Spring has sprung!

It's been a long time since my last blog entry.  I am hoping to get my act together and post at least one blog entry per week.  Sometimes time just escapes me and then an entire year goes by! I cannot let that happen again.  So without further ado, let's chat about spring makeup and skincare!

Doesn't this pic make you just want to run through a field, arms outstretched, inhaling the delicious, fresh spring air? (I'm there in my head right now!)

Doesn't this pic make you just want to run through a field, arms outstretched, inhaling the delicious, fresh spring air? (I'm there in my head right now!)

SO!  Spring is upon us and it's a time for renewal.  A time to look fresh and glowing.  And I have found some great products to help do just that. 

(L-R) 1. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter.  What a great product this is!  It's a primer that has this backlighting effect, which acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. 2. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation. For coverage so undetectable, you can’t see the makeup or the imperfections—just a natural-looking, luminous, flawless complexion. This one's a keeper!  3. MAC Casual Color Cream Blush.  This stuff is the best!  It gives a sheer pop of color that looks so natural.  Plus, it gives the skin a bit of a sheen, which makes skin look healthy and glowy! 4. Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter. This is one of those products that you wonder how you lived without it?  Gives a great luminous, soft-focus gleam to the skin. Great for highlighting cheek bones, brow bones, and cupid's bow. 5. Tony Moly Age-Defying Snail Hydro-Gel Face Mask Sheet.  I was a bit hesitant to use this sheet mask because of the snail goo aspect.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at the results, which was more hydrated skin, plus my face felt a bit tighter.  

 

Baby, it's cold outside!

There are lots of great things about living in New England:  the ocean, fall foliage, the Patriots (GO PATS!), an abundance of lobster, clam chowdah, world renown hospitals and universities (Hahvahd), Fenway Park, mountains, Tom Brady (wait, I guess he can be grouped in with the Pats, right?), Cheers, the Wahlbergs...the list goes on and on.  But the number one thing I DON'T like about living in New England? Winter.  I hate it.  I dread it.  I despise it.  Since I don't ski, play hockey, or ice fish....it's pretty much the worst 3.5 months EVER. And what the winter weather does to my skin is just plain mean.

BUT I have found some seriously awesome beauty products that help keep my super dry skin under control during these painful winter months.  I need to share them with you, because I feel your pain.  I know how skin takes a beating during these frigid months.  So without further ado....check out my winter skin picks below.  Click on an image to get my synopsis!

These products will keep your skin soft and smooth until March 20th....and then you'll need self-tanner tips to get your ghostly skim milk skin looking bronzed and beautiful for spring and summer!

What's in my makeup bag?

 As a makeup artist I have a ridiculous amount of makeup in my kit.  But I do have my own personal makeup bag that is just for me.  I'm always changing what makeup I use, but I have to say that what I'm loving now is going to be pretty permanent! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the products posted here.

(From left-right)
1. it Cosmetics Live, Love, Laugh Vitality Face Disc (the blush is HIGHLY pigmented so a little goes a loooong way!) And what's great about this palette is that you can use it if you have a fair OR deep complexion!
2. it Cosmetics CC+ in medium (My skin tone is pretty light---not porcelain or fair, but a light/medium and the medium color works great for me!)
3. it Cosmetics Bye-Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream (miraculous for covering rosacea and blemishes)
4. Shu Uemura eyelash curler
5. Jemma Kidd's Backstage Kit (this is a must-have palette!)
6. NARS loose powder in desert
7. it Cosmetics Celebration Foundation in light medium (this is a very sheer powder foundation for when you need a little coverage)
8. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (this can get clumpy so I alternate using another mascara (see below) to comb through after I use the Too Faced mascara.)
9. Maybelline Full 'n' Soft in very black
or
10. tarte lights, camera, flashes statement mascara

I hope you enjoy taking a peek into my makeup bag. 
What's in yours?

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Here's the skin-ny....

