I Spy, With My Little Eye, From The Loft….

11 Nov

RainyFallI’m sitting here at The Loft staring out the beautiful picture window, filled with grey fall clouds above and red brick on the building next door, darkened by the passed rain. As dreary as some might think it is, to me it’s beautiful. The colors blend beautifully with a darkened hue of autumn’s best. Even though I appreciate the vibrancy of it all, the fact still remains that I will be wearing the usual black and white fall-back colors to the tattoo shop for the day. My closet is filled with shades of the season and I’ll still dress like a newspaper. I’m so ashamed.

As I look at all of the colors outside on this cloudy, dismal day, I can’t help but think of some great quotes as well as some fabulous song lyrics that fit the view that I see. Songs and poems come to mind that flow beautifully even with the overcast sky above. It also reminds me that the sights and colors that may seem bleak to many are actually vibrant and bright in my glamour collection. This goes far beyond the colors in my 64 pack of Crayola crayons as well. There are hues that only Mother Nature can create. Nature’s beauty seriously takes my breath away.

With the ever-changing weather in my neck of the woods, let me give you a little insight into what I’m seeing outside my window today, and how it relates to the products that I am partial to when I see them. I’ll even throw in a nice quote or song lyric to make it a bit more fun:

WetRedLipstick* Wet Bricks* “The rain stains the brick a darker red” gives you a great visual. It is a line from a song by singer/song writer Ani DiFranco. It’s definitely not the most uplifting song, but it gives you images you can’t erase. Looking across the lot from my window shows me that color in all its glory. A dark, rich, warm red with almost a charcoal undertone with a feeling of gloom. That’s the color. Is it easy to find? Absolutely not. But is it beautiful to wear if you find it? Hell yeah. Especially in a lip color for the cooler seasons. Sassy’s find: Sephora’s Rouge Cream Lipstick in “Deep Brick Red”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

YellowNails*Yellow Maple Leaves *“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ~ Pablo Picasso. Wow, that makes you think, doesn’t it? The lemon-painted growth has left its home on the tree and fallen to a beautiful death to cover the ground in magnificent colors. The blanket of yellow leaves on the grass outside of The Loft covers the greens of the grass with a vibrant shade of yellow. Although the day is dreary, the color of the leaves warms the land with its intensity. No matter what the sky is doing, you can’t help but smile. Sassy’s find: Formula X Liquid Crystals Nail Polish in “Highlighter”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

GreenShadow*Green Pine Trees*“…your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.” That is from another great song, this one by Ed Sheeran. What a fabulous way to describe something that stays strong with time, never changing over the years. The intense, bold greens that give an earthly background to the other colors of the season create the perfect canvas to the bright shades pictured on it. This green is perfect for a smoky look with some color. Add a touch of glitter for a bit of pop. Sassy likes: Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in “Iggy”, $21.00. Sephora stores & Sephora.com

CloudShadow*Grey Fluffy Clouds*“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think this quote applies to so many things in life. Just when you think everything is going the same, it changes. Don’t get too comfortable on your path—you’ll see a detour soon enough. The same goes for fashion and for glamour. In fact, we have an entire WEEK—twice a year!—that tells us what changes are happening to the norm in this industry. And like the clouds that are outside my window right now, I’d be willing to bet they will change their shape, their color, their type, their size before I look outside at them again. A brilliant performance by a simple mass of condensed water, in colors from white to gray to black. Amazing! Sassy likes: Rimmel London’s Glam Eye Shadow Quad in “Smokey Noir”, $2.99. Ulta stores or Ulta.com

NYXGlitter*Shiny, Wet Pavement*“The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!” ~ ildan. Wow, I can seriously relate to that one! Most people cringe when they realize they need to drive at night during a rainstorm. You can’t see the lines on the road, the pavement is blacker than black. This morning, the road outside the loft was still wet from the rain last night, but it had a slight shine and glimmer to it. A gothic gloom with a hint of glitz. Yeah, that works. It was definitely dark, even during the day. It was the kind of look I love in a good eyeliner. Especially one that can withstand water and rain–which is what I will be facing today. Sassy likes: NYX Slim Sparkle Eye Pencil in “Black Sparkle”, $3.49. Ulta stores and Ulta.com

This is a just a little taste of what life looked like outside of the window of The Loft this morning. It may not have been the brightest, most sunny of days but it still conveyed a mood, a feeling with its colors and contents. It is nice to look into my glamour drawer and see items that remind me of the beautiful things that can surround me every day or at any given time, no matter what the season. I encourage my readers to step outside of their box once in a while and look at products in shades that they may not normally wear but still look amazing. Just look around–if nature can capture the beauty of these colors and hues, why can’t you?

“Letters From The Loft” (?) ……

5 Nov

Im-SorryI feel bad. I really do. I have completely ventured off course in regards to my list of the “30 Days of Beauty”. I don’t even think I got through a third of it. That’s sad. My dilemma now is this: do I finish the list, taking however long it will take me, or do I just write a blurb here and there while mainly focusing on the things that are awesome and hot right now in the industry. Rather than miss an opportunity to show my readers and fans the things that are new, hot, steals or seasonal stuff, I think I will keep my Sassinistas in the loop and just drop a “30 Days” article in once in a while.

WriterNow, let’s talk about my writing for a second. The fact is, I haven’t done much of it lately. And my passion for sharing my love of this industry has been very minimal over the past year. I really don’t know why either. I love to write. I love to try new products and share my experiences with my readers. I love to teach. I love to find great sales and steals and share with all. I love to design and create new looks based on what is new, what is hot, as well as integrate existing fashions into today’s trends. So why haven’t I done just that? Have I been too busy with life? Has my other J.O.B. consumed my every waking second? Have I fallen out of love with fashion and glamour? OH HELL NO!! In fact, I’m seeing it through a different perspective lately. I just haven’t had the time, energy or ambition to… for lack of a better term… focus. And that’s not good. Not good at all. Oh what is a Sassy red head to do?

