Nail Biting – The Quest to STOP

I think I’ve mentioned before my lifelong penchant for nail-biting and my struggles with it. Sometimes I can just stop cold turkey for a few months, but a stressful situation will no doubt drive me back to gnawing. Ugh. Well, I have a special event coming up and yes, I could just get acrylics or gel nails, but I don’t want the expense, upkeep or artificial look. So I’ve challenged myself to just stop now so that by then I will have presentable hands.

In my quest to stop this awful habit, I researched a product to help me, (because heaven knows I can’t do this on my own) and I found Mavala STOP on Amazon with lots of rave reviews. For $10, plus $2 shipping, it’s way cheaper than $50 + tip gel nails.
It arrived yesterday so painted it on at the end of the day. It dried quickly so I decided to try a nibble to see if the taste would be enough to stop me from gnawing – what a regretful decision that was. The taste I was met with can only be described as Liquid Plumber+vinegar+battery acid+antifreeze from 1914. FOUL.

Today, after a morning of showering and several hand washings, the gross taste hasn’t faded, although reapplying once a day will be a good idea. If this aversion therapy is the key to having nice nails, I’ll stay with it. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

*Please note that I just can’t post a picture of my nails now because they are just that embarrassing…

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Sonia Kashuk Brow Kit Review

Sonia Kashuk Brow Kit

I think I’ve mentioned before the importance of paying attention to your brows as they frame your eyes and complete a polished look. That’s why when I spotted this brow kit in Target for $9.99 I felt giddy. As someone who frequently changes her hair color, this kit looked perfect! And the minimalist packaging is sleek and typical of Sonia Kashuk. I was thrilled to try it.

The kit doesn’t come with a brush, so I used a stiff bristled slanted brush and found that I had to dig the brush deep into the waxy pot to get any color to show up. The waxyness kept my brows in place, but I wanted color too. I don’t know if I got a dud off the manufacturing line, as makeupalley has so many rave reviews, but back to Target it went.

I’m back to using matte shadows for my brows.

xoxo ~ PolkaDot

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Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred – OW

So this morning I dragged my ass out of bed at 5:15, ate a banana, had some water and with fear in my heart, hit Play on this DVD.

I’ve been working out in the morning for about a week and I started out with the Denise Austin Boot Camp DVD because I did her workouts on Lifetime when they used to have them. Denise is great, but I knew Jillian would be more challenging.

The Shred video has 3 levels – as you progress, you go up a level. But each level also has two girls behind Jillian. One does the more advanced version of each exercise and the other a more beginner/intermediate version, so it’s very customizable to your needs. All you need are dumbbells and a mat. There’s a warm-up and then an exhausting mix of cardio/strength. Jillian stresses that if you want to get fit in a 20 minute workout, you need to push yourself and minimize resting. She’s motivational without being nasty or mean. So far I like this video and am looking forward to seeing results.

As a side note, I work out so early because if I don’t do it first thing, I will never do it later in the day. This way it’s done, over with and energizes me for my morning. I’ve been enjoying a better, more restful sleep as a result of working out too.

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Everyday Minerals – New Packaging FTW

Wish I would use this up so I can buy a replacement in the new packaging that looks like...



I have the following complaints about this blush: 1) it’s the perfect everyday blush, 2) it lasts all day 3) it’s well pigmented 4)they give you plenty in the container and it lasts forever 5)it’s $5!

Why on earth are these complaints you ask? Because I seem to have bought the bottomless container of blush that will never die, meaning I can’t ever replace it with the cuter packaging they have now (in pic #2).

What a smart move on Every Minerals’ part though – sleek, girly new packaging that lacks that bizarre Target logo, but kept the same low prices. The website is also cute and easy to navigate, although a tiny bit overwhelming. And unless I didn’t look hard enough, I haven’t been able to find ingredient lists. Otherwise, EM is a great value and lots of people rave about their mineral foundations which come in various formulas for a good range of coverage.

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Review: SpaRitual Nailpolish in Drop Dead Gorgeous

SpaRitual's Drop Dead Gorgeous

When I saw this cool toned slightly irridescent/shimmery deep violet at a day spa last summer, I knew I had to try it. I justified the $9 price tag by telling myself getting this is cheaper than a manicure and I will get many uses out of it. Boy, was I right. As beautiful as it is as a rich fall shade, it will work in winter and even summer with a tan.

As for the SpaRitual line of polishes, they are vegan and toulene/formaldehyde free, so they don’t have that gnarly polish smell, nor are they you know, poison. I’m on day three of wearing this polish and haven’t been delicate with it – I’ve done some cleaning and lots of dishes without so much as a chip. I’m impressed. I’m going to have to scout out where to get more as I don’t frequent day spas, but this polish gets 5 out of 5 PolkaDots.

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My silly indulgence

Part of the lipgloss collection


A while back (my apologies for the delay) ctkathy asked me how many lipglosses I owned, which prompted me to snap this picture of my lipgloss/lipstick makeup drawer. It would appear as though there are about 20 glosses, 10 lipsticks and a few pencils. Even though I snapped this picture weeks ago, something stopped me from posting the answer to ctkathy’s question immediately. Over the next few weeks, I discovered the various glosses I hoard in my purse, car, bathroom, and desk drawer at work, more than double my original estimate of 30 lip items.
At first I felt sort of ridiculous, but then I realized it’s not like they’re YSL or Dior glosses at $30 a pop – most of them are NYX or Maybelline that I got on sale at CVS or ULTA or even the occasional Dollar Store gloss. And this is one of the few indulgences I allow myself. Having said this, I give you permission to enjoy whatever your silly indulgence may be, because if it makes you happy and isn’t hurting anyone, then why not?
Smooches!  ~PolkaDot
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Don’t Pack Away the Summer Dresses Yet

Paired with a long cardigan and tall boots, your summer dresses can enjoy extended use through the fall season. A knee length dress is appropriate for the office, but the shorter length is great for a date or a night out with friends. The key to this look is that the cardigan should be about as long as the dress. I tried it with a shorter, hip length cardigan, which wasn’t as flattering as it visually cut me in half.

Forgive the silly look on my face, but I had to concentrate on keeping the phone still to get a clear pic. Took about 11 tries.

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Meeeeow: PolkaDot has (real) claws again

I've managed to not bite long enough so that my talons look like THIS. Woo!

