Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Favorite Self Tanners

I am naturally as white as a ghost. To avoid this white girl problem, I apply self tanner year round. I've tried countless self tanners, and have found the best, most of which I've used for the past several years. 

Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse

I use only use this on my face, neck, and arms. It is absolutely amazing! It has a very light, moist whipped texture and doesn't have a foul smell like a lot of self tanners do. Since I prefer to be darker than my natural skin color year round, I use a foundation a few shades darker than my natural skin color.  Your neck is usually lighter than your face, so it's important to have your foundation match and blend to keep your neck and face the same color. To maintain a blended look everyday, I apply the mousse to my neck (and chest/arms) 1-2 times/week. I do use it on my face sometimes as well, but I don't find it as important to be applied to my face because it washes off much quicker than the rest of my body since I do exfoliate and use the clarisonic brush often.

L'oreal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Gel

I usually only use Sublime Bronze on my legs. I love the smell (it smells nothing like sunless tanner), it has a very light, clean scent. I love that I can see exactly where I'm applying it since the gel is a bronze color.

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

St. Tropez Mousse gives an amazing, natural looking tan when applied correctly. I usually use it during the summer, or layered under or over the Clarins Mousse when I want extra color fast. It dries very fast, so it's important to apply it quickly and evenly to avoid splotchy-ness. When I use this mousse, I always use latex gloves during the application process because it will stain your palms otherwise. I love that it doesn't smell, it doesn't stain clothes, and it is paraben free.

Tan Towel Classic Half Body Application

Tan Towels are one of the best beauty inventions in my opinion! When I'm feeling lazy, or don't have time to spend applying the mousse or gel tanners, I use a Tan Towel. The package says "half body application", but I'm able to use one towel everywhere from my face to my feet. It dries super fast, and has a light citrusy scent. These are great for travel and there's no mess involved. LOVE!

What are your favorite self tanning products?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Skincare Routine

I have a complicated relationship with my skin. It's usually VERY dry, and sometimes it's oily AND dry at the same time. Rosacea has been a problem since i was about 10 years old, and was way more of an issue as a child. My skin has always been very, very sensitive, turning bright red when I get my eyebrows waxed or am extremely hot or cold. I struggled with very minor acne as a teen, and now birth control prevents it almost completely. It took me years to nail down a skincare routine that works for me, but I'm finally happy with all of the products I use, and the way my skin looks and feels. Since I love these products so much, I think it's important to share how they've helped my skin. Please take into account that some of the products I use are prescriptions-please see a doctor before trying them!

1. Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil: This is what I use every night to remove my makeup. I don't think I'll be using anything else anytime soon because this product is AMAZE. It does the job at dissolving makeup easily with no pulling or rubbing, and it leaves my skin feeling very clean. 
2. Clarisonic Mia: I honestly don't know what I'd do without my Clarisonic Mia. I've been using it for 2 years, about 4 days/week. It was worked miracles with my rosacea by leaving my skin so smooth, and my pores have never been smaller. Run, don't walk to get the Clarisonic if you don't have it! 
3. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: My dry skin loves this cleanser, which I use with my clarisonic brush and alone, with my hands on the days that I don't use the clarisonic. It cleanses the skin while maintaining the right moisture balance without leaving any residue.
4. Boscia Smoothing Facial Polish: I use this a few times a week to exfoliate my face, sometimes with the Clarisonic and sometimes without. For years I used St. Ives Apricot Scrub until I was told by an Esthetician that the scrub is damaging to the skin. The crushed apricot pits used in the scrub microscopically tear the skin since they have sharp edges. The Boscia exfoliator uses mannan spheres, which properly & gently exfoliate the skin. 
5. Lactic Acid Gel Peel: I was introduced to peels through blogging about a year ago, and can't imagine not using one now! After a lot of reading, I learned that the Lactic acid peel meets my skin's needs. Lactic acid skin peels are ideal for Actinic Keratosis, dark circles under eyes, dry skin, Eczema & Dermatitis, Melasma, Psoriasis, razor bumps, scarring, sensitive Skin, stretch Marks, sun Damage and tone & texture. I use the peel once every few weeks for keratosis pilaris (on my arms), dry skin, and rosacea. There are lots of awesome tutorials on doing gel peels at home, but I would be happy to provide more information and do a tutorial if that's something that would interest any of you.
6. Retin-A: Retin-A and I have a history of about 15 years. It was prescribed to me as a child to use for rosacea. While it didn't produce great results for me as a child, I still use it more for prevention of acne and wrinkles. I apply it twice a week (sometimes more, but for my already very dry skin, it's not ideal for me to use on a daily basis) under my moisturizer at night.
7. Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Gel: I was introduced to this amazing eye gel from a giveaway on Shasta's blog more than two years ago, and I've since purchased it again. I use it every night, under my moisturizer around my entire eye area (lid, temples, under eyes). Here's a description from Obagi: "Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Treatment Gel helps minimize the visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. It is formulated to encourage the natural production of collagen and elastin while it hydrates and tones for firmer, younger-looking eyes."
8. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: For years I wasted money used La Mer's moisturizer as my night time moisturizer, but after a visit to my Dermatologist last year, I'm pretty sure I'll be using CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream forever. I cannot sing it's praises enough. While La Mer was a great moisturizer, when I woke up the next morning after applying it before bed, my skin was still dry in the morning. CeraVe's moisturizing cream is a pretty heavy duty moisturizer, so I wouldn't recommend using it during the day, under your makeup. Here's why I love it: "CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream increases the skin's ability to attract, hold, and distribute moisture. It penetrates deep into the layers of the stratum comeum (the skin barrier) to restore the balance of lipids that are essential for an effective skin barrier. It also forms a protective layer over the skin's surface to help prevent moisture loss."
9. iS CLINICAL Youth Complex: Youth Complex is another item I won with the ELASTIderm eye gel from Shasta. Its anti-aging benefits are amazing: clinically proven to stimulate production of collagen and elastin, smoothes and softens skin, provides antioxidant protection, and offers immediate and long-term results. I use it nightly, under or mixed with the CeraVe.
10. Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer: After I raided my sunscreen collection and threw out 99% of it due to harmful chemicals (see my sunscreen post here), I ordered new sunscreen and a new daily moisturizer containing SPF. I found the Devita moisturizer through The EWG, it is listed at #3 as one of the best moisturizers containing SPF.  It is awesome for sensitive skin, provides excellent moisture without being greasy, and doesn't leave that white look to my face like so many natural SPF moisturizers do because it uses a physical barrier sunscreen.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wedding Trailer

I am SO excited to share our wedding trailer! I have to say, I was more excited to receive our wedding DVD than our photos. Rain Studios went above and beyond my expectations, and they were so much fun to work with. I highly recommend them to California brides!
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

YSL Touche Eclat: Review

As a beauty junkie, I am always looking to try out new products, and this iconic gold tube had been on my mind as I ran out of Benefit's Erase Paste. Despite some pretty bad reviews, I purchased it anyway. What I love about YSL's Touche Eclat is that it is so smooth. Unlike Erase Paste, it doesn't settle in any lines and it stays put.

Many of the bad reviews I read stated that Touche Eclat does a poor job as a concealer.  It is not a concealer. According to Sephora, "Touche Eclat banishes shadows and tired-looking eyes by adding light and creating an instant lift to the eye area. Touche Eclat widens eyes when used between the eyebrows and along the sides of the nose and created fuller looking lips when used in the hollow of the chin and around the contour of the lips. It's formulated for all skin" 

I use it in number 1, the lightest shade after I've used concealer, foundation, and powder underneath my eyes, in the inner corners, and above my lip because I like to have a light, luminescent look especially  under my eye area and feel as though applying it first, second or third diminishes the effect. 

The bottom line: I absolutely love this product and I would buy it again, however, I've seen lots of rave reviews on the significantly less expensive Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer. I would love to know if any of you have compared the two.

