Tag Archives: S.W. Basics

A Thankful Preview

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada which is awesome because I get two this year! I filled up on turkey and stuffing at an office lunch on Friday and smiled as every one of my coworkers went around the table and shared what they’re thankful for. I did as well and part of it was gratitude for two Thanksgivings. There’s a comfort like no other on Thanksgiving and it’s pretty cool to get a preview of my favorite holiday in October. I’m thankful for so much this year – and getting to live in Toronto and be a little Canadian for a while is near the top of that list.


In honor of my favorite holiday, I’m dedicating this week’s pretty picks with a thankful shout out to all of my favorite beauty products. These are the beauty equiv of my coziest (and stretchiest) sweatpants. Which is fitting because that’s the official wardrobe of my Thanksgiving, in the USofA and Canada.

I pared down the options in my makeup bag considerably these past few months, in part because it’s just more to bring back when I move home and also because I’ve rediscovered my love for NARS Orgasm. I’ve used this blush for many years. It’s got the perfect balance of pink and peach and it makes me feel all fresh and youthful.

I don’t know what I’d do without RMS Uncover Up and Living Luminzer. I wear far less makeup on my face than I used to and Uncover Up is a big reason why. I only use it where it’s needed and blend the Living Luminizer over on the high points of my face. I feel so comfortable in my own skin wearing this combo.

Simple is really where it’s at these days. At night, I’ve been skipping the serums and oils and instead massaging in the three ingredients deep S.W. Basics Cream onto my face. I wake up with happy skin – that’s what I call the effect of the Cream. My skin is plump and soft.

Some people have a beauty signature. I tend to switch it up but the look I favor above all others is a simply defined eye. I curl my lashes every day with Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler (perfect curl every time) and line my upper lash line with NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates. I’ll try other liquid liners but the felt tip and staying power of this one make it the best.

I favor masculine perfumes, they seem to soften and adapt with my body so well. The tobacco and floral notes in diptyque Volutes are so beautifully paired. I use this more so in the cooler months and cherish every spritz!

Words for the Weekend

Clover Cloth

Cue up the weekend!  I’m heading back to Chicago again for a quick few days. I’ve been anticipating this weekend for months – Foo Fighters at Wrigley! Honestly, though, it’s just been an off week and I’m looking forward to spending time with the ones I love. The horrific situation in Virginia served as another sad reminder that awful things happen in the world and it can make you feel helpless. I also dropped my phone and cracked the screen again for the second time this summer so I’m feeling frustrated by my carelessness. The bigness and frivolity of those two sentiments, respectively, is also not lost on me. Sometimes it’s easier to let feelings out over the tiny things than it is to express emotion over the big stuff. I’ve certainly been there before. So let’s close this week out with some words that make us feel.


One of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, inside and out, is May Lindstrom. This week, she shared something lovely, “I believe in beauty, in thoroughly luscious and over the top self care. Because I want to feel something when I pick up a bottle and enter my cleansing ritual. I want to feel peace, joy and celebration all in this moment, and I want to share this with every woman I love and care about so she can feel this too.”


I’ve been sporting this super soft and spirited tank from Clover Cloth at my workouts lately. It’s like a kick of inspiration every time I look in the mirror. After several unsuccessful attempts to get into barre in Chicago, I finally discovered that I do in fact like it, at least in Toronto. I’m a major fan of the barre3 yoga/pilates fusion and barreworks has a Beyonce barre class and something called “stretch and roll” which is basically an hour-long self-body massage with the foam roller. Yes, please.


“Take care of your thoughts when you’re alone, and your words when you’re with people.” I read this post on A Cup of Jo at a time I really needed to hear that.


Sometimes, I like to read the descriptions on the bkr site. I applaud this team immensely for their crafty copywriting. I will enjoy drinking water out of a bottle that is “Inspired by lazy summer days with your best friend, permanently floating in a cloud of Love’s Baby Soft, flannels and torn jean shorts, watching afternoon shadows in her pale pink wallpapered bedroom whispering secrets, searching for the road to a fairytale where everything is possible. I’m going to make everything around me beautiful and that will be my life, I said.”


Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics, is going to be in Chicago this weekend celebrating her launch at Target. She’ll be at the Elston location from 11-3pm on Saturday 8/29. Also, if you haven’t, check out this interview I did with Adina for Clementine Daily. Bless this woman’s sassy and soulful heart.

