Boho dream: Festival beauty and fashion

Coachella, the spring music festival, is headed into its second weekend in Indio, California, which means I’m in the midst of rhapsodizing over the bohemian, pseudo-gypsy and hippie-esque outfits celebrities in the crowd are wearing.

I’m a huge fan of 70s fashions. I love going onto Pinterest to check out old photos of Carly Simon, Stevie Nicks, Julie Christie and other 70s icons who made hippie look chic. The outfits at Coachella are mere imitations of the originals — and in many cases cost thousands more. Regardless, they’re a lot of retro fun!

I’m a bit too old to head off to Coachella, despite the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger (who’s older than I am) was hanging around at the event last weekend. Still, I was moved to create some wearable versions of boho fashion this week. Unlike some Coachella attendees, I wasn’t inclined to try out face painting; I kept my makeup much more wearable. As for hair, I tried my version of a head wreath via a simple under-$5 headband from Amazon.com. I’m growing my hair out a bit and sometimes it looks super. At other times, wrangling with a headband is necessary.

I’m also a bit old for some of the barer, wilder Coachella fashions. If you try, though, you can find age-appropriate bohemian looks at Urban Decay and from brands such as Free People. All it takes it a bit of careful editing and the knowledge that you’re going for an homage to hippiedom, not full-on Woodstock.

With that said, here is my first look. I’m wearing a Free People tunic. I don’t often choose bold prints but this one worked for me. The star, though, is the lipstick: a Laura Geller Love Me Dew lip crayon in Cranberry Glaze. My eyeshadow is also from Laura Geller. I used the gorgeous navy and periwinkle tones from her The Wearables palette.

The next festival-inspired look I attempted was softer and more monochromatic. I’m loving this spring’s eyelets, laces and pastels. A look in my closet would reveal that I go for solids in my shirts and slacks, although my summer maxis feature colorful prints. In any case, this look features shimmering champagne eyes courtesy of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Shadow Couture Palette and muted lips courtesy of Make Up For Ever’s Artist Lip Blush.

 


No matter what your inspiration, you’re not too old to try it. If you can still rock a look, go ahead and rock it. You won’t be able to wear it the same way you wore it at 20 or even 30, but there’s always a way to adapt it to your age, body shape and persona. So go out there and have fun with fashion and makeup, no matter how old you are. You only live once!

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The Liebster Award

IMG_0418Thanks so much to the wonderful BeautyliciousStyle for nominating me for the Liebster Award. It’s for new bloggers and is a great way for us to get exposure, reach out to new subscribers and generally expand our horizons. Without further ado, let’s get to the questions she’s asked me to answer:

Q. What is your favorite season for makeup and why? 

A. I started to say spring, because I love the reemergence of corals and pinks and lavenders, but in actuality I prefer winter. I’m a pale-skinned lady, so I love contrasting that paleness with lipsticks and blushes in plum, burgundy and red. I also like the opportunity to use golds, silvers and other shimmery eye looks during the winter, although I use moderation because I’m 56. How did that happen, by the way?

Q. What is your favorite makeup/fashion brand? Which do you have the most of or do you want to have the most of in your collection? 

A. I’m a big fan of Marc Jacobs Beauty and in particular of the Le Marc Lip Creme lipsticks. I have about 10 of them and they never fail me. The formula makes my lips look fuller and juicier, and I’m all for that! I also enjoy Natasha Denona’s eyeshadows — incredible depth and payoff — as well as Guerlain’s Kohl Kajal eyeliners. They smudge so effortlessly and perfectly!

Q. What are your future plans for your blog? How far in advance do you plan? 

A. I would love to build my readership among older women, primarily because so many give up or lose interest in cosmetics as they age. For that reason, I want to focus on both skin care and makeup, because even the most expertly applied and expensive cosmetics can “fail” if the canvas — the best skin possible — isn’t there. As for planning in advance, I’m terrible at that! I am a former newspaper reporter and editor, so I’m used to thinking and writing on the fly.

Q. What is/are your favorite springtime fashion and/or makeup items? 

A. I am completely into this year’s warm-weather fashions. Perhaps it’s the 70s in me, but I love the lace I’m seeing everywhere. I also love the bohemian looks that come into play during festival season. For example, I so enjoy checking out what the younger generation is wearing right now at Coachella. Of course, women my age can’t wear most of those items, so I adapt the looks to fit my lifestyle.

