My five favorite things

Yesterday, over on Instagram, I posted a story in which I asked an honest question and for which I wanted an honest answer: despite the fact that most of my posts address serious topics, how would you feel about a post about beauty/self-care products?

I, personally, love learning what other people use and love, but I wanted to do a check in.

A lot of people voted on this, and a whopping 89% of you voted and said, “Yes, please.”

Again, let me acknowledge that this is not a post about serious mental health issues, honest motherhood or the state of the world. Rather, it is a post about my five favorite things to use on a daily basis; the things that, right now, I do not go a day without. This is not a sponsored post, nor is my opinion particularly valuable in this area (though I dabble in “Lifestyle Blogging” with a dash of “Wellness,” I am really more of a “Mommy Blogger and “Mental Health Advocate” than a “Beauty Guru.”)

But, let’s be real here. I care. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my “beauty routine” (in no other area of life, I realize, but at least when it comes to makeup and such) but I will not feign apathy. Around the holidays I wrote about the steps that I have taken to combat my own visible signs of aging. I go for regular facials and microdermabrasion treatments and my friends tease me about how many different products I manage to use during one bedtime routine, but it’s all pretty simple. I aim for at least some self-care.

That said, there are a few products that I, literally, no longer go a day without using.

And, without further ado, my five favorite things:


1. My Dry Brush

I honestly and truly look forward to my morning dry brushing routine. Here is the deal: I use a brush with natural bristles and a curved handle and, before I start my day, brush, in upward strokes towards my heart, from my feet up. I brush my feet, ankles, legs, butt (ahem), back, stomach and sides and usually end with my hands and arms. Why do I love this so much? I started getting into the whole dry brushing thing as a way to get my circulation going; to promote the health and efficiency of my lymphatic system. People who swear by dry brushing claim that it does everything from “removing toxins” to “reducing cellulite” and these are things that I do not believe. How can we actually remove toxins from our bodies? By existing. Our bodies contain built-in detoxifying agents — little things like our ORGANS, namely kidneys and livers. I am not a doctor (I just play on on TV. On “Greys Anatomy.” In my mind.) but I know that brisk yet gentle upward strokes by a soft-bristled brush will not cure all of my ails. I do not even know if it does anything for my lymphatic system. What am I SURE it does? Exfoliates. Big time. My skin is soft and it absorbs whatever lotions or serums I apply after my dry brushing routine. It also affords me with a small, private moment in my day, before the chaos of the morning kicks in, when I am just taking care of me. That is a fantastic return on my $7 investment if I do say so myself.

2. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel

I call it “the green stuff” when I ask Jordy, my aesthetician from Dr. Hoffman’s office, if I can order another bottle (or if it really works the way I think it works). I have extremely sensitive skin and have a hard time finding products that do not irritate me. Though I am still not positive exactly what the green stuff does for me, I love it because it makes me feel glowy and my skin feels super hydrated. I use it morning and night, after washing my face, and I love love love it. For the record, the website says, “A hydrating, soothing gel serum with botanical ingredients ideal to calm and hydrate skin while improving visual redness.” I do not have red skin or inflammation, but this is one product that my skin reacts well to. The other products I’ve tried? Too heavy or harsh. They’re the anti-aging heavy hitters. They go on my butt.

(Side note: I realize that I have talked about my butt in this post more than I have talked about my butt, ever, in nearly 8 years of writing this blog. But, now you know, and, #themoreyouknow…)

3. Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Mini

This. Is. My. Jam.

(By. Jam. I. Mean. Lip. Balm.)

As someone who has lips that take up a decent portion of my face, I make a pretty solid effort to keep them looking and feeling hydrated. Yet, depending on the weather and my level of hydration, they can get dry. I have tried every lip balm/salve/gloss/treatment on the market. I have tried to fancy ones, the fad ones, the ones with cultish followings, and nothing comes close to comparing to this. AND, I get made fun of. “It is literally just Vaseline,” my friends say as they laugh and put it on their lips. They think they know, but they have no idea. On average, I have about 11 of these pots in my life, in circulation, at a time. By my bed, in my purse, in my kitchen drawer, in my car console, in my bathroom cabinet…they’re everywhere. Because it’s amazing, under $3, and the rose color gives the itty bittiest bit of pigment (maybe?) and a lovely scent. It also comes in more neutral flavors but I’m all about the rose.

4. Browfection™ Tinted Brow Builder

The website for this product, made by and sold at European Wax Center, uses the exact phrase that I was going to include when describing this product: game changer. I don’t know when it happened, but, as I write this, brows are the new black. I am not sure if I am late to this trend (I’ve never filled in my brows) but the last time I got my eyebrows waxed (something I do about every 6 weeks to 2 years, depending on how into my brows I am — and, as I mentioned, I have recently gotten way more into the eyebrow) Kristen, my waxer, put this gel on at the end of my session. It is like a mini tube of mascara, takes 30 seconds to apply and it lasts all day. I am not going to tell you what they say it does, but rather I am going to tell you what I know it does. It holds eyebrows in place, perfectly, while boosting the pigment. I bought this in “light” and it is the perfect shade for my coloring. I NEVER thought I would be this person, but now, along with quickly smudged eyeliner and sweep of blush along my cheekbones, THIS has become my go-to before leaving the house. When my brows are done, I feel so much more done. So much so that I have actually texted my sister photos of my arches, before events and such, and typed words like, “brow game strong!”

Who am I?

Like I said, game changer.

5. ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm

I came across this little gem in my BIRCHBOX one month and, let me tell you, this is the only product that I have ever felt the need buy from the BIRCHBOX site as it is sooooo good and I have now used up two whole tubes of this lip balm and am onto my third. What makes it one of my top five and also something I use every day? It is natural and easy and light. I first got a tube of Blush Hour which was just a hint of pink and I thought I loved it until I got a different tube called Berry Busy and I love this the most. Essentially, what they say is that it is a virtuous balm (you know, free of a lot – but not all of – the bad things I am supposed to avoid) that adjusts to the Ph of my own lips and then magically transforms into a custom color, just for me. I don’t understand how this works, but I DO know that it is the perfect cross between my aforementioned Rosy Vaseline (which is thicker and less cosmetic) and true lip gloss. This “boost” gives the look of a stain (almost like I was just eating a red lollipop) but with the texture of a super light balm. As a girl who used to use Dr. Pepper flavored Lip Smacker sticks religiously, this is the perfect next step. I use this instead of lipstick, lipgloss or anything else to give me the exact amount of color that I am looking for, which is not a lot, but enough.

And there you have them: My five favorite things, and the things that I truly use every day. Some are more about care (like keeping my skin exfoliated, lips hydrated and lymphatic system movin’ and groovin’) while other are purely aesthetic and just make me feel better about myself. I did not realize this trend until after composing this list and writing this post, but there is a theme in the products to which I seem to gravitate: they just simply enhance. They don’t transform, they just take what I have and make it a little better. Glowier. Richer. More colorful. And, as I have mentioned before, as someone who doesn’t always feel the most self confident, I now know that I feel my very best when I FEEL LIKE MYSELF.

I’d love to hear your five favorite things, whether they are tried and true or new discoveries, like many of my own.

What makes you feel the best? What makes you feel like you? Are those two things the same?

With mad love and lots and lots of strokes of the dry brush



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