After a long thought process, I have decided to make a big move in regards to my writing career—I have decided to look into renting some space where I can go, by myself, to focus on my blog and my desire to be BIG in this industry. Carrie Bradshaw had her Manhattan “Loft” in Sex and the City, and it worked for her. Why couldn’t it work for me? I could use that time to either research, test, write or brainstorm about what I want to share with my fans and readers in regards to items that I have discovered or fell in love with. I would need a space where I can spread out endless magazines and circle pages with a big marker of what I think is awesome. I could find things that are fitting for the season, things I discovered, items I have tried and loved, creations or concoctions I have made for my skin, and of course, research things that may or may not–in my opinion–live up to the hype. The time to go and write would be my own. The space would be free from distraction. I would be able to put myself and my writing first without interruption. It would be exactly what I need to refocus on my passion.

LoftA friend of mine recently rented a small apartment in a very historical part of a town not too far from where I live. He asked me if I could watch his place one day while some electrical work was being done by his landlord. He had to be at work and couldn’t take time off to be there so I said yes. To kill time, I decided to fire up my pathetically dusty laptop and try to write. BOY DID I! I began this article and started my next one, more than I have done in months. Even with the maintenance men there, I was able to get stuff edited and photos downloaded. I had a beautiful view out of the old, classic framed windows to inspire me. It overlooks cobblestone streets, gorgeous foliage, with only sounds coming from the bells of the old churches and the occasional car driving by. When I first saw it, all I could think of was Carrie’s apartment. It was almost exactly the same, except for the fact there are no designer shoe stores nearby. C’est la vie. But there is everything else—-which is exactly what my career needs. My friend is only there a few hours a night, and I would only need it a few hours each day. Professionally AND practically, it’s perfect! And for less than the cost of a bottle of Xanax, a daily cappuccino (or three) and a portion of my sanity, I could pay a small amount towards expenses such as electricity, tea and toilet paper and write without bother. All I would need to buy is a desk, a chair and a surge protector. I mentioned it to him and he thinks it’s a great idea. I’m already considering adding a new section to my blog called “Letters from the Loft” where any topic is free reign.
I. Freaking. Love. It.!!

So, without bogging you down with details of obvious necessities that this fashion writer needs for her future work area, I’m going to address things that ANY working woman might find they need in their “space” at work. Of course, these might be a little more glamour oriented, but that’s perfectly okay. It is TOTALLY fine to be a high-profiled woman who has the things she needs to ROCK her job and her look…and that includes me! Here are a few things that I would make sure sit by me at my desk in “The Loft”:

GoopBurtsBeesAlmondHand Cream: Interior environments for us women can be detrimental to our hands. Between shaking them, typing with them, writing with them, washing them, not to mention dry-as-hell interior heating sources, our hands can get parched as a pile of fall leaves. The texture and appearance of a woman’s hands can give her age away faster than any driver’s license can. That’s a true fact. It is especially important to keep them hydrated with a fast-absorbing cream during the day so you don’t leave your work area a greasy mess and an extra emollient cream at night to lock in moisture while you sleep. If at all possible, use a good hand cream with SPF to protect them from sun damage that can come in through work windows, cars, sunroofs as well as sun/wind/snow glare. If you find a hand cream you like that doesn’t have an SPF in it? Just transfer the hand cream to a small jar and add a good, gentle SPF to it. Sassy likes: For day…Supergoop! Handcream at Sephora (A Best of Beauty by Allure award winner). Sephora, $12/1 oz., $34/10 oz. For night…Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream  (2013 Natural Health Beauty Award Winner). Drug stores, $9.00

eosBlackberryFGGKateLip Balm: I never hide the fact that I have a serious weak spot for ALL lip products. Sometimes when I am not going out in public, I just want a good balm that will moisturize without question. If I think I am going to have to interact with anyone, I prefer something slightly jazzy with a bit of sparkle or a hint of color. It is kind of a pain to keep two things with me, but I’ve carried much heavier things in my purse. Plus, at The Loft, I can leave two without causing clutter. Remember to look for a lip balm/tint that focuses primarily on the condition of your lips and less on the scent or flavor. Sassy likes: For just moisture… eos Visibly Soft Lip Balm Sphere Blackberry Nectar. Drug & retail stores, $3.29; For moisture plus a tint… For Goodness Grape Lip Tint in “Kate”, a natural peachy pink shade loaded with oils and butters to keep your lips pretty and smooth. Forgoodnessgrape.com, $9

SallyHansenTripleRevlonEmeryStrong Nail Necessities: Oh you KNOW this has happened to you! You sliced or chipped a nail while doing something at your job and that one nail file you keep in your drawer is now being used by Tom in accounting to try and fix his picture frame. *shakes head*. I don’t recommend keeping anything spectacular or expensive to mend a nail at work, but you need to carry something. ALWAYS carry something! Get an inexpensive package of nail files and put one in your purse, one in your pen holder, one in your desk, one in a file marked “Hit List”, whatever you need to do. With using scissors, typing, picking off tape, or bumping them into desks, you can be sure your nails will take a beating. Keep them strong with a good protector or top coat and a go-anywhere file in your work space just in case. Sassy likes: Sally Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Gel Nail Fortifier. Walmart, $8.19; Revlon Compact Emery Boards (pack of 24). Walmart, $2.00.


