Stocking Stuffer Musts–If Santa Is Not A Sure Thing

I am incapable of shutting my mouth and smiling kindly when backed into a corner. It is a glaring flaw in my personality. Just today I was telling my mom about a conversation where my inner common sense was screaming at me to just listen to someone I completely disagreed with and let it go. Just listen and let it go. Nope. I firmly ignored that poised inner beauty and let the sweaty, striped capri pant, crazy haired girl with red armpits from laser treatment carry on like a Halloween lunatic. I’ve been this way since childhood. This unfortunate characteristic was the reason for the entire Santa Claus unmasking. The well mannered, quiet girl would have gotten a couple more years of childhood, but the loud mouth had to be protected by her mother. Here is what happened.

Third grade started off with getting an out-of-the-blue giant nosebleed on my new dress, on the first day of school and my teacher would not let me walk the one block home to change my dress. This was a sign, in hindsight. Near Christmas vacation, we were in class doing a Christmas craft. The girl next to me said Santa Claus was not real. I told her if she believed that then he would not come and bring her presents. She said that she knew he was not real. This started a full blown discussion/argument including everyone around our desks and I was the ONLY one on my side. (Ok, Kristen Amy, WHERE WERE YOU, best friend??) I went home and indignantly replayed it all for my mother. A couple of hours later, she took me across the street to our church, early before choir practice. We sat in the sanctuary and she told me that Santa was really named Leanne and Dennis–but really just Leanne because I know my dad wasn’t picking out the presents. I sobbed. I was devastated. I asked if this meant that the tooth fairy also was not real. So many dreams were shattered that night.

IF Santa is not a sure thing for your stocking, may I suggest some must haves to make the holiday stocking commercial, merry and feminine.

BEAUTY Category:

I found the brand Beautycounter and am a convert. They stand on the premise that we must do a better job promoting safer products. Our skin is our largest organ and we slather it with unregulated chemicals. Rest assured that everything this mom owned company sells is safer for you and your littles. I sell it on the side, but these are two of my favorites. I could go crazy telling you about all my favs, but here are a couple. Want more info,

Cleansing Balm, or aka miracle balm. $80 and lasts about 6 months. The price is steep, but lasts forever and is worth every cent. Cleanse your face with it, remove make up, slather it all over after a day in the sun or a day in a blizzard, rub it over bitten cuticles or tiny cuts. It is the most incredible soothing product I have ever used. The incredible scent comes from essential citrus oils.


Beautycounter Body Butter, $39. Winter dries out your skin. You need that extra layer of thickness to protect yourself. My fingers crack, even in 65 degree weather. This is amazing. Again, the scent is from essential citrus oil. You are paying for the extra time in sourcing the ingredients and time spent ensuring its quality and safety. Support safer products. My lion cub has very sensitive skin and this soothes his baby eczema.


Lush bath bombs. Perhaps the phrase “it’s the bomb” came from referring to this fabulousness? My entire family loves these. I convinced my child at 10 months that baths were tolerable with the magic dragon egg bath bomb that turned colors as it fizzed. Buy them. Don’t worry if your tub turns a color. A good clorox spritz will get rid of it and you can bathe again with more of these magic balls.

Everyone Soap and Lotion, $11ish. I found these at Whole Foods, although available on as well. This is a non GMO and essential oil scented line. This is a HUGE bang for your buck and it’s fantastic. I bubble up the boys’ bath to the tippy top and then turn around and use it neck to toe on myself. This is my new fav for the bathing process.


Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, $29 I just received an unfortunate haircut that I am referring to as the reverse mullet. I have more styling options with this as my #1 favorite hair product. Spray it after drying your hair, all over, mess it up and finish styling. It is equally as awesome as their dry shampoo. Don’t judge the product by my hair, just trust me.




Ditch the conventional stocking and fill up some pretty cowboy boots with goodies instead. This is the most versatile shoe ever. I’ve been wearing boots for 20 plus years. I’ve given up my highest heels after having 2 teenies, but boots make me feel pretty and I can chase my cubs at the park in them. If you’re new, don’t go conservative. Jump in. Wear color. Cute dress with boots? Why not. Skinny jeans tucked in? Absolutely. Feeling fat? Boyfriend jeans, cuffed with a hint of boot peeking out. Perfection. No one looks at thighs when you have a detailed boot. has my favs. Check out the Corral brand. Yes. Please.


