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The 8 Best Beauty Products. Ever.

Best Beauty Products | Covet Living

Happy Monday Kiddos!  Hope you guys had a great weekend!  I wanted to rap today about my favorite go-to beauty products… maybe it’s cuz it’s the holly-days and I see a sea of 900 zillion expensive products being plugged out there, but secretly know you can do a lotta the same tricks with a buncha stuff for under $10 at the drugstore.  Or mabes it’s because I’ve had some epiphanies of my own lately. Diff’rent Strokes for diff’rent folks but regardless, I wanted to share ’em with you guys!

1 – Herbivore’s Coconut Milk Bath Soak, Urban Outfitters, $16.  Camps… I was Christmas shopping for a few friends & fam the other night and accidentally bought this for myself.  The pretty packaging / glass jar I can reuse to corral makeup brushes on my vanity combined with the effing HEAVENLY SCENT of this tipped the scales.  I literally took 3 baths this weekend with it, and it made my skin insanely soft.

HERBIVORE Coconut Milk Bath Soak

2 – Skin Care by ARCONA, price varies.  Your skin is like the one outfit you wear every day, so I figure you gotsta take impeccable care of it.  My skin has been super temperamental since I moved to California almost 2 years ago… I’m sure it’s partly due to the climate change, partly because I’m getting older and my skin is just changing (meh), and partly because I now know that my skin hates SPF (which means I have to wear a Golden Girls-sized hat whenever I’m outside).  I used to be able to throw tar on my face and I wouldn’t get a sniff of a blemish… but since last summer – yeeps.  It’s been REAL happy to throw back at me anything it doesn’t like.  So over the past 18 months, I have literally tried every skin care line under the sun (including but not limited to) Rodan + Fields, Arbonne, Nerium, Murad, Shiseido, Oil of Olay, everything from the drugstore etc. – and have finally cracked the code.  The product line is called Arcona.  It’s all-natural and largely plant based, it’s not inexpensive, but it is AMAZING.  I was first introduced to it when I was desperado to get my skin in check and Karrie suggested I get a facial at the Arcona Spa one weekend when I was in Santa Monica (ps, Brandi Brown is a miracle worker).  My skin was literally a hot mess when I went in and it cleared up in 4 days.  I moved away from it about 9 months ago and I don’t remember why, but I just started using it again a few weeks ago and my skin is now glowing, clear and looks like I just got botox.  Except I didn’t.  This pic was an oopsie snap from this weekend when me and my buddy the-best-DJ-ever were trying to figure out how to use a selfie stick.  But I’m not wearing any foundation or concealer and this pic isn’t filtered.

Steph's Skin on Arcona | Covet Living

3 – Baby Oil Gel, drugstores, $4.  I slather this on my legs after I get out of the shower.  It does need a few hours to soak in so it’s best to put it on at night before you hit the sack (and it’s also messy so you’ll wanna wear sweatpants you don’t care about, or just not touch anything you don’t want an oil mark on), but once it soaks in your skin feels like BUTTAH.  The girl sitting next to me at the community table at dinner last night accidentally touched my leg and was like, “Sorry – wait – OMG your skin…”  I’m not even kidding.  It’s also great for dry cracking heels if you are susceptible to them.  No amount of pumice-ing will permanently remedy that, but if you slather this on your heels at night for a few days, you’ll have cracked feets no more.  Honest.

Baby Oil Gel

4 – WATER.  Maybe the most important thing on this entire list.  I’ve been hearing celebs yap for years about how drinking tons of water is their beauty secret, but until I started doing it, I didn’t really believe ‘um.  I try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, and when I do I can literally see it in my face but the end of the day, cuz it gets all glowy and supple.

Glaceau smartwater 600ml pack.jpg

Glaceau smartwater 600ml pack.jpg

5 – Domino Sugar, any drugstore/grocery, about $3.  Every other day, I exfoliate/scrub my ENTIRE body with sugar.  It can get messy and takes a little time, but it makes the texture of my skin insanely smooth and all kindsa dewy.  You need to carve out an extra 10 min in the shower, and for each appendage, you need to massage it into your skin for about the amount of time it would take you to sing your ABC’s.  Sugar can be harsh so you can’t scrub too hard – slow & steady wins the race. Tip: if you add a little baby oil to the heaping handful of sugar before you start massaging it into your skin, it’ll go a long way.


