May 29, 2014

Whiten Your Teeth with Activated Charcoal (NO Sensitivity)

Top photo is (obvi) before I whitened. Don't judge me, I love my black coffee. Bottom photo is just after 2 "brushings" with the activated charcoal in one day (once in morning, once at night)

Growing up, I tried and experimented with just about every single at-home beauty treatment I could find. I'm sure I drove my poor parents insane with the messes I would create in our house as a teenager. Various facial masks with yogurt, raw eggs, honey, turmeric, mayonnaise, cinnamon, milk, avocados, mud...I could go on and on. Hair hennas, DIY nail polish, DIY lipstick, rinsing my hair with beer and cold tea. Needless to say, there were much riskier experiments as well, luckily my brain has blocked those out so that you don't have to hear about them. I'm sure my mom could recount all of them with great detail (sorry, Mom!)

I'm always up for new methods and processes for brightening my skin, getting rid of wrinkles or zits or large pores, getting the shiniest hair possible, and whitening my teeth. A while back, I wrote about my current at-home teeth whitening process that is very inexpensive and very effective. I'm one of the (lucky) few who has teeth that don't respond negatively to baking soda and peroxide. However, if you're one of the many who experience sensitive teeth and sore, irritated gums after any type of whitening process then BOY HOWDY do I have good news for you!

I had been reading a lot lately about the benefits of using activated charcoal (also called activated carbon) to naturally (and safely) whiten teeth. I took it as a sign from the Beauty Blog Gods when my good friend Lindsey text me asking if I had ever heard of this method and if I had ever tried it (for the record, I love getting these texts from my friends asking if I've heard of or tried various products. It makes me happy to think of them seeing some crazy thing and wondering to themselves "I bet Colleen has tried it! I'm going to ask her!") I responded to her telling her I had heard of it, but had never tried it. Of course my next immediate thought was "CHALLENGE: ACCEPTED". So, I set out on a journey to the interwebs to research and purchase the goods.

My apologies for the lazy "look" I'm sporting here with my beanie and no makeup. I was chasing a toddler around all day and was all sweaty and gross from our walk up to the library earlier. Just try to focus on the blinding white teeth!

Before we get started, let's cover a few basic pinch points and questions you may have, shall we?

Activated Charcoal vs. Regular Charcoal
There is a BIG difference between activated charcoal and the kind of charcoal that is chillin' out in your BBQ and fireplace. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT go grab a handful from your grill and crush it up to use in your mouth. Activated charcoal (the kinds we'll be using for teeth whitening) is clean, porous and purified and is meant to suck up all the impurities from whatever environment it is placed into. Regular charcoal (the kind found in your bbq and fireplace) is chalk full of impurities and all sorts of crap you'd never want anywhere near your mouth. Plus, it is not even close to being as porous as activated charcoal.

Because activated charcoal is meant to absorb, lots of people use it to "detox" the system, however, if taken with any type of medication, it will make your medication completely useless. Due to the fact that there is not enough research out supporting whether or not it can absorb vital nutrients or vitamins, I personally wouldn't take it orally in pill or capsule form, but that's just me. Additionally, you might see it used in water filtration systems (like Britas or even fish tanks). Don't let this scare you off: there is no weird "taste". It is completely tasteless.

How it Whitens Teeth
Activated charcoal sucks up and removes tannins. You can find tannins in all sorts of foods and beverages, including a couple of my personal favorites: COFFEE and WINE. The activated charcoal will absorb all the tannins (which cause the staining and yellowish tint on teeth) and here's the coolest part, it WILL NOT wear down tooth enamel causing that dreaded tooth sensitivity! HALLELUJAH! Activated charcoal only wants those tannins, not your enamel.

Where to Find Activated Charcoal
There are multiple ways you can use activated charcoal to whiten your teeth. You can buy it in capsule form (break it open and pour out the powder inside), you can buy it in bulk powder, bulk granules (you just grind it into a powder yourself), toothpastes with activated charcoal already in it (very hard to find). I do what I always do when I'm looking for something, I hit up Amazon. I found many different types of activated charcoal that can be used for teeth whitening here. After looking around on other websites and reading various reviews on Amazon, I decided to go with a big tub that has the activated charcoal in kind of a rough granule form. I have a Magic Bullet so I just ground it up into a fine powder. Here are a few options for you if you don't feel like looking: capsule form, powder form and here, granule form (to be ground up using either a Magic Bullet or an old coffee grinder).

Here's what mine looks like:

Once I got a fine powder, I placed about a teaspoon of it into a small ramekin, added about 1 tablespoon of water (you can do less if you want a thicker consistency) and then used a toothbrush to "stir" it up and gently brush onto my teeth. I let the lovely tar colored mixture sit on my teeth for about 5 minutes to really let it do it's "thang". If you use this method, make sure to kind of keep your lips closed around the toothbrush so you don't fling black matter all over the place. If it gets in your sink (and it WILL) don't panic, it doesn't stain. It wipes clean with water and a little soap. Now, your toothbrush on the other hand will remain a bit black even after you rinse it. It will get on your lips but it will rinse completely clean with just water. After you've let the activated charcoal sit on your teeth as long as you can stand it, swish with water a few times and spit it out down the sink. Once you feel you've gotten most of it out, go ahead and brush your teeth as usual to remove any remaining charcoal. I also strongly suggest flossing to remove any charcoal that may have gotten lodged between your teeth. You don't want to look like you slammed a huge Costco poppy seed muffin, do you? Nah, didn't think so.