P.S. I don't know how you beauty gurus take such flattering, flawless photos! I struggled like a fool for about 20 minutes to get a decent "up close" shot! I guess practice makes perfect. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missoni for Target purchases

I was one of the many who went over to Target bright and early this morning after 5 months of the much anticipated Missoni for Target launch. I planned to go to a Target that I didn't think anyone would be lining up at, as I saw on twitter that other stores in California had lines winding around the parking lot. Luckily I was able to wait in my car and only saw about 5 people line up a few minutes before the store opened.
Within seconds of the store opening, people came flooding in, dashing for carts and swiping items right off the racks. I saw one woman take an entire rack of sweaters, then made a mad dash to the home goods items and took everything there. Never have I seen women act so batshit crazy! In my experience, people went way more overboard than black Friday craziness.
After 20 minutes or so, all of the accessories were wiped out. 
Here are my purchases:
The quality of all the items was great in my opinion, including the housewares and cosmetic bags. 
I would love to see what all of you think of the collection, so I'm adding a link up to this post.  Please link your Missoni blog post below!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wedding: The Dress

Here I am, a little more than three months after my wedding, finally getting around to doing a series of wedding posts. I'm going to be very honest by sharing my ups and downs with all of you. I do not want to sugar coat the wedding planning process, because I would be lying to say that it was easy and perfect. I hope that I can inspire and help other brides by telling my stories and sharing tips and suggestions that I learned, many times the hard way!

I'll start by saying that I planned my own wedding; I did have a venue wedding coordinator to guide me and help with logistics but in all other respects I was on my own. I absolutely loved planning my wedding, even though sometimes I wanted to rip my hair out it was stressful at times. Google docs, Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bride and Bloom magazines were my best friends during the planning process. My wonderful, talented, and beautiful bridesmaids were also always there for me and I really couldn't have done it without them!

I fell in love with the Maggie Sottero Sabelle wedding gown right after I got engaged. It sounds cliche, but as a little girl (and into adulthood) I wanted to look like a princess on my wedding day, and the Sabelle dress is exactly that, a princess dress. 
I went to try it on, and absolutely loved it. I decided not to buy it that first time because I had 20 months until my big day and wanted to browse and try on others before making my decision. I cannot even tell you how many wedding dresses I tried on in the span of 16 months. Among my top picks was the Kenneth Pool Degas gown, a very different dress than the Sabelle. After trying on the Degas gown, I flirted with the idea of a more modern, clean, mermaid or drop waist gown which is a stark contrast to the Sabelle- a dress complete with every imaginable detail: crystals, lace, silk, rosettes, asymmetrical shape, a cathedral length train, and some pickups (which I usually abhor). 

I purchased a Barbra Allin gown that was majorly discounted at a sample sale, with the hopes of altering it to fit the princessy style I'd always envisioned. I liked the dress, but I had hopes of reincarnating the blank canvas of a dress into something completely different. MAJOR mistake, ladies! 
DO NOT buy a wedding dress under these circumstances, no matter how much the price is reduced. 
In the end, to "fix" this dress would have cost me more than the dress itself. 

12 weeks before my wedding, I bought the Maggie Sottero gown I had fallen in love with first. 

{wiping my lipstick off my husband's face after our first kiss}

After my dress saga, the most important things I learned were:

-Buy the dress that you can't say no to and can't keep your mind off of.

-Only take one or two people dress shopping, those who know and understand your style.

-For women of all shapes and sizes: make sure there is support BUILT IN to your gown! As you can probably see, I am big busted. I did not wear a bra on my wedding day because 1. When the bra is not attached to the dress, you'll naturally have the urge to pull up one or the other. 2. I had lots of support built in to my dress, and did not need to wear a bra. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall Purchases and Wants

Being that it is September first, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Fall post-despite the fact that it has been 90+ degrees here in California. I'm ready for fall already!

Fall Buys
People's Liberation for Charlotte Russe Tanya Red Skinny Jeans

Colored Jeans have been a hit this summer, and are huge for fall as well.
These were marked down to $29.99 from $94.99 which I thought was quite a steal. When the tag was scanned, the price came up as $0.99!!! With tax, I payed $1.08. major SCORE! Never in my life have I payed so little for clothes, not even for socks. Unfortunately these are sold out on Charlotte Russe's website.

Heart print blouse from H&M

Bath and Body Works Salty Caramel Wallflower
This is a new fall scent of Bath and Body Works'. I love it, however Creamy Nutmeg is my favorite but it won't be available until later in the fall.

Fall Wants

Snakeskin is all over the place for fall-check out Kim and Kourtney Kardashian both wearing Christian Louboutin snakeskin shoes.