paul_mitchell_express_dry_stay_strongHair Hold: Even if you don’t move all day, your hair will. I am not quite sure how that happens, but it does. Sometime during the course of my day I will grab a quick peek in the mirror. I check to make sure my eye makeup isn’t running down my face, my lips are soft and tinted, my skin isn’t shiny or splotchy, and my hair doesn’t look like frazzled. If I have used the right makeup, I can be pretty sure the first three are fine. But the hair always seems to have a mind of its own. Of course, there are a lot of products that can literally glue my hair into a Barbie & Ken plastic look, but that’s so not me. I am not a big fan of the helmet head look. I’ve tried many products to keep a look without feeling crispy and without falling flat due to weather. There are only a few on my bathroom counter that gives me the hold without feeling sticky. And that’s definitely a good thing. Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell’s Express Dry Stay Strong Hair Spray, $18.99 & Paul Mitchell’s Freeze and Shine Spray, $26.68. Available at select salons through paulmitchell.com

LiveColorfullysephora_atomizerA Touch of Scent: I don’t like to wear a lot of perfume if I am going to be around a lot of people I don’t know. I wish some people would follow the rule that just because YOU can’t smell yourself doesn’t mean others can’t. Sample spritzers of perfume that come free with purchase or a try-size at a place like Sephora can be a life saver if you want a touch of scent to make yourself smile or to add to a application from earlier in the day. I am a BIG BIG BIG fan of the perfume rollerballs. I can carry them with me when I’m out and about as well as have a scent I like without investing a ton of money with the chance I’ll get sick of it or worse, have it “spoil” from age or elements. If you have found a scent you like, I suggest getting a couple of sample sprays from a place like eBay to keep at your desk or in your work. You can also get yourself a small refillable atomizer to carry with you with your favorite scent or maybe get some empty rollers to carry a few. You can change it up depending on your mood or season. Either way, it helps you feel refreshed to add a light burst of your favorite scent when you need a mood or motivation boost! Sassy likes: “Live Colorfully” Rollerball by Kate Spade, $25; Sephora Collection Color Universal Atomizers, $16.00. Both available at Sephora.com

celestial-seasonings-1024x682Good Teas: Not everyone is a coffee person. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but on days I need to stay relaxed, keep my head, focus, and maybe warm up a bit, I am a big fan of different flavor teas. I like loose teas when I have the time and where with all to make them and enjoy them, but that isn’t always possible. If I am in writing mode, I prefer to grab one all ready to go. I had won a contest with Celestial Seasonings a few years back which got me hooked on many of their flavors. It’s still my go-to tea when I need a warm “ahhh” moment from a beverage that is just good for me, inside and out! Sassy likes: Celestial Seasonings “Sugar Plum Spice” — a flavor that is just like the name; “Tension Tamer” that is a combination of peppermint, ginger & lemongrass; and “Honey Vanilla Chamomile” that is sweet and relaxing. The Sleepytime teas are a great relaxer as well, in great flavors like “Decaf Lemon Jasmine” which also helps with a cold at night and “Sleepytime Peach” with its calming, gentle peach flavor. Oh, and don’t forget an awesome mug. It’s a must! Sassy likes: Celestial Seasonings various teas available at select markets and online at celestialseasonings.com, prices vary.

As I think about my work space in the tattoo shop, I can say that many of the items I keep there are pretty much a necessity for my daily existence to maintain the look and feel I want throughout the day. Of course, there might be some of you who need extras and some who might need less. But for me? These items are kind of a “go to” list for when I just want to try and get through the day looking my best. So tell me… did I miss anything? Do you have a must-have item that is with you in your purse or at your desk every day? Let me know what it is! I’d love to see what necessities are must haves for you! Maybe they will even become a must-have for me too!

…and in the meantime? I will keep you posted on my status with the Loft. New endeavors have to begin somewhere. Personally? I think my writing career may have turned over a new leaf right here!

Day 8: Holy Grail Makeup Products…

25 Sep


***Disclaimer: Due to much wandering in the preparation, healing, and recovery for my foot surgery, the “30 Day” challenge has been extended. Thirty days will now be referred to as “… whenever.” Don’t hate–Sassy is trying her best.***

Now, back to the beginning. Holy grail products–what a vague topic. I’d be willing to take a guess that when it comes to makeup, every woman will say, without hesitation, that when it comes to our glam, we need to know only one fact: if we own it? — we need it. Plain and simple. But here is the twist: If we own it and it is in her vanity, makeup drawer, Caboodle AND purse? It now falls under the heading of “Holy Grail”.

I’m trying to go outside of the box and think of things in my routine that I need… NEED!… but may not be makeup and are with me constantly. I might not use it every day, but I need it close by. For whatever reason.

So what are the necessities–my “holy grail” items– that are must haves in my glamour routine for whatever reason. Here’s what I came up with:

image1. Paul Mitchell’s Styling Products: As a big fan of big hair, I am a huge supporter of hair styling products that hold. There are times I want a strong hold that would stand up in a hurricane and there are times I want a soft, touchable hold that feels natural. Paul Mitchell has products for just that and everything in between. I’ve used high-end products as well as drug store ones. Some do okay, some make my hair feel like cardboard, others are an epic fail. My fab hairstylist gave me a can of PM’s “Hot Off The Press” soft hold finishing spray and it changed my thoughts on hair products completely. Because my red tresses, I need a specific shampoo & conditioner to keep the color strong, Paul Mitchell’s HOTP came as a strong recommendation from my stylist when my hair was recovering from almost beyond help chemical damaging process. It held my style without a nasty buildup but it was low in alcohol and didn’t put anything in my hair to cause more damage. Soon after that, I became a Paul Mitchell Insider and have been able to fall in love with even more great styling products like PM’s Thicken Up, Extra Body Thickening Spray, Sculpting Foam, Fast Drying Sculpting Spray and Super Skinny Serum. After my hair appointment this week, I fell in love with PM’s Freeze and Shine Super Spray for a volume boost to the roots and the Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray. Their scent and hold gave me a reason to continue to smile about my Paul Mitchell products!! Visit paulmitchell.com !, prices vary.

