Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The trends that were (and some that shouldn't have been)

Oh heeeeey! 
So I started writing a New Girl post about the Christmas episode and quickly realized other bloggers have beat me to the punch (and put in way more effort than I would have). 

Instead, I'm going to give my favorite people a wrap-up of the trends of 2011! Here they are: The good, the bad, and the omfg what was I thinking*: 

Color blocking
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I love color. The brighter the better. While mixing bold colors is nothing new, the trend first hit the runways in S/S 09 runway shows. This trend petered out (but didn't completely disappear) towards the end of 2011, mostly because tangerine, coral, and teal aren't big fall colors. Marc Jacobs is the designer who comes to mind when thinking of the color blocking trend -- And who doesn't love Marc Jacobs?! 
Verdict: Good -- Just keep it simple, sassy, and classy if you carry this trend into the new year. But proceed with caution. No one wants to be a fashion victim! 

Harem pants
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Like many undesirable things in this world, I blame Kim Kardashian for this bottom half disaster. Why would ANYONE want their hips to look wider, thighs to look gigantic, and butt to look like it's sagging to their knees?! And to cover them with sequins? These poor excuse for pants are a cardinal fashion sin best left for MC Hammer in 1990. 

Verdict: omfg what was I thinking (*note I never ever partook in these baggy butt calamity. I cross-my-heart-promise.) 

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I'm just going to say it now: I LOVE CAPES! I have two chunky knit capes from J. Crew and one trench-style cape from Banana Republic that I'm head over heals for. I just have one qualm: I'm an oversized handbag girl which makes wearing a cape and toting a huge tote super awkward. So, if I want to wear a cape, I have to downsize the purse -- Well worth the effort, IMO. Just don't pull a Katherine Heigl and wear shorts and leopard booties with a cape. A cape is a wide and flowy statement piece so keep the bottom slimming and simple. 
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Verdict 1 - Capes: Good, but be sure to follow the rules. 
Verdict 2 - Capelets: Bad. No one should look like they shopped in the toddler's section. It isn't Halloween and there has never been an Eddie Munster trend so go for a full-length cape. 

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OWLS! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE! SAVE YOURSELF! Ok, so I've mixed references to both Tommy Boy and The Birds but in 2011, owls were everywhere. Most were cute and cartoon-ey and could be found both on HSN and in Forever 41. My rule with this one should you bring the birds with you into the next year (as with most trends): don't spend a lot on owl stuff and make sure it's age-appropriate. Granted, I'm 28 and typing this in a Hello Kitty tee so I'm not really one to talk, but dress your age when you leave the house and keep the owls on the smaller side. 

Verdict: I'm not going to say the bird (specifically owl) trend is bad, but it's not necessarily good. It's just overplayed. A huge bejeweled owl on a tee? Skip it. A small accessory? Go for it. 

Photo courtesy Me
                              Ombre anything
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I feel like ombre is a combination of a few trends: Neon, color blocking, and boho chic. The "I try really hard to look like idgaf" boho attitude fueled the tousled grown out roots hair. The bright colors involved in color blocking and neon made shades of every color under the rainbow a perfect fashion statement. Ombre was the perfect sunny casual way to dress for the weekend. 

Verdict 1: Ombre hair: Bad. It's reached The Hills and back. 
Verdict 2: Clothes: Good -- With a caveat: Ombre is not to be confused with tie-dye. 
Verdict 3: Nails: Good. See my nail tutorial :)

Neon everything
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Kimmy Gibbler had the market cornered on neon in the 90's. That should be a red flag right there. While fine in moderation and on the runway, neon can scream Jersey Shore if you aren't careful. Like the owl trend, I hope no one went overboard by spending $2,000 on a neon anything. Neon packs a punch so if you carry this trend into 2012, don't put together an ensemble that would knock out Pacquiao. 
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Verdict: Bad, verging on omfg what was I thinking?

