Happy Makeup Monday! As a lover of makeup, this is my favorite new series on the site. I never get sick of hearing what people paint their face with, and looking at the contents of my bag I’m feeling like it might be time to try some new stuff!
Have you submitted yours? If you want to share send us a snap of what’s in your makeup bag to nomoredirtylooks at gmail dot com with the subject line MAKEUP MONDAYS. Just follow the format below!
Name: Alexandra Spunt (or Alexandra Scott, when I’m feeling wifey)
Where I live: Los Angeles
My relationship with makeup: It’s a love of affair. I’ve been obsessed with the stuff since early childhood when all make-believe roads led to an excuse to put on makeup. It was the 80s, so there was a lot of blue eye shadow and frosted lips—admittedly a weird look for a kid. All grow’d up though and I’m still in awe of the transformative power that a little lipstick or a swipe of blush can have on my face, and—if we’re being honest—the way I’m feeling about my face. That said I’m a minimalist. I like what I like, and I don’t get too crazy with the stuff most days. On rare occasions I even let my mug just do its bare thing, but that’s way less fun.
What’s in my makeup bag.
So I don’t exactly have a makeup bag but I do have many bags and pouches that I am continually transferring my favorite items into. That’s also how I lose stuff. (Like a giant pot of Laura Mercier minerals? Sure.) Featured above are my current staples. There’s also a drawer in my bathroom where I occasionally pluck out gems I’ve forgotten about that are then put back into rotation. And if you like the pouch in this pic… good! It’s part of another project I have my paws in, so check it out here.
Ok, onto the goods.
Jane Iredale Active Light blahdeblah: Honestly, I can never remember the name of this product but I can’t tell you how many tubes of this I’ve gone through over the years. It is a no-fail faker under the eyes and around my nose. When I’m feeling a little splotchy I just spread it all over—starting from the inside out y’all, never put foundation type stuff around the hairline—and it never looks caked on.
Studio 78 Bronzing Powder (We Evade): I LOVE this bronzer. I use it like a blush and usually apply it with my fingers to the area below my cheekbones (the apples I guess?). Sometimes I run a bit over the bridge of my nose as well. On the subject of blushes and bronzers, I’m actually not sure why there’s such a distinction? The way I see it, one just makes you look sun-kissed and the other wind-kissed, no?
Juice Beauty CC Cream: Me and the whole gang have already raved endlessly about this stuff. Just try it if you haven’t.
RMS Beauty rapture, karma and luminizer: Is there anything left to say about rms that we haven’t yet? Is there anyone here who doesn’t use it? Speak up!
Ilia Lipstick (Bang Bang): There’s barely any lipstick left in this tube. Of course I also use it on my cheeks because I’m a big fan of the matching lip and cheek. It’s such a clean look, especially if you also skip the eye.
Vapour Mulit-Use: Yet another lip-to-cheek winner. You can see there’s a theme here, and also that I’m a bit lazy. They’re all different though, consistency-wise. This one has particularly good lasting power too.
Bare Minerals: So random, and I’m not even sure if they’re clean! I bought these in a panic when my husband sprung a lunchtime double-date on me with new friends—so not his style—and I had a whopper on my face. I’d lost my Laura Mercier minerals, and when you really need coverage minerals are just the best. Especially if you use a brush like the one in the picture and just dab it right on the problem spot.
Dirty mascara + liquid eyeliner: Busted! When it comes to liquid eyeliner and mascara I have yet to find one that truly competes with the chems. Sadly, I do wear the mascara everyday whereas the eyeliner is only when I’m feeling extra fresh and want a little wing-tip.
Ok, now tell me, what’s missing from this makeup bag? I’m all ears.
Hello friends! I am slowly coming back to reality after my monthlong yoga teacher training retreat. There’s much to share, but in two words: so good. (Oh, and so funny. My abs are still thanking me for the laughs I shared with my new pals.)
I know some of you have been considering doing a TTC program, and I couldn’t recommend it more. I did mine at The Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, which is an absolutely amazing place as long as you’re someone who can get with being told what to do, eat, and wear for a month (and if you can roll with a little woo woo, like chanting the names of Hindu gods in Sanskrit and stuff). For this gal, it was a heaven—a total luxury to not think about anything other than my yoga practice.
Anyways, I’m back—and I’m full of beans! Literally and figuratively. And, probably not surprisingly, I’ve returned with a renewed verve for plant-based eating too. (And a serious plan to grow my own food—but more on that another time.)
As I’ve shared in the past, I was a 20-year vegetarian (and on-and-off vegan) until I encountered some health problems a few years back—which I now recognize as a hormonal imbalance due to stress and total energetic depletion. On the recommendation of several practitioners I started eating a little bit of well-sourced meat. It was the right move then, but over time a little bit turned into a little bit more. And if I’m being totally honest, I even started slipping on the sourcing thing sometimes.
