tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum

This serum is flat out amazing. Revolutionary. A must-have gradual self tanner to achieve the most convincing  tanned look for your face. Below is me before and after just one application. I used a few drops before bed in place of my usual skincare and I woke up with subtle but noticeable color. Maracuja Bronzing Serum is a light oil that absorbs right away and leaves no scent behind,  it’s also streak-free (and has been every time I’ve used it since) and didn’t leave any color behind on my white pillowcase. It’s a self-tanning serum disguised as skincare that’s so gentle you can use it nightly. It didn’t break out my sensitive skin and the color becomes more rich with each application but not overly bronzed or unnatural. It really is amazing stuff.

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I will of course review other self-tanning products for the face in the future, but this is the one I will continue to buy and tell all my friends to do the same.

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How to Get A No-Chip Manicure At Home Using CND VINYLUX

Do I love Shellac- the breakthrough polish applied by pros that stays shiny and chip-free for 2 weeks? Of course, doesn’t everyone? Do I have time to go to the salon for a Shellac manicure? Let me give you a hint: absolutely not.

My sister Stacy works for CND and travels all over the world preaching the gospel of nails so when she promised I wouldn’t be disappointed with their new no-chip at home polishes I couldn’t wait to try them out.

VINYLUX boasts a week long chip-free mani but I’ve found it to last much longer and be just as enduring as Shellac. You don’t need a base coat but using their special top coat is key and you use acetone to remove it. Its as easy as applying any other polish but it dries completely in just minutes without using a curing lamp. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

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From their On the Road Collection: Sun Bleached, Powder My Nose, Mint Convertible, Clay Canyon

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Powder My Nose. I used it on my toes too but I’ll spare you that pic because feet in general are gross.

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I’m on day 4 of my mani and my polish looks day 1 fresh and I got 3 weeks out of my last VINYLUX pedi. I’m so glad to finally have a long-wering DIY option for my typically beat up looking nails.

Supergoop! Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

Supergoop! has been a mainstay in our house since I first reviewed it 5 years ago. Since then we’ve bought countless bottles, it’s the only sunscreen Mike will wear because it doesn’t burn his eyes when he runs and it’s hard for me to find a safe SPF that gives broad spectrum protection. It’s really as close to a perfect sunscreen perfect as it gets.

Their SPF 20 Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse combines their signature SPF formula with a gradual self-tanner to use daily which I have been ever since I noticed how crazy pale I looked in barre class compared to everyone else. Being tan hasn’t been a priority of mine for about 10 years now, but a healthy glow always looks good. If I’m using a moisturizer and an SPF every morning anyway, it might as well bronze me up too. Not only is the color seamless (even around knees and ankles) but it has zero scent and is so natural looking that I’ve recommended it to my fair friends when they can’t find a tanner that looks natural. Just an FYI though, it won’t get you super dark so those with fair skin wanting some casual color will love it best.

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Dove: Crème Mousse Body Wash, Pistachio Cream, and the Best Macaroons Ever

I’ve been a fan of Dove’s positive messaging for women since they started their Campaign For Real Beauty 10 years ago showing women with everyday body types posing happily in their underwear. That became a launchpad for a bigger conversation about women and self-esteem which they still continue today. Although we always used their white bar soap growing up, I haven’t used much from the line outside of their deodorant (I just bought THIS scent and I love it) so it was basically like Christmas morning when I got a package from them last week which was essentially a spa in a box.

First I opened this amazingly fluffy Sferra robe which I want to wear every single day all day long which was inside a little foot soaking tub with a sweet smelling candle. Then I opened a completely amazing grooming kit filled with things I need and never replace, and then I saw the Ladurée pistachio macaroons!! At this point I was sitting on the floor in my new robe eating these iconic macaroons that I’ve always read about and never thought I’d try (I’m pretty serious about my sugar..) while my daughter was running around the house with a mint green mouth yelling ‘more macaroons!’ a word she didn’t know 5 minutes prior with her finger knuckle-deep in the candle.  Honestly they could’ve snuck a Black Mamba in the bottom of the box and I wouldn’t have cared.

But they didn’t.

Luckily they sent along their 3 new Créme Mousse Body Washes and a Purely Pampering Pistacio Cream Body Wash and Beauty Bars. The packaging, the scents, the creamy foamy amazingness that I knew was inside these bottles was so over the top intoxicating that as soon as the girls were down for the night I brought each bottle into the shower to try em’ out.