Jumpers and rompers
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Babies and toddlers wear rompers. Jumpers are for Catholic grade school uniforms. 'Nuff said. While 2011 brought some decently cute jumpers and rompers, the majority looked like prison jumpsuits, camel toe disasters, and '80s power suits. This leads me to another onesie issue: the bathroom. Do you limit your fluid intake for the day so you don't have to completely disrobe every time you "go?" Ok, enough of that. I hope you romper rompers wore outfits that fit -- And wore them on appropriate outings. Nothing says "I don't belong here" like a romper at the office. This trend was best left to teens, tweens, and skinny minnies. 

Verdict: omfg what was I thinking? (Unless you fall into one of the three above categories). 

Hairy scary spider lashes
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Yet another Kardashian curse brought upon us. While most of us pine for longer lashes, and even risk turning our blue eyes brown for them, longer than life faux lashes made their presence known. In 2011, they weren't just for drag queens anymore! 

Verdict: Drag queens, keep rocking those lashes. Everyone else, stick to the real deal. Find a good eyelash curler (Shu Umura is the greatest of the great, imo) and a fantastic mascara (I use Fusion Beauty but I feel like everyone has their own favorite. Find your favorite and give your lashes a good base-to-tip coating). Put your little furry caterpillars away until your birthday and Halloween. 

Geek chic
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Being "adorkable" like my girl Zooey D was huge in 2011. Marked by thick eyeglass frames and some hipster gear (think I want to look like I don't care what I look like but I really really do). I have to admit that I love the geek chic and hipster look. I could do without the 'tude, but I love the hats, ties, glasses, and other accessories. I like it better on guys than on girls, though. There's something about hipster girls and a lack of tailoring. I can't really put my finger on it. Zooey Deschanel and Ryan Gossling (and his hipster goggie!) were 2011's geek chic/hipster pioneers. It looks like this trend is here to stay, too. As long as there are great bands you've never heard of, Whole Foods, Vespas, and vintage shops, hipsters are here to stay. 
Photo courtesy
Verdict: Good. Just keep it tailored, clean, and fun. And easy with the attitude. 

So there you have it! I know I've only listed a few 2011 trends (sailor chic = good, bandage dresses = bad, anything Jersey Shore = omfg what was I thinking). Here's to a great 2012! I hope the new year brings each of you fashion, passion, and oodles of happiness!! 

*I have decided the only person who can pull off any and all of these trends is Gwen Stefani. Even harem pants. 

xoxo and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Melissa, your very own Shop Therapist

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Head injuries and haute couture

Hey, Buttons! 
I apologize for the lack of posts this week. A minor work injury has left me feeling ick (nothing serious, just a bump on the head). I know I promised an outfit post so I'll get to that tonight! I have a little something else to write tonight but I'll always make time for you readers and fashion on the cheap ;) 
Hold tight and get ready for some major awesomesauce! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Buttons!

Merry Christmas and all that jazz to all of you out there! I hope you give and get all the pretties your heart desires! 
Melissa your Shop Therapist and Elwood, Santa's little helper

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ring in the new year in celeb worthy style!

So in my history of post 21st birthday New Year's Eve, I've only had one great holiday celebration. This year, I'm determined to make ringing in 2012 the most fabulous ever! (That honestly won't be difficult for me lol). Here are three gorgeous outfits ranging from sparkleicious fabulousness to super stylish sneakily comfy.

The end of the year is fast approaching, so start planning your outfits now! Here are some ideas to make your quest a little bit easier:

Malin Akerman NYE Inspiration

Emma Watson in Jason Wu

Paula Patton

Paula Patton by theshoptherapist featuring sequin evening dresses

So there you have it! Three distinct looks, all with style! I'm sure I'll come across more inspirations as 2011 comes to a close!
Enjoy the rest of the year while it lasts!
Lovey Lovey,
The Shop Therapist

Emma Watson is BEYOND in Elie Saab.

I just stumbled across Emma Watson in this A-Mazing Elie Saab dress and had to post it. It's beyond my price range for sure but a girl can dream! Perfection from head-to-toe!
Emma Watson in Elie Saab at Lancome Hong Kong Dinner: Style:...
Emma Watson in Elie Saab at Lancome Hong Kong Dinner: Style:... (clipped to

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last minute gifts: What to do, what to do?

