10 Beauty Favorites That Have Stood the Test of Time

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I will never forget my introduction to *magic Liquid Powder from Prescriptives. I was in my 20s working as a makeup artist at Estee Lauder at the Eastview Mall Kaufmann's store. On my lunch break, I wandered over to visit my friend at the Prescriptives counter, which was located by the women's fragrances. I thought she might be ready to head to the food court, but she was busy unpacking a box of the latest Prescriptives release -- *magic Liquid Powder. I remember her telling me about it and then she offered to let me try some. I almost laughed at the idea that a powder could be a liquid. I mean, it looked just like regular old loose powder to me. When I felt it applied with a brush, I was in awe. It felt like liquid. And when I looked in the mirror, my face was absolutely radiant. I bought my first jar. Now, 19 years later, I am still using it. There were years I did not -- but there really was never anything out there that was the same concept. I will never be without this and it is my #1 timeless favorite on the market.

The next timeless favorite of mine is also from Prescriptives: Super Line Preventor Extreme. This is an updated twist on the iconic classic, which is one of the most beautifully formulated serums I have ever used. It is fragrance free, ultra lightweights, absorbs like a drink for your skin, feels soothing & cool and is just downright lovely. 

Even those with oily skin will want to try this one. It is loaded with free radical fighting antioxidants, turmeric, grape seed extract, pomegranate, hyaluronic acid, and more. A lesser known ingredient makes this serum stellar: Eukarion 134. What is that? Well, it is a powerhouse antioxidant that mimics the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase. 

The benefits of this serum include skin brightening, minimizing the look of fine lines, helping to fade age spots, and more. I am going to go out on a limb here, but I have to say that I believe Prescriptives is one of the most underrated brands in the industry.

Brow Power! Oh my goodness, I first started using Lancome Modele Sourcils when I was freelancing for Lancome as a college junior. Over the past 20+ years in the beauty industry, I have used countless brow groomers. Modele Sourcils in Taupe is my go-to to keeps these brows in place. I use it over my NYX brow pencil.

I first started using Bi-Facil to remove eye makeup with my very first Lancome gift with purchase. Yes, you can use more affordable options, from natural beauty brands to high end -- even plant-based oils in your kitchen. Bi-Facil is magical. A little goes a very long way and it thoroughly and gently removes even the most stubborn of waterproof mascaras.

Estee Lauder Double Wear is in my top 5 foundations of all time. I started using this back in 1998 while working for Estee Lauder. Bone is my shade. They now have a couple different versions of Bone (I get the warmer toned to neutralize the pink in my skin) and it is a perfect match. Double Wear is fragrance free, won't budge, and looks as flawless at 9pm as it did at 9am. It has beautiful texture, too. This one won't rub off on your collar, nor does it fade throughout the day. It is my favorite higher end long-wearing formula.

I recently repurchased the blush shade that I wore on my wedding day: Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush in Plum Gorgeous. Oh my, how I had forgotten what a beautiful product this was. I hadn't worn it in so many years. Since I have been much more flexible with what I use (because of acknowledging science over fear when it comes to ingredients), I have started falling in love again with some really lovely products from my past. Yes, there are more "sexy" or "trendy" brands and I use them and love them, but there just some really amazing products I am so happy to be using again.

Speaking of Clinique, this is the very first Clinique product I ever purchased. I was in high school and it is still in my makeup bag (not the same tube, of course). Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is a cult favorite -- and with good reason. It's nourishing and it's sheer, yet when you apply it to your lips it just transforms to a beautiful wash of plum.

My first full-time job out of college was as a Clarins Counter Manager. That is when I was first introduced to the concept of using oils on the face to help balance oily skin. It went against my esthetics training. I thought it was crazy until I tried it myself. I had pretty oily skin back then and I was apprehensive about trying the oil. I was sold after the first couple of applications. Clarins offers other oils, but Lotus Face Treatment Oil is my favorite to help balance excess sebum and keep it in check.

