would you do…lavender brows?

Bored with your brow routine? Me too. But aside form changing your shape or experimenting with new products, there’s not a whole lot of innovation in the brow department (side note: I think the super-full brow look is tired and played out).

Backtrack 4 years ago to the fall 2010 Balenciaga show. The collection’s standout: unapologetically cool brows painted pastel shades of blue, green, and pink. It wasn’t a ready-to-wear brow look and it wasn’t supposed to be. But, fast forward to 2014, and I think the world is ready to give brows the chance to have as much fun with color as lids have had all along.

Playing with the idea of wearable, colorful eyebrows, I began by washing a smoky lavender shade all over the lower lid, sweeping it up and out to connect with the tail of my brow. Next, using an angled brush, I worked foundation through the brows so the color would have something to cling to. Using the same angled brush, I worked the lavender eye shadow through my eyebrows. The monochromatic look and lavender shade make for a subtle change while still toying with what’s socially acceptable for brows. You could easily go brighter and bolder.

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What are your thoughts? Would you wear a lavender brow?

why I’m off coffee

Let me start by saying that I love coffee. Like any good addict, I have a strong affinity for my drug of choice (at least it’s not nicotine anymore…), and would do almost anything for it (repeat, at least I’m not tearing through packs of smokes like they’re candy). And like any good addict, my obsession with my drug never really made me feel good in the long run.

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I’m not trying to make light of truly life-threatening substance abuse. But my addiction to coffee was seriously out of control. Panic attacks would arise if I forgot my morning thermos. K cup, after K cup, after disgusting K cup was consumed at work for no real reason. Weekends were devoted to spending as much time as possible on the couch with my coffee. Friday evenings gave-way to Christmas Eve-like excitement: the sooner I went to bed, the sooner Saturday morning would come and the sooner I could be with my coffee. The occasional caffeinated tea was consumed but always made me feel like a wimp. I was a coffee drinker, damn it! It was part of my identity.

What was my tipping point? What triggered me to finally acknowledge my relationship with coffee was unhealthy?

In January, I left a very stressful job as a corporate copywriter to pursue a long-held dream of working in skincare. I jumped back into school to earn my esthetics license. After a few weeks carrying on my same coffee routine, it became clear that my caffeine habits were no longer conducive to my new professional life. Working in front of a screen all day where you have very little human interaction? Well then feel free to dive into the deep end of the coffee pool. Your tweaked out office buds are waiting. However, are you working with your hands on other people’s faces, wielding machines, performing massages, and attempting to communicate calmly? Then it’s time to rethink your beverage choices.

Even before the career switch, I noticed mood and behavioral changes that seemed to coincide with my coffee intake. My happy morning buzz would eventually turn into afternoon jitters. Too much caffeine and I would have trouble focusing and communicating. My natural anxiety became magnified by the stimulant coursing through my veins. If I knew I had to speak in front of people or present ideas, I would have to force myself to limit my caffeine intake that day. I was also terribly dehydrated! Drinking coffee had become a problem and a crutch, not an answer for sleepiness and productivity.

Getting off coffee was not easy.  I didn’t go completely cold turkey, but cut back bit by bit over the course of a few days. Even that was probably too fast. In the immediate days and weeks that followed, I experienced regular headaches, dizziness, and even some weight gain. It’s not pretty, but I’d rather be honest with you in case you’re planning on cutting out coffee as well. Decrease your intake little by little over the course of a few weeks to curb any unwanted side effects.

Why go through all of this? If I told you I felt like a completely different person since I stopped drinking coffee, would you believe me? You should. I haven’t eliminated caffeine completely–caffeinated teas don’t have the same strength as the extra-strong coffee I used to make–but I haven’t had any coffee in over 3 months.

