Links to Luxurious Global Beauty Secrets 

photo credit: Africology
photo credit: Kora Organics
photo credit: (OMG)BART!

It’s no secret….

….that some women age more gracefully than others.  Although we’d all love to have a flawless “I woke up like this” complexion, you might be surprised to discover that many women from all around the world are quite intentional with implementing skincare rituals to enhance and maintain their beauty.

After some well-spent virtual exploration, I’ve tapped into three continents to share with you some of the most luxurious skincare regimens and products (some of which can be found in your kitchen) so that you, too, can achieve smooth and radiant skin!  Follow the links below to unlock the global beauty secrets from Africa, Australia and Asia!!

1.  Africa

Luxurious products, from a 24 Karat Gold Face Mask to quality African skincare products, are what can be found when you discover African Beauty Secrets from the Continent’s Most Gorgeous Women.

South African Day Spa

2.  Australia

If you like prefer a more laid-back approach to beauty, then check out supermodel Miranda Kerr’s 5 Beauty Rules video where she highlights elements she uses from nature and the kitchen to achieving a radiant glow.

Spa Pool at Karijini National Park

3.  Asia

In addition to the trending Korean facial sheet masks, discover 11 Secrets to Korean Beauty in this step-by-step guide!

Korea’s Luxurious Spa Land
Which beauty secrets will you be keeping?

With Love,

Atoya

4 Facial Masks Targeting 4 Skin Concerns

Have you ever browsed through your favorite magazines or walked into a beauty store and seen various ads or product displays for a variety of facial masks?  Even while standing in the checkout line of your most visited cosmetics stores, you may find yourself glaring at the many shelves filled with those “last-minute” beauty items to add to your growing receipt, which many include facial masks!  It can be overwhelming, right?  Well, let me help you take the guess work out of which masks are going to be the right match for your skin concern, and that will also be worth spending your hard earned dollars on. Let’s explore!

Skin Concern #1:  Rough, Uneven Skin


For some of us, our skin has suffered from acne, over-exposure to the sun, or even hyper stimulation from some facial treatments, and as a result the skin is left with an uneven texture, feeling lumpy and rough.  If you fall into this category, then a resurfacing skin mask containing hydroxy acids will turn your skin around in the direction to heal and resurface!  A relatively new product on the market that is tackling this major concern by storm is the T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant, which is sold both online and in Sephora stores.  Here are a few claims for this highly-rated product:

Babyfacial™ is a pro-quality AHA/BHA “facial” that resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, improved skin texture and tone and a more youthful radiance. Think of it as an extra nudge for stubborn, dull skin (in other words, it’ll knock your cells off).

  • Contains 25% AHA and 2% BHA including and our dream team blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric and salicylic acids to gently but efficiently resurface as it exfoliates the pore lining, getting rid of built-up dead skin cells.
  • Drunk Elephant only uses clean, non-toxic ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of our formulations.
  • Retail Price:  $80

Skin Concern #2:  Oily Skin, Enlarged Pores

As a beauty professional, I have worked with a countless number of clients that have extremely oily skin.  A most common occurrence with this skin type, is to have enlarged, noticeable pores, which can be a struggle when wearing makeup.  There are some makeup primers on the market, which are designed to help control oil and minimize pores, however, if you are not treating your skin with a deep-cleansing mask, such as the GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment, the results will be short lived.  Although this product isn’t designed to be a permanent solution, it will provide a longer lasting effect in controlling these three key issues:

  • Pores
  • Acne and blemishes
  • Oiliness

According to a research study, 98% reported their skin looked renewed after 3 uses over 7 days. So at $69 for a jar of this miracle worker, I’d say it’s worth a try!

Skin Concern #3:  Dry and Dehydrated Skin

Now, if you are like me, and deal with skin that desperately needs to be quenched with water due to dryness, then your skin will really appreciate a weekly hydrating facial mask.  I mentioned this company in a past blog post, but Dr. Jart has created an actual book of masks to address various skincare concerns.  Their Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask features an immediate cooling sensation, leaving skin feeling clean, hydrated, and completely refreshed.  It is also useful to know that it is formulated WITHOUT parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, which is also wonderful for sensitive skin. You can purchase this one-time use, gem of a mask at your local Sephora for only $7.50.  Go ahead and pick up a month’s supply while you’re there!

