Search Results for: label/Olay

Review and Giveaway – Olay

I’m not afraid to admit the behind-the-scenes actions I take to feel feminine and beautiful on a daily basis. The steps I take to prevent sweat, smell, and yes, unwanted facial hair. Every two weeks I pull out my tube of smelly white cream and slather it over my upper lip. I hate it; it stinks, it often causes redness and breakouts, and usually leaves that part of my face numb for the rest of the day. Not an enjoyable act, but it gets the job done.

So when BlogHer contacted me asking if I would like to try the New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo, I jumped at the chance.

I read that New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo is a uniquely formulated two-step system designed to gently, yet effectively remove unwanted facial hair, leaving skin smooth, conditioned, and visibly hair free. This gentle hair removal system contains a Skin Guarding Balm, applied before the removal cream, that hydrates the skin to minimize irritation, redness, and other tell-tale signs associated with hair removal creams. It sounded like perfection!

This weekend I tried it out. The box comes with two products: a tube of the Skin Guarding Balm and a tube of the Hair Removal Cream. The balm is a stick, similar to lip balm; I applied a thin layer to my upper lip and rubbed it in completely. Then I applied the cream for six minutes. After six minutes, I removed the cream with a washcloth.

After those six minutes, I was a New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo convert.

I have used many different drugstore depilatories, and they all were the same cream in different boxes. Olay is the first one to be drastically different. The Skin Guarding Balm really does work; it ensures that the hair remover doesn’t touch and irritate your skin. As for the actual hair removing cream, the scent is hardly noticeable.

New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo didn’t cause redness, irritation, breakouts, or numbing of the skin. It just left smooth, happy, hairless skin. As a busy working mom I find this awesome; now I don’t have to block out time on the weekend so I can heal in the privacy of my home, I can do it in the morning while getting ready for work. Gentle on my skin and it simplifies my beauty routine? Who could ask for more?  How about getting this product for free? Today is your lucky day, BlogHer and Olay are offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift card!

How to Enter:

To be entered for a chance to win, please leave me a comment explaining how you express your inner beauty through your beauty routine!
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You can enter to win up to two (2) times, using any combination of the following methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion 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.

The sweepstakes runs from 1/3/2012 – 2/3/2012. 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.  Also be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win! Good luck!

While we’re on the subject of looking good, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great tips and expert posts!

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Olay and my Good Life Bucket List

Hi my name is Alison Gary and I’m 37 years old.
I’ll be 38 in January.
And I’m darn proud of my age, my life, my self.

In the past, I wasn’t very kind to my skin. Drinking more beer than water, going to sleep with my makeup still on, visiting tanning beds on a daily basis, even washing my face with hand soap. But as I have gotten older, I have realized the importance of caring for my skin. Yes, it will keep it looking younger, but it will keep it feeling and looking healthier, and that’s what my body deserves. I care for my skin, and I believe I am aging with grace. In celebration of Olay’s 60th anniversary, Olay continues to empower women to challenge what’s possible and to be proud of their age. Olay is encouraging and rewarding women for checking items off their bucket list– not in the negative aspect of the bucket list but in the empowering aspect of ‘I’m knocking things off my list—living a good life’. Olay and BlogHer asked me to share my own bucket list accomplishments. Being 37, I have a few wrinkles, a little less elasticity, but in trade I have some amazing life experiences under my belt:

  • I created a human being (and a pretty awesome, smart, and funny one at that)
  • I traveled to many places I dreamed of back in school – Italy, France, Norway, Costa Rica and more
  • I’m an ordained minister and have married several wonderful couples
  • I taught myself how to use computers – from being an English major in the decade where a Brother word processor was pretty hi-tech and going straight into jobs that didn’t require computers, it still amazes me that I now work in digital communications and keep a relatively modern blog
  • I made good on a promise to myself. Always wanting to write but afraid to have it outside my journals, I read The Artist’s Way in 2005 and committed to blogging on a regular basis. I have been mighty good over the past 37 years at having great ideas but letting them go by the wayside, and this blog is the first project I have started and continued on my own

A great aspect of this blog is it forces me on a daily basis to notice myself. It’s easy to get so caught up in work, family, and life to forget who we are, and that we deserve self-care. Blogging reminds me that I am one of the good things in my good life, and I deserve to care for my appearance, my body, my soul. It reminds me that I am 37, and I am beautiful and proud of my age and accomplishments.

Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed.  Stay tuned, I will have more great giveaways in the future!

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Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream Review and Promotion

Review and Giveaway – Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash

This winter has been relatively mild – hardly any snow and few frigid days. However, my skin feels otherwise. While I have been able to spend some days this winter walking through Washington, DC, with only a light jacket, my skin has been as dry and flaky as it was during last year’s Snowpocalypse. I have been trying a variety of body lotions and creams, but nothing really seemed to do the trick. When I was asked to review Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash, I jumped at the chance, hoping it would help make my skin happy again.

Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash is a soap-free formula that has the equivalent of more than a jar or moisturizer in every bottle. Not only that, Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash contains shea butter, a natural moisturizer that I know the skin absorbs more easily than many popular synthetics. The body wash is thick, and you only need a little bit to get a ton of lather. The fragrance is light and smells expensive, like a line sold in a high-end department store (fragrance didn’t linger post-shower).

I could feel the hydration while lathering – the suds were creamy, yet they rinsed away clean. A squeaky-clean feeling after showering is not what you want, but neither do you want a greasy film; Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash created that happy medium of smooth clean skin without feeling greasy. After my first shower with the Body Wash, I used my regular moisturizer. The next shower, I decided to see how my skin looked and felt sans additional moisturizer. I was amazed that my skin felt soft and hydrated, enough so that I went without lotion all day.

After a second shower with the product, my skin felt so amazing I was able to go without lotion…and even wear bare legs with a skirt! Seriously, this product hydrates THAT well! My husband has even become a fan; the other day he asked me to touch his elbow. “I don’t think it has ever felt like this,” he said, rubbing the much-softer skin. He doesn’t use post-shower lotion, so I bet it is a drastically different change for him.

A week of use, and I now regularly go without post-shower lotion. Time is of the essence as a working woman and mom, and I love having to spend less time on my beauty routine yet still end up with the same results. Rarely do you find a budget-friendly product that also gives you more time to focus on life! My skin feels better now with Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash than it did when I was trying every moisturizer in the book. No flakes, no scales, no dryness – just soft, smooth, clean skin!

If this sounds awesome to you, well, now it’s your turn to try Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash. BlogHer and Olay are offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 Visa gift card that you can use toward your own bottle of this skin-softening goodness! Just leave me a comment letting me know how you simplify your daily routine to carve out more “me time.” For example, I love using this moisturizing body wash because it leaves my skin feeling great without spending time on post-shower moisturizing.

How to Enter:
This giveaway is now closed.

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Ask Allie – My Beauty Products

I am not a beauty blog, and I don’t claim to be an expert. However, after mentioning my beauty routine in a previous post, I have received many emails and comments wanting to know more about what beauty products I use. Today’s post will be about my medicine cabinet.

Though we had our house remodeled over two years ago, we still don’t take showers in the new master bathroom. There seems to be some place where it’s leaking, and we need to seal it properly… and just haven’t gotten around to it. So while I use this bathroom for getting ready in the morning and before bed, I actually take showers in the hallway bathroom. So my medicine cabinet only holds the items I use at bed, in the morning, and when doing my hair post-shower:

A. Get My Hair Did

  • L’Oreal EverPure Smooth Frizz-free Serum. I bought this… wow maybe two years ago? I bought it when I ran out of my BioSilk serum, and that I milked a travel-sized bottle for a couple of years. I don’t wear this often because I think it usually makes my hair look greasy, not shiny. However, it’s great when I’m past due for a hair trim – I’ll add it to the ends before letting it dry.
  • Pureology Texture Twist. Sometimes I love this stuff, sometimes I hate it. Lately I have been adding a veeeery tiny bit to damp hair, scrunching and letting it air dry. It’s very sticky, so it keeps curls curly when it’s humid out. I don’t like it for much else because it’s so thick and sticky and makes my hair feel strange.
  • Frederick Fekkai Luscious Curls. This stuff rocks, this is probably my fifth tube of this product. A pea-sized amount, scrunch, let hair dry and you have lovely soft, shiny waves and curls without any stickiness.
  • Jonathan Create Motion. It’s a cream gel, so it has the best of both products. Not too heavy, not too light, not too sticky. I got this as part of a Birchbox-like program that is now defunct, and since I don’t use it every day this tube has lasted me almost two years. It’s worthy of a re-purchase, I like that it gives more hold than Luscious Curls, but does a similar thing. I also like using it before blowing out straight, and it helps hold any heating tool styles.
  • TRESseme Heat Tamer Spray. I don’t use this as often as I should. It gets rave reviews online, and I got it when I was trying to make waves with a flat iron. Many YouTube beauty vloggers swear by this product, I find it sometimes makes my hair too soft.
  • Salon Grafix Spray Powder Shampoo. I have reviewed this before. This is my third bottle, I like it so much.
  • Jonathan Product Silky Dirt. I bought this for me, my husband took it over. He adores this for a soft hair look and he loves the regular Dirt when he wants a mussed look.

In the far right corner is Jonathan Dirt, a replacement brush head for my Clarisonic Mia, and a bottle of bath and Body Works body lotion from a hotel (sometimes use it as a hair styling product). Far left next to the serum is some Sally Hansen hair remover – every 2-3 weeks, does a great job of getting rid of the ‘stache without irritation or redness.

B. Hydrate!

  • Some random tube of a hydrating mask. I don’t know the brand offhand, I don’t know where it came from. I don’t think it accomplishes much but my husband loves masks and uses it.
  • CVS Night Cream. It’s a cheaper version of RoC.
  • Olay Beauty Fluid, SPF 15. I ran out of moisturizer while in Vermont and picked this up when I went into town. It’s light, it has some SPF, it’s fine.
  • Olay Definity Eye Cream. I like this eye cream because it doesn’t leave the skin greasy; it really absorbs quickly so I don’t have to wait before applying makeup.

C. Washing Up

  • Clarisonic Nourishing Face Cleanser. It’s gentle, it’s creamy, it doesn’t strip the skin but I am not in love. Doesn’t take off makeup and is very pricey for not wowing me.
  • Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. My husband picked this up because he too doesn’t like the Clarisonic cleanser. It tastes terrible, it’s hard to rinse off, but boy does it do a great job at removing makeup. This stuff can even take off waterproof mascara and liquid liner.
  • Clarisonic Mia. I bought it as a birthday present to myself but was never immediately wowed. After a recent article on Un Femme d’un Certain Age I started using it again, either with face wash when I haven’t taken off my makeup, or alone on clean skin. It does make products like the Clarisonic face wash work better, and hopefully it will help my skin texture and clarity.

D. My Eyes! My Eyes!
I wear contacts. Here’s my case, here’s my solution (I ran out so am using my travel size for now).

E. Get My Nails Did
I am not a big nail person, I never wear polish on my hands and often go sans color on my feet. These are the basics – polish remover, clear topcoat to maintain a pedicure, and a lovely sheer pink that will make nails just look healthy and complete without color. I usually keep any colorful polishes in my dressing table.

F. So Random
This tumbler from my kitchen holds all the little random things in one place:

G. Brusha Brusha Brusha

  • My husband uses a Sonicare, I kick it old school with a cheapy toothbrush. I should switch to a Sonicare, but I just ENJOY a regular toothbrush. I have one here, one at work, one in the bathroom downstairs. I brush my teeth 4-5 times a day and replace my brushes regularly.
  • Dental Floss. Yep, I floss. My dentist is very proud of me.
  • NTIs. Nothing sexier than a couple with matching mouthguards to prevent tooth grinding. His and Hers.

H. Holy Grail

  • Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel. This stuff is awesome. I sometimes use this after cleansing to calm my face, I use it in the morning to remove dead skin and leftover moisturizer. If I accidently put on eye cream before my contacts, I use this to remove it so I won’t goop up. I also use it as a body refresher, wipe my décolleté and back of neck to feel fresh when dashing out of the house. My husband also uses it as a toner. It’s gentle, it’s a pleasant scent, and it’s natural. Score.