Missoni for Target Scarves

I will be ordering these online as soon as the Missoni merchandise goes live on

What's on your wish list for fall?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Group Encounter

One of my biggest beauty pet peeves is nail polish bubbling, as the only places I like bubbles are in champagne and the bathtub. Nail bubbles are not cute, and after dealing with them recently no matter what techniques I tried (not allowing a lot of air in the nail polish bottles, using a base and top coat, using a thin layer of each application, and the list goes on...) I decided to try a new base and top coat because I suspected that my old base and top coats were the culprits. Sure enough, I was right.
Behold my new favorite base and top coats:

The best base coat ever, I love the "rubberized" texture that allows nail polish to grip onto your nails sans bubbles.
I had heard great things about this top coat, as well as Seche Vite, but Seche Vite's reproductive harm warning was alarming and turned me off. I am very happy with my Out the Door purchase, this top coat is very fast drying and super shiny.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Season 2

My favorite housewives are coming back for round 2 of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on September 5th at 9 PM on Bravo and I couldn't be more excited! It seems as though we can expect quite a few changes (and no shortage of drama!) from season 1:
-2 new cast members will be joining: Dana Wilkey, who is apparently a good friend of Taylor's and Brandi Glanville, who is Eddie Cibrian's ex wife.
{Glanville &Wilke) photo c/o Access Hollywood
-Taylor opens up about her divorce
-Lisa deals with the harsh fallout with her "permanent houseguest", Cedric
Check out the season 2 trailer below:

Will you be watching?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bachelorette Weekend in LA

My bachelorette weekend was about two months ago and I figured I should start here before doing wedding posts. My maid of honor planned everything and kept me in the dark about everything but our destination (Los Angeles). She did an amazing job planning and organizing everything, from the car ride snacks to restaurants she knows I love or have always wanted to try. 
Here is the PG version of the weekend...
We stayed in the gorgeous Hollywood Glamour bungalow at Villa Delle Stelle in West Hollywood

Shoe shot before our first night out
Delicious Coconut Creme Brulee at Geisha House
Blowouts at blo

I asked for a combination of "Holly would" and "hugs, sex, and rock and roll"

Drinks and dinner at Lexington Social House
Poison Ivy-best drink ever! 
Dancing and an unexpected Maggie Berry fashion show at Supper Club
There was an amazing acrobat performing above us almost the whole night!
Miss J on the red carpet at Supper Club-pretty sure he was there for the fashion show
I met Jo from RHOC in the bathroom(!!) and she was super sweet. Please try to ignore the white rectangle, where I blocked the suggestive straw I had wedged in my dress :-/

Rooftop brunch at Barney Greengrass before heading back to the bay.

Friday, July 15, 2011

{Hair} Line I Love: Oribe

I fell in love with Oribe's hair products about a year ago, when I switched hair stylists. Surprisingly, I had never heard of Oribe, who is a world renowned hair stylist who has worked with countless celebrities and has styled several Vogue covers, Victoria's Secret fashion shows, Fall 2011 Runway shows, and famous Chanel and Louis Vuitton editorial campaigns. He has been in the hair biz for 30+ years, and is known to have made Jennifer Lopez's hair as famous as it is since her first album cover.

{Completely obsessed with this hair}

There are so many reasons why I love Oribe's products. What first caught my eye was the glamorous, rich looking, sleek packaging. I was surprised to hear from my stylist that all of the packaging is made from recycled materials, and Oribe's products are all vegan, made from plant extracts, vegetable proteins and vitamins.

The first Oribe product I purchased was the Signature Moisture Masque, after finishing Aveda's Damage Remedy which honestly seemed to dry out my hair. The Moisture Masque is so luxurious from the look of the jar to the smell. It makes my hair SO soft, like it naturally was when I was 5. I did have to talk myself into purchasing the 5.9 oz jar for $60, but it was well worth it.

Since then I also bought the Ultra Rich conditioner to prevent myself from using the moisture masque every day, which I love. It detangles my hair and smells just as good as the moisture masque.
And after using the Royal Blowout spray for my wedding hair trial (and wedding), I had to pick up a bottle. It's super light and doesn't weigh my hair down, which is great because I LOVE big hair.
I also have the Dry Texturizing spray and the 24k Gold Pomade sitting in my amazon cart. 
Read Rachel Zoe's review of the 24k Gold Pomade here.
Have any of you used Oribe's products? If so, which one(s) are your favorites?