image2. Ole Henriksen’s Skin Care: Having sensitive skin makes trying and finding a good skin care line difficult at times. Even though I am often asked to try new and natural skin care products, I often find myself coming back to my first skin care “Ahhhh” moment. My “samples sell” statement is what got me hooked on the Ole Henriksen’s various skin care products. It started with a few Sephora samples, then went to trying a mini travel set, which took me to talking to the company directly and trying several of their products that might be right for me. What I found was several items for my skin care routine that didn’t irritate my skin but also made my face younger looking. I seriously noticed a difference! His Truth Serum Collagen Booster gave my face some oomph for the day. The Truth Revealed Super Cream SPF 15 is a gentle daily moisturizer with good sun protection. I would be lost without the Ultimate Lift Eye Gel to keep aging around my eyes at bay. The Invigorating Night Treatment is a non-sticky gel that actually smooths fine lines and renews skin cells to keep your face taught without drying. And the African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser is enriched with anti-aging extracts to remove dirt and makeup gently as well as Vitamin C and citrus extracts to brighten and purify the skin with astringent properties! Although those are my top fave OH products, I am also a big fan of other items such as the Sheer Transformation Moisturizing Cream, Walnut Complexion Scrub and Total Truth Eye Cream w/SPF 15. With the change of seasons happening soon, I am going to see what changes my skin has and get some products to try and see how they work. OleHenrikson.com’s online store!, prices vary.

image3. L.A. Minerals Valley Girl Foundation: A good foundation is a must have for any makeup look that goes on my face. The only time I can think of when I’m not wearing foundation (other than bedtime) is if I’m working from home and go out to get the mail. Oh, I’ll still have lipgloss on–and mascara!–but no foundation. I have a couple of drug store foundations that I will turn to depending on what is on my day’s agenda, the weather, special occasion, etc. But if I want a natural, smooth finish with my makeup, I most always use my mineral foundation that I love. I was lucky enough to take advantage of an L.A. Minerals sample sale where I could try different formulas and shades to get the one I wanted. The Valley Girl formula is perfect for us sensitive skin girls who need a light formula with good coverage. (It’s even a plus if you have mild acne issues!) A light dusting with a foundation brush over a great primer is perfect for a natural look that won’t slide off my face before the end of the day. Visit L.A. Minerals.com here!, prices vary.

image4. ForGoodnessGrape Lip Balms & Scrubs: I’m a lip gloss whore, I’ll admit it. I’ll try any color, any kind, any formula. I probably have more glosses than this country has states. That’s awesome and sad all at the same time. The only thing I know for sure is that no matter what I use on my lips for color, it won’t look good unless my lips are soft and healthy to start with. In order for that to happen, I need to exfoliate & moisturize my lips in the morning and condition them at night. Plus because I’m a “Chatty Cathy”, I can talk any bit out moisture right out of my lips during the day. I always need a lip balm on hand 24/7. ForGoodnessGrape doesn’t just keep my lips in tip-top shape but they offer a RIDICULOUS array of flavors so you have no excuse not to have one (or two or ten+) convenient at all times. Right now? I have Coconut Milk & Lavender in my purse; Chocolate Iced Cream Soda at my desk; Vanilla Hazelnut Latte in my car; Blueberry Sugar Cookie in the bathroom; Marzipan in the Living Room; and about twenty other flavors I can pick from at bedtime. Plus I use Cinnamon Sugar or SWAK Lip Scrub to exfoliate the dry skin on my lips each day & night. They may all taste & smell different but they all have something in common: each balm has several natural butters & oils to keep lips moisturized and soft. And each scrub has real sugar plus moisturizers to gently remove dry skin on the lips while conditioning as well. The fact is that NO lip gloss, lip stain or lipstick will look and stay its best with badly-conditioned lips. And Lisa’s “ForGoodnessGrape”s balms and scrubs do just that. Stock up and be adventurous with your flavor selection. Go balm wild!! “The Best Lip Balm Ever!”, $4+

image5. Lancôme’s Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover: Meh. Many face cleansers will say they are safe for washing off eye makeup. While that MAY be true, I find that it’s mainly a lot of hoohah. Facial cleansers aren’t all formulated for sensitive eyes and heavy duty, long wear eye makeup. Not to mention? Some cleansers can clog oil ducts in the eyes causing dryness and lash loss. AND if you use any cleansers with acne meds or exfoliators in them, you especially want to steer clear of the eye area with those! They can cause burning, reddening, or even scratch the eyes with the microbeads. I’ve never really hunted down eye makeup removers because the one I was introduced to when I started my blogging days is still the one I use most. That’s Lancôme’s Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover. It’s not “cheap”, but it lasts a LONG time because so little is needed to get off even the toughest waterproof liners, shadows and mascaras. Plus I usually add a couple drops of water to my cotton ball before adding the remover. That’s just my preference. It extends the use of the product, prevents an oily feel if I accidentally use too much, and I still can remove my stubborn eye makeup completely. I have no sensitivity to the formula with my eyes OR contacts. One large bottle is in the bathroom, another trial size bottle (often received as a gift with purchase) is next to the bed for those nights when I forget to take off my makeup before bed and am too lazy to go downstairs. That’s my idea of a necessity! Lancôme US Website,$29

image6. Good Tweezers: This is a no brainer. It is certainly not makeup, but if you wear makeup?… these are a necessity! I waxed my eyebrows for many years till they got to the point where I would only need to tweeze a here and there straggler once in a while. I heard that Tweezerman tweezers were an ultimate must-have, and the rumor was right. Yes, they can be pricey but use this tip: save some cash and buy the MINI slant tweezers. They are just as precise, they stay sharp, are easy to handle and are much less pricey than a full-sized one. Just keep the little plastic tube they come in–it’s easier to store and keep track of them!! My online Sephora store., $14.

