5 Things to Love About The Cosmetic Market

The Cosmetic MarketLast week I was invited to experience The Cosmetic Market at Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia. The friendly and helpful personnel gave me a tour of the store, filled me up with mimosas and shortcake, and showed me why they aim to be a fun space to shop and explore everything beauty. I was instantly hooked. Here’s why:

1.)  It’s locally owned. Not only is The Cosmetic Market a brand born in the South, it’s a female-owned company.

2.)  It’s not just about make-up. Sure, you think “cosmetic” you think lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow. They have those- and plenty of them. But, they also have waxing, spray tanning, and a wide variety of aesthetic services.

3.)  They’ve teamed with Bliss. If you’re in the know about hot spots to get a massage you’ve probably heard of the Bliss chain of beauty and spa products and services to offer the Bliss Wax Bar to locations of The Cosmetic Market. No appointment is necessary to get facial waxing, brow tinting, or lash tinting though appointments can be made in advance of your visit.

4.)  It’s fun, funky, and not intimidating. Even though I write a beauty blog, I’m still intimidated every time I walk into Sephora. The dark tones, black plastic with no smudges on it, and tight quarters make me want to shop online despite the great products they offer. Avalon’s The Cosmetic Market location offers a fun, funky, and open shopping atmosphere with oranges and blues mixed with whites on the walls while stainless steel fixtures and spacious digs invite browsing. Plus, there’s a circle motif that carries from the store’s exterior to interior that’s just awesome.

5.)  There’s a wide variety of products. It’s not all their line of products like you’ll find at a Bare Minerals store or counters of product like you’ll find at a department store. The Cosmetic Market has hundreds of brands to choose from. If you get your make-up done by a store professional like I did, you’ll probably see them pulling from five or six different sections to achieve the perfect look for your skin tone and occasion.

Another thing I loved about The Cosmetic Market? Everyone was SO friendly! The whole experience made me want to shop there again ASAP- and I will!

4 Steps for Fixing Dark Under-Eye Circles

Black Eye ConcealerNo matter what the time of year, doesn’t it always feel like you’re running out of time to get things done? Consequentially you’re not getting as much sleep as you should be and with that comes the dreaded dark circles. Here’s my go-to fixes for them:

1.)  Get rid of the puffiness. If you have major pillows below your eyes, go with the quick (and cheap) fix I learned from Whitney Houston’s reality TV series- hemorrhoid cream. It may not be glamorous, but it works and it’s available in any grocery, drug, or convenience store usually for just a few dollars. Make sure you use the cream though, and not the gel. The gel will leave a greasy trail whereas the cream will sink right in. Simply apply a small amount to the affected area then give it 10-15 minutes to work to the fullest extent before moving to the next step.

2.)  Address your skin tone. Belli Eye Brightening Cream is the best overall product I’ve tried when it comes to toning down darkness and hydrating your skin at the same time. Plus, it doesn’t irritate my eyes. Make sure you let it dry before moving on to the next step.

3.)  Prep for the cover-up. Even through summertime sweat, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer stands up and that’s why it’s my go-to whenever it looks like I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Simply apply a thin layer to a dry under-eye area and let it the primer dry before you move on to the next step.      Continue reading

5 Ways to Prevent Holiday Season Belly Bloat

Mug and LemonWorried about overstuffing yourself and ruining any weight loss you experienced before the holiday season started? To keep the overstuffed bellies at bay, here are a few tips from Bamboo Juices CEO Kelley Sibley:

One -> Start your day with a mug of warm lemon water. Lemons are extremely detoxifying and when consumed first thing in the morning moves old waste out of your digestive system so that you can start your day feeling light and refreshed.

Two -> Drink green juice. Green juice is nourishing and when your body has all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes it needs to function properly your body naturally has less cravings which in turns helps to prevent over eating.      Continue reading

The Nose Knows Which Beauty Products Stink

body-wash-armAre you guilty of removing the cap to smell your soap or shampoo before you buy it? Of course you are! I’m pretty sure everyone is. Scent can effect everything from our mood to our work performance and even give us long lasting memories.

Which makes me wonder- why do I get sent beauty products to try that smell so strongly of oranges or licorice or peppermint that application makes my nostrils flare and my eyes water. Isn’t there a person that is supposed to test these things? An expert?

I’m, of course, no expert, but I know I know that even setting foot in a Bath & Body Works store causes my nose, eyes, and face to make motions usually reserved for a yellow lab with a nose tickle. I also know when I do like something and out of all the products I’ve tried this year, two were scented to stand out in a good way- Rituals Sensation Foaming Shower Gel Sensation and Belli Pure & Pampered Body Wash.      Continue reading

5 Healthy Holiday Party Snack Recipes

Caramel Apple SlicesHow many dips does one table really need? This holiday season, stop the calories from dips from going straight to your hips by adding something fun, different, and low calorie (perhaps even healthy) to your holiday party food tables. Here are five of my favorites:

Yogurt-Dipped Strawberries - This treat is simple, delicious, and something you rarely find at parties- three perfect reasons to add it to your table. How many strawberries will you need to make? I recommend three per guest.

1.)  Clean and wash strawberries.
2.)  Dip strawberries in Greek yogurt- I recommend plain, vanilla or honey flavored.
3.)  Set the dipped strawberries on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet
4.)  Place sheet of dipped berries in the freezer for at least one hour, removing them at least 30 minutes before guests arrive.
5.)  Serve on a platter.

