I feel deeply and have extreme empathy for others. Also, if you walk into our home when it’s dark out, you’ll notice the lights are dim and – if the TV or music is even on at all – the volume is low. I sound like a bit of a Gremlin here, don’t I? Just don’t spill water on me and it’s all good.
Perhaps you feel me on this, and if you do, you most likely don’t like strong scents either. Most heavy colognes and perfumes make me a bit nauseous, and can even give me a headache. According to WebMD, I’m one of roughly 2 million people who experiences some sort of allergy or sensitivity to fragrance.
I’m not a fan of strong smells, but I do like smelling pretty, so giving up on scents just doesn’t make sense. I’ve rounded up my favorite gentle, light fragrances for you below!
Bobbi Brown’s BEACH: If I could park my tush on a beach all day everyday, I would. This isn’t a reality for me (yet), so a nostalgic fragrance will have to do for now. A blend of sea spray, jasmine and mandarin equals absolute perfection. I layer the lotion and the eau de parfum to make the scent last longer. BEACH is perfect for day or night.
KAI FRAGRANCE: Kai products are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, phosphate, microbead and gluten free. They are also vegan and cruelty free. I really enjoy the perfume oil (which is small, but lasts FOREVER), made of essential oils. The perfect size to throw in your bag for a night out, the best way I can describe this scent is: SEXY HIPPIE!
Pretty much any fragrance from PHILOSOPHY: I haven’t met a Philosophy fragrance I didn’t like. My top two at the moment are AMAZING GRACE (this is one I’ve purchased over and over again) and most recently, FRESH CREAM.
Are you a “scent-sitive” person, too? Please share your favorite fragrances in the comments.
‘Tis the season for a little extra glam! The holidays are the perfect excuse to add a little sparkle … and your makeup is no exception. I asked Lexi of SMITHBEAUTY to share her holiday party go-to look (along with her favorite products to achieve it) to help prepare us for the celebrations ahead!
My holiday go-to look is a gold glitter halo eye with faux mink lashes and a deep red lip. These colors translate really well on almost everyone versus a silver glitter eye.
*Note: Don’t worry … I Googled it for you! The “Halo Eye” technique is strategically sandwiching a lighter color between a darker color on the upper and lower lids. It creates the appearance of a larger, rounder eye. – L
For lips, I love the formula of the Ofra Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipsticks because they are super-smooth and creamy. They aren’t drying and they stay on all night. Try the shade “Milan” for a deep, cranberry red. Some shades are available at Ulta or on the Ofra website. They have over 60 shades available, so you can find your perfect hue.
About Lexi Smith:
Lexi Smith is a certified professional makeup artist residing in Ramsey, New Jersey. She accepts makeup bookings in NJ via email at email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram: (@smithbeauty_) to learn more about her SMITHBEAUTY Makeup and Mimosas events.
Don’t miss a special Back to School offer for students … enclosed below!
Back to School is officially around the corner here in northern New Jersey (just two weeks to go!) and we’re currently checking items off our BTS to-do list in our household … including haircuts. We headed to our favorite, modern-day barbershop to get my son extra-handsome and fresh for FOURTH GRADE! (Seriously … how the heck did that happen?)
I kid you not, when I told him we were heading to The Ridgewood Managain, he was legitimately excited. Remember … this is the kid who used to complain about heading to the barbershop and would literally rip his shirt off on his way out the door because he was itchy and uncomfortable.
This wasn’t our first trip to The Ridgewood Man; we ventured to this full-service barbershop back in June for Father’s Day. (You can read about our first experience at TRM here.) While that visit was a father/son outing, this day was all about my (not so) little guy … and he loved every second of it.
My son is surrounded by females pretty much all day long. He has a twin sister and a little sister, so let’s face it … he basically has three moms. The girls love to feel pretty, often asking to get their nails done, and we spend endless hours braiding their hair and getting “sparkly.” Watching him sit in the chair and getting shampooed and styled with a giant grin on his face is just the best. The shop has an upscale vibe and the staff gives extra attention that takes the experience to another level … and he’s an AWESOME kid who deserves to feel special, too.