I'm sure you've all seen the department store commercials for last chance gifts and have received the OMG-LAST-DAY-TO-SHIP!!!! emails. Well, I hate the mall this time of year, so venturing out to the teenage wasteland and battling the mommyvan driving the wrong direction through the parking garage for the last parking space is my own personal hell. Then when you get inside, it's a free for all filled with frenetic frenzies and fist fights (my lil sis just saw one in Milwaukee -- The land of cheese, beer, and politeness). Once you battle your way into Macy's, any gift worth giving your loved one is long gone. And while I firmly believe it's the thought that counts, grabbing the first thing you see that's in your budget and hightailing it out of there isn't very thoughtful, IMO. Plus you'll end up feeling like this girl's face:

So here's my advice. It's probably not what you're expecting. Here goes: Wait it out. If you don't plan on seeing your loved one until after the holidays, hit up the stores for the after Christmas sales. Not only will you get a good deal on your gift, but gift wrap and bows will be marked down significantly as well. Plus, you'll have more time to find the perfect gift. 

If you know for sure you'll be exchanging gifts with your loved one on or before 12/25, be on the lookout for free shipping deals. Most stores guarantee delivery if you order by 12/20 -- Some are even offering an additional discount to move more product before the end of the year. If you're totally clueless as to what to get for Aunt Dotty, ask Uncle Frank what he's getting for her. Asking around can give you clues about great gift add ons like video games to go with Auntie's new Wii. 

One last piece of advice: Don't fall into the gift card trap if you can avoid it. Only go that route if you're giving a gift to a coworker, mother-in-law, grandchild, or anyone you don't really like but feel obligated to give a gift to (the mail man, concierge, security guard, etc.). I'm not saying gift cards are bad, I just see them as a last resort that can sometimes convey the message "I feel like I have to give you something but I don't have the time to figure out what you really want." 

That's my advice! Just remember: Buy thoughtfully and give lovingly. Never forget what Christmas is all about! 

Merry Christmas, my little buttons! 
The Shop Therapist

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Being sick is SO unfabulous.

Hey, Buttons
Your shop therapist is writing to you sick in bed watching HSN and drinking ginger ale. I just want you all to know that I haven't forgotten about you all! I hope to be back to ship shape soon (although I have to hit the post office later so no promises after that).

Anyhoozelbeez! I just have to say THANK YOU!!!! On Sunday this zazzy little blog hit 500 views! I'm humbled and amazed that people from Germany to Guam have enjoyed my silly ramblings, self portraits, and (hopefully) helpful advice!

Have a fabulously fashionable day! I'm wearing Juicy sweats and a "Big Black Security" t-shirt so you guys need to make up for my total lack of cute today ;)

Love all around the world!!
Melissa, the Shop Therapist

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ombré glitterbombalicious nails!

Ok so here is the promised ombré glitter nail tutorial! First, I must give credit where credit is due: Syl and Sam have some amazeballs ideas, tips, and tricks that go well beyond nails. Without them, my nails would be sparkly black and pink mush on a cotton ball.

For Christmas (and because my nails are longer than normal), I’m going to make my nails super schmancy with 3 colors of nail polish and one color of glitter. You can go simple with just a base color and a top ombré color, but for you, I’m going all out!

So here’s what you need (mini disco balls optional, but highly suggested):
My supplies
Base coat: 1 bottle of nail polish in a flat color that covers in 2 coats MAX (shimmery, glittery, or iridescent colors don't look quite as nice). I’m using OPI’s “Siberian Nights.” (btw – I’m still on the hunt for an opaque white that doesn’t require 4 coats to cover so if anyone has a suggestion, leave a comment! I think white would make a super cute base coat)
Ombré color #1: I’m using Orly’s "Space Cadet."
Ombré color #2: I’m using OPI’s "Passion for NY Fashion."
Glitter!: I’m using OPI for Sephora’s Nail Glitter in pink. They don’t have very many colors so I would suggest hitting up the craft store and getting a package of Martha Stewart’s glitter. It will seriously change your life (and not just because everything you own will be covered in it for life. My girl Love Maegan uses Martha’s glitter glue – I’m guessing the glitter glue makes much less of a glitterbomb).
Top coat: I use Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dry Anti-Chip Top Coat. It’s pretty shiny and actually dries really fast unlike most “fast-dry” top coats. Plus it’s inexpensive!
Sponge: This is what makes the ombré effect. The denser the sponge is, the better. Syl and Sam suggested a makeup sponge – Cut off a piece for each ombré color.
Small paint or makeup brush: This will help with the glitter process.
Nail polish remover pen: I love Sephora’s but as you can see, mine is getting a little raggedy. In lieu of the pen, take an orange stick and cover it with a little piece of cotton ball. Dip that in nail polish remover and voila! The perfect thing to get nail polish off of anywhere it shouldn’t be.

