EMANI Cosmetics Made My Catalina Trip Amazing

June 6th, 2013

It’s almost summer which means it’s time to plan mini getaways, warm trips, and long vacations! Personally, I spent my weekend on the gorgeous island of Catalina; Avalon to be exact. Of course, I did my homework ahead of time to determine what I needed to bring per weather restrictions, the verdict you ask? Sunny in the mid-70’s! Sounded like perfect sun bathing weather, however I remembered that Catalina weather is always iffy. A beautiful sunshine-filled afternoon can have a wind chill leaving me freezing cold!

I decided to bring my new eco-friendly EMANI cosmetics with me, not only because the colors are brilliantly tropical (and healthy – 100% vegan!), but also because they have breathable products which are designed to perform in all kinds of elements; extreme heat, humidity or cold temperatures. They seemed like a perfect fit for my Catalina getaway!

EMANI is a rare breed: 100% vegan, 100% gluten free, 100% American made, cruelty free, PETA certified and award winning, paraben/talc/mineral oil/etc. etc. FREE! These stats made me think the company must create great green products, however I questioned if they would provide good enough coverage or rich enough shades. They actually wear very light but provide deep coverage just like our favorite, expensive, luxury brands. I was shocked.

A few of my favorite products I used this weekend were the Crushed Blush in Cancun Heat, the Flawless Matte Foundation in Nude Beige, and the Mosaic Eye Shadow in Feeling Mischievous. I was really glad I brought my EMANI round-up because Saturday was gorgeous and hot (mid-80’s), but Sunday was sunny and freezing (the wind made it feel like low 60’s!). Regardless, my makeup looked flawless throughout. Aside from the high-performing pigmented shadows like the gorgeous Crushed Mineral Color Dust in Bamboo, the best item I brought was the Vegan Travel Brush Set. This set should actually be incorporated into my daily beauty regimen, not just for travel. Unbelievably soft, the brushes allow for an even and easy application for all kinds of product. They even have a top secret way of affixing each individual bristle to the wand to ensure they never leave stray hairs on your face!

Thanks EMANI for making my Catalina trip full of luminous color, coverage, and all around excitement!

7 Makeup Must-Haves for ‘Faux’ Naturel

June 4th, 2013

Doesn’t Angelina Jolie look absolutely glowing at the World War Z world premiere in London? That’s considering she had just undergone a preventive double mastectomy to lessen her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

But it’s not just her breasts—or her lack thereof—that inspired me to blog about her today. It’s her makeup choice, which looks virtually non-existent from where I am. I really like it when celebs dare to go fresh-faced for a change. It’s always interesting to see the real face that’s buried under those heavy layers of foundation. But more importantly, it reveals those distinct qualities, those seemingly imperfect attributes that really make a face standout.

Going au naturel is probably the easiest look to master and requires the least amount of time to do—IF you have Angelina’s naturally flawless complexion, perfectly arched eyebrows, prominent cheek bones and pillowy pout. If you don’t have at least 3 of the qualifying requirements—most mere mortals like us do not—don’t fret, as that’s what makeup is for. Here are 7 makeup products you need to complete an au naturel look.

1. BB Cream – You can never go wrong with a BB cream. It conceals minor imperfections while providing your skin with some skin care and sunscreen benefits.

2. Tinted Moisturizer/Sunscreen – If, after everything we’ve written about BB creams in this blog, you’re still a “non-BBliever” (sorry, I couldn’t resist), you can always reach for a tinted moisturizer or tinted sunscreen. These products will give you the same lightweight coverage, just less skin care perks. My absolute favorite and the one I use every day is CoTZ Face SPF 40. I can do away with makeup, but not if I don’t have this on!

3. An Eyebrow Filler – Trust me, a well-defined set of eyebrows makes a world of difference! It frames your eyes and really draws attention to their shape and color—this is especially crucial if you’re deciding to do away with eye shadows and liners. For a more natural finish, try SmartBrow.

4. Concealer – Not all of us are blessed with a blemish-free complexion, but to keep your look believable, try not to conceal every square inch of your face. Apply concealer only where you need them: under the eyes, sides of nose and blemish marks.