I probably could list a thousand other items that I love, but I tried to narrow it down to things that are a must have. Every. Single. Day. With the ever-changing makeup, glamour and skin care industry, and my constant sampling and reviewing of new products, it’s hard to really lock in to specific items that I would consider “Holy Grail” items. But these items, I have to say, are always found in my vanity and purse and know I couldn’t live without!
Do YOU have any “Holy Grail” items in your beauty routine? I want to know…what can’t you live without?!? Share your must have’s with a comment below!

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 7

14 Jul

SkincareI have officially taken “slug” to a new level. My 30 Days of Beauty are so behind, I don’t think Red Bull will help me catch up. I don’t have an excuse, but I do have a reason. Seems my “I don’t like to talk about them” health problems have really kicked my ass. I think it’s the heat. And when it’s not the heat, it’s the rain. And honestly where I live, if it isn’t one, it’s the other. So, basically, till this weather trend breaks or fall gets here, I’m screwed. I’m trying like hell not to let it get me, but after about three hours out of the house, I’m done. If any of my readers have silent pain inflictions or auto immune issues, you get what I mean. Because I’m involved in fashion, beauty and glamour, the “Oh you don’t look sick!” statement is heard at least once a week. I realize they don’t know, I don’t feel like explaining, and it’s just easier to smile and take a Xanax. Feel me people.

So instead of doubling up on my posts, I’ll just post when I can, covering all 30 days when I can. No rush, no pressures, and still a success when I finish. Sound good?. Good. So let’s move on to our next topic–skin care. Oh great. I probably talk about skin care here on my blog about 50% of the time. I have sensitive skin. I also have those medical issues that mess with my skin as well–some things make me itch, some additives make my skin warm an/or red, other ingredients can be too drying, some make me blotchy. It’s frustrating to pay a substantial amount of money for an item that will sit or not get used. I’d return products if I knew right away they weren’t going to be good for me, but sometimes I don’t know for several weeks. What’s worse? When they seem fine for a month then I can use them–or return them–at all. Bah.

Over the years, I have found that if I want to take the time and treat my skin to fresh, natural ingredients, my best best is to make my own skin care. It’s not that difficult. In fact it’s easy peasy. The only problem is you can only make a weeks worth for it to stay fresh, and if you are running late in the morning or are too tired at night, taking the time to whip up a batch can be a nuisance. I love the nighttime moisturizer recipe I created on THIS post and that actually lasts for months. My cleansers, however, are “made to order” depending on specific skin issues, season, problem areas, etc. That’s when I do make a batch of cleanser, I look to THIS post to guide me with the ingredients I need. Fresh is best, and I try to stick with that whenever possible.

But let’s take this week, for example. I haven’t felt good at all. Sometimes getting out of bed is a challenge. What can I keep in the bathroom on semi-good days or even next to the bed on super bad days to keep me skin clean, fresh, treated & moisturized? There are a couple of go-to retail products I have had great success with and will always turn to them when I’m just too tired to make my own. I always have in my possession:

imageNalpure’s Coconut & Honey Aloe Cleanser: I don’t know how I got hooked on this, but I did. The title of the coconut and aloe must have done it, since I know how beneficial they are to keeping skin looking young. This thin-based wash is gentle for every day use, day and night. It hydrates, softens, and restores damaged skin. When I can, I wash my face in the sink with it. When I’m having a bad day, I keep a bottle bedside to wash my face with then gently remove all the gook with a cleansing wipe. Good, easy face pampering!

imageSimple Facial Wipes: Whether I use them alone on non-makeup days, or I just use them to remove my other cleanser, these wipes are perfect. They don’t dry out, are perfect for my sensitive skin, soft and effective. They get my face clean without worriers. They come in other “types” but everyone, including me, seems to find these best for the quick & simple face cleanse without anything funky.

imageOle Henriksen’s Ultimate Lift Eye Gel: This is a product that is everywhere in my beauty ensemble. I can’t make anything that does the job like it does. The price may seem steep, but considering I’ve only bought TWO in the 3+ years since I’ve discovered it, I say it’s well with it. Under my skin care in the morning & under my night cream in the evening, this gem helps to reduce puffiness and lifts & firms skin with peptides and hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I noticed an immediate change below and above my eyes. A huge plus for me.

imageHey Honey’s Good Morning: Honey Silk Facial Serum: Yes, samples sell! A few months ago I got a small sample sized tube of this little gem in my monthly Ipsy bag (a glamoursta’s must-have subscription!!). I didn’t notice a ka-pow result right away but after consistent use, I really liked how it balanced my face. It’s ingredients are natural and must-haves when treating your face. I also love how it gives my face a smooth base if you use a natural mineral foundation. Even if you want, you can add this to your evening routine too. A great add on when just chillaxin at home or have a full day ahead.

imagePerfectly Posh’s Moisturize 911 Caffeinated Face Cream: If my face doesn’t look tired, usually some other part of me is. But when my face is dull and lifeless, I love the light pick me up that Moisturize 911 gives me. Packed with Aloe Vera, Palm Oil Lipids and Vitamin E, this gem has a touch of caffeine that wakes up your skin and gets the blood flowing in your face to bring about a fresh, natural, awake look. It’s not a heavy cream at all so your face stays hydrated and not greasy!

imageNalpure’s Anti Aging Serum with Matrixyl: When it’s bedtime, I’m tired. I know if I don’t take off my makeup or wash my skin, I will pay for it. If it doesn’t cause a pimple or four, cause a rash, make my face blotchy, it will at least add a week onto how young I look or so they say. Nope, I’m not having that. But after the wash, I need to “treat” my face at night to turn those aging cells over, tighten my pores, yadda yadda. You’ve read the articles, I’m sure. So I’m exhausted, my bed is calling my name, and I only have the energy for one more anti aging product before bed. And I found it. In my nightstand is a bottle of this little miracle that does so much with just a few drops. Read the product details Nalpure Information but the long and short of it is it is good for all skin types, moisturizes, combats aging with peptides and cooling & calming extracts to reduce age spots and uneven skin tone. Usually it take several ingredients to do what this one moisturizer does. At this point, simple is best.

imageBurt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Crème: This is just an extra add on. We know it’s true: hands are in the top three areas that show your REAL age first. After a long day of doing nothing or doing something our hands can get tired and dry. I had a great cooling lotion that a company used to make that really would cool down my feet, toes and hands. Unfortunately they don’t make it anymore. I still needed a good cream for night that would just be rich, moisturizing and hydrating for my hands while I slept. This one works perfect. Great ingredients like sweet almond oil, Vitamin E and natural beeswax moisturize your hands and then lock it in. I think it can be a little heavy for day use, but it’s scent and rich ingredients make it perfect just before bed. An extra treat for me.