Athleta Chauranga capri, $64. It may be the first stripe to make thighs appear thinner and your booty perkier. I swear on all that is sacred that this is the BEST capri ever made. Put an IOU in the stocking with this picture because they’re back ordered until January, but get them. GET THEM!! Amazing. Plus, you can size down. Vanity sizing works for me. They come in a full length tight as well, but the fabrication is not the same. The magic is in the capri.


Lou and Grey Steeeetch top, $59.50. Lou and Grey has wearable pajama fabrics. It’s the equivalent of a security blanket that has been washed 1000 times. Their fabrics are to die for. The fit is beautiful and skirts the timeless and trendy category in just the right way. I like this top because you can go full on athleisure with it. Pretend you are going to the gym when you pair this with your chaturanga capri. Check out the thumb tab on the sleeve. You look like you are pulled together with fitness goals. Win.

lou and grey.jpg

Thingies: This site is my current obsession. They launch new products regularly and it is all based upon individual creativity. I. LOVE. IT. MADLY. You also get a video of the product. Check out the chicken launcher game. I was crying with laughter. BUT, to continue with the feminine stocking stuffer, I really eye balled the Impwear laminated cotton bags starting at $24.95. Laminated cotton. This not only appeals to the mother in me, but the clean freak. It is a giant pain to clean makeup bags, but I gag when bags get too dirty. This is a wipe down bag WITH a loop to hook upon things. You have several options in color combos too. Perfection.

JBL Flip 3 Wireless speaker, $79.99 (currently at I’m not tech savvy. I know Beats and Bose have these too, but the JBL had the best price and I love it. I hook up my Pandora app from my phone and have been rocking out to Christmas carols (Hello Trans Siberian and Manheim Steamroller) since November 1. I love that there are color options too. Perfect for a techie wannabe.


Oil Diffuser. I’m not into candles. I don’t like the dust that accumulates on top and I’m over plug ins now that I have discovered the beauty of essential oils. I am a sucker. Plus, I feel fancy blending the scents. I am a scent junkie and this hits the spot. Plus, if you blend Eastern and Western medicine, there is science to essential oils and healing properties. In full disclosure, I rubbed fennel oil all over myself in an attempt to nurse the tiniest tiny longer and it didn’t work. However, I diffuse the left over fennel oil and it works instantly to make me smile with its scent. Amazon has a million oil diffusers to choose has the best oils, but man are they expensive! Their Thieves oil is both therapeutic (hello cold and flu season) and it’s the best smell ever. It comes in cleaning products as well as the oil. It is the icing on the essential oil cake. It is, however, about $41.


Here are a couple from Amazon that I have loved blending and are in the $7-$12 range. Clove and sweet orange are lovely together and perfect for a cozy winter afternoon. They are not just for the ladies either. My husband asked for a diffuser and starter set for his office. Boom.


LaMarca Prosecco sparkling wine. My dad decided he had enough ties and shirts and decided to switch to buying fancy wine. He built a wine rack and started buying wine from The Wall Street Journal recommendations. He has a dot system for coding how fancy the fancy wine is. His children are not allowed to choose bottles with dots on them, certainly not a 3 dot bottle. In fact, after I stayed in my parents’ home for 5 weeks and they were concerned we would never leave, he implemented a top shelf only rule for me. I am only allowed to help myself to top shelf wine. He brought this one home for me one night. It’s very moderately priced and has a great sparkling taste that is not too sweet. Thank you Dad.

Cards Against Humanity Game. This is not a new game, but so funny and wrong. It’s wrong that one might put it in a stocking, which makes it so right. You learn about people and how to play to your judge. For example, I learned my mother generally played the dirtiest card but would never vote for a dirty card when she judged. I love you Mom.

Merry Christmas! 



