Tag Archives: fekkai

An Ode to Costco

If you’ve read this blog before, you may have gotten the impression that I’m a wee bit obsessed with a little store called Costco, and if so, well you were absolutely correct. I do a lot of my shopping there, and since moving to the suburbs I have an even greater appreciation for it. If you don’t have a car, Costco can seem pretty darn worthless, trying to fit a 2 pound box of cereal in your purse and then carry it home on the train, it’s not easy and not elegant. You also have to be a member to shop at Costco, or have a friend who will take you (I’m always willing to bring someone along with me into this wonderful world). Regular membership is $50 for a year, and for $100 you get an impressive “executive” membership which means you get money back on what you spend. If you’re like me and do a majority of your shopping at Costco, the $100 is totally worth it—for sure.

In order to give you a little insight into Costco, what it’s all about, and why I have a (maybe unhealthy) love of it, I attempted to document a typical trip to the magical superstore. It was kinda hard since I’m scared of people, and hate getting yelled at for taking photos in stores. We tried to be real covert—so please excuse me if the pictures are kinda lame. Like this one for example, I almost dropped the camera in the fish freezer when someone walked by, which would have been all kinds of gross.

Costco has come under fire about selling over-fished fishes, especially cod, so I’ve stopped buying it there. I’ve been sticking to salmon and flounder, and I’m hoping that they get themselves together and stop selling those poor cods. Bad form Costco.

Costco is a big ol’ warehouse where you can get most anything. Eyeglasses, tires, office supplies, underwear, shampoo, prescription drugs, meat, a huge tub of cheese-puffs—and so, so, much more. There is an optometrist, pharmacist, baker, photo lab, and butcher all on the premises. I think when most people think about discount clubs they think of items like this one gallon jar of mayonnaise. It kind of makes me sick just looking at it.

And while, yes you can purchase most condiments in gallon sizes at Costco, I assume (and hope) most of the people who buy them own restaurants, or have a lot of extra space in their fridge. The majority of people who shop at Costco are buying more practical items in bulk, like granola bars or paper towels. There is also some great produce; five huge avocados for $6, six heads of Romain lettuce for under $4, two pounds of blueberries for under $6 and dozens of other fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, meats, and cheeses, all at unbelievable prices. Alright, I know I sound like an advertisement, but I am continually blown away by the price difference between Costco and the supermarket.

Costco also treats their employees pretty well, at least compared to other superstores like Walmart and even Target. 85% of Costco employees have health insurance (compared with less than 50% at its competitors), and they renegotiate employee contracts every three years which provide things like paid vacation, bonuses and benefits. They also have an insane return policy, I mean they will take anything back, even years later. I’ve seen people bring in moldy fruit, used clothing, and broken electronics only to receive a cash refund without any hassle—truly astonishing. I can’t get into the impact that Costco has on small businesses but I’m sure it can’t be good, I try to buy stuff at the farmer’s market, but when you’re broke, Costco gives you the ability to eat healthy foods on a budget.

As much as I love Costco I can’t deny that it can be incredibly wasteful. Chips go stale, cheese becomes unrecognizable, you get so sick of cheerios that you never want to look at that stupid yellow box again, and don’t even get me started on some of the packaging. I mean does spinach that’s already in a sealed bag really need a huge plastic case clamped over it? No, it really doesn’t.

There’s also a stigma (and joke) about buying crap in large quantities, but sometimes it’s not crap it’s healthy stuff, and when you buy in bulk you’re forced to eat more of it. Of course that’s not always a good thing, and a certain percentage of the time you end up with a rotting pile of something in your crisper that you feel guilty about. I used to never buy fruit, it was so expensive at the grocery store, and then I felt precious about eating it, and then it rotted in my fridge. Buying large quantities of fruits and vegetables can be wasteful if you don’t eat them regularly, but at the same time, when they’re in your fridge you’ll find a way to consume more of them, and they don’t feel like a luxury.

Speaking of luxury, Costco has some fabulous luxury brands, perfumes, cosmetics, and of course, my beloved Fekkai shampoo. I’m so glad they re-stocked it.

