The Nightly Beauty Routines of Successful Women

Boscia's MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil, aka luxuriation in a bottle.

I've never believed in the term "beauty secret" simply because I've always felt that awesome beauty tips should be shared for everyone's benefit. Which is why I love MyDomain's article showcasing some of the most beautiful and influential women of today's pop culture sharing their nightly beauty routines. This inspired me to share my own beauty routine, fit for even the busiest mom. 

As a new (again) mom to a 3 month old baby boy, I can tell you that having a nightly routine seemed like a far-fetched luxury... until I found my go-to beauty product.  

Boscia's MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil sort of fell on my lap on accident. While visiting my family in Southern California, I found some time to shop at Sephora with my cousin who had received a handful of samples of this product and wasn't very interested in trying it out. Since I was staying at a hotel for that week, I happily took the samples since I (serendipitously) forgot my makeup removal wipes at home. 

Since then it has been my 1-step nightly beauty routine, and it has been magical. I love how it thoroughly cleanses my makeup away, but mostly love that it leaves my skin feeling dewey and moisturized. Because I really only have about 30 seconds to myself for a nightly beauty routine, this product has been amazing at making my skin feel clean and less stressed in one fell swoop.

Check out the list of our favorite women's nightly rituals below.

Don't Die With Your Music Still in Your Heart

Dr. Wayne Dyer was, in my opinion, one of the great spiritual leaders in our modern day. He had an amazing way of simplifying the meaning of life and what we are all here for.

One of Dr. Dyer's wishes was for 3 million people to have the chance to watch his film, The Shift. So far over 1 million people have watched and learned from this film, including me. 

To honor Dr. Wayne Dyer's life, Hay House has made his film available for free for the next seven days.

If you believe in something bigger than yourself, if you feel you were put on this earth for something more, and if you are open to it, this movie is definitely worth watching. 

The Beauty of Breastfeeding

I'm very fortunate to be able to say that I exclusively breastfeed my newborn son. And by that, I mean no pumping, no bottles, just straight from the source. Despite many challenges that I've had with breastfeeding with my first child and (now) second baby (more about that later), I've realized that it is so much more than feeding our little guy for free :)  and found that the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the challenges.

Often times I've faced criticism from friends and family members about breastfeeding my son. Questions like "why don't you just put your milk in a bottle?" and comments like "you're just making your life harder if you don't get him used to a bottle" have often left me feeling irritated and somewhat guilty about my personal choice to exclusively breastfeed, until I read this...


My husband shared this awesome article with me, that just put all of my fears and doubts of breastfeeding to rest. I highly recommend for all new moms and dads (and grandparents) to read.


3 Easy Ways You Can Donate to Typhoon Yolanda Victims (Without Touching Your Wallet)

Did you know that California is home to the highest concentration of Filipino residents, outside of the Philippine Islands? It's no wonder that no matter where you are, there seems to be someone you know who has been affected by the events of the past couple of weeks in the Philippines. And because cash and necessities are the most needed donations, here are 3 easy ways you can help (and feel secure knowing where your donation is going... directly to the victims affected) without ever touching your wallet:


1) Donate Through Your iTunes Account

Whether you're a savvy or not-so sure iPhone user, iTunes makes it easy to give with just a few easy touches. Simply tap onto your App Store and click on the American Red Cross icon. 



Choose the monetary value of your contribution, and you are done!



You will receive an email receipt via iTunes. Easy peasy!




2) Set Up Your Own Fundraising Site & Host A Fundraiser

No amount of money is too small to help. Get your coworkers together and start a disaster relief "pool", or host a game night donation-style "potluck" with your friends and neighbors. You can create a free fundraising site of your own at and invite friends via email to donate to your event. 


Creating my own fundraising site was easy, and only took me 5 minutes. And I made mine pink =)



After you've met your fundraising goal, your donations can be sent directly to the Philippine Red Cross via their website at (or any other reputable non-profit of your choice). 