Charlie Brown

The Tiny One is 3. He is marvelous and a total stink pot these days. We have been talking about rhyming words. He has also been watching Charlie Brown. I finally deleted the Great Pumpkin episode when I could not take it even one more time. Lovely Rudolph and feisty Frosty have been recorded, but he will have none of it. I think it is because of all the naughtiness in Charlie Brown. How scandalous they speak to his little ears. I told him I would delete all of them if I heard him using the bad words he hears. If he needs to say the words, he can do so alone in his room. Who am I to judge? I love bad words. Anyhoo, he is a clever stink pot. Instead of using the word blockhead, he uses frockhead. There is that rhyming lesson. Lately it has been shortened to frock, than fock. On my honor, the only time I have said the F bomb in front of him was at 4 in the morning when he refused to sleep and he was only 50% awake. It comes from bloody Charlie Brown. My husband was unaware of the rhyming and called out from his home office/nursery, “Are you hearing this?” I yelled back from the other room while Tiny 2 was attached to my tribal breasts for the 18th hour of the day, “Yes. He’s saying frockhead. He thinks he’s fooling us.” To which husband corrected me that it was now fock. Well, fock. I do not have the energy to deal with this one. I am too tired. All I want is to magically win the lottery without playing it and for my children to sleep for 10 hours. Neither one appears to be a possibility.

I am surviving on coffee and cosmetics these days. I wear a splint due to post pregnancy diastasis recti and I use a topical treatment in effort to prevent the post natal hair loss that is most likely coming. This is my appearance reality. Needless to say, I am not at my finest. A dear friend passes along treats from her Birch Box to me. One of the goodies was an spf 15 primer by IPKN New York and it is a life saver. It is the Flash Cream Radiant Primer. I have tried most of the big name primers and have not loved any of them. Either they are too shiny, sparkly or heavy. This gives you the glow I was supposed to have during my pregnancy. It gives me a fresh face with a subtle, healthy looking sheen. It has entered the limited arsenal of I-don’t-want-to-live-without-it. If I cannot commit to wearing makeup during the day, I can always at least commit to this primer. I love it. In my current sleep deprived and outnumbered state, this has made me at least look like a version of my former self.

Prime the face, rhyme with mommy mouth bass
Sleep, don’t make a peep
Tiny, please not whiny
Baby, someday sleep maybe
Love, all the above

The Hair Product That Any Frizzy Haired Girl Must Have

I think back on my 4 short years in New York and marvel at what I considered a normal day. I very seriously and diligently pursued the opportunity to dress up like a giant flower and persuade people to call their mothers in Time Square for Mother’s Day one year. I had to drop off my head shot and wait like every other actor, but I felt like I had an in because the guy hiring worked out at the club where I had my part-time job. It paid $75 for one day. They cancelled the promotion and I was saddened by the loss of potential income. Another time, I auditioned for a regional production of “The Sound of Music” for the role of Maria. I was called back over and over until it came down to me and another girl. She got the part. During the process of auditioning, I was reading the script on a city bus when a man interrupted me and asked if I was an actor. I said yes. He asked if he could give me advice and I said yes again. (My naiveté will pay off in a moment.) He told me I needed to grow my hair out and have a normal color or I wouldn’t work. I was shocked. Could they not just wig me? He said that there was too much talent in the city and directors hire the easiest choice. He was currently working on Broadway in “Kiss Me Kate.” I sent flowers to him at the theater and made a hair appointment to at least color my inch long, white hair.


About 6 months later I went to a big regional casting call and ran into the director from the production of “Sound of Music.” She pulled me aside and said how glad she was that I was growing my hair out because it was the only reason why I did not get the part.  Mental devastation ensued, but I did get multiple job offers from the audition.


My hair and I have been at war since puberty.  It never was smooth, bouncy, and shiny like my high school friends. I have tried a million hair styles and products, convinced each one would change my hair to that perfect look for me. Nope. I have had multiple stylists tell me that the Brazilian blow out would change my dry, frizzy hair world, but I’m terrified it would flatten the 12 strands on my head. Also, you have to wear special gear so you aren’t poisoned during the process, so I pass on this option.

