Tag Archives: skincare

The Year of the Neck

I declared 2018 the year of the neck. My neck, specifically. It’s also the year of the dog. And I was born in the year of the dog.  According to my Chinese zodiac, my dog year birth element is water. Which means I am a calculative planner.

“They focus on building a strong foundation for their future. But when faced with difficulties, they can become very pessimistic. They work hard, but should create bigger goals in order to use their full potential.”

True that. I have built a strong foundation with a consistent skin care routine but have become a bit pessy lately with the neck. This year, my bigger goal is to focus on my neck and my decolletege. I will be at peak skin care potential when I finally make this happen. It’s true that your hands and neck are the dead giveaways with age. And we all have tech neck… it’s a thing, all that looking down. Bleh. I’m seeing some neck creases, so I’m hoping this re-dedication to my neck is enough to slow down some of what’s happening.

I have long been in the camp of you do not need a neck-specific product claim, you just need to be using your skincare on your neck. I stand by that, though, I’m not that willing to use all of my favorite products on my neck.  I ration my Vintner’s Daughter. That is gold! It looks like gold and the cost is gold. Gold goes on my face!

That said, I don’t think any old lotion is enough on your neck. You need powerful ingredients that tighten and improve elasticity. It’s really the job for a serum. Now, I hear you, the element of my skincare that gets me the least excited is the idea of buying a neck cream.

Not for lack of options. There are plenty out there that excite me but I have a different strategy.

It’s two-fold.

  1. Delegate. I will use the products I don’t like for my face on my neck. I’m not saying the ones that you have a reaction to, but the ones you just don’t love. Sometimes it happens. I know I often will get a sample from a brand or buy something and find it just doesn’t work for me. A couple examples. I do not love the Pai Rosehip Oil. I might be the only one because I’ve only heard raves, but we didn’t get on. It’s high quality and helps with skin firmness and elasticity so this is an easy delegation. Bam, there’s my neck treatment.

Also — and this is so bougie — at the moment, I’m using the La Prairie Skin Caviar Absolute Filler. I went to a La Prairie event last November and received this as a gift. This is legitimately the most expensive skin care product I’ve ever used (makes my Vintner’s Daughter seem like The Ordinary pricing…) and here I am delegating it to my neck. That’s how much I’m committed to my neck, ya’ll! This is supposed to be like fillers, without the injectables. It’s bouncy and plumping. In theory, everything that I would want on my face. The signature La Prairie scent, while lovely, is too much for my face. I’m terrified for this to run out, because it really is special. It’s got an airless pump that dispenses the perfect amount. I’m truly spoiled with this. I AM NOT WORTHY.

  1. Use forgotten samples. The second part of my strategy is to put those lost samples to use. The ones you get in a gift with purchase, maybe a point redemption “freebie” at Sephora, etc. etc. Often times, I don’t want to disrupt my routine for a few weeks (more or less) worth of serum or cream. The latest SpaceNK spring gift had so many good samples that I am saving for my neck.

Either way, I’m pressing and slathering on treatment twice a day on my neck. When I finally stop wearing turtlenecks on the regular, I’ll also start being more deliberate about putting sunscreen there. I’m not a total hot mess with that, but I could step up my game.

Year of the neck! Year of the dog! Let’s do it.

Also, as a quick aside, thank you for the sweet comments and emails about my last post. Means a ton. We’re all human and the world is so heavy right now. My sense of place is nothing in comparison but finding my voice will help me put it to better use.

The Must Try Facial Treatment: Dermalinfusion

This is me, 48 hours post-Dermalinfusion. Yes, my face is makeup-free. And, yes, I freed the nip, too. After what felt like a very Real Housewives treatment, this bare state I stayed in for a weekend was quite the opposite.

You’ve heard of microderm, right? Dermalinfusion is in the same family, in that they are both skin resurfacing treatments. The difference is in method and it makes a world of one. Dermalinfusion exfoliates as microderm does but at the same time it is extracting dirt and bacteria out of your pores it’s also infusing serum directly into the epidermal layers of skin. It’s a non-invasive treatment using a recessed diamond tip – it’s pushed back a bit so you’re not getting that direct abrasion on skin – to exfoliate and extract using closed-loop vacuum pressure. Everything that is sucked out of the skin goes into this jar that you get to look at after your service. Sound satisfying? Because it is. Especially that last part.

