Wednesday, March 29th

March Badness

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.


Hey, guys. It’s the last week of March and then 2017 is 25% complete. Yes, life is flashing before our eyes. What are you doing even reading this? Live, damnit, LIVE! Go!

We’ve been so busy that I don’t know how I keep up with everything. You know those crazy weeks that are packed with random appointments, meetings, and events, that seem to happen on top of each other and then something breaks and you have to navigate all of it on top of your already busy job/home/family. That’s every single week for us.

Chris went to Tampa for a few days for work and Violet and I had some quality alone time. We played, snuggled, had a pizza date, and went to bed early. She loves her crib and happily burrows under her covers at night, grateful for the sleep after a long day. Same as me.

I had a SXSW Interactive badge and dabbled in the learning, networking, and random cool shit, burning out before Music this year. I had a fender bender with some construction debris lying in the middle of the road in the dark, stranding me without my car for about a week. And our refrigerator exhaled its final breath that week, too, leaving us desperately trying to salvage what we could in coolers for a couple days. But Violet and Chris bought a new fridge and celebrated with Pinkberry. All’s well that ends well.

Fridge shopping


I’ve been working nonstop for what feels like months. In addition to working a full time contract job, I have almost as many hours of much freelance work to do. Essentially I am working two full time jobs with none of the perks or vacation time. Working for yourself is a tough gig because you never know when you might run out of work. I’ve certainly known lean times, so I almost always say yes to new projects, even if my docket is full. I work all day and come home and work more. I love what I do but just wish I had more hours in the day.

Anyway, I still manage to find time to decompress with some Netflix. I was so happy that Love returned for a second season! I met Paul Rust around this time last year and told him how much I love the show. The second season differed from the first in that it felt like a series of relationship moments and the season didn’t push forward toward a big conclusion. For 12 episodes it meandered and where we ended felt less important that how Gus and Mickey were evolving together. Both characters came more into who they are and Gus especially became more multifaceted. But I think my favorite character might be Berdie. More Berdie in Season 3!

Love, Season 2 on Netflix

Berdie on Love

I had some friends feel differently, but I really enjoyed Santa Clarita Diet. It has a campy and theatrical quality reminiscent of Desperate Housewives and some recognizable desperate faces, too. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant are great together and I especially love him doing comedy. Creator Victor Fresco did another show I really liked, Better Off Ted. 


It’s been years since I’ve seen Superbad, so revisiting it last month was fun. I’d forgotten so much of it, so it was like new to me. I’m a fan of the one-crazy-night genre and this one totally holds up.


The low point of my streaming month had to be Amy Schumer: The Leather Special. I like Amy Schumer, but this was sloppy and lazy, relying on raunch with very little cleverness. She’s too smart for that. And so am I.

Amy Schumer: The Leather Special

Next month Netflix will transition from the 5-star rating system to thumbs-up/thumbs-down. Not sure what I think about that, but I trust they know what they’re doing.

What have you been watching? What should I add to my list?

Thursday, July 30th

The Natural Beauty Solution

I confess, I’m a beauty product junkie. I never met a lotion, lipgloss, or cleanser that I didn’t love. I’ve amassed an enormous collection of products and samples over the years. I’ll go through phases of trying new things and just trying to put a dent in my stash, but more often than not I defer to my favorites. And my favorites tend to be simple, a gentle face wash, lip balms from Whole Foods, clean astringents, and unscented washes and sunscreens. I guess the moral of the story is simpler is better.

The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

It’s so hot in Austin right now that makeup and hair have to be minimal and with a baby on the way, I’m looking to simplify my routine even more. Nothing looks more youthful than a healthy glow and the best way to achieve that is to use ingredients from the earth.

Enter The Natural Beauty Solution, a brand new book from author and blogger Mary Helen Leonard. The book aims to help readers “break free from commercial beauty products using simple recipes and natural ingredients.” Broken down into face, body, and hair, there’s also a guide on stocking your pantry with ingredients. For a total newbie like me, it’s especially helpful to have tips on techniques and the important differences between organic, food grade, cosmetic grade, and industrial grade ingredients.

