Beauty + Style

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a lipstick person. It has always been the one cosmetic that I’ve shied away from, and even in recent years (when I’ve become admittedly more into makeup), it has been a struggle to find anything that a) I like, b) is comfortable to wear, and c) actually stays on my mouth.

So, when I tell you that I like these four lipsticks, you should know that years of searching have gone into finding them. Respect.

I don’t wear lipstick every day, or even every week, but here are the shades I find myself reaching for whenever I do want to look a little more put-together.

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My nude lip….Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Twig.

Remember when I said I don’t wear lipstick every day? This is the one exception. I haven’t tried Beautycounter’s other lip sheers, but if the Twig shade is any indication, they are perfection. Creamy, moisturizing, and with build-able color that looks as great as it feels.

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My pink lip…Marc Jacobs Le Marc Creme Lipsticks in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

I got this lipstick as a free gift from Sephora, and I was immediately in love with it. The texture is really nice and not drying at all, and the color is bright but still pretty universally flattering. I wear it a lot more in warmer weather, but it’s a good semi-neutral pop to have in my back pocket. (LITERALLY.)(Not literally, it would probably melt.)

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My mauve lip…Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Sultry Mauve.

Despite what the name implies, you do not immediately turn into a sexpot when you put this lipstick on. I actually find it to be really subtle, almost like a brighter version of my natural lip color. Great for almost every season, this is the anti-lipstick girl’s answer to bolder purple-y hues.

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My red lip…Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery Red.

True life: I have always been deeply intimidated by red lipstick. It always looks so great on other people, but on me, I always felt like it to too loud, too pink, too orange, too…something. So I resigned myself to a life of neutrals (and secret lipstick envy of my braver friends). And then I got this version (again, in a trial set from Sephora). You guys. It is actually a true red, not too anything, and it somehow looks exactly right with my super pale skin. My favorite thing about it is that I barely have to wear any other makeup and my whole face looks brighter and more pulled together. Efficiency!

Of course, there’s one thing that helps every one of these looks (and really, any lipstick) look even better: white teeth. I’m fortunate that my teeth are naturally pretty white, but as a coffee addict drinker, I had definitely noticed that my chompers were looking a little worse for the wear. My dentist confirmed that my teeth were healthy, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t use a little boost.

So I was pretty excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me about doing a blog partnership. Their teeth whitening kit is different from other strips and pastes I had tried in the past because they create custom whitening trays exactly fitted to your smile. Here’s how it works:

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First, Smile Brilliant sends you a kit to create your custom trays. It seems a little intimidating, but all you have to do is mix two putties together, put them in the blue trays, and then bite down for a minute.

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Next, after letting the trays dry overnight, you mail them in a pre-paid envelope back to Smile Brilliant for them to create your teeth whitening trays. The custom whitening trays will arrive about a week later.

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Then you’re ready to start whitening! The process has two steps, whitening and desensitizing. The length of time you spend whitening will depend on your own sensitivity, but I typically left my teeth whitening gel on for 50 minutes to an hour (AKA, the length of a TV show on Netflix). Then, the desensitizing gel goes on for 15-20 minutes, and I found that it really helped with tooth sensitivity. You can view a really simple how-to video by another blogger here, and here are some things to know before you whiten.

It will take 7-10 treatments to see full results, but I noticed my teeth started looking significantly whiter after the third treatment. I really liked how the trays were custom fit to my teeth, so there was no sliding and the treatment gel stayed right on the surface of my teeth. They were very comfortable, so I didn’t even mind wearing them for an hour. It was a little hard to capture the change in a photo, but my teeth are at least a shade or two whiter (before on the left):

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PLUS, Smile Brilliant is hosting a giveaway where you can win your own whitening tray creation kit and whitening/desensitizing gels! Click here to enter. But if you just can’t wait, you can also use the code stopmeifyouveheardthisone to get 5% off a kit at Smile Brilliant’s website — easy-peasy. Happy whitening!