Onto the jazzy funtimes!

Step 1:
Paint two coats of your base color on clean nails (no lotion, oil, etc. That stuff leads to bubbles in your nails. Ew. Oh, and push your cuticles back – don’t cut!).
Paint your nails. You know the drill. 
Step 2:
Once your base coat is completely dry, paint a dab of ombré color #1 onto a sponge piece. Dab the sponge gently onto your nails – Go lighter at the bottom then gradually increase your pressure as you get to the top of your nail. Basically, the base coat should show at the base then color #1 should go from lighter to darker going up the nail.
Paint a little polish on the sponge
Dab lightly at the top then lighter as
you work towards the base of your nail
Step 3:
Once ombré color #1 is completely dry, get going with ombré color #2. Get your glitter ready, too. I put my glitter pot in a dish to catch flyaway glitter. Here’s the tricky part (and it’s not super tricky so don’t worry): Paint ombré color #2 on a clean sponge piece and start ombré-ing towards the middle of your nail. Immediately dip your first nail into the glitter just a liiiitttttttle bit so it doesn’t cover all of your pretty ombré work. Do this one nail at a time so your nails don’t get too dry to pick up the glitter.
and dip!

Step 4 (optional):
Check out your nails. If one needs a touch more glitter, use a small brush to apply extra sparkle.

Step 5: Once every layer is completely dry, use your top coat. Chances are if you’re anything like me, you colored outside the lines a little bit. Bust out your orange stick or remover pen. *Helpful tip* Cleaning the polish off your skin without smudging your nails can be difficult. So, the next time you hop in the shower, carefully use your nails to remove any excess polish. The moisture softens your skin and lets the polish come off really easy – Without chemicals, too!

Step 6: Tweet me pics of your new pretty ombré sparkle/fabulous/glitterriffic nails! 

*Therapist's note: Not only are sparkly nails next to impossible to photograph, my choice of colors didn't create the best ombré effect. In hindsight, I could have used another color instead of "Space Cadet" but whateves! I hope you guys get what I was going for! Now get to work and make some glitterbombalicious nails!   

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Top Christmas Gifts Under $25!

So my post about inexpensive Christmas gifts has been more popular than I ever thought, so I decided to get all schmancy and create a Polyvore collage of Christmas (or Hanukkah or Festivus or Kwanza or Chrismakkah).

Here are my top 10 (well, 11 actually) gifts under $25! Included are gifts for mom, dad, the bf, the bff, your sister, your brother, your aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, neighbor, cousin and UPS guy: 

10 Christmas Gifts Under $25

p.s. -- I know there are two items at the bottom of the list that just look pretty but are way out of the $25 price range. I just had to make this little collage super cute ;) Plus, they make great gifts if you have room in your budget to spend a little more on Mom or Sis! 

Happy Shopping! 
The Shop Therapist

10 Christmas Gifts Under $25 by theshoptherapist featuring a sports activewear

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mad Men: Granny style

Well hey there!
I’m finally back into the blogging groove after feeling a bit out of it for the past week. I hope you all are enjoying my slice of the Internets! I feel like I’m gaining a following slowly but surely :) If there’s something you would like to discuss with your Shop Therapist, drop me a line via email, Twitter, Facebook, Chictopia, etc.!

