What’s in My Kit?

I was on location the other day for a corporate shoot and I thought I’d share a pic of what’s in my kit. Make Up For Ever, Koh Gen Do, Naked Palette, Ben Nye & much more. Looking for MAC? There’s a few things peppered in there, but ultimately it’s the line I use the least.

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My Life Lately

If you’re wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, these pics pretty much sum it up. Everly is now 3 months and Harper is 21 so I’m elbows deep into this mother of two thing. Aside from everything taking a little more time, I find it to be much easier than I ever thought possible- really it’s not much different than having just one. Helping me big time is the fact that they both sleep through the night and aren’t much for crying (thank god I discovered comfort nursing with Harper!) so I’m getting some sleep. Best of all is my sweet hubby who works from home so he tags in when he can which helps a ton. Just knowing that he’s here when I need him is such a blessing and takes a lot of stress away.

That said.

I’m still always tired from the broken sleep of Evie nursing once in the night, Harper is in constant motion, and my thyroid is still out of whack so not only is my hair still falling out in clumps, but sometimes I’m so overcome with exhaustion that I’ve fallen asleep nursing with my head hanging down. I’ll wake up with Evie staring at me like ‘really mom?’

So there’s that.

But! How cute are these girls? I mean seriously?! There’s little Evie at 3 months perfectly perched in her chair. She’s always smiling and just beams whenever anyone looks her way. And then there’s sweet Harper who is the most gentle and loving soul I’ve ever met giving her sister a squeeze (whether she likes it or not.) She’s obsessed with Evie sitting on her lap and gives her a million kisses throughout the day. The other pic is Harper holding onto Evie’s head while I nursed her last week which I thought was beyond sweet. And the last hard to see pic is me with Harper in her crib. I jump in with her everyday at 5:30 to wake her up from her nap. She’s all sleepy and cuddly so we hang out until she wakes up a little then head down to make dinner together. Everyday I swear she’s the perfect age, her personality just keeps getting bigger and she’s so smart. We’re so lucky to have these little girls in our lives.

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Happy Birthday Everly!

Happy Birthday to my daughter Everly Joy who was born October 29th. I just wanted to share a photo of her (all 8.12lbs!!) and let you know that all went well. I’ve barely set her down since she’s been home- it’s all so much easier the second time. Harper is getting used to having a sister and now gives her kisses and reaches out to touch her. We’re so happy and grateful to have a house buzzing with our happy girls.

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Post-Baby Skin Care: What I’ll Be Using to Get Rid of My Melasma (Round 2)

Well here we are, today is the day I’m giving birth to my daughter (Note: of course I’m not writing this in the delivery room, it’s actually the night before) and I’m once again planning my new skincare routine to banish the melasma that reared its ugly head from pretty much day 1 of this pregnancy. I actually think it never went away from the first pregnancy and just kept on building throughout this one. Either way, I’m ready to attack. I’ve done a ton of research and have come up with what I think is the best of the best as far as attacking pigment and restoring my skin without using hydroquinone or Botox.

Cleanser:

I was thinking about getting this Pigment Bar from PCA Skin, a medical line that I really like but I nixed the idea and will stick with my cleanser that I love. I’m just not sure how much help a cleanser is in fading dark spotting since it’s only on the skin for a few seconds and the ingredients are washed away. If you’re curious though, check it out- it’s a cool concept and people seem to really like it.

pca skin

Toner:

Hands down, one of the most effective things I’ve ever used on my skin has been Mandelic acid from Vivant, a line sold through skin pros and doctors that is really picking up steam in the industry for its skin-changing ways. Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid extracted from bitter almonds, so it’s a safe alternative to hydroquinone (a skin lightener that really works well, but has safety concerns.) This 9% solution will help to lighten while also making my skin soft enough to allow the serums and creams to penetrate and work that much better.

vivant toner

Serum:

I was a little on the fence about this one so I ordered two and then canceled one. I wanted to get Skinceuticals Phyto + which I ordered from Amazon (before canceling) because of its botanical formula and kojic acid, a known skin lightener. In the end the shaky reviews mixed with the fact that I know Mandelic will definitely work were what swayed my decision to stick with a more potent formula. So I ordered Vivant’s Mandelic 3-in-1 Serum 15% which combines Mandelic with Lactic Acid, a combination that will lighten and brighten my skin without question.

vivant mandelic serum

Retinol:

Can I use a retinol while nursing? My derm thought so and she recommended Afirm, a Retin-A alternitive (sidebar: Terntinoin and Retin-A both break me out because they put the vitamin a into a cheap cream that’s all greasy terrible so I can’t use it anyway) that’s easily absorbed into the skin and gives the same results as a prescription retinoid at a fraction of the cost. A good retinol will diminish wrinkles, fade discoloration, and give better clarity and tone to the skin. Another interesting fact: Retinoids are the only FDA approved treatments for wrinkles. I bought the 3X, formula which amounts to a 0.6% retinol which is their strongest treatment. Again, I’m getting the higher percentage treatments for all of the formulations just because my skin is used to really active stuff.. Start with the 1% just a few times a week if you’re just venturing into the world of retinol, but really if you have wrinkles or discoloration to get rid of this is a really good place to start.

afirm

Antioxidant:

I always use an antioxidant serum during the day to combat further damage (and you should too), so I’ll use Vivant’s Spin Trap serum with vitamins C&E. I’ve used this one in the past and for some reason it seems to keep longer than others, it doesn’t turn that dull color vitamin serums turn after just a few months which means its potency is also in tact.

vivant spin trap

Moisturizer:

I went out on a limb for this one. I’ve never used Nia 24 but I see it everywhere and am fascinated by it since it’s the only niacin-based product I know of. There’s a bunch of research they have on their site (independent from them) showing how niacin heals sun damaged skin and can even play a role in skin cancer prevention. Their signature treatment cream is this Intensive Recovery Complex, pricey at $118 but something I’ve literally looked at buying for years. Because it’s meant specifically for hyperpigment issues, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my whole skin-lightening regimen.