Another Clarins favorite is Beauty Flash Balm. I have been purchasing it on and off for 2 decades. It truly adds a boost of radiance and health to your skin. It was an essential for me when I was in my early 20s working at Clarins after long nights out so I looked wide-eyed for work, and it was a must when I was a sleep-deprived mom to two babies. It continues to be an essential for me now at 41. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm actually works best OVER your makeup. If you dab it on, it doesn't disturb your makeup and gives a wonderful radiance.

Absolutely underrated these days is the skincare brand most loved by my grandmother: Elizabeth Arden. Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant has been around FOREVER. Well, not forever, but since 1930! Yes, it has petrolatum. It isn't cutting edge or glamorous, nor does it possess the "it factor". Do you know something, though? It is a darn good product for weathered, chapped skin. I like to keep one of these tubes with me in the wintertime to really protect my skin from low humidity and dehydration. 

My Thoughts on Weight Watchers Freestyle

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I joined Weight Watchers Freestyle Friday night & started on Saturday, January 13.
I love food. I love to cook big dinners for friends & family. I love to bake. I love it when there are a bunch of active tweens and teens in the house and I make batches of cookies and make them hot cocoa with extra whipped cream. I love carbs & sweets and I love my craft beer. And cheese. And Little Debbie brownies... And fries with gravy.

Do you know what I also love? I love FEELING comfortable in my own skin, feeling energetic, healthy & vibrant. 

I lost a lot of weight a few years back. A lot. As in well over 50 pounds. It was through exercise and a REALLY low carb diet.

And I have gained half of that weight back over the past 18 months or so. It seems like the minute I look at a carb, it comes back.

Vacations, holidays - if I eat yummy foods, it creeps right back no matter my time on the elliptical or miles logged. The yo yo has to stop.

WW Freestyle is unlike any “diet” I have followed. Trust me, I have followed many. For as long as I can remember, I have had a very unhealthy relationship with food & an unhealthy body image.

Let’s talk about Weight Watchers. It is NOT like the WW I once tried post-partum that was time consuming to track and count with required meetings and that left me feeling deprived. 

After one day on WW Freestyle, I knew that this was a life changer. Truly. I thought The commercials with Oprah were a gimmick. I mean bread? Corn? All of my most favorite fruits? Dessert? 
I have eaten more since Saturday that I enjoy than I have in a long time. I had angel food cake. I can eat bread. I have been eating so well and have not felt hungry once. Not once. 

I have had points leftover (which roll over and can be used to splurge more, for example, at a restaurant or night out or for my craft beer on a Friday night).

This was my breakfast- it is 1 point. I have a cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, a Granny Smith Apple, and a quarter cup of Cinnamon Pecan Special K - it is delish. I had a poached egg too. Eggs are zero points. So is chicken. 200 foods are zero points. This is freakin’ awesome:

This is not about my 3.4 pound loss since Saturday AM. It is not about a fad or a diet. This is about feeling hopeful. About KNOWING this time is different. This is for ME. Oh, and I am doing the online program. It is easy peasy with the app and if it were NOT simple, I wouldn’t do this.

I will be blogging about this journey. My goal is to lose 40 pounds. That will bring me to what I weighed before I got married. If you are hesitant about WW, go for it. I am sleeping better and just feeling better. And this is just my 4th day. Life changer right here. I feel it with all of my soul.

Do you BuJo? A Look at the Bullet Journal Trend

What is a bullet journal — or BuJo as they are often called on social media? To be frank, it is a game-changer.


