Blog Posts by Elizabeth at

  • Darker, longer, thicker, bolder and badder.

    If, for some reason, I had to live out the rest of my life using only one beauty product, it would be mascara. If, for some reason, I had to live out the rest of my life using only two beauty products, they would be mascara... and eye make up remover.

    For me, there is no single type of make up that makes a more dramatic impact than mascara. And as far as mascara and lashes go, I think the darker, longer, thicker, bolder and badder the better. I wear very little else on my face (a bit of under eye concealer, blush and a nude shadow), so I get by (I hope!) without looking like a clown... or a lady of the evening. I've long been devoted to a particular brand of mascara, so when the Shine Beauty Gurus were sent Estée Lauder's Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara, I worried it wouldn't stack up.

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    I was pleasantly surprised.

    Though the Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara (try saying that five times fast...) is a bit thicker and takes a bit longer

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  • Asking Santa for a whiter smile?

    If you're looking to whiten and brighten your smile this holiday season, it might be as simple as buying a new toothbrush. I'm sure all of our dentists have encouraged us to switch to electronic toothbrushes, but did you know you can reap all the benefits of an expensive model for under six bucks? That's enough to make any recessionista, well, smile.

    This little guy is terribly cute, yes, but also prone to leaving plaque behind... which is decidedly not cute.
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    Colgate's new line of 360* toothbrushes retail for $3.29 to $5.99, making them the perfect last minute stocking stuffer. The line was specially designed to target hard to reach places and is proven to removed over 96% more bacteria than brushing alone, using a manual toothbrush. The brushes' tapered bristles are designed to reach all tooth surfaces; our teeth aren't flat, after all. They also feature gentle polishing cups which help to remove surface stains and brighten teeth. These help to offset all the merry

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  • Making Over Monday

    Do you ever find yourself in a bit of a beauty rut? I am such a creature of habit; my morning routine is something out of Groundhog Day. I moisturize, add anti-frizz serum to my hair, groom my brows and add a bit of highlighter, apply concealer below my eyes and a bit of blush and bronzer to my cheeks, swipe on mascara and a touch of shadow, dry and straighten my hair and hit the road. Day after day, after day.

    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," right? That's how all ruts begin. But wait, aren't beauty and makeup are supposed to be fun? I remember being little and experimenting with my mom's eye shadow compacts perfume and rouges, imagining I was a princess or, after particularly heavy-handed applications, a clown. This sort of beauty routine was not a chore, it was an escape or an adventure. Our latest Beauty Guru assignment provided the perfect opportunity to break out of my rut and have a little fun on a Monday morning.

    I bristle a little even typing the phrase Monday

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  • Smoky ShadowBlast: On fire, or up in smoke?

    Hillary and Bill, Tia and Tamera, Shadow and Liner… some things were just destined to stick together. Eye makeup is one of the easiest (and most fun) ways to mix up your beauty routine. My collection of shadows, liners, brushes and mascaras has gotten a bit out of control lately. When I found out we'd be reviewing CoverGirl's smoky shadowblast, my baby blues brightened and I cleared a little space in my makeup bag, eagerly awaiting this cute little two-in-one's arrival.

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    With six color combination to choose from, I chose the Onyx Smoke (800) for versatility. Purple Plume was a close second. I had high hopes for this product, as I'd consider myself a loyal CoverGirl girl, but sadly, smoky shadowblast has not earned a permanent (space-saving) space in my makeup bag. I wanted to love it for the convenience of having a shadow and liner in one place, but I found myself having to use two separate brushes to achieve a classic, smoky eye. The

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  • Versatile and long-wearing: CND nailed it.

    I've got a thing for nail polish. When I was in high school, I changed my polish color every few days. It was an easy and inexpensive way to keep my friends guessing, to match every outfit and mood and, most importantly, to torment my brothers (who loathed the smell of polish remover).

    These days, I keep it simple. Or maybe, I'm simply in a rut. I tend to keep my nails short and neutral, sticking with my tried and true shade-Essie Ballet Slipper-for almost 10 years now. Call me boring, but I love the clean and classic look. When I heard we'd be reviewing the "new neutrals" from CND's Fashion Week-worthy line, I was thrilled. Creative Nail Design is an industry favorite, is family-run and all of their products are result of careful science. You'll find CND on the fingers and toes of such celebrities as Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Cher and even Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day.