Ack!!! This is a mental picture that is sure to stick with you for a while! I mistakenly applied this to my teeth and forgot my son could see me. Poor guy took one look at me and went running for the living room faster than a greased pig at the county fair! He was whistling a different tune once he saw how beautifully white and sparkly Mama's teeth were when I rinsed this mess out!

To summarize, this is definitely going to be replacing my previous teeth whitening process. It is SO much more effective and I love that I don't have to fret about ruining my enamel!

Now you'll excuse me while I go get another cup of coffee......
May 24, 2014

What's In My Ulta Basket?

Do you ever wonder what other people shop for? Maybe I'm the only weirdo that tries to (discreetly) look into other people's carts at the grocery store to see what they're buying...but something tells me there are a few more little freaks out there who join me in this harmless little voyeuristic habit.

The other day I realized I was running low on cleanser and moisturizer so I hopped online to see if there were any deals that I couldn't find in-store. Luckily Ebates was offering 15% back at Ulta (score!) so I grabbed a few necessities I haven't tried before! Here's what I ended up with:

(Yeah so what I opened my box upside down...I'm crazy like that! Sue me!)

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I've heard really good things about this L'Oreal Revitalift cream cleanser and I almost fell off my chair when I saw it was on sale for $2.99! (It's now back to regular price, but that's the beauty of Ulta sales...sometimes the discounts are DEEP, you just have to keep your eyes peeled!) I also grabbed a L'Oreal daily moisturizer with SPF as well as an Olay nightly moisturizer. Finally I picked up an eye makeup remover lotion. Typically I use coconut oil to remove stubborn eye makeup, but I liked the idea of this one being small and portable (great for travel) plus I can just rub a tiny amount onto my eyes to dissolve my makeup and then just tissue off the product! Voila! 

Here are my random samples I got with this order. I've used the Smashbox primer about a gazillion times so that wasn't too much of a surprise, but I'm excited to try out the Burt's Bees brightening dark spot corrector and the Murad moisturizer samples (two of my fave brands!) What is it about free samples that gets me all hot and bothered? There can't be more than 1 or 2 uses in each packet, but it's like Christmas morning opening them up! I'm a sample hoarder!

May 23, 2014

Mascara MADNESS!! | Plus My Top Department Store Mascaras

I loooooooove this time of year! "Why?" you might ask....because it's time for Nordstrom's MASCARA MADNESS SALE! That means buy ANY two mascaras and get one FREE! Mix and match! Get all 3 of the same! Buy 2 of your fave and try a new one! Any combination is fine! You can take advantage of this sale both online and in store! *Fine Print* Online and In Store Saturday, May 24 2014. Excludes lash primers, serums, enhancers and mascara sets. Free mascara can only be shipped to the same destination as your order and cannot be shipped to international addresses. If you return the qualifying item(s), please return the gift as well.

You know what's also cool? It's their Half Yearly Sale for Women and Kids! Save up to 40% on select items through June 1st!

But let's get back to the mascara, shall we?

If you don't have a favorite already or if you're in the market for a newbie, I've picked out my TOP 6 favorite mascaras sold at Nordstrom. These are the 5 that I constantly suggested, sold and used on my clients as well as myself.

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Top row (left to right):
YSL Faux Cils 'Shocking'
Napoleon Perdis 'Peep Show' 
Dior DiorShow 'Iconic' 

Bottom row (left to right):
Estee Lauder Double-Wear Zero Smudge
Clinique 'High Impact Extreme Volume' 
MAC 'False Lashes'

What's your favorite mascara? Have you used the same kind for years? Or do you like to switch it up every time? Are there any that you would just NEVER use ever again? Let me know in the comments!
May 21, 2014

How to Cleanse Your Skin Using the Oil Cleansing Method

Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing........evvvver heard of it? Chances are, you've seen these little bottles of oil around the block but have been a bit scared off by the thought of putting straight oil on your face. From the time we were a part of the puberty gang, most of us were taught that anything with the word "oil" in it, especially near or on our faces, was BAD BAD BAD. I mean, we practically had the stuff coming out of every pore and gland on our entire body, why the hell would we willingly add more to the mix?!

