Out with the old (make space for the new)

As we approach the start of the new year, many of us take this time to purge the old so we can make room for the new, whether it be goals, attitude or just plain stuff. This is a time we tend to donate gently used clothing, furniture or anything else that would benefit someone else in need. We also tend to rid our closets (and life) of things we no longer need because they are used up or no good to us anymore. The same process applies to cosmetics and beauty products as these, like food, have a shelf life of their own. So when, you ask, is it time to say goodbye? Well it depends on the item. Now don’t be scared – let’s hold hands and do this together.

I know many of you are keeping old makeup or hair products around for the same reasons I am – one being money. You feel you spent x amount of dollars on a product and whether or not you used it, you feel you should keep it around, lingering in that linen closet, staring you down every time you open it. You need to think about cosmetics the same way you’re thinking about those clothes – if you haven’t worn that lipstick in a year – well the odds of you picking that up tomorrow are very low. There is something that doesn’t get you jazzed up about that item, whether it be the color, formula or maybe you just found something better. Why don’t you put it and yourself out of its misery and throw it away?

Most items that you use on your face should be gone within a year and a half (unless its mascara) but my rule of thumb is one year and you’re out. Seriously- why are you keeping it? For the one time you MIGHT use it? Odds are you won’t so get rid of it now. Any kind of lip product should be a year or less, especially if you were sick when you used it. Mascara that has been opened and used should only be kept around for three to four months. That’s usually no problem for me, because I love to change up my mascara often. Same goes for eyeliner. Think of all that bacteria its harboring! Hair products are much longer for obvious reasons but I still say if you have been looking at the bottle of hair serum for a year and are passing it over day after day, its taking up space. Time to say goodbye.

So what about your unused items that you haven’t touched but know you won’t? What about all those little mini samples you won’t use but just can’t throw away? Well there a few options. My first thought is return it if you can. Sephora has changed their return policy so that you now need a receipt in order to return an item, but other than that you shouldn’t have a problem. Ulta and Nordstrom both have time-tables on their return policies and Ulta will only let you exchange your items, not giving you your full refund (you might want to note this when purchasing there). Returning not an option? Give it away. If you have something you know you won’t wear because its not your color choice, give it away. Chances are your sister/cousin/mom/coworker might love that color and you will be saving them dollars. Better yet, plan a beauty swap with your girlfriends where you all bring gently used (and acceptable) products that you don’t want anymore but can’t bear to throw in the trash. Same goes for curling/straightening irons, etc that you have too many of or didn’t work out.

Hopefully this gives you the push to throw away or donate some of those items you have been eyeing in your makeup bag. I will be doing it too so strength in numbers!

Maureen

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Holiday Beauty Loot

Merry day after Christmas! I was very lucky this year and received a lot of fabulous beauty products from my mother- all of which were a surprise. Check out my links below as to what I got!

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection

As I’ve written before in my favorite scents blog post, I have four scents that I wear regularly and Bobbi Brown Beach is one of them. Last year my mom also got me a collection gift like this one but it didn’t have the shower gel or body scrub that this one does. I can’t wait to use it! (Not pictured a bag of mini Bobbi treats from mascara, face oil and eye cream shadow).

Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Tenderheart

I’m going to be honest – I was surprised to see this as I haven’t worn Clinique in a while (although I think they are a great brand). I was recently eyeing their 100 point gift of a mini gloss in Black Honey at Sephora and was bummed that I didn’t have enough points to use it. My mother nailed it with the color choice for me – this pretty, natural but polished color looks like my lips just a little more pretty. Great job, Kathy!

Lollia hand cream in Wish

Best stocking gift ever. Like Beach perfume, this is one of my four regular scents and I have both a tube of this hand cream and the mini perfume at my desk. Every time I use it, two things happen. My coworker immediately asks if she can use it and I start hearing “Something smells like the beach” from several people. I love everything about this product, from the scent to the packaging, which is dainty and demure. It reminds me of the little boutique on the Cape where my mother bought it for me, which sells french-decor, jewelry and all the Lollia products. Whenever I’m out of my perfume or hand cream, I try and stop in there to buy it there. There is something about buying this type of product in a boutique rather than online that just makes it a special experience.

by Nature Coconut & Ocean Minerals Body Butter

I’ve actually never heard of this product or brand, but I’m a sucker for anything involving Coconut. I use pure coconut oil as my face moisturizer of choice and love to slather it on my hands before bed. This body butter smells like vacation and really sinks in to the skin nicely. I will be doing research on this brand once I start using it a bit more!

