Tag Archives: sample

PRIME. Polish. SHINE. Repeat.

AILA-PolishMy manicure might be the same today as it was yesterday but make no mistake: I am a new woman. I finally finished Friday Night Lights and I’m trying to cope with what life will be like with no new episodes to watch. I realize that this is so 2011 and I’m not trying to stir up any emotions for anyone that has already reached the point of acceptance but my wounds are fresh. I nearly chewed off my nail in the penultimate scene with that ball spiraling through the air (not a spoiler…the show is about football!) but caught myself before I ruined my manicure which is going six days strong. Do you like? AILA is a new discovery that I’m really excited about. It’s available exclusively at BeauTeaBar right now. Aside from the chic glass block bottles, this niche brand uses some non-traditional ingredients in its mission to create a healthier nail system.

AILA Nail Polish

The PRIME base coat is infused with garlic which has a rep in the med community for being a natural anti-fungal and nail strengthener. The female founders are both physicians so this nod to medicine makes sense. But it’s the SHINE top coat that is surely stretching my mani so far. Ginger is a bright poppy hue that looks even better with a little slick on top. It’s going on my toes next!

Also…Texas Forever (ahhh!)

My Skincare is Buzzing


My skin care nightcap (and nightcap nightcap) is all abuzz right now. You see resveratrol –the antioxidant found in red wine– is making its way into your makeup and skin care, big time. You know the word, because you’ve probably had a glass (or two) of Cab, justified it as dinner and chalked it up to healthy living. Me too.  Turns out, resveratrol is all it’s cracked up to be. Its might is in stimulating collagen production—what helps give our skin that firm and youthful look. At some point in our 20s, this process naturally slows down. And by 30(ish), I really started to notice on my forehead.

It’s been a few months since I’ve put the powerhouses that are SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E and Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream to the test and my skin is at its best. Individually, these work hard and together I feel like I cut in line at the DMV—I hardly had to wait for results.



Kahina is known for Argan Oil and now it is combined with essential oils and active ingredients (like resveratrol) in a cream formula that feels like whipped cream on the skin. I appreciate a heavy cream and thick balm but love that the Kahina Night Cream is neither. As a first step at night, I use SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E – which has the highest concentration of resveratrol on the market today. Mixed with a baicalin (a flavonoid – another antioxidant that does wonders for skin damage) and vitamin E, it is quite the anti-aging cocktail. It’s a splurge so if you’re feeling aight with your collagen situation, hold off for a time (or person – mom?) that needs the assist.

p.s. In my constant state of “research” for this blog, I stumbled on Skinstore.com which seems to always be running site-wide sales. Now there’s 15% off and a SkinCeuticals treat with purchase.

note: samples received of both of these products — and I would definitely purchase myself!

Gloss Made From The Garden


I made a decision a while ago that I want to be an Osmia girl when I grow up. I admire Sarah, ER doctor turned Osmia founder, for building a brand on the premise of sense. Literally in that every product is developed with careful attention to scent and figuratively as a reminder to be aware of life’s moments. She and her beautiful family are a walking billboard for Colorado living (evidence here, here and here!) and her team of Osmia makers look like the happiest workforce in America. Why wouldn’t I want to be an Osmia girl!? Not only does Osmia have a knack for making gentle and nourishing soap and skin care but also color. The recently revamped line of Lip Glosses are pretty fabulous. Especially considering they get their color from beet root, alkanet root and annatto seeds from the achiote tree.


There’s Luster, a berry red tint that flatters everyone, and Whisper, the soft pink that I’ve been wearing nonstop (clearly my fav!) Most interesting is Simmer, the sheer orange that looks like wildly like pureed mango when not on the lips. Funny enough, in the tube it’s a deep terracotta hue. These garden-inspired glosses are silky smooth on lips and provide just the right amount of tint. You probably already guessed as much but the rest of the ingredient list is equally top notch with capuacu butter, sunflower seed and pumpkin oils, pomegranate and a hint of organic vanilla extract. The fact that it doubles as a lip treatment is icing on the cake!

note: sample provided by Osmia

Golden Girl


Bring on the faux sun, because the real stuff is freaking me out. I’m still out there getting sunnied but find I can’t really enjoy those Summer Shandys if I’m not properly suited up with my SPF armor. Mother’s Day was a glorious 80 degrees and within minutes of being outside, I knew something was about to go down. I borrowed my niece’s hat, a heavy layer of sunscreen and watched as my arms turned a lovely shade of brown within a half hour. All I could think was I’m so glad that isn’t happening on my face…and for good measure applied more sunscreen. Neurotic? Absolutely. In need of some color on my face? Oh, you know it.



