Skin Deep

Being on vacation for the holidays, I’ve given my skin a break from the daily makeup routine (much needed) and instead spent a lot of extra time doing masks and trying out new skincare products. It may be because I’m now in my 30s, but my skin really craves and enjoys a good face oil and extra moisture. It soaks it all in!

I get a lot of questions about my regular skin routine, which includes using mattifying micellar water to remove makeup and then washing my face with a facial cleanser followed by applying a serum, moisturizer (separate versions for day and night) and eye cream. Also, I follow the cardinal rule of NEVER going to sleep with makeup on! And finally, I try to do professional facials at least every three months, if not more 🙂

Pro tip: mix it up. Similar to the way I feel about shampoos and conditioners, I believe in shocking my skin with a variety of products, so it doesn’t become complacent. This is a mantra for many things in my life from haircare and skincare to working out. Too much of the same thing results in no change and a definite plateau.

So with that philosophy in mind, I usually use a few different masks, face oils and other skin products every week to ensure my skin never gets too used to one product type. The good news is there are so many products, it makes it fun to try different ones out and they last way longer since I’m not using them exclusively.

Another tip, look for gift sets or variety packs to try new products without paying full price for an entire skincare line that may not end up being what your skin needs. I recently did that with Beautycounter’s Counter Match Anti Aging system and I’m loving  it. I ordered the holiday gift set for myself and have been using the serum (a fave), day and night moisturizers and eye cream. The cost and size were perfect for trial and now I can order full size of the products I love moving forward.

Alway a favorite for discovering new products is Sephora! They have amazing sets for skin care, whether products from one brand or the variety pack. “Santa Sam” just gifted me the OleHenriksen “Glow Together” set and I’m in love. It includes nine products from the line from a Power Peel to a Truth Serum!

Here are some of my favorites by category.

Facial Cleansers

Your skin is a blank canvas and a facial cleanser is truly the foundation for all skincare. I’m a big believer in washing my face every morning and every evening. Once your skin is clean, you can then add all the extras like moisturizer, serum, oil, etc. Currently in rotation:

Origins GinZing Scrub Cleanser – this is great for a morning wash because it immediately wakes your skin up! The entire GinZing line is awesome – a few of the products will make other appearances in this post.

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Cleanser – cleans, replenishes and moisturizes skin. I’m also a fan of the brand’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar.

L’Oreal Pure Clay Charcoal Cleanser – brightens and cleans impurities with the power of charcoal.  I’ve also tried the other cleansers in the line including “Exfoliate & Refine” and “Purify & Mattify,” which are equally great depending on what you’re looking for. This is definitely my go to drugstore brand.

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The older I get, the more my skin craves moisture. I use daytime and nighttime moisturizers because they serve unique purposes. Just like you have clothing for the day and PJs for nighttime, you should also have corresponding moisturizers 🙂 On my current love list:


Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer – this is a great daytime moisturizer and the gel formula is fun to apply and adds instant hydration to the skin. Tired, dry skin? This is your go to.

Beautycounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion – a daytime moisturizer that constantly adapts to the ever changing climate and conditions “by adjusting hydration and oxygenation levels throughout the day.”

OleHenrickson Truth Advanced Moisturizing Creme – Another amazing anti-aging daytime moisturizer with Vitamin C and peptides. Your skin will thank you!


Beautycounter Recovery Sleeping Cream – I love this formula because it’s thicker and made to repair your skin, while you sleep. It’s full of amazing ingredients including Plum Oil. You wake up with skin that feels well rested and hydrated.

L’Oreal Revitalift Overnight Mask – Super thick and moisture packed, this is a nighttime moisturizer that also doubles as an intensive sleep mask. I use this a few times a week.

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Eye Creams

This area of your face definitely starts to wear with age and needs special attention. When you’re tired, stressed, etc. it shows in your eyes and that’s why a good eye cream is essential. That and lots of water and sleep! In my vanity:

Origins Refreshing Eye Cream – I suffer from dark under eye circles and this eye cream definitely makes a difference. It brightens and depuffs the eye area. This is one of my go to daytime eye creams!

