Saturday, September 20, 2014


I've been wanting to do this post for a while because I'm obsessed with the Essence of Beauty line of body mists I found in CVS.

Not only do they not smell cheap, they are cheap (at $7 a bottle) and have serious staying power. No lie, the scents linger all day and smell like expensive perfumes. Most are very floral or very fruity but don't come off as generic scents.

My favorite of the three I own are Modern Floral and In The Tropics. Modern Floral is a heavy, designer-esque floral fragrance that hits you with a bouquet that lasts all day while In The Tropics smells like an irresistible cocktail...mostly like peach schnapps. Exotic Blooms smells exquisite but I don't need it in my has sort of a crisp, clean, citrusy floral scent.

You'll have to check out the collection if your local CVS carries it. They have deals on them all the time.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Altuzarra for Target. #AltuzarraForTarget

All I want for Christmas Autumn, I'd told myself, is a nice faux fur jacket and some moto boots.

My approach to spending is quality over quantity, meaning I'm inclined toward high-end staples or art pieces over lots of cheap stuff - but only at a great deal!

I'd had a Leith faux fur jacket on my Nordstrom wishlist for about a week since I'd spent my budget already on Labor Day Sales and decided to wait. Well, I waited a week too long because when I went back for it, it had sold out. Bummer! It was one of Fall 2014's major trends - a wild print fur jacket, in black and white, and really just perfect. Oh well.

Fast forward to today and Altuzarra For Target hit stores and online. The Altuzarra Faux Fur Jacket had been namedropped all over the internet and I thought, now is my chance! If I woke up early enough to shop the collection before it sold out, it was meant to be.

Well, at 3:30a EST I cracked open my netbook with one eye open and refreshed Target's site. The collection had finally gone live. At that time, nothing was sold out. I promptly plucked the Altuzarra fur jacket then some Sam & Libby boots and headed for checkout. Success!

By 10a I went back on and quite a few Altuzarra items, especially the lower-priced ones, were sold out, including the faux croc belt and the chic pencil pants.

Around 3p I went back on and nabbed the Orchid Print Sweatshirt in a size smaller than the one I would have preferred (a size up from my norm). The size I wanted was sold out, as well as more items from last I checked.

My picks:

The jacket has an open front and is cropped at the waist, perfect for showing off a baby belly. The sweater just seemed like a novel, cozy Fall item. I figure, if the jacket feels cheap/scratchy or is otherwise undesirable, I could probably sell it on eBay for more than what I paid for it.

Seems like the Altuzarra For Target collection has been a success at Day 1. I know they were selling select items on Net-a-Porter as well, and some have sold out already.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Olay Regenerist Luminous Brightening Cream Cleanser review. #skincare

God bless pregnancy hormones. They can be natural relief for depression and anxiety but with that comes a new set of possible symptoms, including breakouts.

My skin was perfect before pregnancy. I hardly ever got a zit. But the breakouts I experience now that I'm preggers look more like a heat rash, on my face, along my forehead and below my jawline on either side. It's not terribly noticeable, but to me and my Virgo moon, all I can think is "FIX IT!"

I used to like a tight, taut feeling after cleansing but since my skin texture has changed, I'm totally averse to that. I've needed a more gentle cleanser, one that controls oil but doesn't totally strip it.

Lilac Ghosts blogged about switching to cream cleansers for combo skin which brought me to an aha moment! I rushed out to the market and scoured the skincare aisle for an affordable cream cleanser to try out. Eventually, I settled on Olay Regenerist Luminous Brightening Cream Cleanser. What a mouthful. I purchased it from the grocer for $10 but then stopped into the drugstore and it was marked down to $5! Score!

My obsession with skincare is rooted in the fact that I love anything that touts a BRIGHTENING effect. I want my skin to appear lit from within and also want to feel comfortable skipping concealer some days. So, finding a brightening cream cleanser was implicitly a homerun for me. But is Olay's good?