The book is a visual dream with lush photos of fresh salts, nuts, bright fruits, and creamy emollients that will make you want to create every single recipe. My own beauty needs drove me straight into the arms of a brightening, freshening, exfoliating alfa hydroxy facial.

Alpha Hydroxy Facial from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

My facial therapies of choice always tend toward the acidic and what better way to get the benefits of alpha hydroxy and lactic acids than through organic berries and yogurt? Add in the detoxifying properties of kaolin clay and you’ve got a luxurious mask that’s only a step away from breakfast.

I like that so many of these recipes are just slight variations of what we put in our bodies. We focus so much on promoting health through diet and nutrition, why should the outside of our bodies be any different?

Coconut Milk Wash from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

I’ll continue to work my way through the recipes, saving the final frontier—the hair—for last. Mary Helen documented her own “no-poo” journey years ago and has reaped the benefits. She admits to an adjustment period and I’m sure my own curls and tangles will be quite the challenge for a while. So I’ll wait till the time is right to tackle that last hurdle on my head.

Don’t miss out on this incredibly beautiful and well-written book. You can order right from Mary Helen’s shop or from Amazon. And follow The Natural Beauty Solution on Instagram for book news and beautiful photos from fans around the world.

Monday, December 15th

Ann Webb Clinicals

Ann Webb Skin Clinic might be Austin’s best kept beauty secret. Those in the know have been visiting the huge spa in North Austin for the best prices on treatments from facials and massages, to injectables and lasers.

I’ve been a client for a while, so when I was invited to come in and check out Ann’s new clinical line of products, I jumped at the chance. My good friend and girly partner in crime, Melissa Lombard, accompanied me for complimentary facials and a tour of the new product line. (You may remember Melissa and I reviewed some Mineral Fusion products in the past, too.)

First, the facials were phenomenal. Ann Webb Skin Clinic uses a gentler technique. No hot steam blowing at your face, rather hot towels are places as compresses throughout. Many of the products used come from nature, so aromas of mint, pumpkin, citrus, and lots of other good stuff punctuate the relaxing sessions. Melissa and I each left with a four-step routine to try out at home. I took a morning routine, Melissa, evening.

Ann Webb Skin Clinicals
Kristin’s Morning Routine | Cleansing Milk ($14) | The Mist ($16) | Day Moisture ($26) | Eye Bright ($30) | The Balm ($12)

I love a good cleanser and appreciate the classics. Cetaphil and Origins Checks & Balances have long been staples in my arsenal, and now Ann Webb’s Cleansing Milk joins their ranks, the light, pleasant scent and thick creamy texture brings me right back to the spa. It’s incredibly luxurious and moisturizing and a huge value at the price. For my skin, this is a little rich for daily use, so I’m reserving it for times when I need a little extra moisture.

The Mist is exactly like it sounds, a refreshing mist that offers a cooling burst of orange-scenting moisture. I love it for setting my makeup and also a quick spritz before bed. This would be good all day, actually.

If I had to pick one superstar of the lineup, Day Moisture is it. It’s light, absorbs quickly, and lasts all day. Notes of orange and mint are pleasant and fade quickly. It feels like there’s nothing on the skin, but that you’re in perfect balance, the way nature intended.

The Eye Bright serves as not only a protectant, but a luminizing brightener. A little zinc and titanium boost your natural glow and are a nice addition to the cheekbones, forehead, and anywhere you want a little brightness. The Balm, which is a nice fat stick of moisture can serve double-duty under the eyes, on the lips, the elbows, or any dry spot. It gives thick, lasting coverage and is a nice smell and texture.

Ann Webb Clinicals

Melissa’s Evening Routine | Cleansing Scrub ($18) | The Toner ($16) | Enzyme Peel ($28) | Night Moisture ($38)

True confession. My nightly beauty routine occasionally, often, almost always involves a warm washcloth and some face soap procured from Target. The selection criteria? What’s on sale? Okay, if I’m being totally honest, if I find myself drifting off on the couch after The Blacklist, I have been known to skip the washcloth and soap and head straight for the pillow.