5. Cream Blush – Here’s why I prefer cream blushes over powder: It gives my cheeks a sheer wash of color that never looks like makeup. Apply it on the apples of your cheeks and continue to blend until you don’t know where the blush ends and your skin starts. If you haven’t tried a good cream blush yet, Face Stockholm has a lot of color options.

6. Lip Stain – The best thing about lip stains is their unbeatable staying power. You can go the whole day without retouching. To make it believable, choose a shade that mimics your natural lip color.

7. Highlighter – Natural skin is never matte, so don’t shun a little bit of shine. Apply highlighter on strategic “high points” of your face—forehead, cheekbones, down the center of your nose, brow bone and Cupid ’s bow—to make your skin look naturally glowing.

And there you have it—everything you need to fake that au naturel look we’re all dying to sport this summer!

The Great Cover Up

May 31st, 2013

Last weekend I had friends over for my first pool party of the summer season. (Well, June 21st is the actual first day of summer, but I live in sunny California, so it’s close enough.) I had planned this party for weeks—and I am not just talking about what food or drink I would serve. I am talking about my TAN! Now I do know overexposure to the sun is bad for your skin—I have not really laid out in the sun without sunscreen for years—but perfecting your tan without getting a sunburn is like walking by a mirror and not looking at yourself (oh, come on, we all do it). Of course you can always try self-tanners, and I do sometimes, but for some reason I could not achieve that seamless, streak-free tan I wanted around my hands and feet.

This is why I love sunbathing just like everyone else, which is a problem since I work in an industry where we preach the importance of taking care of your skin and of NEVER staying too long in the sun. So what is the safest way to get color without harming your skin?  The answer: Sunscreen!

Sunscreen sales have reached 1 BILLION dollars in 2013, and yet melanoma is on the rise by 2 percent each year since 2000. The main reason is that we’re NOT APPLYING ENOUGH SUNSCREEN! The new FDA labeling rules have helped. For one, it has mandated that sunscreen products replace their “waterproof” claim to just “water-resistant,” and that labels must note that the product should be reapplied every 2 hours. Also, the actual amount of sunscreen that needs to be applied is more than what you would think. For the body, it must be enough to fill a shot glass and applied more often if swimming. For the face and hairline, you need to apply at least one teaspoon.

It is no wonder we get sunburned. How many times have you gone to the pool or beach and then remembered to apply sunscreen one more time? Was it enough to fill a shot glass? Every time I think I am doing such a good job of protecting my skin, I come back from the pool with sunburn!

This is why I had to plan accordingly. THIS YEAR, I told myself that I am not going to get burned. I have used many sunscreens in the past and they all have been good, but with Elta MD, I could say I have found the best sunscreen I’ve ever used and I will tell you why.

UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF 45 – This sunscreen is broad spectrum so it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both bad. It’s also non-greasy and water-resistant. The reason it is broad spectrum is that it contains zinc oxide which is a physical barrier. It does spray on white, BUT it dries clear and stays that way! You could spray this sunscreen every hour and you would not see it or feel it. I have never put on a sunscreen that did not have some type of shine, smell or feel to it, but with this one I couldn’t even tell I had it on! It protected every part of my exposed skin—NO BURN at all!

UV Facial Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Plus - I use this facial sunscreen every day over my moisturizer as it is gentle enough for my sensitive skin. Plus, the vitamin E shields my skin from free radicals that cause premature aging, or from anything harmful the environment might throw at it.

By the time my pool party happened, I had a perfect tan without the nasty sunburn—thanks to Elta MD! This brand is really a MUST-HAVE for the summer season!


Summer Essentials – 3 Products You Never Knew You Needed

May 28th, 2013

By Jenna

Memorial Day weekend has already come and gone which doesn’t just remind us not to squander time but to also start enjoying the summer. Like right now. In the next few months we will be going on vacations and flocking to bodies of water. With the upcoming excursions and lazy, leisurely days we need to be sure that we’re protected from the rays of the sun and for anything that life throws at us whilst indulging. We all know the basics to bring to any summer soiree: SPF, lip balm, waterproof mascara and body oil, however the bare bones pack job may not cover us for more than a day. Wherever I go, I want to not only look my best but feel my best around the clock and I have a feeling you’ll want to pick up a few of my secrets too.

