My bathroom countertop

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Seeing a friend’s bathroom for the first time can be quite telling. In a personal way, similar to seeing inside someone’s handbag, it helps you understand a little bit about where that person is coming from.

The problem with bathroom countertops is that they’re limited when it comes to space. So you’re forced to consolidate to your absolute necessities. Keeping this area looking nice can be a challenge. Do you sacrifice looks for functionality? Or do you keep your counters strictly practical? It’s really interesting to see what items make the cut for some people.

At any rate, this is what sits on display on my bathroom counter.


{A tray from TJ Maxx holds cotton balls and cue tips, stored (somewhat) neatly in jars that Carter picked up from Storables. Sweet-smelling, luxurious Hane Mori hand lotion lives on a small tray, right next to the jars. This lotion was a gift, but I love it so much I’m saving up to purchase the Hane Mari perfume.}


{A blue dish from Ikea that matches the aqua and green theme of our bathroom sits in front of the tray as a convenient place for me to toss my watch, rings and other small jewelry and bobby pins at the end of the day}


{Occasionally my Brazil Nut Body Butter from The Body Shop (SO yummy!) gets tucked away in my drawers, but usually it gets left out because I’m constantly using it to moisturize.}


{My perfumes are always on my countertop, for convenience. I wish I could choose just one to make things less cluttered (and aren’t women supposed to have a “signature scent”?), but I find myself rotating between these three depending on my mood.}


{I usually attempt to put my hair tools away after I use them, but it seldom happens. Usually, they get left out on the edge of my countertop like this.}

Ever since our move, my countertop has reached a somewhat happy medium between functional and attractive. Fortunately for us, our bathroom has storage behind the mirror and a decent amount of cabinet space, so we can afford to be a little more flexible. I shove my not-so-attractive face wash, face lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste away in my drawers so I don’t have to stare at them when I’m not using them.

Where are the rest of my beauty products, you may be wondering? Well, that explosion of madness is hidden away in my drawers nowhere near ready to be unveiled on this blog just yet.

What makes the cut on your bathroom counter?


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HOW TO: Spring Eye Makeup

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{The finished product}

The shift from winter to spring means more than just breaking out the shorts from the bottom of your closet. It also invites the opportunity to experiment with new and interesting makeup. The fun thing about spring is that colorful makeup is almost always acceptable, whereas summer tends to welcome more minimalist looks.

I’ve never been exceptionally skilled at makeup application. I know this is ironic because I write a blog about beauty, but I’m actually experimenting as I go along, just like everybody else.

Today, I decided to branch out from my “natural” makeup routine and experiment with a fun spring eyeshadow combination. I used this 100-Piece Eyeshadow Pallet (pictured below) that I bought from Forever 21 for only $16!

Here are some photos and instructions on how to get the look! At the end of this post, there is an image of the makeup pallet that shows which colors I used and where.

Get the look:

First I used Benefit Stay Don’t Stray eyeshadow primer to prime my lids and make sure that the shadow stayed on. (Pictured above.) To apply eyeshadow primer, add just a touch to the tip of your finger and lightly dab it over your lids to even it out. Then give it a couple seconds to dry.

Next, I applied a light shadow to my brow bone. (Pictured above.)

Followed by a fun, bright green color on the inner corner of my eyelid. (Pictured above.)

Then I added a bright pink to the outer corner of my eyelid. And a deep purple to my crease. (Pictured above.)

I topped it off with some brown eyeliner and black mascara. (Pictured above.)

And this was the final result! (Pictured above.)

What do you think? Would you wear this shadow out in public or is it too colorful for your tastes? I think it makes a great “going out” look for spring!

On another note, what would you like to see more of on this blog? More “how to’s” like this one? More product reviews? More outfit photos? Let me know!

Disclosure: I received the Benefit Stay Don’t Stray eyeshadow primer free of charge from Benefit Cosmetics. I paid for the eyeshadow pallet, eyeliner and mascara myself.