Clearly, I am not the ideal candidate for a multistep beauty regimen. But after the facial and product demonstration at Ann Webb Skin Clinic I left the spa with a commitment to an evening routine and to take better care of my skin.

Gotta say, I am a total convert! I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t take time. But it’s just been a matter of creating a routine. Here’s mine: Apply the Cleansing Scrub and then chill out or 20 minutes or so. Did you know you were supposed to leave cleanser on for a while before rinsing it off? I had no clue. Next, I apply The Toner with a cotton pad. I haven’t used toner since the Sea Breeze days of my early 20’s when I assumed the burning meant it was working. Apparently, astringents aren’t so great for your face. Oops! Next up, I do the Enzyme Peel (usually an every other night thing). I let that sit on my face for at least 20 minutes, though longer is even better. Next up is my favorite product, Night Moisture. This product is fabulous! Extremely moisturizing, but not at all sticky or heavy feeling. I finish up with The Balm—generally on my lips and around my eyes—for a little extra moisture. This little stick is very versatile and I’ve used it on rough elbows and to soften my cuticles.

As someone who appreciates value, I was pleasantly surprised to learn just how affordable the Ann Webb products are. And a little goes a long way, meaning your products are going to last much longer. All in all, I’m enjoying the products and the routine and look forward to checking out some of the other goodies from the new clinical collection.

Monday, July 21st

What It’s Like to Get Botox

So you’re curious about Botox. You’re afraid time will ravage your face and you will look like the Crypt Keeper by the time you are 35. I totally get it. 

Crypt Keeper

Several months ago I saw a Groupon-ish deal to get 20 units of Botox at a discount. I wasn’t sure how much that was in relation to what a normal face needs. So I called the doctor’s office to see what they recommended. To get the full treatment in the forehead, a person uses around 40 units. I opted to just go for the 20 units. Because I don’t have the “elevens” between my eyebrows, I can get away with less.

I sat on the deal for months, intimidated. As the expiration date grew closer, I realized I needed to bite the bullet and make an appointment. When B-day arrived I woke up nervous and made my way to the office. The waiting room was full of plush furniture and there was a television looping a video promoting a fat-removing contouring treatment. There were also some signed celebrity photos and different surgery ads. Weird. Please excuse the stealthy iPhone photos.

Tyra Banks

Once inside the exam injection room, there were more surgery ads and to my delight, a Nip Tuck poster. And implants!

Nip Tuck

Breast Implants

Breast Implants

Soon, the child young girl came in with the needle. It was small and was going to be stabbed in five places: One in the center of my temple, and two above each eyebrow. I tried not to wince as each injection went in and asked what age it’s recommended to start Botox. 22! Well, I missed the deadline on that one. But it’s a preventive treatment so earlier is better than later.

Botox needle

How bad did it hurt? Enough that I had to sit for a few moments afterwards, woozy and weak. But not enough that I wouldn’t do it again, if the circumstances and price were right.

I took before and after photos, but they don’t really look that different. I would have been better off recording short before and after videos so that you could see how I couldn’t move my eyebrows much afterwards. It took a couple days, but indeed my forehead felt paralyzed.

Another thing to note is the tipping. In a clinical setting, tipping can seem out of place so I asked and was told it was acceptable but not expected. (I chose to tip because I felt embarrassed about feeling faint and having to stay and ask for water. I’d base future tipping decisions on each situation.)

This experience taught me that I’m not going to take extraordinary measures to preserve my youth. No fillers and definitely no surgery. I’m not comfortably with being “sold to” in a doctor’s office or taking large unnecessary risks with my health, nor am I interested in spending thousands of dollars this way. No judgement to those who do, it’s just not for me.

