My favorite things.
I realize I am not Oprah. And by reading this post you will not be getting a sample of everything I discuss. But because I am on a constant search for the best products, I figured I’d compose a post that introduced you to some of my favorite things.
Let’s start with the Beauty category.
Fragrance: I was introduced to Bond No. 9 back in 2009. I don’t like “girly” smelling perfumes so wanted something more androgynous. A friend told me I should go to Saks and hit up their Bond counter and I haven’t looked back. I started with Bleeker Street, moved to Washington Square, then New Harlem and am currently on Manhattan. My husband wears Wall Street. I am not big on spending a lot of money on one thing – I’d much prefer to buy less expensive things and have a lot of choices. But this is one product I splurge on. The service at Saks in Indy is incredible. Not only will the man behind the counter tell you “in a room full of hundreds, you’ll stand out with this scent” but you’ll walk away with a lot of samples. (And want to know a secret? If you find a fragrance you love, you can possibly find it cheaper on eBay)
Hair Products: If you happened to catch Jada Beauty’s style profile on me, you will already know a lot about my hair routine. But here are some products I am in love with:
Wen: My stylist introduced me to this recently and though I am only on my 2nd bottle, this stuff is amazing. It’s a cleansing conditioner which means I don’t use a separate shampoo. It’s non-foaming and sulfate free. Not only does the mint make my scalp tingle, but it leaves my hair feeling smooth and strong. The frizz is gone and styling becomes much easier. If I can avoid a day of rinsing and styling, trust me I will. But now that I use Wen, I don’t worry about it as much. (I will say that if you use this exclusively, you may get some build up. I find that once a week I’ll use a shampoo and conditioner combo to get a deep clean before going back to Wen.) You can get it at Sephora for around $32 a bottle. It’s not cheap but if you have thick, course, frizzy or damaged hair, it’s worth it.
I exclusively use benniefactor b Excellent Oil Treatment for that post-blow dry smoothing effect. It’s excellent indeed!
Kenra makes some incredible products and I love the Platinum Blow Dry Spray (which isn’t pictured because I am currently out of it) as well as their Daily Provision leave-in conditioner. Both make your hair really silky and smooth. I also got the Overnight Rescue by Caviar recently. If I can remember to actually do this before bed, I use this once a week to soak the strands while I sleep.
I bought my flat iron from my former hair stylist years ago and I still live and die by it. Though I don’t use it as much as I used to now that I have a styling routine that requires less, it’s still an old stand by. You can get one similar on Amazon.
I have been talking about Twistbands for awhile now. I love them! Because I exercise a lot, it’s so nice to have something to hold my hair back that doesn’t break my hair. I will say that these aren’t going to hold your hair back the tightest. Often, I have to redo my pony tail during vigorous exercise or if one has stretched out a lot. But, I also think good twistband maintenance can keep these working for you for a long time. After every workout, I rinse mine in the sink and let them air dry. They retain their original shape this way and it helps keep them flat!
And before I move on to make-up, if you haven’t signed up for Birchbox, do it. It’s $10 a month and you get amazing samples each month. A lot of my favorite things have come from sampling them and it’s really fun to get a box full of surprises each month!!! (You may have to sign up for the waiting list initially, but it moves pretty fast)
Make-Up: I am certainly no make-up artist but I do love playing around with fun products. One of my must-haves is a good mascara. Ever since I found “They’re Real” I refuse to use anything else. I don’t know if it’s the wand or the formula, but I love it and stockpile it at home. I have blonde lashes so when I don’t use mascara, it looks like I have no lashes at all. This product makes them look full, long and separated. Just buy it already.
I don’t like foundation as I think it’s cakey and thick. But the older I get, the more coverage I like. So I transitioned from a pressed powder to this: Diorskin Forever Compact Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup (catchy right?). It’s lightweight and leaves almost a velvety coverage to your skin. It’s not cheap, but I also don’t use much of it each time so it lasts decently long. My shade is 032.
When it comes to a bronzer and blush, there is no better combination than Nars’ Laguna/Orgasm. Laguna is a perfect bronzer as it doesn’t make me look like I got back from Mexico but just lightly contours my face (I use a bronzer brush and apply it like the number “3″ on each side of my face). And though Orgasm looks very pink and aggressive, it’s actually looks good on all complexions! It has a nice shimmer to it and blends really well. As you can see below, mine looks a little worse for the wear. About 3 days after I purchased a new compact, I dropped it on my tile floor and the Orgasm part shattered. So I tried the tip from Jada Beauty on how to fix a broken powder. It worked! I used a little too much rubbing alcohol when I tried this, so had to let it set for a day or so. But it is now totally salvaged (Also, I promise this post isn’t sponsored by Jada Beauty. I just like them a lot)
And lastly, mama’s got some crow’s feet. I used to have the biggest smile in every picture. But when I noticed the crow’s feet, I found myself smiling in a more subdued manner in order to avoid those wrinkles. That’s when I decided I needed to invest in some eye cream. Kids – this stuff is amazing. Try it. Buy it. Love it. The only caution I have is not to apply it and then immediately make up. The combo gets really cakey.
When I was a kid, my mom used to slab Menthalatum on our lips and around our noses each winter. It helped with chapping and cracking. And when we were sick, we would do “mustard plasters” in the bathtub where we’d put lots of Menthalatum on our chest and then a hot washcloth over it to loosen whatever was inside. As I grew up, my addiction to this product grew. Every single night I use it on my lips and under my nose. Yes, it is very moisturizing for my lips but the minty smell also helps me sleep as it seems to clear the nasal passageway. My husband hates the smell but I just reply “You married it.”
I have been seeking the perfect boot for the past few winters. I wanted the right color, the right heel, and the right fit. When I found these on Zappos, I knew immediately they were THE ONES. But then I got them. The right boot barely fit over my calf and the left didn’t at all! They are leather so I assumed they’d stretch with wear. So I wore them to work one day and by the grace of god, got the left over my calf somehow. But by mid-morning, I was losing circulation. Now I don’t have massive calves but also don’t have dainty ones. I wasn’t used to this problem so did some online research. Most of the reviews talked about the narrow calf and I was gutted. I assumed I’d have to return the most amazing boots to hit my closet in years. But then! Someone told me that the shoe repair shop near my work may be able to help. I went to Cento Shoes and asked their opinion. They told me they could stretch them! So 4 days later, after my beautiful boots sat in stretchers, I got them back and whammo! The boots fit perfectly. This is a pitch for the boys at Cento! They are amazing. They fix all the broken tips on my high heels and buff up the toes and really do make shoes look like new. But for those boots that are a little snug, for just $20 Cento will stretch them to fit like a dream!
Also random to this post is my gallon jugs of drinking water. I used to only drink water from bottles (rather than tap) so each week, we’d spend money on those big packs of water bottles. And though I am super liberal and care about the environment, I am not particularly good at recycling. So those bottles went in the trash each week and those commercials showing landfills full of water bottles just made me feel guilty. Then! I realized I could buy these gallons of drinking water for less than $1 each and fill up the water bottles I use for crossfit. Walla! MUCH cheaper solution and less waste for the environment.
I read somewhere that these Moving Comfort running underwear were the best out there. So I bought them. And I can say that whoever wrote that review is 100% correct. These rundies, as I call them (run+undies) are amazing! They are lightweight, they cover all the right spots, they don’t move, they don’t chafe and they wick moisture.
So that’s it folks. The first installment of my favorite things. I’d love to hear what products you swear by so leave any suggestions in the comments below!