The Best Beauty Product I’ve Ever Discovered

You know when you discover a product and you are just like HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE NOW? I’m sharing that product with you today. No, this isn’t a sponsored post. This is me telling you that the absolute best beauty product I have found (dead. serious.) is a SUNSCREEN.

Miracle Product

I’m a crazy about sunscreen. After years (yes *cringe* years) of baking myself in tanning beds (proof), I walk around every day positive that I’m going to get skin cancer. When you’re young you feel invincible and by the time you realize you aren’t, you’ve done a lot of stupid shit. After my step-dad was diagnosed with melanoma (graphic image here),  I now refuse to leave the house without SPF 30 or higher.

Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of how sunscreen feels under makeup. I mentally begged the Gods – why can’t sunscreen just feel like primer? It would be sparkles and magic! I’d never ever skip a day! Women of the world would rejoice AND be sun safe!

Then, on what I am now calling the ULTA Trip of Destiny, I found it: A sunscreen that feels just like a primer. And acts like one too.

The Best Face Sunscreen

This stuff is weird. On the first squirt, I thought NO WAY is this stuff going to blend well. It comes in a shade called “natural skin tone” although it’s much darker than my skin (apparently it also comes in a light version but Ulta didn’t have that and I didn’t realize it was tinted when I purchased it). That being said, it isn’t opaque. It’s thick and kind of see-thru-ish nude. It blends in and doesn’t really add the color to your skin.

Prior to buying this, I had been wearing the L’Oreal Pore Vanisher over sunscreen. This product replaces both of those (and some days, my BB Cream also). I’m actually pretty convinced that it acts as a pore vanisher because the ingredients are similar (dimethicone based) and my skin looks better after I put it on. I’ve been wearing it with just some under-eye concealer and my usual eye makeup.

Cotz Face Sunscreen

To go all beauty blogger on you for a minute, I’m not a fan of the packaging. It really doesn’t do the product justice, as it looks a little cheap and the product itself feels expensive and luxurious. I also hate the name but whatever.

This is the best beauty product I’ve found. Period. It’s a little pricey – $19.99 from Ulta and $18.64 from Amazon for only 1.5 ounces. Still, because this is replacing two products for me (and because I wait until I have an Ulta coupon) it’s 100% worth it.

Now I want you to share: What is your holy grail product? Do tell!


9 Mortifying Things My Parents Did (That I Will Do To My Kids Too)


1. Embarrassing signature dance move. My mom has her move, I’ll have mine. It looks like this, but with a lot more flailing (if you can imagine).

dancing gif girls hbo

2. Use of the middle name as punishment. I will take this one step further and give my kids embarrassing middle names. How about a strong family name like Elmira? Dead serious.

3. Anytime we were at an asian restaurant, my step-dad would stick the chopsticks either A. up his nose or B. in his mouth, walrus style. This was hilarious until I was about 12. Then it was embarrassing (and yet he kept doing it). Add this to the list, I’ll certainly do it too.

walrus chopsticks

4. When dropping me off somewhere, occasionally my Mom would roll down the window and yell “Make good decisions!” I’m fairly certain she stole this from somewhere but it works well on high school age kids. Doing it.

5. My Mom was also delighted in rolling down the windows and singing Carly Simon at the top of her lungs. But what if someone in the car next to us at a red light knows me!? Kill me. Swap out the Carly Simon for some 90′s Mariah Carey and I’ll be good to go.

6. Straight up steal Bill Cosby lines and, right when something sassy would slip out of my mouth, my Mom would respond with “I brought you in to this world, I can take you out!” Solid threat. Yup, using that one.

7. On the note of punishment and life lessons, I was a big fan of the meltdown and screeching “But that’s not fair!” to which my Dad would reply “LIFE ISN’T FAIR.” So. True. Thanks for the real world prep, Dad.

8. My mom answers the phone, without fail, with “Nay, are you there?” You answered after two rings. Where else would I be? You know you slid the green button and answered the phone, right? Love you Mom. Yes, I’m here.

9. Displaying affection in front of each other. Ever. Ohhh my gawwdd staahhpppp. You like each other? Oh yes, we’ll do this too. Lots of this.

Now, those of you who are parents and those of you who have parents, got anything to add to this list? Let’s hear ‘em.


What Is He?

momma and archieSpring FlowerssweetgoldenretreiverNmomma pets archiedsc_0315happy portraitHappy Golden Retriever

We took these pictures on Saturday. Just walking the dog, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. When I look at these photos, I see the two loves of my life. I see happiness. I see an American looking family. I laugh a little when I think of that. American looking? What does that even mean? I thought the whole Idea was that you can’t “look American.” That anyone could be. To me, N looks like the All-American boy.

Until someone asks me this question…What is he?

It happens frequently. Maybe more frequently than is polite. I know right away that they are referencing his olive skin, his jet black hair, his dark eyes, and his unruly eyebrows (yes, we’ve discussed trimming but he’s very anti-eyebrow grooming. whatever, I choose my battles).

They mean: what’s his ethnicity? Which makes me wonder…what is it that makes us care about that? When I first met N, I too was curious. Was he Indian? Greek? Italian? To a lot of people, N is an ethnic question mark. I think maybe we think that, by knowing a persons background, it will help us paint a whole picture of who they are. But what if that isn’t part of the persons painting? What if it’s not part of how they think of themselves?