Beautycounter Eye Rescue Cream – This is lightweight and helps brighten your under eye area for a more awake and refreshed look.

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty: Triple Remedy – I’m a huge fan of this brand and many of its products. This one in particular is delivered via a rollover to your skin, which I love and is made to brighten, depuff and smooth the under eye area. A winning combo!

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If you’ve ever seen the Meme with the old Steve Madden slider shoe and you recognize it/owned a pair (I did), then you know it’s time to incorporate serum into your skincare routine.

Belif Hungarian Water Essence – This is a lightweight serum that adds moisture that lasts.

Beautycounter Countermatch Serum – Power packed with moisture, vitamins and two forms of hyaluronic acid. This is the serum for your third decade 🙂

OleHenrickson Truth Serum – Anti-aging serum packed with Vitamin C and collagen! It brightens and moisturizes.

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Face Oils

As I mentioned, my skin currently craves extra moisture and while I never would have thought a face oil would be a good idea (I thought it would make my skin oily and gross), I’m a fan and convert. I first tried face oil in my Birchbox a few years ago and have been using them ever since including:

Fresh Seaberry Face Oil – One of my favorite brands, this face oil smells amazing and is packed with omegas, which helps maintain the skin’s youthful appearance.

Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil – A plant based oil that is made for overnight use, to clean and detoxify skin.

Clarins Santal Face Oil – Sandalwood, cardamom, and lavender tone and calm skin, while hazelnut oil soothes, smooths, and reduces redness.

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Last, but certainly not least are masks. I’m a bonafide mask junkie. I use them multiple times a week — everything from sheet masks (Walmart and Target have a huge variety of brands and types of sheet masks usually 2 for $5) to sleep masks (these are great for overnight repair), peeling masks and everything in between. I truly believe masks make a huge difference in your skin. While I use a wide variety, here are a few favorites:

GlamGlow Gravity Mud Firming Treatment – Confession, I always feel like a total Hollywood superstar every time I use these products. They are rich and decadent and leave your skin feeling amazeballs (as Guiliana Rancic would say). This particular mask is a peel-off treatment, which comes in the prettiest silver you’ve ever seen. You lather on a healthy layer onto your skin, sit back for 20-30 minutes and then peel off. It feels so awesome to peel off the silver layer to reveal firmer looking skin instantly! I’m pretty much a fan of every product GlamGlow makes, so look around explore and find the one that’s right for your skin needs.

Too Cool For School Egg Cream Hydration Mask – If you’re into K-beauty, this is is an awesome brand. I’ve tried a lot of the egg based products including the mousse and this mask, which is a favorite. It’s a sheet mask, so you cover your face with the sheet, wear it for 10-15 minutes and then rub in the remaining serum.

LUSH Cup o Coffee Mask – This is like a shot of espresso for your skin. The handmade mask has coffee pieces that exfoliate and the delicious coffee smell will wake you and your skin up! One of my favorite things about LUSH is the fact that they include info about who made your mask. Mine was made by Kevin 🙂

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I would love to hear about any products you love to use. Always in the market to expand my skincare toolbox!




Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for some finding the right gift can be stressful.

I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite things at a range of prices as inspiration for the lady in your life. These can work from your family and significant other to friends and co-workers. A little something for everyone! Enjoy.

Versace Eros – My hubby gifted me this fragrance two birthdays ago and I instantly fell in love with the unique scent that is not too overpowering. Works for day or night. Bonus, the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, a work of art that will elevate a perfume collection and look lovely on the vanity!

Fuji Instax – Retro vibes and nostalgia reign with this gift for capturing memories. This is the perfect gift for the photo obsessed or a great addition if you’re taking someone on a trip as part of the gift. Add this cute camera in a fun color, extra film and a post card for the gifted destination for extra points 🙂

Toms – I just received the Toms holiday catalog (love still getting printed pieces in the mail!) and the collection is vast and beautiful. From classic Toms with a holiday twist, to velvet, fur lined slippers and booties galore, there is no shortage of choices. Bonus – you always feel good buying or gifting these because a person in need receives shoes too. One for One and One for All!