Well, I'm here to tell you that oil can be good for our skin. Have you ever heard the phrase "eat (good) fat to lose fat"? This is somewhat along the same lines. Using cleansing oils to "break down" the oil, makeup, and grime on our faces can be a really effective and nourishing way to cleanse our skin. The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) is nothing new and has been around for decades, however, the beauty industry is really starting to embrace this method and as the trend is picking up steam, there are all sorts of different oils for just about every skin type out there. I think it's important to note that just with everything else health and beauty related out there, oil cleansing might not work for everyone. While this is a great method of cleansing without stripping the skin (and in some cases, balancing overactive oil glands for those who are oily in some areas and dry in others) there are some skin types that may not benefit from this method. One skin type in particular that comes to mind are those that suffer from deep-set, cystic acne. Frequently with that type of skin, there are deeper rooted issues going on under the surface, that topical methods either don't help, or can just plain exasperate further. Any other people with serious skin conditions (and by serious, I mean being treated by a dermatologist) should discuss any new method, treatment or product with their doctor before proceeding as to not worsen an existing problem.
There are two main "types" of oils, Conditioning and Astringent. Conditioning oils are nourishing and moisturizing to the skin and are typically great for dry, sensitive and aging skin (examples: Almond, avocado, hemp seed, olive oil). Astringent oils have a drying effect and can be really good for combination and oily skin (examples: Hazelnut, castor, borage, grapeseed). A lot of times they will refine (shrink) pores and tighten loose skin.
There, now that that's out of the way, let's discuss how to cleanse the skin using oil:

1 | Prepare your materials. Get your oil, a clean/dry washcloth and a dry face or hand towel ready.
2 | Read directions on bottle. Some cleansing oils have you apply to dry skin, some have you dampen with water first. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's directions.
3 | Once applied to skin, use your fingers to rub the oil into skin in circular motions anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes (I recommend massaging the oil in longer especially if you have makeup on to make sure the oil really breaks down the makeup and penetrates the skin). Pay special attention to the inner cheeks, the nose, the chin and between the brows.
4 | Wet the washcloth with very hot (just below scalding) water, wring it out and place over your face. Apply the dry hand towel over the top to "trap" the steam in.
5 | Once the washcloth has cooled to room temperature, use the washcloth to wipe the oil from your face. 
6 | You can repeat steps 4 & 5 one to two more times until you feel you have removed all traces of makeup from your skin.
7 | All done! You will have a thin layer of oil left on the skin (this is normal). You can gently massage it into your skin. If you skin feels tight after cleansing, you can either rub a drop of your oil into your skin, or you can apply your regular moisturizer.

I have listed some of my favorite oil cleansers by skin type in the above collage (and the shopable image below), but you can also use various natural oils to cleanse your skin as well. Take a look! If you decide to make your own oil cleanser using any of the below oils, here are some helpful "recipes" taken from the Mommypotamus blog: 

Oily Skin
1:3 Ratio (1 part astringent oil to 3 parts conditioning oil)
Combination Skin
1:4 Ratio (1 part astringent oil to 4 parts conditioning oil)
Dry Skin
1:10 (1 part astringent oil to 10 parts conditioning oil)

Avocado Oil: Great for those with psoriasis, eczema and rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E.
Borage Seed Oil: Great for those with rosacea, acne or eczema, promotes blood flow and reduces inflammation. Very calming.
Hazelnut Oil: Great for oily skin! Astringent-like properties. 
Hemp Seed Oil: Mineral rich, antioxidants, protein-packed. Great for eczema, psoriasis, acne and dry skin. Contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E. High levels of chlorophyll.
And if you're anything like me, and you will be depending on the pros to formulate your cleansing oils, here are all of the choices that I have in my collage at the top of this post:

May 16, 2014

15% Back at Sephora and Ulta Online!

Heeeeeyyyyy youuuuuu guuuuyyyyssss (0:10 seconds in if you didn't get the reference). Just wanted to give you a heads up in case anyone plans on doing any online shopping this weekend. Ebates is offering 15% back at Ulta and Sephora right now. If you're not using Ebates when you shop online, you BETTER start! It's honestly the easiest way to get some money back from your online shopping habits. It's super easy to sign up (and free) then you just see if the store you're going to shop at is one of the listed retailers, click on it, and buy whatever it is you need. Ebates will do all the work from there and then they literally just mail you a check. I use it all the time, in fact, I used it last night because I needed some things from Ulta and I ended up getting almost $5 back! The only thing is, they mail the rebate checks quarterly, so sometimes it can take a little bit to see your check in the mail, but they ALWAYS send it and there are no strings attached.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

You can click the yellow Ebates button above to register, or click this link right HERE!!!

Because it's their 15 year anniversary, there are a TON of retailers offering 15% cash back right now, like Macy's, JC Penney's, Piperlime, Tom's,, and Bloomingdale's (just to name a few).  But becasue Sephora and Ulta are my two FAVES, I figured it was worth mentioning! Get that wallet fired up and get ready to save!

Happy Friday and hope y'all have a lovely weekend!

May 15, 2014

My Out of Town Essentials | Our Mini Vacation in Leavenworth

My Out of Town Essentials

For Mother's Day this year (and my birthday, since they were 2 days apart) my husband and I packed up the baby and headed over to the East side of the mountains for a couple nights. We rented a cool little cottage with our own hot tub and full kitchen and it was walking distance from town (as well as a big, grassy field that was perfect for letting the little nugget run some energy off in).

Besides the usual "duh" items we all pack for a weekend away (clothes, toothbrush, toiletries, you get the idea) there are a few things I always make sure I have with me if I'm out of town for a few days. Here are my "can't live withouts".