Getting self-tanner right on the face is easier than the body – less ground to cover – but usually has the same pain points. I went to a Clarins event back in the polar vortex days and heard about their new Golden Glow Booster. It’s a totally new concept in self-tanning. Mix three drops into your moisturizer – day or night (or both you wild child!) – and a natural tan develops within 12 hours. Repeat for a few days and the results get even better. Within a few weeks of daily use, it maintains that natural hue versus getting all Jersey Shore. This one is a keeper!

note: sample received

To Dew…Vitamin C Body Oil


I’m so grateful for friends like Elizabeth who introduce words like dewify into my vocab by way of her beauty collab with One Love Organics. The entire vitamin alphabet soup line of products is intensely hydrating and yes, dewifies your complexion effortlessly. It all started here and then this cleanser happened…and has continued to happen for me. It is that good. The way it breaks down makeup, brightens and exfoliates with yummy papaya. It also smells like a tropical vacation up in that bottle, with a bit of pineapple. I’m not the only one who wanted to soak my entire body in it—the cult following behind E4OLO (Club Dew?!) inspired ED and OLO to make a sister product, the brand new Vitamin C Body Oil that launched today. Cue multiples of my fav emoji. Holla! I’ve been using it for the past week and it is the business. The body equiv of a facial thanks to concentrated vitamin c, papaya enzymes and organic shea oil. Just in time for maxi dress season!

Pure on Purpose…GREENBODY


I’m committed to the point of stubborn so once I made the decision to ditch the chemical deodorants, I was all in. Recall this moment last fall when it all started? I had a really good ride with the Soapwalla deodorant cream. The issue over time was that the sodium bicarbonate (a.k.a. baking soda) irritated my underarms, which was so the pits (you’d take that pun, too…mmmkay.) Never to the point of pain but visibly in a burnt-state. I’ve got a warm weather wardrobe to consider and well, if I want to encourage others to take the nat deo plunge, that look isn’t helping. Plus, applying deodorant with your fingers is an acquired process. Old habits die hard. I’ve had more than a few trials end poorly in recent months so I manage my expectations accordingly. That self-level-setting makes it all the more sweeter when you find something incredible. Which I have…GREENBODY natural deodorant is a diamond in the rough. This is one of those under the radar brands that you probably don’t know about and is led by one seriously passionate woman who just wants to keep us fresh without the chemicals. I’ve been using the sporty version which is handcrafted using nourishing butters, oils and a hint of pine and wintergreen leaves. It blows everything out of the water. Greenbody, which is pure on purpose (adore that message!), also makes a baking soda-free formula for the pH-sensitive. L-O-V-E.

Better Bath Time: Jo Malone x Michael Angove


A better bath time begins with the state of your bathroom. I always seem to enjoy tub time more when my counters are decluttered of makeup (hard to do, admittedly) and a candle is lit. Whether it is 100 square feet or 1000, make the bathroom your oasis. I’m having a sanctuary-in-the-making moment over the new Jo Malone home collection dressed in custom prints by Welsh designer Michael Angove.


Jo Malone x Michael Angove: Home Candle, Scent Surround Diffuser, Soap Collection

I recently had the treat of breakfast with Michael Angove and the Jo Malone team at Nico. Within a few minutes of meeting the designer extraordinaire, we had a bonding moment over our dogs. His, a sweet Jack Russel named Audrey. Crazy dog people…we’re everywhere around you, and usually I can draw it out within minutes.

Michael Angove is known for his floral and nature wallpaper and textile designs and he put that Chinoiserie-style spin on two classic Jo Malone scents: Orange Blossom and Blackberry & Bay. He explained how his work mimics reality – seed to blossom…think insects hidden into the design just as you would see in nature. It’s like a game, really. Can you spot the praying mantis? For what is worth, I couldn’t until he explicitly pointed out.  I won’t spoil the surprise – it’s exactly the mindless activity you should indulge in while enjoying your ambient lit (and scented!) bath.

P.S. You can even dress your tech with Jo Malone x Michael Angove!

Better Bath Time: EveryOne Bath Soaks

Better Bathtime

The bathtub is my sanctuary. I retreat there most nights with a glass of wine and no agenda. I’m fairly certain that my best ideas are born in the bath. I often go to the tub to think and other times to let my mind wander and be free. Occasionally I’ll catch up on email (knocking on wood as I’m terrified of dropping my tech in the water…though it’s never happened) or spend an hour on Instagram. One constant in this ritual is a ledge of products waiting to pamper me! I’m introducing a new feature here called Better Bath Time to share it all. Let’s kick it off with EveryOne Soaks.


