Rub some dirt on it

Face masks can feel like one of life’s greatest luxuries. A blast to your skin to let it know you mean business. Especially when your skin feels like it’s holding on to 20 lbs. of dirt and regret. Or when your pores looks like pods appropriately sized for living creatures to nest in. Or when it’s not enough to try to deal with life’s stress, but you need that extra fun of wearing it like a badge across your face in the form of breakouts.

Ya feel us?

Here are some recommended mud, clay or charcoal masks for when the wounds of life are deep and all you can do is rub some dirt on it.

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Drop It Like It’s Snot: A Spring Allergy Survival Guide

There’s something about living in Wisconsin- more specifically, surviving the dark, dreary days of winter- that makes spring feel extra magical. The world goes from black and white to color overnight. The air starts to smell sweet and alive. Birds wake you up in the morning, chattering about, and the days get longer. Summer teases a hot sunny day once in a while, and it’s the brief span of time when you can break out your medium weight jackets. I adore spring! But with the blooming of the trees, grass, and flowers, plus the shedding of cats’ winter fur, my allergies are in full swing. I know I’m not alone- this is the season of non-contagious sneezes, sniffles, and wanting to claw your itchy eyes right out of your face. So, fellow sufferers, today I bring to you my best tips and tricks for surviving- and thereby enjoying!- spring:

On The Daily

Ok friends- if you suffer from seasonal allergies, I know you already know about antihistamines!! There are plenty of options on the market, and everyone needs to find the one that works best for them. I am not here to tell you about this. I am here to tell you about buying your allergy medication at Costco.

Buying generic is also not much of a newsflash, but listen- if you or a friend have a Costco membership, buy your allergy meds there! It is so cheap I feel like the Hamburglar getting away with something whenever I buy it, which is once a year, because that is a one year supply in that bottle. For like $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. For comparison, the Target generic equivalent (300 pills) is $49.99; the Walgreen’s version is $47.99. Go!!! Go now!!!

Stuff For Eyeballs

My least favorite allergy symptom is itchy eyes, or worse, the feeling like something is in your eye, and then not being able to find anything in your eye. I do pretty ok with not rubbing them during the day, but I am totally guilty of rubbing my eyes during my sleep, which leads to an ever-so-lovely giant puffy eyelid in the morning. I like to use some micellar water on my eyelids before bed to get rid of any stuck-on allergens, which helps a little. When they are really irritated, I reach for one of these guys:

I used to use an OTC medicated eye drop made for allergies, but I find the “dry eye” artificial tears to give me the relief I need when my eyes are itchy, and I can get a drop or two in even if I already did my makeup for the day. The eye wash is awesome for when you don’t have makeup on, and you feel like you want to pluck your eyes right out of your head and rinse them under cool water. Totes refreshing.

For When I’m Miserable

I hate sinus rinsing (neti pots, for example), but will do it when I am desperate because it does help. A friendly client, who shares my misery this time of year, recommended Xlear nasal spray to me a few weeks ago. This product might be genius- it does the job of the neti pot (it’s a saline spray) without feeling like drowning, or tearing up your sinuses like Flonase can. Plus, it has Xylitol in it, which apparently creates some kind of non-stick surface in your face and prevents allergens from hanging around. I usually use this before bed, and sometimes in the morning if it’s particularly bad, and I have noticed a difference in my general stuffiness since using it! Plus it smells like grapefruit, which I enjoy.

Bonus Points

I don’t typically have issues with dairy, but I can’t deny that I feel better this time of year if I cut back on it. Specifically, in my morning coffee- for whatever reason, I’m always stuffiest in the morning, and having milk in my coffee tends to really make that worse. I mean, it’s no secret that dairy contributes to snot and phlegm, and also? I think it makes me sneeze sometimes, which is totally weird and maybe made up. Anyway, when my allergies are piling on, I like to switch out the milk in my coffee with a non-dairy alternative, which used to be terrible. Fortunately, we keep on living more and more in the future, and the non-dairy milk producers are realizing that nobody wants thin, watery almond milk in their coffee. I like this one by Califia Farms ok- it lightens and has the right amount of creaminess to it. For being unsweetened, I still find it a touch sweet, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Obviously, moving to a warm, tropical island is the best cure for my allergies, but until then, I live here. And mostly, I do love it, so I shall soldier on. What are your best tips and tricks for surviving during the itchiest months? Tell me in the comments!


These are all real things that I use and bought with my own money. Also, I took all of these pictures in my kitchen. While you’re at Costco, you should also pick up some of their spiced rum- it’s cheap and great for summer cocktails! 

Sephora Splurges for Spring

The spring Sephora sale has started!  If I’m honest—I need new products like I need a hole in the head!—but of course, that’s not going to stop me.

I have a bunch of items sitting in my “loves” that I’m deciding between. I thought I’d lay out a few of the ones I’m considering the strongest to see if you have any experience with them and get your feedback. Since the sale ends on the 24th, I’ve got a little time before I hit the “purchase” button. I also thought I’d share a few items I’d recommend to you, products I’ve been using a lot lately, especially turning over from winter to spring/summer.

Tops on my “Loves” list:

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You rock and so does this CD!