So that’s Sassy’s skin care instruction for Day 7. I hope I gave you ideas on products and ingredients that are important to your skin. There are soooo many things out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I suggest you do your research, know your skin, know what you want to change about it, then start researching. Knowledge is power and samples are your friend so don’t be afraid to ask for them and read other people’s reviews and thoughts on a product before you buy or invest. Good luck, have fun and treat your skin with TLC!

Oh! And don’t forget!!: Somehow — in a day serum, moisturizer, primer or foundation –get an SPF on your face! Read the product details and try to get at LEAST an SPF of 15, up to 30 would be best. Sun without sunscreen is asking to age quickly and subject yourself to hazards no one wants to think about.

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 6

7 Jul

BrushesYup. *sigh* I’m still a day behind. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a dog chasing its own tail. I will find a way to get back on track. It might require me to lock myself in my shed for two days, but if I have to I will. It won’t help with the laundry I’m behind doing but my writing will be up to date.

30DaysToday is a good day on the list: Brushes. It is kind of an easy one to tackle for me, but I will do a little thought processing while I share. Most of you know that I spend my days helping out my guys at their tattoo shop. They are artists. FABULOUS artists. One is amazing at photo realism. Another is great with American Traditional. I have a girl who does great stippling work. And my owner loves Japanese and does beautiful script work. There is something for everyone. Even though they all have a different style, they are all particular about one thing: their equipment. You could pick out the most beautiful pink ink to tattoo a rose with, but if your artist uses a crappy, old, bent tattoo needle and uses a worn out machine to draw it on with, my guess is your rose isn’t going to be very pretty. In fact, it might not even look like a rose. It could be blurry, uneven, messy or even blotchy. Not cool. All because you picked an artist with the wrong tools.

The same goes for a great makeup look. You need the right tools.

I’d be willing to guess the makeup that the models are wearing at the Christian Dior fashion show was not applied with cotton balls and Q-tips. Those models have a fab makeup look not just because someone used good makeup but because the artists used the right tools. Tools they selected based on how they create their looks, brushes and tools they are comfortable using, and brushes that are dependable–solid. No matter what the price, it is what you are going to want in this industry.

When I first started dabbling in the skin care and makeup industry, the first thing I wanted was a high-end set of quality makeup brushes. I picked up one here and there till I had an amazing set. I will admit—I spent a lot of money on them. But I had it to spend and wanted a set that was good and would last. I got just that! Now, that set is almost 10 years old and are still in great shape. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But since then, I have found a few other brushes that were much less expensive and still had the qualities I liked. They are made of good, solid materials; they don’t shed; and they clean easily. Am I upset that I could have spent less on my full set? No. I got brushes in sizes that no other line carried except the higher-end brand. But it’s nice to know that there are good quality, less expensive makeup brushes for the beginner glamourista!

Here are my two go-to brush lines that you will find in my makeup case. In fact, they are the ONLY brands you will find. I love the way they apply makeup, giving me a look I like while doing what they are supposed to without leaving bristle pieces everywhere. Two good, solid brands of brushes depending on the kinds you want and the price you want to spend. Day 6 of my 30 Days of Beauty brings my selections for brushes:

Sephora BrushesSephora Collection # Brushes — Sephora’s synthetic brushes are professional and tough as nails. I never have had any fall out with the bristles. The long handles make it easy to manipulate to get the look I want. And they wash easy with mild antibacterial soap. The price is high for many of the sizes, but their line has many shapes & designs for the look you want. From brows to lips and everything in between, these brushes do not fall short. At all! Available only at Sephora Brush Sets.

Elf Brushese.l.f. (EyesLipsFace) Brushes — Surprised? It’s okay, I was too. I was desperate for a lip brush one day and stumbled across their brushes at a Target. They had an EXTREMELY inexpensive lip brush which worked great! Since I wear several shades of eyeshadow each day, I thought it would be good to have a few extra inexpensive brushes so I wouldn’t mix colors and get a look I wasn’t aiming for. I wasn’t just pleased with the “higher end” e.l.f. brushes, but also liked the $1 brushes as well! Go figure! I will say, stores like Target don’t carry every style of brush they make, but they have quite a few. For a bigger selection, check out their website and see what they have there. Also, sign up for their emails. They often will have one-day sales and the discounts are phenomenal!!
Check the e.l.f. website for brushes for a store near you or purchase what you want from there.

Don’t chance a beautiful makeup look with items that don’t have what it takes. Do some research and find what is important to you in your brushes. Create your piece of art with the tools that you like, and will make you feel and look fabulous!!

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 5

6 Jul

MakeupClipartYeah, it was bound to happen. I missed my post yesterday. I had a REALLY good reason though: it was the World Cup final! USA! USA! USA! The game was awesome, the win was fabulous and the beverages around me were tiring. Which means we won–and I fell asleep. I hang my head in shame.

