Winter skincare tips

Ok, so I didn’t want to stray too far from my typical content. So I wanted to put together a “simple” post on winter skincare tips.

I’d say the biggest difference these days is…I just know more. No, I don’t claim to be any type of expert. Just someone who’s been overly-interested in skincare and products for awhile now and has researched and talked the sh*t out of the topic with a lot of different people.

At 33, I hate being called ma’am. I cringe the hardest when the young guy at the bakery calls me it at least 3x while taking my order. Maybe it’s society’s fault for promoting impossible beauty standards and the unrealistic expectation to stay young looking (aka to stay a “miss”) forever? Regardless, my goal is to encourage as best I can something my Mom once said to me when I was frantically talking about getting botox before my wedding (side note, I didn’t get it then…but I have tried it since – which is a post for another day) which is to Age Gracefully. Which to me is one part acceptance and coming to peace with it and another part doing something about it in a way that doesn’t make you crazy or break you down. Oh yea, and ensuring you’re doing it for you and not because anyone else is making you feel like you need to.

Now ladies (and gents) with that I give you some winter skincare tips that will aid in our quest to age gracefully (and comfortably!) while also doing our best to combat the woes of dull, dry, patchy winter skin:

  1. Good hydration is key. Sounds obvious? Well, get on board (says the girl who still struggles to do this everyday). As much as you can, opt for room temperature or warm beverages in the colder months which are easier for your body to process. herbal teas, warm water with lemon, golden milk (recipe to follow), plain H2O. Hydrating the inside, shows on the outside!
    • My fave container for transporting warmer drinks = Lifefactory’s 16 oz Glass Coffee Travel Mug
    • Avoid at all costs soda, especially diet. Avoid juices and sports drinks (unless you’re sick and need the electrolytes!) which are too high in sugar. And more than 2 cups of coffee a day but if you’re going to do it get the good stuff AND forget about decaf which I’ve learned has more toxins than regular coffee due to the decaffeination process (ew!)
  2. Humidifier at night. The air in our homes tends to get dry in the winter when the heat is pumping. Invest in and switch on a home humidifier each night. This will help put moisture in the air…good for many things, including keeping skin and sinuses more lubricated (aka not totally drying out)
  3. More gentle wash, tone, moisturize routine. This doesn’t mean skipping retinols, glycolics or whatever “heavy lifters” you may use at night. It just means, be mindful that you don’t want to strip your skin with over-exfoliating or cleansing as most skin tends towards the drier side during the winter months
  4. Get in a good sweat. This goes any time of year. But I know that it’s harder to get moving in the colder winter months. Find what works for you. Too cold to venture to the gym? There are some great on-demand fitness apps. My favorite right now is Yoga on Gaia which has a lot of different yoga and meditation content/classes on-demand (for a monthly membership fee). Sweating releases toxins from the body – which is good all around, including cleansing out our pores
  5. Get your sleep. Again, another year round important factor. Sometimes I find myself unable to relax  after a long cold day. Find some thing(s) that work for you that puts you on a routine of getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Reading, meditation, aromatherapy, investing in comfy bedding, are just a few ways to tempt yourself into bed so that you can get the sleep your body (including your skin) needs to rest and rejuvenate

@Home peel pads – a summer staple

All this lovely sun…trips to the beach and layers of sunblock…have sparked me to bring back my post of “the best” (according to CC&NP) @Home peel pads. Below are three brands that I’ve tried and that WORK. What do I mean by that?

Work = I saw immediate results – good exfoliation, skin felt much smoother after. My skin looked noticeably glowy after which lasts for a day or two depending on the brand. The convenience factor for these peels is great – 2 of the 3 options below come in handy pouches making it easy to throw in a purse or travel bag.

If you’re looking for something a bit stronger than an everyday exfoliator, definitely try one of the at-home peel brands below. Not only do they help remove dead skin cells (including helping get rid of nasty blackheads!) and smooth the texture of your skin, they also help to reduce the signs of aging. I found that the little lines in between my eyebrows and along my forehead looked less prominent after use.

Keep in mind, you should apply a good serum and moisturizer after the peel – and avoid the sun! Your skin will be more sensitive for a day or two. And if you have to be outside, use a good SPF sunscreen, and throw on a hat. Your skin will be more prone to burning.

When to use: PM, before bed. Avoid using on raw or sunburnt skin! no no! ouch ouch!

  • Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Peel Original Formula / $88 for 30 pads ($2.93 per treatment) – also, 5 treatment trial pack sold for $16
    • Two step peel process: first pad = peel, second pad = tone
    • Pros: (1) I like the two step process because it feels like a really good clean. (2) I’ve had less sensitivity and never any skin peeling with Dr. D’s. (3) Paraben free. (4) Two step system comes in conjoined packets – perfect for travel. The box that holds the pads is also handy and easy to store.
    • Cons: Nothing comes to mind!
    • Click here to buy –> Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Travel Packs – 30 Applications


  • M-61 Power Glow Peel – exclusively @ Bluemercury / $62 for 30 treatments ($2.07 per treatment) – also, 10 treatment trial pack sold for $28
    • One step peel process
    • For the record, these are my current fave – I always stay stocked up on these!
    • Pros: (1) Quick, one step treatment. (2) Paraben free. (3) Peel pad comes in travel-ready packet. Box has perforated edge for easy grab and go.
    • Cons: Nothing I can think of!
    • Click here to buy –> @Bluemercury


  • ReVive Glycolic Renewal Peel Duo / $295 for 30 treatments ($9.83 per treatment)
    • Two step peel process: step 1 pad = peel, step 2 wash = renewal gel
    • For the record, this is certainly a stronger glycolic peel, so it’s more likely to cause sensitivity. But because it’s stronger, I think it works quite well.
    • Pros: (1) I found that the results lasted a couple days longer. The woman at Bluemercury said she uses ReVive on Sundays and the m-61 peel pads a few times during the week. Given the cost, I feel like 1x per week is a good idea. (2) This is a two step system; first step is the pad and the second is a glycolic wash. I got a couple of sample packets which was lovely on the wallet. From what I’ve read the wash lasts long after the pads are gone. (3) Appears to be paraben free (not always the case with ReVive products).
    • Cons: (1) Cost, clearly. However the lady at Bluemercury stressed that its approximately $10 per treatment and you can use it less frequently than others because of the strength. Could be worth the investment for some! (2) Unlike the other brands, these pads come in a screw top container – in other words, not individually packaged…bummer.
    • Click here to buy –> ReVive Glycolic Renewal Peel Duo


Overall, these @home peel options help exfoliate and resurface the skin – especially necessarily during the hot summer months when our skin is pummeled by the elements.

Have you tried any of these at home peel treatments? Or is there another brand you prefer? Please share 🙂

‘notha day another product

This actually started as a video blog (vlog!)…but then it didn’t. I’m still mastering the magic of talking to my computer screen and not carrying on for 25+ minutes. I decided to spare ya’ll the long winded-ness and just write up this recommendation.

1. Listen to Fleetwood Mac. Not because it has anything to do with skincare or this post BUT because it has everything to do with relaxation, which is good for your face. AmIRight? So turn on Fleetwood Mac (on Spotify, my preferred streaming platform!) and jam. And just in case you don’t have Spotify – here’s a link to YouTube to watch “Gypsy,” one of the best ever songs. This video features Stevie circa 1980-something. Fabulous, beautiful, hippy, soul.

Stevie <3

Stevie ❤

2. Consider something new for your skincare regimen. Back in the Fall, I posted (HERE) about a wonderful cream cleanser by REN. I still love it. BUT, since then, I’ve come across another product and I haven’t put it down.

What is it?

It’s actually an oil cleanser. It’s by TATCHA


Tatcha is “Geisha Inspired Skincare from Japan”

What exactly does that mean? (other than some creative marketing!)

Essentially, founder, Victoria Tsai, was inspired after a trip to Japan to start a skincare line inspired by Eastern practices. She was aiming for simplicity. Below is a link to a WSJ article on Victoria & her company.

  • A little more info on Tatcha and it’s founder, Victoria – here

Tatcha is considered a cult brand. Carried at some of the higher end dept stores (e.g. Barney’s) and recently picked up by I had seen the line a few times before I decided to give it a whirl. What caught my eye was the gorgeous cream and purple packaging. This product line has stellar packaging, that’s for sure. But packaging alone won’t do it for me.

When (and what) did I decide to try? 

During a recent business trip, I came across the Tatcha line at a hotel spa in California. After some researching on my phone, I decided to try what’s considered one of Tatcha’s bestsellers – the Pure: One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil.

Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

Beautiful, functional packaging is just part of it

Beautiful, functional packaging is just part of it

What I like:

Minimal ingredients. And formulated without: Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates. I was warned that some people are bothered by the fragrance so I proceeded with caution. Thankfully, I find the fragrance light and quite pleasant and not something that irritates my skin or eyes.