Have you tried (or are you interested in trying) Botox? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 16th

The Spa Buzz

The Spa Buzz is a company focused on the professional growth and networking of spa professionals and they throw events all around the country. While I’m not a spa professional, I was thrilled to be invited to their recent Austin event, where I’d learn about the newest, cutting edge products and maybe even get to sample a few myself.

The day started with mingling over breakfast while we each built a personal schedule of mini appointments with the vendors. Now, I’ve had my share of massages and facials, but I’m no expert. So I scanned the list and picked a few things that were completely foreign to me.


The most foreign was NuFACE, who makes a handheld device that delivers a microcurrent to lift and tighten the face. They slathered my face with gel and spent about five minutes working on the half of my face. It didn’t hurt at all, but I was aware of an electrical sensation and my face reddened and felt warm. When I compared the two sides of my face, indeed, the treated side looked revitalized and lifted. They went ahead and did the other side of my face so I wasn’t uneven, and I learned that they suggest you use it five times a week for 90 days, and then occasionally as needed. At $350, it’ll be a little while before I pick one up, but…yes. I want this.

Spa Ritual

I was also really impressed with Spa Ritual, whose philosophy of “slow beauty” is about feeling good in your skin at any age. The vegan line has some of the most fun nail polish colors I’ve ever seen and I was lucky enough to get to take a few home. The coolest one is Lighthouse Top Effect, which turns any manicure glow in the dark. It charges all day and glows all night. It is incredibly bright! I also took home some Chinese Jasmine lotion and bath salts.

Lira Clinical

I had a full facial and light peel with Lira Clinical products. Ah, it was so relaxing and I walked away glowing. The extensive brand has lines for all global skin types and complete customization. Whatever the problem is, they have a fix. I love retinols, vitamin C, and good protection. I took home a plant stem cell physical sunscreen that I’m pretty psyched to try, as well as a body scrub and silk soufflé.

I picked up a trend forecast from Spafinder and was excited to see natural brands taking advantage of apps/social media and hot springs making a comeback. Spas are looking to branch out into the transition markets to help people going through divorce, job loss, even death. I’m on board with the idea of some pampering to get through life’s rough times.

Some other brands I learned about:

MedSkin Solutions. The scientific brand makes high quality eye masks that provide immediate, visible results. I wore one for about 20 minutes and I looked refreshed and brighter. I’d love a stash of these for when I’m tired.

Cosmedix. Another science-backed line, I tried some serums and reparative eye creams. They have a deep background in corrective products and sell convenient kits indicated for a variety of concerns.

B. Kamins. The Canadian brand uses a Bio-Maple compound derived, in part, from actual maple trees. The high quality products are gentle and packaged more for the consumer eye, ie, less clinical than other lines.

PINO. I took home an Orange Lemongrass massage candle and the smell is bold and invigorating. The full line of spa products have the best scents and are natural and luxurious.

I’ll be counting down the days till my next spa encounter. And now that I’m better informed, I can try new things and stay on trend with the latest and best services.

Monday, March 31st

Mineral Fusion: Product Review

Recently I was invited by Whole Foods to check out one of the lines in their Whole Body department. Fellow blogger and friend Melissa Lombard joined me and we made a day of it, enjoying a sushi lunch and chatting under a shaded picnic table outside. Then we walked around the store to see all the latest renovations to the Gateway store. Is it just me or do the Whole Foods stores in Austin keep getting better and better?

Next, we learned all about Mineral Fusion. I’m a product junkie and loooove trying new things. But I’m a little afraid of the hippy-dippy stuff. After all, I’m a modern girl and can’t walk around smelling like patchouli. Let me assure you that this line is modern, high quality, and smells good. It’s all vegetarian (most products are vegan, actually) cruelty-free, gluten-free, and contains no artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.

So after using the products for more than a week, here’s the takeaway.

Mineral Fusion Purifying Gel Facial Cleanser










Purifying Gel Facial Cleanser

Kristin’s take: It leaves skin so squeaky clean that I think it might be a tad harsh for me to use everyday right now. Once the hottest months are upon us, this will be my first choice for removing sweat, dirt, and sunscreen. Bonus, it lathers up nicely and is ideal to use with my Clarisonic.