Whitening kit provided as part of a partnership with Smile Brilliant. Opinions my own.


Professional Teeth Whitening

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Time seems to go infinitely faster once you have a baby. Everyone tells you this, but it’s a hard thing to believe or even really imagine until you’re in the thick of it.

As a perpetual planner, I probably make it worse by always thinking about what’s next — where we’ll go, what we’ll do. I’m not the best at being in the moment.

Joey is not like me. He’s so much better than I am at being content and enjoying the moment he’s in. He’s always telling me to savor and worry about what’s next when it happens.

Sometimes it drives me crazy…but mostly because I know he’s usually right.

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I actually gave Joey a watch on our wedding day. He had always told me about a watch he had growing up that told him the ocean tides (he grew up surfing), but it had broken. I came across a newer version when hunting for the perfect gift and immediately knew it was what I would give him. That was over five years ago, and, until recently, it was still the only watch I ever saw him wear.

So when JORD reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in featuring another watch from the company, I knew immediately who I wanted to get it for.
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Joey had always liked my JORD watch, and I was so excited to get him one of his own. And as soon as I saw the DOVER Koa & Black style, I knew we had a winner. I still catch Joey admiring the visible gears as they click around, tracking the time.

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Joey and I may not always be on the same time scale, but there’s no one I’d rather spend my time with. I’m so grateful to have him by my side, passing the time and reminding me to enjoy every moment of this crazy adventure we’re on as parents.

Love Joey’s watch? Then I’ve got good news! JORD is doing another watch credit giveaway. Click here to enter for the chance to win a $75 voucher — even if you don’t win, you’ll still get a $20 credit. Then start picking out your watch here.
Luxury Wood Watch

*Moccasins provided by Minimoc. Review 100% my own.

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Everyone tells you to enjoy the first few months of your baby’s life. Not just because the newborn stage is so fleeting. Not just because it’s so easy to get frustrated and take that whole time for granted.

It’s also because, well, that is the last time you won’t spend most of your day chasing the little stinker around.

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I distinctly remember the first few days after Vivi learned how to crawl. For the first time, I realized I couldn’t simply lay her on the floor on her activity mat for a couple minutes while I went to pee. No, going to the bathroom was officially a group activity. Now the baby who I set in one place would (quickly) relocate herself to somewhere else, grinning to herself all the while about what a hot shot she was.

Things didn’t slow down when she started taking real steps.

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Now, it seems like Vivi is everywhere — and fast. She can walk and climb and gets into everything. And while, yes, it is more tiring and it does sometimes make me long for those early days of wriggling around on activity mats, it’s also pretty amazing watching her turn into this person with her own agenda.

But you’re not just here for nostalgia about Vivian. We also need to talk about something important: shoes.

From the very beginning, Vivi has not been a fan of shoes. I could usually get her to keep socks on, but tights were the only way to be certain her toes would stay covered. And the only shoes she would tolerate were the fake ones stitched on to the ends of tights.

But now that she’s actually walking, I want to protect her bare piggies from the ground and give her a bit more grip on our tile floors than socks will allow.

I’ve tried a variety of soft, moccasin-style shoes from major retailers, but I’ve been wildly unimpressed. They are typically stiff, and as difficult as they are to get on Vivi’s feet (and it is so, SO difficult), she was usually able to rip or wriggle them off within minutes. (Cue my extreme phobia of losing a shoe somewhere in NYC. Those things are not cheap, you guys.)

But thank goodness for good friends, right? My friend Haley, of Beluga Baby fame, always seems to know the best baby product makers. She has been telling me about Minimoc moccasins for months, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally started listening. (I don’t know why I resisted so long, Haley! Never again!)

And, you guys? They. Are. The. Best.

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From the moment I opened the little shoe box, I actually said out loud “oooh!” The leather is so soft, and Vivi’s rose gold mocs were such a pretty, new penny color I couldn’t stop staring at them.