6 – Essie Adore-A-Ball Polish, Amazon, $8.50.  Hands-down the best neutral polish, ever.  Bubble Bath Schmubble Bath.  I linked to Amazon because it’s not always on the Essie stand at the drugstore and can be tough to find.  I carry a bottle in my purse so if I ever go get a mani, I have them just use mine… and every single time, the nail techs (who you know have seen every neutral color under the sun) go, “OHHHHHH MYYYY this is such a great color.”

Essie Adore-A-Ball

7 – Burt’s Bee’s Lip Shine in Wink, Amazon, $6.  Best lip gloss in the most amazing color I’ve ever found… trumps any $30+ “lip plump” or whatever highfalutin brand from whatever highfalutin cosmetics store.  They also NEVER have this in the shade in the drugstore so I have to order on Amazon.

Burt's Bees Wink

8 – Coconut Oil, Trader Joe’s, about $8.  Listen yo.  I have a legit FRO… untamed it is coarse and totally unruly – like pipe cleaners.  Show me an expensive and revolutionary hair serum and I promise I have tried it.  And imma telling ya – nothing makes my weave softer or smoother than regular-ol coconut oil, and 1 jar will last at least 6 months.  All I do is take a TINY amount (I’m talking maybe 1/4 tsp), warm it between my hands so it’s melted, and run it through my hair to evenly coat it.  I get the best results if I can leave it wet in a loose bun for an hour or so (if I have time), but then just style it regularly and it’s super soft and manageable.  A tiny bit goes a long way so you have to be careful you don’t overdo it, because it WILL look greasy and you’ll have to shampoo again.  I look like a member of Whitesnake if I do nothing to it after I get out of the shower.  But this is my hair on Coconut Oil:

Coconut Oil | Covet Living

Hope this helps!  Have a great week!!


Steph's Scanned Signature


Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Steph’s Wishlist


WAHHH Happy Holly-days!  We’re kicking off Gift Guide Week with (ours) truly… My wishlist is – per the usge – part practical and part pipe dream, but these are the sugarplums & gumdrops I’m dreaming about finding under the tree this year. Hopefully you guys will get some good idears from mine (today) and Karrie’s (tomorrow) but we’re dropping these Gift Guides like it’s hot ALL. WEEK. LONG. so you gotsta stay tuned.  We may not blog every day but we do not – I repeat, NOT – mess around when it comes to these.  Here’s what we’ve got on deck:

Karrie – Tuesday 12/1

Fellas – Wednesday 12/2

For the Home – Thursday 12/3

Gals – Friday 12/4

Alright – let’s get this party started.  Santy… can you hear me?? #ijustpoopedmypants

baby steph

1 – FREEDOM BEACH CRUISER, Pacific Beach Bikes, $189.  Since I live 1 mile from the beach in a community where everything is within walking/biking distance, I need a set of wheels, right?  Right.  And I def need ’em in mint green + white with a tan leather seat.  Slap a wicker basket on the front of that bad boy and we’re in biz.

26in Ladies Mint and White Beach Cruiser | Covet Living

2 – SUNNIES, Warby Parker, about $100.  I can’t find these exact shades (top of stack) on Warby’s Parker’s site anymore, but this company takes the guesswork out of sunnies: you can “try ’em at home” – free shipping both ways and you can order up to 5 pairs and feel ’em out / keep ’em for 5 days.

warby parker glasses

3 – LINEN EDGED TOWELS, Anthropologie, $10 – $48.  Nice towels are one of those things I always need but for some reason, never buy.  These feel like buttah and look like understated elegance – à la a scene from a quaint but well-appointed beach shack in the J.Crew resort catalog.

Linen Edged Towels | Covet Living

4 – IN THE FLOW CROP II, Lululemon, $78 – $88.  I love the tie dye version of my favorite yoga pant, ever… (for inquiring minds aka Mom & Dad, color: cadet blue/sapphire blue, size 6… second color choice is the dark charcoal grey).  These are *THE* most comfortable and insanely flattering pants of all time.