This is probably one of the more intense facial treatments I’ve had but the aftermath was easy. Intense in terms of exfoliation, not sensation. You know how some people say facials break them out? The ‘purge’ if you will. I won’t deny I’ve had facials that my skin reacted negatively, too. I had a peel so intense about eight years ago that gave me a nasty bout of contact dermatitis. Facials are traumatic by their very nature. That’s why half of the time of facials is spent putting moisture back in to the skin. This is probably one of the biggest differences with Dermalinfusion – it eliminates the time gap between exfoliation and moisture application. Envy Medical, the makers of this treatment, say by infusing serum into skin before the wound-healing phase begins, skin is able to absorb and receive the serum at a deeper level.  We’re talking four ounces of serum getting delivered deep into the skin. One of the reasons I was so excited to try this because it’s billed as a skin volumizer —- post treatment, skin is 70% volumized.

The plumping effect only lasts about three days, but the long-term payoff treats dark spots, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, acne, rough skin and fine lines. The before and after shots they showed me of people who had up to six treatments every two weeks were insane.

My favorite part of the treatment was checking out the waste jar — blobs of oil and dirt from your pores. It’s diluted with some of the serum that gets sucked back from the tool but shine a light on it and you can totally see the floaties.

Envy Medical offers this services at spas and derms nationwide — there’s a locator on the website — and I had it the Waldorf Astoria Chicago Spa. They’ve got a number of treatments that include it, ranging from 30-minutes for $180 and 60 or 90 minute services that range from $280 to $350.

One Bottle Away

In an essay called At My Least and Most Aware, Durga Chew-Bose writes that, “It still comes as a shock to me how irreversible life is. How there’s no going back to whatever version of me existed before I saw that movie … or before I took pleasure in doing nothing, before I figured out there’s no one way to live.” I’ve read this book a few times already since it came out in April, and I find something new in it each time depending on my mood or state of mind. It’s a zigzag stream of consciousness that inspires me to embrace the thoughts in my head. Maybe even express them aloud. I’m a month in to 35 and more aware than ever of time. I’m developing a new relationship with it in fact. Who was it that first said “if not now, when?” Because, that, wholeheartedly. I’ve always used the availability of time as a way to procrastinate. It keeps my vocabulary thriving with words and phrases like “next time,” “later,” and “someday.”

I took it as a sign when I decided to partner with SK-II on the #OneBottleAwayFrom journey. The famous Facial Treatment Essence has always been on my “someday, I’ll try” list. It’s lauded as one of the best skin care products around. There literally is no time like the present and I can tell you with certainty that there’s no going back to whatever version of me existed before I started using it.

A little SK-II science for you: this essence is powered by Pitera™, an ingredient derived from sake fermentation. Scientists discovered it by chance after observing older sake brewers with these youthful looking hands. Now, more than 90% of the Facial Treatment Essence contains that special strain. A look at Cate Blanchett confirms that SK-II is not messing around. I think we can all cheers to that.

It’s been a few months since I’ve started using this and I definitely notice the difference. After two weeks, I noticed how soft my skin was and as the days went by it looked more bright and radiant. I’m also noticing my skin tone is more even. I’ve been into wearing less makeup this summer so I notice how it has transformed my “no makeup” days to actually not having to wear any makeup. I do also use a vitamin C serum, but I’m fairly certain the SK-II accelerated the results. You could say I’m doubling down. It’s become a part time hobby to inspect further skin improvement. Resiliency is the name of the game.

I’ve always appreciated what I call having a mystery age. I secretly delight when people are surprised to hear my age. I hold back a smile when people get emphatic about it, “What is your secret, tell me everything.” Or the annoyance I feign when I get carded and my boyfriend doesn’t. Allow me these simple pleasures, please. Taking care of your skin and seeing results is one surefire way to feel confident as you age. I’ve said it before, in the aftermath of previous birthdays. I’m not anti-aging. I’m pro taking care of myself. The exterior is easier, I am finding. I’m most interested in how that can impact what’s going on inside. It all comes back to time and this little voice in my head that reminds me that my interior may not be as confident about being 35+. Time is every unforgiving.