My quest of 20 years has led me to my perfect product, Flawless Macadamia Natural Oil Cleansing Conditioner. This is a 6-in-1 product that cleanses, moisturizes, and keeps your volume all in 1 product.  I have been using it for 6 weeks now and my love affair is going strong.  My hair is far less dry, but my natural volume is the best it has ever been.  Day 2 hair is even better. I can boldly say that I like my hair.  I have received numerous compliments since I started using this product.  I may never have perfect, shiny, bouncy hair, but I now have a bounce in my step while I toss my locks around. It costs about half as much as I would have made dressed as a giant flower, but worth every penny!


What I Learned From Elementary School Videos

Preface:  I am not exaggerating any of the below to make a story better.  These are my honest recollections.  They are, however, 25 years old, so they may no longer be accurate.  I did believe, for a long time, that my dad bought our house with change he had saved.  Keep that in mind….

I remember starting around 4th grade we would watch videos teaching us about our bodies or other non-scholastic topics that children eventually should know.  I had known about the birds and the bees for a very long time because my mother had bought a book and read it to me.  I asked for it to be read more than once, and followed up with inappropriate questions.  Thus, I felt very knowledgeable about these things.   The revelation that Santa Claus was not real had knocked the wind out of me in 3rd grade, but reproduction was something about which I had the facts.  At some point another topic was about things that should alarm a child; things that are and are not normal for adults to do.  For example, it is not normal for a stranger in a van to ask you to help him with a puppy.  I was briefly concerned that I was abused because my mother felt naps were most effective if you didn’t wear pants while taking them.  This was just good sense, but at the time, I mulled it over. Another thing we eventually learned about was birth control.  I was very fascinated by what I think was called “Today’s Sponge”.  To this day, I have never seen one, but I imagined it.  If the Internet had been around, I would have furtively googled it while my parents were in another room.  I do not know why it was so fascinating, but it was.  It was the type of thing I imagined glamorous women talking about over a martini lunch.  I am quite certain I was wrong about that.

I was given “Today’s Sponge” in my stocking this year.  At least, it looks exactly like the one I imagined way back when.  Drum roll for dramatic pause……this one is for your face.  It is awesome.  It is a cleansing sponge by Boscia and I have never had so much fun washing my face.  What I particularly love about it is that you can use it on your eyes to get make up off.  I have a strong aversion to using make up remover and I destroy towels rubbing mascara off after washing my face.  This gets rid of my mascara and is so much fun to use.  It starts off hard when it is dry and softens to a perfect texture for washing.  I would also recommend it for toddlers to play with because the texture is very, very addictive.  I like to believe that it increases the circulation, and thus the coloring, to my sleep deprived skin, but that may be false advertising.  I am happy to have something that makes a boring chore enjoyable.  You can buy this at Sephora for $18.

Isn’t it nice to know that things you learned years ago can still play an active role in your adult life?  Giggle.


Facial Hair and Lasting Impressions

Kabuki Bronzing Brush $17

A fact of life is that there are some things that just follow you that you cannot get rid of. I will be discussing this in a superficial light, not in a serious, non-joking way of something like herpes simplex II. If you were to ask someone who knew me in high school what instantly came to mind when they thought of me, there would be 3 possibilities, I would guess. I rank these how I hope they would fall. #1: She sang well. #2: She had huge boobs. #3: She was a goody two shoes. (damnit) It is what it is. There was a very nice girl I knew growing up who very unfortunately had to go to the bathroom in a solid way at a party, and she will be forever known as the girl who pooped at a party. These are not things that people label to be mean (at least as adults), but it is a brain searing image of who you are and it just does not go away, unless you have breast reduction surgery. That opens up a new avenue of labeling. I am rambling about this because one of those things that people remember is facial hair. I am wary of people thinking of me as Katie hairy face, or that girl with the creepy hair sticking out of her cheek. Make up brushes can make you that girl if you are not careful. Most make up brushes come in colors that are not natural to downy, blonde, normal facial hair so it really stands out. I know that if I notice someone with a random facial hair, the next time I see them I involuntarily check to see if it is still there. Think about it. I bet you do too.