Do you wish you could be a bit more organized to make life just a tad easier? I know I do!
Do you TRY to be more productive, but when you read about simplifying, the articles make it look like a chore and it feels completely overwhelming?
Sometimes it seems like everything we read might as well be called “Simplify your life in 101 easy steps!” – I think things are made to be too complex. I mean, if you are trying to get more organized so life can be simpler, should it really be that hard? I used to think that a planner would solve everything. It didn’t. Here is why: I have a wall calendar with appointments and birthdays on it. I have the calendar from the school PTSA with all of the school activities on it. I have a gratitude journal. I have the standard spiral notebook type of planner. I have post-it notes sticking to my planner and calendars.
That is so overwhelming to me to have multiple “planners” and organizers to keep me organized. The reality is that it makes things unnecessarily complicated. And guess what? I am still not organized.
I had seen Pinterest pins about bullet journals and never gave them another glance. It wasn’t until my friend, Charlene, mentioned them that I decided to give it a look. We can do this together, friends. If you decide to start one of your own, I would love for you to stop back and share photos of what you have done.

What is a bullet journal?

Can I make a confession? When I read that a bullet journal is an “analog system for the digital age,” I almost ran the other way because it sounded intimidating to me — I almost thought it was just another complex way to “simplify” my life like everything else.
I first watched the You Tube video on the bullet journal and, again, I felt intimidated. It all seemed like such a daunting task until I re-watched the video and read more on the Bullet Journal website.

Ryder Carroll, the man behind this creation, says on his website that “all you need is a notebook and a pen.” He is right. I just needed to see that little reminder and read on to the part where he says that the bullet journal is “an evolving, adaptable practice meant to be self curated as you determine what works best for you.”
I tailored my bujo so that it will work for me. That is the beauty of a bullet journal. You need to do it in a way that works best for YOU, but when you do, it will be a game-changer in your routine!
  • The bullet journal is a simple and effective way to stay on track today and in the future.
  • The bullet journal is going to be your go-to book. It is like a day planner, personal diary, to-do list, sketchpad, and place to jot down ideas and inspiration all in one place.
  • The bullet journal focuses on being brief. Instead of long sentences, the idea is to use bullets and be a brief as you can to save you time.
  • The bullet journal is great for people who love stationery, pens, and who are visual. Because of its “systematic” nature, it also works for those who are more logical and who like repetition.

What are the parts of a bullet journal?

  1. Index – This is a really important part of your journal, but it makes things easy. Do not fill this out until you set up the rest. You will want to know which page numbers (if your journal is not numbered, just do it yourself) go with which section. Again, this WILL make things go more smoothly.
  2. Future Log – Have a designated space in the journal for each month. In the video, it has the next six months broken into three equal parts. It is a great way to keep your future events in one place. In my future log, for example, I have birthdays, concerts at school, and an August wedding written down. I like to mark down things I know are not for quite a while (like the half marathon my son will do again in September), but that need to be logged for my own sanity.
  3. Monthly log – After you have carved out a couple pages for your Future Log, it is time for the monthly log. Write one month on the left page. You are going to write down the dates in the month (If you start with January, you would be doing 1-31 going down the page). On the opposite page, you can add tasks that you have to go with that month.
  4. Daily Log –  I like to do two days per page, but that is up to you! Write down the things that you need/want to do each day.
  5. Collections — This would be things you want to keep track of such as grocery shopping lists, wishlists, projects, etc.
  6. You can also track habits — exercise, meals eaten, how well you slept, water consumption, savings/spending, your mood, etc. in this journal.

The key to your journal?

The key. What? Yes, you will need a key in your journal too. Again, there is a suggested key on the Bullet Journal website, but you need to make your system work for you. I have seen hundreds of key ideas on the internet. Mine is pretty simple and I also added color coding just because the colors really help me stay organized.

Here is a look at my key page:


To be continued…

I just started bullet journaling this month. I am already seeing the benefits. I am saving QUITE A BIT of time by having my day to day life pretty much in this one book. What I would like to do is share with you how the process goes and stop back here and share any more tips I learn as I go.
I also do not want to overwhelm you. This should not be overwhelming — it should help minimize that feeling for you.
Next week, I am going to be back with more photos after I tweak mine a bit so it feels even more comfortable to me. Let’s make this something that we can do together and share!
Have you tried starting a bullet journal? How has it helped you? Any tips?