For non-nail biters, I don’t think you understand what an accomplishment this is. First of all, I grew out all the damage from when I had acrylics over the summer and then I did my best to not bite. Did I cheat? A bit. I did still bite the sides of my nails and sometimes nibbled at the sking a bit. EW. I know I know.

BUT I currently have 10 chic squared off natural nails to enjoy. The polish on them is OPI’s Bubble Bath with an OPI top coat and OPI Nail Envy in matte as a basecoat. I also ran out to Sally’s and bought an $8 glass nail file that is supposed to be gentle on the nails and last forever. Those cheap cardboard files can shred your nails. And don’t ever file back and forth – one direction only. This has also helped keep my nails in good shape. As any reformed nail biter can tell you, it’s those little snags and chips that are most tempting.

I do have a vicious cycle of biting and then not biting, so while I have these nails, I shall enjoy them.

Enjoy your weekend! Blowing kisses from my well manicured hands!  LOL  ~PolkaDot

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Giovanni Shampoo/Condit & Leave-In Review

I have a new love: Giovanni. No, it’s not a Jersey shore cast member – it’s a fantastic line of haircare products that are all natural, organic, and packaged beautifully in sleek, minimalist bottles.

Giovanni Smooth as Silk shampoo & conditioner

I have been a long time user of Giovanni Smooth as Silk shampoo and conditioner. As you can see, there is only a small amount left, so I can vouch for its effects over time. The ingredients are natural, there is a light citrus scent, and it moisturizes without weighing down my fine, highlighted hair. I like variety, so I have an arsenal of shampoos and conditioners to choose from and every time I use this combo, I have a good hair day. I also feel comfortable using these on my hair daily with no worries of harsh sulfates causing further damage.

So you can imagine my happiness when recently I discovered Giovanni’s Vitapro Fusion leave-in spray.

Giovanni Vitaprpo Fusion leave-in spray

It leaves my hair less frizzy, more manageable, and protects it from heat if I choose to blow dry or flat iron my hair. Best of all, I feel great using Giovanni products because they are natural and certified organic. I can say there is a definite improvement in my hair as a result of using this product line. I’m also interested in trying their volumizing styling foam to replace my alcohol soaked mousse.

I’ve seen Giovanni products for around $7 or $8 on, and Wegmans, but recently saw them on sale at RiteAid for $5.99. I believe Target carries Giovanni as well, but the best prices I’ve found have been at

Out of 5 PolkaDots, I give these three products a 5!

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Giella Nailpolish Review: Greige

Giella Greige Nailpolish

I was recently sent Giella’s newest nailpolish, Greige – a shade their website describes as “a neutral beige with a touch of gray.” I keep hoping that the even after the triple take I did, the price is NOT $25. For nailpolish. Just checked again, and yep.. it’s $25. For that amount of money, I would at least expect the color description to be dead on, but I see no hint of beige after application – it’s more gray with a touch of lavender. Admittedly, it is a nice fall shade. I opted to paint my toes with it.

I'm an awful nail painter - pls excuse the paint job and the bony toes.

Do you see any beige in that color? Even in various lights, I don’t. But on the positive side, this nailpolish is formaldehyde and toulene free and dried quickly. Even better though, it applied beautifully and only required one coat. As much of a nailpolish spazz as I am, I even managed to apply it without streaks.

I think OPI polishes, which are my favorite for quality and staying power, are a better value for nearly 1/3 of the price of one of these.

The price and incorrect color description gives this 2.5 out of 5 Polka Dots. It would have rated lower if not for the toulene/formaldehyde free formula and ease of application.

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PolkaDot’s Gross Start Into Beauty

Notice this is going under the “Rambling” category…

So picture it: I’m like 7 years old, wandering outside during recess when what do I see on the ground? A used, gross frosty pink ’80s perfect Wet ‘N Wild lipstick to call my own. Yes, I swiped this germy lipstick and treasured it like it was the Hope Diamond. See, Mama PolkaDot was kind of strict and wouldn’t allow me to even paint my toes or even pretend play with makeup. A half hour hit of Lysol wouldn’t have rid that thing of heaven only knows what was on it, but it was a covert victory and the start of a lifelong love affair of all things beauty and girlie. 

The end.

Smooches!   ~ PolkaDot

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L’Oreal’s HIP Jelly Balm Inspires Lipgloss Layering

L'Oreal HIP Jelly Balm in Plush

L’Oreal’s High Intensity Pigment line has amazing eyeshadows (Satin Taupe is one of my favorites!) and liners that you would swear are high end with their quality – and their Jelly Balm gloss is no exception.

I was attracted to this cool salmon pink Plush 120 shade so I picked it up for around $5 at Walgreens. While it’s a gorgeous color on its own and long lasting, this gloss has another use: layering. I layer it under shades that I find too frosty and would otherwise throw away, and it tones them down. I can layer this under any gloss and give it a totally new look. If I find a gloss it too warm for my skintone, this cool tones in this shade neutralize it, making it more wearable.

Bottom line: whether or not you go out and buy this exact shade doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to layer and play with your glosses/lipsticks because you could create your signature shade from countless combinations. Have fun playing! 

Smooches! ~ PolkaDot

P.S. For quality and value, the HIP Jelly Balm gets 5 out of 5 Dots.

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6 Random Tips

Confession: sometimes I get lazy and post quick tips to my Facebook and Twitter accounts but don’t always put them on the blog right away. Here are the last 6 Tips I posted in case you missed them.

  1. Omega 3s

Increase your omega-3 intake for gorgeous hair/skin and to prevent wrinkles. Good sources are nuts, tuna, salmon and olive/canola oils. Beauty starts from the inside out.

2.   ‎Natural Eye Makeup Removers

Two inexpensive, effective, naturally hydrating eye makeup removers: extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil.

3.   Uncross Those Legs

Try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Doing so decreases circulation and causes varicose veins.

4. Powder Foundation for More Coverage

For fuller coverage, use a powder foundation to set liquid makeup instead of pressed powder.

5.   Discount Makeup

Check for your favorite makeup brands – sometimes they feature value sets at discounted prices.

6.   Summer Look: Bronzer+Highlighter

As summer slowly comes to an end soon, try the bronzer+highlighter along the tops of cheekbones (no blush) look for a luminous, sunkissed glow. My favorite combo is NARS Laguna bronzer with The Multiple in Copacabana as highlighter. You can also try Rimmel bronzer with Jane shimmering bronzer as highlighter.