Good news - for the price, this version by Olay does it. I tried it out for two weeks. What I love about it is:
  • It's invigorating. Especially on dull mornings, I buff my face with the Olay cleanser and the scent and tingling sensation totally wake me up. I look fresh. I feel fresh.
  • I swear I notice a difference in hyperpigmentation - my skintone has cleared up a bit.
  • As implied, the scrubbies or polishing "micro-beads" leave a clean feel but don't overdry.
For the price, it doesn't get much better.

In short, if you have combo/unpredictable skin - try a cream cleanser!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bath time.

I swear by my Sunday ritual of epsom salt baths but admit to skipping them the past few weeks.

By now my body was achy, skin dull, and I generally felt low. I was used to that before having a salt bath for the first time - being pregnant and all - til I found that these baths literally make you feel you've had a full-body massage and detox/cleanse.

I cannot stress enough how therapeutic epsom bath soaks can be. Tonight, I needed one.

My little bath ritual consists of running hot-as-I-can-stand water, pouring in a generous amount of Calgon bath bubbles, and adding about two cups of Dr. Teal's epsom bath salts. Sometimes I'll add body oil. Tonight I added Garnier's 'Miracle' dry oil with avocado, almond, and olive oil. Each of these products can be found at your mass market or drugstore.

After running the bath I light a couple candles, turn down the lights then slink into the tub til I'm fully submerged. BLISS.

20 minutes is the minimum time to soften your skin and soak up the benefits of the epsom salts. During this time I decompress, breathe deeply, and after my pores are steamed and sweaty I'll do a mask.

Left: Dr. Teal's 'Comfort & Calm' Chamomile Epsom Salt Soaking Solution; Right: Freeman Beauty Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask

Don't forget to re-hydrate after the bath! Drink a tall glass of water, relax, then get on with your night...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

First baby haul.

I've officially completed my first baby haul thanks to Labor Day sales this weekend.

Everyone's been all, when are you going to start shopping for baby? And I'm the type to follow my instincts. I just hadn't had the urge. But as the oxytocin flows and I grow more of a connection to this unborn mini-me, the urge is born.

I now want to have ALL THE NICE THINGS ready for baby's arrival.

Anyone that knows me knows I will literally do a little dance and maybe sing a song every time I score a GREAT DEAL. And I will research for hours until I do, adding a bunch of stuff to my cart, then taking out what I don't need, before toggling coupons and any other savings I can find...

I was able to score around 30 baby items (wintery clothes, onesies, and beauty items) for a little over $100, which isn't too bad considering I picked up things from Target and Nordys as well! Target was having a BOGO 50% Off sale and I kind of fell into Nordstrom afterward...ahem.

Clockwise from left: Sophie La Girafe Organic Baby Oil, Acorn 'Easy' Bootie, Minnetonka Bootie, Burt's Bees Washtime Set

I have an adult pair of Minnetonka moccasins in brown, which were literally my favorite shoes. I wore them all the time. I thought that was so novel.

Let me know any recs for baby buys as I am definitely a novice at this! xx

#25Weeks: Thoughts

  • As the weeks progress, I grow more of a connection to this unborn child and realize that I would already do anything to protect her...
  • Though, feelings for my partner grow stranger and more complicated. At times I simultaneously resent and thank him that I'm carrying our love child, no matter the outcome.
  • It's okay to not be doing everything all the time. Pictured right: a snap during our stay at the Hilton this weekend. Hotels are one of our favorite things, and I don't have to feel guilty for having someone else clean up after us.
  • I'm growing slower, more tired. Vitamins help. Protein helps.
  • Pregnancy chemicals are something wondrous and mind-altering for a mother's brain. Some days are a total mental trip, retrograding through the past and seeing everything through an updated, clearer lens. I've changed. My partner says I've changed.
  • Already, there's no going back from here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

On my wishlist: skincare

Inspired by Laura over at Buy Now/Blog Later, I'm going to share with you guys the ongoing list of skincare products I'm lusting over.

