Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So Long and Thanks for All the Squash

My daughter's just started her transition into the richly colored land of the veggies. The first thing she tried was squash, and boy, she couldn't get enough of it. If the spoon had been yellow, she'd have tried to eat that too! She did have to lick it clean:
While I doubt you'll find any doctor or nutritionist who'll tell you to wear squash, they'd probably agree that it can help you be beautiful. Just in a different way than...this:For a list of all the reasons winter squash is good for you, as well as nutritional information, check out this site.

Here's the short list:
  • Tons of vitamins, but low in calories. That means that eating squash as part of a balanced diet will contribute to glowing skin, lustrous locks, and a fit figure.
  • Lung health (breathing is important...try rushing back and forth to the changing table and to check the baby 20 times per night without inhaling!)
  • Cuts your risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Reduces inflammation
No matter what they say, beauty isn't skin-deep. It works from the inside out. By keeping yourself healthy through diet and exercise, you'll be one hot mama.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stila Cosmetics and ULTA Unite!

The Best of Stila set is available at Ulta.com

I'd never purchased any Stila cosmetics up until last week. I saw that Ulta had started carrying Stila products. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by a hot pink paper canister full of Stila stuff--a $120.50 value for $40. I'd been planning to buy most of the products at one time or another anyway, so I decided what the heck, I'll just get this now and review all the products.

What it has in it:
Stila Illuminating Moisturizer, SPF 15 (Light)
Stila Convertible Eye Color (a liner) in Onyx
Stila Major Lash Mascara in Black
Stila Lip Glaze in Brown Sugar
Stila Eye Shadow in Kitten
Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Cream in Peony

All of the products are the full sizes.

I enjoy buying a face in a box, personally, and I love multi-purpose products, which this has a couple of. Here's my take on everything:

Stila Illuminating Moisturizer: I really like the way this feels, the color, the luminous look it gives my skin, and did I already mention the color? I'm incredibly pale and in most cases, if a line carries a foundation of any kind light enough for me, it tends to oxidize to a nasty shade of Oompa Loompa. I've been waiting for an opportunity to pull out the teal Manic Panic and be able to pull it off without looking like I belong in Technicolorville. Since this tinted moisturizer stays true to color, I'm one step closer.

Sadly, this kit only contains the Light shade, but it's so sheer, it may match the fairest of the fair all the way down into the medium skin tones. If you can, try it out in the store before you purchase the kit to make sure.

The jury is still out on whether or not this stuff irritates my skin, but don't let that deter you. I have some of the most sensitive, eczema-prone skin on the planet. I once went to work after an especially bad, mysterious flare-up and people would stop in their tracks and say, "What's WRONG?!?!?!" because they thought I'd been bawling.

Stila Convertible Eye Color: I am in loooove. Even though I'm fair-skinned with blue eyes, I can appreciate a dark, dark, darrrrk black liner--especially one that goes on dark with one swipe and looks somewhere between smudgy and sharp. This liner stays on my waterline, it kind of tends to smoke itself out just perfectly as I apply (even though there's a sponge tip on the other end to smudge it out further if desired). I can't get over how dark it is or how well it stays on. It's better at staying on my waterline than my MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack which, up until now, had been my holy grail of eyeliners.

Stila Major Lash Mascara: You know, this is the thing I was least interested in in the whole package. That's because recently, I've discovered quite a few mascaras to pledge my devotion to and I'm getting spread a little thin. But, always ready to try the next mascara if I can get my hands on it (so much for being faithful to cosmetics), I put this on in the car as soon as I got it. Oh wait, I put the whole she-bang on in the ULTA parking lot as soon as I got it, foundation and all. At least I was parked at the back where no one else was, right? Nobody saw me, I tell myself.

My lashes look lush, but natural. They're long, dark, thick, and separated, but they look nothing like falsies. That's something I've found to be the case with all of these Stila cosmetics--they all are so easy to apply and they are the perfect blend of sass and natural. You can tell I have on makeup and my features are emphasized, but it's not hopping off of my face to club you in the head saying, "I am makeup! I am makeup! Don't you appreciate my art? My blending? My ability to color my lips inside the lines?"