On to today’s discussion. With Christmas fast approaching and Thanksgiving now just a belly full of memories, I can’t help but think of my Granny. She passed away in April and I miss her dearly. Although I knew her as a sweat suit and tennies wearing lady, she was quite the fashionista back in the day. While packing up her house, my mom and I found some amazingly fashionable and fabulous treasures (we called everything we found a “treasure” – Even the old and tattered train case that now holds all of my nail polish).

My Granny's Treasures

In the back of her closet, Granny kept some of the most amazing treasures: Her hats. I’ve always been a hat person (even though my noggin falls into the manly-sized category). 

Among the hats was a white “fascinator” style hat, a pale pink pillbox hat, a floral Grecian-esque wreath-like thing (I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not quite a hat but not quite a headband. It’s basically just a piece of fabulous), a fuchsia feather headband, and a blue felt beret-style “every day” hat.

My Granny loved to host and attend parties and was a member of the same church for over 50 years, so I think that’s why she accumulated some of these amazing hats. Unfortunately, only two have any type of tag: The floral wreath/cap/thing is from May D&F (now Macy’s). The feather headband/headpiece has a “Made in Western Germany” tag – So both are pretty old, obvi. And I apologize for the quality of the iPhone self-portraits. One of these days I'll post better shots of each hat -- Along with one of the fascinator with it actually staying on my head. 
Feather pill-box hat
by-myself floral headpiece
Feather headband/headpiece

Although I never pictured my Granny and Grandpa attending Mad Men-style parties, these hats give me a small glimpse of what life in the 50’s and 60’s must have been like in their funky little house in the Italian immigrant section of Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any pictures of her in these hats, but I know she would be happy to know that they are among my most prized possessions. She was an amazing lady and I hope I’m making her proud.
I need some help with the fascinator, though.
I think I'll need a few dozen bobby pins
and a wind-free day for this one's debut ;)
To all of my little lovelies out there, call your grandma and tell her how much she means to you. That’s your homework for this week ;)
Melissa, The Shop Therapist

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So much fun to come this December!

Hello my lovelies! 

I'm once again back in the land of the bloggers! I'm in the process of coming up with a really great Style Icon post as well as a nail DIY. Check back tomorrow for some really great treasures. Until then, thanks so much for reading my lil bliggidy blog! With Christmas coming up, I promise to have tons of gift ideas from the inexpensive to the priciest of the pricey. 

Until then, I'll leave you with a sneak peak of the nail DIY: 

Stay toasty warm tonight! So much fun to come in December from your Shop Therapist :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creative Christmas gifts on the cheap

Dear Shop Therapist, 
I'm low on funds this year and really want to avoid maxing out my already exhausted credit cards on buying Christmas gifts. I love my friends and family so I want to give them something nice. Do you have any ideas for great gifts on the cheap?
Fabulous & Broke 
Photo courtesy

Oh, Fabulous & Broke,
I've been there more often than not. Trust me, even in a good economy your friends and family will understand if you don't buy them all iPads and trips to Bora Bora. Here are some guidelines and ideas to make your holidays (slightly) less stressful: 

1. Set a budget for each person on your list. You'd be surprised how much you can get for $20 -- And how much fun it can be bargain hunting and buying a bunch of silly little gifts. Shops like Fred Flare and local boutiques are perfect for tiny finds. Oh, and Fred Flare is having a 99 gifts under $9 sale! 

2. Don't be afraid to make your list shorter this year. Don't feel obligated to buy a gift for everyone you work with, every aunt, uncle, and cousin, or every friend on Facebook. 

3. Use your "forgotten funds." Your maxed out credit cards could be harboring a decent amount of accumulated "points." AmEx points can be used on a multitude of online shopping sites -- Including Amazon. Also, remember that gift card to JC Penny your great aunt gave you 3 years ago? Free up space in your wallet and use it to buy a few gifts. 

4. Bust out your craft bin or your inner baker! Handmade and homemade are great ways to say "Merry Christmas" on the cheap. I'm an avid Martha Stewart fan -- She has gift ideas for all levels of bakers and crafters. 