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SPF:

Good SPF is key when you’re using an active bunch of products like this. Even in the winter when you don’t think you’re getting sun exposure, you are. I’ve been using Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint as a daily primer and skin perfector. The look and feel is just like a slightly tinted primer that helps to even out skintone pre-foundation. I love Coola’s sunscreens, it’s an organic line that only does suncare so they do it really well. It’s basically a really good SPF disguised as a great makeup primer that will help even out my skin on days when I won’t be wearing foundation (which will be quite often in the coming weeks.)

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Oh- and I’ll be using my Dermaroller to get super maximum penetration and faster results. Read HERE and HERE to catch up on the magical wonders of Dermarolling (aka microneedling) if you missed my past posts on the subject, and keep an eye on Hautelook (get the app) because they often feature them for just $20 or $30.

The Day I Met Joey McIntyre From New Kids on the Block

When my friend Jan sent me the ticketing info about Joey McIntyre’s one man show called The Kid coming to Denver, I snatched up tickets as soon as I could. We, along with my girlfriend Chris (who attends every NKOTB concert with me whenever they’re in town)  headed into the city for brunch and to check out our Joey Mac in a show we knew nothing about. Turns out it’s a coming of age musical about his family, growing up in Boston, and how NKOTB came to be- then ended- then back again- in a developmental performance where they take your input at the end and adjust things accordingly in hopes that it will one day be on Broadway.

The basic rundown of the show:

Alcohol wasn’t allowed. This was especially weird since the theater’s bar is such a great one. And after all, wouldn’t you want people loosened up for a one person performance?

There is a piano on stage although he doesn’t seem to know how to play. He used it twice and only played a few basic chords while singing. We found this to be odd.

He can actually sing. I know that sounds like it would be a given, but it’s so rare to hear someone’s voice live in a small setting where it’s pure and stripped down without 4 other guys chiming in and the sound of girls screaming in the background.

There wasn’t nearly enough NKOTB stuff in the play, which overall was a bit disconjoined and slow to start.

After the show Chris saw a small line form and figured out (it wasn’t announced) that he would be taking pics with those who stayed behind which was only about 20 or so people. There were probably fewer than 100 at the performance anyway, and most left not knowing about the photo opp which left us part of the lucky few to snag a picture and a few moments of his time. We were so excited! Then they came out and announced that he was ‘working on the show’ and wouldn’t come out. In a flash we went from the most excited we’ve ever been to the most disappointed. Long story short, we decided to go back to the Galleria that Wednesday after his next show and just hop into line hoping he’d be more in a picture-taking mood that night. Our gamble totally paid off as we entered the theater a few minutes before 9:30 when the show ended. A small line started to form, he was on his way out, it was happening!

The lowdown on the meeting:

He absolutely didn’t want to do the photo opp and had someone from the production use a ‘house camera’ where they would uploaded the photos themselves to the venue’s Flickr (see HERE) because they wanted to ‘speed things up.’ Um, there were only around 30 people in line, let’s be realistic on how much longer this would actually take using your own camera. This especially sucked for us because Jan is a photographer and brought her fancy camera so we’d get the best quality pics we could. We scrambled for a plan, but ended up taking turns using her camera anyway off to the side (why you don’t see us looking directly into the camera) which I’m glad about since the ones they took didn’t turn out that great.

I don’t remember him saying anything to me or anyone else really. He’d respond with a quiet ‘thank you’ to compliments, but he really seemed tired and totally not into it at all which was awkward since the girls in line were so totally excited to be there and were all realizing their childhood dreams of meeting him. The energy between him and the fans was unbalanced.

He smelled good.

He was shorter than I thought he’d be.

I didn’t care that he didn’t want to be there. This was on my bucket list and not his, he was only a prop for my dream that was 25 years in the making. And it was awesome.

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Our tickets and program from the show.

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Paparazzi! Here I am snapping as many pics as I can.

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The money shot. Here we are! It’s a framer!

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Chris, straight from kickboxing. Her pic turned out really cute.

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I love this one with Jan. They look like old friends.

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Just us 3 moms out later than usual on a Wednesday night. I’m 8 months pregnant here too.

Thanks to my girls for a fun night!

My Feature in Denver’s Reign Magazine

On stands now is the fall issue of Reign, Denver’s it-mag for all things fashionable and fun around town. They were lovely enough to feature me in ‘Bag Ladies’ showing what exactly I keep in my purse. You’ll see that the makeup I carry with me is pretty well edited down to the basics these days. Click HERE to read the mag online or check it out in print- here in Denver you’ll find it at King Soopers, Barnes & Noble, Tattered Cover, and Target stores.

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Click to enlarge