SK-II has a manifesto, and I was drawn to it. It brought me back to the moment I wrote my own. They say “destiny isn’t a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice … the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

This is investment skin care, no doubt, and maybe even a small dose of therapy in a bottle. Their words have stuck with me when I use this, every morning and every night. It’s the first step after cleansing, before all of my other skin care. It’s actually recommended that you press this on with your hands (don’t forget to apply on your neck!) I like handling my face, applying pressure on my forehead and temples as a last step. You only need a few shakes.

Time is a given. Not everything in life goes the way you want but how you (I … talking to myself here) interact with the people in your life and deal with circumstances helps shape the person you are. And that’s my essence affirmation. Am I #OneBottleAwayFrom stumbling upon something even more powerful? I plan to find out.

This is a sponsored post with SK-II – a partnership I’m really excited about; all thoughts and opinions are my own. I was lucky to try the Facial Treatment Essence gratis, but it is something I would definitely purchase myself. If you are so inclined to take the #OneBottleAway journey, there are a few SK-II promotions that I wanted you to know about. If you spend $99, use code SKII99 to get a free skincare gift valued at $25; spend $150 and use code SKII150 to get a free skincare gift worth $55; spend $250 and use code SKII250 to get a free skincare gift worth $80.

Thanks for reading!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SK-II. The opinions and text are all mine.


My Thoughts on Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

I wanted to wait a hot second before I shared a review of Crème de Glossier. a.k.a. Priming Moisturizer Rich, Or, PMR, for short. But Crème de Glossier has a nice ring, right? The Frenchified descriptor is appropriate given the simplicity and power of PMR.

After 12 months of formulation and a hell of a lot of ITG reader input, Glossier released PMR last month. Let me not bury the lead: it’s a luxurious face cream for $35. I love love love that this product is affordable and not filled with frills. Believe me, I can get down with a complicated moisturizer. I do often get down with complicated. This is far from it yet it sacrifices nothing.

So what makes it awesome? Here’s a few ingredient callouts. Ceramides that naturally occur in skin to bind skin cells together and strengthen skin’s barrier. Fatty acids to act like a waterproof coat for your skin and keep moisture in. Glossier’s secret sauce – an anti-redness complex to help prime skin for makeup. Two butters that give this its decadent texture: shea and a dense butter called murumuru that melts into skin without any heaviness. There’s a slight lavender scent that gently taps your senses and whispers, “shhh….everything will be OK.”

When to use PMR? Your call. I was fully expecting to use this at night only. I heard thick and luxurious and had already envisioned a spot for it in my nighttime routine. Turns out, I prefer it in the morning. True to its Priming Moisturizer  roots, it’s a total rock star under makeup. I think you see what makes this so special when you apply it for daytime wear. It doesn’t leave any trace of weight or greasy feeling – it absorbs into skin, plumps it up nicely and immediately calms any redness the eff down. Winter is debatable at the moment but forced heat and the yoyo temps are always a recipe for dryness and breakout. PMR is a total skin stabilizer!

But that’s just my two cents. If you’re down with uncomplicated, you can shop PMR with me here.

P.S. Just got word that Glossier is having free shipping today on any order, February 22 only! 

Drunk in Love

Why has it taken me so long to weigh in on the boozed up ellies? I finally tried Drunk Elephant and I’m sold. I snagged one of their holiday sets so I could experience more of the line. It came with a full size of the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel and minis of C-Firma Day Serum, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and their signature Marula Oil. Since it was all so travel-friendly, I brought it all down to Miami with me last month and have been using the whole system since I got back. These minis last a long time!

It all works so well together and my skin has never looked so good without makeup. This line is effective but also really gentle. Take the T.L.C. Night serum – there’s a 12% AHA/BHA blend which is really effective at exfoliating skin and improving tone and it has a proper pH level so that skin is soothed at the same time it is being treated. There’s no fragrance, essential oil blends, citrus peel extracts or anything that can irritate skin. And the packaging is top notch – the serums are all in pumps so it isn’t exposed to air which can break down the effectiveness of the ingredients.