One more problem with buying in bulk is storage. I’ve been routinely hit on the head with falling boxes of cereal, nearly cried when everything in my freezer shoots out and attacks me (nothing hurts more than a pound of frozen chicken cutlets), and I’ve found myself thinking “maybe the 10 pounds of oatmeal wasn’t such a great idea” when I can’t fit anything else in the cabinets. If you have space, it’s wonderful, if you don’t, it seems totally ridiculous. What I’ve learned is that you choose wisely. Stick to buying things that can sit around for a long time, don’t have to be refrigerated, and are used on a regular basis, like laundry detergent or of course cheese-balls.

Look at me with my loot, see how happy Costco makes me? Actually I used to have panic attacks when I went there due to the crowds, but I’ve learned not to go before big holidays, or on weekends or Thursdays (the orthodox community does a lot of shopping here, especially for shabbat).

I’m sure you’re just dying to know what I bought on my trip, so I’ll end with a little graphic for you to enjoy. Click to make larger.

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Beauty Bullseye: Sephora

Truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time in Sephora than in any other store in my adult life. It’s one of those places I go when I’m meeting a friend who is late, or if I just want to kill some time or escape from the wildness of the street for a few minutes. I can see how, to some, Sephora might seem like a nightmare, there are dozens of women pushing past each other, fighting for mirrors, or the attention of salespeople, perfume may get sprayed in your eyes if you’re not careful, and sometimes the lines are incredibly long, but if you love makeup—it’s heaven, all the things you love conveniently in one place to enjoy. Oh Sephora, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

The advantage of Sephora is that, unlike the drugstore, you get to play with the makeup—to me, this is a huge advantage, because if I had a dollar for every product I bought in a drugstore that I never would have purchased if I tested it, well I’d have a lot more money to spend at Sephora. Some people might like to shop the makeup counters at department stores, but not me. I hate having to jump from counter to counter, trying to shake off salesgirls who are so bored they won’t stop following me around making suggestions, or trying desperately to get their attention so I can just buy what I need. At Sephora there is usually a sales girl around if you need help, but once they’ve politely asked you if you need something, they leave you alone—I wish retailers would realize this is the perfect way to provide customer service. I’m someone who has worked a lot of retail, including department store make-up counters, and I can tell you, people don’t like you in their face, but they do want your help when they need it.

They also have their own brand of products, and for the most part they’re really great and reasonably priced too, I have often opted for a Sephora brand product when the name brand was just way too expensive, and I haven’t really been disappointed.

Flashy Liner Waterproof, $8Colorful Duo Eyeshadow, $8, Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss, $7

Sephora has been around since 1997, it originally opened in France in 1993, and is owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). I couldn’t find anything too negative about the company either, so that’s a plus. They have a generous return policy, and regularly offer free shipping over $50 on their site too. If you like Sephora you’re probably already a beauty insider, which means they give you a card so when you buy stuff you gain a point for every dollar spent, once you hit 100 points you get a fancy deluxe sample, and then once you hit 500 points you get a mini-kit or sample set, right now it’s a benefit best of sampler kit. I have 474 points in my bank right now and I’m not sure what happens if I just keep saving them, either way it’s better than other stores offer. A lot of places don’t even give samples anymore—or they’re inconsistent about it, and who doesn’t love free samples?

As a beauty insider you also get a birthday gift, for the past couple of years it has been a mini bottle of Philosophy birthday cake shower gel—or at least that’s what I’ve gotten. You have to pick it up in stores, but it’s a smart little incentive to get you in.

In fact Sephora is very good at getting you into their stores to spend money. They send e-mails with 15% off coupons, and I’m a total sucker for them. I go in thinking I’ll outsmart them and buy a product I was going to buy anyway, but then I see a new lip balm, or an anti-frizz spray. Suddenly I’m thinking “well, it is 15% off the whole purchase so I should probably buy some more stuff too” and then I leave having spent $65 and saved $9. Coupons are all about justification, I can walk out of there feeling proud that I was so thrifty, when really I wouldn’t have even considered buying that stuff if it weren’t for the discount—damn you Sephora, you get me every time!