Lulu Pants | Covet Living

5 – POM POM CHANDELIER EARRINGS, Annie Costello Brown, $219.  Steep, I know, but this is a pipe dream list – ‘member??  These are by an uber cool jewelry designer based in LA.  Can you say statement piece?

Pom Pom Chandelier Earrings | Covet Living

6 – UNKNOWN FACE, Sally King Benedict.  Sally is a brilliant artist out of Charleston (now Atlanta) whom you may have seen gracing the cover of Domino, circulating the Pinterest-phere or or in the Covet Living feature below (which Sally later reposted, which then prompted me to wet my pants).  Her works – the faces in particular – have become wildly popular and are now also wildly out of my price range.  But a girl can dream! And by “dream” I mean have Karrie try to recreate one of my favorite SKB paintings for me.  If Sally’s work happens to be in your price range (there was a face on exhibit at the George Gallery in Charleston a few months back for around $7,000) then I suggest you invest like, yesterday, before it takes all the gold coins in Scrooge McDuck’s coin vault to buy one.

Sally King Benedict Faces

SKB Covet Living

7 – BUSTIER YOGA BRA, Onzie, $56 $32.99.  This version in blush, spearmint and pearl is my FAVE.  And it’s on supa sale….  *COUGH* JAYNE.

Onzier Bra

8 – boomBOTTLE WEATHERPROOF WIRELESS PORTABLE SPEAKER, Scosche, $130. Essential for lingering Boho Yard Parties and long beach days when we need to listen to the 1989 album on repeat.  10 hours of battery life and a 33-ft wireless range. $130 is steep though – here’s a budget friendly version for $21… but that one isn’t waterproof and has a shorter battery life etc.

Weatherproof Speaker | Covet Living

9 – NEST GRAPEFRUIT CANDLE, Bixby & Ball, $38 – 20% OFF TODAY ONLY with code CYBERMON.  When I say this is hands-down THE best smelling candle of all time, I mean it.  It’s unreal.  Most Voluspa candles are about $28 and smell amazing, so I had a tough time justifying the extra $10, but it’s worth it.

Nest Grapefruit Candle | Covet Living

10 – ANSLEY MOCS, Ugg Australia, $100.  Like a fur coat for your feet.  I think I’ve purchased these for almost everyone I love – Bud, Mom, Dad, etc.  Nothing keeps your feet warmer & fuzzier in the winter than these bad boys, and the pair I’ve had for a million years just bit the dust.  Color: Chestnut.  Size land canoe 10.  Note: the ones pictured with the tie are the Dakota, but I’m gunning for the Ansley (which have no tie, because that blasted little tie ALWAYS comes un-did and flips around.  I ended up pulling mine out.)

Ugg Dakota

11 – ROYAL FEAST, Pizza King, $18 plus $108 minimum for overnight shipping.  Our little hometown is legendary for a few things – Muncie Burris volleyball, Ball jars, and Pizza King pizza.  This little dive-y chain of pizza joints (all complete with jukeboxes and waitresses who still proudly sport wings and mullets under their red hats) around Delaware County is where we all flock to when we come home.  It. is. heaven. Since I’ll be in North Carolina this year for the holidays, I’m hoping Santa overnights me a frozen one.

Pizza King | Covet Living

12 – MOLDED EYE MASK, Amazon, $36.  This is one of those things I always thought people were high-maintenance for wearing, until I slept in one and I had the deepest and most delightful sleep I’ve had in years.

Molded Eye Mask | Covet Living

13 – WISTERIA TIE-DYED PILLOW, Celadon Home, $69.  THIS IS NOT A DRILL – I REPEAT – THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Celadon Home now has a website you can BUY SH*T FROM AND THEY’LL SHIP IT TO YOU!  For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Celadon Home is an AMAZING home decor shop in Charleston (Mt. P) – it’s where I furnished almost my entire home from circa 2006, where Gregger and I used to go on Saturdays just to stroll the aisles with cups of coffee in hand to the tune of Norah Jones, and it’s also where I used to work and met one of my dearest friends, Caitlin. Think Matteo linens, one-of-a-kind textiles from India, luscious sofas and reclaimed casegoods.  And amazing jewelry and gifts. Their buyers know wassup and can curate a killer mix with the best of ’em.