Next to the witch hazel is one of our three toothpastes. This was from Bonnaroo (travels well, won’t explode in heat – think it’s Colgate but when I went to peel off the safety packaging the whole label peeled off). We also have some tube of Tom’s of Maine that is almost gone, and a new tube of Crest 3D White because my husband believed the hype. It’s new, so I don’t know yet whether it will take our coffee- and wine-loving chompers to pearly white-ness… will keep you posted.

J. Got Sweat?
Does one household really need four different deodorants? Guess so. I switch between Dove formulas for day (find if I stick with one too long it stops working). For night I was using CertainDri but it seemed to stop working so I switched to Dove Clinical. The Dove is almost out, so I’ll go back to CertainDri until the bottle is empty and go back to Dove. The yellow is Arm & Hammer, my husband switches between that and the blue Dove.

And when you turn around from the sink you see the bathroom’s second door. I didn’t want this door. The bathroom is half in the master bedroom, half in our office. The contractor and my husband thought a second door would be useful if we used the office as a guest room, if we tried to sell the house. We never use the door – there’s furniture in front of it in the office and it’s a waste of space in the bathroom that could be used for a proper cabinet. So this is how I use it:

 

This over-the-door rack was originally purchased for the powder room on the main floor. I envisioned umbrellas in the basket, lightweight jackets and such on the hooks. We don’t have a closet on the main floor, so figured this would be a great alternative (we have a coat rack near the front door that is always overflowing). When I realized this bathroom has no wall space for a proper cabinet, I put this here for a “temporary fix.” Two and a half years later it’s still here. Usually there’s towels hanging there, but I took these pictures on laundry day.

In the top are all the things that don’t fit in the medicine cabinet:

  • Listerine
  • Hairspray (Elnett and Jonathan spray)
  • More contact lenses (the big box of more is in the linen closet in the hallway but I keep one box of each at the ready)
  • Diffuser (came with the dryer)
  • Brushes (two are missing from this photo – one is in the other bathroom, and one has disappeared because Emerson finds brushes to be playthings)

While the hooks hold damp towels, they also hold all my appliances:

  • Remington S9950 Shine Therapy Moisturizing and Conditioning Digital Ceramic Hair Straightener. This one was favored by many beauty vloggers back when I was trying to make waves with a flat iron. I don’t think it gives my hair shine, but it has a thermostat so I can control the heat level and I like how narrow it is – does a good job with making waves as well as straightening bangs without a weird bump at the hairline.
  • Hair Dryer. This one sucks and burns my hand if I use it too long, but I won’t buy a new one because this one gets the job done. When it dies, I will buy a new one.
  • Vidal Sassoon 1 inch Curling Iron for Fine Hair. It has a tight clamp so it holds fine hair in place. Can control the heat level and a cord that never gets all twisted up. Not bad, though if it dies I want to replace it with my sister’s – whenever we travel I use hers (think it’s a Conair) and it’s awesome.
  • Charging cord for my Clarisonic Mia.

Oh and yes, photobomb by Emerson who was using her potty as a cave for her bath toys.

Whew, are you still here? Still reading? I am impressed! So that’s my bathroom in a nutshell. Not a lot of fancy, fun, and glamorous things but things that get the job done. Still need to get a proper day moisturizer and face cleanser, but I’m frugal and wait until the current bottle or tube is completely empty. So keep sending me your recommendations, I am noting all of them and they will help me when I do finally purchase!

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About Face – Recent Beauty Buys

Since my post about my medicine cabinet, I have added some new items to the arsenal and I gotta say, they are absolute winners!