All Birds – A friend introduced me to these beauties from New Zealand. They ship to the U.S. and the company just recently opened a NYC flagship store. This is the perfect gift for the Athleisure obsessed lady in your life. The shoes are super comfortable, chic and come in a variety of gorgeous tones!

Comfy + Cozy – Truth be told, I have not thought of Abercrombie since college, but I came across this adorable menswear inspired PJ shirt paired with comfy socks and fell in lounge love. You can never go wrong with cozy loungewear and sleepwear as a holiday gift. Whoever receives this will instantly want to sit by a fire, sipping hot cocoa and binging on Hallmark Christmas movies (Candace Cameron Bure not included).

Baublebar – Give me all the baubles. This year’s holiday collection is beautiful with tons of options from my favorite jewel tone studs for every outfit to fun tassel earrings and dainty necklaces. Major plus, the gifts come in gorgeous packaging for stress free wrapping. This is especially great for someone like me who is definitely on the struggle bus when it comes to gift-wrapping.

Prive Reveaux – I used to be a fan of spending beaucoup bucks on designer sunglasses, but after most of them have either been ruined, broken or lost, I am now all about great looking glasses for affordable prices. Enter Jaime Fox (yes the Oscar winning actor) and his new sunglasses line for men and women. Apparently he was also tired of paying premium for a product that is pretty disposable. The styles go from classic to risk shader and the price cannot be beat$29.95! Gift a pair and get yourself a pair for being so frugally fabulous.

Sephora Favorites Sets – Who doesn’t love receiving a black and white striped bag with beauty goodies inside?! Last year, hubby got me the skin saver set, which was amazing and introduced me to tons of new products including my favorite face oil. There’s also lip kits, mascara, face mask kits and more. Depending on whom you’re gifting, I guarantee you there is a kit to fit!

Sparkling Champagne Bottle – This is the perfect gift for the bling and bubbles obsessed on your list! ONEHOPE glitter champagne bottles are stunning and philanthropic. ONEHOPE was founded by eight friends with a lofty vision: to create exceptional products that inspire people to indulge while doing good. The bottles come in a variety of glittery goodness filled with Cali bubbles. Pair with some flutes or a cute “I’ll Be There in a Prosecco” sweatershirt from Target for a little EXTRA in your gift giving.

Mug with Gift Card Bouquet – This is for the “hard to shop for” lady in your life. Buy a fun and fabulous mug with a great saying, add a foam ball and make “gift card” flowers (aka gift cards on a stick) for everything from coffee and fast food to fine dining and movies. It’s creative and won’t disappoint!

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Halloween Style: Recreate Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” Looks

I have always loved dressing up for Halloween. It is after all, the one day a year, you can be whoever you want to be…no judgement.

With Halloween a few days away, I’m sharing super fun and easy looks inspired by Taylor Swift’s smash hit and epic video – Look What You Made Me Do.

These are four unique looks that can be recreated with items you probably already have in your closet plus a few accessories!


  1. Biker Babe – Channel your inner badass and race into the holiday with this bold look. It’s easy, slimming and hot. Just grab a pair of black leather leggings, bustier or tank, leather jacket and booties and you’re on your way. Spice it up with a biker hat, studded accessories and choker to complete the look. Motorcycle not included 😜 zhalloween17-7424-Edit
  2. Frosted Taylor – This look takes commitment and confidence. If you happen to own a diamond encrusted bra and bottom, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you can use a white or silver sequined dress and fake diamonds to pull this look together. Top it off with a bold red lip. zhalloween17-7375-Edit
  3. Lady in Red – This look is sleek as “snake-y.” You will need a red kimono dress, snake accessories including a long necklace and bracelets, gold heels and pomade to slick hair down. If you’re a brunette like me, you may want to invest in a bottle of Jerome Russell B Blonde to complete the look. zhalloween17-7407-Edit
  4. Naughty Cat – If you’re in a rush or in witness protection, this is the Tay Tay look for you — the ultimate comfort and incognito Halloween costume. You get to wear an oversized sweater and a cat head, so no one will know who you are. Also, no need for hair or makeup. Craft queen? Go ahead and make an amazing paper mache cat head like my friend Jillian. Otherwise, purchase a pre-made cat mask and meow your way to trick or treating. Finally, no one will mess with you – after all you’re an angry feline with a bat! Finish this look off with thigh high colorful boots or sneakers…whatever your heart desires. zhalloween17-7405-Edit

Photos: Brooks Photography

Happy costuming and Happy Halloween!