I use the B-Hydra Intensive every morning on bare skin. It’s an awesome base to layer other serums over. I think everyone could benefit from this serum but especially if you live in a cold climate and spend your day in front of forced heat (that’s me….plus a space heater at work!) It doesn’t leave any sticky residue like other gels, either. It’s so well formulated. As is the C-Firma. Unlike other vitamin C serums, which can be thin and hard to apply, this was recently reformulated to improve application. It’s a gel as well and has all of the protective and brightening heavy hitters: 15 percent l-ascorbic acid (that’s your C), ferulic acid, vitamin E, pumpkin ferment extract and pomegranate enzyme plus soduium hyaluronate to plump up skin as you apply. It’s a powerhouse.  I find I like to use the Marula Oil at night as a follow-up to the T.L.C. As far as simple oils go, this is one at its best.

I’m probably going to size up to full at some point and am also eyeing up the new Babyfacial. The high percentage of AHAs has me a little tentative but this review reminds me that this is Drunk Elephant we’re talking about so it probably works better than I think and then some.

Have you tried the line? Any favs?

Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations

kiehls apothecary prep

In a throwback to their OG apothecary days, Kiehl’s is mixing up custom serums in store. Equipped with your very own Rx label. I stopped by the Michigan Ave store last month to experience the process firsthand and found it all very scientifically satisfying. My skin has been responding positively to my blend as well.

I love this because it’s all about customization. Something I am V into at the moment — those salad kits in a bag are freaking life right now.

Kiehls Michigan Ave

It starts with a diagnosis – what does the Skin Atlas (literally a giant book with helpful pictures) say about your skin, how oily is your skin, what’s the moisture level in your skin? There’s a wand that Kiehl’s uses to figure out the latter and I was low – in the 20s. To be fair, I think that “stellar” is somewhere in the 50s. After you have that reality check, you get to personalize your formula based on your two most significant skin concerns. Redness, wrinkles, rough texture, large pores and dullness. From there, you’ll get two tubes of potent complexes to mix in with Kiehl’s Skin-Strengthening Concentrate, made of 35% concentrated Squalane and botanical oil blend of apricot, coriander, black currant and echium oils. This blend on its own is incredible but it’s powerful when you mix in the treatments.

I like that the base of the concentrate is squalane – it’s like a warm cozy blanket for your skin that helps keep moisture in. My skin responds really well to Kiehl’s products, overall. I find they do what they say and you can see them working.  The option to customize is a nice perk for loyalists wanting to amp up the potency.

I went for it with the wrinkle-reducing complex and the texture refining complex. These are the skin concerns that matter most to me so it seemed obvious. In one tube, Kiehl’s gave me a highly concentrated retinol and the other was a mix of vitamin F and LHA (lipohydroxy acid). It’s a derivative of salicylic acid that chemically exfoliates in a gentler manner.  I came home, squeezed the two complexes into the bottle and then shook it intensely for about 60 seconds.

For the past month, I’ve been using this every night – about 4-5 drops pressed into the skin – over my serums and before locking it all in with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm. That last step is something I added because of the extreme dips in temperature.

Oh, and the coolest part is this custom vintage pharmacy label they print out in store and affix to your bottle. There’s a set of numbers on their as well that gets saved into Kiehl’s system so if you want to reorder your blend, they can bring it right up for you.

This isn’t yet offered at every Kiehl’s store but they list them all online so you can double check. For example, they do this in Chicago’s Michigan Ave store but not the Armitage location. However, it is available in Schaumburg.

Keep your skin protected and your limbs covered. It’s getting chilly out there!

Photo credit (second picture only): Hallie Duesenberg

Masking in the Morning

Mask in the Morning

Ever since I had my dermaplaning facial last month, I’ve been on top of my skincare game. I was always in the mindset that I was really good at taking care of my skin. I remove my makeup, wash my face every day, exfoliate weekly and use serums, masks, treatments. Yet, I was majorly dehydrated on my forehead and it was blackhead city around my nose. I thought I would get a gold star for being such a rock star but I think I was more of a B- student. I realized that I was too conservative with treatments. For awhile, I was hooked on May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver and I would mix that with either water or May’s Honey Mud cleanser. It is an intense mask and can be extremely messy so I sort of halted that and got out of my routine. And it stayed that way. Oops.

