Archive of ‘Beauty’ category

Beauty Shop Tuesday

I meant to get this post out yesterday but the Mr. surprised me with a day at home.  And I was busy soaking that up!

So here we are having a Beauty Shop Tuesday…because it can be beauty shop time anytime, right?

Today’s topic, Sally Hansen’s Gel Nail polish.  You know how I love gel manicures.  But I just don’t have the time to maintain nails.  Seriously, I have almost four children now.  Get real.

I’ve heard some serious buzz about the Sally Hansen gel polish.  I’ve heard it’s the next best thing to salon gel manicures.  1) It’s affordable.  It runs approximately $15.  No $100 kit needed here.  2) There is no special light needed.  3) You can buy it anywhere.

So I had to check it out.

The last time I was at Target, I scooped up a color and the top coat.  And I’m gonna be honest.  I’ve been through that nail aisle several times lately and there were three colors left.  Out of about 25.  And I bought the LAST topcoat.  So…I’m thinking it is popular?!!

The color I chose was the only one that looked even remotely fall-ish, a bright violet (Hunger Flames).  So I’m not sure I would have normally experimented with this one.  But it’s just nail polish and I’m adventurous, right?

Previous Polish & New Gel Polish

Previous Polish & New Gel Polish

I went to work and put on the two coats that it asks you to use for the color.  And then also added the topcoat.  Now, it says that you can sit in natural light for them to dry. Since it was so nice out, I went outside and let the sun bake them.  I’m not sure how they’ll dry in the wintertime.

But surprisingly they were dry quite quickly, just like the real thing.  Maybe not put-your-hands-in-your-pocket kind of dry but more like run-errands dry.

So I’ll give them the test and see how long they make it.  And how easy it is to remove because the claim is that you can use your regular polish remover.  And I’m hoping for none of that weird-looking wrinkly nail issue that you have when you take off the salon gel polish.

Here’s the finished product.  Disregard the hangnails.  Having polish ON is a wonderment to moms everywhere.

Gel Polish

Gel Polish


BSS- A Week in Reverse

I am going to try writing this week in reverse.  So that means, today is Saturday.  Aren’t you glad?  I was almost worried there it was Monday.  Let’s celebrate with a little Beauty Shop Saturday talk.

Recently I’ve been sucked into QVC beauty.  I think it has mostly to do with the fact that I don’t want to get out of bed on Saturday morning.  I remember I had a co-worker once who thought her mom was becoming a QVC addict.  She kept saying, “Mom, they aren’t your friends!”  🙂

Friends or not, they can do a great job with their salespitch.  I’ve always wanted to try some of their products (Wren, anybody?) but haven’t pulled the trigger.

But I’m a sucker for a foundation.  If it promises fabulous skin, I’m all ears.  It’s the holy grail of beauty products.  Unlike wrinkle creams it promises instant satisfaction.  All you have to do is put it on….right?

Here was the recent product I purchased from QVC.

It Cosmetics Anti-Aging Celebration Foundation with Brush

it Cosmetics by Jamie Kern/Innovative Technology Cosmetics/Celebration Foundation with Brush $43.50

Disclaimer:  I was also about out of foundation.

Here’s my review:

While just about every product advertised on QVC is marketed as a “life changer,” this product isn’t exactly that wonderful.  I will say that as a powder, it is very discrete and the brush is simply amazing.  It’s soooo soft.

I wouldn’t say that it covers as it was advertised.  Here is how they advertise it as different-

“Why is it different: Using antiaging ingredients–including hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, antioxidants, grape seed oil, olive oil, hyaluronic acid, rose, aloe, niacin, silk, and vitamins A, C, and E–this foundation helps treat skin with antiaging benefits and give more youthful radiance while completely concealing imperfections and blurring away the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The creamy, crease-proof powder foundation glides on easily and lasts. It’s formulated without talc, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance, and phthalates.”- QVC

If you have rosacea or acne or scarring or a birthmark, it won’t be the foundation for you. But for those of you who have oily but clear skin  or even combination skin and like to wear powder foundation, I do like that the product is good for your skin.  And I know this line has many different foundations, so I would be willing to give another one a try.

I’ll give it 5 stars for a powder.  But a 3 for a foundation.  Maybe next time QVC,   Maybe next time.