If a product is on my list, it means not only did my radar pretty much spazz out when I first heard about it, but I've also researched it across my mental encyclopedia of review sites including Makeup Alley, Sephora, Google Shopping (gotta find the best deal), and so on.

I don't want for much, so I'm choosy about spending my hard-earned money on any thriller products.

Without further ado.

1. Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser

A makeup artist namedropped Lom's cult-classic cleanser on my Roku one night and I was immediately intrigued. This stuff is supposed to make cleaning your face a ritual experience. We're talking hops, clove, eucalyptus, chamomile, and carrot seed oils to intoxicate. And, it comes with a muslin cloth to remove. Fancy.

Well, as luxe as it sounded, I wasn't too crazy about the paraben content, and the fact that it comes in a tub. I don't like sticking my fingers in things.


Morning Time Cleanser has the same active ingredients as the original, along with papaya fruit enzyme (which is a stellar exfoliant), sans the parabens, and comes in a tube instead. Bingo! Need it. When I'm ready to justify dishing out the $60 for it, of course.

2. Facial Radiance Overnight Mask

This mask, by the brand First Aid Beauty (never heard), appealed to me because you massage it on at night, wear it to bed, then wake up and do your normal routine. But, skin is visibly more lush and plush and glowy and fine.

I want it.

$38 if you're so inclined.

3. Becca Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfector

OK so this isn't a skincare product per se but it appeals to my desire to look fresh to death! From what I hear, this highlighter makes your skin positively GLOW without looking like you're using a $38 helper product. This kind of glow just doesn't come from within.

The shade I want is named Moonstone, which is the pale-gold-toned version. What excites me about that shade name is that 'Moonstone' was my go-to MAC Lipglass back in high school. Throwback! Just remembered that. I thought I was hot stuff.

Anyway, my girl BelleDuJourNYC on YouTube, or @DaraKaye, raved about this highlighter in her August favs video and pretty much sold me.

Tried any of these? Please let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Le Tote - a Netflix for fashion?

I have a very simple, no-fuss attitude toward my wardrobe. Hating having a closet full of clothes, I own a few pieces of each type, some accessories, and a few pairs of shoes.

The Daily Connoisseur on YouTube emphasizes the 10-item wardrobe after her enlightening stay in Paris. I'm not far from that.

That said, even I get tired of rotating the same pieces at work and for play.

It'd be nice to introduce some new pieces and styles to the mix with no commitment. Never being photographed in the same thing twice à la the celebutantes...

I'm to the point now of posting about Le Tote, which, if you haven't heard, is "like Netflix for fashion." It's a monthly subscription box for higher-end clothing, and there are some notable perks:

  • You can actually receive an unlimited number of boxes - or Totes - per month because
  • As soon as you're finished with a Tote, you ship it back for free. It takes around 2-4 days to receive the next one. Free shipping both ways!
  • Each Tote contains three (3) garments and two pieces of jewelry ($200+ retail value).
  • You can rate the entire collection so that you'll (mostly) only receive items you love.
  • Never wash anything. Who has time for that! Free dry-cleaning is included.
  • With your first Tote, you receive a free [cute] tote bag. And now I use this bag nearly everyday to work and back. 
Free tote bag! Nice quality
Closeup detail of a skirt they sent me and front/back of Tote's accessories (which I loved)

Caveats, if any, include:
  • If you want to keep a piece - or forget to send something back - they charge you a 'Members' price for that item. (To me it's still fairly pricey. I have yet to receive anything I love that much.)
  • That said, you must send back everything in a Tote you don't want to keep at the same time.
  • You won't always receive items you love. So, sometimes, you won't get much mileage out of a Tote.

HOWEVER, following up on that last caveat, what brought me to write this post is that I am super impressed with Le Tote's customer service!