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My Look on Saturday – UD Naked Palette

I apologize for this not being the best picture, but this was my look this Saturday. And yup, that’s a Caboodle – it’s great for travel. 

Everything you’ve heard about the Urban Decay Naked Palette is true – it’s that awesome. I continue to be impressed by the quality and versatility of this palette. The first color on the left (Virgin) also doubles as a gorgeous cheek highlight. On weekends I like to go for a heavier eye with black liner, whereas weekdays I opt for a softer brown or grey liner. On my cheeks I had NARS Laguna bronzer with Orgasm blush. Lips were simply MAC Underage Lipglass. I am still loving using the MAC Fix+ to moisten the brush and apply my mineral makeup. It kept my makeup fresh and near perfect in heat and humidity.

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Get More Staying Power and Better Coverage from Your Mineral Makeup

I had heard many months ago (I don’t recall the source) that you could apply mineral makeup with a moistened brush for better coverage and a more airbrushed look. Two days ago I felt inspired to try this technique with terrific results!

MAC Fix+, L'Oreal Bare Naturale, Coastal Scents Mini-Kabuki and Bare Minerals

I felt like I would want more control from a dense brush, so I used my Coastal Scents Kabuki On a Stick ($5.95) brush with my Bare Minerals foundation in light. The results were amazing – gorgeous, long lasting coverage, less shinyness throughout the day and I didn’t need as much concealer as usual. Best of all, I felt like I actually used less makeup than usual, which is great because Bare Minerals ain’t cheap. All I did was apply two squirts of the MAC Fix+ ($19) to my brush and buffed the makeup on.

The next day I tried it with L’Oreal’s Bare Naturale mineral makeup. I sprayed the brush it comes with twice but was only able to cover my forehead and half a cheek before I had to squirt again and apply more makeup. While I had to use more makeup and Fix+, I got the same gorgeous wear, decreased shine and staying power that I did when I used Bare Minerals.

I know you can try this with water as well – it will give you better coverage, (be sure to slightly dampen the brush, not soak it) but I really think the Fix+ is what’s helping my makeup stay fresh looking all day. This technique makes mineral makeup go on creamy and gives you heavier, yet natural looking coverage.

Try this – I think you’ll love the results. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

Smooches!  ~PolkaDot

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6 Beauty Benefits of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

I just did a review on this:

Swanson Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - a miracle worker!

EVCO is an amazing miracle – it has so many uses.
For cuts/scrapes, it speeds healing and takes away pain. It’s much better than Neosporin.
As a hair conditioner, coat strands from 30 mintues to all night and wash out for wonderfully moisturized hair. Helps with static in the winter.
I use it to cut my Jergens naturals lotion as an all-over moisturizer. It would be a little too greasy on its own, but added to the Jergens makes a wonderful lotion that leaves me soft and helps with any redness or bumps. EVCO has natural anti-bacterial/anti-microbial properties that can help skin issues. I think my decolette/chest area which has very delicate skin is also looking better.
At night it gloriously removes eye makeup and I also rub it on my face for about a minute or two before washing it off. Once a week, I add some granulated sugar to the EVCO and gently exfoliate my face before bed.
EVCO is also wonderful for chapped, dry lips.

Google “extra virgin coconut oil benefits” to see all the amazing healing properties and uses. I buy it from – I get their brand in a large, dark brown container for only $5.99. I’m already on my second tub and have this as a permanent staple in my home.

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Maybelline Volum’ Express Mascara Reviews

Maybe she's born with...thin, spidery lashes?

There are two things you can say about me for sure: 1.) I love thick looking eyelashes and 2.) I love getting the most for my money – meaning that if you’re supposed to switch out a mascara every 3 months, then darn it I will use one up until the 90th day. You can imagine my disappointment when I hated this mascara so much, that I had to chuck it around day 20.

It was several years ago that I started my steady relationship with the Volum’ Express line with this very black tube. Thick, glam lashes always resulteld. Recently, I tried the Volum’ Express The Colossal and have loved that as well. But never dreamed the originial in the black tube would be so disappointing. Maybe I got a dud in the factory line? I don’t know, but sparse, spidery lashes are not for me and neither is this mascara. Out of 5 Dots, I give this 1.

Volum' Express the Falsies - a bit better

So I moved on to the Volum’ Express line’s newest addition, The Falsies in an attractive teal/fuschia tube with better luck. While I don’t get the thickness I necessarily want, it does a nice job of fanning out my lashes and holding a curl without looking spidery. I’ve read reviews that complained of flaking after a few hours, but I haven’t experienced this. Out of 5 Dots, I give this 3.5.

After 90 days of The Falsies, I’m going back to my original favorite, 5 Dot mascara, Maybelline Volum’ Express, The Colossal in the bright yellow tube. I’ll never stray again! At least not until they change the formula…

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2 Quick Eye Tips

  1. Smudged your mascara? No need to panic. Simply wait for the smudge to dry completely and gently rub at it with a Q-tip until it’s gone. See? No need to redo your eyes.

2. Try navy or deep royal blue eyeliner for a subtle change  that brightens eyes. Do this around the waterline for extra oomph. This especially looks gorgeous on brown and hazel eyes.

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Glo Minerals Makeup Session @Blueprints for Hair & Skin in the Poconos

I had the good fortune this past weekend to get invited to try a fully made up face with Glo Minerals products at Blueprints for Hair and Skin in East Stroudsburg, PA – a full service salon that will take care of your makeup, hair, skin, nail, hair removal and relaxation needs for women and men.

I arrived Saturday at 10 am and met Jenna, (who is a DOLL) my certified makeup artist. Immediately I loved the sophisticated, neutral décor and whatever that heavenly scent was, I must find out, but it was nothing like perm solution or anything gnarly like that. A good smell can just set the tone for the whole visit and I was in for a great one.

I was already loving my first glance at the Blueprints’ makeup station, full of Glo Minerals products. The colors for eyes, lips and cheeks are gorgeous –and well pigmented. A stab of doubt hit me when I saw what appeared to be a limited palette of foundation colors, (Glo Sheer Tint Base) but Jenna expertly mixed two colors on the back of her hand and made my complexion flawless.