Then I actually put them on her feet. And I waited. And waited. And she waltzed around like she owned the joint without even attempting to pull them off.
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That? That is downright miraculous.

Suffice to say, I’ve already picked out her next pair.

I mean, I know I’m going to spend the next 18 years chasing her around…shouldn’t she at least have comfy, protected feet while I’m doing it?

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*Vivi’s Joyful Thread leggings were provided for this review; opinions 100% my own.

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A friend of mine and I were recently discussing how everything about air travel is bonkers.

I mean, I recommend not thinking about it too hard, but…you’re flying through the air. In a hunk of metal. Because of air. And gasoline. Because THAT makes sense. I’m a mostly not-nervous flier (okay, maybe a teense bit), but there will always be aspects to the whole charade that I can’t wrap my head around.

You know what else seems like it just shouldn’t work? Taking a baby on that plane with you.

I’m kind of kidding. But, let’s be real: Childless passengers aren’t the only ones who take a deep breath when a baby is carried on board. So when we planned a trip to Florida to visit my parents last month, I was a little apprehensive how it would go.

Vivi has flown before. She has actually flown quite a bit for someone who has fewer than four teeth. She has even done longer flights than this, making it all the way to the Pacific Northwest and back. What she hasn’t done? Flown since she has started crawling and walking.

As we planned our trip and I began my famous packing lists (seriously, these things are intense), I struggled to remain optimistic about our chances of touching down without a meltdown. Fortunately, I thought ahead and asked for plenty of advice from fellow parents. Here are my top five tips for a successful plane ride with a baby, garnered from research and crowdsourcing all my friends. Enjoy!

1. Keep those ears clear.

Most babies will be their fussiest during take-off and landing because of the change in pressure. Ideally, you could nurse or give them a bottle to encourage sucking (and therefore ear-clearing), but most airlines insist that you hold the baby over your shoulder during take-offs and landings.

Side note: Every airline I’ve flown has told me a different way of holding my baby is “the safest way,” but all of them insist the baby be unharnessed (unless she’s in a car seat) in some way. This makes no sense to me, so I would usually clip Vivi into some kind of carrier as soon as the flight attendant was out of sight. Any former flight attendants out there who know why they recommend a loosened baby? I’m genuinely curious.

Regardless of how your baby sits, though, do what you can to encourage swallowing and sucking to keep the pressure from building up. A pacifier, snacks, and even just tapping your baby’s tongue periodically can be a big help. A trip to the pediatrician before a long flight can also be helpful if your baby tends to experience ear aches or sinus issues, just to fend off any problems.

Clearly enjoying the in-flight entertainment.

Clearly enjoying the in-flight entertainment.

2. Bring snacks.

Listen, I’m not encouraging eating your feelings. But I AM saying that a handful of puffs or a squeezy pack can be just the ticket to curb a total over-tired tantrum at 40,000 feet. You may recall that this was also one of my recommendations for road trips, and that’s just because a full baby is generally a more happy baby. My daughter is also a seagull, so even if we ran out of planned baby snacks, it was usually easy to distract her with a nibble of whatever we happened to be eating.

One thing to keep in mind: Babies tummies can get upset by the pressure changes just like yours can, so avoid anything with too much fiber or something your baby has never eaten before. The last thing you need is a diaper blowout during the beverage service.

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3. Burn before you board.

Now that Vivi is much more mobile, nothing drives her crazier than being forced to sit still. But when you’ve got about eight inches of leg room (and you’re sharing it with a stranger), there isn’t a lot of space for an almost-toddler to play. On our flight to Florida, we actually ended up having an empty seat next to us (helpful for letting Vivi get some standing time in and distracting her with the window), but even then, I didn’t like to leave her unstrapped for very long.

To fend off the ants in the pants, we got her moving as much as possible before we left for the airport and then as we waited in the terminal. She loved crawling over the arm rests on an empty bench as she watched the planes come in and out through the big windows, and we were fortunate that she slept the whole first hour of the flight.