Many of you suggested in comments and by email that I try Cetaphil as a face wash; I knew I had used it in the past and couldn’t recall why I stopped. Then I was having Chinese takeout with my husband and he looked at my Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and mentioned how it looked like Cetaphil, “and would probably leave your face just as greasy.” I remembered – while I am fully aware a face wash shouldn’t leave your skin squeaky clean, Cetaphil made me feel as though I hadn’t removed anything from my face. If I wiped my skin post-Cetaphil with a pad soaked in witch hazel, it would come back brown from foundation; even with makeup remover when I washed with Cetaphil I still had raccoon eyes from mascara.

So I did some online homework and learned about CeraVe – this seems to be the answer for the small percentage of the population who doesn’t find Cetaphil to be their Holy Grail face wash. While it’s still cheap and easily found in drugstores, and it’s still super gentle, it doesn’t leave that greasy film on the skin. It also leaves my skin clean – passes the witch hazel test!

I wear contacts, and come winter my skin is so sensitive and dry it will crack under the nose and flake on the brow; with CeraVe I haven’t had any skin or eye irritation and no issues with flakiness. I also like using it with my Clarisonic Mia – it doesn’t disappear with the rotation, protecting while cleansing my skin.

I like this cleanser so much, I don’t see any reason to try another. I believe I have found my HG face wash!

Random – each time I see the bottle I start singing this song. And now, it’s probably in your head as well…

I found a sample for this serum in one of my fashion or beauty magazines. I tore out the sample card, tucked it into my medicine cabinet, soon after recycled or passed on the magazine. I finally got around to looking at the sample card… and really couldn’t figure out what this product was for. The card mentioned “genactiv technology”, said to smooth it on my face and neck. The name WAS Youth Code, so I figured it must be something to make me look youthful. From my previous experience working in skincare and cosmetics, I know a serum is something to use in conjunction with a traditional moisturizer. So I started using it under my daily SPF moisturizer.

Within a week my skin looked different. Different how? Well that is as hard to say as the sample card was uninformative. Maybe this is why the sample card was so vague – even L’Oreal couldn’t define the results!

My skin looked… better. Not so dull, not so saggy, not so tired. I still had my dark circles, my fine lines, my sun spots. But somehow all that wasn’t as obvious. I was convinced, and bought a bottle. Since then, I have had people ask if I have lost weight (I haven’t), if I am pregnant (nope), if I am getting more sleep (I wish). So whatever it is doing, it’s good.

I use Youth Code Serum on my face under moisturizer every morning and evening. A little goes a LONG way, and it really absorbs completely in the skin – no weird filmy or sticky feeling, just complete disappearance. hasn’t affected the longevity of my foundation or concealer, no irritation, no dryness. Just that unexplainable lovely something.

***

Amazing how two drugstore-brand products can make such a huge difference in my skin. The combination of the two along with my previous products (Olay SPF 15 Beauty Fluid and Olay Definity eye cream for day, CVS version of RoC Retinol and night cream for night) made everything work better, and my skin be so much softer, healthier looking, and happy. I can’t recall another winter in my adult life where I wasn’t cursing my face every morning, and wanting to slather it in Vaseline at night in hopes it would hydrate it without causing it to break out. In summary, my skin and I are happy campers!

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Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

Thursday

Weird in-between weather and I am seeing that I am doing okay for bottoms but am a bit lacking for tops for work. My drawer seems to be full of tanks and peasant tops that are fine for a weekend but a tad too casual for Monday through Thursday.

Black cotton tank and tissue-weight merino deep v-neck sweater from Banana Republic, black trousers from Limited – same style as the gray ones I wear. I found them in the attic; I think I bought them in 2002 back when I worked in Pentagon City Mall in Virginia right near a super big Limited. I would bag my lunch and spend my break in that store, I swear that year every single item The Limited made fit me perfectly. It’s nice that some of the clothes from then are still stylish to wear now! Long gold chain from Express, leopard peep-toe heels from BCBGirls.

Hair is washed with Suave Professionals Sleek Shampoo and the last clump of conditioner from my Kiwi ColorReflect bottle. A bit of Shine On! from Sexy Straight hair applied while damp, then dried semi-straight using a round brush. Some BioSilk added to the ends.