I have used the Body Shop Kabuki Bronzer brush for years because it does not shed, ever. I bought it on impulse as a treat to myself while stuck in the Denver airport, and it is my most favorite make up tool. I have used it for finishing powder, blush, bronzer, or as a general blender between all of the above. The hairs are very soft, it fits nicely in my hand, and it is not outrageously priced at $23 (currently on sale online for $17). I have had my brush for years. I know you are supposed to replace them, but it still seems to do the job for me and it still has not marked me with unwanted facial hairs.

Hair Stylists’ Secrets You Need to Know

I have frizzy hair. It is one of my least favorite features. When I was in high school preparing for college, my mother gave me a list of possible essay topics for my applications. One of them referenced my frizzy hair in conjunction with looking like Bette Midler while driving a minivan.

I am second from the left, as if it isn't obvious by the poof.

I am second from the left, as if it isn’t obvious by the poof.

I am still scarred by this. My mom said she just wanted to give me an edge on the applications. Well it gave me something… (She is an incredible mom; this was just the wrong thing to suggest to an insecure teenager. I could do a lot with it now.)

Hair stylists are magicians. Today I have 2 wizards talking about ways to get good (or better) hair. They both have rocked my hair to the perfect shade of blonde. Neither of them live near me right now, which is a HUGE problem in my beauty world. I gave them a list of questions and they are going to share the secrets of their trade with us.

Morgan just won the “Best Stylist in the OC” award. Morgan is a true California girl and her clients reflect it. Her blonde highlights make me look rosier and younger—seriously. Easy, gorgeous waves or surfer sass are butter for her. Morgan herself pulls off pink hair like no one I have ever seen. She might be the coolest girl I know.

Kat is a rocker. She makes me want to cut all of my hair off in hopes of looking as hip. She can look at a picture and then make you look like it. She took my friend from platinum blonde to dark chocolate brown and it was absolutely stunning. She is a true artist and is so much fun to talk with.

What is the best conditioner to fight frizzy hair?
Kat: For a deep conditioner, I love Enjoy’s IRS spray followed by Enjoy’s hair mask. Spray in IRS first, then apply the hair mask on top…UHH-mazing. Rinse it completely out because conditioner WILL attract dirt. (Katie’s side note is that I regularly use conditioner as a styling tool, so I wonder how repulsive my hair is at the end of the day? Hmmm)

Morgan: I am a huge believer in the Brazilian blowout. If you’re scared of chemicals, the deep conditioner and straightening balm are also amazing. Salons should use an air filter for the process, however. I don’t believe it’s harmful in small doses.

Best volumizer?
Kat: For volume, I love Big Sexy Hair Root Pump and Aveda’s volumizing tonic. For the root pump, apply when damp and blow dry. Aveda: dry hair almost completely, then spray at roots and continue to finish styling. The smell is AMAZE BALLS!
Morgan: I tend to just use smoothing products and add volume through styling. If you take a round brush and blow the dryer at the roots in the opposite direction you want it to go, it will create volume. If I use a product, it is a root booster for volume.

Best straightener—both product and/or treatment?
Kat: I love Aveda’s Style Prep and I like Fekai’s glossing treatment to knock out tangles and give crazy shine. My favorite tool is pretty much anything by Babyliss. The warranties and the life of these tools are worth the price. Use your products before and during blow drying your hair, and NOT before flat ironing because it creates steam and can burn and break the hair off.
Morgan: The Brazilian Blowout straightening balm and Bumble and Bumble Straight are my favorite products. Again, the Brazilian Blowout is my favorite! (Katie side note, I have seen her do the blowout and it is amazing.)

How do you style hair to get big, bouncy curls?
Kat: I’m super old fashioned with curls. I know you can get great curls with a flat iron, but I love my curling iron. I like to use a forgiving hairspray with movement before I curl, generously all over the head, curl, clip up, and move to the next section. Also, slice your sections with different sizes and thicknesses.

kat hair
Morgan: Start with a product for hold, like a curl cream. I like to do curls with a blow dryer and a small to medium round brush. The trick is to blow the curl in every direction. For example, roll the hair under, then roll the hair opposite in an upward direction, then sidewas. Finish in the direction you want the hair to fall, and always hold at the end and do a cold shot to set the curl.