Melissa’s take: Two thumbs way up from me. Works great and smells fab!

Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation










Pressed Powder Foundation

Kristin’s take: I gave up liquid foundation years ago and have been a loyal BareMinerals user ever since. I was skeptical of using a pressed rather than loose powder, but I couldn’t resist buying a compact to try out when I sampled a shade that was a perfect match. The triple-milled powder is so light and buildable and best of all, doesn’t seem to settle in to lines or pores. I am officially a convert. It’s priced better than BareMinerals, too. I am thrilled. I’ve found that the Hydration Mist sets it really well and helps it last all day.

Melissa’s take: Just brushed some on over the BB cream one day to make sure the color was good. I find powders to be drying, so it will be best in the humid summer.

Mineral Fusion Beauty Balm BB Cream










BB Cream

Kristin’s take: I tried the Perfecting Beauty Balm which provides a sheer, satiny finish. I’ll use this all the time for quick looks when I don’t want to apply full makeup. I’m grateful for the SPF, although I wish it was higher than 9 since I burn easily. I love how moisturizing it is.

Melissa’s take: The Illuminating BB cream is pretty much awesome. Super moisturizing and just the right amount of coverage. Like a BB cream promises to be. Not sure about you, but I’ve been disappointed before. Mineral Fusion makes good on their promise.

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish and Remover

Kristin’s take: I couldn’t find my colors on the website to show you, but I tried two shades, Slate (a sophisticated gray) and a Lagoon (a bright blue green) and liked them both. The polish is high quality and therefore a bit on the pricey side for smallish bottles. The formaldehyde-free formula is as long-lasting as good polishes normally are. (I’m kind of a fast manicure wrecker with all the typing, cooking, dishwashing, etc, in my life.) The remover is dynamite. Smells amazing and feels less destructive than regular remover.

Melissa’s take: I put the little pink polish on my toes and I really like it. But I did one nail of the Slate color, just to try it and feel like you’d need at least two coats. But it looked nice. I have never looked forward to removing my polish. I either bust out the “good stuff” and get ‘er done or I grab 27 cotton balls and the “gentle stuff” and spent the next 17 minutes working on that one coat of pale pink that just won’t go away. When I heard about Mineral Fusion’s remover, I was skeptical. It’s either great OR it smells like fruit. No way can it be both. Wrong! I was wrong! This stuff is ridiculously amazing. It smells great, it’s nourishing, it doesn’t leave my nails brittle and it works better than the toxic crap. Yeah, I said it. Better!

Mineral Fusion Beauty Balms for Hair










Shampoo, Conditioner and Beauty Balms for Hair

Kristin’s take: My curly hair tends to be dry and tangles very easily. The Hair Repair Shampoo and Conditioner was up to the task and left my hair feeling clean and soft. There’s little scent to the products but I’m okay with that. The Curl Care Beauty Balm is a lightweight leave-in that define curls and reduces frizz. It’s softer and more subtle than the salon products I normally use and I like it. I won’t abandon my current products, but I will happily add these to the roster.

Melissa’s take: I am the gal who thinks that shampoos and conditioners are pretty much all the same. Do I want a product that is gentle, not tested on animals, and safe for the environment? Sure. Do I want it to leave my hair clean, shiny, full of body, touchable soft and so damn silky people come up to me on the street asking to touch it or photograph it? Damn straight. (I might be asking too much.) I’ve been using Mineral Fusion shampoo and conditioner, along with the beauty balm for hair, all in “Vibrant Shine” and I have to say, I’m a total convert. This stuff meets all the above criteria and it’s super affordable!  To be fair, no one has photographed it yet, but I think they want to. And I can’t stop touching it, so there you go.

Have you tried any Mineral Fusion products? If you are in Austin and want to check them out, you have till May 18th to take advantage of the Whole Foods roadshow discount of 30%.