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Spring fashion and TOMS

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The official start of spring has gotten me more than a little excited about all the clothes that I’ll finally be able to break out of my closet (and those I get to add to it). Although it stays cold and wet a little longer here in Oregon than it does elsewhere, I’m still thinking about the sun!

Although we’re going to see a lot of bring colors this spring, I can’t get last season’s muted colors out of my head. I still plan to wear a lot of camel and grays… Hopefully I’ll be able to branch out and combine my colors with others such as bright orange, hot pink, green, and purple, which I predict are going to be HUGE this season!

The first item I’m determined to add to my wardrobe is a pair of red TOMS. I’ve never owned TOMS before, but I hear they feel like pillows surrounding your feet. Another great thing about TOMS is that for every pair you buy, the company donates a pair of new shoes to a child in need! I can’t wait to get my hands on (and my feet into) a pair of these…

Classic Red Canvas, $44 at TOMS.com

Another thing I love about these shoes is that they’re so versatile. When I was thinking about the outfits I want to wear this summer, I realized that these TOMS will look simply perfect with absolutely every one of them. I can’t wait!

Here is a taste of the sorts of outfits I’m yearning to wear right now…

1. Vince Tops in Light Grey, $390 at matchesfashion.com. Distressed Boyfriend Short, $78 at 25park.com.
2. Corl Cutaway Strap Crop Suntop, $50 at topshop.com. Acci Black & Ecru Shorts, $65 at coggles.com.
3. Women’s Knitwear, $26 at desireclothing.co.uk. Distressed Denim Hootpant, $32 at newlook.com.
4. Navy Stripe Scoop Vest, $16 at dorthyperkins.com. Vena Cava De Palma Short, $295 at barneys.com.
5. Love Potion no. 9 Oversize T-shirt, $95 at youheshe.com. Lestta skirt, $315 at shopmrsh.com.
6. Blue stripe tie front River Island crop t-shirt, $21 at riverisland.com. Hudson Slim-cut boot jeans, $176 at amrag.com.

What’s on your wish list for spring this year? I’d love to know!


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Currently craving…

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Not to go into too much detail about my insecurities or anything, but I really, really hate how thin my lips are! I’ve briefly fantasized about getting lip injections, but then celebrity photos like this one, and this one bring me back to reality.

Such beautiful women ruining their already perfect faces with surgery! So sad. Not that I’m implying that I’m anywhere near their caliber in the looks department, but have you ever actually seen an attractive result from lip injections? I don’t think I have… (Okay maybe Megan Fox, if she really did have lip injections… But I’m still not so sure she did. Your thoughts?) I digress…

I would, perhaps, look a little bit ridiculous rocking some Angelina Jolie puckers (my face is a little on the small side), but I still would like a little bit of oomph!

So if I can’t do it the surgical way, I guess I’ll have to settle for the purely cosmetic way. I’m currently craving a good lip pluming gloss. Quite a few years ago I jumped on the lip venom band wagon, and a few months ago I blogged about vampire lip gloss, but I haven’t found anything that I’m totally thrilled with – yet.

Here are some lip pumpers I’m considering trying. Have you experimented with any of these? Do you have any suggestions?

1. Smash Box O-Plump, $24 – My manager at my last job recommended this stuff! She always looks great, but I didn’t feel like it did a whole lot for me. Maybe I should give it another chance?
2. Lancome Color Fever Gloss, $26
3. Lip Fusion XL, $50
4. Just Plump, $49.99


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CND Shellac Manicure Review – the manicure that “lasts” 14 days

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So I reviewed this manicure in this post about a year ago and didn’t have very positive things to say about it. I’ve gotten a lot of traffic on this post and a lot of feedback, so since then I’ve given this manicure another chance which has given me the opportunity to revise my review. You can choose to read/ watch my old one if you wish (it’s at the bottom of this entry), but here is my new, current review of CND’s Shellac Manicure:

Year-old review:

The Shellac line of “nail polish” from CND (Creative Nail Design) is hardly new anymore. By now, you’ve probably heard about the manicure that supposedly lasts two weeks without chipping, but it’s possible you haven’t tried it yet. Aren’t you curious?