Makeup is L’Oreal Bare Naturale in True Beige, Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint with Nars blush in Orgasm over it. Eyes is Maybelline ExpertWear shadow quad in Mocha Motion – the silver and the mauve shades blended and applied from inner corners to over the lid. Lashes curled and Cover Girl Lash Exact in Black applied twice. On lips is Revlon ColorGlide Sheer in Sheer Burgundy. After the photo I added a bit of Revlon Super Lustrous gloss in Pink Afterglow for more shine.

Lately I have felt my skin is looking old – creases showing up between the brows, dryness, small breakouts and all over lackluster. Then I remembered I have occasionally been going to bed without washing my face. I started washing my face nightly with a gentle soap-free cleanser (The Body Shop’s Moisture White Cleansing Powder) and then applying The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Intensive Night Repair (this stuff is AMAZING for clearing and brightening the skin) and then night cream (drugstore’s generic brand version of Olay Regenerist night cream). Just three days of regular cleansing and prepping and my skin was again transformed. So when you are at the point of considering major spa or dermatological treatments or a shopping spree at Sephora, recheck your regular routines. Possibly all you need to do is change your routine to get what you really need!

Dinner With Friends

Green lightweight sweater just bought same-day at Banana Republic. Straight fit Bootcut jeans from the Gap (not as fabu as the Original Lowrise Bootcut but decent). Black Enzo boots. Gold chandelier earrings and bangle.

Makeup applied with precision:

-Olay Regenrist eye cream patted below eyes with ring finger.
-Cetaphil heavy-duty moisturizer applied to face, neck and collarbone.
-Smashbox primer applied to face.
-L’Oreal true Match foundation in Classic Ivory applied to face with fingers.
-MAC stick concealer applied to eye area, under nose, around lips and over any zit scars. Pressed in place with fingers.
-Chanel powder applied to T-Zone with included puff.
-BeneFit’s F..Y…Eye! applied with ring finger to lids.
-Nars Orgasm applied to cheeks with flat ended blush brush from Trish McEvoy.
-Maybelline’s Dark Brown brow color applied with Trish McEvoy brush #.
-The Body Shop’s Golden Khaki shadow from lash line to crease, on the outer corners of the eyes it is past the crease by 1.4″. Applied with trish McEvoy brush #21. Same color applied to lower lash line with brush #41.
-Garden Botanika’s Copper shadow applied with Trish McEvoy brush #29 to the crease.
-Lashes curled with Shu Umeura lash curler.
-Coat of MAC’s Zoom Lash mascara in black.
-Lancome’s Juicy Tubes gloss in Exposure applied to lips.
-The Body Shop’s lip liner in Mahogany colored in over the gloss to create berry color.

And then the hair:
-Hair air dries from earlier day shower. Halo volumizing shampoo and conditioner, touch of Pantene’s volumizing spray.
-Hair is blown straight in the front with a large round board bristle brush and my Conair ionic dryer.
-Rest of hair is straightened with my Conair wet/dry straightener on the highest setting.
-Pea size amount of BioSilk applied to hand, rubbed on hands and gently spread on top of hair and tips.
-Hair fluffed up while spraying Short Sexy Hair’s spray wax to ends to give separation and volume.

The night’s plan was to go to a bar/restaurant for dinner, then walk to a nearby pub for some live music. Ended up just being dinner, but I felt the outfit was appropriate.

Eureka!

Okay, I am not a major fan of sites like WebMD; often when I go there to learn more about a symptom I have, I leave my computer feeling as though I have six months to live and will need an appendage removed. However, the Internet is wonderful due to sites like this where you can collect information, interact with others with similar issues and find a cure/solution.

Last winter many of you may remember that I was getting something like hives all over my body. Doctors couldn’t figure out what it was, but I was able to deduce it was eating blue cheese after some time with Google. Removed the food from my diet and less than 48 hours later I was back to normal.

Well I have been plagued with a far harsher form of hives ever since October. I can go for weeks without an outbreak, and then I can have a day like today where I fear leaving my house because I look like The Elephant Man. It seems to be cyclical – I get them worst the week before and the week after my period, and usually the really hard-core outbreaks are the days after my period. However they can spark up at any time, and usually happen a day after I have been stressed out (yesterday we got our taxes done).