Skin Concern #4:  Dull, Blotchy Skin

 

Who doesn’t love a tasty and refreshing smoothie?  Well, the cosmetics industry is now appealing to those of us who love such a treat, and has incorporated a beauty mask to not only brighten your day, but your skin, too!   Smoothie Beauty’s Sunrise Brightening Face Mask is made with whole milk greek yogurt, raw active manuka honey, whole grain oats, lemon juice, tumeric, lemon peel and that’s it!  It is designed to bring life back into dull, boring, uneven and lifeless skin.  This product is available online, and contains 3 uses, for $14.50, that will leave your skin softer and brighter than ever!  Happy Shopping!

I hope the confusion behind deciding which masks are best for your skin has been eliminated.  Leave me a comment below, as I’d love to hear about which masks you decide to try and how they benefited your skin!

-With Love, 

Atoya

Bridal Bliss: A Guide to Looking and Feeling Great on Your Wedding Day


Bridal season is upon us!  With the number of engagement announcements over the holidays, many brides-to-be are gearing up for their special day.  As a former bride, I am writing this post to offer some advice on looking and feeling your best on your wedding day.  It’s easy to get caught up in the details of wedding décor, bridal party themes and venue selection, but please make sure to remember that everyone else’s eyes will be focused on:  THE BRIDE!  Let that be the reason to make sure that you are looking and feeling your absolute best on that blissful day.  With proper planning, your wedding day can be one of the most joyous and stress-free days of your life.  The following is a short guide I have compromised for you to start thinking more about your bridal beauty and relaxation details.  Here is a little “wedspiration” to get you started!

Early Planning

  • Organize everything!  There are a number of vendors that you will interact and negotiate with, so it is necessary to establish an efficient organized system to keep track of contracts, notes and ideas to keep the stress at a minimum.
Acrylic Marble Desk Set by Rachel George
  • Hair & Makeup.  Do your research and hire a hair stylist and makeup artist that has experience working major events.  If you can schedule a trial session, that’s icing on the cake.



One Month Before…

Now is the time to narrow in on the final preparations, including beauty treatments and “day-of” tasks.

  • Since your skin can have a reaction to certain facial treatments, I’d suggest getting your last facial treatments about 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding day.  I remember getting facial threading so that my skin could be soft and smooth for the makeup application, and my skin had a bad reaction!  Thankfully it happened three weeks before my big day, and I was able to get that under control!

  • During the final stretch, your stress factor can kick into high gear.  Make sure to incorporate daily workouts to eliminate the stress.  For added beauty prep, drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your skin glows from within and that your hair shines.
  • In order for you to actually relax on your wedding day, you want to make sure that you plan to have items on your wedding day such as snacks for you and your bridal party during the hair and makeup prep.  My vegetable tray came in handy for that last minute hunger after a full session of pre-wedding photos!

  • Along with the snacks, comes fun times while you and your bridal party get ready. There is nothing like having a good playlist to set the tone for the day.    Music is everything!

Party intermission in the makeup room!


Week Of…

  • Get all body treatments done at a spa two days before your wedding.  This includes your manicure, pedicure, waxing and massage.
photo credit: Vos Architects
  • If you plan to add any hair extensions, it’s a good idea to have them installed a couple of days before to give your scalp time to adjust.  That way the day-of can be reserved just for styling!  Here is a hair extensions company, created by the hairstylist to Kerry Washington, called TSD Hair Extensions, that offers various beautiful textures for your wedding day!
  • Get a good night’s rest.  Protect your hair and skin with a satin pillowcase overnight, such as this set by Slip.


Day Of…

  • Let the party begin!  With all of the prepping, you can now relax, get pampered and enjoy yourself with your friends and family before you see your groom.  More than likely, your photographer will capture moments while you are getting ready, so make sure that you are looking stylish in a pretty robe. There are some amazing styles by Natori worth checking out!

  • Final Tip: Mingle with your guests during the cocktail hour!  We opted to take bridal photos before the wedding, which allowed us to have time to enjoy our guests after the ceremony.  We made an unplanned visit to the cocktail hour, which turned out to be the best thing!  Everyone got to talk with us and take pictures, and by the time the reception started, I was able to truly soak in the day and enjoy it all!


Remember, this is your day, so cherish every moment.  Memories are everything!