I was a little skeptical – but as a beauty blogger I decided that it was my duty to try this new trend and to blog about it. On Monday November 8th 2010, I decided to branch out from my usual French manicure (as discussed here) and try the new Shellac manicure. I went to my usual nail salon (Uptown Nails in Downtown Portland) and saw my usual nail person (Lee).

Boy, was getting this manicure an ordeal! First of all, Shellac manicures are expensive and take a long time to do. The company boasts “no drying time” but that’s excluding the hour it takes to do the manicure in the first place. It costs around $30 to get it done, plus tip. But you’re paying $30 for a manicure that looks like any old nail polish.

You can see some pictures of my manicure at the end of this post. But cutting to the chase, I’m not pleased with my Shellac Manicure and I’m not planning on getting it again. To find out why, check out my video review below (sorry about my weird face at the start of the video, YouTube always chooses the most awkward landing images!)

Manicure Day 1:
It didn’t look too bad at this point. My only issue on day one was some inconsistency with the polish on my thumb nails, and the bare spots between my cuticle and the polish. (It looked like it had been a few days since I had gotten the manicure and it was growing out, when I had in fact gotten it done that very day.)
shellac day 1

Manicure Day 5:
As you can see, there’s an obvious chip on my thumb nail.
SHellac day 5

Manicure Day 9:
A few tiny chips at the tips of the nails, but they’re barely noticeable. The manicure still looks decent, aside from the chipped thumb nail.
Shellac day 9

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How long should you keep makeup after it has been opened?

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Quick quiz!

1) Do you still own that same tube of lipstick you wore back in high school?
2) Have you somehow made your mascara last an entire year?
3) Do you hold on to a darker foundation (stored in the back of your drawer) because it matches your skin so well in the summertime?

As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to toss the aforementioned products into the garbage ASAP!

Makeup does have a shelf life and it does expire. Quicker than you may think!

Still, many of us (and I’m guilty of this too) insist on holding on to our makeup for months after its expiration date, usually because we have no idea it has already expired!

I did some research to figure out when beauty experts say you should toss specific makeup and skincare items in the garbage. Before I get into the shelf lives of specific products, here are some general makeup rules to live by.

Toss your product if:

+It stinks or has any sort of unusual odor at all.
+You can’t remember when you purchased it.
+It stirs up memories from an occasion that happened more than two years ago.

In general, it’s important to be aware of the period after opening a product that you should toss it in the trash. Drawing conclusions based on articles written by experts from Cosmetics Suite101, About: Skincare, The Rachel Ray Show and Live Weddings, I’ve compiled a list of the shelf lives of specific products.

Get rid of the clutter in your drawers and toss products if they are older than:

Foundation: 12 months (water based/oil-free), 18 months (oil-based).
Concealer:: 6-12 months.
Powder : 2 years.
Blush and bronzer: 2 years (powder), 12-18 months (cream).
Eye liner: Sharpen it regularly and it will last up to 3 years (pencil), 3-6 months (liquid).
Eye shadow: 2-3 years (powder), 12-18 months (cream).
Lipstick: 2-3 years.
Lip liner: 2-3 years.
Lip gloss: 18-24 months.
Mascara: Some experts say 3-4 months. Others say 6 months maximum. No matter whom you’re choosing to listen to, all experts agree that mascara has one of the shortest shelf lives out of all makeup items. It’s a “breeding ground for infection, so six months is the maximum P.O.A.,” according to beauty expert Sonia Kashuk.
Nail polish: 12 months.
Applicators (brushes and sponges): 3-6 months. Wash them regularly.

Please note: Natural cosmetics expire faster than others because they don’t have chemicals in them to extend their shelf lives. Toss your natural cosmetics sooner than others.

Face wash: 6-12 months.
Moisturizer: 6-12 months.
Toner: 6-12 months.
Exfoliants: 6-12 months.
Eye cream: 6-12 months.
Lip balm: 1-2 years

So, next time you’re rummaging through your makeup bag and you run into that lipstick you’ve had since high school, TOSS IT IN THE TRASH!

XOXO,
Sarah
Your PJ

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