But this month helped me reconnect in a big way with all the perks of eating plant foods: from the practice of ahimsa (non-violence) to being kinder to the environment, as well as the benefits to my own physical and spiritual health. It was part of our curriculum (and a final exam question!) to learn about and extol the virtues of a vegetarian diet. (Ok, so they never mentioned glowing skin—but we all know that’s a major plus too.)
And while I’m not swearing off meat entirely—keeping some flexibility around food is important to me, because I do think context can be everything—right now, I’m in a pretty deep love affair with lentils and most things that grow in the ground.
The best part? After years of bloating at the mere sight of raw vegetables and legumes, it seems I’ve finally figured out how to digest this good stuff! Here are my three tips to anyone else who’s had the best intentions to eat more greens but couldn’t quite stomach it…
1. Chew chew chew. I’d never given a whole lot of thought to chewing and tended to eat pretty quickly. But it turns out that chewing is a critical part of the digestive process—not least of all because it lets your saliva do its job—and the more of it you do, the easier a time your tummy will have. It also allows your intestines to absorb nutrients more efficiently; it’s good for your teeth; and it helps you to really enjoy the taste of your food and eat with more consciousness. How much chewing? One speaker on the retreat recommended chewing until you can drink your food. While some foods never quite liquify, it’s a helpful way to think about it.
2. When you eat, focus on eating. I took many of my meals in silence at the farm, sitting under a beautiful weeping willow tree by a pond. While regular life doesn’t generally afford such a picturesque environment, I find there’s a big difference in the way that I eat, chew and digest if I’m distracted by the TV, my computer, or even just conversation. I’m not saying to ignore your family at meal time, but I believe making a conscious effort to focus on the act of eating can be a boon for your body.
3. Snack consciously. I can be a total grazer, and it almost always results in indigestion for me—especially if I throw something down unconsciously around 4pm. So now I’m trying to treat snacks like meals—if I want one, I put it on a plate, sit down, and eat it with awareness. It seems to help!
How much thought do you give to the wheres and hows of eating and chewing? Oh, and happy Meatless Monday!
Let’s talk about smoking for a minute.
Why, pray tell, discuss such a dirty little habit on a site devoted to health? Because I happen to know that there are smokers even among the greenest, cleanest girls.
The other night I was at a party with these types of ladies. They eat macrobiotic food. They drink kale juices. They make their own granola. They avoid pthalates like the plague. But get a few organic tequilas in them, and out come the American Spirits.
Until a few months ago, I was firmly among this set. Not every day. Sometimes not even every week. But if you got me in a social setting with a cocktail in one hand, chances are there was a cig in the other.
Egad! Right? How could I preach about chemicals out of one side of my mouth while sucking in toxin-filled smoke through the other?
Well, it’s a funny thing about smoking, but it’s an incredibly tough habit to kick for anyone who has ever been hooked. And most people who start do get hooked. And once that happens it’s really hard to stop.
Obvious, sure. But it’s not something you think about when you first try it: That you will likely be stuck with the habit for the rest of your life, unless you make a really concerted effort (or several, as is the case with me) to quit. Your whole life!
Even those who do manage to stop will often admit to thinking about it often. So they’re still in a dark mental dance with the tobacco weed.
Anyways, I’m not here to tell you what you know (or maybe don’t care about if you’ve never smoked—g-bless). I’m here to tell you how a book finally helped me, not just to let it go—but to love letting it go! This book is pretty famous and I’m sure some of you have even read it. It’s called The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. I won’t get into more details about Carr or the book or how it works.
What I will say is this: Even though I didn’t smoke much, I thought stopping would be hard. I thought socializing would never be the same. But as the book promised, stopping was fun and socializing is even better. I feel like I’ve been set free and ever the evangelist I wanted to spread the gospel to anyone struggling—whether you smoke a pack a day or a cigarette once a week (I’m looking at you Gwyneth).
The best part is that I don’t have those stupid voices in my head anymore. The ones that woke me up in the morning to tell me I was bad, and then later (often the same day) were all like: “Yolo! Just have a cigarette! It’s no thing.”
I feel so relieved not to hear them anymore.
We’re you ever a smoker? Or still are? Heard of Easy Way?
Not too long ago my skin was feeling pretty down in the dumps.
I told you guys all about it and the comments poured in with recommendations and kind words. (You’re the best, did you know?)
The problem: A combination of deep exhaustion, season change, and some serious laziness around self care in the skincare department. As I write this on the eve of a monthlong yoga retreat, I can almost taste all the fresh air and deep breathing that lay ahead. And I know my skin is going to thank me.
But I’m happy to report that even with stress working against me this past month, I was able to get some glow going again. You guys had great advice. Here’s what worked for me!