The Birkenstocks Revival


Birkenstocks are back and now that I’ve got my feet in a pair I’m concerned I may never wear another shoe again. It’s like a cozy cocoon for my feet and I’m just wondering who I have to thank for these being “fashionable” again. I completely get why some people stayed in their Birks since 1994. There really is a better way. Consider me a convert (for now). As my friend Lindsay joked, is this a slippery slope to the land of tangled hair and no makeup for me? Hardly, though the Birkenstocks revival is inspiring a whole new wave of simplified summertime living for me.

Nourish Fig Deodorant. I’ve long gone natural with my deo and Nourish is the one I always go back to. I need reliable in the summer months. // Fez Body Serum. Patchouli and Birks, what can I say, they just go together. But there’s more to this body serum than a stereotype – there’s rose, orange blossom layered with vetiver, ylang-ylang and hints of cumin and clove. Please make this into a perfume, Kahina! //  S.W. Basics Toner. I discovered this apple cider vinegar toner last summer and it balanced my skin and prevented breakouts like a champ. It’s back in action again, morning and night on a clean face. // Madewell Piazza Maxi Dress. The great thing about Birks is they go with everything.  Shorts, jeans and especially flowy dresses. I love this in red and white. // Birkenstocks. I went with the Gizeh Birko-Flor in Golden Brown. On my foot, I thought this fit was the most flattering. A requisite for wearing these non-stop: a great pedi color. // Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Castile Soap. This is the soap equivalent of Birkenstocks. The question is: what can’t you wash with Dr. Bronner’s? The rose is my favorite. //  Meow Meow Tweet Tweet Camper’s Kit. Mosquitoes are enemy number one in summer. For a night out on the lake, bring reinforcements. MMTT’s Insect Repellent doubles as a perfume. For real…not just when you’re wearing Birks. // One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo. The longer I go between washes, the better my hair looks. The key is a great dry shampoo and powder formulas are the best.

Your Face Wash Might Be Illegal


Exfoliating as you know it is will never be the same, at least in Illinois. And it’s good news. The state became the first to ban the use of synthetic microbeads in soaps and scrubs. Usually made of plastic, these tiny beads are hiding in plain sight in your face and body wash and even in your toothpaste.Not surprisingly, they’re causing all sorts of problems. Think millions of tiny beads going down your drains, absorbing who knows what before making their way into Lake Michigan only to be eaten by fish and marine life. You’re right to question what their business is in our personal care. Are we seriously relying on plastic to smooth out our skin anyway? I ditched those formulas after realizing that they usually come with a nasty breakout, too. Not quite the package deal I’m looking for. Change doesn’t happen overnight so it will be a few years before shelves change dramatically.

The good news: we’ve got options. Incredible, plastic-free options. Let’s talk scrubbing sinkside, today.

1. One Love Organics Cleansing Sponge. Submerge this adorable heart-shaped sponge in water and it turns into a squishy heart-shaped exfoliator that removes your makeup and polishes your skin. It’s so gentle that you’ll wonder if it really is working…it is. // 2. Tatcha Polished. This creamy rice-based exfoliant makes me feel way fancy. It’s like massaging silk on your face and results in the smoothest baby soft skin. It’s water-activated so you’re in control of the consistency every time. // 3. Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. Sea kelp and chlorella are the buffing superstars and French green clay extracts oil and buildup form pores. There’s something so satisfying about the deep green color. // 4. M-61 Brilliant Cleanse. You don’t actually need grains, seeds or any other physical exfoliant to get the job done. M-61’s creamy formula has a blend of four alpha beta hydroxy acids – glycolic, salicylic, lactic and malic – along with grapefruit and orange peel extract to gently remove dead surface skin. This is great for oily skin since the creamy formula doesn’t dry you out. // 5. May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt. Clays, warming spices and healing salts are the base of this exfoliating cocktail that does wonders skin. It’s like at-home microderm. Blackheads will disappear, skin will be soft and toned and you’ll feel like a million bucks. // 6. S.W. Basics Exfoliant. This proves you only need a few ingredients. Oats, almonds and sea salt – that’s the full list. Simplicity at its finest.

Pretty Picks: Earth Day Beauty


In honor of Earth Day, which is officially going down tomorrow, this week’s pretty picks are extra eco-conscious. Or eco-awesome, as I’ve come to refer to the green beauty space. I used to be able to count the number of “clean” green beauty products I liked better than those with less than natural ingredients on one hand. Talk about a dramatic shift — and one that’s absolutely benefitted my body and home in the best way. Here’s what I’m loving/lusting for at the moment!