  • March 21- April 6th at Whole Foods Market Gateway, 9607 Research Blvd
  • April 11th-27th at Whole Foods Market Domain, 11920 Domain Drive
  • May 2nd-18th at Whole Foods Market Downtown, 525 North Lamar Blvd

Disclaimer: I received several products free of charge but was not compensated for this post. Opinions are my own.

Friday, June 28th

Jurlique Product Review

From time to time Jurlique sends me a lovely box of products to try out and review. I’m not compensated in any way other than the free products and my opinions are my own. I’ve been using these products for a couple months so that I could give a fair assessment.

Jurlique Review Herbal Recovery Gel

The Herbal Recovery Gel is a smooth, light serum. Cool and slippery, it absorbs easily. The pleasant floral scent dissipates quickly leaving skin feeling clean, nourished and balanced. I like this product so much that it will permanently replace my old serum. It’s a luxury product at $140, although they offer a smaller size for $50.

Jurlique Review Purely Bright Day Moisturizer

Purely Bright Day Moisturizer is for everyday use and should lighten dark spots if used for an extended period of time. I didn’t notice any lightening effects, but really enjoy this lotion. I wish it had an SPF, so I could use it all summer long. The lightweight, non-greasy formula is $48.

Jurlique Review Purely Bright Night Moisturizer

The counterpart for evening is the Purely Bright Night Moisturizer. Overnight moisturizers can be too heavy for me. It’s important to hydrate at night, but there’s nothing worse than waking up with an oily face. This is light enough for me to tolerate, and that might be partly due to method of application. For all of Jurlique’s moisturizers, they recommend warming a small amount of  products between your fingers and lightly pressing it into the skin. It’s a technique that I’ve come to love. Not only is it gentle, but it stretches your precious product. At $52, I’d like this one to last.

Jurlique Review Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Gel Mask

I’m a sucker for masks. It’s the perfect way to de-stress and feel a little pampered at home. The Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Gel Mask is a clear, light gel that gives a nice hydration boost. It gives a bit of a cooling sensation, and of all the products in this review, this feels the most spa-like to me. $48 buys a large tube that will last a very long time, even with frequent use.

Jurlique Review Purely Age-Defying Ultra Firm and Life Cream

The Purely Age-Defying Ultra Firm and Lift Cream is supposed to provide noticeable resulting in tightness and line reduction right away. I can tell you when I use it I feel firmer. I don’t know if I’m quite old enough for this product just yet, although it’s very nice. The jar is heavy glass and it feels and smells expensive. Firming products can cost a fortune, so I think the $70 for this one is actually a bargain. A little goes a long way and this far will last forever.

I’m a big fan of Jurlique’s extensive line. The luxury products are packaged simply and I appreciate the metal tubes that don’t allow air to contaminate the products. Do you have any favorite Jurlique products?

Wednesday, May 29th

Mad Betty Meets Urban Betty

Urban Betty Salon, Austin TX

I was invited to check out Urban Betty last week and aside from desperately needing some highlights and a haircut, I was happy to patronize a fellow Betty. Bettys need to stick together, right?

Located in the little hideaway mall on 38th Street, the salon is nestled in the back corner of some cutesy boutiques. For my next appointment I’ll allow extra time to wander around and check out the surroundings. But on this visit, I had one mission: beautify!

Urban Betty Salon Austin, TX

Upon entering I noticed that the name is a bit of a misnomer in a decor sense. I expected a cold, austere vibe. Maybe a little too cool for school in the way that salons can be sometimes. Instead, what I found was a colorful, welcoming, warmth that felt like home. And perhaps that’s what urban really feels like. Austin urban.

Urban Betty Salon Austin, TX

Urban Betty Salon, Austin TX

The waiting area looked cozy, but I was whisked away before I even had a chance to sit down. Tara brought me to her chair and I settled in with my coffee. We talked about what I had been doing with my hair lately which entails hiding my burgeoning grays whites, conditioning it often and using a diffuser. Yes, dear readers, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m curly. Which means I’m special I have a harder life.