1 | BB cream. It's just so easy to have my coverage, foundation, moisturizer, etc. all in one product. Less to pack.
2 | OMG. I got this little mini Amika limited edition mint blow dryer a while back through Birchbox and I just love it. It's got great power and it sure beats the hell out of using whatever crap blow dryer that they make available to you in hotels, cabins, etc.
3 | Facial cleansing wipes. I always hate worrying about getting my eye makeup all over hotel towels. I always make sure I have these with me so I can remove the majority of my makeup before I use the pristine white towels. Plus, they're just great to have handy when you're on the road.
4 | Hehehe. This is a "sanity saver" for me. I bought a box of these weird little banana flavored rice snacks for the nugget a while back while at Target because they seemed MUCH less messy than those annoying teething biscuits and he freaking LOVED them. Whenever I need to make a post office trip, grocery store trip, calm car ride, I just pop one of these little packages open, hand him his "mum mum" and he's the happiest kid on the block.
5 | Big, oversized sunnies. Because....duh.
6 | Maybelline Baby Lips! I have these stashed everywhere. The basic ones, the neon ones, the medicated ones. I just love them for weekends away because they're not fussy, they feel great on the lips and they have a very slight tint.
7 | My NARS duo in Orgasm/Laguna. Again, a 2-in-1 product that saves space. I can use the bronzer as bronzer OR as my contour and then of course, blush.
8 | I always pack a neutral sandal. They're just super easy to throw on and take off, they go with everything in my bag and they're comfy as all get out.
9 | L'Oreal Paris Voluminous mascara. Just a no-fuss mascara that doesn't run or flake all over my face in the heat. I use the one that's super dark gray (I think it's called Carbon Black). Sometimes it's hard to find but I can usually track it down at Target.
10 | I am not usually a Coach handbag gal, but I got one of these crossbody styles at the Coach outlet a few Summers ago in a very neutral color scheme and I LOVE it. It's so lightweight and easy for running around. It's small enough to be undetectable, but just large enough to fit more than just your debit card. I can get a small wallet inside along with my phone, chapstick and snacks for C.
11 | Comfy sweats. My favorite these days are the fleece sweats from the men's department of Old Navy. The ones pictured above are the same style I have but mine are blue. They are the BEST. And they have pockets.
12 | Spray sunscreen. It's the only way I can get my husband to wear it. And I spray it on C's feet because they always stick out of his stroller.

Here are a few photos from our mini-vaca! Not only did we eat a TON of German food in town, we walked down by the river, listened to Bavarian music, took C to a petting zoo (hence the llama) and did a LOT of walking! It was 80 degrees the entire time and I did not want to come home! Hope you all have a lovely Mother's Day weekend!
May 13, 2014

Pick of the Week | It Cosmetics Brush Set

 I almost spit my coffee out when I saw this deal. If you need a great basic brush set, this is definitely it. I don't know if you guys have used any of the It Cosmetics brushes, but if not, they are INCREDIBLE. They are so soft and the quality is really top-shelf. When I saw the deal in the latest Ulta mailer, I thought to myself "they must be travel sized" (hence the price) but I did some research and even called the store to make sure they were in fact, full size brushes and THEY ARE! This is a $182 value! Honestly, I would pay almost $40 for ONE great quality brush, but this kit includes SIX full-size brushes as well as a really sleek travel case to keep them in. Better hop on this train quickly, it sells out really fast every time they offer this deal.

Here's what you get for $39.50 ($182 value):

Heavenly Luxe Multi-Powder Brush
Heavenly Luxe Flat Foundation Brush
Heavenly Luxe Flat Concealer Brush
No-Tug Crease Brush
No-Tug Allover Eye Shadow Brush
No-Tug Eyeliner and Brow Brush with Spooly
Travel case

May 10, 2014

Neon Lips & Lashes | My 30th Birthday "Face"

So I turned 30 yesterday. IT WAS GREAT! I had the best day a gal could ask for! My son slept in until 9am, we lounged around in our sweats all day and then I went out with my girlfriends to a great wine bar for dinner and ended the night with karaoke! I was just the best ever! I decided to put a little cheat sheet together for my makeup look since I decided on hot pink, neon lips and crazy full lashes. It's rare I go heavy on the lips, heavy on the lashes, heavy on the contouring...but I figured, if you can't go balls to the wall on your 30th birthday, really, when can you?!?! I'm not sure why the photo above makes my lips look ombre (which looks kind of cool) because the YSL lipstick is an even, creamy application and is the same color throughout.

Here's what I used to get my "Birthday Face" on!

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Yves Saint Laurent Mascara · L'Oreal Eyeliner · M·A·C Eye Shadow

YSL Rouge Pur in color "49 Tropical Pink" (very hard to find, discontinued a lot of places but you can usually hunt it down online).
Ardell Glamour Lashes in "Black 116"
YSL Lip Liner in "3 Fuchsia"
L'Oreal Paris Lineur Intense liquid liner in "black"
NYX Set It & Don't Fret It Matte Mineral Powder
NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in "Orgasm/Laguna"
MAC eyeshadow in "Twinks" and "Amber Lights"
YSL Singulier Waterproof Mascara in "black"

Such a fun look that lasted all night! Here's to another incredible decade! If last night was any indicator of what the next 10 years will bring, I'm SO looking forward to it!