morgan hair

How do you talk to a new stylist to get exactly what you want? Are there terms you can use?
Kat: Bring in a picture or two of what you want. Tell the stylist exactly what you like about it and what you DON’T like about it. Be realistic!
Morgan: Some terms you can use are: choppy which means you see the lines of the cut dramatically and hair goes in multiple directions. Wispy, the ends of the hair look soft, fine, and grown out. Soft layers, your hair hair has shape without noticing each layer, very blended with no hard edge. Shattered edge, the ends of the hair look jagged and very piecey. The problem with using terms is that people sometimes don’t say the right one for what they really want. Tell your stylist if you like your hair to fall forwards towards your face, or if you don’t. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like what you’re seeing, but also know that the cut will go through awkward stages to get to the finished cut.

What are your thoughts on extensions—clip ins or permanent?
Kat: I absolutely think clip in extensions are amazing (Katie side note, me too!!) However, make sure to put them in correctly (Katie side note, you have to practice and use them curly, not straight), take care of them, and buy 2 sets. A big ziplock bag will store them correctly. Practice using them and don’t wear them on the windiest day. (Katie side note, I wore them on an open-air, moving vehicle and the stress caused undue amounts of perspiration.)

Check out this gorgeous ‘Kat’ model with clip in extensions.

Morgan: Extensions are the best invention ever! For non clip in extensions, you can protect your hair if you have them done correctly, take care of them, and have them taken out right. My favorites are the tape in and individual keratin bonded. NEVER sleep on wet extensions. Always wear your hair in a ponytail, braid, or bun to sleep. It will keep them from tangling and damaging. Also very important, do not condition right on the bonds. For the type of hair used, my favorite is the Cinderella brand—individuals and EasiHair-tape-in.

Are at-home highlights ever ok to do?
Kat: I will slap you. This is what teenage girls do while drinking at parties. (Katie side note, both activities are no no’s.) If it’s not in your budget for a full head of highlights, just get a few. 10 professionally done highlights are better than none, or a full head of nonsensical hot spots.

Gorgeous Kat highlights:

kat hair 3
Morgan: Never! It’s always bad, especially highlights! There are so many factors in hair coloring; leave it to the professionals. You could end up with a very expensive trip to the salon.
(Gorgeous Morgan highlights)

morgan hair 3

How do you fake thicker hair?
Kat: A great way to fake thicker has is to actually highlight it. “Damaging” your hair isn’t always a bad thing. It will expand your cuticle and give texture. I also love an amazing pixie cut on finer hair. It’s a great way to get to play with product.
Morgan: Play with product to find one that works for you, and EXTENSIONS!

morgan hair 4

Contact them:
Kat Braby:
Morgan Higgins: Salon Bleu in San Clemente, CA. (949) 366-2060 and (work in progress)

P.S. I did have short hair a long time ago.  Here it is.

short hair

Laura Mercier’s Amazing, Fantastic, Christmas-like Promotion You Cannot Miss

I love a good deal when shopping. My heart beats a little faster, I panic a little that I will somehow lose it, and I love sharing the story. I like to give great details and my husband would prefer I shorten the story to “what”, “how much”, and “will it benefit me?” I usually low ball the cost to lessen a possible blow. When we first started dating, he got nervous around my parents and outed me. I believe his words were, “You know she lies about how much things cost, don’t you?” Later I clarified, #1 he is to be on my team at all times, and #2 I do not lie about the cost; I simply round down. If something cost $84, I’m going to say $80. Call it retail math—and do not correct me. I know it should be $85, but it’s my story.
Laura Mercier has an AMAZING promotion going on for ONE DAY ONLY. (I have already been and it makes my heart beat faster just typing this. What is wrong with me?) You must run to it! With any Laura Mercier purchase, they are giving you a gift of a full size tinted moisturizer compact, in your shade. This is not a cheesy gift where you get to choose between 2 off colors they are testing out.  This is a pull it from their stock, in your color, and you take it home. I. AM. NOT. KIDDING. I quizzed my Nordstrom stylist hard about it. It is a $45 gift that you receive with even a single item purchase.