As for spring makeup, I very much enjoy the corals, roses, pinks and — this year — the greens and subtle blues. Oh — and peach! I love rose gold and peach tones. The new Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette is lovely, although I wish it had more variations on the peach tone. There are a lot of browns mixed in!

Q. What is the weather in springtime like in the country you live in? What fashion items are must-have items where you live? 

A. I live in the deep south of the United States, so our springtimes are short. The weather goes from mild and pleasant to humid and hot far too quickly. When the weather starts to turn warm, I reach for my summer “uniform” of maxi dresses and sandals. I have a lot of each! I never wear shorts — always sundresses. I don’t own even one pair of shorts.

Q. Other than blogging, what activities/hobbies do you enjoy most? This applies to all year round. 

A. I’m a writer, so I keep a journal. A lot of people will be surprised at what they read about themselves — and about me — when I’m gone. I kind of think I’ll enjoy watching their reactions from wherever I am!

I love birds and wildlife and I work from home (I’m a writer), so I fill my feeders and sit outside to watch them flit back and forth. Also, although I probably shouldn’t, I put food out at night for the raccoon that meanders over from down the street. The couple on the corner rehabilitate raccoons and lets them out at night. Last night, I had two raccoon visitors at once.

I’m also an avid reader. I stay up on current events, probably due to my background in news reporting, and I read a lot of fiction too. I love gathering quotes and mixing them in with photos on my Instagram page. I find people really respond to the ones that touch on their experiences or situations. Oh — and I love music. I listen to a lot of southern rock and am a huge Rolling Stones fan.

Q. If you could only use five makeup items for your entire face, what would they be? 

A. Lancome Teint Idole 24 Hour Foundation, Cover Girl TruBlend Blush in Medium Rose, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color in Naked Bronze, Benefit They’re Real Mascara, and NudeStix Lip & Cheek Pencil in Whisper

Q. What do you always have with you in your makeup bag in your handbag? 

A. I always, always have my Napoleon Perdis Camera Finish Powder Foundation in Porcelain Girl; it’s perfect for spot touch-ups. Also, Visine for eye redness or dryness, Benefit Boi-ing Concealer, a Bobbi Brown Beach perfume rollerball, a NudeStix Cheek & Lip Pencil in Whisper, a mini Too Faced Waterproof Eyeliner in Perfect Black, Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Bitch Perfect, and a mini version of Josie Maran’s Coconut Water Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise.

Q. What is your idea of the ultimate beauty blog? What should it feature, show/tell its readers and what brands are you most interested in? What is most important to you when reading a beauty blog? 

A. The perfect beauty blog should be inclusive of women of all ages and backgrounds, contain a combination of makeup and skin care tips, feature honest reviews of both new and classic products, include both high-end and drugstore brands, and just be fun to read. I like it when bloggers inject a bit of their own personalities with favorite quotes, music and movie recommendations. Personality is important to me! I’d like to eventually get the opportunity to review products from skin-care brands such as Zelens, Sunday Riley, Mai Lindstrom and other top-shelf brands. Unlike the “big time” bloggers, I’m still paying for my products from my own pocket!

For the next Liebster Awards, I nominate:

Rougepout Beauty

Elegant Ageless Beauty

The Lavender Barn

 

 

 

Estée Lauder steps up its game

 

The Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Palettes

I have to confess that I’ve always thought of Estée Lauder as a brand for older women. Not in a good way, but as a mecca for matrons who’ve put adventure and sex appeal in their rear-view mirrors. (For the record, I see some clothing brands, including Alfred Dunner, Coldwater Creek and Koret, the same way. Those are my mother’s brands. If you ever see me in their apparel, just shoot me. It means I’ve given up on life.)

In any case, I wore Estée Lauder’s Fresh Air Makeup Base in Ivory Mist all through college. Back then, it was the thing to wear because choices were limited. Later, after the cosmetics market exploded, Estée Lauder was eclipsed in my mind by newer, fresher, “modern” brands. It probably doesn’t help that EL’s foundations no longer work for me; even the much-lauded Double Wear doesn’t sit well on my skin.

Estée Lauder, though, is working to modernize its image, as evidenced by the signing of its face of the moment, the trendy and social-media savvy Kendall Jenner. It also has made its way to Sephora counters after years of anchoring department store cosmetic sections. That’s a smart move, because stores like Sephora and Ulta are the go-to spots for younger women shopping for beauty products.