May 9, 2014

10 Pairs of Spring Shoes Under $50

10 Pairs of Spring Shoes Under $50

I've been experiencing kind of a major shoe obsession lately. I feel like I've been living underneath a rock because I just now discovered shoes through Lulu*s. I usually only ever visited their site for dresses and accessories but I pretty much had a heart attack when I discovered they have some insanely cute shoes. I thought it'd be cool to see if I could find a few pairs under $50 and as luck would have it...I found more than a few. I mean...LOOK at number 2 up there! Wipe the drool off your chin *takes own advice* and treat yourself to a pair (or 3) for Spring and Summer!

This next part is where I may be responsible for a few people passing out: Every single pair I picked out except for #7 (the cute navy Aztec print wedge) SHIPS FOR FREE! You don't have to enter a code or anything, just add them to your cart and there is no shipping! So not only are they all a killer ain't gots to worry about shipping fees! **The free shipping doesn't include sale shoes which is why #7 is the only one excluded, but they're only $29!***

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Here's where to find 'em!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Happy Friday, lovelies!

Shop LuLu*s - Spring Into Action in the Season's Hottest Looks!
Perfectly Coutured
May 7, 2014

Battle of the Brands | Drugstore "Skin Perfectors"

Anyone else been bowled over by all of the drugstore "skin perfectors" coming out lately? If anyone is wondering, they are just primers. Don't be confused by the "pore vanisher" or "skin blur" or "smoother" titles...they're primers with great marketing campaigns. Anyhoo, I thought it might be cool to compare, side by side 2 of them that I had been wanting to try lately. The reason I chose the L'Oreal Paris Youth Code Pore Vanisher and the Garnier 5 Second Blur is because I am a HUGE fan of anything L'Oreal Paris puts out. They are my preferred drugstore line plain and simple. I chose the Garnier because I have just been so darn pleased with their BB cream (as you can read about here) and thought "hey maybe they'll be 2 for 2!"

I have to admit, I went into this comparison biased, thinking I would choose the L'Oreal Paris Pore Vanisher over the Garnier, but after trying them both, the race was a CLOSE one and I was very surprised with which one I liked better. Here's what I discovered:

So after ALL that said, I ended up preferring the Garnier 5 Sec Blur over the L'Oreal Paris Youth Code Pore Vanisher. Who woulda thunk it?! I just love when I'm caught off guard and surprised by different products! Check them out below if you're interested! I believe the current issue of SELF magazine has a sample of each primer along with a $2 off coupon for each product.

May 6, 2014

Beauty Related Mother's Day Gifts (you probably haven't thought of...)

Unique Mother's Day Gifts You Probably Haven't Thought Of

It's right around the corner: Mother's Day. Instead of boring slippers (wait...I'd love to get new slippers) why not branch out and surprise her with something totally different? Here are a few goodies ranging from $10 (that should be paired with flowers and obviously a card) all the way up to $180 (great for siblings that want to go in on something nice for Mom). Below the descriptions below are all the products listed in the above collage should you want to purchase anything. Be warned: make sure you pay attention to shipping dates so it arrives on time! Or else you better jot down where it's from and go into the "brick and mortar" store to get your grubby little mits on it in time for Sunday.

Let's just jump right in with #1 since I know people are wondering why I've included a Jason's not...

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1 | Illumask Anti-Aging Photo Therapy Mask If you've never heard of the wonders of photo therapy for anti-aging benefits, READ UP. It's incredible. It's safe, there is NO harmful UV light and it treats everything from fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone texture and elasticity. This mask is only $30 which would be great paired with Mom's favorite skin cream or moisturizer.
2 | Clarisonic Opal Facial Sonic Infusion System This oddly shaped little device is a little POWERHOUSE. You add a tiny amount of eye cream, serum, etc. to the little rubber tip and turn it on. It then gently "taps" the product into your skin at at rapid 200+ sonic movements per second to make sure there is maximum absorption. There's just no way your hands can do that. I tested this out when I worked at Nordstrom and I was blown away by the results.
3 | Jerdon Lighted Makeup Mirror Every single woman should own a lighted makeup mirror.
4 | SensatioNail Nail Starter Kit If your mom is into shellac manicures (really...who isn't?!) why not surprise her with her own kit? Bonus points if you offer to give her a mani and hand massage! This starter kit costs about the same amount of a shellac manicure at a nice spa or salon. Great value!
5 | Emoji MicroPedi Ermagerd....can we just for a second talk about the greatness that is the Emoji MicroPedi? My mom bought me one of these bad boys about 6 months ago and it is LEGIT. It kind of reminds me of the scene from Dumb and Dumber where Harry and Lloyd are getting spruced up for the charity benefit ball and the gal is sanding down Harry's feet....imagine that without the sparks. In fact, it feels quite nice AND your feet are baby soft when you're finished. You can get the replacement rollers here or here.
6 | Capriclear Natural Coconut Oil Spray | I use coconut oil for EVERYTHING. I'm like the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding that sprays Windex on everything. It treats so many skin issues (amongst SO many other handy uses). I discovered this very cool coconut oil spray which is 100% fractionated coconut oil (so it won't harden up and make a solid). I'm really excited to not have to dip into my tub that I use for cooking and baking.
7 | BeautyBlender 'Best Friends' | Anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly knows how I feel about the BeautyBlender makeup sponge. I just stumbled upon the 2-pack that comes in a detachable heart case! Are you just dying over the cuteness? Maybe if your mom is extra generous, she'll let you have the other one, but don't you DARE ask her for it. It's HER day, dammit!
8 | T3 Source Showerhead Filter | Here's another idea for a group gift. Can you imagine giving the gift of "good hair days" FOREVER?! This really is the gift that keeps on giving. This showerhead is the first shower filter that’s clinically proven to dramatically improve hair health, body, and shine. It removes chlorine and has 8 different spray settings.
9 | Corkcicle Wine Chillers | sue me. This isn't beauty related per se, but I really don't know a wine-enjoying mom that wouldn't like one of these! You freeze them, then pop it into the wine bottle (also has a wine stopper on top) and it creates the perfect temperature for both reds and whites. Make sure you get her a nice bottle of vino to go with this!