1/28 UPDATE: I hate to disappoint y'all, but quit my bullet journal!  I am a total BuJo failure. I was MORE stressed trying to do it an felt so overwhelmed trying to get it "right" that I said "Screw it." Sorry, friends!

The 5 Best Bar Cleansers for the Face

Friday, January 5, 2018

Are you a cleansing snob?

Don't be! I want you to get that idea out of your head that bar soaps are bad. We have discussed this before at length. Bar soaps are good for your skin!

The cheap bars you buy at the store -- Dove and Zest come to mind -- are NOT real soap at all. They are bars made of beef fat (tallow) and harsh cleansing agents and fragrances which tend to be devoid of any true skincare benefits. REAL soap contains natural butters, oils, vitamins and minerals to care for your skin.

A well-formulated bar soap can do wonders for your skin! Today, I am sharing the 5 best bar soaps for the face.

The best bar cleanser for troubled skin

If you are hypersensitive or have flaky skin, Rosacea or other skin concerns, I recommend the Organic Raw Shea Butter Bar Facial Soap from Shea Moisture. This uber gentle bar contains shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils of frankincense and myrrh. $4.49

The best bar cleanser for acne-prone skin

Charcoal cleansing bars are all the rage, but the best is Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap. What sets this bar cleanser apart from others is that it helps to tackle acne while being gentle enough for delicate and inflamed skin. You will find activated charcoal to detoxify and cleanse the pores, while ground oats soothe, and cocoa butter keeps your skin hydrated. $11

The best bar cleanser for dry skin

I cannot say enough about the Carrot & Goat Milk bar from Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap. It is positively delightful and ideal for dry skin types. There are no added fragrances of any kind and it is full of good-for-your-skin ingredients such as wheat germ oil, carrot puree, grapeseed oil, coconut oil and more. $6.50

The best bar cleanser for sensitive or mature skin

It's another winner for Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps, a brand that C & G has used for ten years! The Rose Clay Facial Bar is ideal for delicate skin because of the rose clay. It is completely free of fragrances and the clay gently draws toxins for the skin. The Sweet Almond Oil is great for mature skin with its anti-aging Vitamin A. $6.50

The best bar cleanser for oily skin

If you are looking for a beautifully formulated bar cleanser to treat excess sebum, check out the Flawless bar from Indie Goat Soap Co. Indie Goat Soap is a Finger Lakes biz located a short drive away in Naples, New York. Featuring antibacterial tea tree oil and deep cleansing Dead Sea mud, this bar effectively cleanses oily skin without leaving it feeling parched. $9

5 Benefits of Having a Consistent Facial Care Routine (and My Skincare Regimen)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

There’s something comforting about my bedtime beauty routine. Once I massage my cleanser into my skin, it is as if I am washing away any stress from the day. Those few minutes spent on pampering actually come with other perks. In fact, there are several benefits to having a consistent skincare routine.

1. Your skin will be in better condition.

You change the oil in your car every few months in order to properly maintain it. You know that routine maintenance is a priority to extend the life of your car. You need to respect your skin the same way.

For many of us, we skip steps in our routine because we think it’ll take too long. We are all stretched for time. Once you find the right products, you'll soon realize that it only takes about 5 minutes to do your face. Faithfully keeping a skincare routine will help to treat wrinkles, prevent acne & improve the clarity of you skin.

2. Your skin will work harder for you.

It might sound silly, but it’s true. When you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you. Did you know that your skin is actually working hard while you sleep to regenerate? Cell turnover is faster at night and this allows your products to do their job more efficiently. If you are careful and make a point to cleanse your skin and remove your makeup every night, your skin will be better able to repair itself, while treatment products and moisturizers will absorb more deeply.

Chic & Green's Favorite Facial Skincare Products

At night, I remove my makeup with the lovely Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil and then follow with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is non foaming, fragrance free, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types. Here is an in depth post on Cetaphil, inclusding my thoughts on it over a decade.

I use good old-fashioned Thayer's Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner after cleansing. I have used this on and off for several years and I always seem to go back to it.