3) Give What You Can



From now until November 30th, the LBC Foundation is partnering up with the Philippine Red Cross to receive your donations and ship them for free. You can ship any blankets, ready to open canned goods, bottled water, baby formula, usable clothing, candles, and matches. Just drop off your goods at any LBC location and LBC will happily pack and ship your donation for you.

To find the closest LBC location nearest you, visit 



For a full list of reputable non-profit organizations providing aid for Typhoon Yolanda victims, visit 



My heart and prayers goes out to you, Philippines <3



The Top Five Hottest Hairstyles for Fall (via

Solid Gold Salon

Stuck in a hair rut? I spoke to three of the hottest, most talented, and avant-garde hairstylists in the City to get their take on the top looks for the season. Their philosophies and overall message prove that there’s more to great hairstyle than just your hair. 

Diane from Solid Gold Salon812 Sutter Street

“The trends in SF follow the neighborhoods, what’s currently happening in the TenderNob is an ongoing flood of street fashion with international influences.  Think G-Dragon meets Kreayshawn with Yolandi riding in the back seat. For color, people continue to push the boundaries from pastels to jewel tones- working them into color blocks, dip-dyes, ombres, and balayage.

Clients usually seek me out for creative color and fashion forward cut ideas, edgy bobs, and make-overs.

I would like to see more avant-garde, space age, and ultra-modern cuts and colors. Also, girls and boys should be taking every opportunity to embrace waves, curls and texture

For day time, style your hair with big dry texture. For night time, wet, smooth texture. The wetter the better, and if you can combine the two (wet and dry) you have arrived.”


Calvin of Solid Gold Salon812 Sutter Street

“Men seek me out for Power Mullets, refined barbering, and edgy geometric cuts. For the Power Mullet; think Michael Douglas in the original "Wall Street" meets Leonardo DiCaprio from Inception. For refined barbering, think razor faded pompadours and close cropped sides with disconnected tops. Jimmy Darmondy from Boardwalk Empire is one example of the latter. For edgy geometric cuts think strong lines with hard edges. Shaved in panels and meticulously crafted tops. This client usually is into art and fashion and sleeps with themselves. 

The women that seek me out are usually looking for me to handle their curly hair and long bobs (AKA  Lobs). A good haircut will get you stopped on the street and make you shine like a diamond. It doesn't matter what style they come to me for. I try to create a feeling for them. One they can reproduce at home. I want them to feel ‘Sexy as Fuck.’”

 We are in San Francisco and trends go by neighborhood so it’s hard to predict. However let’s hope everyone reads this and makes the next trend 'Punk Rock Sexy Hair' so we can all have the greatest night of our lives.”


Michael Page of Mike Page Style Lab664 Post Street

“For guys, I like classic men’s cuts. Think Cary Grant, but a little (and I mean JUST a little) messed up. For women, it’s all about volume. Pixies with volume, not so perfect bobs with volume, and long looks with lots of texture, and once again volume... like you got a little action at lunch.

I guess my signature hairstyle would be more of a signature philosophy; hair should appear effortless, more relaxed, and maybe a little lived-in. Nothing that screams “Oh I just came from the salon.” Even if you did, it shouldn't read that way.  When you look at an individual, your first thought should be “what an attractive woman or what a handsome man.” You shouldn't be able to pinpoint just one thing you like. If someone looks at you and says “you have great hair”, then I haven't done my best work. People should notice the total package not just your hair.

Trends for fall? San Francisco has always been more about individuality. By the time something is a trend here, it’s kind of already played out. I really think it’s going to be more about finding your signature look.  Fine tuning it, owning it, and running with it.”



Green is the New Pink: Five Beauty Products That Are Better For You (As Featured on

juice beauty

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Wednesdays don’t seem to be the only days we wear pink this month. While many beauty companies are contributing to the cause, we can’t help but wonder if these chemically laced beauty products are doing more harm than good. Give your vanity stash a makeover with these harmoniously green, non-toxic, local beauty buys.