The One Step Camellia Oil is touted as a great make up remover and skin cleanser without leaving your skin dried out or with an oily film which some oil based cleansers can do.

Almost looks like water. Has a thicker-than-water consistency

Almost looks like water. Has a thicker-than-water consistency

At $48 a pop – it’s not cheap. However, it comes in a convenient 5 oz pump container. You only need 2-3 pumps per wash. I’ve had mine for over a month and it’s still more than hallway full.

Super convenient pump packaging. Helps control how much product you use and makes for easy traveling

Super convenient pump packaging. Helps control how much product you use and makes for easy traveling

It truly removes my make up and makes my skin feels clean – but not that tight, squeaky dry clean (that’s not good!). I take 2-3 pumps and massage all over my face and neck and use a wet/warm (not hot!) wash cloth to remove the product and make up/”days dirt.”

Add a little water and it turns milky in texture which makes it easy to wash off (and no residue!)

Add a little water and it turns milky in texture which makes it easy to wash off (and no residue!)

I’ve been researching other products in the Tatcha line but I’m apprehensive to try. This oil cleanser is truly the stand out of the line, in my opinion. It’s a luxurious product that does what it claims. 

If you’re in the market for a new cleanser for the winter months, why not give this one a whirl.

If interested – click the pic below to shop it:


One last Stevie pic ❤

Lifestyle, Beauty, Relationship, and Money Resolutions for ***2-0-1-5***

This year I rang in the New Year in a low key way. I spent NYE and NYD up in New Hampshire in the White Mountains with my husband, Nick. Last year, NYE was a bit of a disaster for me. Pretty sure my hangover lasted 5 days. Ick. This year, I vowed to ring in the New Year in a more controlled & loving fashion 🙂 We spent a couple days eating, napping, and yes, drinking to our hearts content. While I was up in those calm White Mountains, I started my resolution list for 2015. I realize having too many resolutions might just set me up for failure – but hey, I’m going to throw out a few to see what really sticks. Below are my resolutions. 4 categories – lifestyle, beauty, relationship, and money.

What are your resolutions? Do you believe in stating a couple resolutions at the start of the new year?

I’m finding it quite inspiring.


  • Get back into the gym and get fit – I seriously love the gym. When I’m there. It’s getting there that’s the issue…getting out of bed in the morning, to be exact. I love boxing class and pushing myself and seeing myself improve day by day. I love working out to rap music and getting excited during class when I hear a favorite song. But, this last year or so, I fell off the gym wagon. Hard. I paid for a $150-a-month gym membership and maybe went 3x in the course of the last 5 months. Shameful, I know. But here I am, making a pledge to myself to GET BACK TO IT. I’m ready to feel & be fit again. This is one of my top 2 goals of the year. #fitwithit2015 #bethgetoutofbed2015
A few of my favorite workout things: 1> Lululemon Wunder Under crops 2> IAMMAI sweatshirt, inspiration quotes are readable in the mirror 3> Twistband headbands, the best 4> BKR water bottle. Just enough water comes out with each chug

A few of my favorite workout things:
1> Lululemon Wunder Under crops
2> IAMMAI sweatshirt
3> Twistband headbands, the best
4> BKR water bottle

And now some random Fit-spiration. That’s right, Joseph Gordon-Levitt – I mean, this guy, GOT FIT for Don Jon. I have to applaud him for his metamorphosis. #randomfitspiration

from scrawny to brawny.

from scrawny to brawny.


  • Wash my face every night – I state this one knowing it’s a taller order for me (because I’m lazy and sometimes pass out in the fetal position on the couch during the week — that should probably change too). BUT, I want to do it. I’ve seen the positive results of religiously washing my face each night and I’ve seen the results of the counter (sudden break out, uneven skin tone etc.) I am somewhat obsessed with my skin and the sight of a mere line or wrinkle…and now is the time to better care for it. So, here goes it. Every night…wash and moisturize. #operationwashyourfaceeverynight2015
2 favorite winter skincare products: 1> REN Gentle Cleansing Milk  2> Caudalie Moisture Rescue Cream

2 favorite winter skincare products:
1> REN Gentle Cleansing Milk
2> Caudalie Moisture Rescue Cream


  • Send thank you notes – I fancied myself good at this at one point but then I realized I got a bit lazy. This year I want to be better about acknowledging nice gestures/experiences/opportunities with good ole, real paper, thank yous. #showthanks2015
Love these Kate Spade thank you notes. Good quality paper <3