4. Create a cozy sleeping space.

Obviously, you’re most-likely not going to have an actual bed on board with you. Unless you’re a millionaire. Or have one of these. (Has anyone ever actually tried that thing? Vivi’s too big for it now, but it seems sort of genius if you have a window seat.) What is much more plausible? Wearing that baby. Y’all know my love for the Beluga Wrap (also, squeee for week-old Vivi in those photos!!!). Vivi is about 20 pounds, so we can still use ours for walking around, but it’s even more helpful when I’m trying to get her to sleep in a new place. She just can’t resist that snuggly bamboo cotton!

I’ll typically wear the wrap from the moment I get through the security screening since it almost looks like a shirt when it’s tied on. From there, I can simply pop Viv in and out as needed, and I’m comfortable either way. Plus, Haley has even more colors since I last wrote about these wraps — including an extremely scrumptious forest green that has me wanting to get pregnant again just so I have an excuse to buy it. (KIDDING, JOEY.) Haley is even sharing another coupon code with you guys: Use “JUSTINE” for $10 off! (And remember, the site’s prices are in Canadian dollars, so the wraps are actually more like $55 for my American readers.)

5. And at all costs, keep that baby comfy!

This is not the time to dress your baby is fussy layers or excessive accessories. A baby will scream over a single scratchy tag, after all. My go-to? The BEYOND soft and comfortable baby leggings from Custom Threads. These suckers are stretchy, breathable, and custom-made from a variety of fabrics according to preference. They even have a Mommy + Me version so you can get in on the coziness. (Because moms hate scratchy tags too, right?)

I dressed Vivi in a onesie, her pants, and a pair of socks (since she would be walking over heavily-tread carpets, after all), and she didn’t fuss or pull at her outfit once. The leggings are also great for sleeping, so I can sub them for a full set of jammies while the weather is still warm. Plus, how cute is that pattern? Owner Emily is really helpful when it comes to finding the pattern you prefer, and she has tons of choices.

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So there you have it! What are your tips for flying with a baby?

I want to be upfront about something: When crop tops came back as a thing, I was not pleased.

I was already well into my mid-twenties, meaning I was (in my opinion) about half a decade too old to bare my belly anywhere but at the pool.

I know that sounds ageist. And maybe it is. But, to be real, I was mostly just uncomfortable with the idea of anyone walking around with their belly out. THIS ISN’T A CHRISTINA AGUILERA VIDEO CIRCA 1999.

But then…then I saw a reality show where a woman wore a crop top with a high-waisted full skirt. And DANG if I didn’t think it was the cutest thing I had ever seen — even if I could see her belly button.

What I’m saying is, I’ve come around a bit to the idea. I guess. I’m trying to be open minded. I’m not trying to be all let-me-tell-you-what-you-can-wear-because-I-say-so. But while even I am guilty of wearing a belly-baring crop top in recent memory (only twice, I swear!), the fact remains that a top that’s cropped is not always going to be appropriate for whatever you’ve got going on that day, especially now that the weather is (finally) cooling down.

So what’s a girl to do if she falls for a top that her parents wouldn’t approve of? (Come on; you know crop tops are the bad boys of women’s wear.) Or, more likely, she’s worried about catching a chill? Here are three ways to wear your crop top this fall.

By turning your maxi skirt into a tea-length number

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I have this coral-colored maxi skirts that, to be honest, is a bit too long. The bottom tends to drag on the ground when I wear it with flats, which means I don’t wear it that often.

I also have this striped crop top I bought for a party years ago. I think you see where I’m going with this.

Yes, my first tip is: Hike up that skirt! It helps that this skirt has an elastic waistline, so I can wear it on different parts of my torso. If you’re feeling bolder, you could even pull down the skirt to flash an inch or two of skin (the scandal!) — the demure skirt length will keep the whole look in check.

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Gratuitous Viv pic!