Stila Lip Glaze: This one came in Brown Sugar and it's the only one available with the kits. I was a little sad about that since I wanted to try a lighter shade. This one looked a little dark and brown for my taste in the tube. I am on the fence about this, still, even though the color was a surprisingly natural rosy glow on my lips. The lip glaze formula is very sheer, very shiny, with just a hint of color. The only issues I had with this product were the application (it seems I either click up too little or too much) and the longevity (it seemed like I had to put it on every hour, and I'm not used to that). It smells good, looks good, and feels nice on the lips though, so I'd probably buy more of these.

Stila Eye Shadow: The one in the container was Kitten, which I have been wanting to try after hearing so much about how fantastic it is for so long. It's a shimmery champagne color. Shimmery--not glittery--which is good for me and my contact lenses. It really brightens up my eyes when I wear it on the lids. I consider this a multi-use product because it would make a beautiful cheek highlight on fair skin. I can use this as a brow highlight, a lid color, or just dab a little in the inner corner of my eyes to brighten them up when I wear darker shadows. I love it. It's such a no-brainer, swipe-on-in-a-hurry color. I've paired it with a few different crease colors and everything looks great with it. It's so soft, it blends effortlessly with anything, too. I prefer to apply it with my fingertip for the biggest pop of shimmer.

Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Stain: Included in the kit is Peony, a rosy brown tone that would honestly flatter just about anybody. I'm not a cream blush guru by any means so I had to ask for tips on how to apply it. I used a MAC 187 brush to put it lightly onto the apples of my cheeks and brush backwards to the temples. It worked way better than applying with my fingertips. On the lips, it feels a little dry but looks very natural.

Overall Impression
This was a great way for me to get introduced to Stila Cosmetics. I liked all of the products included but I really love the eye products. If the Lip Glaze lasted longer, these would be my #1 pick for gloss. My least favorite things were the face products, but I still really, really enjoy using them too.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Inner Beauty

This blog mainly focuses on outer beauty, but one of the major things a mom has going for her is the inner beauty that radiates from the inside out. I'd like to thank my own mom for this past week. I've been feeling overwhelmed and down. She came and spent a week with me to give me an extra set of hands while my husband was staying late at work (darn tax season).

On normal days, I don't have much time to eat lunch. If I remember, I eat whatever I can stuff into my mouth with one hand while holding a still sort of unsteady baby. So usually "lunch" is a couple of cookies, a wad of sandwich meat, and maybe--just maybe--I can wash it down with a little bit of water, ice optional depending on whether or not I want to startle the kid with the noise. This week, my mom made me lunch every day. She helped me clean my house when guests were coming over to celebrate my husband's birthday. I barely had to wash any bottles. I didn't bathe my daughter once--she did it every time. I even got to eat one of her yummy scrambled egg sandwiches for breakfast (I can never master those, she just has that "mom" touch when it comes to making sandwiches...my dad's specialty, on the other hand, is milk with Hershey's syrup). Bonus: I got extra girl talk time.

So with my hands free and my mind available to concentrate on work, I just might meet my deadlines this month. But at the end of today, the last day she's going to be here for a while, I had to take a moment to praise the selflessness of my own mom. She's beautiful inside and out.

Sometimes, you just want to shout out to the world about the wonderful person you know. Feel free to leave your own mom/mother-in-law/grandmother stories here. I'd love to read them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quick Makeup

Carla in Seattle posted earlier wondering about my five minute routine. Here's what the results of the makeup look like:

Ignore the hair. ;)

My daughter just can't figure out why I'm not as excited about 6:30 a.m. as she is:

Good thing she's cute.

Anyway, my super-quick makeup routine's like this:

My skin is pretty moisturized because I use Vaseline at night (I have incredibly dry, dry, dry skin), so I skip that part. Besides, my foundation's really a tinted moisturizer. It keeps me from having to worry about lines, blending, and all that fun stuff. I use Clinique Supermoisture Makeup in Pure Porcelain. Some days, I use Everyday Minerals makeup.

If I have more time (meaning the kid's snoozing on her back with the back of her head resting on her hands like she's basking in the sun that's not even up yet), I'll blend the liquid makeup with the MAC 190 brush. Generally, I just use my fingers. I despise cleaning foundation out of brushes.