Anyway, other than its Heat Wave highlighter, which became a cult hit a few years back, Estée Lauder hasn’t been high on beauty gurus’ hot-product lists. But here’s some  good news: I impulsively purchased two items from the company’s latest roster of products. Both are from the Bronze Goddess Collection. The first is the Summer Glow Eyeshadow Palette and the second is the Summer Glow Multi-Palette. One has found favor with me; the other not so much. Let’s talk about the disappointment first:

  • The Summer Glow Eyeshadow Palette, $45 on sale at Nordstrom, is gorgeous to look at. It features six shadows, two neutral mattes and four shimmery but not glittery shades that range from pale rose to taupe brown. The standout is an unexpected pop of aqua. Sounds great, right? The problem is that the colors are prettier in the pan than on the lid. The payoff isn’t the best. I expected the shades to be bold and be beachy, but they’re pastel in reality. I’m going to try them with a wet brush to see if I can get better, more intense results.
  • The Summer Glow Multi-Palette, $45 on sale at Nordstrom, is the better of the Summer Glow entries. It features a highlighter in a golden shade, a blush that’s a warm rosy tint with a touch of shimmer, and a satin-finish contour that is actually more of a bronzer than a contour powder due to its warmth. I like this palette — it’s tagging along on my upcoming vacation — but I recommend it with a caveat: It’s really best suited for fair-skinned girls. While the highlight is universal, the blush and highlighter may be too pale for those with darker skin to bother with.

All in all, these palettes are promising steps forward as Estée Lauder courts younger buyers. The company has also just released a suite of products aimed at younger women in its new “The Estée Edit” line. These include the Flash Photo Powder, which I’ve tried and like, as well as a pore-vanishing stick and kohl eyeshadow.

Beauty finds: Wings and catnip

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When I make beauty discoveries, I’m always eager to share them. Today, I have two great products to tell you about. One will give you wings; the other is like catnip.

Just wing it

In the beauty world, one of the hardest skills to master is winged eyeliner. It needs to be sharp and even, and even years of practice don’t make perfect. The problem is that liner is applied after eyeshadow, so a screw up ruins everything that went before. That’s why there’s a saying: “Never ask a woman wearing winged eyeliner why she’s late.”

img_0335Cue Beauty Blender, makers of the incredibly popular Beauty Blender Sponge. They’ve come up with a simple but ingenious gadget: the liner.designer. It’s a flexible, triangular-shaped disk that’s a guide to the perfect wing, whether you’re going for a cat eye, sharp flick, thin line, thick line or double wing. It looks kind of like a guitar pick but it’s more bendy and has all the right curves. I used it today and it was easy-peasy to produce a wing so sharp it could cut a man.

Purr-Fect

IMG_0334I’m a lipstick girl. I love finding new shades to enhance my lips, which some have said are my best feature. I’m not so sure about that, but have lips, will rock them. Anastasia Beverly Hills, the company behind one of the best and most comfortable liquid lipstick lines, recently released some new and lovely shades. Today, I tried one called “Catnip” and I have to say it is gorgeous — so gorgeous your lips will become catnip for your guy. Even better news: I applied it at noon and it’s still going strong nine hours later. Good stuff!

The Beauty Blender liner.designer is available at Sephora for $16. Anastasia Beverly Hills’ “Catnip” liquid lipstick is available at Sephora, Macy’s and AnastasiaBeverlyHills.com for $20. 

 

4 reasons you should never sleep with makeup on 

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Don’t be tempted to sleep in makeup.

I’m always shocked by the number of people who tell me they don’t wash their faces before going to bed. I confess to having committed this grievous sin in my college days but, then again, I did a lot of foolish things in college. But that’s a story for another day …

Listen up, ladies and gents, you should never, ever, ever go to bed without (at a minimum) cleansing and moisturizing your face. Here’s why:

  • During the day, bacteria builds up on your face. Think about it: Your skin attracts general pollutants, dirt and grime. And then there are the oils it produces, not to mention the germs it amasses when you touch your hands to your face or use your phone.
  • Pillow smush. Most people move around in bed while sleeping, and at night that includes burying our faces into our pillows. If you’re wearing makeup, all of that smushing just grinds makeup, germs and dirt deeper into your pores. Pillows are breeding grounds for bacteria anyway, so don’t magnify the problem. In addition to cleansing your face, wash your pillowcase at least one per week in very hot water to eliminate germs from skin oils, hairspray and other products that make it less than clean.
  • Clogged pores. Makeup, oil and sebum love to burrow into your pores. This can cause not only breakouts but enlarged pores. I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid sink holes on my chin and nose areas. Your skin needs to breathe and repair itself at night. Makeup, dirt and grime prevent it from doing so.
  • Broken eyelashes. If eyes are the window to the soul, who wants their soul to have tattered curtains? Sleeping in mascara makes lashes stiff, brittle and prone to breakage. Let your lashes breathe — and go a step further by using an eyelash conditioner to keep them soft and nourished.

My heroes! Four skin care must haves

It’s a given that I love the creativity that comes from playing with makeup. But I wouldn’t have as much fun ‘painting’ without a smooth canvas. That canvas is good skin, and good skin doesn’t just happen. It takes time, effort, trial and error.

With that in mind, I wanted to share four of my skin-care heroes. One I’ve just discovered and the other three are products I simply can’t live without. Here are the details on each:

– You’ve heard me rave about this before: Sunday Riley’s Luna Night Sleeping Oil. This is one of the rare products that actually makes an overnight difference. It brightens, smooths, clears up any red spots or acne — yes, at 56 I still get the odd ‘spot’ now and then — and is just my all-around ‘holy grail’ of skin care. Here’s how Sunday Riley describes it:

“Luna Sleeping Night Oil contains high-potency, purified-grade lactic acid to instantly correct dullness, plump the look of lines, and exfoliate the skin. With continued use, the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation, imperfections, and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthy-looking complexion. Enhanced with licorice for brightening, it helps to clarify and correct the appearance of imperfections for immediate, smooth radiance.” Whatever. It works.

– Living in the deep south requires special skin-care strategies, especially in the summer months. Whoever described my beloved city of Columbia, S.C., as “the screen door to Hell” was onto something. From June into October, it’s humid and scorching — two of makeup’s deadliest foes. Makeup setting sprays such as those from Skindinavia and Urban Decay are terrific, but I recently found a spray that one-ups them. It’s Liftra by Dr. Jart and in addition to setting makeup in place, it also has skin-firming properties. Here are the details:

“Liftra™ Contour Fixer is a setting mist that forms a thin film over the face to visibly lift and improve elasticity. It shrinks over time and provides a tightening effect—immediately lifting the appearance of skin and creating a smoother, firmer-looking complexion. The light water ampoule formula gently clings to skin, is quickly absorbed, and provides a finish without stickiness. Great for use throughout the day to refresh sagging skin or as a setting mist after makeup, it replenishes volume by supporting natural collagen synthesis, while a hyaluronic acid complex instantly replenishes moisture and maintains elasticity.”

– Biologique Rechercher’s Lotion P50 Original 197o is a game-changer for me. It’s not really a lotion at all; it’s a liquid toner that not only exfoliates my skin but has helped me get rid of stubborn milia beneath my eyes and other small under-the-skin bumps that were impossible to express. A word of caution: This stuff is strong. So strong that it seriously stings. I worked my way up to “Original 1970” by starting with the less intense “Lotion P50 W 1970,” the gentlest version in the line. This product can be difficult to find. I order it from Shop Rescue Spa.

– Perricone MD Blue Plasma Orbital is a little gem that does wonders for my eye area. I combine it with Clinique’s new Pep Start eye cream and get great firming/moisturizing results. I’ve never had eye bags, but like every woman of my age I have a few fine lines. When I added Blue Plasma Orbital to my routine, they almost immediately diminished. Warning: It has a fishy smell. It doesn’t bother me and goes away quickly, but it does trouble some users.

A word to the wise

No skin-care product is a miracle worker. The right products can delay the effects of aging if you start using them early. Once wrinkles have set in, they can improve but not eradicate the problems. No matter where you are in the aging process, it’s important to start a skin-care routine immediately and stick to it religiously. That means every morning and night, day in and day out. There are no shortcuts and no second chances!