Many thanks again to Dan Hood (one of the shop’s owners) and his sweet and talented stylist, Celeste, for another top-notch experience. Celeste even took the time to show my son how to style his own hair using MUK haircare products, which was also greatly appreciated!
The guys in our house are hooked on the MUK Filthy Firm Hold Paste … EVERY STUDENT THAT BOOKS A BACK TO SCHOOL CUT AT THE RIDGEWOOD MAN GETS A FREE TIN! Australian-born MUK products are award winning and PETA approved. (I brought home a few of their products for females, too … keep your eyes peeled for upcoming reviews and posts on my Instagram page!)
Wishing everyone a fantastic 2018-2019 school year!
Open since late 2016, The Ridgewood Man (please note that there is also The Hoboken Man, their original location) is a modern-day, full-service barbershop located on East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Their menu of services includes a variety of haircuts and shaves, color services, beard and mustache trims, waxing, facials, massages, spa manicures and pedicures. Packages, gift certificates and memberships are also available. Both upscale barbershops use and sell the award winning, PETA approved, Australian-born haircare line, Muk (available for purchase in store or on Amazon). There are so many salons in the area; The Ridgewood Man is unique in that it offers salon and spa services, but caters specifically to men.
It’s very important for you to know that I will NEVER judge you. This whole blog and Instagram thing I’ve got going here is meant to be a safe place where you can share freely; I understand that we are who we are and we are all entitled to be just that. I promise I will always be honest with you in hopes that you will reciprocate the same courtesy I’ve extended to you. For me, “style” is simply the freedom to express your individuality and your uniqueness – there isn’t one right way to do it all.
That being said, sometimes I sleep in what I wore all day … on purpose. And sometimes, I’ll wear it as long as I can the next day until it just flat-out feels wrong to continue any longer. If I find a comfortable piece of clothing that enables me to pull this off, it’s GAME ON. “Lounge Wear” was created for people like me.
It’s safe to say that there’s ZERO shame in my lounging game. Who’s with me here?
I recently discovered a lounge wear company called Hello Mello … and, of course, I had to share this with all of you …
In early June, our family went on a trip to Hershey Park and stayed at the Hershey Lodge. After dinner one night, we popped into the hotel’s gift shop, and while the kids searched for something special to commemorate our mini-vacation, I found a special treat for myself … and it wasn’t candy. (Good news for my teeth … and my tush.)
The packaging and beautiful colors initially caught my eye. There were baskets on the shop’s shelves, filled with these adorable little totes (awesome for travelers and commuters … throw the little totes into your purse or suitcase and the clothing comes out wrinkle-free), labeled as to what’s inside. And then … I had to touch them … it’s a problem I have. I inherited this from my mother.
Inside of these adorable little totes were tops, pants, cardigans and robes (keep your eyes peeled for posts of my pretty pink robe!) by Hello Mello Lounge Wear; their comfortable, lightweight pieces are the epitome of soft. I truly appreciate anything that counts as pajamas and doubles as something that can be worn in public without anyone batting an eye.
In these photos, I’m wearing the Hello Mello Carefree Threads Collection in mint. (Lounge pants with pockets, lounge top with pocket and long cardigan.) Go ahead and check them out online … I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see how affordable everything is, too!
But, WAIT! Before you buy, check out the giveaway that Hello Mello and I have thrown together for you below …
Nothing makes me happier than sharing everything wonderful that I find with all of you! I am excited to announce that Hello Mello and I are collaborating on a giveaway for our followers!
Tag THREE friends that love to be comfortable and deserve time to “lounge” in the comments underneath the contest announcement photo.