SNS: SOS for Gel Nails

Manicures are part of my stay sane plan. It’s actually part of our monthly budget…two manicures a month is a great investment and the ROI on happiness delivers every time. It may be just me, but I always feel better about life and ready to take on the world when my nails are done. Am I right? 😉

But I digress…this post is to share a new nail process I have discovered and am absolutely obsessed with – SNS. I’ve been doing gel polish for the last year and a half and while the benefits including shiny nails that last around 14 days and don’t chip are awesome, there are some drawbacks. The biggest culprit being if you wait too long to remove the polish and get a fresh mani, the polish will naturally start peeling and for this Type A maniac it results in peeling all the polish off and ruining my nails. I’m a multiple offender.

I was a little hesitant about SNS because I had never heard of it and it’s different from any nail polish process I’ve ever seen. My nail place is one of the few providing this service in Tallahassee and I was convinced three manicures ago by the nail tech who promised wonders: healthier nails, longer lasting, easier removal and no UV machine. To my surprise, SNS delivers on all fronts!

Here’s a quick run down of the process. The SNS polish isn’t actually polish, instead it is a powder that is adhered to your nails by a clear polish solution. Don’t be alarmed by how incredibly bright the powder color looks – once they apply the top coat, the color ends up looking as perfect as it does painted on the fake nail in the carousel of colors! Once you select your powder color and the nails are clean and prepped, the nail tech applies a clear coat and dips your nail in a white powder to set the nail for SNS. This is one layer. Next she applies a clear coat and dips your nail in the color nail powder and repeats two more times. The color will look matte, but have no fear it ends up shiny and gorgeous in the end. Once the powder is on, you will be asked to wash your hands without soap and return for the final steps. This includes a shiny topcoat, which is applied (sometimes two coats) and then you will wait for it to dry 3-5 minutes. After that, you will have a beautiful set of very shiny nails, no chipping and no need to expose your skin to UV rays. (My hubby treats cancer and he’s never been a fan of the UV part of gel manicures.)

I’ve now had three SNS manicures and here is my take – I LOVE it! It has yet to disappoint me. My last mani lasted a whopping 21 days and aside from the nail growth at the bottom (which wasn’t too noticeable), my nails still looked perfect after all those days. The process is simple and the very best part is the removal – much easier than gel polish. While you soak off the SNS polish the same way you do with gel, the SNS comes off more like a regular polish and leaves your nails looking better than before. I have naturally brittle nails (even when I was pregnant when nails should be their strongest) and gel didn’t help the cause. During my last SNS removal, my nails were long and much stronger than before.

Overall, I’m glad I took the plunge and tried SNS. Not only are my nails healthier, but I’ll be saving some dough since manicures last so much longer than two weeks.

Would love to hear from you about your favorite “treat yoself” routines and if you’ve tried SNS.




One of the things I love about Influenster is being able to have access and try tons of new beauty products. This allows me to check out diverse products and then know where I want to invest my money when it comes to hair, makeup and beauty products.

This month I received the Marc Jacobs Beauty Vox Box featuring the brand’s Velvet Noir Mascara. I am a mascara freak — I love my lashes and am constantly looking for mascaras that will enhance and add more DRAMA to my lashes. Must say Velvet Noir does the trick. The brush is huge with so many bristles and it leaves lashes long and thick without any clumps. That is one my major pet peeves with certain mascaras — they add length and volume, but you also then deal with clumpy lashes.

While the mascara is at a more premium price — $26, it is definitely worth a try. The packaging is gorgeous, it’s a large size and it definitely works with only one coat!

Excited to have found a new mascara to add to my beauty routine!