But I’m back! And I’ve kicked it into high gear. Not all masks are created equal so you should feel free to use a few each week. You can multimask – the practice of using two or more masks at the same time on areas of your face – or pull a Martha and use a luxurious face mask when you get up. Never forget that Martha Stewart masks every morning. Consider that your permission slip to go buck wild. She’s onto something with morning masking. I’ve started doing it, too, and the morning is where it’s at. It forces you to start your morning doing something for YOU and you see an immediate result. Don’t we all want to see the fruits of our labor?

I’ve got a good system going right now – I’m loving these four masks. My skin feels healthy and looks brighter. I’m due for another dermaplaning facial in the beginning of November at Elevare and am hoping she notices my hard work.

kiehl's turmeric mask

Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque is like a wakeup call for your skin.  You only need to wear this for 5-10 minutes and you’ll see results. I like to put this on when I’m making coffee or packing my lunch and then I hop in the shower and rinse it all off. It has crushed cranberry seeds to gently exfoliate and the combo also brightens skin. When you get out of the shower, your skin is plump and rosy – like you just worked out.

I love the creamy clay texture of the Belif Peat Miracle Revital Mask. I am a huge fan of this K-beauty brand – the Aqua Bomb is the only thing that got rid of my dry patches last winter – and was really excited by the new Peat Miracle line. Trust in the power of peat. It’s really cool – peat is sourced from the tundra of Finland and is made from dozens of different herbs that were deposited in glacial water pools. It’s a rare botanical that I’ve never seen in beauty products. Even though this mask has clay, it’s not drying and it really does a good job softening skin. I use this when I’m blemish-y and will sometimes just concentrate it around my nose and areas that I get blackheads.

Boscia Sake Mask

If I want start my morning feeling really accomplished, I go with Boscia Sake Bright White Mask. There’s something about peeling this off that leaves me so satisfied. Like the high I get checking something off my to do list. The key is to layer on a semi-thick even layer and avoid eyebrows and hairline. Leave it on for about 25-30 minutes before peeling. There’s an instant brightening effect and it helps with hyper pigmentation so over time the results will really last.

I’m almost scraping the bottom of my tub of Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask and I know it’s time to order up. This is intensely hydrating and I love the zing of hyaluronic acid in the morning. There’s a cooling effect and it plumps up skin with moisture visibly so I like to use this on mornings after I’ve been drinking or out late. And I think we all know that Glossier can do no wrong – the $22 price tag on this is also really appealing.

Any favorites to share? Are you a morning masker, too?

I Tried Dermaplaning and Now I’m Hooked

Derma-what? That’s usually the first question.

“It’s really effective facial exfoliation,” I explain.

“Oh, cool. Like microdermabrasion,” people equate.

“Nope, more like a shave, but with a scalpel,” I assert.

“Whaaaaattttt,” everyone, eyes bugging.

Elevare MD Chicago Southport

I had done ample research on dermaplaning before I ventured into Elevare MD on Southport on a September Saturday afternoon.  It’s not a new practice by any means but has risen in popularity in recent years. The Real Housewives effect? It’s basically scraping off the top layer of dead skin cells and the tiny baby hairs we all have on our face as well. With a scalpel, naturally. The aftermath is an almost immediate luminous glow and a hard-to-resist urge to touch your now smooth as a baby’s tush (truly) face. Your skincare will work that much harder because it will penetrate more deeply into the layers of your skin. Results last about 4-6 weeks, in line with the average turnover of skin cells and hair growth.

Are you still thinking about that scalpel? Don’t. Men get hot shaves all of the time and that razor is way scarier. Sweeney Todd, much?  Dermaplaning is 100% painless and 100% satisfying – yes, I peeked at the gook my aesthetician was shaving off of my face and you would, too.

Are you also thinking about the hair regrowth? That you’re going to end up with a beard? I feel you. That was my first question before that blade touched my face. Yes, it will grow back. No, it won’t come back darker or thicker. Phew. They’re not targeting the hair follicle, just surface.

elevare md dermaplaning

Any new treatment on your face is slightly scary even if the internet assures you otherwise.  I visited the new Elevare MD in the Southport corridor (they also have an existing LaGrange location as well) and was instantly at ease in the space. It’s an oasis – each room even comes with a steam shower you can book for 30 minutes on the front or back end of your appointment. Elevare is a med-spa, so in addition to facials and cosmetic treatments they are equipped to do plastic and reconstructive surgery. The owners are a highly respected duo in that space and at the forefront of the latest technology. I had lots of questions about microneedling, lasers and other non-invasive treatments. There’s so much to know but above all is that technology is making it all so much easier and less intimidating. As I approach my mid-30s, my skin remains my top beauty investment.