If you do not know about Laura Mercier, their philosophy is flawless skin and their foundation line is something you should try. It is lovely. They come close to making me believe my skin resembles my early 20’s skin. I felt fresh and dewy, which I have not felt in a while, but perhaps that is a topic for another day. For your item to purchase, may I suggest their tightline cake eye liner. You use a wet brush and paint on your eye liner. It lasts all day and the liner itself will last you years.


My friend shared with me that her very favorite cosmetic is Laura Mercier’s shimmer block. It can be used as eye shadow or as an illuminator for your face. Imagine yourself with a JLo glow.

Laura_Mercier_Shimmer_Block_Pink_MosaicNow, I cannot speak for all of the other retailers, but Nordstrom said all of their stores are participating in this unadvertised cosmetic adventure.  Here are the small print details you can use to help build your strategy for a possible hostile take over at the cosmetic counter.  I will be sitting with my dewy face at the park, with my beloved teeny, enjoying my glow.

Receive a complimentary Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact with any Laura Mercier purchase.

Expires May 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm. Limit one per customer, available at
participating Laura Mercier cosmetic counters with complimentary shade match
for one-day only. Offer exclusive to U.S. residents aged 18 or older.
Participating retailers include: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue,
Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Blue Mercury, Belk, Cos Bar, Bergdorf
Goodman, Henri Bendel, Von Maur, Holt Renfrew and select boutiques nationwide.
MSRP: $45.

Well Hello Dolly

There are times in the year when there aren’t many auditions for shows.  During these times, I auditioned for shows that I normally would not attend because I had promised myself I would not be lazy.  This particular audition I was preparing for was a musical version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that a village theater was producing.  They wanted rock song auditions.  I should have skipped it.  I did not.  I went to my vocal coach’s apartment to do my final preparations.  She suggested adding simple choreography to my rendition of “It’s Raining Men.”  In my heart I knew it was a bad idea, but I went along with it.  After my rehearsal, I applied my silver glitter eye shadow to rock it out, and went down to the village.  Simply put, the audition was terrible.  I forgot the choreography and stood there swaying with jazz hands.  I cannot sing rock and was uncomfortable the entire time.  At the end of the audition, one of the lovely casting people said, “I like your eye shadow.”  Bless her heart for finding a positive in there.

I have moved on from that moment, but I still love a compliment regarding my makeup.  My favorite category is lip makeup.  I am giddy in Sephora about trying new kinds, yet slightly paranoid about contracting Herpes Simplex 1 by trying everything.  So far, luck has been on my side.  I have received numerous compliments when I wear a certain combination and that is my little luxury for today.  I kiss the tiny one so often that I do not get to wear lip gear very often, but I did this weekend and felt smashing.   My secret combo is MAC whirl lip liner followed by Buxom lip gloss in Dolly.  Dolly is hands down my favorite neutralish lip gloss.   It makes your entire face a little glowy, and it tastes good.  I love the entire Buxom line, but Dolly is my favorite color.  At the end of the day, a compliment is a compliment, but I really prefer the kind that is spontaneous instead of someone trying to find a positive inside a huge disastrous moment.  Muah!


Part 2, or the Thrifty Girl’s Guide to a Healthy Tan

In the wise words of my favorite Pi Phi sister, “tan fat looks better than white fat.”  Here, here!  While I am below my pre-baby weight, I’ve got a shake with my fries and a tan body fakes what is not quite back yet.  I have tried most self-tanners available and always have a complaint about them; be it the color, application, or price.  My husband has had a universal complaint about all of them.  See, I like to put it on before I go to bed.  When I wake up, it’s kind of like Christmas.  I run to the light to see if there’s something shiny and new on my legs.  My husband’s complaint is that I come to bed smelling like cat urine after I apply it.  He has a point, but I like a J Lo glow.  Another issue….lotion that is tricky to blend.  I tried a new kind before a trip to Las Vegas and I ended up looking like I had leprosy on my ankles and wrists.   The only reason I even remotely enjoy Vegas is for the pools, and it took a new kind of confidence to waltz around a communal watering hole looking like I had a contagious disease.

Now that you know more than you wanted to know, I get to the exciting part.