After cleansing and toning, I apply a lightweight moisturizer under my makeup. My favorite is Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Take note - this is NOT the old DDML, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, this is a different product. Why do I adore this one?

It is fragrance free, feels soothing and cooling and contains barley extract, sunflower, cucumber and an ingredient known as Japanese knotweed (Cuspidatum root). Japanese knotweed is rich in Reseveratrol, one of my favorite antioxdants.

My night time serum is Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. This gem has REALLY made a difference in my skin, dramatically fading a melasma patch in about 3 months. This may sound like a long time, but is actually pretty fast even compared to prescription treatments like hydroquinone. This serum is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and peptides and this Korean beauty cult favorites is a staple in my regimen.

Seed Advanced Botanicals Extra Moisturizing Face Cream is my go-to night cream. I love all of the Seed products I have used over the past nearly 8 years, and this cream is no different. What IS different, though is how the ingredients in this gem compare to comparable products on the market. This cream feels so LUXURIOUS, rich and nourishing. 

I use this as a night cream and I feel as though it works magic as I get my "beauty sleep." The formula boasts impressive ingredients like Argan Oil (LOVE IT), Hyaluronic Acid, and more. What is unique is that you do not find Date extract or Abyssinian Oil in many face creams. Those just seem so exotic. My skin drinks this cream up. especially this time of year. It is so dry and so cold, and the fireplace air, the constantly running furnace, and brisk temps tend to wreak havoc on my skin.I chose the Lemon and Grapefruit essential oil add ins because of the cheery scent and because they make my skin brighter. Another A+ Seed creation! You will love this cream, which is superior to night creams I have used for $70-80 or more.

I also treat my eyes with my current favorite eye cream: Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme. I love how this product moisturizes the delicate skin under the eyes, helps to reduce fine lines, and I appreciate the brightening properties. In fact, that is why I adore this cream so much. There is a light yellow hue to this cream from the banana powder, so it helps if your eyes are looking a bit tired in the morning. This cream features Vitamin C, collagen, radish root ferment (a stellar natural preservative), lemon, orange, and more. I received this one free from Influenster as part of their blogger influencer program and I like it enough so that I will be repurchasing when my complimentary jar is gone.

3. Your youthful glow will start to come back.

Dullness. At some point, most of us will notice a decrease in skin radiance. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If you make exfoliation a regular part of your skincare routine, you’ll get your glow back. Cell turnover slows down as we age, so it’s important to help the process along so our skin can shed dead cells.

Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Extreme Peel Pads slough off that top layer of skin, so over time your skin will look fresh and healthy once more. These are SUPER affordable and work just as well as peel pads that I have used from Juice Beauty, Exuviance, and Peter Thomas Roth.

These pads contain lactic acid, salicylic acid, mandelic, and glycolic acids, making them even more beneficial for your skin. Tip: Cut each pad in half and your face will still get the amount it needs PLUS you will get 120 uses!

4. With consistency comes visible results.

How many of you have purchased the latest skincare item promising results only to use it a couple of times before declaring it ineffective? People get so caught up in the notion of miracle ingredients or finding the fountain of youth that they expect instant results. Dramatic results will not happen overnight. It can often take weeks of consistent use for noticeable results to happen. The key to seeing those changes is to stick to your skincare routine.

5. Those results you’re beginning to see? They will be easier to maintain.

I like to think of a skincare routine like an exercise routine. When you first start your exercise routine, you might not see results those first few days. Once your routine is established, you take notice. You’ll begin to think, “Wow. Look at the definition in my waist.” When you stick with that exercise plan, you’ll continue to notice changes in your body and if you keep at it, you will be able to maintain those changes. The same is true with a consistent skincare regimen. Your skin will continue to look healthy and refreshed as long as you don’t give up on the routine. If you stop using your products, your results won't last. Please know that it is also okay to change up your routine! Skin changes with age, hormonal changes, weather changes, etc., so what may work now may need to be adjusted down the road.
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