Being on vacation or at a party should be glamorous right? If there’s one thing to turn to it’s a face palette. My favorite face go-to is the Instant Face kit from Claudio Riaz. 4 amazing products in 1 – BOOM. Pool party, BBQ, boat trip, beach day, no problem. You have everything in this gorgeous kit to apply or touch up. Guess what? It’s refillable! After using up what you love, stage a makeup mutiny and switch with ANY of the rest of Claudio’s line so you can build your own perfect palette over time. No hot mess face over here thank you.

No matter your weight, everyone gets a little critical about themself while in a swimsuit. Relax girls, you can get a leg up on the competition. I have quite a few weekend trips planned where bikinis are a must but I don’t want to worry about any puckering going on with my legs or behind if you get my drift.  My secret to a better look from behind is Bliss’ FatGirlSlim. I don’t want anyone actually knowing exactly what I’m doing, so I put some of the lotion in a travel container and label it just ‘lotion’. Genius, I know. While I’m hydrating, I’m reinforcing and if applied every day it’s smooth sailing.

With a trip already booked to an eco-friendly boutique hotel in a 3rd world country, I’m really careful to pack only what I need. To help conserve and conscious of my carbon footprint, I’m packing up LA Fresh’s Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wipes. These 100% biodegradable wipes can be used on your face or body for a quick refresh at any time of the day. With ingredients like aloe, chamomile, vitamin E, cucumber and papaya, they remove makeup while soothing and cleansing your skin. I cannot stress enough about how amazing these wipes are for anywhere. I have a pack in my gym bag, beach bag, and suitcase and they come in handy every single day.

Have any summer beauty essentials that you can’t live without? Share!

The Does-It-All Serum That Will Get Rid of Your Spots

May 24th, 2013

It’s (almost!) memorial weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer here in the good ol’ US of A. With summer comes good times in the sun … and all too often, with good times in the sun comes visible skin damage. The good news: if you practice diligence with your daily SPF usage and incorporate a serum like B. Kamins Nia-Stem Serum KX into your routine, you can thwart sun damage before it pops up.

This product owes its superpowers in large part to niacinamide—it’s one of the lesser-sung heroes of the skin care world, but that’s not to say it’s not one of the most efficacious ingredients out there. It works in a super gentle (yet totally effective) manner to help erase and suppress the signs of sun damage. If you’re currently suffering with any kind of pigmentation issues (save for melasma, that’s its own beast) I do believe you’ll be pleased with its effects.

This product also contains plant stem cells, which stimulate cell turnover, working in tandem with the niacinamide to ease the look of  dark spots, soften wrinkles and fine lines and improve upon that dreaded rough texture we all experience to some degree as we get older.

The bottom line? If you incorporate a serum like this one into your beauty routine (and refuse to slack on the SPF) you’ll come out of summer with the best complexion of your adult life!

Did you receive this product in your recent Beautyfix kit? If you did, you know what to do: leave a comment and tell us how much you’re loving it!

My Personal Skin Saver

May 21st, 2013

This month has been a killer for me. I am sure my friends, family and coworkers are pretty sick of hearing my complaints about my travel schedule, especially since the majority of the month has been fun (REALLY FUN) trips that I scheduled myself- an impromptu marathon with one of my favorite friends, Grandma’s surprise 80th birthday on the East Coast, girl’s trip to Las Vegas, a bachelorette party in Palm Springs, plus a little work trip to NY. All super fun but the back to back trips are starting to take its toll on my sanity and my skin. I am a stick-to-my-routine and eight-hours-of-sleep-per-night kind of girl, so multiple red-eyes, smokey casinos and late nights dancing (with Grandma, not in Vegas) can really throw me off. I generally have pretty resilient skin but I noticed after my most recent jaunt that my skin was looking really dull, I developed circles under my eyes and I was starting to breakout. Who would have guessed that traveling and not sleeping could do so much skin damage so quickly! I asked my go-to skin gurus, AKA my coworkers, what I should do rectify my skin care issues and everyone recommended trying out a serum.