    Let me tell you, this is the good stuff. I wore both of the two shades we were sent for over a

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  • Beauty Goes Green

    ...quite literally.

    "They say geniuses pick green," Robert DeNiro's character in "Meet the Parents" tells his future son-in-law. I'm not claiming to be a genius, but when considering my beauty obsessions for this month's Beauty Guru review, it occurred to me that I almost always pick green. Green packaging, green product... if it's green, it's probably in my beauty bag.

    I love mixing higher end products with drug store standbys, as you can tell. Some of my favorites above (the Origins products, in particular) are the eco-friendly sort of green, while others are just, well... green.

    Are you obsessed with a brand, color or product? I'd love to hear about it!


  • ShineBlast Lip Gloss: All Grown Up

    When this month's Beauty Guru products arrived, I felt like I was back in high school, about to prep for a Friday night dance in the cafeteria. Remember those electric bright, fruity, sparkly Bonne Bell glosses we used to wear? At first blush, COVERGIRL's ShineBlast lip glosses seemed a better fit for my 13 year old cousin than a young professional like myself. And then I tried it.

    Sure, they're sparkly (trust me, the shimmer is much more subtle on the lips than in the tube) and smell a bit like watermelon, but that's where the similarities end. The lesson? Even when it comes to beauty products, which would seem to be all about looks you shouldn't judge the proverbial book by its cover.

    This is a grown up gloss if there ever were such a thing. And thank goodness there is such a thing, because at 27, I am still hopeless when it comes to applying actual lip stick. COVERGIRL's new ShineSculpt applicator takes the guess work out of application, hugging "the contours of your lips, while

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  • Good enough for Greenland? Good enough for me!

    Perfect timing, Shine
    Our sample of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream could not have arrived at a better time. I had just run out of my old standby. The windchill in Boston was below zero, meanwhile the heat in our office was cranked to sub-tropical. And my puppy needed to go out for a walk.

    This time of year, it seems like staying hydrated could be a full-time job. We wrap ourselves head-to-toe to combat the biting cold, and once we're safely indoors and un-bundled, we wage war with the dry air from our heating systems. What's a girl to do to get a little peace (and moisture) around here?

    Kiehl's, a long time favorite of mine (I especially love their Lip Balm #1), is known for their no-nonsense packaging (very old school apothecary) and quality, natural ingredients. They don't need to test their products on animals when they can test them on a team of explorers, more specifically, the first six people to ever ascend Greenland's ice covered peaks (hence the map of Greenland on the

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  • The secret to a bodacious blow-out: Lighten up on your products!

    It seems like every month at least one magazine on the newsstand promises us the holy grail of hair: the perfect at home blowout. I can iron my hair into submission, but when I'm trying to achieve something with a bit more volume and drama, I can't tell you how often my "do it yourself" blowouts fall flat. I can tell you, however, that the source of my trouble is most likely product-related. Really, it has nothing to do with me...

    We often use the wrong products at the wrong times, or too much of a good product… which can indeed, be a bad thing. We might round brush with the best of intentions, and flip our heads over till we're about to topple. We tease and lift our roots. …but if we've loaded up our locks with gels and serums, we're fighting a losing battle. These products often weigh down the hair shaft, undoing any volumizing efforts we've made. For a bombshell blowout, you must lighten your load and focus on products that deliver the look you're hoping to achieve.


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  • A gripping read: Say You're One of Them

    It took me but a weekend to read Say You're One of Them, a collection of stories written by Uwem Akpan, S.J., and featured as a Oprah's Book Club selection, but much longer to process. Working with children in urban schools, who are faced with myriad difficulties, it takes a lot to unnerve me. This haunting collection, however, left me rattled.

    Unlike many stories told by children, but written by adults, each of the stories in this collection feels authentic. Civil wars, child prostitution and enslavement, disease and bitter religious battles unfold before the reader. Shared from the viewpoint of children, these unspeakable realities feel at once accessible and unfathomable. "How could this be happening to a child?" I kept asking myself, and then, "How could this be happening at all?" Akpan's masterful ability to tell a story in a child's voice lends grit and gravity to storylines that are already quite gritty and grave.

    His ability to shape a character so

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