30DaysSo I need to catch up on yesterday’s post first then do today’s later. Let’s start with “Day 5: Day Make Up Look”. I wish I could say this was simple, but since most of my days are spent at the tattoo shop, I kind of have to have a quick and easy yet edgy look. If I have some extra time, I can get a little more involved with colors, play with different eye looks, lip shades, stuff like that. But I have had to do this for a while now so I’m perfecting the “just fell out of bed” respectable day face. The key is to have a bold look that consists of go-to colors that go with ANYTHING. It took a while to get the right products together: products that were easy to apply, would last all day, would not fade or run, and could work in any weather. A lot of testing occurred. A lot of products were tried. But, success happened! We found a throw-on, go-to daytime look.

Let’s talk a little about what you really want to do first before you perfect a day look. Skin care is really important so no matter how much or how little time you have, washing your face is important. A mild exfoliant in your wash will also remove the dead skin cells that surfaced during the night. If you don’t have a gentle exfoliating cleanser, put a little bit of fine coffee grounds or white sugar into your cleanser. Pat your face dry. Use a light day serum under a gentle moisturizer. Make sure one of them has an SPF of 30 or more. Then, according to your skin type, select a foundation that makes your skin look smooth and even. Then you can move on to your day look makeup.

So here is what I have found to put on for an easy, go with everything, casual Day Make Up Look:

* L’Oreal Studio Secrets Color Corrector Primer in green
* Maybelline FIT ME!® Shine-Free Foundation
* LA Minerals High Definition Diamond Veil
* e.l.f. Cosmetics Blush in Fuchsia Fusion
* New York Color (NYC) Trio Eye Shadow in Skyrise Steel
* Too Faced Cosmetics Perfect Eyes Eyeliner in Black
* Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara in Rich Black
* Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Ozone
* Buxom Full On Lip Polish in Gabby

There we go. A few products that gives me a simple yet slammin’ day look. What’s nice about these products is that some of them can transition into a very vibrant evening look as well with just a few additional enhancements. That is something you may want to keep in mind if time is minimal to go from a day to night look is something you do frequently.

With Day 5 of “30 Days of Beauty” behind us, you have what my favorite day look products are. It is important to have products that are staples in your vanity that you are comfortable wearing, have mastered their application, and can wear with anything. That sets you up for an easy, stylish look you can start your day with…. any day!!

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 4

5 Jul

30DaysHapply Fourth of July everyone! Today is the day we celebrate with picnics, fireworks, family and flags. I feel like I fit right into this day: Blue Nails, white sparkle eyeshadow and bright red hair. Speaking of hair, we are up to day four: Hairstyle. Of all the things I probably could have the most trouble writing about, this topic will most likely be the one. Over the years, I have had issues with my hair. Between chemical treatments, over processing, bad products and more, re-establishing my long, soft, luscious auburn locks has taken time. I’m thankful my new stylist has taken care of me to get my hair back on track. A lot of teaching, a lot of pampering, and a lot of good products to give my tresses some TLC!

Red hairSeveral months ago, my writing and my love for good hair products caught the eye of the infamous Paul Mitchell company. They asked me to be a Paul Mitchell Insider, trying and testing new products they were getting ready to launch. They also would send me items from their line that might help me with my quest to rebuild my healthy hair. My challenge was always to find styling products that would help me hold a look without them drying out my hair or leaving it feeling sticky. With all the goodies that they had me try, I was able to do that.

After a while, I found the products I needed to keep my hair looking and feeling healthy. But now I was faced with a different challenge: the damage that had happened over the years had caused my hair to frizz, thin and break. I needed my length back. I read all kinds of articles on how to speed up my hair growth. I tried sprays, oils, waters, and vitamin-enriched products. I guess they helped, but I’m impatient. I’M A REDHEAD!!! I wanted long hair now. That’s when my stylist suggested I get a Halo Hair Extensions system. This new product is not damaging to your hair like extensions, clips or glues are. Basically it’s just a clear headband with real hair that sits on your head which is gently tucked under the top layer of your own hair, blending and flowing with your natural stands. Because it is real hair, it can be wash, dried, colored, curled, flat ironed or styled just like it was your own hair. I jumped at the idea of adding several inches of new hair to my head and got a Halo. I love it! It’s easy to work with and feels natural. So, until my own hair catches up, I can give my hair some waves and length to keep me feeling sassy!

So, the question becomes what am I using right now to keep my hair looking and feeling healthy? It’s involved so here is the list:

Halo Hair Extensions in #33 Dark Auburn in the 16″ length
OGX Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo
OGX Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner
Paul Mitchell Products Super Skinny Serum
Paul Mitchell Products Thicken Up
Paul Mitchell Products Fast Drying Sculpting Spray
Paul Mitchell Products Hot Off The Press Spray
Tool Structure Bone Super Rattail Comb from Sally Beauty Website
The Wet Brush from Sally Beauty Website

That sums up my hairstyle on Day 4. My hair is and probably always will be my signature feature to my look. Blazing red tresses hanging down pass my shoulders makes me stand out in a crowd. Even if you can’t remember my name, you never can forget me. I’m that sassy redhead with flaming, flowing hair and the feisty attitude to match!

30 Days Of Beauty…Day 3

4 Jul

NailsHey, congrats me! Three days in a row and I’m still here! We now have a holiday weekend upon us, so let’s see if I can stay on course with my challenge. A few things are going on so we will see. My days have been busy lately but I’ve had time in the evenings when I can’t blog earlier. I don’t mind–it gets me in a fashionista mindset. I like that!

30DaysHere we are at “Day 3–Nails”. Oh… EASY PEASY! Especially since I just got a manicure Wednesday. I used to be a Monday Mani kind of girl. Come home from the day, turn on the TV, get my tools and favorite polish, and pamper myself with a jazzy manicure in all different colors and styles. Then I got frustrated. You see, with what I do during the day for a J*O*B, a pretty manicure lasts only about 24 hours. I would chip my nails on doors, drawers, metal, clipboards, sinks, you name it. Didn’t matter what I used for a base coat, a polish or a top coat–a chip would happen. One turns into two, then turns into three, and so on and so on. By Tuesday night, I’d be needing another manicure already. And then I was too tired, frazzled or frustrated to do it all over again. UGH!