Get cheeky with it 

 

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Benefit Cosmetic’s Cheekathon Palette

Sometimes bundled products are worth it and sometimes they’re not. This one falls on the worth it side: Benefit’s new Cheekathon Blush and Bronzer Palette, featuring the company’s top-selling cheeky products. Here’s what you get:

  • 0.32 oz Dallas box o’ powder blush in Dusty Rose (full size)
  • 0.25 oz Dandelion box o’ powder blush in Baby Pink (full size)
  • 0.28 oz CORALista box o’ powder blush in Coal Pink (full size)
  • 0.17 oz Rockateur box o’ powder blush in Rose Gold (full size)
  • 0.28 oz Hoola matte bronzer (full size)
  • Natural-bristle brush

These products are some I’ve purchased separately and hit pan on –several times in the case of the perfect Hoola bronzer — so springing for the set was a no-brainer for me. The cost of the palette is $58. If purchased separately, the total for all of the items would be $145. The CheekathonBlush and Bronzer palette is a limited edition, so don’t dally too long.

Let’s talk about what’s sexy (and what’s not)

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What’s sexy? A scented, warm bath is sexy.

Like many makeup-loving women, I post photos of my daily beauty looks on my Instagram account. (It’s Makeup_Plus_50, if you would like to follow me.) Instagram is a fascinating site, really, and I’ve come to like it much more than I like Facebook. Since Instagram is all about photos, I guess you could say the “picture is worth a thousand words” adage rings true, at least for me.

Anyway, I recently posted a photo in which I was wearing a top I’ve owned for awhile but never worn. I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since February and it’s more flattering now that it was then. It’s a nice, kind of sexy black top — lower cut than I wear on a daily basis but nothing crazy (see photo). The picture had been up for five or 10 minutes when it arrived: what’s known in social media parlance as a “dick pic.” For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s when a guy sends a private message containing a photo of his, as they say in romance novels, engorged manhood.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d guess not many women are aroused by the unsolicited arrival of an up-close view of a stranger’s private parts. So, if you’re a man and you’re reading this, take it as an advisory. Do not send women you don’t know pictures of your penis. Now, if you want to send a penis pic to a woman you’re married to or seriously dating, that’s another matter entirely. If you’re both aroused by it, share away — just be aware that your sexy shots might be seen by others in the event of a breakup.

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The little black top …

Anyway, today’s special delivery got me thinking about sex and sensuality. I’m going to be candid here and say that I feel sexier now than I’ve felt in a long time. Feeling sexy is something that comes and goes in a woman’s life. There were times when I felt decidedly unsexy: when I had young children to raise and for a long time after I had cancer, for example. But today? Maybe it’s self-confidence … maybe it’s that I’m comfortable about who I am and what I want .. maybe it’s the weight I’ve lost … maybe it’s that I’ve come to terms with my age .. but I feel good and desirable and, yes, pretty darn sexy.

So, if a picture of a stranger’s private parts isn’t sexy, what is? For me, and for many women, it’s little things, such as:

  • A candlelit bath in steamy, scented water.
  • A hot stone massage.
  • The sensual slide of a balm cleanser as I wash my face.
  • An unexpected flower delivery.
  • A hot shower with my favorite scent.
  • Catching and holding my man’s eye across a crowded room — and knowing, without a word, that’s he’s thinking sexy thoughts.
  • A hand on my thigh under the table at a crowded restaurant.
  • A man who remembers my birthday without being reminded.
  • Leisurely putting on my makeup as I prepare for an evening out.
  • Jungle Gardenia perfume.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male cologne.
  • A kiss on the shoulder — or the neck.
  • Catching my guy looking at my lips.
  • Red lipstick and black winged liner.

That’s about all I can share here. Remember, a little mystery is terribly sexy. Remember, too, that sexiness isn’t the exclusive purview of women in their 20s or 30s. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives — our jobs, our errands, our children, our household tasks — that we lose sight of our sensuality as well as our sexuality.

Here’s a final tip: Your inner thoughts are manifested in the way you present yourself to the world. In other words, thinking sexy thoughts makes you sexier. – Ronda

Dark matter: Seduce him without saying a word 

I usually keep things light but felt like taking a stroll over to the darker side on a Sunday afternoon. There’s a lot to be said for sweet and innocent, but sometimes seductive is nice too. Here, I’m practicing my ‘I want you now’ look — and I hope I come across as more Kathleen Turner in ‘Body Heat’ than Mike Meyers in ‘Austin Powers.’