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OK I know I'm not a dermatologist or an aestethician, but the foundation for a great makeup application is healthy skin.  I have had it up to my (moisturized) neck with people who REFUSE to care for their skin!  I'm kind of obsessed with skincare because I have horrible, terrible dry skin and rosacea, along with some despicable condition called ichthyosis vulgaris (sounds vulgaris, doesn't it?) and sun damage, so I make it a point to really take care of my skin by washing with a gentle cleanser, exfoliating, and moisturizing my skin beyond moisturizing. 

We all have special needs for our skin; some have super dry skin like me, or maybe oily, or a combination of issues.  Whatever your skin problem is, there IS a way to deal with it.  And if you're one of the lucky few who has normal skin, TAKE CARE OF IT! 

I have had countless clients show up for makeup applications and I can tell IMMEDIATELY if they have a skin care regimen or not.  When a person tells me they didn't moisturize their skin before coming to their appointment I am baffled!  What really is baffling is older women who say they don't moisturize.  Ever.  I can see dry skin, wrinkles, and flakiness.  Can't they?  And even if you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize.  Sometimes people with oily skin think they don't have to moisturize because their skin is oily.  Not true!  You have to tailor your skin care regimen to your skin type. 

Stroll down the aisle at the drugstore.  Visit the Clinique counter.  Just go and get yourself the proper tools to keep your skin clean and moisturized.  The best makeup or makeup artist cannot make you look your best when skin is flaking or blemishes have been picked at, leaving scabs.

In order to put your best face forward, you have to take care of it.  This means washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing, limiting your alcohol intake, and not smoking.  Eat tons of fresh fruits and veggies. Drink enormous amounts of water.  Stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen. Start today to renew the youthfulness to your skin.

 

Summer inspirations

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Summer may be unofficially over, but I am moving forward into autumn with a lot of the vibrant colors that inspired me and my makeup palettes this summer.  My biggest color inspirations this summer were DENIM and NAVY!  Denim and navy shadows and liners really popped against bronzed skin.  I also loved sheer greens, grays, and sandy shadows for eyes, coral and peach-colored cheeks and neutral pinks/pinky browns on lips.  Summer was all about showing skin with pops of color, and I believe that is the way this autumn will go as well.  Let me show you how nature played a part in choosing my makeup colors for clients this past summer season, and how I will continue to be inspired by these shades well into fall.

I took my kids blueberry picking in July and when I laid eyes on these beauties, I knew I wanted to layer this gorgeous blue on eyelids!  

I took my kids blueberry picking in July and when I laid eyes on these beauties, I knew I wanted to layer this gorgeous blue on eyelids!  

Ta-daaaaa!!!!!  A denim-colored shadow (One of many in my kit!  Of course each was just a bit different than the one before!) really showcased summer eyes!  This ain't your 80s blue eye shadow, that's for sure!

Ta-daaaaa!!!!!  A denim-colored shadow (One of many in my kit!  Of course each was just a bit different than the one before!) really showcased summer eyes!  This ain't your 80s blue eye shadow, that's for sure!

On a vacation to Nantucket, I found inspiration EVERYWHERE!  This beach with it's blue sky and surf, along with the sandy colors on the beach and shimmery seashells that we found along the way, really spoke to me.  

On a vacation to Nantucket, I found inspiration EVERYWHERE!  This beach with it's blue sky and surf, along with the sandy colors on the beach and shimmery seashells that we found along the way, really spoke to me.  

Voila!  This palette from Bobbi Brown is like having the beach right in your own hand!  I have been having a lot of fun with these colors!  Simply gorgeous!

Voila!  This palette from Bobbi Brown is like having the beach right in your own hand!  I have been having a lot of fun with these colors!  Simply gorgeous!

Aaahhhh....the famous Nantucket Reds!  I have always loved this faded red color.  Just easy and relaxed.  Now, there's a drink on the island that is also called a Nantucket Red, but we won't talk about that right now!