After the Celebration 

  • Once the wedding is over, it’s time for you and your new husband to enjoy each other.  Let the honeymoon be the time to relax and reflect!  We took a cruise to the Bahamas, which was so beautiful.

If I could offer a honeymoon “beauty” tip, I would tell you to continue to workout! There was an awesome gym on the ship which, admittedly, we did not take advantage of. With the delicious food that we consumed during our trip, let’s just say that I could have benefited from a few, short sessions in that gym!  

When it’s all said and done, remember to be grateful and to give thanks to everyone who made the event possible.  Congratulations, bride-to-be, and best of wishes to you!

If you’d like to read more on our wedding story for inspiration, check out the featured article by Munaluchi Bride.

-With Love,

Atoya

Cosmetics Q&A:  The “No Makeup” Makeup Edition 

It’s time for a quick Cosmetics Question & Answer segment on something that many women are often perplexed.  The question is:

“How do I get that fresh-faced, “no makeup” makeup look, without using a ton of products?”

Let me be the first to admit that I am a makeup enthusiast!  I love getting all dressed up and made up with no place in particular to go!  In fact, shopping for cosmetics is quite therapeutic for me, as I am sure my husband would agree (wink-wink).  However, I have many friends who do not own a lot of makeup, but still want to be able to look polished on any given day.  When I am in a rush, and do not have the time to put on a full face of makeup, there are only three must-have products that I will not leave home without, that will still give me a fresh and radiant look.  What’s the secret?  The next time you are at the makeup counter shopping for products to get this look, make sure to pick up these three key cosmetic products:  tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, and mascara!

1.  Tinted Moisturizer 

That’s right, you don’t even need foundation!  A tinted moisturizer will result in a moisturized and subtle finish to your skin, while blurring the imperfections and balancing skin tone.  Choose a tinted moisturizer (or mineral powder) in a flattering shade with a bronzey hue, and not only will your skin look radiant, but it will also feel weightless!  Lancôme has a nice selection of shades.

2.  Lip Gloss

If you truly want to leave home wearing the bare minimum (on your face, of course), but still want to look cute, then adding a shiny lip gloss in either a pink, peach or nude shade will give you the perfect pout without looking overdone.  I always keep my golden nude Dior lip gloss on hand; it always comes thru!

3.  Mascara

Lastly, liven up those “windows to the soul” eyes, with a nice coat of mascara.  Curl your lashes to add even more flare, and that’s a bonus!  The brush design on the mascara wand is where all of the magic happens, like this full, voluminous one by Clarins.

So, there you have it, no more excuses to leave home without a polished face.  You can never go wrong with glowing skin, a popping lip gloss and flirty lashes; the ultimate quick and polished look!

-With Love,

Atoya

3 Ways To Have A Beautiful Day

We often hear the phrase, “Have a good day!” with the best of sentiments, but how many of us actually have a good day?  Are most of our days, really good?  If you struggle with this, allow me to share with you a few ways that I make myself not only have a good day, but a beautiful day.

1. Put on your favorite red lipstick!

Sometimes, you have to cheer yourself up…have confidence and create a beautiful day, on purpose.  There’s something about the color red that speaks volumes.  It can be as bold and beautiful, as faint as a stain, or as bright as a strawberry, just choose a red lipstick shade that you love.  It will make you feel empowered and ready to conquer the world.   Have you ever met a lady wearing her favorite red lipstick but didn’t have an ounce of confidence?

Think about what you’d like to conquer for the day, and do just that.  We may not always feel good on the inside, but somehow, a little change in our outward appearance can make us feel awesome!  Even if it’s a simple as painting on a red lip!

2.  Accomplish small goals.

As I sit here in awe of how quickly the first month of the year has gone by, my inner compass prompts me to view my planner to assess my goals.  Did I meet my goals?  Did the goals I set align with my values?  Did I track my daily intentions?

Before we take stock, we must first set some goals, SMART Goals.  Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time-based.  Research shows that more people are successful when they actually set realistic goals and write them down.  This is why I love my Like a Boss planner!  Visually, it is motivating to see your goals written down, and when you are able to accomplish them, confidence abounds.  When I am able to cross off a goal from my list, I get a surge of energy and immediately my day is made!  Yes, a beautiful day, indeed.