5. Try Etsy. If you don't have the time (or patience) for a DIY gift, there are thousands of crafters out there who do! Most prices are reasonable and you'll be helping out a small business in the process. 

6. Regift. I know this can be a gift faux-pas, but done correctly it can totally work. Just make sure the trail of gifting doesn't intersect (i.e. Don't regift something from your best friend to a mutual acquaintance. Things could get ugly). Also, make sure the gift isn't monogrammed, used, spoiled, or downright tacky. It's better to give a lovely card than to regift a dusty old bouquet of fake flowers. 

Remember the old saying that it's the thought that counts. And whatever your budget or crafty abilities, listen to Tim Gunn and...
Kiss Kiss and Happy Holidays! 
The Shop Therapist

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sanity for Santa: A few prescriptions for winter skin

Ok so this little therapist's life is going to be topsy-turvy for the next week so my Friday DIY adventures will have to wait. In lieu of a project, I'm leaving you buttons some gift ideas that just happen to be my most favoritest things to combat evil dry skin that I absolutely positively cannot live without! 

If the Body Shop ever discontinues these sticks of heaven, I will be beyond devastated. It's definitely my "stranded on a desert island item." This chapstick is perfect. It isn't shiny, there's no color, no overwhelming smell/taste, AND it has SPF 15 in it! In fact, I just put some on after I typed that last sentence. I've been using this chapstick for over 10 years. Trust me -- If it can get me through dry Colorado winters, it's good stuff. I've tried to use other less expensive brands but nothing compares to TBS's Vitamin E Lip Care. Anyone who knows me and has been around me when I can't find my chapstick, they know how spastic I become. I could seriously write a whole post about this mini miracle! 

So not only is Skin Kiss the greatest moisturizer ever, but it's also manufactured and sold by one of my bffs Haley. Her Denver-based store -- Haley's Heart -- is seriously the greatest store on the planet. And no, I'm not overselling it. They literally have something for everyone and if they don't have it, they'll find it. Ok, back to the Skin Kiss. I don't remember the whole story but from what I remember, Haley's mom created this glycerine-based all-over moisturizer a while back. You put it on after you shower and you're silky smooth and ready to move! This bottle will last you forever, too. HH doesn't have online ordering yet so give them a call and they'll hook you up! And if you're in Denver, pop in and plan on spending an hour shopping and another hour chatting with Haley and her family ;) 

MoroccanOil Intense Hydrating Mask, $32
After I nearly destroyed my hair by having it bleached and straightened within an inch of its life, my hairdresser recommended (insisted, really) that I try MoroccanOil's Intense Hydrating Mask. Now that I'm two years removed from my bleached-out days and back to my natural (I think? It's been 15 years) color, I still use this hair mask at least twice a month to hydrate the ends of my almost-too-long hair. Not only have I learned my lesson when it comes to over processing my hair -- And spending money I don't have on salon visits -- But I've also learned about the amazeballs powers of argan oil. Made from the seeds of a special tree that can only grow in Morocco, argan oil is known for its restorative properties. I'm no chemist, but I'm in love with all things argan oil! 

NutraSonic 4-Speed Facial Cleansing System, $69.99
Confession time: I'm hopelessly addicted to the Home Shopping Network (or HSN as those of us in the know call it). It's so calming. In fact, it's helped stave off more than one panic attack. I could seriously watch Bill Green sell tap water at 2am. L.O.V.E. 
Anyhoozelbeez, my first HSN purchase was a NutraSonic cleanser. It's less than half the price of a Clarisonic and, IMO, just as effective. I use mine once or twice per week (any more and my face gets oily AND dry). I'm still shopping around for the perfect cleanser for my once awful/now better-ish skin, but for now, my Nutrasonic is what's doing the dirty work to make my skin shine -- In a good way! 

So, there you have it! My skin prescriptions to get any girl in any climate through gross winter skin. I'm totally leaving things out but winter is only just beginning here in Colorado so I'll be sharing more of my must-haves as the season progresses! 

Now, off to bed, you! Rest and hydration are the best (and cheapest!) beauty secrets for any season. 
Tater tots, 
Melissa, your Shop Therapist