Category Archives: beauty faves

hands-down favorite hand cream

Tokyomilk Dark Shea Butter Handcream
Tokyomilk Dark Shea Butter Handcreme  in La Vie La Mort 

As a florist, the condition of my hands falls somewhere between landscaper and mechanic. A good hand cream is a necessary luxury; without it my paws would be a rough and battered disaster. When my favorite salon {Spectrum Studio, for the locals} started selling TokyoMilk Dark products late last year, I scooped up a tube of the shea butter handcreme and now I’m helplessly addicted.

There are so many TokyoMilk Dark scents to choose from, but for now I have La Vie La Mort (white tuberose and jasmine) and Bulletproof (smoky woods and warm coconut) on regular rotation. The highly-fragranced formulas absorb quickly and keep my hands hydrated and protected. Bonus: I’ve also been using them as all-over moisturizers that double as a lasting subtle perfume.

Each fragrance is dark and deep — even the florals have an edge that keep them from being too sweet — and stay with you for hours. At $22 each, the hand creams are a great way to collect and experience all the parfums.

I also love the lip balm. Clove Cigarettes is my favorite.


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the faux-glow

{ The Rub sugar scrub by Splurge | Clinique Self Sun in Light/Medium | Simone France Body Glow }

My collection of sunless tanning horror stories is almost as large as the volume of kitchen beautician nightmares involving drugstore boxed hair color and self-cut bangs. I’m naturally fair-skinned, and I spent my teenage years and most of my 20′s doing everything I could to bronze up. Including a longterm affair with tanning beds, for which I’m deeply regretful and pray I don’t have to pay for later (both figuratively and literally) in the dermatologist’s office.

A few years ago, I decided to just embrace the pale and work with what the good Lord gave me. But, when an occasion calls for bathing suits or short-shorts I’ll take all the help I can get; and a little glow goes a long way in cooling my burning hatred for bikinis.

If you’ve used self-tanners before, you know the “dark side” of getting, well, dark. No one wants to look like an oompa loompa — except, evidently, Snooki Polizzi circa 2009 — and we’ve all woken up with stained palms or feet the morning after application. I’m all too familiar with the disappointment of going to sleep looking awesome, and waking up to an overnight fake bake disaster.

A few weeks ago, in preparation for a beach trip, I picked up a bottle of my favorite tanning product, Clinique Self Sun in Light/Medium and went to work on my faux-glow. Clinique Self Sun Pros: It gives my fair skin a natural touch of color, it’s buildable so I can control the level of my tan, it doesn’t stain my clothes or sheets after it dries, it fades evenly, and the tell-tale “self-tan smell” is really minimal compared to other products I’ve tried.

I think the trick to getting the most out of any self-tanning product lies in the prep. I like to apply the product in the evening so it can fully develop while I’m sleeping, and then I wash it off the next morning. I apply it every night until I reach the color I’m happy with, and then reapply every few days for maintenance as long as I want my “tan” to last. 

Here’s my (slightly obsessive) self-tanning ritual in three steps: 

1. Scrub-a-dub-dub. Exfoliation is key numero uno in getting the best, most even results and avoiding stained knees, ankles, and elbows. I like to soak in the bath for a bit (bonus: relaxation time!) and then scrub down with a natural sugar scrub. The good folks at Splurge skincare sent me their sugar scrub, The Rub, and I’m in love. It sloughs off all dry skin, and moisturizes at the same time with natural oils. I’ve already gone through one jar! I follow that up by shaving my legs, and finish by gently pumicing my feet, ankles, knees, and elbows.

2. Moisturize. Dry areas — like knees, ankles, feet, and elbows — tend to soak up more of the tanning product, which cause dark stains. While exfoliating goes a long way in preventing this, adding a light moisturizer is an extra insurance policy. Rub a little lotion into these areas and let it fully absorb before moving on.

3. Apply. My friend, Terra, wrote an excellent step-by-step application post using the same product on her blog, Stylish White Female a while ago. I follow it to the letter, but add in a few extra hand-washings between sections for good measure. I love that the Clinique product has a built-in bronzer so you can see where it’s going. Self-tanning is not one of those things that’s made more fun by surprises. {Hello, tiger stripes!}

manicure monday: sleek sticks

Essie sleek stick
{ Art Deco Beaded Clutch c/o BHLDN}

Essie is one of my favorite beauty brands. Even before their pretty polishes started showing up on my drugstore’s shelves, I searched the sale bins for marked down bottles at specialty stores. I love their highly pigmented colors, and I can make an all-Essie manicure last at least a week.

So when I spotted a glossy ad for Essie Sleek Sticks in a magazine a few months ago, my heart pitter-pattered. I didn’t know where to find them, so I filed it away in my mental wish list and went about my business.

Essie Sleek Sticks
{seriously, how’s a girl supposed to choose?!}

Late last week, while cruising Walgreens for toothpaste and deodorant for the mister, I breezed down the beauty aisle and there they were!! I wanted. them. all. I stood, mouth agape, for a good five minutes trying to decide which pattern to buy. As if it was a permanent and unalterable choice. Weirdo.

One agonizing decision and about $11 later, I was on my way. Like other polish strips, application was easy breezy and took about five minutes start-to-finish {and no dry time, FTW!}.

Essie sleek stick 2
{ Essie Sleek Sticks in “Glam it On” }

a night on the town




Event season just kicked into full gear in our community, and Chad and I try to show our support at as many after-hours cocktail parties, fundraisers, awards banquets, and other business/cultural events as possible. We’ve found that these networking opportunities are invaluable for our small business, and if we can design the flowers for the soiree — even better!

Last night I tweeted a photo of myself getting ready for one such affair in a makeshift dressing area at the flower shop. It’s an art I’ve perfected over the last couple of years, after several failed attempts to make it home in time to “fix myself up;” and subsequently, several fashion/hair/makeup emergencies that required frenzied speed-shopping trips and lots of wasted cash.

I’ve learned to accept the fact that the universe will never work in my favor on these days — inevitably, I’ll get caught up handling last-minute orders, fielding calls, and all other manners of running around like a headless chicken – and that setting aside a couple hours of at-home pampering just isn’t in the cards. So I save myself the frustration and chaos by getting ready at the shop 80% of the time.

I usually skip makeup on these days so I have a clean slate when it’s go-time. I bring what I plan to wear (bonus: skipping the madness of trying on 10 dresses in front of the mirror at the last minute) and I pack a bag with all the essentials:

  • Appropriate undergarments. There’s nothing worse than realizing that the one-shoulder cocktail dress you brought doesn’t jive with the cotton t-shirt bra you put on for work in the morning. Or forgetting your Spanx {the horror!}.
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo and a mini-bottle of Elnett
  • My large-barrelled curling iron and a flat paddle hairbrush
  • Foundation and a beautyblender
  • NARS blush in Orgasm — my go-to that matches everything — as well as a sheer bronzer and a soft fluffy blush brush {say that three times fast}.
  • Aquaphor. I just discovered this little beauty powerhouse on Into the Gloss, and now I keep a tube in my handbag at all times. I use it as a lip balm, dab it on my cheekbones for a little extra “dewiness,” and rub it into my ravaged florist cuticles.
  • My favorite mascara.
  • A LORAC eyeshadow palette that goes with just about everything.
  • A few lip color options
  • And finally… an evening clutch and pretty shoes!
{ holographic dress: Antonio Milani; belt: taken from another dress; vintage eelskin clutch – thrifted; Kate Landry studded platform pumps, Tom Ford sunnies c/o RueLaLa; cocktail ring c/o INPINK }