Another sneaky trick they institute are the mini products strategically placed in front of you as you wait in line. I have seem many women (myself included) add-on an extra $5-$30 picking up one of those tempting little guys. Sometimes you think they’re going to be cheap because they’re small, but you have to be careful, because they throw in some expensive full size items to trick you. I’m sure if you have will power it’s not hard to resist, but miniatures are so appealing for some reason, it’s a phenomenon, it’s so pleasing to see something shrunk down small, I just can’t help it!

FileMate by tweezerman $5 each, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser To Go $15 for 1.7 oz., Sephora for OPI Daily Hand Moisturizer To Go $5 for 1.7 oz., Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist To Go $9 for 1.7 oz., Some Kind-A Gorgeous To Go $9 for .09 oz.,

When I walk in to a Sephora I usually don’t even know where to start, because the fun of it is the ability to play. Put a lipstick on, wipe it off, spray in some curl enhancer, why not? Alright, I assume a lot of women do this but maybe not—If I’m on my way somewhere else and I pass a Sephora, I like to run in and try on some new perfume or makeup, and then just pop back out in to the street and be on my way. It’s an awesome way to really figure out if you like something. Often I’ll forget I even did it and then on the way home I’m wondering “what’s that gorgeous smell?” only to realize it’s coming from my own wrist. Other times I go in there with a mission, or even better, with a gift card, but usually I go in to see what’s there. I like to play a game with myself, it’s called “if I had all the money in the world what would I buy?” I’m sure you’ve played it before too. It’s similar to the game “What would I buy If I had to buy something” which I only play in stores I don’t like. Here’s my list of what I’d be buying at Sephora today if I didn’t have to worry about silly things like rent, health insurance, or credit card payments—hey, you can always dream!

I have a purple eyeshadow obsession, also a Shiseido eyeshadow obsession, they go on so silky smooth and blend together beautifully, too bad they’re $25 each.

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color in Ghost, $25 for .07 oz.

Recently when I go into Sephora I’ve been sampling the Tocca fragrances, they all smell amazing. What I love about them is how they really change when you spray them on your skin, they are scents with a great deal of depth, there are so many lovely notes to discover as you wear them all day.

Tocca 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Sprays, $68 for 1.7 oz.

I’ve posted before about the Tarte lip stains, but little did I know that was just the glossy collection, now they’ve come out with a collection of matte shades too. I want one, they’re very similar to the others, but without the shiny glossy finish, and they come in a whole new set of bright colors.

LipSurgence™ Natural Matte Lip Stain,$24 for 0.1 oz.

I hate washing my hair, it’s long, easily tangled, and takes forever to dry, so I’m a big fan of dry shampoo. I’ve been reading good things about this one from Klorane, I’ve tried it in stores and it seems really nice, but I have tons of Oscar Blandi at home, so I have to use that up before I can justify buying more. It’s also nice that it’s made without Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes and a bunch of other bad stuff.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract, $18 for 1.7 oz.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy this Clinique skin-tone corrector because of the price, I have the moisturizer and it has helped lighten some sun damage around my eyes, so I really want to see how effective this product is. I’ve tried it in stores, but with a product like this you really need to keep using it to get results. It’s also supposed to be great for lightening acne scars.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $49.50 for 1 oz.

Sephora keeps trying to get me to buy this eyeshadow compact, no seriously, they’ve sent me e-mails recommending it and it’s all over the magazines. It calls out its siren song to me when I’m in the stores, but the price is steep and I already have more eyeshadow than anyone I know, maybe one day though…

5-Colour Eyeshadow – Stylish Move 970, $58

For many years I’ve dreamt of a hair iron that could do anything—barrel curls, soft waves, or straight and smooth. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying this baby out, but in my imagination it’s amazing, so I’m going to go ahead and believe that for the price, this iron can do anything—I wonder if it can crimp too?

