($2.99, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com) I hate flossing. I don’t do it everyday, eek. But when I do, I use Plackers. These little thingies get right in between my teeth. I find them quicker and easier to use than regular floss. I keep a bowl-full in the bathroom

    screw dental floss. Use these handy, quick Placker picks

    screw dental floss. Use these handy, quick Placker picks

  • Sally Hansen Microwaveable Eyebrow, Face, and Lip Wax – get the non-strips kind – ($6, available at most pharmacies) I always keep this on hand. I opt for the salon when it comes to my eyebrows because there is definitely a ‘design element’ to waxing the ‘brows. But, one area you can do on your own is the mustache. That’s right…the dreaded upper lip hair. And with Sally Hansen, there really is no excuse to let this grow in. I won’t lie…every once in awhile my husband nicely points out that I might want to ‘wax my mustache.’ And no, I don’t get mad…I freaking microwave this stuff and wax that stache off! It is super easy and comes with a small pot of wax in a microwaveable container, mini tweezers, and a Popsicle-type stick for application. The only caution I will mention – be sure to not overheat the wax. I typically microwave for 2 minutes, max. But to be sure, if you dip the Popsicle stick in and the wax runs off like water…it’s too hot. Wait until it has a slow, honey-like drip. You can always test on another area first (hand?) before applying to your face, just to be sure. This stuff is amazing and cheap. It picks up all those pesky hairs. Save yourself the money, do your ‘stache at home. Does it hurt? Um ya, it hurts a bit to pull ya hair out. But, I think it’s more bearable because YOU pull the wax yourself, you’re in control!

    pot of gold right here. Sally Hansen Wax Kit for face!

    pot of gold right here. Sally Hansen Wax Kit for face!

  • Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer – this isn’t for what you think. It’s for those pesky facial hairs. For me, it’s the peachy fuzz. My sister once told me I had a blond beard. What a sweetheart. Either way, I keep this handy tool nearby to quickly clean up pesky, long hair. Maybe I should keep this beauty tool to myself since I’m sure some people will think I’m a hairy polar bear. But no, I’m not that selfish. This thing works wonders. And I’d rather trim than wax my ENTIRE face. Oh and, I don’t think my hair is laser-removal appropriate. Even if it is, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere right now. You may (secretly) thank me later for this tool

    a handy tool to have. Philips Precision Trimmer set

    a handy tool to have. Philips Precision Trimmer set

Chew these for better skin? Let’s discuss

I came across NeoCell Beauty Bursts “Gourmet Collagen Soft Chews” as I flipped through Natural Health magazine. I was intrigued by this product’s claims. In a nutshell,  NeoCell Beauty Bursts are vitamin chews that claim to help improve your skin’s health and appearance (from the inside – out). They come in 2 flavors, Fruit Punch or Mint Chocolate. Being the perpetual tester that I am and intrigued by a chewy vitamin that could possibly help improve my skin, I grabbed a bag at Whole Foods (for approx. $20). They only had the Fruit Punch flavor which was ok for me!

NeoCell Beauty Bursts

NeoCell Beauty Bursts

So, what’s in these babies?

  • Collagen Type 1 & 3 For Firm, Smooth Skin & Strong Hair & Nails
  • Hyaluronic Acid For Skin Hydration & Renewal
  • Vitamin C:  Collagen Enhancer
  • From the brand: “Having beautiful & radiant skin has never been so easy- or so delicious. Deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in delectable, gourmet soft chews.  Collagen Type 1 & 3 is the body’s beauty protein & strengthens skin, hair & nails. Hyaluronic Acid is known as “Nature’s Moisturizer” & hydrates the skin.  Vitamin C is essential to boosting collagen in the skin.  Together, these three beauty nutrients work together to build beautiful skin from the inside out.”
  • No lactose, gluten, or artificial ingredients

My initial thoughts:

  • I get what Hyaluronic Acid is, I’ve used it topically before. I get Vitamin C. But what is/are Collagen Type 1 & 3? And why would I consume it?
    • Found online: Collagen I is found in many bodily structures including bones, skin, and intervertebral disks. Present throughout the body and is the type of collagen most commonly used in the gelatin industry and for research. (I gagged a little reading this). Collagen type III, which can be found in the skin, muscles, and intestinal walls, has been found to be the second most abundant type in the body. It is often closely associated with collagen I. This is because these collagen types are commonly found in the same places and they are synthesized in a similar manner. These collagen types are often combined to form supplements taken to maintain and promote healthy skin, bone, and muscles. (from wisegeek.com)
    • Over time, our body produces less and less of this ‘connective tissue’ protein. The outcome of less production = increased lines, sagging, and wrinkles as our skin looses this important ‘booster’
    • I’d been chewing these for about a week before I did this research. And after getting more info, I felt a little weird about WHERE this Collagen Type 1  and 3 comes from. It clearly has to be something mammal, right?
      • After doing some more digging, I found the answer on NeoCell site…”all natural sources of bovine hides. all cattle hormone and antibiotic free. grass-fed. free range. pharmaceutical grade. gluten & wheat free.” Hmmm…ew? kinda?  But then I realized, I eat meat. I’m not a vegetarian. If this is a “pure” source, what makes it different from the other products I consume from ‘bovines’? It seems pretty clear though, if you are a vegetarian, you might avoid this product


  • You are directed to take 2 to 4 chews daily. I’m starting with 2 a day for now because I want the bag to last
  • The Fruit Punch chews are quite tasty. Thankfully, no chalky after-taste
  • Didn’t upset my stomach or anything like that (that some vitamins can do)
  • I’ve been trying to take in the AM, when I typically get my vitamins in

After a week of using & my research:

  • I will say, my skin looks brighter! I can’t completely attribute this to the chews though. I’ve been good about washing my face every night before bed. GO ME! And it’s the time of the month when my skin isn’t acting as ‘funky’ from a hormonal perspective
  • I am pretty torn about this product because on one hand I feel like I’ve seen some results. On the other hand, I’m not sure I believe the hype. And yea, I’m a little weird about where they get the collagen…even if it’s from a source I consume regularly as food.
  • I felt better knowing it’s sold at Whole Foods and promoted in natural living magazines/sites though. But I’m not a fool, I know that doesn’t mean it’s “safe” So, I’m still pondering this one for now…

Has anyone else tried a supplement like this?  What do YOU think?

Click here to go to the brand’s website for more information on this product