BSS- The Glow

Ah, I’m basking in second trimester skin.  If I ever needed proof that my breakouts are hormone related, all I have to do is wait until the first trimester is over.  Hormones settle down and suddenly, I get to enjoy the clearest skin of my life.

The next time you are judgmental about the skincare of those with breakouts or if your kids are hitting their breakout teenage years, please remember these tips from Web MD-

“Factors that may worsen acne:

These factors can trigger or aggravate an existing case of acne:

  • Hormones. Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
  • Certain medications. Drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium are known to cause acne.
  • Diet. Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips, which increase blood sugar — may trigger acne.

Acne myths

Contrary to what some people think, these factors have little effect on acne:

  • Greasy foods and chocolate have proved to have little to no effect on the development or course of acne.
  • Dirty skin. Acne isn’t caused by dirt. In fact, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse. Simple cleansing of the skin to remove excess oil and dead skin cells is all that’s required.”

I’m seriously not sure why the dermotologist world cannot figure out how to link pregnancy hormones to skin care.  Why can the hormones stabilize at a certain point and they can’t find this magic receipt in a pill form?  I realize some would say that birth control is the answer, but in the face of modern day medicine, I think we can do better.  (While they’re at it, let’s figure out why we have beautiful nails and hair too…)

And as sure as I write this, as soon as this little baby is born, my skin will go through all kinds of wackiness as my hormones settle down.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that for now my skin care concerns can be isolated to wrinkles, sun spots and sagging.  Thank goodness for that glow.  😉

BSS- The Hair College

Earlier this week I took the time to go get my hair done.  This is a major deal in this mom’s life.  Mainly because of the time it takes.  I don’t typically have half a day to waste in the salon chair.

I have to admit that I’m a serial salon visiter.  I don’t really have one salon that I’m loyal to.  I’m one of those hair clients that doesn’t fuss too much about the results of my day at the salon.  You can’t really screw this hair up.  Unless it turns out purple or falls out, we’re good.

So many of the time I like to stop in at the hair college.  If people like me don’t go there, how will those budding hair stylists learn how to do hair?  You cannot beat the price.  And I appreciate that you have someone who has to “check” someone else’s work.  What other stylist gets critiqued?  By a professional?

My visit to the salon involves highlights, lowlights (usually just half a head), a cut and occasionally an eyebrow wax.  I have to admit, on this trip in, I was in the salon chair from 1:00 to after 5:00.  I think my butt fell asleep at one point.  THAT’S A LONG TIME.  One would think I was prepping for the Oscar’s.

I think it took so long because my stylist was very cautious.  Perhaps she had just been through classes and I was one of her first experiments?  I tried to reassure her that I am not too picky.  But at least she wasn’t whacking away at my hair and it turned into a nightmare like it has before at some of those low-cost hair chains.  Whoa.

I can’t complain now.  My hair is done and I won’t have to do it for another three months. And at $65, it was worth it.

BSS- The Return

It’s been waaaaaaaay too long since my last Beauty Shop Saturday.  I have some fun things lined up for us, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, my skin has been going BONKERS.  So not fun to deal with breakouts but we’ll talk more about that later.

I’ve been using Mary Kay’s TimeWise at night and it takes awhile for my sensitive skin to adjust to any changes.  I know that seeing some wrinkle relief won’t be fast.  So I’ve been trying to be consistent and not pull the plug too early.  But my poor skin is just flipping out.

TimeWise® Night Restore & Recover Complex® (combination/oily)

TimeWise® Night Restore & Recover Complex® from Mary Kay $40

So I guess for now I’ll have to deal with both breakouts and wrinkles.  Oh the joys.

And I’ll let you know what I think of TimeWise after I’ve given it a good test run.

Until next week!

BSS- Big Night Out Beauty

Big Night Out Beauty

It is time to assemble all of your efforts and actually “get ready” for your big night out!

I put together an ensemble of products from Maybelline, not because I am a diehard Maybelline fan, but because you can find their products in almost any place, regardless of how small and they are affordable.  (And secretly I feel they are at least one step up from Cover Girl.)

This is my night out makeup routine and I’ll lead you through it.

1)      Always start with a good primer.  It’ll smooth out your skin and let the rest of the makeup lay better on your skin.

2)      Next step is foundation.  Make sure to apply it more than just on your face, blend it down your neck and sometimes on your chest.