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I’m calmer, have better focus, and sleep like I’ve never slept before. I drink water and tea throughout the day, and maybe it’s just me, but my skin is GLOWING, and I even think my hair is healthier. Turns out, dehydration is not so good for your body…

You might read this and think it’s silly to have such a long piece devoted to cutting out a daily coffee habit, but letting go of something that has such an overwhelming power over you feels amazing, whether it’s as small as coffee or as consuming as a terrible relationship. Also, I don’t think coffee is bad or that everyone should stop drinking coffee immediately. Most people are able to have a healthy relationship with it. I just am not one of those people.

the balm squad and an ode to ice cream

Lip balms are like ice cream…I like them both a lot. Smooth, creamy, comforting, delicious, it’s hard to play favorites with either.

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Balms should be rich and buttery, not sticky and glossy. I prefer a thick treatment balm over anything too slick. Same goes for ice cream, I guess. Fro-yo is OK in a pinch, but when I really NEED to indulge, give me something with a little viscosity.

My lip-pampering picks. Treatments & Treats.

Exfoliating 

Just like your face, elbows, and feet, your lips need exfoliating love too! Prep lips for deep conditioning with Ilia’s Balmy Nights  exfoliating balm. Organic oils, shea butter, and tiny granules of volcanic stone powder work together to moisturize and gently remove dead skin.

Protective & Plumping for Day

Read my lips: they need SPF as much as your face! Protect them year round with Dior’s Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm. With an SPF of 10, stimulating Vitamins A & E, nourishing rose essential oil, and a subtle pink tint, this pretty little pot is begging for  a spot in your purse.

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Soothing & Moisturizing for Night

Your skin goes through a resting, regenerative process overnight. Serums and night treatments take advantage of this natural restorative time when cells repair themselves. I keep Avene Cold Cream Lip Cream on my bedside table to pamper my dry dehydrated lips. It has a thick texture and a cool, tranquil quality courtesy of Avene’s signature thermal spring water formula. Sulcrafates, a healing agent used in the treatment of ulcers and tissue repair, help protect the delicate skin on your lips. Plus, just hearing the words “cold cream” remind me of ice cream and make me ready for bedtime.

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Speaking of ice cream, eeny, meeny, miny, moe…

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look like a clean person without really trying

There’s nothing like a lazy summer weekend to steal all hygienic motivation away from me. A late night out, leads to Netflix marathons, fridge raiding, and bathrobe lounging. It’s my weekend. I do what I want.

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my lazy weekend command post

The back-to-reality alarm clock this morning was my cue to figure out how I was going to pass for presentable without a proper shower.

Presenting my master guide to looking like a clean person. Meet the clean up crew.

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Step 1: A nice hot shower is an excellent way to wake up and get your blood flowing in the morning. No time? Here’s what I do. Take a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the palm of your hand. Cup your hands around your nose. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Mix the excess oil with a moisturizer and massage onto your neck and shoulders. Eucalyptus oil pulls double duty as a mind-clearing essential oil and fresh scent.

Step 2: If your face is makup-free, give yourself a refreshing mist of a spray toner, like Caudalie Beauty Elixir or Mario Badescu Aloe, Herbs, and Rose Water Spray. Face feeling a little icky? Before you mist, give skin a few swipes with a cleansing water like Bioderma Sensibo H20 or Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water.

Step 3: While your skin is soaking up that delicious, refreshing hydration, it’s time to break out the dry shampoo. Yes, it will absorb oil and add some spring back to your ‘do, but it will also absorb any unwashed hair smell. Now, maybe you are naive to the woes of odd smelling dirty hair. I can easily go a day or 2 without washing, but if I don’t use some kind of dry shampoo, my tresses take on a funky, musky scent. I love cult-favorite Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk or Batiste’s Dry Shampoo when I don’t have the time to give my hair the real thing.

Step 4: Step away from the extra strength perfume–you’re only going to make your co-workers gasp for air. It’s also really obvious. A more subtle approach? I have recently fallen in love with Clean’s brand of lotions and scents. They evoke the smell of freshly laundered clothes, fresh cotton, and rain. They are absolutely refreshing and will fool anyone who might suspect you’re a few days unwashed.