Contest opens on Friday, July 20, 2018 and closes at 9 pm EST on Sunday, July 22, 2018. Winners will be announced on Monday, July 23.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that any woman would truly enjoy slipping into these pieces by Hello Mello. I don’t know a single lady who doesn’t give each day their all (and then some); every one of us deserves a chance to unwind and relax, while feeling good about ourselves, too.
If your husband is anything like mine, he’s pretty rough to shop for. After racking my brain for every holiday and birthday of his, I eventually cave and ask him what he wants. Ninety-five percent of the time, his reply sounds something like, “Nothing. Don’t spend any money.” But there’s always something in me that just can’t let it go; the kids and I need a way to show him how much we appreciate what he does for the four of us, especially on Father’s Day.
A guy can only have so many work or golf shirts. The gifts I end up getting for him always tend to be on the practical side; this year, I’m still going for something that he needs, but it’s “extra-special”, and I wanted to share this idea with all of you. Every guy needs a haircut, right? I found a place that does just that, but takes the whole experience to another level.
Open since late 2016, The Ridgewood Man (please note that there is also The Hoboken Man, their original location) is a modern-day, full-service barbershop located on East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Their menu of services includes a variety of haircuts and shaves, color services, beard and mustache trims, waxing, facials, massages, spa manicures and pedicures. Packages, gift certificates and memberships are also available. Both upscale barbershops use and sell the award winning, PETA approved, Australian-born haircare line, Muk. (We took some home to test out and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty MUK-ing fabulous. Sorry. I had to.)
I took my husband and our 9 year-old son there on Tuesday night (they offer a father-son package for $60) to check the shop out and get my guys some “handsome haircuts.” The beautiful and historical tin ceilings, wood-paneled walls, and dark leather seating give the shop a luxurious, country-club vibe. There are HD flat-screen TVs hanging pretty much everywhere in sight, and the vintage Playboy covers hanging near the sinks finish off the masculine feel of the shop. In the back, there are separate rooms where men can enjoy a calming massage or a spa manicure and pedicure.
There are so many salons in the area; The Ridgewood Man is unique in that it offers salon and spa services, but caters specifically to men. We met with one of the shop’s owners and Ridgewood resident, Dan Hood, who told us that he has groups of guys who meet at The Ridgewood Man multiple times throughout the month. It’s an awesome, “manly” place to hangout and they all leave looking and feeling their best. Whether you’re heading there in a group or flying solo, it’s definitely a place worth checking out.
Note the smile on my son’s face while he’s getting his shampoo after his cut … the guy was in heaven. He usually leaves haircuts, ripping his shirt off on his way out the door, literally itching for a shower. On his way out the door this time, he looked up at me with those big blue eyes of his and said, “Mom … I still want to take a shower before I go to bed, but I’m only washing my body. I don’t want to mess ‘this’ up.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, “You’re always smiling,” I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. Well, maybe I would be since it’s a message I believe is worth spreading, but I’d certainly be writing it on a beach, surrounded by palm trees, probably while sipping some Mai Tais.
It’s quite true … it’s hard to catch me without a smile, and I’m sure it may appear to some who don’t know me too well that my life is always carefree. However, my life isn’t carefree by any means. I’ve been through some things, just like most, that would most likely make your head spin. I have good days and I have bad moments. Despite these moments, I choose happiness over sadness and anger; it’s a much more constructive way to utilize my energy. HAPPINESS HAS BECOME A HABIT FOR ME.
It’s not always easy for me to put a smile on, but whenever I don’t feel like grinning, I remind myself of a few things:
There is so much to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, you are alive. You have your sight. For crying out loud, you have access to the Internet! (By the way, did you know that only 51% of the planet has Internet access?) Be thankful. Direct your focus to the positives in your life, the big and the small.
No matter what I’m going through, there’s someone out there who wishes they had my issues instead of theirs. No matter how bad things seem at the moment, it could be worse.
Whatever life hands me, whether it’s good or bad, is shaping me into who I’m meant to be. Embrace everything that you have been dealt … and be grateful for it.