Justin Timberlake Curls

Tara took extra time giving me recommendations and listening to what I wanted. It’s a step that’s so important yet often skipped over. I felt completely comfortable with the plan and as Tara set to work I looked around and absorbed more of the decor. You guys, this place is so cute. There are cool little embellishments, a rotating art gallery, and a courtyard garden.

Vintage Hair Dryer

Gold Boot

Urban Betty Courtyard

It’s a lovely place to pass the time while you wait for your color to process. The end result was one of the best I’ve ever had. Tara blew it out straight (a real treat for a curly girl) and gave me tips for styling at home. We talked about the products that would work for me and some of the hottest new products on the market.

Bumble and Bumble

Tara kept a record of what she did, so when I go back next time there will be no trying to guess at matching my colors. I looked at the pile of curls on the floor and felt not a drop of remorse and my new, shorter length. I felt light, bouncy and like a new woman.

If you’re looking to refresh your look, let me recommend Tara and Urban Betty Salon.

Tara Songey

Monday, December 17th

Holiday Gift Guide: NYC Edition

Okay, everyone. We’re in the home stretch. Christmas is right around the corner and from what I’ve gathered in the stores this weekend, the masses are still very much shopping. It’s not too late, peeps. Get out there and finish the job!

Today’s guest post is by Kar Yi Lim, one of my very favorite beauty bloggers. I stumbled upon her blog Angelic Betrayal when I was checking out a hot new beauty item, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Her honest reviews touch on the latest and greatest, while also covering the occasional classics. What I especially love is the range of products she discusses, giving drugstore brands as fair shot as the high end products. But it’s her smart writing and down to earth peek at her fabulous NYC life that keep me hooked on this young blogger’s site. So check it out, ladies. I know you’ll all love her, too.

Presenting the Angelic Betrayal Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers

In just a few days, Christmas will be upon us and the culmination of weeks of gift-finding fervor will end in a heap of new goodies for the New Year amid a flourish of festive wrappings. The holidays are one of the best times to shop for beauty products because limited edition bundles abound and often are a great value for the money. Besides, who doesn’t want to feel extra pretty and pampered this time of year? If you still have to find gifts for the beauty lovers in your life, here are some of my picks that will be great under the tree!

Holiday Beauty Picks

1. Sephora Favorites Fragrance Sampler For Her or Him ($50): Every year, Sephora releases a sampler of 12 mini fragrance samples so you can try out several high-end scents. The real kicker is that the set includes a voucher which you can use to redeem the full size bottle of your favorite in the collection. As bonuses, the women’s set includes a pink pouch, perfect for carrying your everyday essentials, and the men’s set includes a Jack Black shave gel.

2. Stila All is Bright Lip Glaze Set ($25): The Stila lip glazes are sheer, non-sticky lipglosses that younger girls will definitely adore. This set is great for stocking stuffers as you can pop a gloss into eight separate gifts. Or you can gift this entire set to a makeup beginner so they can have an entire range of shades for every occasion!

3. Lush Little Green Bag ($25.95): For any vegan beauty enthusiast, the Lush Little Green Bag is the way to go. It includes a soap, solid shampoo with storage tin, body scrub and massage bar all wrapped up in an eco-friendly scarf. Those new to Lush will experience a unique approach to effective body care – while doing good for the environment!

4. Inglot Freedom System Palette (Price Varies): An avid makeup junkie who loves color and highly pigmented eyeshadows, blushes, and lipsticks will love a customizable palette from Inglot. The pigmentation of Inglot products is incredible and the do-it-yourself approach results in an endless combination of palettes. Gifting an Inglot giftcard is probably the best way to ensure your recipient loves their palette 100%!

5. L’Occitane Savons de Provence ($25): Give the gift of simple bath time luxury with a collection of L’Occitane’s extra-gentle shea butter soaps. These French-made soaps come in a variety of lovely fragrances that will soothe irritation of the skin and mind.