I trust Osmia Organics with my skin, plain and simple. It started with the spot treatment and now her gorgeous soaps — like this milky rose bar with actual rose petals! And, Osmia is releasing a special facial soap called Stracciatella (yes, like the ice cream) on Earth Day. // I can’t go back to plastic after drinking out of my beloved BKR for the past few months. Water tastes better in it – I swear! Loving this new black on black (named for the LBD!) bottle I spotted at BeauTea Bar. // Adoring these tubes of vegan lip balm from Meow Meow Tweet Tweet in combos like tangerine lime and grapefruit and clove. // This tasseled FEED x Birchbox bag gives 10 meals to hungry people around the world. // Rahua’s organic hairspray volumizes and holds hair in place, without alcohol or any aerosols. // Habit nail polish, with its sustainable bamboo cap, has myrrh extract to strengthen nails. // Dr. Alkaitis Beautifying Mask has raw cacao powder and an edible clay to exfoliate and detox skin. Yum! // Adina at S.W. Basics started selling reusable cotton rounds (of the organic, unbleached variety!) to go with her awesome line of products that are best served up on cotton pad or ball. The set of 8 even comes with its own laundry sachet.

The Balm Files: Lip Edition


Photo via The Naked Canvas

I’m ready for this polar vortex to be over. I thought I knew cold, being a native ‘sconnie and all, but this is on a whole new level. I’m balm-ing like a mad woman to prevent dry skin. Face, body, lips — everything! I even put some argan oil balm on Betty’s paws because they were getting a little rough.

I’m over on The Naked Canvas today talking lip care with the adorable and stylish Stephanie. Naturally, there’s all sorts of balm chatter! From my favorite budget buys and luxe balms to the tinted varietals. Check it out here! Stay warm and cozy, guys.

Back to (S.W.) Basics + 312 Beauty Discount!


When you consider the number of ingredients in the average bottle of lotion—go on, take a closer look at the label—it’s eye opening when you come across an entire line of skin care that collectively uses less ingredients in probably all its products than that one bottle contains. S.W. Basics is the real deal. Every single product is made from scratch at the company’s Brooklyn HQ with five ingredients or less, all of which you can easily pronounce and even add to your next grocery list.  I think S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore is the darling of the realness movement happening with personal care. She’s not your typical CEO and her authenticity is refreshing.  She built a brand with no frills, in part because her own skin is uber-sensitive. But trust, no frills does not equate to ineffective or boring. In the case of S.W. Basics, fewer ingredients means higher concentrations — what’s there is working hard.


Take the Exfoliant, made with organic oats, almonds and Maine sea salt (she’s got a guy…) that satisfies my urge to scrub and my need to glow. Conveniently packaged dry so all you have to do is add a splash of water. Or the Toner, which is helping balance my skin right now even though it so wants to freak out because the weather is changing like every day. I know the addition of the Hibiscus Mask is also contributing to some good skin moments thanks to the high concentration of hibiscus (nature’s botox!), French green clay and organic lavender. The Cream is divine in the simplest of ways. You won’t find water in this formula – just shea butter and organic extra-virgin coconut and olive oils – which means it will sink deep into the skin to moisturize. And there’s the Body Scrub that’s responsible for giving me the softest skin I’ve had since the year 2000. The shreds of organic coconut are an especially nice touch versus products that try to simulate the smell of coconut. Ain’t nothing like the real thing, girlfriends.

Now comes the best part: S.W. Basics is offering 312 Beauty readers a 15% discount starting today, Wednesday, November 6 through Saturday, November 9 (11:59 p.m. eastern).

To take advantage, just head on over to S.W. Basics online, shop til you drop and enter code 312BEAU15 at checkout. May I recommend the minis as a great way to try the line? What are you waiting for?!

Nature’s Botox, Chanel Holiday and the Most Flattering Blush Color, Ever ?


I’ll be testing the new S.W. Basics Hibiscus Mask this weekend. Did you know hibiscus has a reputation as “nature’s Botox?” I have a feeling this one is going to be really good.

RMS’ Buriti Bronzer is on its way! I snatched it up on Spirit Beauty Lounge yesterday because I could not wait ANY longer. Seeing it on Taylor sold me.

I loved Megan’s series on Aster & Bay this week – it’s a “new to me” line of skin care that is natural and affordable.

I got these ankle boots at Target this week. Such a good deal!

The first looks at Chanel’s holiday beauty collection. The platinum bronze Illusion d’Ombre shadow is on my wish list.

Do you use your makeup bag as a clutch? You’ll be inspired to after seeing this.

Green ice cubes? Yeah, my morning smoothies are about to get that much better.

I can’t decide if this Boston Terrier wall mount is creepy or perfect for my living room. What do you think?

Is red the most flattering shade of blush, ever?