1. May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt (+ Honey Mud): We’re obviously a little obsessed with Miss May lately. But I swear, on the same day that I told you guys about my skin woes I went straight to her site and reupped on Clean Dirt. Rotating between that and the new honey mud this past month has completely brought back some life to my skin.
2. Juice Beauty CC Cream: I’m gonna be honest, I was pretty skeptical about this CC stuff. But this product is completely off the hook. I had used it a few times and liked it. But Nicolle inspired me with her comments to really do it every day. The results are unbelievable. Not only does it instantly help fake a great glow, it nourishes the skin (really, I can feel it) and seems to be improving it with time. The major added bonus: I’m finally wearing sunscreen on my face every day. Something I should have been doing for years but could never get into. Now I look forward to it!
3. Cosmedix Rescue Balm: I told you about this balm a little while back, and some of you (ok, and me) were a little wary of the brand’s whole vibe. Others among you swore by it. Alas, I still love the stuff. It’s intensely moisturizing and it makes my skin instantly look dewy. I even use it like a more mellow daytime highlighter sometimes on my cheekbones and lips. It also smells like fresh-picked cherries, so there’s that.
4. Vitaforce Green Smoothies: Many of you guys told me to get my green on, and did I ever. I got back on the smoothies pretty hard after that post and I spiked them with Vitaforce for serious added punch. Here’s the fave smoothie recipe at my house: Lots of spinach, almond milk, 1/4 frozen banana, some peanut or almond butter, chocolate protein powder (the really pure stuff, with like three ingredients—chocolate, wei, and stevia—the others sketch me out). Tastes better than a milk shake and within a few days these helped put some health back in my cheeks.
Because this topic never really gets old, share: What are you doing to glow these days?
There’s a new kid on the natch-deo block, you guys, and I’m totally crushing.
But instead of the usual review style, I’ve opted for the grossly underused self-interview. Longtime readers may remember when my cofounder Siobhan introduced this format to the site. Well I’m bringing it back!
Let’s begin, shall we?
Q: Thanks for taking the time today. I’ll just jump right in and ask you: What is it about Schmidt’s that stood out from the plethora of natural deodorants popping up on the market?
A: Schmidt’s does a few things things incredibly well. The first is packaging. It’s simple but sophisticated. And, I’m not being a hater, but this category is not exactly known for its elegant packaging design. Also, while you still need to use your finger for application, I like that there’s a small spatula in the jar. It’s just a less messy process.
The second big thing that distinguishes these guys is their scent options. They have really put thought into this! I have their cedar-juniper one because cedar is an all time favorite for me. And it’s so good. But I’m also dying to try lavendar-sage and ylang-ylang… It’s just a really on-point selection.
Lastly, the price is right. Sure, I know the ingredients that go into natural deodorants aren’t expensive, but making products is hard work. These are handmade and the jar is glass—so at $8, I still feel like it’s a great deal.
Q: Wow sounds amazing, but the big question remains: Does it work?
A: Well, the first time I used it I put it straight to the toughest test: my super-sweaty dance-and-boxing class. This class literally leaves me soaking wet every time. And… drum roll… the results really didn’t wow me! I was a bit stinky by the end.
BUT, I realized later that this was user error! Cut back to that spatula for a second. See, I hadn’t read the instructions and thought that I could just use that thing to apply it. Not so. You have to use your fingers, or it won’t spread properly. The heat from your fingers is what does it.
So, subsequently I’ve tested it in a pretty sweaty yoga class and on super hectic work days in LA and SF. SF was really warm when I was there and I was walking around a ton and getting pretty sticky. The results? Really good!
Of course, it’s still a natural deodorant, so sometimes reapplication is necessary.
Q: Back to the finger thing for a second. Have you come across any great natural deodorants where you don’t have to use your fingers?
A: Ya, a friend of mine loves the Aubrey’s roller one. Has anyone here tried it?? I once borrowed it in a pinch and was super impressed but I’d need to give it a longer testing period. Also, Rebecca makes incredible DIY deos that she packages in a deodorant-style applicator. They are so great. Among the most effective I’ve tried… In fact, I keep telling her she needs to turn it into a business, but the lady has a lot on her plate. (And she won’t do anything half-baked!)
Q: Any ingredients people need to be aware of?
Yes, these do contain baking soda and I know many readers have had problems with that. Also, I know some folks are sensitive to certain essential oils… With all the shaving and sweating that happens up there, I think pits are especially tender spots. So be on the lookout for that. That said, I’ve had no bad reaction to it.
Q: Well this is all very exciting. I wonder if any of the readers have tried it?
A: I agree! Let’s ask them.
Have any of you tried Schmidt’s? If not, what’s your most beloved deodorant these days??