This look was created with a blend of drug store and high end products and is great for women with brown and green eyes because the amethyst shades make them sparkle and pop. The trick is starting with perfected skin. Here I’ve used the new Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation. My shade is Euphoric. I used Judith August’s peach-toned concealer to cancel out dark circles and set everything in place with a light dusting of Pores No More powder from It Cosmetics.

The eyes are the real stars of this look. I started by applying Charlotte Tilbury’s Color Chameleon in Amethyst Aphrodisiac on the mobile lid. White Peach from Too Faced’s Sweet Peach Palette was used as a brow highlight and Purée from the same palette is the transition shade. Next, I applied Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre in Diapason on my mobile lid, followed by MAC pigment in Rose. I created a tiny wing with liquid liner and lined my upper and lower water lines with deep purple kohl. Finally, I applied a liberal dose of mascara (no falsies — the lashes are my own).

Heading into the home stretch, I applied Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Liquid Summer to contour my cheeks, forehead and jawline. My blush and highlighter are from Makeup Revolution, a new low-cost line available at Ulta. The blush is in the shade Divine and the highlighter is Soft Peach. Lastly, I used the NYX Ombré Lip Duo in Rags & Riches to prettify my pout.

All in all, this is a pretty simple look that anyone can replicate! Just remember to experiment. The good thing about makeup is that it’s not permanent, so play around until you find a look you like. – Ronda

March favorites: Makeup, perfume, music and more

IMG_3937Hello, friends. I’m sorry I’m late with my monthly favorites — March was crazy busy and April is shaping up to be more of the same. Work is speeding up and I have several writing projects to complete before my husband and I head out for  Ft. Lauderdale and on to Jamaica on the 23rd. We do the commuter thing — he works in Texas and I work in South Carolina — so it will be nice to be together for some relaxation and adventure.

Let’s get down to what was big in my world of beauty, fashion, television and music in March. First, the fashion trend I’m loving: lace and pastels. Of course, lace must be worn in moderation lest one cross into Little Bo Peep territory, and pastels aren’t for everyone. I just happen to have the coloring that works with pastels so I’m going to enjoy the trend while it lasts.

Now, let’s talk makeup. The big news in the beauty world was, of course, the launch of the latest Too Faced palette: Sweet Peach. I was out of the country when it hit stores and returned to find it was sold out everywhere. I finally found it at my local Ulta and I’m so glad I did. It smells like one of my two favorite fruits (peaches, of course) and features 18 pretty shades ranging from light (White Peach) to dark (Talk Derby to Me). Mixed in with the peach tones are a nice green, a black, a burgundy and some nice browns and golds to use as transition colors and highlights. If you can find a Sweet Peach Palette, grab it. The Too Faced site is out of them and I understand there are no plans to restock. It’s also currently out of stock online at Ulta and Sephora, but keep checking — and also check your local brick-and-mortar stores. It’s a limited edition palette, so don’t hesitate for too long. And now, on to my other cosmetic favorites:

  • Vitabath Body Wash — I love these sulfate- and paraben-free washes that are infused with antioxidant-rich elements such as acai, goji, pomegranate, green tea and coffee. They also contain skin-conditioning nutrients such as Vitamin A, B3, C , E and B5. And the scents? Incredible! My favorite is Pomegranate & Blood Orange, which I just repurchased along with several other scents. Vitabath Body Wash isn’t expensive, either. A  12-ounce bottle is $7.99 at Ulta and there’s a sale going on now: buy two and get one free.
  • Schwing Black Liquid Eyeliner by The Balm — I always have a couple of spare, unopened boxes of this inky black eyeliner that makes it super-easy to create a sharp wing. I usually buy mine at HauteLook.com, where they can be had fairly regularly for a considerable discount.
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in Pink Sugar — Quite simply, a pretty, rosy pink with a little (but not too much) shimmer. It’s not glittery in any way and looks great on sun-warmed skin.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Gleam — Make those cheekbones — and anywhere else you want to highlight — glow with four pretty shades ranging from golden to peach to tan. Again, especially nice when you have a summer glow.
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer — I am a burner (the last time I had a real tan was when I left California after ninth grade). Fortunately, I can fake it with this pretty bronzer. Sometimes I apply it to my full face, but I most often use it to contour my cheeks, forehead and jawline.
  • Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Dusty Pink — This is a gorgeous, creamy, muted pink lipstick that works perfectly on my fair skin. It makes my lips look plump and pretty and the chubby-pencil applicator makes it easy to both line and fill in your pout. I have several other Art Sticks and they’re all nice. Surprisingly, at least to me, Hot Orange is one of my go-tos in the summertime.
  • Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Clara — The Le Marc Lip Creme formula is hands down my favorite. Quite frankly, it makes my lips look prettier, poutier and puffier than any other. Clara is gorgeous: a bright, sunny, not-quite-fuchsia to die for.
  • Dr. Jart Liftra Contour Fixer — I tried this on a whim and fell in love. I use it as a setting spray and it really does firm my skin. I plan to purchase the Dr. Jart contour cream and roller tool to see if I can get even better results.
  • Red Cherry lashes — These wispy wonders are my favorites. They’re inexpensive on amazon.com and easy to apply due to their thin, flexible band.