Initially, I was a little skeptical because some serums I have tested leave my skin oily and greasy; however, after reading reviews on DermStore.com, I decided to test out DDF’s Amplifying Elixir. The name alone was enough to sway me- an amplifying elixir was exactly what my poor skin needed.  The first time I put it on, it felt like my skin literally drank it up. I am sure it had something to do with my skin’s level of dehydration but it absorbed so quickly and felt amazing! The DDF skin care product is full of botanical extracts- think lotus flower, banyan leaf, cactus and red clover- that work together to detoxify and hydrate the skin. After just a few uses, I noticed my skin had regained an even skin tone, my breakouts were vanishing and my complexion looked brighter! Additionally, a little bit goes a VERY long way. I don’t think I have even put a dent in the bottle after several uses! This 1.7 oz bottle of skin-saving goodness will be tucked safely in my carry-on this weekend…and the week following… and then the next weekend. Welp, I might not be well rested, but at least my skin will not be what gives it away!


The Super Hero of Anti-Aging

May 20th, 2013

“In 28 years of practicing dermatology, I have never seen such impactful results from any topical skincare product in producing improvements in facial color, texture & fine lines.”-Neal B. Schultz, M.D.

This is just one of the many impressive quotes found on the packaging of the M Lab skincare preview available in this season’s Beautyfix.  Referred to as the anti-aging wonder, the testimonials for this brand are strong and my name can be added to the list. The skincare preview package is the best way to experience M Lab. It’s a little amount of cleanser, serum and eye cream, but it’s all you need to see the effects this product has on your skin. M LAB features 45-74% clinically active ingredients, rather than the 10-20% most cosmeceutical anti-aging lines use to target all visual signs of aging for corrective action. The results are diminished fine lines and wrinkles, and improved clarity, texture and tone in a shorter amount of time.  After just a few uses, my skin was more radiant and I felt more confident about my complexion. I had an all-over even tone and my fine lines seemed to fade. My skin felt hydrated and looked brighter.  I even resisted putting on my bb cream for the day (which is rare). I would highly recommend giving this brand a try. If you have already tried it, leave a comment for us and tell us what you think. Will you be adding your name to the list of  testimonials?

Bring Lackluster Skin Back To Life With Bliss Triple Oxygen+C Energizing Cream

May 15th, 2013




My new go-to skin hydrator is bliss Triple Oxygen + C Energizing Cream. This lightweight, gel-like formula helps revive dull, stressed or fatigued skin after a long day at the office. It works to improve skin hydration, clarity and enhance your skin’s natural radiance. Use it every morning before applying your makeup foundation to achieve a fresh, dewy glow.


Of all the options in the world of skin care, here are a few reasons why bliss Triple Oxygen + C Energizing Cream is a spectacular product that combats lackluster skin:


  • Vitamin C boosts collagen production to maintain a youthful complexion


  • O2 (Oxygen) reenergizes skin cells to improve the skin’s vitality


  • Sodium PCA binds water to the skin to replenish moisture loss and plump fine lines for a smooth appearance


  • Grape seed extract maintains skin’s elasticity and protects against sun damage


Within three uses, my skin felt noticeably softer. It also brought relief to those dry patches of skin I get on my chin. Now I’m hooked! It really helps “wake up” my skin, even when it’s too early to be up at the crack of dawn and does a fantastic job of really replenishing moisture without feeling heavy, sticky, or leaving a greasy finish. I can’t say enough about this cream. Best of all, it doesn’t clog my pores and a little goes a long way!

Revitalizing My Mane with Moses

May 10th, 2013

There aren’t many skin care products I can try without causing some sort of flare up on my sensitive skin, so I have to rely on testing all sorts of new hair care products to get my beauty fix! (Pun intended!) I used to highlight my hair every other month or so, until one day when my stylist went on maternity leave and I was referred to someone new in the interim. To put it nicely, this salon newbie gave me a terrible, brassy, hair highlight disaster which forced me to give up on bleach all together. I stupidly stormed to the drugstore, purchased a box of black hair dye, and quickly turned my brown mane with brassy streaks into a blackish purple mop of darkness.