Moroccan Oil Light Oil Therapy

This is such a great product for smoothing hair as well as treating it. I have to use the Light version as I have fine hair and I’m so happy my mom remembered! I used to use this all the time as I love the way it smells and makes my hair feel – I’m glad to see this favorite back again! Once my Drybar products are out I may be shifting back to this…FullSizeRender

Cosmetic and beauty products are hard items to buy for someone but my mother did a fantastic job this year. She picked some really great items based on knowing what brands and scents I like along with my lip shade. She even got my husband some luxurious Sea Salt soap!

What beauty products did you get for the holidays?

Maureen

How to Choose a new Hairstylist

November 3, 2015

So as many of you may know, I have had a lot going on within the past several months. I got married in June and bought a house in early September, making the late summer and early fall a whirlwind that is just finally settling down now. Because we moved to a suburb about thirty minutes south of where we were living, everything is changing – my commute, gym, schedule and most importantly my hairstylist 🙂 I was going to someone in Boston that from my previous location was easy to get to but now its out of the question. So I found myself in the suburbs with grey hairs in need of a trim and a good stylist. What’s a girl to do when she is not familiar with the area? Research! I thought many of you might be in the same predicament (or could be in the future) so I wanted to share some of my favorite ways of setting out to find a new stylist.

Start with your close network first. If you know people in your new area (friends, family, old coworkers) who love their stylist (or you love their hair) ask them where they go and who they see. If you feel comfortable, ask generally how expensive the stylist/salon is because although you might have a styling budget cap, the person you may be asking may not. Not comfortable enough to ask? Call the salon and ask that particular stylist’s price range.

Hit the web. Yelp is a great resource for finding entertainment, restaurants and businesses in your new area and salons are no different. Often what is good about Yelp is they will mention a specific stylist’s name in the review. This is how I found my new salon and stylist and I have to give full credit to Yelp. The reviews on the salon were great and several mentioned my specific stylist by name (and included pictures of her work) so I called and made an appointment with her. It turned out to be a match made in Heaven 🙂

Googling salons in your area is also a good option but try hard to look for reviews. I also like to see pictures of the stylists themselves because they usually do their best work on themselves, as they know themselves best.

“Best of” issues. I am huge fan of these kind of lists and have used this method in the past to seek out new places to go. In Boston, Boston Magazine annually puts out a “Best of” issue and breaks it down among area in Massachusetts, not just inner cities of Boston. Allure magazine (aka the beauty Bible) also puts out an annual list by major city. Their website is another great resource to search on best of beauty businesses. Keep in mind usually these businesses are on the pricier side, so if you are on a budget be sure to check the salon’s website before you go in.

Ask a stranger. I know this sounds insane but it works and sometimes you will find someone you absolutely love – and make someone’s day at the same time. In a local coffee shop and see someone’s hair you just absolutely have to have? Ask her where she goes. Trust me – she might be shocked when you ask her but she will be 100% flattered. My mother found a stylist this way years ago and we ended up going to this woman for over ten years. Not so crazy, is it?

Still stumped? Ask me! I love to do this research because I’m crazy but I don’t mind at all. Even if you’re not in my area, let me know where you live and your budget and I will find you the perfect match.

Happy hunting!

Maureen

Product Review Time – Drybar!

October 4th, 2015

During the summer I was looking for a good shampoo and conditioner as my hair felt very damaged (I was growing it out for my wedding). I had never been to Drybar but knew the background of the company and how it got started so I was interested in reading more. Now that the line is sold at Sephora, I read up on my trust app about what customers had to say about it. Overall, it got great reviews so I decided to give it a try with their dry hair sample pack (no longer available). It included shampoo and conditioner, hair oil, cream and mask. I LOVED everything. First off, the scent is AMAZING and all the products in the entire line smell the same, which I love. Secondly, the packaging and design of all products is spot on – all items are named after alcoholic drinks since the salon is supposed to be a “bar”. Products I purchased were named Sake Bomb, Hot Toddy, 100% Proof, and Mudslide and everything is color coordinated back to the line and salon’s signature yellow and grey color scheme.

