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Photos from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – January 2014

zbigsunsetIn January, Jim and I, along with our good friends Shellie and Jason, took a much-needed trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. After much deliberation on where we would go (Gulf side or Pacific side), we followed the advice of several of our friends and stayed at the Dreams Puerto Vallarta and were not disappointed.

The trip was the perfect combination of relaxation

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and fun. We spent as much time as possible in the water or on the beach; we strolled

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the Malecon and enjoyed the sculptures; we went deep sea fishing and whale watching; and we took in seven beautiful sunsets. Below are a few of my favorite pictures – enjoy. (more…)

The perfect {gray} storm

According to my Instagram account, it was 14 weeks ago that THIS happened.


After which I promptly booked an appointment with my colorist and darkened my hair well beyond my natural mousy-brown in an effort to hide all traces of aging. See below.


Fast forward a few weeks: Yesterday I had an eye appointment in which the doctor told me I had a condition that is “brought on by age.”

Today, I was greeted in the bathroom mirror by approximately five shiny white hairs on my head. And those bad boys are thick and wiry. While I only have about an inch of growth from my last coloring, these roots are totally white and glistening, and totally waving a big “eff you” at me. You better believe that I yanked those suckers out; I couldn’t handle them staring back at me.

I’ve been told that a gal’s thirties are supposed to be some of the best years of her life. However, it will be a challenge watching our bodies change. Things start to sag, hairs turn gray (or white in my case), skin gets spotty and wrinkled (what gives?!), eyesight goes, you develop weird “conditions” and yet we are supposed to enjoy these “best years” of our lives.

I have to say that I have high hopes for all the other stuff to come in this decade. It better make these white hairs worth it.

My nails are changing colors! (Talking Gel II Reaction Polish)

Simply said, my manicure of choice is a Shellac/Gellish/What-Have-You manicure. Shark Bite

Recently I tried a new type of gel polish that changes colors, called Gel II Reaction polish. My local nail salon (which I may be breaking up with soon for other reasons…) carries two shades out of the brand’s 12 options: Shark Bite and Heat Wave. I tried Shark Bite. When your fingers are warm, the color is a bright blue. But, when they are cold, the polish turns a deep purple. And, the real fun is when the colors are in-between and somewhat half and half. I couldn’t stop staring at my hands all week!

The only downside was that the polish seemed to chip sooner than many other gel manicures I’ve had. I don’t know if I can attribute it to this specific brand or if it’s simply because I spent the week following my manicure in and out of the water in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Not that I’m complaining!).

Either way, I’ll definitely be getting more of these manicures because I can’t wait to try more colors. Besides, when was the last time your nails were so entertaining?



I’m addicted to Argan Oil

Argan OilWhen I accidentally knocked over my brand new bottle of Josie Maran Argan Oil yesterday and proceeded to sop up the puddle of oil with my hands and feverishly rub it all over my face and body as to not waste the Precious, I realized I had a problem.

You see, I am one of those people who has perpetually dry skin. Couple that with living in dry, dry, Colorado, and you have someone desperate for some legitimate moisture.

I started using Argan Oil about a year or so ago as a face moisturizer and instantly fell in love. It’s not thick or greasy which I find a lot of creamy face moisturizers are. I started using it morning and night and noticed how my skin started to become healthy-looking and even appeared to be radiating from within. Me — my skin — what? (more…)

New to me beauty: Guerlain

This one tweet might have changed my life.

Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but how have I never heard of Guerlain? Thanks to the lovely @Beauty411, I headed straight to Sephora to find out more. The Météorites Perles is an adorable little tub of shimmery pearls that come in a few different colors – I purchased mine in Teint Rosé, the lightest – which is a light finishing powder. Not high-school-shimmery at all. Let’s be honest, we’re too old for all that glitter. GuerlainMeteorites

What I found when I visited Sephora was a “Precious Lights Radiance Essentials Kit” which included a decent-sized sample of the Météorites Perles (pictured above), along with the Météorites Perles Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer and Precious Light Rejuvenating Illuminator. Now I got to try three Guerlain products for less than the price of one full-sized Météorites Perles. Win.

The other kicker to this story is that I ended up loving the primer and the illuminator even more than the powder!


Guerlain Illuminator









PRIMER (left): The little pink pearls diffuse into a creamy primer that keeps my foundation on all day and adds a layer of light underneath. I absolutely love it.

ILLUMINATOR (right): The Illuminator has a soft brush to apply the light formula. It takes just a few clicks to awaken your under eye area and any other spots which could use a little brightening up. I’d been looking for a product like this and I might have found my next obsession.

Overall, Guerlain is a definitely a luxurious cosmetic and skin care line. No details spared in the packaging and it makes you feel a special kind of pretty when you put it on in the morning. Next, I cannot wait to try some of their amazing lipstick.

Have you tried Guerlain? What’s your favorite product?

Specs: New home try-on service from Cynthia Rowley

I’ll admit it. I have a glasses problem. I’m a firm believer that if you have to wear them, you may as well make them stylish, and you may as well have a variety to choose from on any given day. I’ve been wearing glasses since about my junior year in high school and I can easily identify when my preference for “fun” glasses began. It was when I got my first pair of Cynthia Rowley frames. They were slightly cat-eyed, and two toned – cream on top, black on bottom. I still update the prescription in the lenses and wear them to this day.

My first pair of Cynthia Rowley frames.

My first pair of Cynthia Rowley frames.

Now you can imagine why I was so excited to find out that Cynthia Rowley’s eyewear lines, Rowley Eyewear (women) and Mr. Powers Eyewear (men), has started an at-home try-on service a la Warby Parker, Rivet and Sway, etc.  (more…)

Battle of the Beauty Boxes: Birchbox vs. Glossybox

There are a lot of beauty subscription boxes out there, but the two most popular are Birchbox and Glossybox.