GloMinerals at Blueprints for Hair & Skin - East Stroudsburg, PA

As she was making me up, she convinced me that it is best to apply concealer after you apply foundation. Her reasoning was that once you apply foundation, you see where you might need a bit of extra coverage and go from there instead of caking on concealer and then foundation for a heavy, cakey, layered look. I didn’t experience any dreaded chalkiness or cakiness either from the Glo powder Jenna applied to my T-zone to absorb oil.

As someone who has made up many ladies for proms, weddings and taught makeup application, Jenna zeroed in on my best feature, my eyes, and played them up perfectly with a pinky peach on the lid and a deep purple shadow liner. It came out natural and gorgeous. She was open to my suggestion of smudging the top eyeliner for a thicker line. The look was finished with a pinky berry gloss shade, which is one I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, but actually liked and thought it was very pretty. That’s what’s great about having someone else do your makeup – they can open up your eyes to one little thing you never thought you would like. A final spritz of GloMoist Hydration mist, which smelled like heavenly roses, and I was out of there.

Jenna told me to expect to have to touch up my makeup in about six hours or so, but I have to say that my look lasted until about 8pm. I looked fresh and dewey all day, but never had to touch up for shine – not once! Tres impressive. I’m thinking that a combination of the powder, hydration mist and primer that Jenna used gave my look longevity on a very warm summer day.

As someone who’s been a shut-in for most of the summer due to a foot injury two months ago, I took home a bottle of gloBody Bronzer, $33, which is a beautiful lotion that takes the sting of ultrawhiteness from your exposed body parts without the hassle/stink/streak risk of self tanner. It has a very subtle, glowing shimmer that isn’t too much, but is enough to sort of visually photoshop skin imperfections.

I had a wonderful experience at Blueprints for Hair and Skin this past weekend and hope to visit them again. If you visit Blueprints in the Poconos, tell them PolkaDot sent you – and say hi to Jenna for me! 

Smooches!   ~ PolkaDot

Blueprints for Hair and Skin    (570)421-6245

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NYX Summer Love lipstick is the sh%#!

There aren’t enough dots in the PolkaDot rating system for this lipstick – j’adore it to no end. 

NYX Summer Love Lipstick

This is the perfect, inexpensive cool-toned, taupe-y,  nude-y mauve. Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it. Love it. The end.

And it’s under $5.

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LORAC Oil-free Luminizer Review

LORAC Oil-free Luminizer in Pearl

I just love the current plethora of products dedicated to making us look luminous and radiant. When I think back to the dark red brown lips and super matte skin of the ’90s, I shiver. I can’t imagine ever not using highlighters and skin illuminators.

This brings me to LORAC’s Luminizer which I have used for a few months now and can do a fair assessment.


This luminizer is made with good ingredients, casts a beautiful, non-glittery or iridescent color. It works best mixed with moisturizer, or applied on top of moisturizer just under foundation – but only to the tops of cheekbones, down the nose and forehead. It also looks beautiful artfully blended on the collarbones.


It’s not cheap. The pump dispenses way too much, so you have to unscrew the top and swipe off any excess on the neck of the bottle. If you try to apply it over foundation, it’s difficult to control and your “subtle glow” becomes obvious pearly stripes. Also, if you apply it under foundation and then apply a primer, the primer somehow kills any luminosity you would gain from this.

I think the cons of this product outweigh the pros which means I have to give it 2.5 out of 5 Dots. I will use this up because it wasn’t cheap, but I don’t see myself repurchasing this.

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PolkaDot’s Favorite Inexpensive Lip Gloss


What retails for $5.50, has a GORGEOUS range of pigment rich colors and smells great? NYX Mega Shine Lip Glosses!

The NYX website just had a 50% off sale, so I stocked up on six or seven new colors, but you also catch sales at ULTA. ULTA frequently has $3.50 off $10 coupons or 20% off sales. I love MAC Lipglass, but for 1/3 of the price, NYX is an amazing less expensive alternative.

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Soft hands and hydrated nails/cuticles tip

QUICK TIP: Give your nails some TLC by warming a bowl of olive oil and soaking them for 10 minutes before bed. After the soak rub some granulated sugar on your hands for about a minute. Result: super soft hands plus hydrated cuticles and nails that are less prone to breaking or cracking.

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Milani Crystal Gloss in Whisper – review

$4.79 at CVS - Milani Crystal Gloss

On the constant hunt for the perfect milky pinky nude gloss, I thought that for under $5 I’d try the Milani Crystal gloss yesterday. I realize it’s inexpensive, but I’m getting a refund. It’s not a bad lipgloss, but it doesn’t perform the way I would like.

It is incredibly sheer, although shiny and pretty and doesn’t have an awful fragrance or feels too goopy. For bargain glosses, so far my preference is NYX. You get tons of gloss, a beautiful color payoff and a nice scent. If you like a sheer gloss, then for the price, this may be for you.

Glossy smooches! ~ Shelle

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2 Things I Reeeeally Don’t Like: Haul Videos and Lip Stains

While I must thank several youtube beauty gurus for inspiring me to start my own beauty blog, (allthatglitters21, lollipop26, pixiwoo, kandeejohnson etc) most of them do these dreadful “haul videos.” If you’re unfamiliar with these, it’s basically a video where they show you the heaps of makeup that they just bought. Some people don’t like them because they feel it’s like showing off – that’s actually not my problem. Typical haul videos are a waste of time because the products are not tested or reviewed since they are newly purchased. If you’re going to do a haul video, use the products for a week or two and then do a simultaneous review and/or tutorial if applicable.

However, not all haul videos are useless – ones that feature clothes/accessories can actually be helpful if you like a specific beauty guru’s personal style and wish to copy it.

Speaking of things I don’t like, let’s move on to lip stains.

Cover Girl Outlast Lip Stain

 So I was fascinated by makeup and girly things by a pretty early age, so you can imagine the struggles I had with my strict mom who refused to let me ever even play with makeup for fun or even paint my toes until I was a teenager. Not one to be thwarted by parental rules, I got my mitts on a bright red Crayola marker and decided to paint my pout.

Back in my day, these things were NOT washable.

 Sweet heavens, I looked stupid and couldn’t even scrub it off before mom spotted me. I looked like I ODed on Hawaiian Punch for a few days, which was a far worse punishment than the grounding I got.