Aaahhhh....the famous Nantucket Reds!  I have always loved this faded red color.  Just easy and relaxed.  Now, there's a drink on the island that is also called a Nantucket Red, but we won't talk about that right now!

What a perfect match to those Nantucket Reds!  This is a color that works well on olive or tanned skin.  It gives a beautiful pop of color to bare skin. 

What a perfect match to those Nantucket Reds!  This is a color that works well on olive or tanned skin.  It gives a beautiful pop of color to bare skin. 

I love the gray colors of the houses and buildings in Nantucket.  Those pink flowers give a burst of color against the weathered gray.   

I love the gray colors of the houses and buildings in Nantucket.  Those pink flowers give a burst of color against the weathered gray.   

Grays and charcoal eye shadows seem to work year round.  But there's something alluring about them on a hot summer night and even into fall.  These colors resemble that pretty cottage in Nantucket.

Grays and charcoal eye shadows seem to work year round.  But there's something alluring about them on a hot summer night and even into fall.  These colors resemble that pretty cottage in Nantucket.

Pink lipsticks and glosses pair so well with a gray eye.  

Pink lipsticks and glosses pair so well with a gray eye.  

These three colors are soft and wearable.  

These three colors are soft and wearable.  

They are reminiscent of the beautiful, bright flowers adorning the Nantucket cottage.

They are reminiscent of the beautiful, bright flowers adorning the Nantucket cottage.

About Face!

Why oh WHY do cosmetics companies sell so many GORGEOUS things?!?!  They're putting me in the poor house! With all the money I've spent on makeup since 7th grade, I could probably have bought a $20M home and traveled the world 100 times! I have never been able to resist the lure of the makeup counter or boutique.  Can't.  WON'T!  There are women who go ga-ga for purses and/or shoes.  I am not one of those women.  (I probably own 10 pairs of shoes and maybe 5 purses....and I've had them all for, like, ten years!) My addiction is MAKEUP!  And I love me some skin care products, too!  I'm the makeup counter girl's DREAM customer!  But I always buy my makeup from places that I can return it to if it doesn't work out.  That's key!  That's how I am able to try so many products for all of YOU and my clients.  I have crazy skin so if it doesn't work for me, I won't try it on YOU.  And when I LOVE a product, I tell EVERYONE about it.  And when I hate a product?  Yep....I tell EVERYONE.  And if you know me, you know I have a BIG mouth!  So here are some of my new faves.  (Imagine me with a megaphone here!)

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Fly With Me mascara by NYX.  I really love this mascara because it lengthens lashes but with a light formula.  It's not heavy or clumpy, which is what I've been finding with other mascaras lately, even my old standby Maybelline Full 'n' Soft.  That used to be my FAVORITE, but not anymore!  They must have changed the formula, because it stinks now.  This one really delivers its promise of long lashes.  And it looks natural.

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This blush is fantastic!  I like the shade HAUTE.  It's a peachy/bronze color that works really well on light-medium skin tones.  I've used this on myself and some redheads with light skin.  It really brings a warmth to the skin, without looking like makeup.  It delivers a very natural glow with a fresh color. 

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This Calvin Klein One lip gloss is beautiful!  The shade RAVISHED is my favorite.  It looks like a super bright red in the tube, but don't let that scare you...it gives a brilliant POP of color that is actually just a bit brighter than your natural lip color. Great with a (faux) tan and perfect for summer!


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Here's another lip gloss I am really loving. TIGI lip gloss in FOXY.  A peachy/pink color that really saturates the lips with color and shine.  This one is great everyday gloss and looks fantastic with a brown smoky eye.

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This might be one of the BEST palettes I've purchased in a very long time!  The Aqualillies for tarte palette contains 6 waterproof shadows that are neutral, wearable shades that last!  All shadows go on smoothly and have amazing staying power.  There's a great highlighter as well as a bronzer that is one of the best I've found so far.  It doesn't leave the skin looking muddy and it really delivers a good bronzed look.  The BLUSH----oh my!  A gorgeous coral/peach shade that works on all skin tones.  Absolutely freakin' beautiful! A must-have!