I immediately ran through the Sake Bomb shampoo and conditioner and had to purchase the full size at Sephora (I was there anyway 🙂 The Hot Toddy heat protection cream and the 100% Proof hair oil are small but last a long time because you only need a small amount. The Mudslide is a deep conditioning mask in a travel size but I still haven’t used all of mine yet. I was so impressed with the line I went to the Drybar salon near me and bought more products. I was thrilled to see how adorable and on brand the salon was designed – stylists were set up like bartenders behind a bar, there was a menu of choices at the receptionist table and all combs, clips, brushes and appliances were in the brands bright yellow color. How adorable! I purchased travel sizes of the Money Maker hair spray and the Southern Belle volumizing mousse as well as the yellow hairbrush named “Buttercup”. Later, I visited the brand’s website and watched the owner’s video tutorials on how to create the looks offered in the salon, such as the “Southern Belle” and the “Mai Tai”. The owner Alli actually starts with wet hair, the videos are short and she shows you how to get the look you want from start to finish using her products. I found this very clever and super relateable. I would definitely recommend this line if you are looking for a new (crazy amazing smelling) hair line and don’t mind spending a bit more on it. Seriously, I wish she made a perfume of this smell, it is that good.

You can purchase all products at Sephora, but if you have some time and want to check out her website, you won’t be disappointed. It is cleverly worded and designed and provides a lot of great information on her brand and products. In today’s post I’m going to provide links to the overall brand sites and not the direct products because honestly I loved them all!

Drybar

Sephora Drybar products

Drybar

Happy Styling!

Maureen

Back in Business

August 6th, 2015

Well, hello. It’s been awhile. A lot of has happened in the past several months which have taken me away from blogging. I was promoted into a new role, got married and most recently am in the process of purchasing our first home. All exciting things which have definitely kept me busy but I must admit I have missed my blog and plan to pay more attention to it going forward. Although this is not a post about actual beauty, here is a little peek of  topics you can expect to see in the near future:

  • Tips for choosing a hair and/or makeup artist for your wedding
  • Where to purchase discounted beauty online and in stores
  • When to get rid of makeup (and my tip for taking stock of what you have now)
  • Product reviews on my new favorite finds… as well as some disappointing ones

Be on the look out for these soon!

Maureen

My Final Four… Scents That Is

March 9, 2015

March is the time for spring renewal, cleaning out your closet and March Madness brackets. Me – I don’t watch basketball but I do participate in the former two activities mentioned. In terms of renewal,  this is the time of year most of us are thinking about changing our scent to something a little lighter. I myself wear the same scents no matter what the season, but I always come back to these four. Scents are personal and it will be hard to sway your opinion as you can’t smell these through a blog post, but still I wanted to share these with you because three out of the four of my favorites inspire compliments from passersby when I wear them. So if you are looking for a new scent to try, perhaps reading this post will sway you in that direction.

1. Bobbi Brown Beach

As you may remember in my post about the great Miss Bobbi Brown, I have been wearing this fragrance since I was 24 (a long time ago). It smells like summer, sun tan lotion and happiness, even in the midst of winter and makes me smile. It now also reminds me of my mother because she also became a Beach convert. Bobbi has expanded her Beach line to include body moisturizer, scrub, oil and hair conditioner.

Find out more about Bobbi Brown Beach here

2. Lollia Wish

I love everything about this fragrance, from the bottle to the font to the website to the scent itself. All Lollia products are gorgeous and look like they are out of a French boutique so they are guaranteed to look pretty on your nightstand or bureau. Honestly, if this brand had wall paper I would wrap my house in it when I buy one. Each scent has its own collection of bath salts, perfume, bath soak, candles, hand cream and body moisturizer. Wish is the most popular of all the Lollia fragrances and it smells light, airy and beachy (in a different way than Bobbi Brown’s beach). Whenever I wear this, someone comments on it (in a good way). I have a mini bottle at my desk at work for scent refreshers as well as at home. Once available only excuslively through Anthropologie, now you can get the fragrance online as well as small boutiques.

Find out more about Lollia Wish here

3. Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess

Ok, so I’m going to be straight out with you – this is one of those hippie oils that you find in shops that sells incense, crystals and posters with wolves on them but believe me when I tell you when I wear this I get compliments. I first smelled this when I was a teenager in a summer dance camp and when my favorite teacher would come over to correct my foot placement or posture, I would smell this amazing fragrance on her and wondered what it was. Years later I smelled the same fragrance in one of these shops and it brings back such wonderful memories, as well as smelling amazing. The scent itself is warm and musky, but not too intense. I have one coworker who couldn’t stand it any longer and had to purchase one of her own. Egyptian Goddess is the company’s number one selling perfume oil and is always sold out when I happened to come across it in a store. You however don’t have to search for it as you can go on Amazon to purchase it. The fragrance also comes in a perfume spray and soap form but I find the oil it more saturated and potent and a little goes a long way.