I smell wonderful! 

When the seasons change, my scents change with them. It’s already warm in South Carolina — my roses are starting to bloom — so that means it’s time for summer perfumes. Here is my current top three (although I’m yearning to add Dolce & Gabbana’s new Rosa Excelsa to the lineup):

  • Bobbi Brown Beach — Yep, it smells just like a day at the beach with its blend of jasmine, sea spray and mandarin. I use both the eu de parfum and the sultry, sexy body oil.
  • Escada Agua Del Sol — Beachy, but not a literal beach scent like the Bobbi Brown. It’s more like a warm, tropical island with its notes of mandarin, apricot nectar and sandalwood.
  • Jo Malone Orange Blossom — A few years ago, my husband and I visited Italy when the orange trees were in bloom. I’d never smelled anything so delicious and never have since. This scent is the closest I’ve come to that experience, thanks to its primary notes of clementine flower, orange blossom and water-lily.

This and that …

IMG_0152I thought I’d close out my March favorites with a few odds and ends I’ve been loving. First, there’s my cherry iPhone case. I earlier mentioned that I have two favorite fruits — peach is one, cherries are the other. And watermelon. I love watermelon. Anyway, I don’t spend a lot on iPhone cases because I like to switch them out. My cherries case is adorable and I paid like $8 for it on Amazon.

I also watched a couple of good movies this month. One was “Spotlight.” As a former reporter, I very much like movies set in newsrooms and this one was extremely realistic. My other favorite was “Brooklyn,” which features Saoirse Ronan as an Irish girl immigrating to 1950s New York. It’s a sweet love story and one worth watching.

On the television side, I’ve just watched the first two episodes of the new Starz series, “The Girlfriend Experiment.” It stars Elvis’ granddaughter, Riley Keough, as a law student/call girl. Don’t watch this one with kids around because it is very, very explicit. And hot. Very, very hot. So hot it will make you feel hot. The new season of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” starts tonight, after a heart-wrenching cliffhanger on last week’s season-ending episode of “The Walking Dead.” I’m also hooked on the History Channel’s “Vikings” and can’t wait until the new season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” begins on the 24th.

Lastly, let’s talk music. I bought a new, yellow Fiat in November and it came with a year of Sirius FM. I spend a lot of time on the “70s on 7” channel. When I pull out my iPod, these are the songs I’ve been gravitating to:

“Stone Cold” — This is a heartbreaker from Demi Lovato. Super powerful.

“Marvin Gaye” — This is a sexy-fun one by Charlie Puth with a guest appearance from Meghan Trainer.

“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” — Meghan Trainer again, this time with John Legend.

“This Old Heart of Mine” — Going old school with Rod Stewart and Ron Isley — one of my all-time favorites.

“Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” — South Carolina in the summer calls for what’s known as “Beach Music” and shagging on the sand. (It’s a dance, not a sex act!) Other Beach Music favorites include “Carolina Girls” (of course) by General Johnson and the Chairman of the Board and Barry White’s “My First, My Last, My Everything.” 

“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. One of the truly great, heartfelt love songs. A classic.

“Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac. Again, a beautiful love song, albeit a sad one. This is my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. It was intended for the “Rumours” album but was held back at the last minute, so it’s probably a paean to the doomed Stevie Nicks-Lindsey Buckingham love story. I’m a romantic, so I like to think there’s still love there. Well, both have said publicly they still love one another, so there’s that.