I emailed my stylist, Jessica, with a special request since I can only be comfortable in certain garments at this time that aren't specifically maternity. I didn't expect much accommodation, to be honest. (I have become jaded by poor customer service practices in general these days.) But, to my surprise, Jessica was totally accommodating, and indicated that my request would be granted for all future Totes!

At this point I'm a loyal subscriber! 

The monthly subscription fee is $49. If you prefer jewelry-only Totes, the fee is $19.

Can I just say, I am loving these new-agey services that give even the simple folk a taste of on-demand luxury. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Starting a baby registry.

So I'm starting a baby registry. And I'll admit I'm still getting a hang of the whole thing. What do you add? Is it like Pinterest for baby stuff? Why should I expect people to buy stuff for me because I decided to have a baby? Ignore that. I can be cynical.

What put me over the edge and into baby pinning registry land is that I found a cute site through the member boards on BabyCenter (yes, I have the app). The site is You can add stuff from any store or site, and even add non-material requests. Someone come clean my kitchen? Anyone?

Excuse me while I go add cutesy baby things that I've had bookmarked for weeks now that everyone says you should buy, except now I will focus on saving up for that cute Marc by Marc Jacobs baby bag with the sick monogrammed interior that is a bit of a splurge for a first-time mother-to-be, but hey I work hard for my money, okay?

My shower gel.

I'm starting this post because I kvell every time I get a whiff of myself post-shower. And I don't speak Yiddish.

We've tried all the body washes, from Bath & Body Works to high-end Crabtree & Ev and everything in between. But it's nice to be wooed back to basics - back to drugstore. The only qualifiers for drugstore bath & body success per my Virgo moon are any combination of:

  • Are there natural ingredients/benefits?
  • Are there luxe ingredients (essential or plant oils, salts, sugars)? i.e.
  • Can it work magic?
  • Does it have nice packaging? and finally, importantly

Smell is everything, as it can separate the cheapy from the luxury lines. However - why pay more for say, Bath & Body Works, whose scents seem to smell more or less like everything you've smelled before, when you can put your nose to work and fish out a drugstore gem!

And so it goes... My shower gel.

Softsoap Black Orchid & Velvet Hibiscus Moisturizing Body Wash - Smells LUXE, only 3 BUCKS! I'm not going to wax too poetic about the smell, as that's a subjective thing, but you'll have to have a whiff for yourself. The deep purple hues of its packaging add some nice feng shui to the shower wall. The thick, opaque gel has a rich lather and a little goes a long way. Skin's not too dry post-shower. It's a win on most fronts.

Check out this and the rest of the Fragrance Collection on the Colgate site, where you can find a list of ingredients and other pertinent infos. Shower on.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#24Weeks: Thoughts

  • I'm glad I'm pregnant during the heat season. I'm at my happiest.
  • People will judge you no matter what. And never more than when you're visibly knocked up.
  • "At least you take care of yourself."
  • "Are you going to eat that?"
  • "Here, let me get that for you."
  • Am I'm not supposed to look nice? Thank you, I didn't know you were my dietitian. And no, thanks, I'm not handicapped.
  • I will not missing waking up to pee 4 times during the night.
  • Intimacy gets strange when you're carrying a soccer ball in your gut.

I wish there were more than 2 days in the weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Hi! My name is Marsadie (Mars for short). I'm 27 and from Columbus, OH.

I was a commercial beauty blogger from 2007-2013. Moved to Tumblr for a personal blog for a bit then grew out of that. I'm starting this new personal beauty/lifestyle blog here on Blogspot.  I like the community here as some of my favs are hosted right here on Blogger.

Brief - I have a career in web development. Outside of work I'm obsessed with beauty and living well! I'm a first-time mommy-to-be to a baby girl (due December 2014) and my partner's name is Doug. Our life together is anything but ordinary as I will share a bit here. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Stick around to read up on my personal favs, lifestyle quirks and the phenomenon of being a first-time mother. Welcome to my little corner of the web!