Love these Kate Spade thank you notes. Good quality paper ❤

  • Be more patient with my hubby – I’m sure I could be more patient with many people and things…but one person who deserves more patience from me is my hubby. He’s a hard working guy…who is the ying to my yang in many ways. He’s thoughtful and funny and smart. I tend to jump at him for the little things…and this year, I want to be more mindful of that. I want to think twice before I snap at him to “stop chewing your beer!” or “stop being so slow!”  (when he’s walking “Nick-style” into a restaurant) or assuming he’s not listening when he’s really just taking a moment to think 😉  Because, he’s my BFF. Plain and simple. #bepatientspreadthelove2015
This guy. That face. <3

This guy. That face. ❤


  • Pay off my credit cards – this is it, it’s the year. The year I say “see ya” to my credit card debt. I’ve been good about managing it and using cash more often than credit. BUT, I’ve been carrying some CC debt from the days when I had little funds to spare (shout out to all those assistant media planners out there, it gets better). I want to pay it off once and for all. #debtfree2015 (except for school loans, car payment, and mortgage hehe)
I agree with her. Retail-therapy is A THING. But, bye bye cc

I agree with her. Retail-therapy is A THING. But, bye bye cc. Who’s cuter than Isla Fisher?? Confessions of a Shopaholic – good flick

Exfoliate your face…don’t be scared!

Let’s talk about exfoliating your skin. Your face. Really, let’s do it.

Some people don’t do it because they’re worried it’ll be too harsh and/or they have sensitive skin and they don’t want to disrupt it more. Certainly valid concerns! BUT I think exfoliating your face is a very important part of your regular skincare routine. As long as your skin isn’t raw or damaged, exfoliating is an important and effective way to remove dead skin cells so the new ones can turn over. As we get into the winter months, skin can get dry and/or dull, exfoliating can help combat some of the negative skin issues caused by changing temps & weather conditions.

Exfoliating is especially important as we age because skin re-generation slows over time. By exfoliating, we help to condition our skin, unclog pores, even skin tone, help with circulation, and promote healthy cell turn over.

If you’re new to exfoliating, I’d start with 1-2x per week. Start with PM exfoliating.

The # of times per week you should exfoliate also depends on what product you are using. I, for example, exfoliate at least every other day in the winter months using one of the below products. Everyone’s skin is different though, so if you’re not exfoliating now – start slow. “Over-exfoliating” is possible and can lead to skin damage. Whatever exfoliator you use – be gentle when you apply. Don’t press down hard. Use light circular motions while applying product and the product will do the rest.

CupcakesandNailpolish recommendation for good, “everyday” exfoliating products:

**With each – prep your skin by dampening it with warm water**


Fresh Soy Face Exfoliant

    • Grainy-er consistency that spreads easily
    • Comes in a travel-friendly, sanitary, tube container
    • More soothing with jojoba, rose hip, soy protein and cucumber ingredients
    • Appears to be paraben free
    • After rinsing this product off, use a light toner on a cotton pad to remove any access/left behind grains (I always find there are a few stragglers)
    • Price = $42.00 for 3.4 oz
    • Click to buy here –> Fresh Soy Face Exfoliant 3.4 oz
Fresh soy face exfoliat

Great everyday exfoliator – awesome slim tube, great for travel



Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser

    • I’d consider the most (truly!) natural of the 3 options
      • Paraben free
    • Uses gentler yet effective sugar crystal as exfoliating mechanism. From the Suki site: crystals are hexagonal shaped with less extreme angles versus the square, sharp edges of salt that cut into the skin.
    • Love that this product gets a bit foamy so your skin feels extra pampered and also helps it rinse clear once you splash with warm water
    • I don’t love the pot container – if you get water in it, it liquefies the sugar – boo
    • Price = $32.95 for 4.0 oz.
    • Click to buy here –> suki exfoliate foaming cleanser


The most natural of the bunch. Natural but very effective and just a lovely product all-around. #sukiface #love

The most natural of the bunch. Natural but very effective and just a lovely product all-around. #sukiface #love



In my opinion, this is a stronger exfoliator using fruit enzymes and lactic acid:

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment


A bit stronger than the first 2 – Kate Somerville ExfoliKate is a great, hard working exfoliator



After exfoliating – I use a toner, apply a serum, and then apply moisturizer on top.

Skin will feel smooth & clean after this process!