Lastly, if all else fails and you either forgot to shop, you're broke, or your mom would hate everything listed above, you at least need to get her a nice card, write something heartfelt inside and tell her how much you love and appreciate her. I promise that will go much further than anything you could buy at the store. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamacitas out there!
May 5, 2014

Save My "Must Have" Lists to Your Phone | Pearls at Your Fingertips

This is exciting. This is EXCITING. How many times have you read my blog (or any blog for that matter) where they list out their favorite items and a day (or week, or month) later you're thinking to yourself "WHAT was that moisturizer Colleen was babbling about?!" or you're at Sephora and all you want to do is remember what my favorite foundations were but your mind is blank and you don't have time to pull up my blog, sift through all the posts or search for keywords to get them. It's feelings won't be hurt if you want my recommendations but don't want to read all the extra "chit chat" that comes with it. Here's where things get C O O L. Let's Talk About Lipstick has collaborated with the new and (if I do say so myself) beautiful app 'Pearls' to help you "collect and organize your favorite finds to ensure that your next night out, shopping spree, weekend adventure, or dream vacation is filled with Pearls." Are you seeing where this app will be your new best friend yet??

You'll notice me above amongst some pretty heavy hitters in the "Women" category, just pretend I belong there, will ya? I'm geekin' out from seeing my lil old blog featured alongside Allure and Elle! *squealing noise* Now you can get all my lists, along with lists from whatever other categories you choose to elect as your interests (restaurants, women's health, mom & baby, etc.) I'll save you some time and just jump right into how this will work in conjunction with Let's Talk About Lipstick. Ready?? I sure hope so.
First of all, make sure you download the Pearls app for your iPhone (soon to be on Android also so patience, my beauties, patience. Good things come to those who wait). You can do so by clicking the beautiful button right here OR you will find it nestled comfortably in my blog's sidebar beneath my colorful social media attributes permanently. I'll explain the other way to grab my "lists" from each blog post below as well, just as an additional way to conveniently access my content. But first...

(pretty please with a cherry on top)
Pearls - Discover The Best in Health and Fitness, Women's Lifestyle, Dining, Travel, Activities for Kids, Beauty, Fashion, Home Decor, and More

Alright, we're almost finished, I swear! The last thing you'll notice, is every time I publish a blog post that has some type of list, you'll see this cute little button embedded into each respective post where you can save the list right to your phone! Here it is linked to my top 10 foundations...
Pearls - Discover The Best in Health and Fitness, Women's Lifestyle, Dining, Travel, Activities for Kids, Beauty, Fashion, Home Decor, and More

It's literally that easy! Go ahead and click through my blog and you'll see that little guy has been added to the majority of my posts already! Just because I'm so in love with how it all looks, here are some more photos of what you'll see once you download Pearls...

I hope you're as excited as I am for this collaboration! Such a fun and cool way to discover all different kinds of "Pearls" and have them all in one handy place!

May 2, 2014

Top 12 Facial Masks | When to Use Which Type of Mask

Shiseido Face Masks · Ulta Face Masks · Peter Thomas Roth Face Masks

Face masks. People either love 'em or leave 'em. Personally, I've had a weird obsession with them since back in junior high when I would slather one on, pop in a Mariah Carey CD and flip through the latest copy of YM magazine (remember that one, ladies??) I was spoiled because back in those days, my dad worked in HR for The Bon Marche (now Macy's for those of you too young to remember the glory days) and he would bring all SORTS of freebies and samples and "gifts with purchase" bags home for my mom and me to have. I had more luxury makeup and skincare than a 45 year old woman. I loved it. The cool thing was, my mom and I were both such different color families that we would just give the other whatever didn't work for her (and I would skim over anything anti-aging *le sigh*). I think that's where my love of beauty products and vast knowledge of different lines and brands stemmed from. I have a very distinct memory of trying Borghese Fango Active Mud Mask for the first time, dipping my fingers into the thick, goopy, mud-like mask and smearing it all over my face. I felt so grown up. Back then I don't think I had a clogged pore to my name, but it was still a fun little beauty ritual that grew into wanting to try each and every facial mask out there.