The Seductress: Curl, Wave & Straight One-Inch Iron, $230

Let’s be honest though, if I really had all the money in the world I would just buy a whole Sephora store and live there, or attach it to my house as an extra room. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about storing all of the products I buy either, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Anyone else have a deep love of Sephora, what are your “if money wasn’t an issue” dream products?

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Beat the Summer Gross

If you live in the New York City area, you’ve been either sweating your butt off for the past couple of weeks, or adding money to your electric bill by cranking the AC day and night. Earlier this month records were broken from Central Park to La Guardia Airport. Just this past weekend more heat records were set across the area, and we still have another 2 weeks of July. Even when records aren’t being broken, the temperature has been sitting at an average of 90 degrees each day, so it’s hard not to feel like this:

Maybe you’re one of those people who thrive in the heat, who soak up the suns rays with pleasure and feel invigorated by the sweat—if that’s you, I’m in total awe.

If you see a girl looking sweaty, angry, tired, sunglasses slipping down her nose, a halo of frizz around her head, blisters on her feet, and using her skirt as a means to fan herself, well that’s probably me. I was not made for the heat, I am of hearty eastern European and Irish stock, I flourish in winter and was born in December, heat and humidity have always felt foreign and unbearable to me.

What drives me nuts about the heat is that you can’t escape it, the air just bears down on you. When you’re cold you can add on more layers, drink hot tea, start a fire, snuggle up with a buddy, do some vigorous exercise—you have some (usually inexpensive) options besides turning up the thermostat. When it’s nearly 100 degrees outside and the air is wet with humidity, all you can do is turn on the AC, or bathe yourself in cold water.

What’s worse is dealing with the back and forth between superficially freezing places like office buildings or supermarkets and the baking heat of the outdoors, it makes you nauseous. Then you have the constant worry of bringing a sweater wherever you go, and having to carry it around since it won’t fit in your bag—and maybe you should just bring a bigger bag, ugh, frustrating.

I recently read in a magazine (I have no idea which one, I can’t keep them straight at this point) that around 75% of women feel more beautiful in the summer, I found that sort of shocking. I guess it makes sense when you think about it, people work out more because you end up showing off your body more, and if you tan then you feel better about yourself too. For me though, the summer means frizzy hair, shiny skin, visible sweat stains and eww—chafing.

Chafing is gross, and while it’s stigmatized as something that only happens if you’re overweight, it can happen to anyone at anytime. It occurs from sweating and rubbing and it can happen anywhere on your body. It can even happen on your feet when you’re wearing cute new sandals and decide that even though you haven’t broken them in, it will probably be OK to walk around the city in them all day—big mistake.

The summer makes me long for socks, and boots, and comfy sweaters, but come February it will be a different story. Anyway, it’s hard enough to bear the dumbing heat, but trying to look attractive on top of it—who even cares? Unfortunately there are also a lot of events in the summer; parties, BBQs, weddings, and when you attend these events you want to feel you’re looking your best. So, I’ve put together a list of a some products that help keep me feeling human when I can’t sit around the house in my underwear with the fan blowing on me.

If you’re going to wear make-up in the summer, you have to be prepared for it to slide off your face, so what I suggest is a tinted moisturizer with SPF because it’s very light and gives you sun protection too. Now the problem for me is that I’m incredibly pale, so even the “fair” shade in most tinted moisturizers is too orange for me. I don’t think I’m alone here, a lot of these products only come in 1-3 shades and people come in a lot more shades than that. Laura Mercier makes this one in a variety of shades, it has a nice light coverage, but is a bit pricey, there is also an oil free version available.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $42 for 1.5 oz.

I like to make my own tinted moisturizer by using my normal moisturizer and mixing it with concealer. This way you have control over how light you want your coverage to be, and it’s much cheaper. You can just mix it together on your hand and then apply it, or you can get fancy and actually mix it up in a container, just make sure it’s well sealed.

