Thursday, June 26, 2014

BEAUTY: Summer Beauty Essentials

Awwww yeah - it's officially summer! Just like clothes, food and my general outlook, there are plenty of beauty products I change up just for summer. These picks work great year round, of course, but they keep me smoother, brighter and generally more glowy in these hot summer months. Here's my version of required summer reading, except without all the books and with a bunch of nail polish (but also you should totally read books all summer even though no one is making you write a last minute essay on them).

1. Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Flamingo Pose [$5.49 Here]
This shade just pops off your face! A very pink coral, this lipstick is creamy and opaque and stays put much longer than a lot of my other drugstore lipsticks. Milani knows what's up with lipstick. This color would work on so many skin tones and shines as the focal point of a summer makeup look.

2. Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Smitten [$8.99 Here]
Has there been a better drugstore lip product in recent memory than Revlon balm stains? The answer is no. This shade, a deep raspberry pink, works for seriously anybody. It moisturizes and opaquely colors, while its light mint scent tingles and refreshes. The chubby pencil makes for easy application, even without a mirror, and the buildable color is perfect for someone just dipping their toes into the lipstick world.

3. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen [$10.49 Here]
This light formula absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling.
SPF is not optional in summer (or really ever) and I like to use a separate one for my face since body sunscreens can be greasy and thick. This light formula sinks into my skin so quickly and doesn't leave an oily feeling or sunscreen scent. It feels more like moisturizer than sunscreen, but the SPF 55 will keep your fragile face protected even in the craziest of summer suns.

4. Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme [$9.00 Here]
This stuff is hardcore - it stays all thick and gooey for hours if you let it just absorb.
I am passionate about this stuff - yes, passionate. I sing its praises to all open ears because it is literally the only foot moisturizing product that has ever caused measurable improvement on my dry feet (Mmmm). I will never stray from this if I want to keep my feet in sandals all summer long. NEVER.

5. Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Barely Branded [$6.99 Here]
The hype is real, people! I fell in love with Color Tattoos recently and I fell hard. Application is simple (smush on with fingers!), the color is rich (opaque in one swipe!), and the wear is loooooong, like must-scrub-it-all-off-before-bed long. This shade is soft and shiny, perfect for a light summer 'barely wearing anything' makeup look, but it can also double as a highlighting product! Due to its champagne shade and creaminess, I'm calling this a dupe for Benefit Watt's Up, which is a HUGE compliment. Plus, these babies are waterproof for anyone who doesn't want to give up their beauty routine - even at the beach.

6. Sally Hansen Extreme Wear Nail Color in Lacey Lilac [$2.99 Here]
Pastels are a perennial summer hit and this poppy lavender shade is so pretty you'll want to douse your fingers and toes in it until the leaves start to change. It's somehow soft and pretty while also being bold and interesting. Hands Nails down, the perfect purple. {You can see me use this shade here}

7. Wet n Wild Nail Color in I Need a Refresh-Mint [$2.29 Here]
If I had to pick one polish color for the rest of my life it would be something like this shade. A great formula, wide salon brush, and an absurdly cheap price make this an essential summer polish. This bright turquoise cream works well with many other shades for summer nail art or on its own for an oceanic splash of color. Buy this! {You can see me use this shade here}

8. Sally Hansen Extreme Wear Nail Color in Coral Reef [$2.99 Here]
When I first bought this I was just looking for a coral polish, no big deal. When I applied it and wore it outside I saw that it was, in fact, a very big deal. This shade is SO pretty in the sunlight it almost makes me angry. It's distractingly pretty. Opaque in one coat, this is a very pink coral that's bright and cheery and just the perfect summer shade. I'm getting mad all over again!

9. Mr. Pumice Bar [$2.79 Here]
This goes hand in hand (foot in foot?) with the Burt's Bees foot cream to create the perfect cocktail of smooth, non-wintery feet. The softer side gently rubs off dry skin, while the coarser side hits your feet with fresh pedicure realness for baby feet-like results. The best pumice I've ever used, ever.

10. ELF Shimmering Facial Whip in Lilac Petal [$1.00 Here]
There's no better time to glow than summer and this cheap-o highlighter is a great way to get there. I dab a bit of this on my cheek bone with a small stipple brush (love the ELF one) for a shimmery summer look and it stays put all day. You only need a tiny amount to make a difference, and what a difference it makes!

11. Suave Dry Shampoo [$2.89 Here]
Dry shampoo would probably be in my holy beauty trinity if such a thing existed, and this very affordable and very effective Suave version has a permanent place on the top shelf in my bathroom. Top shelf, ladies. I reach for this a lot to spruce up my bangs or perk up my roots, and in summer - when sweaty foreheads and humidity blossom - this is essential to looking normal without having to shower multiple times a day. (Duh, not happening. I have makeup on.)

What are you favorite summer beauty products?


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Monday, June 9, 2014

COOKING: Homemade Italian Soda

It's like clockwork - every year when it gets sunny and warm, I decide to devote my spring and summer to making refreshing homemade treats like popsicles, ice cream, sorbet and slush with fresh fruits and herbs. I decide on ingredient combos, I make lists, the whole nine, but then it's suddenly the end of summer and I'm lamenting all of the fresh raspberries and mint that I didn't buy at the farmer's market and therefore didn't go into my popsicle molds. Bummer.

This year, I'm dipping my toes (SEASONAL PUN!) by trying out some fun drink recipes. I made these homemade Italian sodas a while back and figured you guys might want to try them too since they're very easy to make (this is more of a "recipe" than a recipe) and very, very good. Check it out!

WHAT YOU NEED
Club Soda
Flavored Syrup
Cream or Half & Half
Ice Cubes
Whipped Cream & Cherries [optional]

HOW TO MAKE IT
Normally, I'd include measurements for the ingredients in a recipe, but this drink wasn't really an exact science - it was more of a spontaneous concoction. I'll give you approximate measurements, but if you make it yourself, play with the ratios to make it sweeter or less sweet, depending on your tastes.

Start with plenty of ice and about 1/2 cup club soda per drink.

Add 3 TBS flavored syrup to each drink. It should mix quickly to color your club soda. I could only find sugar free raspberry Torani syrup at the time, and unless you like diet-tasting things I wouldn't really recommend it. I've since found regular raspberry Torani (at Stop & Shop for you New Englanders), but I also had luck making this with plain ol' grenadine.

Top each drink off with 1 TBS cream or half & half. Don't mix it in - let it sink down into the red and make colorful drippy designs.

This is optional, but you should probably top these babies off with whipped cream and a cherry because there's really no good reason not to, right?

As you drink it, the half & half will mix with the soda and syrup to make a creamy pink liquid that tastes delicious even though your brain will be all like "ummm, why is there cream in my soda?" but then you'll remember that root beer floats are amazing and all will be right by the second sip when your brain is silenced by the constant slurping of your straw.

Have you ever had Italian Soda? Are you a little creeped out by putting cream in a perfectly good soda? Forget that - why aren't you already drinking this?!


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