I have been a subscriber to both Birchbox and Glossybox for a long time. Because of this, my friends often ask me which I like better or which they should sign up for: “Birchbox or Glossybox.” It’s a tough decision because I like them both for different reasons. For me, I can’t bring myself to quit one or the other because receiving both of them every month is like Christmas for beauty nerds. With beauty products wrapped in delightful tissue paper and ribbons, I can’t get enough.



3 Beauty Trends from Fall 2013 Couture

I recently wrote a post on my favorite looks that came out of Fall 2013 Haute Couture week in Paris. However, being the beauty nerd that I am, I also noticed three very distinct beauty trends that emerged.



Let your skin take center stage

Makeup artists created simple, low-maintenance looks at Fall 2013 Couture. The skin on models at Valentino and Giambattista Valli was glowing and healthy-looking because of the Argan Oil base and highlighters used on the skin. A high-shine natural gloss, lightly filled-in brows and a touch of pink on the cheeks completed the look that really let the skin shine.


Giambattista Valli












Slicked-back low buns for Fall

Many designers chose a slicked-back low bun to accompany their haute couture looks this season. With their sleek nature, why would we be surprised? Take a cue from these shows to incorporate an easy, low bun this Fall. Hair at some of these shows featured a clean, central part, while others boasted severe side parts, but both looked like the models’ hair was pulled back when it was soaking wet. This is a great way to control fly-aways while looking utterly sleek.

Elie Saab

Christian Dior













Retro hair and old Hollywood glam still reigns

Makeup and hair at both Chanel and Amani Privé felt very retro and old Hollywood, respectively. Chanel’s stylists created an extreme-faux hawk of sorts with twists to place designer Karl Lagerfeld’s turned-up newsboy-esque hats upon. With bold brows and rouge on the cheeks, the look was simple, yet bold. And definitely retro.

The beauty look at Armani Privé, on the other hand, was the epitome of old Hollywood glam. While the clothes, to me, felt very 80s-inspired, the hair and makeup upped the glam factor. The hair was pin-curls and the makeup was understated yet chic with just a soft shimmer on the eyes and a pale, plum lip.


Armani Privé






Favorite Looks from Fall 2013 Haute Couture

Last week another Haute Couture week wrapped up in Paris. Couture Week is by far my favorite of all the fashion weeks and attending is probably the highest ranked item on my bucket list. Twice per year, a small number of couturiers put together their most fabulous and lush collections, made with extreme detail and care, and will sometimes spend more than 500 hours hand sewing and perfecting each detail on one gown alone. It is simply the most gorgeous week of the year.

As I am known to do, I have pinned each of my favorite looks from the shows on my Pinterest page, but I wanted to give my favorites a highlight here on my blog.  While I liked something from each designer, for me, this season was all about Valentino, Giambattista Valli and Zuhair Murad.


Update: 30 Things Before 30

Last year, shortly after I turned 29, I put together a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned the big 3-0. I did make a conscious effort to cross a lot of these items off of my list, but there are still quite a few things I didn’t get to. I’ll be thinking about those pesky items I couldn’t cross off while I’m planning my adventures as a 30-year-old. Well, let’s see how I did!


  • Pay off my credit cards Took some effort and dedication, but I did it.
  • Buy a new car that will get me to the mountains Bought a Volvo XC60 with all-wheel drive. I still only made it to the mountains in the winter once or twice.
  • Road trip home to see my family  Done! Jim and I drove to Arkansas for July 4
  • Spend time on a beach
  • Run a 5K
  • Take a dance class with my boyfriend
  • Hike a 14er
  • Make my apartment look more adult – e.g. get rid of college furniture, put some actual thought into decorating
  • Don’t drink for 30 days As much as I love wine and craft beers, this one was a toughy, but I accomplished it.
  • Go on a spending fast
  • Go biking in Palisade, CO – Colorado’s wine country  Nothing better than biking to wineries. Completed on 7/28
  • Tailgate at a Broncos game
  • Relaunch my blog Done! What do you think?
  • Get back down to my pre-boyfriend weight
  • Host a girl’s night at my house with makeovers and Friday Night Beauty on QVC  This was one of the first things I did and we had an amazing night drinking wine, geeking out over beauty products and making friendship bracelets (yes, just like in the 90s).
  • Spend a night in Estes Park Check! A night at the Stanley Hotel in February.
  • Go horseback riding We did this while in Estes Park. It snowed on us and was absolutely beautiful.
  • Travel somewhere exotic with my boyfriend
  • Take Spanish classes
  • Take a yoga class
  • Learn to fly fish
  • Have $5,000 in savings Done!
  • Go vegetarian for a month and gluten free for a month – It was surprisingly easy for me to be vegetarian for a month. Gluten free, on the other hand, was a little harder to figure out.
  • Get back into making jewelry by making my friends each a piece of jewelry
  • Go out on a lake  Complete! A bunch of friends rented a pontoon boat and went out on Lake Dillon in Summit County, Colo. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate the whole time, we enjoyed it. Jim and I also took a paddle boat out on Lake Tahoe in September.
  • Visit five new breweries  Piece of cake! I live in Colorado, after all.
  • Invest in some professional, comfortable high heels I wouldn’t say I necessarily “invested,” but I did make a concerted effort to buy a few pairs of heels that are professional and work with nearly any office outfit.
  • Build a nightly skin care routine I still am not great at the “routine” of this, but I have tested several products, and I am making sure to keep my skin hydrated and to focus on the areas where I’m getting fine lines, like around the eyes.
  • Read the Hunger Games and find out what all the fuss is about
  • Get my wisdom teeth out