3)      Now it’s time to cover your imperfections.  Blemishes, under eye circles and any other flaws can easily be blotted away with concealer.  Be sure to use the right formula for each specific area.  Undereye concealer is generally a thinner consistency than blemish concealer so it doesn’t cake into fine lines.

4)      In the winter, I like to use a cream blush because my skin is so dry.  And if you are using a cream blush, you can to put it on now, before the powder.  If you were using a powder blush, it would go on after the powder.

5)      Set all of your makeup with the powder so it lasts.  Be careful not to be too heavy with this step.  Especially in the winter when dewy skin is more challenging!

6)      Before we get started on your eyes, now is the time I like to focus on your eyebrows.  Don’t skip this step!  Filling them in is very important to framing your face.  For evening, you can go a little heavier here than you would for a daytime look.

7)      I try to focus on one feature with makeup.  If you want a rosy glow, let that be your feature.  If you want a smoky eye, go easy on the lip.  Going with a red lip, tone down the eye makeup.  For this look, I’m doing a smoky eye, so the lip color I chose is a neutral rose color.  If you choose an eye palette with at least two colors, it makes it easier to pair complimentary colors.  I use the lightest color all over the lid and the darker color in the crease and in the outside corners.

8)      I always put my eyeliner on after I’m done with the shadows because I like its intensity.  If you wanted to down it down, you could do it before.

9)      And finally for eyes, mascara!  A few coats for a special event.

10)   Lastly, the lips.  For a big night out, I take the time to line them and also use the pencil to color them in a little.  It helps the lipstick stay longer.

11)   Top it off with a little lipstick and you’re red carpet ready!

This is just a simple makeup routine for a fancy evening.  Clearly, you can make this process more or less complicated as you wish.  But doing something a little more than your everyday makeup can really make you look and feel special.  If you never wear lipstick, add it in.  If you usually only wear mascara, make your eyes the feature for a special evening.  Play up it up!


Big Night Out Beauty by stylefromthesticks featuring maybelline eye makeup

Maybelline beauty product
$13 –

Maybelline beauty product
$4.88 –

Maybelline face powder
$23 –

Maybelline makeup primer
$15 –

Maybelline concealer
$15 –

Maybelline makeup
$13 –

Maybelline makeup
$11 –

Beauty Arsenal

Beauty Arsenal

“Just look at me Annelle.  It takes some effort to look like this.”

Remember that quote from Truvy in Steel Magnolias? Oh how it is true for an Oscar-worthy night out.  While the guys shower and shave and are good to go in under 15 minutes, it takes us girls considerably longer.  Why?  Here are a few reasons:

1)      Hair removal- well, let’s just say, at least we don’t have to shave our faces.  I mean, why were we born with hair anyway?  At this point, we all want thick, beautiful hair but only on top of our heads.  Removing it?  Time consuming!!

2)      Eyebrow shaping- while the boys may be sporting unibrows, we strategically shape ours.   Do you want the Marilyn Monroe or the Sophia Loren?  Can you imagine them putting themselves through plucking, ha!

3)      Teeth whitening- all that coffee and wine ends up somewhere else!  A few white strips later and you can undo at least yesterday’s damage.

4)      Self-tanner- winter whites are only popular in clothing.  I wish I had that beautiful Nicole Kidman porcelain skin that looks great pale white.  But I don’t.  So a great spray tan gets me through.

5)      Manicures and pedicures- now this is the fun part.  Break out your creative side!  These days nails are all about fun patterns.  Get a nail pen and do a few swirls.  Or cheat and buy the nail stickers…

Guys, these are all perfectly good reasons a night out is much more than a few minutes getting ready.  And I have not even mentioned the obvious, hair and makeup.  But isn’t the end result so worth it?  A night out feeling fabulous!


Beauty Arsenal by stylefromthesticks featuring Sally Hansen

Sun care

Nail polish

Tweezerman tweezer


Hairstyles for Evening Wear

Before we talk about accessories for your gown, one thing to consider is how to wear your hair.  Even if you have short hair, there are ways to dress it up and make it different from your everyday hair.

Short hair ladies can wear their hair chic and sleek, smoothing it down for a wet look.  Or a headband or other sparkly hair accessory (heck, even a pretty bobby pin) can add something new.

For those of you with hair that can be put up, here are some recommendations on the age old question- do I wear my hair down or up with this dress?