M.A.C Studio finish SPF 35 concealer, $16.50

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15, Fragrance Free, $11.49 for 4 fl oz

I’ve spoken before about my love of powder, specifically Lush dusting powders, but they’re $11.95 for 3.5 oz and in the summer I go through powder fast. I always keep this Johnson & Johnson powder on hand because it’s inexpensive and with the lavender and chamomile scent you won’t have to smell like a baby either.  If you dust yourself with this stuff after a shower you will stay smelling sweet and you’ll minimize sweat too!

Johnson’s Baby Baby Powder, Lavender & Chamomile, $5.49 for 22 oz.

Frizz is the enemy. During the summer months it can be completely unavoidable, but I’ve found that if I use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and then while my hair is wet I work in an anti-frizz finishing creme, I manage to keep the poof under control. I also give my hair a blast of ice-cold water right before I jump out of the shower, it’s supposed to seal the cuticles and increase shine or something, also the cold water feels invigorating when it’s this hot out. I’ve also decided that the Fekkai glossing conditioner is worth the hefty price tag, because it really works. I’m still on a quest to find a conditioner that works as well for less money. That all sounds complicated, but avoiding frizz is a battle people!

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme, $5.99 for 4 oz.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo, $35 for 16 oz

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner, $35 for 16 oz

Nexxus Humectress Luxe Ultimate Moisturizing Leave-In Spray, $11.49 for 5.1 fl. oz.

Remember when I mentioned chafing? Yeah, it happens whether you want to admit it or not, and Aquaphor ointment is a great way to sooth yourself after you’ve fallen victim to the rub. I love this stuff, it is great for chapped skin in the winter, chafed skin in the summer, burns, small cuts, even bug bites.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment $5.99 for 1.75 oz.

This one is more for after you’ve been in the heat and you’ve forgotten your sunscreen and are now suffering from a painful and unattractive sunburn. When you get home from the beach or a walk in the park and notice that your skin is turning a brighter and brighter shade of pink each moment, you’ll be very glad you bought some aloe gel and put it in your fridge. My mom always kept a bottle in our fridge year round, and it remains to be one of the most comforting things for a bad sunburn, you can also just put it on if you’re really hot, anything helps right?

Up & Up Green Aloe Gel, $3.49 for 16 oz.

Lastly, but most importantly—put your hair up! Seriously, this seems like a no brainer, but when I see girls with their long hair sticking to the back of their necks, it instantly makes me feel hotter. I think sometimes we’re willing to sweat our butts off and be miserable to avoid ponytail bumps in our hair. But for real, this instantly cools you down, unless you’re lucky and can sport a cute short hair cut, then you have us all beat!

Goody Ouchless Hair Elastics, $2.99 for 14 pieces

I’d love to hear what other tips people have for managing to feel human when you really just want to seek out the nearest air conditioner. Please give me more tips, I need them!!

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I need to talk about shampoo. Last time I had my haircut, I was scolded (though nicely, because my stylist is very sweet) for using Pantene shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been using Pantene off and on for a long time now. Recently, I’ve been using it because they sell massive bottles of it at Costco for really cheap, and I’m broke.

Pantene always gets written up in fashion mags as the best shampoo, it seems like it is advertised everywhere and that everyone uses it. So I was really surprised when after asking me what shampoo I’ve been using, my stylist squeezed my hair in her fingers and said “yup, I knew it was Pantene, I can feel it”. She assured me that I did not have to buy any of the expensive luxury salon products, but that I should be able to find inexpensive alternatives at the drugstore. She also suggested I use a clarifying shampoo to get out all the residue Pantene had apparently left behind.

Well, I did stop using my Pantene, and I even went out and spent money on some new fancy shampoos excited that maybe my hair would finally be tamed and less frizzy. I used my clarifying shampoo, and then my new expensive ones too, but despite my hair being softer, I can’t say that it made a huge difference, all of which led me to wonder, does shampoo really matter?

I trust my stylist, and I’m pretty sure she was correct that my hair was feeling waxy and weighed down, but I also have really thick hair that soaks up everything, so I think that’s why Pantene wasn’t working for me. She mentioned that Pantene isn’t so bad for thinner, less coarse hair. My real question is, what is the difference between an $8 bottle of shampoo and a $25 bottle? I’ve learned that it’s worth it to pay more for certain eye creams or hair styling products, but I’ve always thought that shampoo was mostly just shampoo, I’ve tried tons of them and never really noticed an obvious difference in what my hair looked like in the end.