3.  Brush negativity away…with style & grace!

No matter how beautiful your lip color is for the day, or how many goals you intend to conquer, there is the possibility that some negativity that will come your way.  So call it as you see it, bad vibes, negativity, or even haters…they are all inevitable.  With that in mind, be prepared to “brush” it off.  I’m reminded of the lyrics from the popular song,  “Dust Your Shoulders Off.”  As soon as you recognize the antagonist, make the choice to eliminate it from your path so that you can get back to enjoying your beautiful day.

Having a beautiful day is a state of mind. Beautiful days don’t just happen, we must create them.  Life has many challenges, for sure, but learning how to change your outlook and look at life through a sweet pair of diamond spectacles will make it the most beautiful life you have seen.

Are you living a beautiful life?  You can and you will!

 

-With Love,

Atoya

A Few Self Care Goodies Worth Having 


Earlier this week, I posted a few photos on Instagram with the inspired purpose of getting us to practice self love.  As a woman who wears many hats, it’s easy to put off the things that I can do to take better care of myself.  I was reminded of how important self care was when I came across this anonymous quote:

The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship in your life.

I took some time to think about some simple ways to practice self love.  Taking a nice candlelit bath in the evening, giving yourself a mini facial and a polished manicure are just a few ways to set the tone for a loving relationship with yourself.



Bath Time

Bubble baths are quite rejuvenating, but have you ever tried adding a bath bomb to the water?  Oh my goodness, these bath bombs from Willow Bella Bath Boutique are the most luxurious things ever!  Drop one or two in the tub and watch them explode into a beautiful swirl.  This is an experience worth creating. 


Body Care

Not all body lotions are created equal.  If your skin could use a little more tender loving care during these winter months, I’d suggest trying the  body care line from Fresh Beauty.  Absolutely amazing!

Relaxation for Your Mind

Nothing like a candlelit bath and some good reads to ease your mind.  Show yourself some love with these lush Diptique candles.  A little more extravagant than my staple Bath & Body Works candles, but so worth it!

Face Time

I’ve seen a lot of beauty influencers taking well to these sheet masks by Dr. Jart.  There is an entire “book of masks” available for sale that is designed to address your every skincare need.  

 

Nail Care

Last, but not least, there’s something pretty intimate about giving yourself a manicure. My favorite color happens to be pink, but I love changing things up every now and then.  If you’re kinda shy about expanding your color selection, then the colder months are the perfect time to try bold colors on your toes that you may normally shy away from.  I love the fact that these nail polishes by Mischo Beauty are not only beautiful, but they don’t contain any of the cancer causing ingredients, such as formaldehyde.   Be adventurous! (Smile)

How many ways can you practice self love?  Let me count the ways…

-With Love,

Atoya

Got Fitness Goals? Come and Jog With Me!


It’s a sunny, brisk, 54 degrees outside, yielding perfect conditions for a mid-morning jog!  Twenty something days into the New Year, and I am reminded that I need to start working on one of my personal goals for 2017:  MORE FITNESS!  Need motivation?  Don’t quite know where to start?  I understand.  In the photo above, I have gathered some of my favorite items that I use to get motivated for a session at the gym, home DVD, or simply, a jog in the park!  From selecting the right music, to workout gear, to gathering a moisturizing lip tint and clean-scented perfume, these are tools that I can assure will motivate you to workout in style while smelling great all at the same time.

So, come and jog with me.  But first, let’s fuel up with a little Starbucks!

Choosing your scenery might be one of the most important steps when trying to get motivated for a workout session.  I absolutely love the outdoors, so setting my timer and putting on my pump-up music gives me just the push I need to get my jog on while taking in nature’s fresh and crisp wintry air.


Nike trainers and golf hat, check.  Prescriptive’s Calyx perfume, check.  Mirrored sunnies (because UV protection is essential), check check!!  Topping it off with my favorite moisturizing lip product, the Clinique Chubby Stick in Strawberry, and it’s on!  Let’s go!

Thirty-five minutes later, I feel refreshed, revived, and ready to enjoy the rest of the day.  I hope that you’re now a lot more motivated to act on your fitness goals.  Are you like me, and enjoy jogging outdoors, or do you prefer a hardcore session at the gym?  Whatever you choose, approach your fitness activities with safety, a little sass, and a lot of style!

-With Love,

Atoya

Winter Skincare Basics

It’s mid-January, and for many of us, the cold climates have suggested the need for double, sometime triple layering before embracing the hawk!  Still, you’ll find that just by walking a few seconds out into the air, your face is going to be subjected to those brash winds.