By layering it over a maxi dress

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Maxi dresses are another style staple that tend to get shut away in the closet when temperatures dip. But that’s no reason why you can’t keep wearing them in the fall — you just need the right accoutrements to warm up the look.

Cue the perfect maxi topper: the floaty crop top. This light blue top of mine is almost a regular length shirt, but the loose hem means you tummy could be flashed if the right breeze comes along. By layering a maxi under it, both pieces are instantly seasonally appropriate.

By wearing it with a high-waisted pencil skirt

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The same way I love high-low fashion combos, I love the idea of pairing something a bit risque with something super modest (see the aforementioned crop top with the ladylike skirt on the reality show). This is my version of that. I bought both these pieces at Nordstrom Rack, but the skirt actually started out as a regular pencil skirt. The store only had one size left, and it was about two sizes to big for me. Fortunately, they offered super reasonable tailoring, and, in a flash of inspiration, I decided to have them turn it into a high-waisted midi-length pencil skirt that would pair perfectly with this shirt. The best part? No crunches required.

Be honest: Do you love the crop — or love to hate it? If you’re a crop owner, how do you wear yours when it gets colder?

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

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I think one of the easiest ways to make any outfit look a little more pulled together is to add another layer.

Y’all know how much I love my basic white T and jeans, but I could just as easily wear that outfit to a job interview or a nice dinner out if I threw on a blazer or even a killer scarf and hat. The point is: layers mean business. And they’re just the ticket to make an outfit look a little more intentional.

The problem is, it’s still hot out there, you guys. Like, blazing. So even though my favorite style season is upon us, I can’t just throw on a sweater and boots and pretend that I won’t sweat to death.

Enter the vest.

I know, I know; you just hear that word and think of this. I know I do. But irregardless (if you don’t get that joke, we can’t be friends), I actually like vests in real life. And when you’re staring a steamy autumn in the face, they are the perfect solution to layers that won’t give you heat exhaustion.

Here are the three vests I’ll be rocking this fall (no matter what Regina George thinks).

The Puffer Vest

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Does the puffer vest ever really go out of style? I hope not. The best thing about these fluffy little suckers is that you can wear them through winter, and they look just as good with a sweater and pencil skirt as they do with a button down, statement necklace, and jeans.

The Denim Vest

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I’ll be real: No one was more surprised than me when the denim vest made a comeback. The last time I wore one, I’m pretty sure my biggest concern was where I had left my social studies homework and what time is Even Stevens on? But the only secret to pulling off a denim vest is to wear it in the same context you would a jean jacket. The only difference? Easy-breezy arms. It’s also a great way to transition spaghetti-strapped maxi dresses into cooler temps during those last few weeks of summer.

The Drape-y Olive Vest

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Olives are actually one of the only two foods I hate, but when it comes to the color, I dig it. I would literally wear this color every day if I didn’t want to confuse people into thinking I think I’m an actual member of the armed forces. Olive is essentially fall’s answer to the khaki of summer, and I for one am totally into it — especially considering how perfectly it pairs with my 90-percent-black-and-white wardrobe. This drape-y cotton vest adds a bit of coziness to everything from summer dresses leggings and long-sleeved T’s.

So come on now…you don’t think ALL vests are disgusting, right?

Plus, did you catch my other favorite fall accessory?

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Lately, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this wood watch from JORD. Mine is the Fieldcrest Series watch in zebrawood and maple, and it fits into my life the way a hand-hewn farm table fits into every gorgeous dining room you see on Pinterest right now. The color is neutral enough to match everything, but I love the actual woodgrain in the band and face — and how it makes my watch subtly unique from every other one in the series.

Here are a few more close-ups of that little beauty:

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Interested in getting your own? Shop their entire women’s line here.*

Plus, for a limited time JORD is giving away a $75 credit for their products! Enter here — you get a $20 credit just for entering. Giveaway ends September 25th.

*Affiliate links used


Luxury Wood Watch