I’ve had many facials and this was the most customized to my skin. It began with a cleanse, manual exfoliation, mask, extractions, massage — everything you’d come to expect but no products were pushed and the experience felt truly geared to my needs. I was a candidate for dermaplaning but if you have acne or breakouts, it wouldn’t be recommended. Along the way, my aesthetician was able to explain why I was breaking out on my forehead: dehydration, likely due to working in an office. Solution: mist throughout the day! Dermaplaning was offered as part of a facial, which begins at $130 for 60 minutes. Very reasonable given the level of care and skin benefit. Facials almost always give me sticker shock; this did not. There are other places that will give you dermaplaning in a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” manner but that in and out fast likely means you’re not getting a comprehensive treatment.

Recovery is essentially non-existent; I was slightly red but that dissipated in just a few hours. The onus is on you afterward to SPF as your skin will naturally be more sun-sensitive.

If you are in Chicago and at all curious about Elevare, give them a call and talk with Danielle! She’s a rock star aesthetician that I trust with a scalpel on my face!

This service was provided to me complimentary. I loved it so much that I wanted to share my thoughts and I’ve already got my next appointment on the calendar (which I will be paying for!)

Facial in a Jar

Kiehl's Face Masks

I have some serious rituals.

Giving myself manicures on Sunday nights while watching The Good Wife. Tears that it’s the last season (thanks, Obama).

Masking with a glass of wine. Sometimes in the bath, depending on the mask and if steam will mess it up. But bathtime is a ritual in itself.

Everything bagels when I’m PMS-ing.  And wine, too.

When I write these things down, it really seems as carbs and pinot are the backbone of my life.

My rituals are about to get shook up. I’m going to do Whole 30, starting later this month! I’m excited but way anxious, too. I’m worried I’ll have withdrawal and discover I’ve had some weird sugar addiction I didn’t actually know about. I’m in mega research mode and just bought ghee, so it’s about to get real.

I’m hoping for more energy, a better relationship with food and an understanding of what makes me feel good and bad. I’m doing it with coworkers so I’m so thankful to have that support. Especially when we’re all reaching for the bin of Twizzlers at 3pm.

I’ll fill my nights with workouts and do without alcohol. Instead, I’ll enjoy my LaCroix in a wine glass with a squeeze of lime. And I’ll still have my beauty fun to look forward to. You know I’m probably the only person who enthusiastically says regularly, “I can’t wait to exfoliate tonight.”

Kiehl's Tumeric Mask

I’m hoping for that Whole 30 glow in my skin but will supplement with masks. I’m completely loving the two new ones from Kiehl’s – they can be used in tandem but I like to space them out to one time each per week. Been trying them out in a few ways and really pleased with the results (and the price – $32) They are like instant facials!

There’s the Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque that exfoliates but gently with cranberry seeds. The tumeric gives skin an immediate radiance (and why the product is yellow in color!) Tumeric is one of the new “it” ingredients in beauty that you’re likely to see cropping up in skin care. I say ‘yay’ to that.  Goop even has a recipe for a turmeric latte that I am going to try (minus the coconut sugar because Whole 30 rules and regs.)

Kiehl's Cilantro Mask

The other Kiehl’s mask that has this city girl excited is the Cilantro & Orange Extract Polluting Defending Mask. Pollution is a part of city life – we breathe it in and our skin absorbs it as well. It’s gross to think about and scary because it’s invisible, for the most part. Kiehl’s scientists tested this with cigarette smoke exposure and found the ingredients trigger a protective mechanism and helps your skin fight. This is a good mask to lightly pat on and wear overnight for more benefit. I wouldn’t do this if you’re struggling with dry skin but it is gentle enough to leave on for a longer length of time.