Ok, step number 2: Blush. My personal favorite is a limited edition Mineralized Skin Finish from MAC called Petticoat. There's one out now with the N Collection that seems to be similar called Light Flush. It's shimmery and rosy and basically just gorgeous. I apply that to the apples of my cheeks in short little downward strokes and work my way back to the temples. It only takes a little bit of product (any ol' blush brush will do).

Sometimes I wear concealer under my eyes and sometimes I skip it, but if I do use it, I will apply a bit with my ring finger. The one I'm loving right now is Maybelline's Age Rewind. I wear the lightest one, of course, being the color of notebook paper, blue lines and all.

For eye shadow, I need something that will stick. I also need it to be pretty close to my skin tone so I don't have to worry about blending too much. I just slap it on and go. For that, I love MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study (I'm loving Painterly lately, but I don't usually wear it by itself).
I just apply that from lash line to brow bone and call it done. If I have a few extra seconds, I'll grab a random color and put that in the crease for a burst of color or to add a little depth. A few seconds more? I'll line my lower lash line with it.

I need to wear eyeliner to avoid looking sick, so I choose either a soft pencil or an easy liquid liner like Cover Girl Line Exact in Smoke. My friend turned me on to that one and I have been a fan ever since.

The next step is mascara. Just a few swipes from one of my favorites will complete the look. I have Clinique High Definition in Black, Cover Girl Lash Blast in Black, and Plush Lash in Brownette in rotation now.

And that's it! If I'm going somewhere, I'll swipe some gloss on in the car. Otherwise, I'm too busy smooching fat baby cheeks to bother. I'd tell you my favorite lip gloss but I don't have one. My purse would be about 5 lbs lighter if I'd just take out that darn plastic container FULL of lip products.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MAC Plush Lash Mascara Review

MAC's newest mascara is Plush Lash, available in Plushblack and Brownette. Being a huge MAC fan, I generally want to try just about all of their products (much to my husband's dismay!) MAC has been at the bottom of my mascara "bad" list. So many of them have been returned or recycled in their Back2MAC program that I didn't have much faith in this one. However, the reviews were good and I wanted a brown mascara to go with the eye shadows I got from the N collection (more collection reviews on that later).

Anyway, on to the review:

The Color
As listed above, I was looking for a good brown mascara for a more natural color. Brownette delivers. I have black lashes with blonde tips, and Brownette doesn't look too light or too much like black mascara. I'd say it's perfect for a softer look without sacrificing length or volume.

The Formula
This mascara goes on like a gel. It's not so watery that it flies all over your upper and lower lids (I had this problem with Maybelline Great Lash), but it's not so thick and dry that it clumps or doesn't want to transfer to your lashes well at all. It's just thick enough to grab onto the lashes and still look like lashes rather than the dreaded "spider legs." Poor spiders. Their legs have such a bad reputation.

This formula didn't burn my eyes or irritate my contacts, thank goodness.

The Application
Application's kind of tricky at first even though the formula is, in the words of Marcia Brady, dreamy. The brush is shaped like a football and it's a little on the thick side. What makes it a little aggravating to use is the difference in the bristles. Some mascaras with two application methods have a brush side and a comb side (like Clinique's High Definition, another one I love), making it easy to tell which is which. With the Plush Lash mascara, you have to really look closely to see which side to use first.

Use the short bristles first, then follow through with the longer brush. The first part gives you volume; the second part gives you length. What I did was wiggle the brush at the base of my lashes and them pull it through, then I rotated the brush 1/4 of a turn and pulled the longer bristles through. Rotated again for another short side, then again for the longer side. So for each eye, I used each set of bristles on the brush. Technically, I guess that means I did two coats per eye (though it was sort of four).

Application went more quickly than dual-ended mascaras I've tried, and more quickly than other mascaras with similar brushes (L'Oreal Telescopic, Clinique High Definition, etc), but not any quicker than mascaras I love with traditional brushes (Cover Girl Lash Exact, etc).

The Effect
I said I wanted natural color--I never said anything about completely natural lashes! Ha! I'm big on dramatic volume and length. Ideally, people will wonder if I'm wearing falsies. I would say this delivers. That does not mean I want to look like this:

(First attempt at applying super-mega-ultra-thick-and-black lashes...No, I didn't leave the house.)

I still had oodles of volume and length, which made me happy! My lashes weren't as "in your face" as they would have been with the black formula though.