Find out more about Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess

4. Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Things Noir

I have never been big on the fragrances from Victoria’s Secret as they are often too strong and powerful for my taste but one day a few years ago I stumbled across this fragrance and have been hooked ever since. When I started wearing it, my best friend smelled it, loved it and also started wearing it. The scent is warm and exotic and I think what I love most about it is the scent of amber. Unfortunately you can’t find the scent in every store now so if you are interested I would call before you made a trip to see if they had it. Larger stores should carry it, such as the Natick Collection store in Massachusetts. The company has come out with a lighter version called Noir Tease, but I still love the original. Also adorable is the old school bottle, which reminds me of a flapper putting on her perfume in her boudoir. Click below to view the bottle as the one I have in my post is the spray mist.

Find out more about Victoria’s Secret Noir

 

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What is your favorite scent? Have you tried any of the above fragrances and loved them?

Maureen

How to turn a bold lipstick nightmare into an everyday dream

February 8, 2015

Have you ever wanted to try a brave lipstick trend like a classic red lip or a dark wine pout? I’ve been there too.  Sometimes you get just the right color and you think “I am so glad I did this-it’s exactly the change I needed”. More often than not though your response is “Why did I think I could pull this off?” or “Where would I wear this?”. Yep, been there too. This holiday season I was determined to rock the bold classic red lip that was featured in Bobbi Brown’s email. The model was fair, like me so I thought if she could pull it off, I could too. When I actually tried the look out, it didn’t look bad but it just wasn’t me. I’m a more natural but polished kind of girl and I just felt uncomfortable. Before I went to return it, however I tried some tricks in order to make it more “me” and voila, I salvaged the lipstick and now I have a new rosy lip look. If you have had the same sort of experience with a lip color that just didn’t turn out how you wanted, before you return it, try the below tricks to see if you can make it fit into your lifestyle.

1. First make sure your lips are nice and smooth to start with. The cold has reeked havoc on everyone’s skin, especially our lips. Try exfoliating them and then applying a nice balm after on a regular basis (nightly if you like). You can buy lip exfoliants from brands like Fresh and Sara Hipp but its really easy to make it at home. Mix a little oil and sugar in your hand and then rub over lips after wetting them with warm water for about 30 seconds. Wash off with warm water and then apply your balm. Don’t have any sugar? An old toothbrush will also work. This step is important because the more chapped your lips are the more they will stand out (in a bad way) when you apply a statement color lip.

2. Apply a muted lipstick. I have one that I like from Maybelline that I wear on its own called Raw Reveal. If you don’t have a muted lipstick that’s ok (but consider getting one-they are really great when you want to create a feminine look. I love big lashes and muted lips) you can use a cream or liquid foundation or a concealer. This purpose of this step is to tone down your color but it will also help your color adhere to your lips. Bonus!

3. Apply your color choice. I like to apply with a lip brush as you have more control in putting the color exactly where you want it. If you don’t have one, you can apply right from the tube but GO EASY. Do not put a lot of pressure on the lip as you did with your muted lipstick. Apply until you feel comfortable with the color depth and then finish by rubbing your lips together to blend step 2 and 3 together. Your color should resemble the one in the tube but should be a softer, less aggressive version.

4. If you like your look feel free to call it a day and be done. I personally love to end the look with a pearly, brightening lip gloss. The gloss does a few things for this look. It makes it less “I’m on the way to the Oscars” and more “I’m running to a meeting and look pretty” which makes it appropriate to wear in everyday situations. It also brightens the look up with a white color and it gives it sheen. My favorite (surprise, surprise) is Bobbi Brown’s Brightening Lip Gloss in White. It lasts forever, is applied with a lip brush and smells like vanilla. I wear this over almost anything as well as on its own.

So what do you think-want to give it a go? Hopefully this helps you feel a little bit more comfortable about going out of your lip comfort zone.