Juice Beauty Authentically Pink Makeup Kit

This authentically pink kit is the ultimate beginner’s kit for your must-have makeup items. Includes your very own Buki brush, lip color, cheek color, and lip gloss. Based in the Bay Area, Juice Beauty’s limited edition kit has been created to support the Breast Cancer Fund in the fight against breast cancer.  


Organic Glam Manicure Kit

This winning collaboration between The Organic Pharmacy and San Francisco’s Ayla Beauty includes a protective base coat, your choice of color, and chip proof top coat. Get that high-gloss, professional manicure look, without the toxic compromises. Ayla Beauty, 1825 Bush Street.



Acure Organics Dark Chocolate + Mint Lip Balm

Searching for the perfect, smoothing, and wax-free lipstick? It is safe to say that your search ends here. USDA Certified Organic, this lip balm tastes as good as it feels. Best of all, 100% of these lip balm profits are donate to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Pharmaca Cole Valley, Menlo Park, and Oakland.




Innersense Color Awakening Hair Bath

This luxurious cleansing shampoo sheds new light to color treated hair. Packed with natural antioxidants, this non-toxic and paraben free shampoo protects color from fading and adds glorious shine. Locally made in Walnut Creek, Innersense provides effective and organic beauty products that leave you feeling salon-beautiful every day.



BITE Beauty High Pigment Matte Pencil

This creamy, long wearing lip pencil will leave your lips looking good enough to eat. Made exclusively with lip-nurturing food-grade ingredients, you’ll just might! (But try not to).  Also doubles as an anti-aging lip pencil, each one contains the same amount of antioxidant reservatrol found in five glasses of red wine. Cheers to that!  Sold exclusively at Sephora, 33 Powell Street.

San Francisco's Getting Nailed This Fall! (Via

OPI Sf Nail collection

Photo via

San Francisco just got a whole lot shadier (and I mean that in a GOOD way). Straight from nail care leaders OPI come the newest Fall/Winter collection for 2013, simply named “San Francisco,” and it has us all wanting to step up our lacquer game. Inspired by the city’s most iconic elements–Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and my personal favorite, the Embarcadero–this mixture of bold shades and textured finishes is sure to please even the savviest of manicure mavens.  

Why San Francisco? OPI Executive VP and Artistic Director, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann explains, “To me, the women of San Francisco and the city itself really epitomize today’s multifaceted beauty consumer… San Francisco offers a European flair with distinct West Coast attributes. These elements inspired a collection of urban-chic nail lacquer shades, thanks to the sophisticated combination of high fashion and eclectic street style.”

Amen sister. With shades like “It’s All San Andrea’s Fault,” “Lost on Lombard,” and “Embarca-Dare Ya!” it’s very easy to fall in love with them all. No matter what type of city gal you are, there’s a shade for everyone.

Check out the quirky, fun names of all 15 shades here:
A-Piers to Be Tan
Dining al Frisco
Haven’t the Foggiest
Peace & Love & OPI
Keeping Suzi at Bay
Incognito in Sausalito
Lost on Lombard
I Knead Sour-Dough
Muir Muir on the Wall
In the Cable Car-Pool Lane
Embarca-Dare Ya!
First Date at the Golden Gate
It’s All San Andrea’s Fault
Wharf! Wharf! Wharf!
Alcatraz… Rocks

San Francisco by OPI is available now at professional salons and beauty stores. for more information.

10 Bachelorette Party Must-Haves

Ahh, the coveted bachelorette party. The fling before the ring. Most believe that a girl's passage to womanhood doesn't occur until she survives her first bachelorette party weekend. Lucky for you, I have compiled a fun list of must-have items to bring on your journey to womanhood; some you may already have, and others that may surprise you. So whether you are a bridesmaide, bride-to-be, or just in it for the ride, this list is guaranteed to get your bach-party weekend started off right. 