After someone asked this at our family Easter gathering, I asked N what he thought.

“When I think about that, I don’t think that’s my main identifier. Like when I think, who am I? It doesn’t really occur to me that I’m Middle-Eastern first, to other people. That it’s the first thing they notice about me.”

And then he asked me, “What’s your main identifier?” All I could really come up with was – generic white chick. How much easier has my life been because I’m vanilla? Because I’ve never been seen as the “other”? I’ll never know. No one ever looks at me and immediately wonders “what is she?”

After years together, there are so many other things I see first when I look at N. I see a whole picture of a whole person who I love dearly. I see the guy who I’ve shared my life with for the past three years.

Although I guess the fact that we keep inheriting Persian rugs should serve as a reminder that our backgrounds are different. But let me tell you, with a big, red Persian rug and my collection of miscellaneous teapots, my living room looks eclectic and fabulous.




p.s. N thinks he looks creepy in the above photo. I still posted it on the interwebs because I think he looks cute. Sorry, N.

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8 Reasons I Love WordPress (And You Might Too!)

8 Reasons I Love WordPress

1. I own this. The #1 reason to switch to WordPress, hands down (self-hosted,, just to be clear). If Lisette and Kym’s Blogger catastrophes (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – it’s just a blog) aren’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what will. On Blogger, you own the content (kind of), but Google can do whatever they want with it. They could flag your blog as spam. They could redirect your site. That scared me and was a major contributing factor to why I switched.

2. The comments benefit YOU. Yes, you, the reader. Leaving a comment on a WordPress blog creates a back link to your site. When you comment on a WordPress blog, it asks for your name, email, and most importantly, your website. That’s a good thing for you! If you click the person’s name in any of the comments on my site, it will take you directly to their site (if they have one). Hint: this also means you don’t have to leave your link in the comment itself. It’s done for you. It’s a win for both of us!

3. Responsive design. 61% of my readers look at my blog on either their mobile device or a tablet. My blog is built on the Genesis framework with a responsive WordPress theme (Wow, that sounds like I know what I’m talking about, doesn’t it? Weird). If you look at it on different devices, it adjusts to give you the best possible view.

WordPress Responsive Theme Benefits

Blogger can’t do that. If you view a Blogger blog in mobile view, you lose all design and sidebar elements. If mobile view is disabled in Blogger and you view the full website on your phone, it’s itty bitty. You can test how your blog looks on all different devices here.

4. SEO stuff. At the bottom of every blog draft, there is a SEO section. I hate doing it because you have to do a little summary of your post (a meta description), which feels like homework, but I think/hope/imagine it helps with Google search rankings.

Using WordPress SEO by Yoast (a free plugin) you have the ability to make your title different to search engines. While I might want a cheeky, personal title to show up on my blog itself, I want Google search results to show a title of what the post is actually about. Here’s an example:

how titles appear on blog

See? While people wouldn’t Google “bye-bye long hair”, lots of people might Google “cutting hair from long to short”. Want more on this? Here’s what Matt Cutts said about this during a Google Webmaster chat.

5. Plugins like whoa. Need your blog have a scrolling photo on the home screen? A “pin it” button? Want to catch spam comments or automatically tweet links to your older content or add social media buttons? There’s a plugin for that. Plugins are what sealed the deal on my move to WordPress. There are thousands of tools available on WordPress to make blogging better for the writer and the reader.

6. Add it to your resume. Right now, about 21% of websites (like, all websites that exist) use WordPress. Now I’m no coder, but I could set up a functioning WordPress website or blog myself. I could install a template (I installed my current template myself). I could make it look good. Resume worthy? Maybe. It’s not a bad skill to have. And I’m learning more every day.

7. Accurate stats. The stats in the Blogger dashboard are inaccurate. If you’re on Blogger, compare them to Google Analytics. They just don’t match up. Sure, the inflated Blogger stats make you feel good (I’ve been there, I’ve felt that), but if we’re honest with ourselves, they’re not accurate. Side note: When I sponsor a blog, I want to see Google Analytics screen shots (you can see mine here), not Blogger dashboard screen shots. While Jetpack (i.e WordPress stats) don’t pull the exact same numbers as Google Analytics, mine are consistently much closer (i.e. within 50-70 pageviews).

8. Distraction free writing mode. At first, I didn’t love the WordPress dashboard. I didn’t like the way drafting posts looked. It was cluttered and different from Blogger and it threw me in to a bit of a writing funk. Since then, I’ve discovered (and embraced) the WordPress full screen draft mode, also known as Distraction free writing mode. That’s exactly what it is. Here’s what drafting a post in WordPress looks like:

What Drafts In WordPress Look Like

Now I get that WordPress isn’t for every one. There are plenty of reasons to start on Blogger (I did!) and plenty of reasons to stay with Blogger. WordPress has its flaws. In fact, I even wrote a post about the downsides of switching to WordPress. But now, 7 months after making the switch, I love WordPress more and more every day.

Thinking of making the switch? Lisette did my transfer from Blogger to WordPress and I cannot rave enough about her mad skillz. She has two options: one for those who want just a basic transfer, and one for those who need her to completely take the reins (like I needed!).

What blogging platform do you use? What do you love about it?