And that’s what this new batch of lip stains remind me of – like you just drank beet juice or worse, colored your mouth with a marker. This is a trend I won’t even be trying because I know how it’s going to turn out – my 8 year old self can tell you all about it.

But if you really must have a lipstain, here’s a link to  Also read the 2.9 out of 5 lippies reviews on makeupalley.

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A new favorite: Too Faced Absolutely Invisible Candlelight Powder

Too Faced Candlelight - A quality powder that imparts a subtle glow

I’m a huge fan of luminous skin – skin that looks as though you have an unexplainable other wordly glow – not a radioactive Chernobyl kind of glow, but you know what I mean.

On the hunt for product(s) to provide me with this effect, I have encountered items that either appear to glue chunks of glitter on the face, or on the opposite end are far too subtle and have no effect.

The Candlelight powder is finely milled, lasts all day and casts a subtle, gorgeously ethereal glow. It’s not too much for everyday wear and paired with a cheek highlighter, will give you extra oomph for an evening or formal look.

From Sephora:

Candlelight’s multi-functional hue can also be used as a base color on lids, under the brow bone for brightening, as an all-over highlighter, and blended into bronzer or blushes.

Out of 5 Dots, this item gets 4. $25 is a bit spendy, but I may raise to 5 Dots if the compact lasts a long time. Stay tuned.

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Moisturizer Update – Castor Oil

Over two months ago, I blogged about adding mineral oil to my moisturizer and how soft if made my skin.

I do still like that method of moisturizing, (although some people have a bad reaction to mineral oil) but have made a new discovery that involves castor oil. Now I add a quarter size dollop of castor oil to my Jergens Naturals moisturizer and enjoy soft skin, (although not as soft as with the mineral oil) but after about a week of use, the bumps on the back of my arms are nearly gone, and I’ve had them for years!

Swanson castor oil - $5.29 for 16oz

Cator oil has been used for its healing properties and particularly for anti-aging and skin conditions. It is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, which explains how it helped the keratosis pilaris, or those gnarly bumps on the back of my arms. Some people also cleanse their skin with a mix of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil – the castor can be a bit too drying on its own, which is why people with oily skin like it.  I can tell that for winter, I will probably add a more hydrating natural oil to my moisturizing routine.

I bought 16oz at Swanson Vitamins – you always want to get cold pressed castor oil. Swanson is also a great source for Burt’s Bees products at a good price with cheap shipping.

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Just for fun post: If Money Was No Object…

All from

YSL Face Highlighter, $65 - OUCH! but sooo pretty!

Dior Iridescent Shadow in Ready to Glow - $58

NARS lip gloss in Turkish Delight - $24


NARS Lip Lacquer in Chelsea Girls - $24

 The NARS Turkish Delight underneath Chelsea Girls is GORGEOUS! It was the perfect pinky/peachy/nude/taupe – tough to explain. I tried it a few weeks ago and fell in love, but couldn’t justify $48 for lipgloss. I couldn’t justify any of these things, but it’s fun to dream!

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Makeup Kit Essential: Essence of Beauty Crease Brush Duo

Run, don’t walk, to your local CVS and purchase this brush duo for $5.49.

A great value - Essence of Beauty Crease Duo Brushes

Good brushes do most of the work when applying eye makeup and this duo is a fantastic value. Use the smaller brush to apply shadow on the lower lid to create the always popular and flattering smokey eye. The larger brush is the perfect crease brush to create definition and depth. Both brushes are dense and well made and an absolute must-own. Sometimes CVS has a Buy One Get One 50% off sale too.

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A Cheap Face Primer Alternative

I’ve recently discovered the value of a face primer. After moisturizer sets in for a few minutes, it is applied to the face and provides a smooth, clear canvas on which to place your makeup – and as a bonus, helps your makeup last all day, evens out pores and lines and controls shine.

The beauty industry’s cult favorite is Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer at $36 for one ounce. With some research and reviews from other beauty buffs, I found a much cheaper, but just as effective alternative.

Apply this to your face.. wha..??

Yes, that is in fact a Monistat product – Monistat Soothing Care Powder Relief Gel at around $8 at, although I actually got it for $5.99 at Target. Dimethicone is the main ingredient and is also in the Smashbox primer. I don’t use this everyday, only when I want a super flawless finish and extra lasting power. This is especially good for wedding season and any other formal events where you want to look your best.


Again, apply moisturizer and let it sink in to your skin for at least 5-10 minutes. Take a tiny amount of the gel, smaller than a pencil eraser and apply it to the middle of your face moving outward. You definitiely want primer on your nose, apples of the cheeks, chin and forehead, where you’d have the most oil and makeup is most likely to slide off throughout the day. I don’t know if this is necessary, but I like to let the primer set for a few minutes before I start applying my face makeup. That’s it – enjoy your inexpensive, flawless finish! That tiny tube will last you forever too.

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Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Review

2.5 ounces goes a long way

As former daily hair washer, I can tell you that it really is better not to wash your hair daily. But having fine hair with roots that get oily fast, I always just washed daily anyway – until about two years ago when I discovered Oscar Blandi’s Pronto Dry Shampoo. The 2.5 ounce bottle has lasted me about a year and a half which makes the $19 price tag a little easier to handle.

I put a small amount of the powder in my palm and then pat it into my roots. The oil is absorbed and your roots get some lift too. There are two drawbacks: 1) it’s a little messy, so don’t wear your black catwoman outfit when applying and 2) the smell is of it is gross, but luckily it doesn’t linger.

The Pronto powder doesn’t leave a white film or residue in your hair – even for brunettes. However, baby powder, which I’ve also tried for oil absorbing purposes, will.

All in all, this is a great product that saves me time, money and wear and tear on my dyed/highlighted fine hair.

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2 Seconds of Effort = Thicker Lashes

After foundation and concealer, apply your pressed or loose powder to your T-zone to set both, but also try a quick dusting on your lashes. The powder will help bulk up your lashes for a thickening effect.

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Quick Tip #2: Make Your Own Custom Gloss

Turn any powdered eyeshadow, blush or loose pigment into a brand new custom lipgloss. Scoop a small amount of vaseline or clear gloss onto the back of your hand. Add a bit of your powder or pigment (less or more depending on how opaque you want to go) Mix together and apply with either your finger or a lipbrush. If it’s a combination you really love, scoop some vaseline into an empty Rosebud tin or something similar and apply more powder to have a supply of your fabulous new custom gloss.

