Elle’s Sunscreen Solution

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Problem: Sunscreens are icky feeling but makeup doesn’t have a high enough SPF for the beach.

Solution: I mix half SPF 55 sunscreen and SPF 15 tinted moisturizer.

Result? Not greasy, a perfect SPF 30, and just a touch of complexion blending color.

Love!

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Olympic Hair Inspiration

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What can I say? I love the Olympics and am so sad that they’re over. In lieu of my usual topknot, I’ve been wearing a ponytail (sans scrunchie) a la the Women’s Gymnastics Team. And on occasion, a high braided pony, a la Misty May Treanor and Kerry Walsh.

Are you as sad as I am that the Olympics are over?

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Oh shoe-t!: A Photo Journey of My Troubles

I would like to think that teachers are known for their cutting edge fashion sense and trend setting style. But, they’re not. You think of teacher clothes, and you think of blase front pleat pants, oversized vests, and tacky decorative pins. Oh, and the shoes. Don’t forget about the comfortable shoes! Its not really my speed. I would like to think I break the teacher dress mold.

….except for the shoes. Oops! My feet hurt at the end of the day. They kill. The comfy shoe clad teachers of the world are on to something. This is where fashiony M and practical M collide. I want to be fun and fresh. And funky. But I want to be able to walk without crying. The issues!

So I have decided to photo document my shoe journey:

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These are a personal favorite summer shoe of mind (Lucky Brand Hacienda Wedge)They’re tall and pretty and comfy…. for dinner. Not for any activity that requires standing, walking, or doing things on your feet. I would like to think I can wear shoes like this with my super cute outfits to work….. but I can’t. Because it would hurt. And I may end up crushing a Kindergartener with them. Fail. Next!!

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In a perfect world, I would wear these amazing shoes every day of my life. They would be stylish and chic and the world would not judge me. Sigh. Such a cruel world we live in.

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But, the world is not so kind and my feet are not naturally encased in gel, so I resort to these Lucky Brand moccasins (weird that both example shoes are Lucky–the only two items I own of the brand, swearsies). They love my feet and my feet love them. They magically coordinate with all my casual cool work outfits and they are suuuper comfortable. So comfortable it almost makes me want to cry. But, notice the grime? They have seen better days. Big sniffle. And they aren’t sold anymore. I have practically (and by practically, I might mean actually) worn holes in to the bottom. We are past the point of casual cool and into the grunge look. I do not do grunge.

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Which brings me to these puppies. Fine, they are probably not making a spread in Vogue any time soon, but they will do. They go along with my casual chic work emsembles and they (fingers crossed, breath held) will be just as comfy as my most beloved Lucky Brand moccasins. They’re pretty classic if I say so myself. Glamorous shoes they’re not but they’re not teacher chic either. Small win in my book. And, best of all, I got them at Marshalls for way less than this price: Minnetonka Kilty Suede Moccasin. After all, teacher budget.

M

Sensationail DIY Gel Mani Review

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One word: LOVE!

Seriously, this kit is amazing. The instructions are great, so I won’t even get into the details of how to use, but I will give you a little pro/con list.

Pros
Cheap! (About $50 at CVS, which is not much more than one gel mani in a salon.)
LED light included (so no worries about nasty UV rays!)
DIY, so you play with all sorts of different funky looks.
Manis in pj’s. Love.
Truly lasts two weeks. No chips.
You can paint over the gel and essentially get two manis out of one gel mani.

Cons
DIY, so if want a salon experience, you’re not getting it.
Gel polishes are pricier than regular polishes.
You really do need a steady hand. If polish gets on your cuticles, the mani will peel.
Must be soaked off.

Basically, if you are very proficient at DIY manis, you will probably love the Sensationail kit. (FYI, The light can used interchangeably with other gel polishes– Gelish, OPI Gel Polish, Shellac, et cetera.)

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Beauty Essentials: Hair and Body Edition

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1. Philosophy 3 in 1 Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath. Rich lather and heavenly smell.

2. Pantene Beautiful Lengths Conditioner. Super rich, which is totally necessary if you have long hair.

3. John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Color Glaze. Read about my love for this product here.

4. Venus Embrace razor. Five blades. Five. If you have mediterranean genes, you need this razor.

5. Sephora Pedicurve Foot Scrubber Thing. I know there are a lot of products like this out there but this one is ergonomic so it is super easy to use while standing on one leg in the shower.

6. Jergen’s Body Lotion. I always buy fancy scented lotions and wind up going back to drugstore brands like this. They moisturize really well and are very lightly scented so they don’t interfere with your perfume.

7. Jergen’s Natural Glow. I use this in the summer so I can look like I have a tan when I don’t because I’m terrified of melanoma.

8. TRESemme Mousse. Any of them. The best mousse in the world. I blast my roots from the ears up with this after every shampoo.

9. TRESemme Finishing Spray. Love.

10. Dove Dry Shampoo. I’ve tried several brands of dry shampoo and this is my fave. It doesn’t leave a white residue or make you choke when you spray it. Win.

11. A teasing brush. Ditch the comb. A teasing brush enables you to get a much softer tease that brushes out easily.

12. A boar’s hair brush. Essential for smoothing long hair and brushing out pincurls.

13. Josie Maran Argan Oil. I use a half a dropperful from my ears to my ends for strong, soft, frizz-free locks. (I also slather this stuff on my face.)

14. Ribbon Hair Ties. These are from Sephora, but you can find them everywhere now. So comfy and not at all scrunchie-like. If you wear a scrunchie, please stop. Buy these instead.

15. Bobbi pins. I keep these everywhere. Purses, makeup bags, nightstands, medicine cabinets, windowsills, everywhere!

16. Rubber elastics. These are the best for tying off the ends of braids. Use clear, or whatever most closely matches your hair color.

17. A hair donut. I’ve tried doing the sock bun with a sock and found it very frustrating. The hair donut makes everything so much simpler! H&M has them to match every hair color.

I hope I tipped you off to some great products you might not have been aware of!

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Summer Beauty Essentials: Face Edition

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1. Josie Maran Cleansing Oil This stuff cleanses so gently and removes every speck of makeup. No need for a separate eye makeup remover! The fresh orangey smell is amazing too.

2. Josie Maran 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil. You would think that slathering oil on your face would make it greasy, but it really doesn’t. This oil is absorbed by your skin in seconds. You only need a tiny bit. (Normal to oily skin can probably use about 3-4 drops for the whole face. My skin is dry, so I use 5-7.) Rub any excess on your cuticles. A drop on each cheekbone also gives this great glow over your makeup. Nature’s illuminizer, if you will.

3. Bare Minerals Original Finish Foundation. So light that it really looks and feels like you’re not wearing makeup; but it effectively evens out your complexion while providing sun protection.

4. Anastasia Beauty Express. Wax and powder for brows, plus a brush and two shades of highlighting shadows. The stencils included allow you to perfectly shape your brows as well. Especially when all other makeup is minimal, I feel that brows need to be filled out for the face to look finished.

5. Big fat waterproof eye pencils in bright colors. A quick swipe across the lids is all you need.

6. Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes. Long, full lashes with no flakes. Also, completely soft and touchable.

7. Evian spray. Cool your face off. Nuff said.

8. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. For the softest lips with no waxiness that some balms provide. Tastes good too.

9. Big fat shiny lip pencils in bright colors. Because summer is all about bright colors. Just check out a garden or farmer’s market for confirmation on that.

I hope I provided you guys with info on a few new products you didn’t know you needed! What are your summer face essentials? Did I miss anything obvious?

xo,
Elle