02 April 2013

My Favorite Things: warmer weather ahead edition

Today’s the day when, if I had any sense of consistency, I’d share list of items I jotted down throughout the month of March that tickled my fancy. But... there is no such list this month. Ready for some real-talk? I actually spent most of March (and February, for that matter) fretting about a grant proposal for work. So I wasn’t spending nearly as much time mindlessly clicking around the web or trying new products at the grocery. I didn’t mention it because I keep work-talk on the DL, but that was really occupying almost all of my headspace.

[Total side note: I dreamed that I wrote a blog post that somehow segued from home décor talk to a total political op-ed on government funding of scientific research, and I thought I’d been rather coy and smart about how I’d written it, until it published the next day and Mr. P told me that it was really not as cool as I thought it was and, honestly, not cool in general and maybe I should think about taking it down. You guys, I dreamed that. That’s a majorly astute insight into my anxieties: writing for public consumption, getting my work funded, and disappointing Mr. P. Hmm.]

Instead of a random list of things that made me happy over the last month, today I’m going to give you a specific list of things that have made me happy over the last indefinite time period (weeks to years). But still, this list is timely, I promise. See, every spring, in addition to a strong desire to get my house clean and organized, I get the urge to reevaluate the other space I occupy... this body, right here. That desire manifests with an urge to start eating right again (as I already told you), but it also makes me want to clean out my makeup bag and deal with my toenail cuticles so I don’t have hobbit feet and stop using the last spluttery dregs of my shampoo and buy a new bottle already, geez.

So here are the products I’m relying on to get in shape for spring, sorted by high ($$$$) and low (available at the same places you’d buy milk). And while I’m linking to the sources, there’s no affiliate links or paid sponsorships here. Swearsies. I just like this stuff!

The splurges:

Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner

Sometimes I worry that I’m becoming so evangelistic about shampooing just once a week that people think I don’t wash my hair. Dude. Not only do I know how to clean up year-round, I use this super pricey shampoo and conditioner when I do. But, I only need to buy a new bottle once every year, so it’s not that bad. And although it really just works as advertised – my hair is indeed all soft! – I’ve not found a good substitute when I try to switch to something cheaper (or even a different Redken). Best part is if I get a little hot-headed in the summertime, an extra wash with this gentle shampoo won’t throw off the whole hairwashing schedule.

Oscar Blandi dry shampoo

This stuff got a whole separate post back in the day, when I first confessed that I only wash my hair once a week (and detailed the process of scalp-training that took a whole dang year). It’s still my BFF around day four post-shampooing... and sweaty summer days, when they finally come.

Laura Mercier eyeliner in antique jade

Okay, so... this is green eyeliner. GREEN. But it’s so dark green that it’s nearly black, I promise. And in the years that I’ve worn it, I’ve never had anyone run up to me and say OMG YOU ARE WEARING GREEN EYELINER. I admit I wouldn’t have tried it (because, you know, green eyeliner) if the makeup lady at Sephora hadn’t put it on my face in a pre-wedding makeup trial. But hot dang if it doesn’t make my not-so-green eyes just a bit greener! I’ve sharpened my current pencil down to a nubbin and I’m just going to have to give in and buy a new one.

Philosophy moisturizer

I’ve also already told you about this miracle stuff last month, but it’s worth mentioning again, even if I don’t have anything new to add. Except maybe that I get Ben Folds’s song “Philosophy” stuck in my head when I use it sometimes? Hmm. Yeah, that’s oversharing.

Arbonne Made in the Shade self-tanner

My stepsister the Arbonne rep hooked me up with this, and it’s by far the best self-tanner I ever used. I don’t use it super often because self-tanner upkeep is annoying, even with the good stuff like this. So, I saved it for special occasions, which is how I’ve managed to make a bottle stretch for yeeeears. I think this year’s formal occasions will finally use it up, and when it’s out, I’m definitely splurging on this again. It’s worth it to not look like an Oompa Loompa.

The saves:

Cetaphil face wash

Honestly, my heart belongs with Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face wash, but Cetaphil is a nice substitute (and my face doesn’t freak out, most importantly). The store-brand Cetaphil made by Target is not a good substitute, FYI. Still, eight dollars a bottle is a fair price to pay for a daily face wash that my sensitive skin will tolerate.

LashBlast Volume mascara

A few weeks ago, I feel like the whole blogosphere was buzzing about this new “They’re Real!” mascara. And while I’ll drop the dough on a good mascara (that one is $23)... I wasn’t really into buying mascara with thinly-veined sexual – and sexist – references. Fortunately whoorl tipped me off that Cover Girl’s Lash Blast Volume mascara is basically the same thing. I got the waterproof stuff in black-brown and found it way better than the last expensive mascara I used (which reformulated and broke my heart). I’m just about out of my wintry smokey-eye phase, so I’m looking forward to summery, mascara-only days ahead.

Any off-brand body wash or lotion with cocoa butter, like this one

Is it the moisture? The texture? The fact that I smell vaguely like a tropical box of chocolates? I dunno, but I am a sucker for cocoa butter-based products, particularly in the warmer weather. Fortunately the off-brand stuff works great (I used a cheap family-sized bottle of Suave lotion with cocoa butter for years, people), and while it’s maybe not quite as luxurious as the fancy body butters, it’s at least as comforting.

Jergens tanning lotion & moisturizer

Annnd this is how I stretch that pricey bottle of self-tanner longer than I probably should. That stuff right there. Jergens lotion is smelly, but it helps to smooth and blend any mishaps from the actual self-tanner. Built-in sunscreen = bonus! Oh, and go ahead and splurge on the separate face moisturizer if you have sensitive, picky skin like me.

So that’s it! A roundup of those items in my current rotation and those I’ll be relying on to get things right for the warmer weather ahead. And I’d love to hear your take on it too – are you cleaning out your makeup bag and restocking your shower? What products get you ready for spring and summertime?


Rachel C said...

Every time I read that you gave up Purity , my heart breaks just a little. I swear by the stuff and someone would have to pull it out of my cold, dead hands. But, I understand about it being expensive. So, I'm going to let you in on a Philosophy secret that has changed my life (and trust me, I am a huge Philosophy girl) --- order it from QVC. Ok, you might giggle and mock, but trust me, they have awesome deals. I buy a 32 oz Purity once a year. Yes, it's a bit pricey on the front end (around $40) but when you divide that by uses throughout the year, it's completely worth it. Plus, they have special deals all the time that will may let you get your Hope in a Jar for even less. Except in emergencies, I never buy Philosophy from anyplace but the Q.

Mary Beth said...

I swear by Oscar Blandi dry shampoo. It works so much better than the spray kind. And when you mentioned using Cetaphil cleanser, it reminded me of always using Noxema when I would go over to your house when we were younger. It's weird the things I remember! E.T., the McDonald's song & tetherball ... to name a few :)

Sarah said...

@Rachel C, thanks so much for the tip! 32 oz. for $40 is cheaper than Sephora, so I'll definitely remember that if I switch back and the next time I stock up on Hope in a Jar. Purity is definitely better than Cetaphil, I agree! I only switched because I also buy pricey moisturizer AND shampoo AND conditioner (that I've found irreplaceable), and was trying to pinch pennies somewhere. Have to fund the throw pillow budget somehow, right? :)

@Mary Beth, yay, another dry shampoo lover! I always worry that people are going to think I'm gross for using the stuff, but Oscar Blandi is ridiculously better than the dry shampoo from the days of yore. And OMG, the the tetherball! I completely forgot about that - I love the random (and sometimes bizarre) things you remember from our childhood!