I have tried cutting various foods out of my diet with no change. Looking at my body care products, nothing seems that drastically different. Went to doctors, they say it is stress related and to try to keep calm (HAHAHAHA, you try being calm when you are covered in big red itchy welts!). Reading online, people get hives from so many different causes, it was hard to figure out what the trigger may be.

So I walked through yesterday, trying to figure out how I left the house at 7am hive-free, started seeing welts around 11am, and by 8pm I had a hard time walking or even blinking due to inflamed skin. And then this morning… well I like being honest with you guys but I just can’t bear the thought of photographing my mug in this condition.

So I started the day with my shower – pureology’s shampoo and conditioner which I have used for months (and removed from my routine without any change in skin). Olay body wash, again used on and off for several months and no change when removed from my routine. Ran out of shaving cream so shaved with Olay. Same Secret Clinical Strength deodorant, same Neutrogena Body Oil. Washed face with a Body Shop product I have used for two years, Body Shop moisturizer I have used for seven, Olay eye cream and a bit of Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment because I had some post-period bumps on my chin and around my mouth. Hair styling products I am also very familiar with and you guys KNOW I wear almost the same makeup every day.

Dress was dry-cleaned; maybe I have a reaction to the chemicals? No I wore a dry-cleaned item the other day without issue.

Took the Metro, but I get hives when I drive.

Got to work… but I get hives on weekends and got them at my old job. Drank water and coffee…

Then went to lunch with office mates. Drank water with lemon, didn’t consume anything strange or spicy…

By 2pm I was a mess. This morning I wake up and want to cry at my reflection, but instead I examine it more closely. Tweeze a stray hair at my brow, notice my little beginning zits are gone thanks to that amazing silver tube from Clean & Clear…

IT’S THE CLEAN & CLEAR!

Google “Salicylic Acid Hives” and “Clean & Clear Hives” and get TONS of articles from people telling their stories about how this ingredient causes horrible hives, and how some vegetables have this same ingredient. These are vegetables I often end up eating at times where the occasional hive ends up being a horrific event. I get PMS, I get breakouts, I use my trusty silver tube of gel. I am a vegetarian so I eat a lot of nuts (pistachios and almonds have Salicylates) and recently have been on a broccoli kick (also contains Salicylates). I stress over the hives and get breakouts so I apply more Clean & Clear. Then on a Wednesday like today I am The Elephant Man.

Well the tube went in the trash.

I also think that last January when I broke out in hives, I was also using this product. I stopped using it because I lost it on vacation. Maybe it wasn’t blue cheese, maybe it was Salicylic Acid the whole time!

Anyway, the point of this post is – be informed. Don’t let doctors tell you it’s stress or in your head or just mindlessly prescribe you something like Prednisone. As you are informed with what came down the runway at Fashion Week, or the new Heatherette line of MAC Cosmetics, be informed about your body and what you are using to feed or treat it. Yes, sites like WebMD told me I may have some incurable disease due to my hives symptoms, but I also found out about this one ingredient that may have been giving me months of misery.

Any suggestions on a replacement product that battles minor breakouts?

Be an informed and educated beauty!!

Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

Tuesday

I bought this dress as a final sale from Banana Republic.  I think it cost me something like $20.  I bought it while pregnant, thinking it would be the right size postpartum.  I got it… and realized it was too big.  It’s an XL, even though I may be XL in some places, I obviously am not for this dress.  I think next time I may wear it with a belt.  If that doesn’t look good, I will have to donate this to a taller, larger-boned friend.