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Highlighter Trick to Make Your Lips Stand Out

Quick Tip: To draw attention to your lips, apply a tiny bit of highlighter (cream or powder) right above the cupid’s bow area. Then line and fill in with lipstick and/or gloss as usual.

You can get a highlighter at any price point – I have a decent powder one from Wet ‘N Wild that I bought a few years ago. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips are great as is LORAC Illuminating cream or Benefit Highbeam (not my favorite, but people swear by it). A light, shimmery eyeshadow can also double as a highlighter.

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Beauty Accident Leaves PolkaDot in Stitches

Yep, you read that right. I had a beauty accident that sent me to the ER last night. After washing my face (so that leftover makeup doesn’t stretch out my pores and make me break out the next day) I reached for a cotton ball so that I could tone with witch hazel. Well I dropped the glass lid shattering it and the next thing I knew, my foot was gushing blood. It all seemed to have happened in a split second – very surreal.

Mr. PolkaDot was wonderful in taking me to the ER and letting me squeeze his hand when the needle was put in my foot to numb it.  I was pretty proud when the nurse practitioner told me I was “tough” for not screaming.

So now I hop around on one foot (what a workout let me tell you!) and am hoping to heal fast. Instead of foundation, blush and eyeshadow, my current essentials include, gauze, Neosporin and anti-inflammatories. LOL

I wanted to do photos and a full review of some brushes I bought on sale at AC Moore for $11 total that have the potential to be awesome. But I don’t have it in me to do any reviews or in depth stories right now, I hope over the next few days as I’m on the mend, to still throw out my favorite tips or any other fun discoveries.

Here are my two tidbits for today:

1.)  Use code MACMONDAY for free overnight shipping today only from MAC. You still have until midnight!

2.)  In my sedentary state, I’ve been playing on the ‘net and found a great new beauty blog:

The author focuses on drugstore brand items of value and offers plenty of reviews and dupe possibilities.

In the meantime, if you have full use of both feet, take a moment to fully appreciate that as I didn’t before yesterday! Smooches!  ~PolkaDot

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My Dream Set-up

Do you remember when Victoria’s Secret dressing rooms used to have that striped pink wallpaper? It was a two toned pink, super girly and so pretty. If I could get my hands on that, and if I ever had a big enough house, I would outfit an entire room in it and make it my “dressing/make-up room.”

What prompted this post was stumbling upon this mirror.

Oh how this puts my little Jerdon mirror to shame...

I saw this and a choir of angels began to sing.

This mirror would complete my dream room. I’ve always loved the lighted mirrors at Sephora, but this blows those out of the water – and it comes in pink! (plus grey, black and off white) Unfortunately, for $349, it’s not happening. I probably should pay car insurance for the quarter right? Right. But it’s fun to dream!

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I Don’t Care How Cheap Bic Soleil Razors Are, RUN AWAY

Don't do it!

So a few weeks ago I was tempted into straying – straying from my committed relationship with my Schick Quattro. I was lured by a BOGO coupon and the Mango Papaya fragrance. Tropical fruit scented gams you say? Sign me up!

Sure it smells nice, yes. You can have nicely scented, scraped up legs with extra messed up knees and ankles due to the non swiveling head. The Schick Quattro spoiled me with its lightweight design and swiveling head that makes it so much easier to those tricky areas. I felt like I shaved with sandpaper – awful product!

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Red Nails are Tres Chic, N’est-ce pas?

Revlon Red - for warm skin tones


Revlon Cherries in the Snow - for cool skin tones

The French do classic feminine better than anyone on earth and nothing screams femme fatale more than chic red nails. A makeup artist and native of France, Laura Mercier recently told Women’s Health that French women do their own manicures where they start the process by first soaking their hands in warm water with lemon juice. The lemon rids the nails of any yellow stains that a red polish would leave behind – plus the citric acid is an amazing exfoliator.

To pull off red nails, you need to find the right shade for your skintone. As someone with cool tones, I would look awful in Revlon Red (a yellow-red) pictured above, but the blue-red Cherries in the Snow is perfect on me. Revlon nail polishes are typically under $5. The ones pictured are $4.79 from

For all things chic and French, check out one of my favorite bloggers

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PolkaDot Ponders The Allure of Makeup

I’ve been thinking about why I love makeup so much. I mentioned in previous posts that I love its ability to transform you into anything you want, the way you can take your favorite feature(s) and essentially put a spotlight on them with the right colors and strategic placement. Don’t have prominent cheekbones? Sculpt them with some matte bronzer. Are your eyes on the smaller side? A smokey eye, an eyelash curler and a great mascara are all you need. For thin lips, lipliner and a strategic dab of gloss in the center of the bottom lip suddenly plumps the pout.

So we’ve determined that you can do all these wonderful things with your face without the expense and horror of plastic surgery. Of course makeup’s allure also lies in the fun packaging and marketing that the gets me drooling in Sephora, ULTA and MAC and even drugstores.

But there’s more to it than that. The answer came to me Sunday morning when Mr. PolkaDot was waiting for me to finish my beauty routine so that we could make our brunch reservation. I could tell he was getting impatient – and understandably so, since I like to take my time on weekends. Sensing his impatience made me realize how much I love the ritual of my beauty routine – how it’s a relaxing start to my day. It’s a 5-20 minute stretch of time that I truly treasure and enjoy. I love choosing eye, cheek and lip shades that coordinate with my outfit, mood and what we’re doing for the day. It sounds complicated, but I love it. And I think I would love helping others with it, which leads me to… Barbie.

My first victim - bwahahaha!

I’ve been getting asked by several people to help them with their makeup for special events, which I would LOVE to do. However, I must confess, I’ve never applied makeup on anyone but myself. The wheels were turning on how I could practice on a non-human, so I thought maybe one of those Barbie heads might be good since she can’t cry or yell at me if it goes sour. Unfortunately the Barbie pictured is meant for hairstyling so I’ll have to find a human victim, er, um … volunteer.

One thing I do know is that I love this blog. I love passing info that I’ve found useful or beauty bargains onto you. I love sharing tips and techniques that may suddenly make colorful eyeshadows or fake lashes less intimidating, or make you realize that a little self pampering to start your day can make you a better mom, employee, friend, etc. My makeup routine is like other people’s morning cup of joe – that wonderful pick-me-up that starts my day off right.