10. A Personalized Hashtag

Sure it's annoying for your Instagram followers to see how much fun you and your girls are having, but who cares when you're having the time of your life right? Come up with a hashtag that is original, and more importantly, non-existent on Instagram. This is a great way to document and share pictures with the other members of the bach-party. Also for the bride to relive the memories of her awesome weekend through the eyes of her bridal party. Just be cautious of what you choose to share on IG. A lady never reveals all of her bachelorette party secrets =)



9. A Pair of HOT Black Heels

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me feel sexier than a pair of really hot black heels. They match with everything. My favorites are Saint Laurent (YSL) and of course Mr. Christian Louboutin (both shown above). This weekend was not meant for comfort, honey! Remember that pain is beauty! 



8. A Pair of Sandals

For the daytime spas, shopping, *ahem* pole dancing *ahem*, and even pool parties. Sandals are essential to give your feet some room to breathe inbetween those endless nights dancing the night away. My favorites are platform espadrilles; casual comfort with a bit of a lift.



7. A Burst of Lipcolor

This weekend is all about the bride, but that doesn't mean you yourself can't stand out! Choose a hot, fun, and vibrant color to set the tone of this weekend's wild festivities. I recommend LimeCrime's Velveteen Liquid Lipstick. I love both colors! Daytime and nighttime friendly. The color stays put so well that you may not even need to reapply at all!


6. A Little Black Dress

For obvious reasons. No explanation needed here, right?! If you want to be extra EXTRA prepared, bring two. 


5. A Clutch or a Small Crossbody BagCrossbody Bags



4. Two Great Swimsuits

The sexiest thing a woman can wear is confidence. The key to a great swimsuit is how you feel while wearing the swimsuit. And for me, the best swimsuit purchase I've ever made was NastyGal's Betty swimsuit in black. I loved it for three reasons: 1) It was classy and timeless, 2) It was black, and 3) It made me feel fearless and confident about my body. And that's the most important thing. 


3. A Hangover Kit

Three things you'll need for this kit: Excedrine, Band-Aids, and some type of electrolyte replenishment drink. My favorite is good ol' coconut water. 


2. A Neti Pot?!

Believe me when I say that you will definitely want to have this with you on your trip, just in case. I know it sounds (and looks) crazy, but I would've paid anything to have one of these on my last bachelorette party trip.

Here's why:

If you're planning on going somewhere like Vegas, Miami, New York, or even San Diego there's a chance that there will be smokers EVERYWHERE. For someone who is a non-smoker, it's hard for me to spend a weekend in a place like Vegas without irrigating the pollutants out of my nose.

The last bachelorette party I went to, I ended up coming home with a sinus infection and had to be on antibiotics for over a week. Not fun! The doctor told me it could've been prevented if I just used one of these. 

So there you have it =)



1. Gifts for the Bride

At the end of the day, this whole experience all boils down to one thing; the bride. It is all about her this weekend. So a gift for the bride is definitely your number one must-have for a bachelorette party weekend. 

One gift that always seems to work is a pair of panties. If you're the Maid (or Matron) of Honor, it is a great idea to make a fun game out of this! I learned this from my friend Crystal, who organized a bachelorette party for our friend Vanessa. I stole this idea and used it for my cousin's bachelorette party as well. It was a hit!

All you need to do is secretly ask all the bridesmaids (and anyone else who is coming to the bach-party) to purchase and bring a new pair of panties that best reflects your personality. For example, I chose a pair of Hello Kitty panties, since I like Hello Kitty. You can get as creative as you want with this. Notice the photo above displays more than just cotton panties!

The bridesmaids should bring this gift unwrapped, and anonymously. This is so the Maid of Honor can display all the panties for the bride to guess which pair came from which bridesmaid. 

Genius, right? It makes for a fun game and doubles as a gift for the bride. 