To say there are lots of different types and brands of face masks would be like saying there's a lot of junk in Kim Kardshian's trunk. IT'S AN UNDERSTATEMENT. No joke, if you don't know what you're looking for or what you're trying to correct, it can be as intimidating as a guy in the "feminine care" aisle. Not only have I listed my top 12 all-time favorite face masks (and a brief description why) but I've pinch pointed out for y'all on what mask type is best to address various skin issues. Let's first cover what's pictured above, shall we?

Pearls - Discover The Best in Health and Fitness, Women's Lifestyle, Dining, Travel, Activities for Kids, Beauty, Fashion, Home Decor, and More

GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment | Okay now, this mask is NO joke. It's Sephora's #1 selling product for damn good reason. It works. It really does what it says it will, which is to "help fight all common skin concerns including breakouts, discoloration, black and white heads, razor bumps, and in-grown hair." Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Vichy NormaDerm 3-in-1 Cleanser+Scrub+Mask | Here's another killer multi-tasker. This product is really amazing because it's essentially 3 different products in one tube. You can use it as a regular cream cleanser, a scrub, or apply and let it sit for 5 minutes to dry as a mask, then rinse off. This product is KILLER for getting rid of excess sebum (oil), and it has been shown to actually control shine for up to 3 days!! I love how it smells and how clean my skin feels afterwards.
Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask | Oh how lovely is the Fresh line? It's SO lovely in case you were wondering. This mask is incredibly expensive, let's just get that out of the way. Would I normally spend $90 on a mask? No. I've only ever used this one when I've had a deluxe sample or have received a ridiculous discount on it. It tingles slightly when applied (which I love) and it makes my skin feel really refreshed and energized. Kind of like your face drank 4 cups of coffee. This mask is PERFECT for mornings after you've been up too late partying or binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix.
Philosophy 'Purity' Made Simple Mask | There couldn't be a more perfect name for this mask. It is a fantastic "starter mask" for people that want a bit more glow but don't want all the bells and whistles of other masks. It is simple yet effective and it makes me feel like I'm at the spa every time I use it. Very deep cleaning and detoxifying.
The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask | Oooooh this mask is so fun. It's a clay mask, so it's a bit thicker than a mud mask but it's fun to smear on. It has negatively charged ions in it that actually work to pull out all the gunk from your pores. Plus I giggle every time I read the ingredient "Bladderwack Seaweed". This mask is only available online but it is SUCH a cool gift idea for natural beauties in your life. It's: Vegetarian. Not Tested on Animals. Contains Community Fair Trade Ingredients. No Phthalates. No Triclosan. No GMO.
Peter Thomas Roth Rose Repair Gel Mask | I received this as a gift a while back and I almost didn't want to use it because it was so pretty! I mean...LOOK at it! I'm sure glad I did, however, because it instantly cooled my face (would be PERFECT in warmer months after sun exposure). This is a great anti-aging mask that helps stimulate cell turnover which we all should know by now is MUCHO importante for younger looking skin.
Borghese Fango Active Mud Mask | I think I made a goof and pictured the hair and scalp mask above (which I have not yet tried) but the link here is for the correct face mask. This was the first face mask I ever tried and it is your classic, spa-like mud mask. The jar will last you FORRRRREVER and looks so posh displayed on your bathroom counter or the side of your bathtub. This can be used all over the body. Yep, you read that correctly...apply to neck, chest, arms, legs, tummy, wherever you want seriously insanely soft skin. Just be warned you're going to look like a Creature from the Black Lagoon until it is rinsed off (and your bathroom will be a mess). You were warned.
Mario Badescu Drying Mask | Mario Badescu is known for their "Drying Lotion" but they have some really incredible masks in their line as well. I sampled this mask back when I was working in the cosmetics department at Nordstrom, and liked it so much I bought it. It's a great mask to have on hand when your skin decides to flare up. It contains sulfur (kind of stinky but get over it if you can) and calamine so it is really ideal for those times you get one of those painful undergrounders (we ALL get those bastards from time to time).
Formula 10.0.06 Deep Down Detox Mask | I picked this lil cheapy up on a whim while at Ulta a few months ago and I gotta impressed my socks off! It smells soooo good and it really brightened up my skin and pulled out all my clogged pores on my nose and cheeks. If you see it, grab it! It's only $6!
The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink In Mask | This was another "on a whim" purchase because the little packets are only $2.50 and I thought it would be a cool thing to have on hand for when my face felt particularly parched. You apply it to dry skin, let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse off (well, I like to rinse it off, you can tissue it off if your skin is SUPER dry but I never feel like my face is clean when I do each her own, eh?)
Freeman Feeling Beautiful Pineapple Enzyme Mask | Ohhh man...this mask smells like a pineapple dream. Seriously, here's another one that everyone should own if for no other reason than it costs $4 and it smells like a Hawaiian vacation. The bonus is that it sloughs off dead skin and exfoliates with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) which we all know I am a BIG fan of. This is a great mask to use between seasons when our skin needs a little refresher. Truth time: I wouldn't recommend this to sensitive skin types as it can be a bit harsh. If you're feeling left out over this, get it and use it on your feet. No one needs to know.
Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask | Hehehe, I have to laugh a little about this mask because I always feel a little bit like Hannibal Lector when I use it. If you don't get that reference....well...we probably wouldn't have much to talk about over coffee. No harm no foul...just sayin'. Anyhoo, I digress: the mask. You slip the actual mask out of the package, find the eye and mouth holes and line it up with your eyes and mouth (and nostrils, don't forget those important guys). Then, you sit back MAKE SURE THE NEIGHBORS CAN'T SEE YOU (because they will straight up call the cops on your ass) relax, and let the magic happen. This is one of my faaaaavorite masks for anti-aging benefits. It has pure liquid retinol (retinol is my homie) and it makes the skin look so young and dewy and refreshed. This is pricey, too BUT you really only need to slap one of these bad boys on once every week or two. Make sure you give yourself enough time to relax in a semi-reclined position. Also important to note: because of the retinol, make sure you are using sun protection during the day (you should be doing that regardless, but especially when using retinol products as they can make skin much more sensitive to the sun).