Forcing a smile upon your face is an instant mood booster for those around you … and for yourself, too. Try smiling at a stranger and I guarantee that you will instantly feel a boost in your mood, and it will be almost impossible for the other person to not smile back. Energies are contagious. Spread good energy.
All that matters is this very moment. Right now. You can’t control what’s already happened and worrying about something that hasn’t even happened – and probably won’t – is totally useless.
All of these points help me maintain myself on the inside, and I believe in maintaining myself on the outside, too. Just like you aim to maintain your weight and your hair color, you should also take care of your teeth before they become too difficult to fix. Being a person who smiles quite often, maintaining a bright smile is something that’s important to me. My teeth were already pretty white before starting Smile Brilliant, but thanks to the multiple cups of coffee I require to function as a 40 year-old mom of 3, they weren’t as white as they could have been.
I’ve tried other whitening kits in the past, which worked, but left my sensitive teeth and gums feeling sore. The strips I’ve tried have been so thin and sticky, and easily slid off, which was uncomfortable and made it difficult to talk while whitening. Smile Brilliant, developed by dental professionals, is quite unique and appealing for several reasons: their whitening trays are comfortable and custom fit to your mouth, and the company offers a special follow-up “desensitizing gel.” Prior to writing this blog, I’ve used the whitening gel and desensitizing gel five times; my smile is even brighter and my teeth and gums aren’t sore AT ALL. Smile Brilliant’s trays also allow you to whiten ALL of your teeth, not just the ones in the front. Here’s how it all works …
The starter kit that Smile Brilliant sent to me consisted of materials for me to create molds of my upper and lower teeth. The pastes were incredibly simple to mix and apply; it couldn’t have been easier to do. I popped the molds I made into the envelope they provided and mailed them back to Smile Brilliant. My molds were used to create lightweight trays that fit my mouth PERFECTLY. I then used the whitening and desensitizing gels according to the directions for five nights. I left the whitening gel on for 45 minutes and then the desensitizing gel for 15-20 minutes.
After 5 applications, I’m happy to report that my teeth are brilliantly white and the whole process was easy and painless. It’s not easy for me to carve out time for myself during the day; it was so simple to slide the trays into my mouth after I got the kids into bed, and then whitened while I folded laundry or did some work on my computer.
I’d recommend Smile Brilliant to anyone with a busy lifestyle who’s serious about his or her smiling game; men and women who get that there’s (almost) always a reason to smile. You may have to dig deep sometimes, but choosing happiness is always worth the effort. Once you get the hang of it, leaning towards a life filled with chosen happiness becomes more of a habit. MAKE HAPPINESS YOUR HABIT.
P.S. I HAVE EXCITING NEWS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GIVE WHITENING A TRY! The kind people of Smile Brilliant are giving away a T-3 SENSITIVE TEETH WHITENING SYSTEM (value of $149) to 1 lucky Stylish Mama follower! To enter, CLICK HERE.
For bonus entries, make sure you’re following me on my social media outlets! On Instagram and Facebook, be sure to “like” my posts and tag some friends! If you follow me on Twitter, re-tweet my post for extra brownie points. GOOD LUCK!
** Contest closes on April 25, 2018 and is open to residents of the USA, UK, Australia, and Canada. The winner will be selected by Smile Brilliant.
To receive 15% off storewide, use code: stylishmamablog15
Special offer from Araya Rebirth for “Stylish Mamas” (and men) below.
I swear I blinked and now forty is just a couple of months away. Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you I am not entirely thrilled about this whole thing. I truly believe in growing older gracefully, HOWEVER, I am not opposed to simple ways to make the whole process slow down a little bit. I like the “natural approach”; I am quite a hippie at heart, which is one of the many reasons why I am drawn to Daniela Musano and her studio of 18 years, Araya Rebirth in Ridgewood. She radiates good vibes, and her incredible energy flows within the walls of Araya.