Wisteria tie dye pillow, Celadon | Covet Living

14 – BUFFALO PLAID FLANNEL SCARF, Hound Collection, $38.  Because Gusses need new threads, too.  I discovered Hound Collection on Instagram and they’re now my go-to for all things Canine Affluenza.

Buffalo Plaid Flannel Dog Scarf | covet Living

15 – LEATHER MACBOOK CASE, Etsy, $199.  This is one of those things that I absolutely do not need but absolutely swoon over.  Buttery tan leathuh + understated elegance = (dingdingding!) winner.

Leather MacBook Pro Case | Covet Living

16 – HOT PINK WASHI TAPE, Etsy, $1.89.  Great stocking stuffer!  I use washi tape for all kindsa stuff: labeling wine glasses at parties, slapping pictures up on the mirror, sealing envelopes, etc.

washi tape

17 – IF IT REQUIRES PANTS THEN NAH SHIRT, Etsy, $27.95.  Motto in life… for me and every toddler the world over.

Pants Shirt | Covet Living

18 – VITAMIX S55 PERSONAL BLENDER, Williams-Sonoma, $449.95.  This is the one thing on this list that I would use every single day. Because I used to make this juice recipe every single day and it made me feel amazing (and also made my skin look amazing).  For a lower cost alternative, they have Certified Reconditioned Vitamixes for closer to $259 here – BOOM.

Vitamix | Covet Living

19 – BEACON STUD, Lulu Frost, $225 to buy | $30 to rent.  These are definitely a statement (and investment piece)… luckily you can take them for a test drive over at Rent the Runway, and then snag them from jewelry genius Lulu Frost if you wanna keep ’em for good.

Lulu Frost Earrings | Covet Living

20 – BELLADONNA STRAW HAT, Gottex via One Kings Lane, $49.  A little bit Golden Girls and a little bit Audrey Hepburn.  No, I’m not 87 years old… but my face might look like I am in a few years if I don’t war this bad boy when I’m out in the sun. This hat = the difference between looking like Christie Brinkley at 60 or looking like Magda at 40.

Belladonna Straw Hat, OKL | Covet Living

21 – YOUTH SERUM, Arcona, $90.  I got a sample of this the other day and it is like a magic potion for your skin.  My face has become super temperamental the past year or so – probably just because I’m now in my mid-30’s and it’s-a-changin’ – but Arcona is also the only product line that I can always count on to calm and nourish my skin.

youth serum

22 – CUTEST BRITCHES EVER, No Clue, $notthefoggiest.  These are long gone and I can’t tell if I think they look like a diaper or bloomers or short-shorts, but every time I look at them, I’m reminded that I absolutely positively need a pair.

cute shorts

23 – OYSTER PEARL RING, Vignettes, $395.  I tried this on MONTHS ago at an adorable antique store in OB, then put it back and have thought about it about every 3rd day since.  Hoping Santa Stevie Claus’ love of antiques prompts him to tie a little bow on it for me.

Oyster Ring | Covet Living

Oyster Ring, Steph's Wishlist | Covet Living

That’s all I got!  And after all that… I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that while all the things on this list are lovely, I really don’t need anything.  All I really ever want for Christmas is to be nestled in a glowing cinnamon-smelling house with smoke coming out of the chimney, huddled up with my family, in my sweatpants and fuzzy socks, watching the Hallmark channel and slamming pecan pie while my Dad and Gus roll around and play on the floor.  Etc etc.  I remember having this feeling after my Grandparents passed – this ‘oh sh*t,’ kind of quiet empty moment where I realized nothing would ever be the same again.  And so I don’t know – lately I think I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am that almost every single person in the world I love is still here, including my nutty parentals whom I love more than life itself and would be lost without.  And I was so lucky to spend Thanksgiving with friends who feel like family, but save for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and a stacked schedule of daytime activities, I also came home to a quiet, empty house each night… which was kind of peaceful but mostly made me realize that it was almost a preview of what life – and holidays – might be like if I didn’t have a family… almost like George Bailey’s alternate reality from It’s a Wonderful Life or Kevin living alone in his house in Home Alone.  So long story long, my list is baller and my current Lulu yoga pants have a legit hole in the crotch, but all I really want for Christmas is to relish some QT with my fam.


Steph's Scanned Signature