The Cost
Plush Lash isn't much more than drugstore mascaras unless you can find a great deal. It's $11.00 at MAC counters, stores, and online at MACCosmetics.com.

Overall Opinion
I could handle keeping this on hand in both black and brown. I'd probably toss all my other tubes except the Cover Girl Lash Blast and Clinique High Definition. I like to keep a few types in rotation because my lashes, like my hair, tend to get used to certain products and not give me the same effect from day to day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tell me YOUR favorite quick tips

A few of you have mentioned wanting to add some tips to the repertoire, so here's your chance. Leave them here. If there's one you've heard of but you're not sure about, let me know, and I'll try to test it out and report back. I love research--especially this kind!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Milking a pampering session

Yesterday was an interesting day for my face...and eyes...and hair. My daughter and I started off with a 6:30 a.m. feeding session. Well, allergies or something got the best of her even though she was ravenous. The only thing coming between her and that bottle was a sneeze, and it was a big one. Sadly for me, I was sitting there, rocking slowly in the nightlight's glow, eyes open but not really awake yet, totally oblivious to the tickling going on in her nose...and then WHOOSH! A mouthful of milk made its way toward my face. Achoo? Nice.

Fast forward to the second feeding of the day, 9:00. She's just starting to enjoy solid foods, rice cereal of course being the first thing for her to eat with a spoon. Now that she's been eating the cereal for almost a week, I've started giving larger spoonfuls than I started out with. Boy, was it my lucky day. While I was busy concentrating on coaxing her into eating it with "Mmm" or "Yummy yummy yummy," she coughed and I got cereal in my eye. Twice. Didn't her mama teach her not to talk, shriek, sneeze, or cough with her mouth full?

The moral of the story is, milk is not just good for the baby; milk's also good for mommies, but not this way (eww!). Here are a few ways you can enjoy milk. When you get a moment for a hot soak or a facial mask, try adding milk.
  • Use milk to exfoliate in your next bath, no real scrubbing required. The lactic acid basically dissolves the dead skin cells. All it takes is two to four cups of milk (you can use buttermilk if you'd like) in your bath. Feel free to add your favorite scented oils to the bath for extra moisturizing agents and some aromatherapy. Soak for around twenty minutes to reap the benefits and emerge with glowing, goddess-like skin. You'll want to use a loofah lightly while you're in the bath and rinse off well with water when you're done.
  • Add body to your hair with a hot water and milk paste that you leave on for 20-30 minutes. Wear a warm, damp towel on top, turban-style.
  • Moisturize your face with a milk mask. Combine four parts whole milk, one part almond oil. Since it's thin, you'll have to layer it, letting it dry between layers. Do three or four layers and then rinse off when it's hardened.
While you're busy putting milk on the outside of your body, don't forget to drink some, too! Dip some Oreos in it or add it to hot cocoa for an extra little splurge. You deserve it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let's talk about...your boobs!

If you're done with breastfeeding, chances are, your girls aren't as perky as you'd like. You've finally gotten your breasts back to yourself, but it's like being reunited with your best friend from high school, then realizing they're someone completely different from what you remember. You know what, though? You can't change your best friend, but you ''can'' give yourself the illusion of the full, round breasts, and the cleavage you remember. Check out EnKore's video:

First Blog

As a new WAHM, I've had to seriously adjust my schedule--and that means cut down, waaaay down on the amount of time I spend getting ready in the morning. Even though I'm staying home to work, I still like to put on cute (washable!) clothes, do at least a little something to my hair, and slap on a face. It's my way to start the day by focusing a little on me before giving, giving, giving to everyone else (two dogs included!) for the rest of the day. What can I say? I put on long-lasting eyeliner when I went into labor. And yes, it stayed put. I actually wrote a product review on it that night.

The purpose of this blog is to show fellow moms or women with very little time in the mornings how to perk themselves up quick. From multi-tasking to glamming it up when you actually do have time to fix up for a date with the hubby, and on to quick looks for hair and face, I hope to inspire you to take a few minutes for yourself. As the saying goes, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Five minute of pampering (if you can call it that when it's that short) goes a long way when it comes to maintaining your sanity among sticky hands, begging dogs, daily household demands, and your job.