I have found the PERFECT self-tanning foam.

tanning foam

It is Rodan + Fields Essentials Foaming Sunless Tan.  It goes on weightless, stays weightless, and blends into your skin better than ANY other kind I have tried.  It has a natural brown and not orange color, and the best part?  IT DOES NOT SMELL.  There is a slight scent to it, but it dries without the terrible cat urine odor.  In theory, you could put this on in the morning before work, and go for cocktails at night with a fantastic glow.  I’m in love.  Because there is a Debbie Downer at every party, the price on this beauty is not wonderful.  It’s $24, which is average for a higher end brand, but with shipping and handling (what even is handling in 2013??), it comes out to $38.  I got in on a flash sale where I got 2 for 1, so it was price friendly.  Even at the higher cost, it is much more economical than airbrushing, and the product is simply the best.  I am finally satisfied.  Why I did not take these pictures standing up is befuddling, but here are before and after pictures.

pale leg leg

If you too would like a J Lo glow with a fool proof application, here are a couple of reps who can get you going  with it and some of their other favorite products!

Ali Buckley:

” Sign up as a PC (preferred customer) and pay a one time $19.95 fee, get free shipping for life and 10% off your regularly scheduled orders (min $80 every 60 days…but it can be ANY products at all.  You don’t have to get the same thing auto shipped every 2 months).  I recommend the micro derm jar (under essentials).  I’ve really never used anything like it.  I also use our Redefine regimen daily and I used Reverse for several months and it got rid of my sun damage. (PS these products are GREAT for men too).”

Monica Higgins (Kingery for any WHS readers):

Tanning foam is here:

My favorite products are the Redefine Regimen (,

  Night Renewing Serum (,

and the Multi Function Eye Cream (

“The Redefine Regimen reminds me of getting a facial. I miss facials!  Now I feel like I treat myself to a mini spa-facial every night and morning in just a few minutes. The Night Serum is seriously liquid gold. I’ve never put anything so luxurious on my face. It’s amazing. AND it fights the aging process! The eye cream is really light and smells amazing.”

Airbrush Tanning Etiquette

C and I were given air brush tans from a friend of hers.  Because we lack impulse control, we had to use them NOW NOW NOW.  We jumped in her car and drove, gabbing the entire way about a whole lot of nothing.  True to form, we acted without thinking.  About 2 minutes before we got there, C asked me what the etiquette was for airbrush tanning.  I was the expert because I had done it once before.  I didn’t really know and we went into panic mode.  We had been in the situation before back in our NYC days when we were invited to a party in Connecticut.  We had assumed we would stay up there for the night and brought our overnight bags.  When we were on our way there, we realized we hadn’t had a formal invitation and, again, panicked.  Our bags were clearly overnighters so no faking a big hand bag.  Should we leave the bags on the train?  Should we say they were for just in case we spilled something on our outfit?  Should we get a hotel room (we were poor).  Help!  This time, we did not know what to do when someone is spraying you.  Do you wear undergarments?  Do you engage in conversation?  Do you point out your flabby spots and ask for an opinion?  What do you do??  We ended up with beautiful spray tans.  In case you too have questions, now that bikini season is almost upon us, I called Sunset Tan to ask them about proper etiquette.  They are the experts.  After all, they had a TV show….

Q: What do you wear while airbrush tanning?

A: The client chooses.   The person spraying you is used to both nudity and undergarments.  The most common is nudity so you avoid tan lines, but it is your choice.  (Interestingly, only women can go nude.  They require men to wear something.)  They do provide disposable garments for both men and women, if needed.  (Side note, not all places provide paper undies, so ask ahead of time!)

Q: What is the proper tipping amount?

A: The most common is $5.  Some people do 15-20%, however.  (My thoughts: do not skip tipping a person who comes into close contact with your thighs and is still cheerful.)

Q: How do you make it last, since it is not a cheap endeavor?

A: Skip hot showers.  Take quick, lukewarm showers.  Also, do not exfoliate.

Q: Any other tips to share?

A: Come in with freshly exfoliated skin, but do not have anything on your skin, including deodorant.  Skip wearing a bra home if you can, and do not wear anything tight.  (She mentioned that when clients wear tight jeans, they often will have a tanned seam line once it sets.  Yikes!)  Also, wait 8 hours before showering.