Even though my family hated the dark, drastic color – my hair has never felt as soft and strong as it did when it was black since I wasn’t constantly terrorizing it with harsh bleach! The black color lasted forever, but unfortunately I got sick of it after a few short seasons. Take it from me: there is no easy way to remove permanent black dye except to let it grow out naturally.

I started highlighting my hair again after a year or so to add some dimension and depth to my hair styles. Currently, my hair is in a good state of color that I am happy with – natural brown on top with an ombre style lightening up the bottom. The bad part about this ‘do is the constant detrimental process I keep putting my ends through again with the added bleach! The ends are the most damaged part of my hair already, and now I’m afraid I’m just willingly adding to the issue.

I am happy to report that my issue of damaged ends has subsided thanks to Moses’ line of salon quality hair care! I started using the BeautyFix samples of Moses Smoothing Elixir Shampoo and Hair Mask to try and get the shine and healthy feeling I once had with my black locks back to my new ombre. The shampoo surprised me when I read that Argan oil was one of the main ingredients because it didn’t weigh my hair down like normal products infused with oil. It really locked in the moisture my hair had been deprived of for so long!

Next step was the Moses Hair Mask. I was a little wary to try the mask because I anticipated it to leave my hair heavy and greasy like other ones I have used. Even though I have a lot of long hair, each strand is very thin which doesn’t allow the product to completely absorb. Usually I am left with a waxy feeling following a hair mask; however this product actually did the complete opposite! It relieved my hair of any added weight, maintained a very sheen look, and brought softness to my ends that have been missing for all my days of treacherous bleaching.

I am definitely going to add Moses’ Smoothing Elixir Conditioner into my new routine, as I am sure my already positive results with the shampoo and mask will just keep skyrocketing! Thanks, Moses!

How to Deal with Aging Hands

May 7th, 2013

Research shows that most people can accurately guess the age of a woman just by looking at her hands. That statement wouldn’t be true for me, because if someone were to guess my age based on my dry and wrinkled hands, I bet that person would say I’m over 60 years old!

Blame that on years of neglecting my hands. Of washing my hands profusely with bar soaps and slathering them with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Of scrubbing the bathroom floor without wearing any gloves. And of using my fingernails to tinker with just about everything. For years I was convinced I did all my skin care regimen right, cleansing, exfoliating, and slathering moisturizer and sunscreen on my face religiously and accordingly—until I saw how miserably my hands have aged. It was only then that I realized that I should’ve extended the same care and attention I gave the skin on my face to the skin on my hands.

But it’s not just me. In fact, even renowned celebrities like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie are suffering from the same veiny, crimpled and crepey skin on hands! “The hands are one of the first places where we see the signs of aging, and also the area most people neglect when it comes to skin care,” says dermatologist Rhoda Narins, MD, professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York.

Aside from constant sun and chemical exposure, loss of moisture is one of the most common causes of premature aging on hands. Of course there are several procedures now that can reverse this, like the “hand lift,” Fraxel laser and fillers—but not everyone has enough disposable income to afford those. Thankfully, there are several skin creams and oil-based moisturizers that promise the same effect. Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. And while some of them have eased the discomfort associated with dry and flaky skin, I’ve never encountered anything that immediately transformed the look of my aging hands—until I’ve tried AmLactin Ultra Triple Action Alpha Hydroxy Acid Hydrating Body Cream.

I was really amazed at how fast my skin responded to this cream. In just 30 seconds, the lines and wrinkles on my hands softened, and my skin looked brighter, plumper and smoother. It turns out that easing dry skin isn’t all about supplying your skin with enough moisture. In order for that moisture to effectively penetrate your skin, you have to remove the dulling debris that clog your pores. That’s why this cream contains alpha hydroxy acid, to exfoliate your skin first before drenching it with rich humectants and creamy emollients.

Now this cream is nowhere near luxurious. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t come in fancy packaging, and it doesn’t smell like a botanical garden. But it sure does the job well, and for me that’s all that matters. If you want your hands to look younger, I assure you this is the best cream there is.