6. Sephora by OPI Spice Market Collection ($19.50): Nail art has been a hit in the beauty world this year and this set of miniature polishes offers a unique variety of finishes and colors. Included is a fierce, cream orange, a shimmery red, a silver glitter and a duochrome gold to ensure whoever receives this gift has nails that are always on point. The consistency of Sephora by OPI polishes is always great and the small bottles are perfect for travel and touch-ups.

7. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Gel Mask ($48): After several consecutive nights of feasting and partying, tired skin will love a skincare treat and this mask is perfect for plumping and hydrating. When the holidays are over, this gift will be perfect for relaxing night at home due to its soothing, herbal fragrance and cooling gel texture. Beads of Vitamin E to reduce fine lines make this an ideal gift for a more mature recipient.

Friday, December 14th

Holiday Gift Guide: Hipstercrite Edition

Ho ho ho, all you Juggalos. There’s still over a week till Christmas, and if I know you guys, you haven’t started shopping yet. And for those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, well, you are almost done. Get busy!

Today’s gift guide is by Lauren Modery of Hipstercrite. Lauren is kind of an Austin Blogebrity. (Yeah, I totally made up that word. Don’t use it or I will sue you.) Her blog is wildly popular and as the name suggests, it often speaks to and about hipsters. But it’s also quite poignant and melancholy, as Lauren ponders her existence and a deeper meaning in her day to day life. She’s not afraid to anger her readers (election time) or break our hearts. She’s so much more than the word hipster implies, but at the very core of the word meaning is cool. And cool sums up Lauren to a tee.

Check out Lauren’s Hipstercrite Gift Guide

For the Hipster

Creative Scratchings hipster series- I first spotted these adorable scratch drawings while feeding my face-hole with benedicts from Another Broken Egg Cafe. Of course I fell in love with them because they’re a.) anthropomorphic animals and b.) they’re dressed like hipsters. The very talented Austin-based artist behind these prints, Janis, has several hipsterrific portraits to chose from, but my favorite is the stoic cat with his Texas tattoo and cycling cap. You don’t have to be a hipster or hate hipsters to appreciate the beautiful meta-irony of these. The Scoutmob Shoppe is currently offering select prints for $17.

Creative Scratchings

For the Austin Lover

Austin skyline necklace by Vinca- I love everything this local kick-ass jewelry maker does, but my favorite piece (beside the mustache rings!) is her wooden Austin skyline necklace. Every piece of jewelry, whether it’s acrylic, wood or precious metal, is designed and cut inside her shop with the help of an awesome team of ladies (Amber Demure!). Stay stylish while supporting local business! $38

Vinca Skyline

For the Music Lover

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon- You don’t have to be a fan of or necessarily known who Warren Zevon is to enjoy this nail-biting, wall-punching book. For those who know him, Zevon was a popular musician in the 70s with hits like “Werewolves of London” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money” before losing it all due to his hard partying, drinking, womanzing, wife-beating and child-abandoning ways. After decades of being a reclusive asshole, just as Zevon tried to make amends, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. This harrowing book, written by Zevon’s ex-wife by the request of Warren, is a must-read for any rock n’ roll fan or aspiring musician. $15.99

Warren Zevon

For the Girly-Girl

Benefit “Sexy Little Stowaways” makeup kit- I’m a sucker for beautiful branding, and eye candy packaging is what Benefit cosmetics is known for. Luckily they have quality products to back up the style. I’ve been a big fan of the San Francisco-based makeup producer ever since I tried their now sadly discontinued She-Laq eye makeup sealant. It’s difficult to buy just one item, and with prices averaging in the low twenty dollar range, their products can quickly add up. That’s why their “Sexy Little Stowaway” set is the perfect gift for converting your girlfriend to a Benefit groupie. At $34, this collection of travel-size samples includes popular products such as Bad Girl Lash mascara, Cha Cha Tint mango-tinted lip and cheek stain and That Gal face brightening primer.