But the dress is the most gorgeous shade of ultraviolet and a super soft merino.  And what a lovely floppy neck!  It’s rainy and ucky out, and I feel just as cozy in this as I did this morning padding around in my pink leopard-print pajama pants!  With it are my black leather boots from Ros Hamerson, silver chain from Ralph Lauren, silver hoops and cuff.
I don’t know if this happens to any other woman.  You put on your lipstick, and then you put it in your purse for touchups later in the day.  Then the next day you’re rushing to get ready and you realize that because you have been putting your lip product in your bag all week, you now have no lipsticks or glosses in your makeup case!  Well this happened to me this morning, so you see a chalky pink pencil that I put on to help my Laura Mercier Pink Champagne adhere longer.  Pink Champagne was applied in the car once I parked at the Metro, before hopping on the train. 
As for the rest of my makeup, it’s Estee Lauder Doublewear Light foundation, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer, Nars blush in Orgasm, Pop beauty shadow palette for brown eyes – the celadon on lids, the black in crease and along lash lines.  A bit of Avon Luxury liner in black, and Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascara in black.
I have tried a ton of new products lately and have been quite the slacker on reviews.  However I do have to mention one product I have recently used that I adore.  For the past month I have been using the Olay Professional Pro-X Anti-Aging Starter Kit.  This kit has a night cream, eye cream and SPF 30 day moisturizer. 

I have been using it almost every night (yes, I must admit I sometimes pass out before taking off my makeup) and every morning and have seen a big change in my skin.  Compare my skin above to my skin here, a month prior.  You can see that the wrinkles in my forehead and around my eyes are less pronounced, my age spot on my cheek is a bit fainter, and even the little bumps I always have on my chin are clearning up.  I bet the change will be more obvious in another month.  I am known to have reactions to harsh chemicals and salycitic acid, but I haven’t had a single reaction to this line and the eye cream doesn’t irritate my allergy-prone, contacts-wearing eyes.

The kit isn’t cheap, but it has been a month and I still have 1/3 of the day and eye creams and probably half of the night cream. This kit is worthy of repurchase in the full-size containers.

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!





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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesCole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
BagSabina
Silver cuff

I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!

New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it.  I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!

Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!

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Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Wednesday


Black cashmere tank from Banana Republic, black ponte jacket from Banana Republic Outlet, Chinese red shantung skirt from Banana Republic (definite theme here!), leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren.

Hair was washed and conditioned, dried with my Croc wet-to-dry iron. No products.’

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory over whole lid. Lashes curled, two coats Cover Girl Lash Blast and one of Imju Fiberwig. Maybelline Ultraliner in black on top lash line and on lips is some Revlon Shiny Sheers in a sheer red that I left at home by accident so do not have to read the label.

I am not really sure what is going on with the layout of my posts; I have not done anything different so it must be that Blogger is being stupid again.

This outfit is inspired by Catie’s contest at Cuffington. This outfit makes me fabulous inside… though notsomuch when I walk past my reflection in a window. I adore this skirt, it is so much fun and the color is awesome. The cashmere tank is really thick and I have had it for years and got it for like $10 on the clearance rack. Jacket has given me many miles and I love its versatility and the shoes… oh I love these shoes so much I have two pairs of them! All that is missing is my silver cuff, this great green ring I bought at a Ren Fest and my wedding tiara and I would be wearing almost all my favorite things! :) Too bad this skirt isn’t the most flattering (the one my husband says makes me look like Mimi from Drew Carey) or I would wear it every week! :)

Thursday

Black stretch v-neck from Banana Republic, white twill cuffed cropped pants from Casual Corner, black leather thong heeled sandals from Mossimo, multiple skinny silver bangles from Ann Taylor Loft, black leather and silver necklace from Chico’s.

Hair is weird. In the shower I was considering loose messy waves and the front feathered out. Yeah, I watched Jessica Simpson’s stupid new video and was slightly inspired. So I added Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Spray, blew hair straight letting it do as it pleased, twisting some pieces. It ended up looking damaged and gross. I continued blowing, using a paddle brush, that made some difference. I then blew the front with a round boar bristle brush and then applied bioSilk so it didn’t look as much like straw…. not my best hair day.

Makeup is L’Oreal True match foundation in C3, MAC Studio Stick concealer, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer for color and powder, a bit of Nars Orgasm blush. Eyes is the ivory shadow from Revlon’s ColorStay Neutral shadow quad, then The Body Shop’s 08 (Granite) in the lids and along the lash line. lashes curled via Shu Eumura and two coats of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black applied. On lips is Sally Hansen’s diamond lipgloss in a hot pink (the label with the name fell off).