Monday, January 23, 2012

Shameless Plug...

This is an interview with my friend Lindsey, who is one of the very best makeup artists I know and a kickass hair stylist to boot! She's also a really sweet person.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beauty 101: Complexion

Since working at a cosmetics retailer I've learned a lot about makeup and beauty products.  So I'm taking some common questions I and my co-workers get and putting together a new feature-lette here at ALM.  Welcome to Beauty 101!

Beauty 101 will cover the things you need to know to navigate a makeup counter or maybe a skincare consultation.  It will cover products and what they do and what differs between them.  And if you have questions, drop me a comment and if I can I'll get you the answer and post it here! 

The first thing we're going to talk about is complexion products.  At my job I get a lot of customers who are confused about which product does what and which ones they need or want.  So let's break it down:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ladies, I got a pitch for ya.

As I try to relaunch this thing and balance it with my other blog, I'm brainstorming some ideas for both.  And right now, I'm asking for your help with one of them.

This idea occurred to me a few months back while shopping with my sister.  She and I have pretty opposite tastes:  she's Ralph Lauren, I'm Betsey Johnson.  We both admired a few of the same garments, though, which got me thinking:  style isn't so much about the actual clothes as it is how you wear them.  My sister and I would buy the same dress but each style it completely differently. 

So here's my idea:  I'd like a stable of women I can consult.  Each week I will send you a link to a product.  A garment, accessory, something you can wear.  I'll also give you a budget.  Then you look around online and build an outfit around that product.  You send me links to everything you'd pair with it, and I'll compile the results and post them here. 

I think this will be a fun way to showcase how many different ways you can wear a simple dress or pair of shoes or whatever.  It'll give us all a chance to see something through new eyes and maybe look at our own closets in a new way.  If you're interested, drop me a comment here and we'll talk!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Black Friday weekend fried my poor little brain, and it only gets busier from here!  But a busy schedule is no excuse not to be fabulous.  So while I work up some more meaty content, here are some fun links for you to check out:

• The Frisky has some pretty and simple alternatives to the basic ponytail.

• Refinery 29 would like you to avoid these holiday fashion faux pas.*

• Find a red lipstick that will work for you at Glo on MSN.  My personal favorite is Adora by Kat Von D. I've yet to find someone who it doesn't flatter, and it wears like a champ even on my Teflon lips. 

• The New York Times reports on a proposed measurement system for Photoshopped images.

• No time to spend on a manicure?  BellaSugar rounds up some fun, festive, and quick nail decals.

• VampyVarnish (one of my favorite beauty blogs) reviews a new Pixi eye palette from Target.

* Can I just say how ecstatic I am that the open-toed shoes with tights trend is over?  That was never a good idea.  Now if only I could find a decent selection of closed-toe dress shoes for winter... look for a post on that if I manage to find any good ones.  Does no one like warm toes anymore?!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Merry Shopmas!

I'm baaaaaaack! 

Well, that's the plan anyway.  I work retail and it's late November, and that means my soul will belong to the mall gods for at least the next month, but my intention is to pull this blog back from the netherworld and get back to it. 

And I mention the timing not just to make a blatant play for your sympathy, but also because it's topical!  Black Friday is staring us down and soon many of us will be fighting the crowds in search of gifts for our loved ones.  So in the hopes of making everyone's season a little more merry and a little less Grinchy, I give you:

Care and Maintenance of Your Retail Associate:  A Handy Guide for a Happier Holiday

No, this is not the new Romero movie.  This is your local mall.
 Before I start, let me say that this list is not just intended to be the grumpy rantings of a retail salesperson.  These tips will make your life easier too.  Some of them are common sense, some of them are common courtesy, but they're all good things to keep in mind.  That said, let's get into it:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Short Hiatus

No new posts this week since I'll be out of town.  I'll be back next week.  Have fun and be fabulous, everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Oil Cleansing Method

When I first heard about the the oil cleansing method of skin care* – it showed up on the message boards at – my already oily skin cried out in anguish at just the idea.  Spreading oil all over my skin to clean it?  No way!

The idea behind oil cleaning (OCM for short) is that in chemistry, "like bonds to like," which means that applying the right oils to your skin will cause them to bond to the oils already present and clear your skin without subjecting it to harsh detergents and drying agents.  (The Beauty Brains explain this better than I could.)  Proponents also point out that oil alone doesn't cause acne: it's a combination of factors like hormones, dirt and dead skin cells that clog the pore, and irritation. 

After reading all the glowing testimonials from the posters over at I decided to give it a try.  My oily, breakout-prone skin and I are constantly at war and I've tried all sorts of things to try getting it under control.  At the time I was in full-on natural mode (I've since found a middle ground between natural and other products), so the idea appealed to me.

And at first it was great!  I made a mixture of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I'd add a drop or two of lavender oil as well) and would massage it into my skin as soon as I got into the shower, leaving it to set in with the shower's steam before rinsing it off with muslin face cloths I got at The Body Shop.  (They don't appear to be available anymore, which is a shame because they're fantastic – they're soft but lightly exfoliate, and they rinse much cleaner than traditional washcloths.  Glad I still have plenty of them!)  At the same time I replaced my moisturizer with a drop or two of pure jojoba oil.  (Jojoba oil is closest to skin's natural oils, so it works well as a moisturizer.)

But after a while my skin started feeling greasy again.  And I broke out like crazy.  I always have blackheads and tend to get larger blemishes on my cheeks and chin, but this was worse.  I had large, painful cystic acne pimples, blackheads galore, and clusters of whiteheads.  It also bothered me that I wasn't using a sunscreen anymore since I'd switched from my regular moisturizer with SPF to the jojoba oil.  (Sunscreen is vital, people.  I don't care if you're pale like me or have olive skin or what, if you don't want your face to look like a Birkin bag someday, you need sunscreen.)

Now to be fair, I didn't try changing our the olive oil for a different oil (jojoba and sunflower oils are popular).  I also didn't try the traditional method of steaming, which entails laying a hot washcloth over your face and letting it sit until cooled – I never have that kind of time in the morning or patience at night.  So maybe if I had tried it a different way it would have worked for me.  But if you look at the thread I posted above, a lot of other people had similar problems to mine.  Then again plenty of people continue to oil cleanse and love it.  Like anything else it really depends on your skin.  Nothing works for everyone.

One thing I can say for sure: if you want to try oil cleansing, you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it.  Lots of websites recommend DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil, but at $25 it really doesn't seem worth it to me, especially when you can make your own personalized mixture for so much less. 

*That link has a lot of new agey language to it, like telling you to meditate about the skin you want in order to get it.  But the information is sound.  If you prefer a more empirical take on it, check out this post at