My shower routine has become pretty boring recently. I used to have candy colored bottles lined up all along my tub filled with soaps, scrubs, and treatments that I’d rub on depending on what I thought needed a boost. Now just my hair care and a bar of soap remains of my overly-simplified routine. I know I don’t have the time for a body mud spa treatment or whatever, but I’ve been ignoring my consistently dry skin and razor burn that returned after I had Everly since a strange side effect when I’m pregnant is really smooth, moisturized skin along with a lack of body hair so I only needed to shave my legs once every few weeks or so. These two things for me were the true miracles of pregnancy that I missed immediately after giving birth both times. Now that my skin is back to normal, I need something foamy to cushion the razor from tearing up my legs while also adding some much needed hydration. All of these washes have huge suds and clean scents that make showering just a little nicer. My two faves are the Pistachio Cream Body Wash because the sweet smell has me hooked- it’s something I’ll buy again when it’s out. I’ve also been using the Exfoliating wash with the loofa because I’m testing a few self tanning lotions every day. I know that this helps with an even application and an even fade, two important factors for the self tanner to look natural.

Even though you’ll find that these washes are sold without macaroons (something they really need to reconsider), you should give them a shot anyway and make a little spa out of your ho-hum shower.

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Here’s my robe, foot soaking tub, and new shower besties.

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There were more macaroons that came in this box. I didn’t have the will power to hold off on eating them long enough to snap a photo of a much prettier looking and fuller box. Notice also the divit in the candle made by a tiny finger.

What I Ate: Asian, Mexican, Italian, & Brunch

I’m a month or so into this gluten free thing and I must say it has made a big difference in how I feel. I don’t have celiac but I could tell when I overdid it with the bread because I’d get this crazy stomach ache right after eating. I’ll maybe have something on the weekend that’s bread-ish but doing without so far has been really easy. Here’s a glimpse of a few things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

Tater Tot Fiesta: our creation when friends came to visit last Thursday. Tots covered in Mike’s homemade green and red chili, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Everything tastes better on tots.

Omelette Cups: Mike makes breakfast every morning even though he doesn’t eat it himself. He traded off making a scramble for Harper by pouring eggs, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach into muffin tins and baking them. The bottoms get all crispy and the centers are fluffy, such a cute way to present something so ordinary.

Brown Rice Pasta & Salad: Mike actually threw this together for my lunch the other day because apparently he thinks I’m a lumberjack. He heated cooked pasta in a pan with olive oil, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Easy and delicious.

Green Curry with Tempeh, Zucchini, and Red Peppers Over Rice: Green curry is amazing and so easy to make. Grab a jar of the paste (most supermarkets have it) and heat a teaspoon or two with a can of coconut milk, then toss in veggies or whatever to simmer in the sauce. Green curry has such a rich, somewhat spicy flavor that tastes great with everything. Use it with anything you’d typically stir-fry. If you like Asian food, you’ll love curry.

Veggie Sushi: This was from our Valentine’s date night (which was really just a quick happy hour and we had Everly with us), but it was fun all the same. We crave these rolls that we once ordered so many of the sushi chef dubbed them Michael rolls after my hubs. Avocado, cucumber, jalapeño, and cream cheese. Even our die-hard sushi loving friends go nuts over how good they are.

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Johnson’s Baby: What I’m Using These Days

Part of the fun of being an ambassador for Johnson’s Baby is all the great stuff I get to try. Having two girls under the age of two really has me running so I’m faithful to the products that work best and make life easier. A few I received recently I’m really loving and are worth telling you about.

Little Harper has always had a tough time falling asleep. She sits on our lap and we rock her until she’s sleeping which regularly takes an hour or more at night. Since this eats into Mike’s and my night together, you can imagine how much we really want to speed this process up. We’re slowly starting to get her to doze off in her crib, but until that whole process is up and running we’re happy to find other ways to get her relaxed enough to get to sleep quicker. Since it has been working pretty regularly, I know it isn’t just coincidence that the Soothing Vapor Bath really helps. It’s a liquid you pour into the bath that gives off an aroma that reminds me of that Vicks menthol scent but lighter, and it’s made to calm fussy babies, help stuffy noses, and encourage relaxation. When we use it she leaves the bath more relaxed and falls asleep much quicker than the nights when we don’t use it or if we bathe her in the morning. Nothing instant of course, but noticeable. I’ve used it in my baths too because I just love the scent and it’s so much less expensive than other bath salts I’ve bought that are basically the same thing. I’m already exhausted all the time, so the calming effects are essentially lost on me.

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The other thing we’ve been using all the time is their Shampoo & Conditioner combo made for thin or straight hair. At two years old little Harper is still rocking a short pixie which she pulls it off perfectly. While we wait for more hair to sprout, this shampoo/conditioner really softens and bulks up her hair. I was using a body wash before because I didn’t think it mattered, but this really seems to give her locks a little boost.

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Oh- and I’m still using their original baby shampoo to remove my eye makeup every night (just a dot of it on a damp cotton pad does the trick), as well using it to wash my makeup brushes. I also use it on Frisco and Meatball! It’s a total all-purpose cleanser around here.

Full Disclosure: All products were sent to me to try but no additional compensation was given. Opinions posted are my own and I select what to (or not to) write about.