There. Now that my favorite children have all been called out by name, let us quickly go over what to grab when you're experiencing different skin dilemmas shall we?

Mud masks: Great for multiple different skin issues including clogged pores, dull skin, acne and detoxifying skin. Often they contain minerals and can improve circulation in the skin.
Peel-off masks: Great for brightening dull, lifeless skin and removing dead skin cells.
Anti-again masks: Depending on the formula, these can either address fine lines to deep set wrinkles.
Cooling gel masks: Great for inflammation, calming irritated skin, de-puffing the under eye area, cooling sunburn, mild acne flare ups, refining pores and shrinking blood vessels.
Sulfuric masks: Great for drying up acne and treating deep set cystic acne.
Clay masks: Fantastic for oily and acne prone skin. They dry up all the extra oil without drying out your skin. Clay masks also do wonderfully at tightening sagging skin.
May 1, 2014

My Daily Vitamin Routine | What I Take and Why I Take It

My Daily Vitamin Routine

Every time I take my vitamins, my husband looks at me like I have an arm growing out of my forehead. Granted, he gives me that look about 67 times a day, but it never ceases to amaze him how many pills I can choke down in one go-round. I have even been known to employ the help of those little pill organizers that you typically only see on the nightstands of the "over 65 set". Whatevs, I don't care. You know why? I generally feel good all of the time and I can count on one hand how many times I've been sick over the past 2 or 3 years. Yes, I take good care of myself and workout like a fiend, and I do believe that also contributes to my general good health, but I do know if I inadvertently miss a day of my daily pill routine, I swear I can feel it. Here's what I take and why...
  • Prenatal Multi +DHA | I started taking prenatal vitamins way back when I was trying to get pregnant. I continued with them all through my pregnancy and actually still take them. They work really well for me and I know I'm getting everything I need should I get baby fever and start growing a Mini Me anytime soon.
  • Super B-Complex | This one is relatively new to my routine. I started taking a b-complex about 6 months ago for my energy levels as well as my low iron levels and have noticed a huge improvement. Because I am so active doing high-intensity cardio and weight training 4 to 5 days a week, my doctor recommended upping my B levels. Vitamin B serves all sorts of purposes that you can find online or by talking to your doctor, but these were the primary reasons for incorporating it into my routine.
  • Calcium (w/Vitamin D) | Women ages 19-50 are recommended to receive 1,000mg of calcium each day (RDA). I used to get all of it from drinking milk and eating yogurt every day, but I haven't been as good about it over the past year or two. For this reason, I added a calcium supplement with Vitamin D (your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium) to my routine. I don't want to suffer from low bone mass and osteoporosis!
  • Vitamin C | Because the body is not able to produce Vitamin C on its own, I take a supplement. There is plenty of Vitamin C in my multivitamin, but if I am feeling like I'm coming down with something or I know I was around a sick person or a large crowd of people, I usually pop one of these bad boys. I also notice my skin looks incredible when I take the additional supplement.
  • Magnesium | This is another one that is relatively new to my routine and it is one of my FAVORITES. I started taking magnesium for multiple reasons but primarily for my "slow digestive track" *ahem*. I started listing all the things magnesium can help with and then I found this handy little breakdown online and it pretty much sums up all the amazingness of this mineral.
  • Biotin | This one isn't ground breaking. After I stopped breastfeeding my son, my hair and nails became very dry and brittle. Some of that is due to fluctuations in hormones, but I noticed a huge improvement in both when I incorporated a biotin supplement. 
  • Fish Oil | I've been taking a fish oil supplement for over 10 years for brain and heart health, but it also helps with my mild asthma.  

Obviously various vitamins and minerals can be used to treat a myriad of different things. That's why it is so important to discuss them with your doctor if you have never taken them before or have any questions. It's also important to check the specific dosage to see if there are any medications or even other vitamins that will have a negative or serious reaction. Here's to healthy bodies everywhere!

*** I am not a medical doctor, nurse or professional nutritionist or otherwise formally qualified in this subject matter. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. Any supplement decisions should be made with approval of your health care provider. Please read my blog and use the information that you derive from it appropriately and at your own risk. ***
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