I call this bathing with a purpose. Epsom salts are detoxifying and help replenish magnesium in the body — which triggers all sorts of health benefits for your mind and muscles. A 15-minute soak is all you need. EO soaks are Epsom with a mix of olive oil and essential oils for a custom aromatherapy experience. There’s Surfer Soak, my personal fav of the bunch, which is intensely citrus with a hint of eucalyptus. And Sinner, which I have a need for more than I should admit. Each Soak has about 30 ounces, making for 8 better bath times. Any Epsom devotees with tips to share?  Word is you can seize the benefits of it just by soaking your feet.

I Like the Way You Work It


Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend?  I had a great one, minus the five hours our heat went out. Paying Sunday repair rates was so not fun. I spent some time getting organized, including ordering up a frame for my new favorite print that my pal Steph at Glitterary designed with Von Moir. I have a soft spot for 90s hip hop and this classic line looks great in gold foil script. It no doubt inspired this week’s pretty picks. These four are working hard for me lately!



LIPS: Apparently, I really like my lip products in crayon form. NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien is a light rose with a hint of shimmer and is the color I reach for when I’m being indecisive. It goes with everything! // TIPS: I thought I was covered with pale pink (aka Essie Ballet Slippers) nail polish until I tried Deborah Lippmann La Vie En Rose. It has a multi-colored shimmer and is sheer enough that you can wear as a top coat to other polishes. Deborah calls it the color of a “daydream” which I find sweet. // HANDS:  Illume Go Be Lovely Hand Crème is a moisturizer with a message. I find myself trying to be lovely after I apply the Anemone, which smells of apples and hot man (must be the oak moss and clove!) Have you ever seen cuter packaging?  // JEWELS: I have worn these triangle studs from Chicago designer Michelle Starbuck every day since I got them! I love her classic style and reuse of vintage materials (these are brass). I also met Michelle in person for the first time over the weekend and find her to be so humble and charming.

P.S. The Garden Apt. is giving away a $50 gift card to Michelle Starbuck Designs (enter by 3/24)!

note: I received a sample of the Illume Hand Creme

The Hair Oil that Volumizes Too

Beauty-Protector-Birchbox I’ve traded in volumizing spray and the hair dryer for hair serum and a microfiber towel. That combo for me is just as effective so long as I do not go to bed with wet hair. Kinks for days, literally. Freedom from the blow dryer has its downside, but this hair towel drops air dry time by hours…best ever. I’ve been putting Beauty Protector’s new Protect & Oil — which just launched in the Birchbox shop — to the test.



One pump applied post-towel but pre-air leads to shiny and glossy locks. The method to my avoid the blow dryer at all costs madness is to coat the ends first and tousle everywhere else with the leftover elixir in my hands. As it dries, my hair has volume and body for days…especially if I have anything to say about it. I feel similarly about washing my hair as I do blow drying. This elixir is lightweight and plentiful…I mean, that bottle has some ounceage. For the rest of you heat stylers (I join you in that when it’s time to curl my hair in the a.m.), Beauty Protector is designed to save your strands from damage. And if you’ve got the frizzies, you can even smooth a little onto dry hair. If you’ve ever received the Beauty Protector shampoo + conditioner in one of your Birchbox monthly deliveries, you’ll know exactly what the Protect & Oil smells like (delicious!)

Note: Birchbox provided a sample. All opinions are my own!

Photos 1, 3 taken by Lindsay Humes

kai shampoo + conditioner


I feel like I’ve been holding out on you guys. For a few months now I’ve been using the kai Shampoo and Conditioner almost exclusively. I have a short attention span for what’s in my shower so this is no small deal. I’m entranced by the faint gardenia scent kai is known for. I had to restrain myself because I was starting to wash my hair every night. That gardenia fragrance is the constant in every kai product, which is perfect because I want to smell like this everywhere. It’s an almost floral scent, never overpowering. Not obviously tropical but channeling somewhere exotic. The formula does va-va-voom things for my hair — thanks to the addition of argan oil and glycolic acid, which, yes — appears in more than just your skin care these days. The glycolic acid gets deep into hair cuticles to strengthen each strand. Softness, shine and that lingering kai scent is the aftermath.