Finally, a person I work with suggested I get an ANC manicure. ANC, short for Amazing Nail Concepts (http://amazingnailconcepts.com), is a process that is more gentle on your nails than a gel coat, but has a LONG wear. In fact, I found they actually grow out before they chip, loosen, or anything. The first time I got one, I was amazed. It was just a routine of filing, powder layers, special polish, more smoothing, and finally a shiny top coat. As a bonus, throw in a hand massage and I was good to go.

ANC RemovePutting on an ANC polish doesn’t take a really long time. Actually, taking off the old color takes just as long. Taking off ANC is a process: you get a piece of cotton soaked in acetone & put on the old coat of color, then each finger is wrapped in aluminum foil. Next?…. you sit. And sit. I sat for over 30 minutes. But the salon had TV and magazines, so I kept busy. And it was my time, so I was just zoned out. When they took the old ANC off, it had turned into a gooey gel which came right off. I had long, clean nails again. I picked a new color, and we did the process again. Still long and strong, my nails look FABULOUS!

Because ANC is new on the scene, you have to call salons to see if they do it. And if they do? Make sure it’s GENUINE ANC and not a cheap knockoff. It’s better for your nails if you can let your own grow since it doesn’t hurt the nails or nail bed. And it its MUCH better than acrylic ails, tips or gel. It’s just a good solid powder polish that protects your own nails with different styles and colors.

With Day 3 of “30 Days of Beauty” upon us, this one might be the easiest. It might not be for many of you, but from someone who has tried it, I would HIGHLY recommend it:

Day 3 – Nails:
ANC – Amazing Nail Concepts manicures (my current color choice was Blue Topaz…love them!)
ANC Nails

30 Days Of Beauty… Day 2

3 Jul

FluffBenter late than never, I say. Actually, I say it too much. Sometimes things get busy and I put things off. Other times, I just say “I’ll do it later.” That’s what I did today with this post. The problem was I took a nap when I got home earlier and woke up just in time to go to bed. *sigh*. Oh well, I’m (trying to) get Day 2 done before the clock strikes midnight. And that’s what counts. Right?

30DaysThis puts us at Day 2 which is “Daily Make Up Product”. This is tricky. I will have a product of one brand that I wear almost daily, but I have it in different colors, so in my opinion that really doesn’t count. I had to really look at stuff that is a daily use product, no matter what look I am wearing, what the temperature is, or what my skin feels like. A product that looks good and works well no matter what the conditions are. And yes… I have one.

Way back when, I fell in love with a big brand name micro powder that was the perfect setting powder I had ever used. It was luminous, colorless, evened out my look, and gave me a nice smooth finish to my face. I got a sample from Sephora and I fell in love. The only problem I had with it was it came from this high-end beauty store and was steep in price. Then, one of my absolute favorite “indie” makeup beauties told me she had a powder that was almost the same if not better. She sent me a full sized product to try just for an honest review on hers and other websites. It looked like the expensive stuff but with a touch of healthy shimmer (NOT glitter,–more like a light, sparkling glow). I got way more in this jar than I did with the other brand. And I used much less than the expensive stuff. What was even better? I was supporting an independent makeup “retailer” who takes pride in her products, containing natural ingredients while saving a good amount of money. Even though that jar of the “big brand” powder is still good and in my drawer?… I’ll still grab my new setting powder before any others. And I don’t think I’d ever change now!

So that brings us to my product choice for today. A High Definition Diamond Veil that softens the look of fine lines, reduces the appearance of pores, improves and evens out skin tone, smooths and mattifies your makeup look. I personally like the fact that it “seals” in my look, holding it strong all day. I don’t need touch ups, and if my day runs into overtime, a quick dusting will make it fresh again. It’s even easy to apply using a fluffy powder brush, with just a light layer dusted all over your finished makeup look. Then, you’re done–pretty powder perfect!

So, what’s this savior that is my must have? Easy…

Day 2: Daily Make Up Product
L.A. Minerals’ High Definition Diamond Powder. Found only at http://www.LAMinerals.com , $19.99

30 Days Of Beauty–Day 1…

1 Jul

30DaysHere we go. July is here and we are going to begin the 30 Days of Beauty challenge. It’s also the “Can You Remember To Write & Post Something For 30 Days” challenge for me. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do this. Let’s see if it works.

So Day 1 is “Favorite Lipstick”. Actually, this was difficult for me since I am more of a gloss girl. Plus, my very favorite lipstick is actually older than dirt and has been discontinued. I looked in my lipstick drawer to see if any of the ones that were in there were ones I would grab on an average day. And you know what?… There was.

A few months back I was asked to test, try and review a new lipstick by New York Color (NYC). It was a new, longer lasting formula with fade-resistant properties, long lasting shine, and didn’t feather or bleed. After my first use, it lived up to the hype. I really liked how it was long wearing but didn’t dry out my lips. There were many shades in all colors and hues. And the price? Awesome! I’ve paid 10x more for a lipstick that didn’t last half the time!

After a week of testing, I realized that this was a lipstick I could invest a few bucks in to get a couple more shades. I went with a very light frosted pink and also a rich chocolate shade. My daughter found the pink tube one day, wore it, and it’s been MIA from my vanity ever since. The chocolate shade gets used more in the fall. But the initial shade I tested–Sugar Plum–goes with everything. So when the day requires a bright, steady, non-drying lipstick with long lasting color, this is what I turn to:

Day 1: Favorite Lipstick
NYC (New York Color) Expert Last Lip Color in “Sugar Plum”. Found at drug stores, retail stores and at http://www.newyorkcolor.com, $1.99


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