Smooches! ~ PolkaDot

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Coastal Scents Metal Mania Palette Review

$24.95 for 88 gorgeous and wearable colors

I love love love this palette. All 88 shades are shimmery, but not insanely so, which immediately make almost all of them wearable. Colorful matte shades are trickier to wear and to work with. I don’t love every single shade, but these are pretty well pigmented and the color selection is outstanding. A few weeks ago, I was actually inspired to try an orange and purple eye – and loved the result!

If you want to dabble in some fun colors, but don’t want to invest a ton of money into fun shades from MAC or Urban Decay, this is a great, budget friendly way to get your fix. Used with a good primer (Too Faced Shadow Insurance, a MAC paint pot or some pressed powder) these shadows shades last all day.

I will also do a review for the CS 88 Warm palette as that has a mix of matte and shimmer shades in beautiful neutrals.

If you are going to buy from Coastal Scents, “like” them on Facebook to get notices of their Friday sales . Sometimes it’s 15% off palettes, or currently $10 off a $50 order. Their shipping is super fast too.

Happy Memorial Day all! Be sure to thank the veterans in your life for their service and take a moment to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

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PolkaDot’s Trick to Making Your Eyeliner Stay

Inexpensive Image Essentials Brush

To make sure your eyeliner stays put all day, invest in a stiff, slanted eyeliner brush (the one pictured is very inexpensive, but I can’t recall where I bought it because I’ve had it forever! Maybe KMart?).  I reach for this brush daily.

Take the brush and dip it into an eyeshadow that is either the same or very close in color to your liner. Brush the excess off on your hand and pat it gently over your eyeliner. The shadow will lock it onto your lashline and you’ll look freshly applied all day.

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The Beauty Items I Owned for 94 Seconds and Other Drugstore Buys

Sometimes you do get what you pay for.

This photo was taken yesterday evening with those two N.Y.C products on the dash of my car. Why that setting? Because moments after buying them I had the sneaking suspicion that they would suck, so I tested them in the car, was sorely disappointed and marched back into RiteAid to get my $4.50 refund.

RiteAid currently has a buy one get one 50% off sale on N.Y.C. items and the cream blush stick was featured as a “miracle under $5″ in Glamour, so I had to try it. The blush was a good color (South Street Seashell – a tan peach) but had little color payoff and even before I was finished with my return, it had worn off of my hand.

As for the lipgloss (in Park Avenue Pink), this was a true disappointment. I thought it was going to be a cheaper MAC Oyster Girl dupe.

MAC Oyster Girl Lipglass

This gloss had ZERO color. It was straight up clear. I don’t even know how it looks so pink in the tube and then goes on clear. Infuriatingly disappointing.

The good news, is that for around $8 I got four great items that I love!

Maybelline Gel Liner and .99 Wet 'N Wild Polishes

After hearing great things about the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner, (Blackest Black) I took advantage of RiteAid’s 40% off Maybelline sale, plus a $1 off any Maybelline eye product coupon that was on an end cap. With tax, it was $5.68. I tried it out last night and love it! It goes on beautifully and easily – I like the length of the brush better than L’Oreal HIP’s gel liner brush or Jane’s Gel liner – both are very short and don’t give you the same ease of control.

For .99 each, I couldn’t pass up those Wet N’ Wild nail polishes in fun summer colors (L to R) Strawberry Burst, Grape Crush and Cotton Candy Delight. Grape Crush I bought specifically with Mr. PolkaDot in mind as he is a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan and this is the perfect Ravens purple. I can’t think of a better way to show my team support than purple toes.

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Deep Conditioner Rec – Neutrogena Triple Moisture Hair Mask

There should be a warrant out for my arrest for how abusive I am to my hair. I run the gamut of hair sins – especially chronic highlighting/coloring. For this affliction, Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask is a lifesaver. Avoid the roots and run through your hair after shampooing, leave it on while you shower and when rinsing you will find your hair has turned to silk. No lie. I find it does however weigh my fine, wavy hair a bit, so if I want a lot of volume, I don’t use this, but for my hair I wouldn’t use this more than twice a week anyway. With summer coming, I can add sun exposure to my list of hair sins, so I will be sure to keep up my supply of this conditioner. has it for $6.99 but I think it may be a little cheaper at Target or WalMart. Others love the Matrix Biolage deep treatment, but but the Neutrogena is a more economical option. Another inexpensive deep conditioner is Aussie’s 3-Minute Miracle. It’s under $4 and has amazing reviews. I haven’t used it in many years so I can’t do a fair assessment, but I do remember I liked the fragrance!

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Score! The leopard flats I’ve wanted for literally YEARS

Leopard goes with everything. Meeeow

So in like 2006 I spotted a pair of leopard print flats on a co-worker and nearly died from envy. Hers were over $150 and I was like, cute, but hell no. Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to find a reasonably priced leopard print pair to call my own. Over the years I’ve found contenders, but they’ve been either too expensive, had a pointy toe, too uncomfortable or just sold out in my size.

You can imagine my joy when in Sears of all places I stumble upon the find of the decade for, *drumroll* $14.99. Normally I find Sears shoes to be cheap and ugly, so landing my leopard flats there of all places is still a bit unsettling – but for that price, who cares!

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From Glamour magazine: 4 ideas for your eyes

Limited edition Urban Decay four pencil and glitter liner set – $20 at

The June issue of Glamour (page 80) features four great ideas to give your eyes that little extra something for a special night out or formal occasion.

1. Wing your eyeliner with a flick at the outer corners – this will give you that sexy cateye look. Try a 1/8″ line to start and go bolder and longer if you get braver with this look.

2. Fake eyelashes – some of my favorite beauty bloggers highly recommend the Ardell brand which you can pick up at any drugstore. They swear it’s easy, but I’ve never mastered them.

3.  Fill in your brows lightly with tiny pencil strokes for an instant lift - I recently tried this and CAN’T BELIEVE how polished it makes you look.

4. Trace gold sparkle liner on top of whatever you’ve already got on – the Urban Decay sparkle liner in the above photo is gorgeous and isn’t at all stripper-ish when applied on top of black liner on your upper lid.