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Ombre Nation

January 30, 2015

As many of you know, I ombred my own hair last summer (did I just make a up a verb? I think I did) when my stylist didn’t do it as heavily as I wanted. I did it in two sessions – a week apart to make sure I got the right amount of blonde until I was happy with it. It was wonderful for the summer – it definitely provided that “I live at the beach” sun-kissed look and people were shocked when I said I did it myself. But at my last haircut several inches were cut off, cutting off some of the lightest blonde shade and now I’m just kind of “eh” about my hair and color. It could be that its winter and everything is boring. It could be that I’m growing out my bangs for my wedding and need something to me excited about my hair while it does (as I can’t cut it off). At any rate, after some time well spent scouring the many pages of Pinterest, I’m kind of falling in love with a sombre (subtle ombre) brown-reddish look going on. See below.

Long red waves

Yes, I know my hair isn’t this long. How beautiful is this color though?

Long brown waves

This has some blonde in here (which I’m not opposed to).

red and gold

So pretty.

For this color change, I’m going to seek the experience of a hair professional although I am really proud of myself for doing my own for less than $15 the first time around. For those of you are interested in trying your hand at blonde at-home ombre, below is the product I used (it comes in three different color options) and a picture of the technique I used.

Loreal

Blonde DIY

Here’s how it turned out (note, it does not come with a handsome bald man 😉

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Are you going to ombre?

XOXO

Maureen

All I wanted for Christmas is to be beautiful!

December 28, 2014

Good evening and welcome back from the holidays! I admit I have been lacking on the blog posts in the past month or so with the hustle of the holidays but I am back and resolve this year to publish more posts on the regular so stick with me. Besides whipping up some home-made body scrubs for some ladies, here are some beauty treats I gave and received on Christmas.

To my darling mother I gave my most recent mascara purchase which she test drove at Thanksgiving ( I apologize for not blogging about this stuff – its pretty amazing stuff). It is by a cosmetics company called Younique and the product is called Moodstruck. Its almost exactly like Too Faced Better than False Lashes (a step mascara with fibers) except the fibers in Moodstruck are black, not white and the effect is much more “pow”. If you decide to purchase you just have to choose a salesperson (pick anyone at random) to give the commission to.

Moodstruck

For my soon to be mother in law (by the way the six month count down began yesterday!) I was asked to put together a box of cosmetics, which I did very happily! Some items included Too Faced Better than Sex mascara, mascara guide, Garnier BB Cream, ELF Lip colors, brushes as well as the Bare Minerals eye shadow and cheek pallette below. I can’t wait until she uses it!

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Lastly, I was a lucky lady this year and received some Bobbi Brown treats as well as some Essie polishes. Recently I saw Bobbi’s email for red lips and decided to really go for it so I asked Kathy for lip liner, lipstick and gloss all in scarlet and all made their way to my stocking. I also received two surprise Essie nail polishes from my future mother in law on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait to try them all out- see below.

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What beauty treats did you give and receive?

Maureen

Beauty and Storage… my two favorite things!

November 30, 2014

Recently I was asked  to write a blog post about how I organize my makeup and boy was I excited. Just as much as I love beauty products, I equally love organizing them. There are two ways you can store your beauty loot – covered/tucked away and showing them off at all times. For those that know me I’m sure you’re not surprised that I love option number two. It’s not that I’m showing them off really, but more happily gazing at my collection of mascaras, eye shadows, blushes and nail polishes and how they are  neatly displayed. I find that this option is right for me because it not only makes me happy but it allows me to keep inventory of products that I own so that they do not go unused (you know what I’m talking about – “oh, heyyy, I remember this lipstick from a year ago!”). I really like the acrylic organizers that you can purchase online or in stores like TJMaxx, Target or Marshalls. I actually got my collection at a combination of The Christmas Tree Shops as well as ideel.com but you can find similar ones online. I like these because they provide a lot of different storage options depending on how much beauty merchandise you need to organize, the type and how you need to see it (some have drawers, while others swivel).

Below are pictures of my beauty organized (forgive the picture quality). As you can see I like everything in its place and I also like to see everything clearly. While I could not find the exact ones online you can click below to the links I provided for you to get an idea of what works for you.

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This isn’t beauty but I had been searching for a jewelry organizer to display my bracelets, earrings and rings in an organized fashion and am so excited I finally found this. Doesn’t it look like a store display? Everyday I feel like I’m shopping… my own jewelry!

Target

Bed Bath and Beyond

Not into displaying all you have? Or maybe you have less space than you would like and need to have your beauty stored away. No problem. When I travel, I take my necessitates into one bag without any pockets so that I don’t miss anything. How cute are these ones below?

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And for those that are experts, check out the one below!

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How do you like to organize your beauty stash?

Maureen