So there it is, your must-have items to help you survive on your weekend to womanhood. Bring these items and an open mind, and you're guaranteed to have the time of your life. And don't forget:

"The best weddings are the ones you'll never forget and the best bachelorette parties are the ones you'll never remember!"



5 Steps to Being the Favorite Child in Your Family- A Father's Day Gift Idea

Father's Day is less than a week away, but there is still time to orchestrate a creative, one-of-a-kind, and well thought out gift for the man in your life. You can adjust your gift accordingly (for the sake of getting it done in time) by hand delivering your stationaries to friends and family, instead of mailing them out like I did. 

I had originally organized this gift idea for my boyfriend Jay's 33rd birthday last month, but seeing that it was such a success, I figured it could also double as a Father's Day Gift Idea (as most Dads seem to have everything anyway).


Here's what you do:

1. Make a list of the most important people in your Dad's life. This could be friends, relatives, co-workers, and even Facebook friends. I've found that Facebook was the best way to reach out to Jay's close friends and long lost classmates. 

2. Decide on a number of people who will be participating in this "gift" and purchase any type of card or stationary set that you think would best suitable for you Dad. For me, I chose 33, because it was Jay's 33rd birthday. But you can choose as many as you'd like, the more the merrier!



3. Send the cards out to your chosen participants along with 1) a note asking them to secretly fill out the card with their favorite memory of your Dad and provide a deadline and 2) a self addressed and stamped envelope for the participants to send the card back to you.

In my case, I sent the cards to my boyfriends family, friends, old coworkers, old college buddies, and even friends from long distances. I happened to have their addresses, because we kept a Google.doc of addresses from Christmas cards we had sent out last year. If you don't have their addresses, I would suggest direct messaging your participants via Facebook or even email (with discretion, of course).

Also, don't forget to address the return envelopes to an address where your Dad won't see the influx of mail coming in! I had to address my return envelopes to my place of business since Jay and I live together, and him seeing all that mail would just spoil the surprise!

And of course encourage everyone participating to be as creative as possible! After all, this gift is meant to be fun, memorable, and sincere!


4. And now you wait, and wait, and wait for everyone to fill out their cards and send it back. I periodically checked on people to make sure they had completed their cards by the deadline, but of course try your best not to annoy everyone about it =) Your dad will be so happy with his gift that he won't even notice those who didn't participate. 




5. Once you receive all the cards, bundle them all up in a nice package and try not to cry all over them. I was so touched by the participation of everyone of my boyfriend's friends and family, that I pretty much teared up everytime a letter came in. Everyone was just so creative and had a great time participating.

*Oh! And before I forget, make sure that everyone participating seals their envelopes. I didn't want everyone participating to feel censored, so I ensured them that I wouldn't be reading any of their letters. It would just be a nice memory between them and Jay*



And voila! A thoughtful, tear-jerking gift for the number one man in your life! Although I wouldn't say that the tear-jerking part is guaranteed. I sat there while Jay opened his envelopes and expected him to cry, but instead it was me who was the emotional wreck.



Either way, his reaction was priceless. The outpouring of love and participation was well received. Jay spent that evening reading through all the cards and reminiscing on all the memories each person jotted down. It was quite clear that he was feeling the love =)



All that mattered was that he loved his gift! So much that he blogged about it here. Victory!

Easy peasy, right? Try it out for yourself and don't forget to share your Dads' reactions! I'd love to see them. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there, and also to all the single Moms who are holding it down for their families. You are loved <3




5 Beauty Tips for the Bride on a Budget

"They say people in your life, they come in seasons. And anything that happens is for a reason"

When I think of my bride, Kat, I can't help but think of this line by Kanye West (although I'm pretty sure he quoted it from someone else) because I really do believe Kat and I met for a very specific reason. 


For a little over a year, I worked for a well known insurance company in the heart of the Financial District of San Francisco. Everyday, I came to work, did my job, and went home. Aside from the occassional happy hour and holiday office function, there wasn't much excitement or anything extraordinary to look forward to when coming to work. 