Which brings us to the topic at hand:

                       Winter Skincare Basics!

In addition to giving your skin the extra layers of moisturizer that it desires, it is important to follow a complete winter skincare regimen.

Products to Protect

Whatever kind of skincare regimen you have in place, and no matter how advanced that may entail, I am sure you would agree that there is nothing more relieving than to follow  a basic routine.  I’d like to share a few personal favorite products that will guide you through establishing a basic, winter skincare routine.  The basic steps include:  Cleanse, Exfoliate, Tone, and Moisturize!

  1. CLEANSE.  My cleanser of choice, as seen in the photo above, is the Lancome Galatee Confort.  It’s creamy, milky consistency is perfect for the cold, winter months.
  2. EXFOLIATE.  Remove dead skin cells to make room for new, fresh skin to breathe by exfoliation.  I love the Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash by Philosophy.  I was introduced to this product a few years ago and it has been a staple of mine ever since.
  3. TONE.  Not only is using a toner refreshing, but it is key to ensuring that all dirt and makeup have been gently removed from the skin.  I recommend an alcohol-free toner, such as the Tonique Radiance by Lancome.
  4. MOISTURIZE.  Due to the extremely cold winds of the winter season, you must pamper your skin with additional moisture!  My absolute favorite way to make my skin, baby soft and luminous is with almond oil.  The almond skin care oil by Aura Cacia has never let my skin down, and purchasing this product is quite a frugal habit that you’ll be happy to repeat.
  5. EYE CREAM. Remember, getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional.  One of the most noticeable signs of aging occurs around the eyes.  The skin around the eye area is the most sensitive skin on the face.  This is why I absolutely encourage everyone to use an eye cream along with their moisturizer, starting as early as age 20! For starters, try Peter Thomas Roth‘s award winning eye cream for an instant lift in the morning.
  6. LIP PROTECTION.  It’s all in the details, so let’s not forget to moisturize those lips!  There is nothing enjoyable about dry, cracked lips in the winter (or any season for that matter).  The Lip Enhancer by Jouer Cosmetics is a popular favorite!

Nourishment From the Inside Out




The most basic beauty treatment you can ever supply your skin with is WATER!  Drink it plain, infused with fruit, warm or ice cold.  Whatever you fancy, drinking water is the most effective habit to enhance the quality of your skin.

Following this, it is essential to nourish your skin by indulging in detoxifying foods for the proper cell regeneration in order to produce healthy skin.  Berries, green vegetables and omega 3 fatty acids are all wonderful choices.  In fact, many celebrities even take the time to participate in an annual skin detox each year, to make sure their skin is camera ready!

Extra Care

Once you have infused this basic skincare routine into your daily practices, I would challenge you to consider adding a few supplemental products, that will further boost the health of your skin.  Clinique’s ‘Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm’ is amazing for removing your makeup, prior to cleansing.  Also, once a week, treat your skin to a hydrating mask, such as the super moisturizing Genefique mask seen below by Lancome.  Finally, for a supercharged moisturizer to use in the morning and at night, lather your skin with Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream.  This indulgent moisturizer will leave a luxurious touch to your skin, reminiscent of the texture you were blessed with from the day you were born!



Which products and practices will you be adding to your current skincare regimen?   I hope you have the most healthy, luminous skin, that you’ve ever had!

-With Love,

Atoya

How I Store My Nail Polish Collection

How many nail polishes can a girl have?  I say, there is no limit!  With the accumulation of the many OPI, Essie, Orly, Butter London, and so on and so ons, it is essential to keep your bottles of nail polish organized and stored in an efficient, yet savvy, way.

So, let’s start with the basics.

1. Begin, by organizing your nail polish bottles.  I prefer to separate according to color group; brights, nudes, deeps, and pastels.



2. Next, it’s time to get creative!  How would you like to store your polish?  You can use acrylic boxes, glitter boxes, or vases.  I like to place mine in different clear vases, of various size and shape.  Add some embellishments, such as beads or pearls for an attractive appeal.



3.  Carefully, place your nail polish bottles in the jars and arrange accordingly.

Perfection!  Now, you have the inspiration to create some amazing at-home manicures!  What color will you choose, next?

Enjoy!

-With Love,

Atoya