Prom time!

If anyone had done such a grand gesture for me when I was in high school, I would have definitely said yes.  To anyone. 

If anyone had done such a grand gesture for me when I was in high school, I would have definitely said yes.  To anyone. 

It's that time of year again...prom season!  High school girls around the U.S. are preparing for this big night as we speak (er...write).  I recall my high school proms and let me tell you, all 3 were the worst nights of my life.  Especially my senior prom!  THE. ABSOLUTE. WORST.  (More on THAT at the end of today's blog!)

So here are a few makeup tips for all of you prom-goers out there who want to DIY for the prom.  Remember, less is more.  Just because it's the prom (or any special occasion, for that matter) you don't want to look like you are auditioning for a clown job in the circus with a face full of makeup!  

Uh...this is an absolute NO.  Do you want to look like this on prom night?  No?  Then keep your makeup simple and pretty.  Oh my god...this pic is freaking me out!

Uh...this is an absolute NO.  Do you want to look like this on prom night?  No?  Then keep your makeup simple and pretty.  Oh my god...this pic is freaking me out!

1. Always use a primer. 
Using a primer over clean, moisturized, and *exfoliated* skin is key to setting the makeup for your entire face.  It creates a smooth canvas for you to build upon, resulting in a flawless end-result. 
                   
2. Use a buildable foundation.
Foundation should not look like spackle.  It should be fresh-looking, allowing your skin to breathe.  It should be applied with a light hand in a shade that matches your skin color. (The right color melts into your skin without a trace.)  You should start off applying your foundation (with a foundation brush) in small amounts.  So put some foundation on the back of your hand and dip the tip of your brush in.  It should just cover the TIP of the brush.  You're not painting a wall-there's no need to cover the entire brush and start painting away at your face! (I wish I knew that tip in high school!  Eeeeek! My foundation was 10 inches thick and ridiculously dark.  My face and neck didn't match and, looking back, I know I looked dreadful!  But back then I thought I looked AWESOME!)  Begin brushing gently over the face, blending well.  Be sure to get the creases on the sides of your nose and eyelids, as well as around the lips.  Blend the foundation up and into the hairline and also down the jawline into the neck.  Make sure it is applied evenly and blended in!  *And remember-exfoliate your skin and lips!  I can't tell you how many teens I have done makeup for and their skin is flaking off!  Makeup will not look good on flaky skin, no matter how well it is applied or how expensive the product is.  Taking care of your skin should be a top priority!  Cleansing morning and night with a gentle cleanser and exfoliating several mornings per week, followed my a moisturizer containing a high SPF for daytime (EVEN IF IT IS CLOUDY!) and a richer moisturizer at night are imperative, along with using a rich lip balm, to your skin's health and overall appearance. Okay....I will step down from my soapbox now!

3. Concealer
Any pesky blemishes or unevenness can be covered!  Use a creamy concealer that either matches your skin tone or one shade lighter and apply with your finger.  PAT it onto the blemish or the area that requires more coverage.  Don't rub it in or you'll just rub it off!  Just pat and blend carefully until the discoloration is hidden.

4.  Blush!
Use a cream blush on the apples of your cheeks, blending up and out toward hairline.  It should be applied with fingers, tapping the product on and patting it into the skin.  Use a peach, rose, or warm pink shade to mimic a healthy glow.  Again, start with a light hand and if you want a more intense color add a bit more.  Pat and press into the skin.

5.   Powder.
Dust a translucent powder over your face to set your makeup.  A fluffy powder brush can evenly distribute the powder.

6.  Eyes.
Use a flesh-toned shadow over your entire eyelid up to the brow bone.  Pat a shadow a smidge darker over your lid.  And to create a bit of drama and definition, use a darker shadow (in the same color family) to the outer edge of your lid.  It will create a subtle smoky look.  (BLEND!) Use that same flesh tone shadow along your lower lash line with the darkest of the three on top.  Use a creamy eyeliner along upper lash line, smudging it with a Q-tip or a smudging brush. (Which isn't a brush, per se.  Just a small foam-like tool, sometimes found on the opposite end of an eyeliner or sold separately.)