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MIA lately, Artifical Nails and Body Moisturizer tips

First of all, I’m so sorry I’ve been away so long. I’ve been sick and miserable and not even the best make-up application could hide it. I’ve also been pretty whiny as a result of said illness and didn’t feel you all should suffer through that. Finally emerging from the misery of my cold, although I still am stuffy, I have two tips for you today. 

Tacky fake nails = better than bitten down nubs.

So last week I bit the bullet and got acrylic nails. This is only after repeated attempts to try to stop biting my nails on my own. I finally caved when I felt like no matter how nice I looked, my hands looked gross, which just ruined the entire look for me.

The picture is of my hand today, 7 days after getting them done. I have a few tips for getting the most from your acrylics from the time they are freshly applied to the two weeks when you go in for a fill. There are two things you can do to make your nails look good between fill appointments.

1. Ask for a French manicure with clear polish and white tips (like in the pic). This way you don’t see an obvious color growing out. I get the color fix on my toes. Oh and if you do clear, make sure you stress that you need a UV coat or they will turn yellow in the sun.

2. The night before your appointment, apply jojoba or any hydrating cuticle oil to your cuticles after soaking them for a few minutes in warm water. Then very gently push them back so as not to cause any tears or cuts in the skin, which could make you susceptible to infection. Having pushed back cuticles allows the technician to apply the acrylic farther back on your nail bed and as your cuticle grows back over the next two weeks it will sort of cover the growing out area – if that makes sense.

I hate the look of obviously growing out fake nails. With these tricks, my fakes look as natural as possible.

Jergens Naturals

 Add Mineral Oil for Super Soft Skin 

For an inexpensive way to get velvety smooth skin and get the most mileage out of your moisturizer (I’m currently using Jergens Naturals pictures above from – about $6) just get some mineral oil or baby oil. I prefer mineral oil because it has no fragrance and I don’t enjoying the cloying baby oil scent at all.

I usually take about 6 pumps of the Jergens lotion and add about two quarters-sized dollops of mineral oil to that – mixed up in the palm of my hand. I rub my hands together and moisturize everywhere. It’s even better if you do this when your skin is slightly damp to plump up the skin and better retain the moisture.

I haven’t had a problem with dry winter skin and I feel like doing this soothes my skin better after a little too much sun. Your skin will feel like velvet – especially if you do this after exfoliating. It takes a few minutes for the mineral oil to sink in, but that’s why you mix it with the moisturizer, otherwise you’d be super greasy.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll try not to be such a stranger! 


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When concealer just doesn’t cut it…

PolkaDot's favorite brand of tea

…brew a bag of chamomile tea, refrigerate it for a few minutes, then  place it on your eyes to reduce puffiness and darkness. Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce the amount of fluid that can build up under the eye as a result of too little sleep. Drinking the chamomile also helps you relax and unwind so that you can sleep better. It also aids with tummy troubles.

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My Top 5 MAC Eye Shadows

My Top 5 MAC Eye Shadows

I don’t like to spend a ton on eye shadows – not when there are amazing drugstore brands like Wet N Wild and Maybelline that give you so much more for your money. Having said that, I’m going to talk about my most loved top 5 MAC must-haves that are staples in various looks. I buy these repeatedly because I have yet to find dupes that are as good as the MAC originals. Many of MAC’s best sellers have perfect dupes. For instance, MAC’s Carbon is a perfect matte black, but L’Oreal, Wet N Wild, and Rimmel, all make really good matte blacks for 1/3-1/2 the cost.

I do combine these five shadows with colors from other brands and palettes because I haven’t found a complete look I like solely out of these shades.

L to R

Copperplate – (matte, cool-toned, mid-toned grey with slight cool pink undertone) I’m not a fan of a lot of grey or charcoal shadows because they can shine a spotlight on my dark circles, but Copperplate is an exception. For a matte shade, it’s just buttery, but the cool tone goes beautifully with a complimentary warm brown – like Urban Decay’s Naked. Kandee Johnson introduced me to this shade eons ago and I’ve repurchased it many times.

Shroom – (satin, soft, sheer yellowy beige with gentle shimmer) Shroom is hands down the perfect brow highlight if you’re looking for slight shimmer and even doubles as a really nice subtle cheek highlight. It’s a little gentler than Urban Decay’s Virgin and a little more yellow and less cool toned.

Quarry – (neutral matte, soft mauvey/plum-brown) I was going to say Quarry is cool toned, but it has warmth, so we’ll call it neutral. Quarry is perfect when you want something with a bit more color than greys and browns, but doesn’t scream Baltimore Ravens purple. It subtly enhances green/hazel eyes.

Soft Brown – (warm, matte, peachy/orangey brown) Blue and green eyed ladies – Soft Brown is your best friend. It’s a delicious base color for soooo many looks. Goes on beautifully and so flattering – really any eye color would benefit. I love it in the crease to warm up a look.

Naked Lunch – (shimmery slightly pink champagne tone) Naked Lunch is another best seller and it’s clear why. Many brands offer very similar shades, but NL is iconic for its super creamy, opaque, frosty consistency. It’s too insane for a brow highlight, but I love it on the lid with a dark matte color in the outer corner and crease. With NL, you really don’t want any other shimmer on your face to compete.


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Revlon ColorStay Whipped Crème Foundation – Burning Tears of Unfairness

Everything they say about Revlon ColorStay Whipped Crème foundation is true. Everything. It goes on like silky buttah and looks beautiful when first applied. I balked at those who said it looked better the longer you had it on – no way! However, when I found myself feeling sad at the end of the day when the time came to scrub it away, I knew it was true. It was all true – like how you don’t even really need a concealer with this foundation because it’s THAT. AWESOME.

My first time wearing it would prove bittersweet. While my skin looked like clear, even, gloriousness, my eyes were another story. At first I blamed my contacts for how red and teary my eyes were. And they were stinging like crazy. But by my third day wearing the ColorStay Whipped, even without contacts, I knew it was the foundation.

I went online and found a few other unfortunate souls who are also denied the comfortable use of this beautiful, full coverage, miracle makeup. It’s a loss that hasn’t fully registered with me, as I console myself trying other foundations that just don’t measure up. Pleeeease Revlon, any chance you can reformulate this a tad so that the eyes don’t look like we were ugly crying for hours watching Extreme Home Makeover marathons…?


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