But during the year that I worked here, I met a friend along the way. My bathroom buddy Kat, who I had always seemed to run into in the restroom because she worked on the same floor as me. She was always such a friendly face to say hello to. We'd wash our hands, make short conversation, and then we'd both go along our merry way back to work. 

Throughout my time working for this company, I realized that this job wasn't what I was meant to be doing (but I will divulge into that more at a later time), so I decided it was time for me to consider quitting and take my makeup business full speed. I remember this day clearly, it was a Monday (of course, who doesn't feel like quitting every Monday, right?) and I just wasn't feeling fulfilled. I went to the restroom that morning, and lo and behold there was my bathroom buddy, Kat. And what was Kat doing in the restroom? Putting on makeup. What a coincidence!

I got so excited seeing her putting on makeup that I decided to tell her about how I had been doing makeup for 10 years and was going to quit my full time job to pursue my bridal makeup business. To my surprise, she looked at me with beaming eyes and said "Oh my gosh, I'm getting married in two weeks and I have no idea how to do makeup!"

And from then, the rest was history. With just that one makeup lesson, Kat was able to go from this...


 to this...


And here is what she did to get there: 

1. Have a Vision

Kat decided that she wanted to be a showstopping and breathtaking version of herself. She made it perfectly clear of what she wanted, and hired me to show her step-by-step on how to get there. 

Decide for yourself what type of bride YOU want to be for your big day. Do you want to look exactly how you look on an everyday basis? Or do you want to be a completely transformed person on your big day? It really is up to you. The key is to be realistic, hey we can't all look like Kim K! And why would you want to anyway? 


2. BYOB- Buy Your Own Beauty

Because her wedding was coming so quickly, Kat didn't really have a budget for a makeup artist. She was planning on doing her makeup on her own and used most of her money on beauty products. This was a smart investment on her part because she could use these products even months after her wedding day. 


3. Consult with a Professional

Kat gave me a list of makeup items that she already had, and I added some items to that list for her to buy. My job was to sit down with her and teach her how to use these products. This was a service I offered for a fraction of my regular bridal makeup service cost. 

So we set up a time and day for her to come over with all the makeup she had planned to wear on her wedding day. I walked her through each process of doing her makeup, from concealer and foundation, right down to the finishing powder and eyelash application. And let me tell you, the results were breathtaking! 


For someone who hadn't worn much makeup (not even basic everyday makeup), she did a fantastic job at making herself look amazing! We had so much fun talking about makeup and playing with makeup, I even took some basic items she already had and made an everyday-makeup-kit for her to use when going to work. I showed her how she could change her look in less than 5 minutes. Not only was she able to learn how to make herself beautiful on her wedding day, she was also able to apply her own makeup on a daily basis for regular work days. 


4. Practice, Practice, Practice!

After the lesson, she practiced the steps that I taught her at home. She wrote down every single step and applied her makeup to work every day for the following 2 weeks. She was able to get the professional makeup look she wanted for the fraction of the cost of hiring a makeup artist to do it for her. 

Kat solo.JPG

5. Take a Deep Breath and Smile, You're Getting Married!

For me, the most beautiful brides I've worked with were the happiest brides. Not enough beauty products in the world can make you glow quite like a bride who is happily in love. It was such a pleasure to help her out, and I didn't even apply any makeup on her. What a transformation! 

The proof is in the pictures. What a beautiful bride! And she did it all herself!


After her wedding, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this note in my email box: 

"Mary, what a lesson that was! Thank you soo much! I feel like a new world has been opened for me. I now do the 5-minute make-up regimen in the morning with the "daily kit" you created for me and I feel really nice coming to work. 

What a gift really! Thank you so much for showing up miraculously."

It touched my heart to know I was able to help her out. And now she has a lifetime of beautiful memories captured from her big day, and a daily routine to glam herself up on regular days. Congratulations Kat! We really did meet for a reason =)