If your dress is pretty low key, sometimes doing the opposite with your hair adds another dimension.  I know this doesn’t always make sense.  But think of it this way, if you wear a fancy dress and have a really fancy updo, you’re going to feel pretty dressy.  Like going to “prom” or perhaps your own coronation.  Get my drift?  It is just a little fussy.  Whereas, if you wear a fancy dress and have easy hair, it gives it a more relaxed feel.  Think of it like wearing a leather jacket with lace.  Opposites attract.

For necklines, here are some general guidelines (because I guarantee I can find contractions to any hard rules).  Think about what the dress is trying to showcase.

1)      Does your dress have a high neck but is sleeveless?  Then you probably shouldn’t cover it up, wear your hair up.

2)      If the dress has a fancy back, wear your hair up.  Or at least pull all of your hair to the front.

3)      Sleeves can mean, go ahead and wear your hair down.  Same goes for a fully covered front (aka high neck with sleeves)

4)      Strapless dresses are putting the emphasis on your shoulders and neck.  Now, for broad shoulder girls like me, I like to wear my hair down when I’m wearing strapless.  But for those of you with delicate features, showcase those beautiful necks and shoulders and wear your hair up!

5)      An off the shoulder, boat neck or scoop neck dress feels very ballerina.  Try a bun.

6)      A square neck or v-neck could be a half up do.

7)      A one shoulder can be balanced with a braid pulled to the side.  A halter also looks great with a braid.

8)      Thin straps can be a way to showcase your delicate features with an updo or they can be hidden by long hair, if you’re built like me.

9)      A mermaid gown looks great with sleek hair pulled to the side or sculpted Hollywood waves.

10)   And the width of cap sleeves can be balanced with medium length hair worn down.

Lastly, I love hairstyles that are a little bit loose.  Unless you’re doing a severe hairstyle like a high bun, keep things looking relaxed and keep the hairspray to a minimum.  And don’t be afraid to try something trendy or new- here are a few pictures of braids, which have been trendy a few years now.  But maybe something new for you to try!

I hope this gives you some ideas on what to do with your hair based on your dress!

Hairstyles for Evening Wear


Hairstyles for Evening Wear by stylefromthesticks featuring prom hair accessories

Prom hair accessory

BSS- Never Let Them See You Sweat

That was a great slogan wasn’t it?  Unfortunately that’s just not always possible.  Especially if you’re trying to get in a good workout.

Today we’re talking deodorant.  While we all have varying degrees of sweat levels (some of us sweat more than others), we are all equally concerned with how we smell when we do.

Enter trial and error of deodorants.  I tested this one out lately at the gym.  Some of my co-exercisers might have been concerned I was smelling myself.  Cue Saturday Night Live skit.  But I was really just making sure that I was happy with how the deodorant was working.  And I have to admit, my nose has been working much more lately than normal, so I could keep track of the smell factor.

Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant & Deodorant Advanced Solid Marathon Fresh



Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant/Deodorant at Walgreens $9

I don’t really like the products that go on wet like this gel but you can find it in solid form.  I find they just make me feel sweaty before I’m even sweating.  But it did an excellent job of keeping me smelling good through cycling and boot camp.  I put it to the test.

So, for my money, if you’re looking for a good hardworking deodorant, especially one that has workout strength, give this a try!

BSS- Post Workout Hair

The agenda today.  What to do with your hair after a workout?

I try to wash my hair every other day.  Sometimes I can make it three days but it isn’t pretty.  This cycle is considerably thrown off when you add in a couple of hard workouts.  Between the sweat and the dirt, it makes for some pretty bad hair days.

The solution?  Well, according to Fitness Magazine, spraying your hair with hair gel and blow drying the sweat out.  Has anyone tried this?  I gotta say, the thought of putting gel into my sweaty hair isn’t appealing.  I think I found something better.

It’s a special formula of dry shampoo.  You know I love Sauve’s version but mainly that’s due to the price, availability and because with my blonde hair, the white powder doesn’t show so badly. Read more on that here.  This dry shampoo doesn’t leave any of that whiteness and feels more like a very fine gel in the hair.

This is it-

Pantene Dry Shampoo Root Reboost

Pantene Dry Shampoo Root Reboost at Walgreens $7.99

To use, simply apply to your sweaty hair after it is somewhat dried.  (I mean, nothing is going to take out drips.)  And brush through!  I think this stuff works wonderfully and makes the thought of gel seem stiff and a little 80s.

Does it save your hair after a sweaty workout?  It gets my vote.


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