It’s been awhile since I’ve ventured into her massage therapy, skin care and make-up studio to treat myself. When I spoke to Daniela, I told her my concerns, mainly the fine lines around my eyes and my fairly new skin sensitivities (add that to the fun aging list), and she scheduled me in for a Lactic Acid Peel. Sounds a little scary, doesn’t it? I’m not going to lie … I was hesitant going in, especially after the horribly itchy rash I suffered from after the last facial I had at another local spa. However, I totally trust Daniela, and I’m happy to be your guinea pig and take this treatment for a spin. Best-case scenario, it works … worst case, I wear big sunglasses and a hat and pop some Benadryl for a few days.
If you’ve been to Araya Rebirth before, you can feel me here: when I walk in there, I instantly want to take a nap. It’s beyond peaceful and relaxing. The music is calming, the employees’ voices are calming, and the colors and messages that hang on the walls are so soothing. The sun even beats through the window and warms your back while you’re waiting.
But I’m not here for a snooze this time … let’s look younger and awake.
Before we got started with the peel, Daniela asked me if there’s an area of my face that is a specific concern for me. I didn’t have to think twice about it: I’ve noticed quite a difference around my eyes lately. Perhaps it’s because I’m a perpetually tired Mom, drink too much coffee, or now have to squint to read ingredient labels and menus because my eyesight is quickly going down the tubes, but that’s beside the point. We added on a NuFace Wow Brow treatment ($40). Why not?!
This FDA cleared device is pretty awesome. It uses microcurrent technology to gently stimulate your skin, instantly lifting and reducing lines. The results (which are instantaneous – see the proof below) last 47-72 hours. You can purchase the device at Araya Rebirth (which includes a LIFETIME warranty) so you can continue the treatment at home for more cumulative results. We even took the NuBody for a spin on my abdomen and there was an immediate noticeable difference. (There’s not a chance in hell I’m posting those photos though. Sorry.) * It’s important to note that the NuBody is effective on individuals who live a healthy lifestyle and have good muscle tone. * As Daniela put it, you can’t be sitting on your couch, eating Doritos, while using the device.
Daniela then set me up for my Lactic Acid Peel, which is a 30-minute service, and costs $85 (mention “Stylish Mama” and pay $75). According to Daniela, this peel is great for most skin types; it is an instant brightener, rejuvenator and exfoliator. While the peel was on my skin, it felt a little tingly and itchy, but not uncomfortable in any way. She hovered over me to watch how my skin reacted, and knew when it was time to wipe it off of my face.
** Please note that if you schedule an appointment for a Lactic acid peel, you can’t exfoliate, wax or use any topical prescriptions for a week before or after your treatment. Also, you MUST use sun protection post-treatment. **
The peel instantly brightened my face; my skin went right from a dull, matte appearance to dewy and refreshed. Right afterwards, my complexion was a little pink and shiny, but with the help of a little bit of Araya’s tinted moisturizer with SPF (yes, she sells her own private line of mostly vegan make-up, too!), it vanished immediately. By the time I washed the make-up off, there was no sign of any pink at all.
One day later, I would describe my skin as having a nice glow to it. The fine lines around my eyes are certainly less noticeable – my eyes are more “awake” – and perhaps it’s weird to say that they appear almost a little bigger than normal. I’ve gone from “matte” to “glow-y” and it only took 30 minutes, no needles. On my list of future purchases are the NuFace and NuBody devices.
Three days later, my skin still looks and feels great and I am happy to report Benadryl and sunglasses were never required. Daniela recommends getting a Lactic Acid Peel roughly once per month, and I will certainly be back.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Araya Rebirth is offering “Stylish Mamas” (AND MEN!) $10 off of a Lactic Acid Peel, $15 off any hour-long service, AND a FREE make-up color consultation. Take advantage of this offer and treat someone you love, which certainly should include yourself!
For more information about Araya Rebirth, including a full list of services offered, or to order products and gift certificates online, visit: https://araya-rebirth.com/