My stylist recommended Sebastian Drench shampoo and conditioner, and I obligingly bought it. 

Did I expect a miraculous change? Of course. Did I get one? No. It’s ridiculous how excited we get over something so silly. I actually thought using this shampoo was going to completely change not just my hair, but my look, and my confidence all in just one washing. I don’t think I’ve ever found a product that was able to do all that for me, because it’s never that simple.

There are products that I love that I might even say I can’t live without, and I would be devastated to find any of them discontinued, but I would be lying to myself, and also not giving myself enough credit, if I really believed they were solely responsible for my confidence. The Sebastian shampoo is good, it smells nice, it’s a bit pricey at $14 for a 250 ml bottle and I haven’t decided if I would buy it again. Obviously being unimpressed by one shampoo didn’t stop me from continuing to look for a better one.

I tried going back to using Lush shampoo bars, which I really do love, sadly they get a little messy in my shower, but they’re a really great stand-by and smell amazing. If you haven’t tried them I totally recommend that you do, especially the Ultimate Shine Solid Shampoo Bar, $9.95 at Lush.com.

A few weeks ago I was psyched to find that Costco (are you starting to notice I’m obsessed with Costco?) was carrying a Frederick Fekkai glossing set. I had always wanted to try his shampoo, but at $25 each for shampoo and conditioner, it was always way too pricey. The Costco set has a bottle of each, plus a tube of glossing creme (which I already use and love) so I bought it. I used it. and I have to say, it was pretty good. My hair felt really soft and glossy. Unfortunately it made my hair (which is usually pretty dry) greasy after the second day. I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, so that was a little disappointing. It is a good product though, and I am contemplating going back to Costco and stocking up before they stop selling them, because I know I’ll never be able to bring myself to spend the full $50 to buy them again.

So now I’m back at square one, no idea what to wash my hair with, no idea if it even matters. I feel silly for even writing this post, but I do it in the hopes that I’m not the only one who frets over my shampoo. I want to have healthy hair, I love my hair, I’m willing to put time and (some) money into it. I just get sick of all the promises, all the excitement and then the let down when it always looks the same. Obviously if I had more confidence maybe I wouldn’t care so much, so I’ll be working on that too. I know that I’ll never stop looking for that magical shampoo though, the one that creates perfect, glossy, frizz-less waves, it might be as mythic as El Dorado, but my quest will never cease.

On a more fulfilling cosmetics note, my lovely soon-to-be sister-in-law Alison, got me an adorable little present. It’s mini bottles of the new summer Essie line, YAY! Un-like shampoo, I know that I can use these guys and see an obvious result!

From left to right, Knockout Pout, Pretty Edgy, Demure Vixen and Haute as Hello.

Thanks Alison! Can’t wait to try them all!

Ok, so I really want to hear what shampoo people use, seriously, let me know, I’m at a loss! Does anyone have one that they swear by? Suggestions, stories? Am I the only one who loves Costco? Let me know!

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Beauty Bullseye: Summer cosmetics picks

So far I haven’t really posted about cosmetic products specifically, only about my love for them. So I thought my summer product picks would be a good place to start. I change-up my beauty routine in the warmer months, just like I have movies, music, and books that I only read, listen to, or watch, depending on the season, I also have certain products that I use during the summer exclusively (unless I choose to break my own rules which I do all the time).

Let’s start with a summer staple, the blotting paper. I have only recently re-discovered these guys after forgetting about them after high-school. Summer means sweat, which means shine. Sometimes shine looks amazing and dewy, and other times it  makes you look hot, and not in a good way, so these are a nice little solution, and also very affordable.

(Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets $6.00 for 50)

Sticking to the realm of fighting off sweat (accidental pun), here is one of my summer splurges, Lush dusting powder. Lush makes a variety of wonderful dusting powders, as well as other all-natural products, but this one might smell the best.  Dust it on after the shower and the clean, natural, scent of cocoa butter and vanilla will last all day, very much worth the price.

(Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder $11.95)

So, after you’ve gotten out of the shower and dusted yourself off with powder, you might want to moisturize that skin. I’m sure there are lots of very expensive, fancy, body moisturizers out there, but I have no money, so I like this one that i get at the drug store which smells great and lasts forever. It also does a very good job of keeping legs and body soft, while smelling lovely. Also, despite being a Johnson’s product it doesn’t smell like baby oil, more like strawberries.

(Johnson’s 24 Hour Lotion $5.99)

I have sensitive skin, so I can only use certain moisturizers on my face, my go-to brand is Clinique, because it’s gentle and hypoallergenic. My new favorite product is their Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer, which focuses on lightening brown spots from prior sun damage. I never listened to my mother when she told me to wear sunscreen when I was younger, so I was so happy to find this product which moisturizes, corrects skin discoloration, and has the added bonus of SPF 20 for sun protection.

(Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 20 $42.50)

Moving on to the issue of bronzer/self tanner, I have long given up pretending I am anything but pale, but in the process I have tried many bronzing products. I must say as far as self-tanner goes, I haven’t found any oh-my-gosh amazing product. Everything streaks, blotches, or both. Even the lightest of formulas leave me looking zebra-like and consequently more embarrassed to show my skin. I do keep one tanning product around and that is Clarins Self Tanning Gel, I don’t use much of it, but I’m sure those of you with darker skin than mine (i.e. everyone) could put this product to even better use. However, I do like to dab it on my face in the summer, it gives a nice, natural, glow without looking too orange.

(Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel, 4.4 oz. $32.50)

For Fall and winter I like a rosy cheek, but in the summer I like things a little bit peachy. My sister gave me this Coralista blush from Benefit because her skin is even more sensitive than mine, and the scent is also very strong. It didn’t bother my skin at all, and I actually love the golden peach color it leaves on my cheeks, it’s very summery, I also happen to like the smell, although it’s perfumy. It comes with a little brush, but it’s cheaply made and the hairs fall out, so I would recommend using this with a normal blush brush.

(Benefit CORALista Blush $28)

I am so sick of hearing how Chanel always comes up with the hottest nail colors of the season when everyone knows it’s OPI and Essie who come out with the same color months in advance at one-third of the price. This season Chanel has delivered Nouvelle Vague, which looks very similar to one of my favorite colors, Greenport, from Essie’s summer line last year, only with a bit more shimmer. I’m happy that greens and blues on nails have gained popularity, it’s just fun and beachy for summer.

(Essie nail Polish in Greenport, $8)

I spend half the summer battling with my hair, which like the Grinch’s heart, grows three sizes each day. While in the winter I might try to tame my waves occasionally, in the summer I just give up and embrace the wildness. I have found that Fekkai’s Tousled Wave Spray helps encourage the crazy waviness that summer humidity can bring, while still keeping frizz to a minimum and smelling great.

(Frederic Fekkai Coiff Oceanique Tousled Wave Spray $23)

I’ve saved the best for last. These new lip stains from Tarte are my winner for summer. I have looked for something like these for a while, and was very happy to find them. I love lipstick, but I’m not a lipstick person, mostly because I’m lazy and forget to reapply it. These new stains go on like a lipstick, look glossy, and then stay on like a stain. They’re also minty and cute. The stains go on bright, which I like, and can be layered for an even brighter look. They’re on the pricey side, and I feel guilty for having two of them, but for a really great product, I have no regrets. I’ve been trying to get my hands on the Enchanted color for a while, but it’s always sold out everywhere. I have the Amused (bright pink) and the Lust (bright red) and I love them both!

(Tarte Natural Lip Stain with LipSurgence™ Technology $23 each)

So there you have it, that’s what I’ll be slathering on myself this summer. What are you guys splurging (or not splurging) on this year? I would love to hear what products help you fight the frizz and humidity, and keep you happy during the summer months, so let me know!

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