I believe in love at first sight. Call me a romantic. I think connections can be instant and lasting. And I think it extends to friendship, too.

I’ll never forget the day I met Christopher Ryan. The mythology of Mr. Ryan was strong. Christopher had been the tenor soloist in the church choir I sing with (CPC singers, holla!)–part of the esteemed alumni of paid section leaders/ringers that make the rest of us sound like we know what we’re doing. Everyone who knew him loved him, unequivocally. By the time I joined the choir, he had moved to NYC, but his presence still rang through the stories in the choir loft years after he sang his last C5 there.

It is no exaggeration when I say the talent we get through the choir is top notch. We seriously work with the best of the best. Our soloists have gone on to illustrious careers on Broadway, operas around the globe, professors at nationally recognized music programs and composers, conductors and featured soloists. The opportunity to finally meet Christopher Ryan in person came in 2009 when our tenor soloist, James Kryshak was a National Semi-Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions being held in New York City. My sister, Holly lives in NYC and I will take any excuse for a reason to visit. I asked Jim if I could go—he said yes—so I went! And I learned Christopher would be attending, too.

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Three things.

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one day and came across a text only post.  It said “NAME THREE THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF”  My mind went blank.  Seriously. Blank. So I took a screenshot of the post and thought, I’ll think about this and get back to you, Instagram post.  And then I promptly forgot about it.  Today I was scrolling through my photo reel and there it was. Staring me in the face.  I wish I didn’t feel like it was mocking me, but I did.  Why couldn’t I just come up with three things, like, it should be so easy, right?!!  But also, if I did just spout off three things that I love about myself, don’t I then sound sort of conceited?  Why is it so hard to practice self love?  I know, this is a beauty/lifestyle blog…. so forgive me for getting all deep on you, but I feel like this is a big deal.  And if I couldn’t just very simply come up with three things, surely I am not alone?  Hello?  Anyone there?  Even as I write this, the struggle is real. So today, at the risk of feeling a little bit vulnerable, I will share with you three things I love about myself.  Will you share three with me?

  XO – Pamela

instagram screenshot from @thedetoxmarket

My type A tendencies

It seems that often, people will start speaking of someone in terms of being type A or type B when they feel they need to point out something they see as a personality flaw.  But are these tendencies really flaws either way?  I love to feel organized.  I like to have my time efficiently planned out.  I like making lists.  I’ll read the whole owner’s manual for our new truck so I know what everything does, before I start just pushing all the buttons.  Am I a bit of a control freak?  Sure.  Do I lack patience?  Yeah, sometimes I do.  Do I get things done?  Hell yes.  And at the end of the day I don’t feel bad about any of it.

My strength

Strength or being strong, can mean so many things.  I am specifically talking about my personal physical strength.  Now, don’t get me wrong….. I’m not someone who lifts weights or competes in fitness competitions, or can even win at arm wrestling. But ask me to hold a strong plank for the length of a song, and I will own that.  I can wall sit all day (well, probably not literally all day.) My job requires a certain amount of physical strength, and I do a pretty good job at my job. Are there a million people out there one billion times stronger?  You bet.  But I feel strong for me.  I think it’s pretty great to feel strong.

My hair

It feels a little weird to admit to loving one of my physical features….. it seems like pure vanity.  I do though.  I’ve always been really lucky to have a great head of hair.  I can wear any style with ease and I feel like I’ve had it all.  From super short pixie, to really long all one length.  Bangs, or no bangs.  It all seems to work for me.  It’s super thick, which sometimes feels like a curse, but I know it’s probably a hair trait coveted by many.  These days the gray hairs are far beyond a few, but I don’t mind terribly when they start to show…. besides, my husband thinks they’re cute.  I’ve never wanted to be blonde.  I love being brunette.  Like anyone, I do have bad hair days, but in the end I really love my hair.  (It doesn’t hurt that I have an amazing stylist as well – Sherri, owner of Epic salon in downtown Neenah, for any of you Fox Valley ladies who are looking for a fantastic salon.)




I Am Into This: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment

There I was, at Sephora, staring at the Dr. Jart+ display. I have used- and loved- the Premium Beauty Balm for years. YEARS! And my current tube was running low, so I was contemplating whether I should buy a new tube now, while I was there, or procrastinate and squeeze 2 more weeks out of it and just come back when I was down to the dregs.

Did you know you can crack this tube open and get like 2 more weeks out of it???

Ok, fine. I was dragging my feet. I’ve been annoyed with makeup lately. Continue reading

“Empties” reviews: shower products, toothpaste, La Mer and more

Some of my favorite YouTube videos to watch are the “Empties” collections. Why do I want to look at other people’s trash, you ask? Perhaps it scratches the itch I’ve had to be a private investigator—an ambition born spending my youth watching Magnum PI, Moonlighting , Remington Steele and the criminally underrated, Riptide (i wanted both the robot AND the helicopter, sadly, i still have neither) with my mother.

But more likely, I find it helpful to get insight on products that were taken the distance. I like knowing if the trusted YouTuber plans to repurchase items, especially when it requires spending their own money on a product they might have gotten sent to them gratis from the company.

So I thought it might be fun to do my own “Empties” post and go through some products I’ve finished and give my take on them. Continue reading