7. Use a setting spray!
Mist a setting spray over your face to lock in your makeup.  It will not budge throughout the night!!!!!  Wooooooo-hoooooo!
 
8.  Lashes
Curl lashes with a lash curler and apply waterproof mascara.

9. Lips
Your finishing touch should be your lip color.  Sometimes lipstick is too much for teens.  I like a lip gloss-it's just simple and sheer and easy to reapply, even without a mirror.  A sheer peach or pink is always flattering!

 

 

I can only dream that I had one of these gorgeous dresses above for my proms.  I'm going to age myself here, but I grew up in the 80s and the style was...well....not stylish at all.  See below.....

Now, NONE of the above photos are MY proms.  (Thank you Internet for allowing me to search for these poor people's EMBARRASSING photos!)  But THIS was the "style".  Can you imagine wearing those pastel colors and ruffles?  UGH!  And I had the MOST ugly dresses for my proms.  I don't have any pics to show right now....perhaps if I can get my mother to do some serious digging at her house, I can eventually post some.  I know that photos exist from my sophomore hop and my junior prom...HOWEVER....THERE ARE NO PHOTOS AT ALL FROM MY SENIOR PROM!  NONE!  I destroyed the professional photos that were taken.  I wish I could erase the memory of that night from my mind forever.  But unfortunately, I can't.  I went with a guy from another town.  LOSER!  I wanted to go home the minute I got to the prom.  And my dress!  Oh my LORD!  It was a PEACH, STRAPLESS, TEA-LENGTH DRESS.  And I had the WORST sunburn in the HISTORY of sunburns just days before the prom.  Trying to cover it with makeup was useless.  My HAIR.  I didn't get it professionally done--I did it MYSELF!  I used this curling iron with a teeny, tiny barrel that gave me Shirley Temple curls all over my head.  I remember looking in the mirror before I left to pick up the LOSER thinking, "Oh my god.  I can't go like this."  Plus it was raining and that just added to the misery of the night.  Without going into any further detail, (me not getting a bouquet or even a wrist corsage from my LOSER date (he gave me one yellow rose which I immediately threw in the trash!  UH...hello cheapskate!), the guy I had a crush on for years was there with someone else,  the big fight between my LOSER date and this LOSER guy friend of mine, and breaking into my grandmother's house--ooooops!  Did I just say that?) the night was just a disaster.  If I wanted to be really mean I'd post the names of both LOSERS here for the WORLD to see. But I won't.  I'll be kind.

SO HERE IS THE CHALLENGE! If ANYONE can produce a photo of me from my senior prom, I will pay them $100 and I will post it here on the blog and on my business Facebook page.  I can't imagine that ANYONE has one.  I am sure I didn't get into any photos that night.  I'm pretty confident that I won't have to part with 100 bucks, but still, I'm putting that challenge out there.  So WHS Class of 1989.....find me a pic!  I know you can't.....

 

Spring fling!

Spring is here!  (At least that's what the calendar says!)  I don't know about you, but my wardrobe has consisted of 99.9% of gray and black clothes.  I am looking forward to wearing BRIGHT, BEAUTIFUL COLORS!  And that goes for my makeup as well!

This season's makeup trend is blue, green, and purple eye shadows and liners; lips are various shades of pink, nudes, fuchsia, and coral. 

DON'T be afraid of these eye shadow colors!  It's 2013, after all.  We are not back in the 1970s or 1980s.  Check out the looks below....they're sheer and shimmery.  You can keep them simple for day and amp them up for night. 

As you can see the colors are pretty sheer and wearable.  Colors ranging from icy blues and gray/blues, turquoises, denims, cobalt, are all green lights this season, as are any shade of green or purple.  Shadows will allow a more sheer application, while creams will provide darker pigment, similar to ink. 