My kai fixation went on a road show this week. I brought the body wash and lotion from the travel set with me to Tulum. If it weren’t for all that SPF I needed to pack 3-1-1 style, the rest of this kit would have also!

Space NK Spring Beauty Edit


Space NK has beauty gifts of epic proportions.  You won’t find those one-time use foil packets but instead a treasure of travel and full-size items. It’s OMG-worthy and coming on Wednesday, February 19. Spring Beauty Edit time is upon us at all Space NK U.S. locations and the gift with purchase is worth a whopping $350 with products from 26 brands. The gift always sells out — I know that there are smart women who devise strategies around this. Timing a big purchase around this event or splitting it with a friend. Not a bad idea, considering it’s free with a $250 purchase. While I got an early sneak peek at the goods, I’m still considering whether now is the time to finally splurge on the Pedi Sonic. Everyone I ask tells me it does wonders for callused feet. Here are a few other beauty picks I’m eyeing up!

Brightening the Pearly Whites


On my list for 2014 is to give my pearly whites some TLC. The amount of orthodontia I had for most of the 90s was intense.  If you know what a lip bumper is…may we share in that horror together!  All of that work most definitely cost my parents a small fortune. That investment is not going the distance and I feel horrible about it — my teeth are moving around so I’m biting the bullet and going for Invisalign. The thought of “braces” in any form triggers PTSD from all that ortho, but it needs to happen. Please share any good stories because I am way overthinking how this will impact me day to day (or am I?!)

I’ve also been using the new Crest 3D White Whitestrips in the Luxe Supreme FlexFit. This is the easy part of my dental to-do list. They have a little give in the strip so you can stretch them for a custom fit. My fav part is the instant gratification – after one strip my teeth were already looking whiter. I like to use them in the afternoon at work to keep me from snacking in that 3pm hour! Crest is giving away a free sample if you want to try for yourself. Click on over here and enter the code OMKG to give the flex a whirl. My other tried and true trick to making teeth look whiter is a bright pink lip with blue undertones. Space NK Founder Nicky Kinniard turned me on to Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in Private Party and I also love Revolution Organics Freedom Lip Gloss in Truth for everyday wear.

P.S. Good Invisalign vibes needed! Tell me it is all going to be OK.

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation


I’m in constant pursuit of a flawless complexion. I’ve tried countless foundations, tinted moisturizers, BB, CC and other alphabet soup creams all in the name of complexion perfection. And I’m like Goldilocks with most of them. Too drying. Too oily. Not enough coverage. Too much coverage. Heavy. Cakey. Doesn’t wear all day. And the list goes on. Of all of the product territory I cover here, foundation is not something I rave about often. That’s why I’m so excited to talk about this beauty from Kjaer Weis. It’s worth getting excited over, which my gal pals at Eco Diva assured me of early on! A short list of ingredients that includes coconut, jojoba and sweet almond oils and a velvety finish that feels weightless on your face? Yes and yes = oh, hell yes. Most days I blend it on with a stippling brush, but the real magic happens when you have the patience and extra time to press on with a damp beauty blender sponge. With every buff of the blender, I think of how the jojoba is doing its thing, improving skin elasticity. For as many of my hard earned pennies I’ve shelled out for foundation in the past, the splurgey price tag of this seems justified. Especially because the Kjaer Weis compact is refillable.

Speaking of skin elasticity, did you see that Christie Brinkley turned 60? I mean….insane.

Tatcha Indigo, or a Cure for Winter Blues


I’m trading in my winter blues (of the SAD variety) for Tatcha’s new Indigo collection. Tatcha is at it again, bringing the ancient beauty secrets of geishas into the modern era.  That delicious looking vat of blue is the Indigo Body Butter. And it is every bit as blue as it appears, even on skin until you blend it in. I’ll call what comes next the indigo glow. The bright blue plant is a natural healer for skin conditions, like rashes and dermatitis, and some looking for a more holistic treatment use indigo instead of steroids or other prescription treatments to treat. In ancient Japan, samurais were said to wear an indigo-dyed cotton beneath their armor to heal injuries. Talk about #ancientworldproblems. Though, I did nick my leg shaving last week, so there’s that. Nothing a little Indigo rub couldn’t handle.


And there’s more blue, too. Tatcha added a luxurious and seriously moisturizing hand cream (its first!) and a face BALM (cue my excitement) that I absolutely cannot wait to try. The product lover in me is fascinated by the blue, but the fact that it serves a purpose and isn’t a gimmick is why I’m a true fan!