Also, now would be a perfect time for anyone out there share Whole 30 advice. I feel like so many people have done this so please let me know if you have. What saved you from snacking? Any easy recipes that you found yourself making every week?

Stripped Down

Lululemon Karma Kurmasana Sweater

I’m keeping warm, sure, because I’m wearing unspeakable amounts of layers. It’s the only way I could have survived January in Chicago.

Commuting has its aches. This is how my train of thought usually goes when I’m running to catch the L to work.  Why didn’t I wear my snow boots, the ones with better traction…I’m going to crack my skull on an ice patch, I know it.  Shoot, I forgot to wear wool socks. Why didn’t I wear the gloves that have working “smart” fingers. Do I really need to respond to that text? Thank goodness I wore heat tech leggings under my jeans. Why is it so windy?? I should just take an Uber.

It should come as no surprise that I’m taking a bare approach to beauty. No unnecessary layers. When Chicago’s signature chill is at peak, my eyes water, my hair is met with static electricity and my skin requires extra hydration. The less complicated, the more put together and cute I feel during the day.

Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream

It starts by prepping skin with something really rich and hydrating so your skin doesn’t dry out before your day officially begins. One option is Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream which, over time, helps firm, brighten skin and reduce the appearance of lines. It also has sun protection which is, in fact, a key layer in the morning.

I’ve been using the CoverGirl truNAKED Shadow Palettes – I’m partial to the ‘nudes’ and ‘roses – constantly. The depth of each shadow is impressive and they are so easy to blend. As somewhat of a nude eyeshadow expert (never.enough.palettes!) I can confirm the quality of these are as good as you’d expect from something that costs four times as much.

CoverGirl Naked Palette CoverGirl truNaked Shadow Palette

I’ve been trading in my liquid liner (because mega watery tear ducts) for truNAKED Waterproof Eyeliner Duo in the cashmere/espresso blend. It goes on really evenly without any tugging. I layer the two shades on the bottom lash line and skip it up top and outer corners when I know it’s going to be brutal outside.

Herbal Essences Naked

Mostly, my hair is on auto pilot. I try to wash it less and avoid heat styling. In my shower is the Herbal Essences Naked Clean & Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner. It removes buildup of a few days’ worth of styling products, lathers just enough and never weighs my hair down. Day one is especially sweet because the minty strawberry aroma wafts along and when I take off my hat when I get to work, it reveals itself.

Do you change your beauty routine this time of year?

Let me know if so. I’m giving away up to 10 prize packs of all the products mentioned in this post. It’s a good one! Leave me a comment or send me an email if you’re interested.*

Update 2/3: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

*If you’ve previously won a P&G giveaway, note that product fulfillment takes some time.   

First photo taken by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative

NERD-ing Out

NERD Skincare

I nerd out constantly. Follow me on Spotify and you’ll see just what I mean. Celine Dion for hours, anyone? Girlfriend just helps me power through my to do list, what can I say? There’s also the way I emote while watching Jeopardy, the hours I can spend lost in a book and the beauty rituals I follow. Oh, and speaking of nerding out over beauty: did you happen to catch the news of Urban Decay Naked Smoky? YES, PLEASE. July 8, get here already.

But back to those beauty rituals.

Sheet MaskSheet masks anyone? You’ll look a little Jason-esque, but there’s nothing horrific about what these can do for your skin. Masking and relaxing, with a side of Netflix, is what I do best and I’m pretty jazzed about this new discovery: NERD Skincare. The scientists behind the brand just launched their first innovation – a trio of sheet masks for brightening, hydrating or repairing. Formulated with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, algae extracts, licorice root extract and rice bran oil, each mask is saturated with an uber concentrated serum. Because of how the mask is made (with sugars!) it doesn’t suffocate your skin while on and the air pressure helps press the serum onto your face and deeper into the layers of your skin. If you’re hungover, traveling (I double dare you to wear one on an airplane) or just feeling dry, these masks are a lifesaver.

Wear this for an hour and then massage the leftover serum into your skin when you remove. No need to rinse or wash your face, just revel in your nerdy glow.

All kidding aside, definitely wear this on a long flight. The effects will be worth all of the creepy stares. Be brave! Just make sure to do it on a clean face so nothing is blocking all that serum goodness.