So remember, you don't have to look like an Easter egg this spring.  Using a light hand, and if you're going bolder---LOTS OF BLENDING, and your look will be pretty, polished, and PERFECT!

And the winner is.....

So the Oscars have come and gone, but the photos will live on forever.  I checked out the red carpet, but what I was looking at was the MAKEUP!  Some actresses looked great, some....eh....not so much.  I want to take a look at the winners (and, okay, the losers, too!) to see which looks were truly Oscar-worthy.

OK I think these 8 ladies looked fantastic!  I like the neutral makeup-it makes them all look polished and put together.  I'm not against bright colored makeup at all---I just found these women really hit the mark with their understated makeup.  I firmly believe in my company's motto: "You. Only Better."  These actresses look beautiful, but not overdone.  That is what you should aim for; looking like a better version of yourself.  Now, I'm sure you are wondering, "Well, how can any of these girls look bad?"  Aaahhh, well take a look at this link where you can zoom in on several of these actresses.  You will see their wrinkles.  It's true.  Even Hollywood has wrinkles.  (See? I just needed to feel better about my own wrinkles!)  OK so aside from my maniacal zoom-in to scrutinize these gorgeous ladies, I truly believe they looked great.
http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-beauty/pictures/oscars-best-beauty-looks-of-the-night-2013252/2881

So here are some ladies' makeup that I felt wasn't the best.

Kristen Stewart...she just looked dirty.  I don't know-she looked like she hadn't showered.  In addition to her always looking mad/sad/depressed/bothered, I just felt that she didn't look as though much effort had been put into getting ready.

The same goes for Jennifer Aniston.  Now I truly like her as an actress.  She always looks great, but for the Oscars....eh.  She, too, didn't look as though she put much effort into getting ready.  She basically looks exactly the same as when we see her in US Weekly shopping at Whole Foods.  Her hair and makeup are underwhelming. 

Kelly Rowland.  Poor, poor Kelly.  How did she look in the mirror on Monday night and say to herself, "I look amazing!"  The hair....ugh.  And the makeup....it just looked terrible.  There was nothing remarkable about how she looked.  It was just plain BAD.

Giuliana Rancic.  OK...to be honest....I saw her on some panel early on in the red carpet.  I truly believed she was a transvestite.  Now hey, I have no problems with transvestites, but she isn't one!  She just looked awful.  Her face looked odd.  The makeup was way too much.  She doesn't need that much.  I can't say anymore....gosh, she looked unattractive.  Ooops...I said more!

Stacy Keibler-I wasn't a big fan of her hairdo and her makeup was too neutral.  She needed a pop of color somewhere!  Perhaps a bit of pink on her cheeks or a rose-colored lip? 

Adele...I love her!  Great voice.  A non-conformist.  All great stuff.  And I understand that this is her trademark look.  Got it.  But it's just too much.  Clown-like.  The lips are just so.....so....RED!  I couldn't imagine being a man (or a woman!) kissing big red lips.  Eeewww.  Really...ewww.  The whole look is unnatural.

Amanda Seyfried.  I don't know...I just didn't think she looked as great as she usually does.  She looks tired.  Tired and greasy. 

And lastly, Jennifer Hudson.  Usually I don't like her foundation.  She is usually wearing a very red-based foundation, which just looks unnatural.  I actually DO like her foundation in this pic, but that is it.  She looks totally washed out.  She needs color!  Her lips literally blend into her face.  She needs warmth to her cheeks. 

OK.....I'm done with my critique.  And you know, I don't really LIKE to critique people, even if they are Hollywood actresses, because hey, I am NOT PERFECT!  Not by ANY means!  Right now I am completely obsessed with the big ZIT on my cheek, my flaking skin, and my spare tire that seemed to just creep up on me over the last month or so.  So please, I am hideous!  And I KNOW it! 

Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day is fast approaching and who doesn't love love?  (Well, back in my college days my friends and I did not  love love-we dressed in all black on VDAY and took black Sharpie's and completely blacked out the date on our calendars....sorry....I'm digressing!)   But if YOU are spending the day (or night!) with a very special someone, you're going to want to look FABULOUS, right?  Here are some products that I absolutely LOVE.  They'll make you look and smell amazing and hopefully won't cause YOU to want to boycott this special day!

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This has got to be the BEST scrub I have EVER used!  I have severely dry skin and on top of THAT I also have severe eczema, and this scrub is positively AMAZING!  (Bellanonna is not paying me to say that!)  This scrub leaves you softer than you have ever been in your LIFE!  I even use it on my face-just a small amount, in a gentle, circular motion.  It gets rid of dry, flaky skin and leaves behind the nourishing, skin-loving safflower oil.  It's incredible!  And the SMELL!  My god, the SMELL is insanely delicious!  A sugary banana scent that is just heavenly.  I urge you all to buy this scrub!  www.bellanonnaboutique.com

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By this time of year, I am longing for spring and summer.  I think I suffer from that SAD disorder (seasonal affective disorder).  I need sun and warmth all year round.  This bronzer from UK-based Makeup Academy is awesome!  Probably the best bronzer I've tried.  It doesn't make you look orange or dirty---it actually makes you look TAN!  There is a bit of shimmer to this bronzer, but by no means will you look like a disco ball.  The shimmer is light-reflective, so really, it just catches the light and illuminates the skin. So when you're feeling blue about the cold and snow, swish some of this onto your skin and watch it transform into a natural-looking bronze that makes you look like you came back from Tahiti.

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OK....this body butter smells like a dream!  It smells like Hawaiian Tropic!  It is a rich, moisturizing lotion that smells like summer.  Just putting it on takes me to a tropical locale!  I first found this at Sephora, but they stopped carrying the brand.  I then saw the brand at Whole Foods, but they don't carry this particular scent.  The other day I was strolling through Target and WHAM!  There it was in the end aisle!  There were 3 left and I bought 2.  (I didn't want to be too greedy!) I literally lunged at the shelf and grabbed the lotion like I was a looter!  It was like a smash and grab!  A woman walking behind me saw the commotion I was causing and I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she went over and investigated the last tube of this lotion.  I then saw her put it in her cart!  You see?  She caught the thrill!  (Oh, by the way, they sell a perfume in this scent, too.  UN-FREAKIN'-BELIEVABLE!) www.pacificaperfume.com

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This is a neutral eyeshadow palette that can go easily from day to night.  This is my favorite eyeshadow palette of all time.  I also like the NAKED 2 palette, but the original is definitely my fave.  You can create many different looks with this palette-especially for a romantic night out.  I like to use SIN on the whole lid, up to the brow bone, then use TOASTED on the lid and HUSTLE to create definition.  A sheer pink lip gloss can finish off the look. www.sephora.com, www.urbandecay.com, www.ulta.com

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Finish off your look with some falsies!  I prefer individual lashes as opposed to self-adhesive/strip lashes, because they look more natural.  Use short ones; and if you are a redhead, I suggest using brown vs black.  Putting on false lashes is easy: the key is to look down in a mirror.  The Ardell website has some tutorials as well. www.ardelllashes.com

 
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And finally....this is my new lipstick love!  Hey, I love pricey shee-shee products.  Believe me, I do!  HOWEVER---I think a lot of women believe they HAVE to spend $$$$ on products, otherwise they're not good quality.  This is simply NOT true!  While I have a lot of expensive products in my makeup kit, I also have a lot of inexpensive products, too.  This NYC lipstick is awesome!  And while the price is cheap, the quality isn't.  This shade-sugarplum-is a pinky brown color that is flattering on all skintones.  I'm fair and "blonde", but this works for dark hair and skin as well.  A perfect addition to your makeup bag, at a perfect price.