Chocolate and Caramel Apple Slices - A perfect reminder of autumn, these treats give a nod to your sweet tooth without loading up on the calories. I recommend making three slices per guest. Here are two different ways to make these sweet treats:

Directions:      Continue reading

8 Things to Know Before You Add Coconut Oil to Your Lifestyle

Coconut WaterAlongside apple cider vinegar, coconut oil is a favorite among health and wellness professionals who work to promote additives to your regular diet and beauty routine to help make you live a better life. What can coconut oil do? What can’t it do? Here’s what we know:

One -> Coconut oil is cholesterol-free and is better for you than butter but not a healthy alternative compared to liquid vegetable oils. “Even though coconut oil is cholesterol-free, it is still a saturated fat… if you are looking for real health benefits, switch from saturated fats to unsaturated fats by using vegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, or olive oil,” says Penn State University cardiovascular nutrition researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.

Two -> Coconut oil has more heart-unfriendly fatty acids than heart-friendly fatty acids.

Three -> Having coconut oil as part of your diet is largely about how you consume it. WebMD advises, “Asparagus cooked in coconut oil is a better choice than partially hydrogenated coconut oil in baked goods but not necessarily better than asparagus cooked in olive oil.”

Four -> Coconut oil is used in many countries as a conditioner, applied before or after a shower. It can also be massaged into the scalp to prevent dandruff.      Continue reading

12 Lingerie Sets That Will Transform You Into a Sexy Santa

It’s the season of giving, right? Give your lover the gift of seeing you decked out in some of the season’s sexiest lingerie.

Holiday Lingerie Sets

Row One -> (left to right)

Row Two ->

Row Three ->

Is it Safe to Visit the Spa While You’re Pregnant?

Bliss SpaPregnant? Trying to get pregnant? What spa treatments are safe for you and your baby? Joey Detenber, the Spa Director at Bliss in the W Atlanta – Downtown gave me the answers in a recent interview:

One -> Are there various treatments that should be avoided during certain stages of pregnancy?

We recommend avoiding all forms of massage in the first trimester, as well as prolonged exposure to heat and steam.  Once a soon to be mom is out of the first trimester, massage is very beneficial for sore muscles, swollen limbs and of course relaxation.

Two ->  Pregnancy hormones can cause acne. Are there any spa treatments that would lessen the chances of outbreaks?      Continue reading

Basic Bitch Holiday Gift Guide

Shopping for a basic bitch? Here are 15 gift ideas that will win over even the bitchiest basic bitch:

Basic Bitch Shopping Guide 1SPANX Power Pants ($118) – Whether or not she does yoga (or pilates) these pants are perfect for in the gym and the stop a basic girl makes to grab her pumpkin spice latte after she works out.

iTunes Gift Card – Taylor Swift’s new album won’t buy itself. Duh.

Bailey Button Triplet from UGGS ($220)- She’s no Smelly Melly. She’s a girl who just wants to have fun and be warm while she’s doing it. The buttons on these UGGS gives an updated look to the classic boot.      Continue reading

Holiday Shopping List: 13 Chic Technology Accessories

  1. Chic TechnologyCompact Rechargeable Battery by MICHAEL by Michael Kors ($70.00 at nordstrom.com) – This compact mirror doubles as a portable battery designed to extend the life of your smartphone by up to 8 hours for talking or Internet use, 10 hours for video playback or 40 hours for audio playback.
  2. Peacock Python iPad Sleeve by Barneys New York ($150.00 at barneys.com) – The turquoise, blue and gold peacock-print python-stamped leather case is padded and lined with suede fabric.
  3. The Twill 15″ Laptop Case by Everlane ($30.00 at everlane.com) – 100% cotton twill fused with a 100% cotton twill-fused lining make for a simple and stylish case.
  4. Printed iPhone 6 Case by Lanvin (£45.00 at net-a-porter.com) – Lanvin’s iPhone 6 case is crafted from polycarbonate and printed with Alber Elbaz’s playful sketches.
  5. 3D Metallic iPad mini Case by Marc by Marc Jacobs (£50.00 at net-a-porter.com) – This metallic case is made to look like crinkled foil, chic foil.
  6. Clutch for iPad Air by MICHAEL by Michael Kors ($149.95 at apple.com) – Crafted from luxurious saffiano leather, this case features a foldable spine with multiple card pockets. This product is an Apple Store exclusive.
  7. Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 5/5s by Madewell ($34.50 at madewell.com) – Just because her contract isn’t up until next year that doesn’t mean she has to be out of style! This leather case can also be monogrammed.
  8. robinson Metallic Hardshell Case for Samdung Galaxy S4 by Tory Burch ($60.00 at toryburch.com) – Scratch-resistant Italian leather covered in a high-shine finish makes this case look luxe.
  9. Crossgrain Leather Crossbody Bag for iPad by Coach ($174.95 at apple.com) – This convenient hands-free style zips your valuables securely inside a compact case and has room for your iPad and iPhone.
  10. Cameron Leather iPad mini Sleeve by Frye ($98.00 at nordstrom.com) – Frye is known for their durable leather goods and this antiqued, hand-burnished leather iPad mini sleeve is a perfect extension of the brand.
  11. Confetti Dot Bluetooth Speaker by kate spade new york ($60.00 at nordstrom.com) – Bring the party playlist to life wherever you go. Plus, it’s super cute.
  12. Frends with Benefits Mother of Pearl Headphone Cap Set for Taylor ($49.99 at nordstrom.com) – These mother-of-pearl accessories elevate the look of your Taylor headphones  without blowing your budget.
  13. mophie juice pack power station mini ($59.95 at mophie.com) – I love this in pink but I love its ability to charge my phone two full times throughout the day.