I’ve Got a Secret…

I would like to preface this post by saying “I love my home”…It’s a 1911 Victorian with Colonial leanings. I have shades-of-white walls throughout, cozy off-white couches, lots of  wood, crystal chandeliers and gilded elements as well as a few pops of color here and there to keep it from looking too precious. Magazine editors and photographers like it–it’s chosen as a location for photo shoots every now and then.

Here comes the part where I “share”…Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where it comes to light that neatnik Monica has a locked closet filled to the brim with overflowing “crap”? Well…I’ve got a whole room like that!

It started innocently enough. I was cleaning the house before a party and realized I didn’t have time to sort through everything and put it in its proper place. I remembered a story I’d read that said if you’re short on time you should just scoop up everything, put it in a spare pillowcase, tuck it away and sort through it later when you have some free time. FYI, worked like a charm, except the free time never came and that pillowcase full of “stuff” wasn’t alone for long. Over time, I added stacks of books, magazines and bags of clothing I’m still meaning to bring to the consignment shop. Also, mirrors and paintings and lamps and even a toy chest we no longer use. Add some mistake purchases and other items I plan to sell at an upcoming (and not yet in my datebook) yard sale and the extra bedroom that was pegged as my home office had definitively turned into a junk room!

I’m sharing this info. with you because I need to make myself accountable. I hope to make this room as beautiful and inviting as the rest of my home and I’m giving myself two weeks to do it. In fourteen days I’ll show you the before and after shots and by then I expect to have a pretty home office to write my posts in.

Reader Challenge: What’s your big secret? It might be something you’re hiding from yourself or someone else, it might be a habit you’d like to change or a project you want to start. It might be work related or have something to do with a relationship. Please post a comment below or send me a private e-mail (nancy@thebeautywall.com) and let me be the incentive you need to get your act in gear. xoxoNancy

Great New Makeup Line!

Product Review: MAKE Cosmetics

This new line comes with a very nice pedigree–Mana Products is the world’s leading private label manufacturer of beauty products. Ever heard of a little company called NARS? That’s from Mana…along with many, many other great brands.

Their latest is MAKE Cosmetics…with a philosophy I can definitely get on board with! MAKE donates one-third of all sales to women-led, worker-owned, start-up co-ops in the U.S. and they pair artists from different backgrounds to create their seasonal color collections. Their first collaboration is with London-based interior/furniture designer, Faye Toogood and makeup artist Ayami Nishimura.

Their Medieval Palette, $25, (photo above) contains 4 very wearable matte shadows in shades of moody grays (nice for a smoky eye) plus a cool blue (if you’d prefer a pop of color) and 4 matte lipsticks, in everyday neutrals (love these shades!) and a bright coral. The eyeshadows are soft, powdery and blend well. I like them as a sheer wash of color but you can also layer them or use them to line your eyes. Also,the lipsticks are creamy, go on smoothly and wear well.

When testing this line, I went straight for their gold eyeshadow–my go-to color for eyes (it’s a shade that works for all skin tones and all eye colors). MAKE’s Satin Finish Eyeshadow in Gilded, $18,  doesn’t disappoint! It applies evenly, looks luminous and stays put. Apply dry for a sheer wash of color or wet to amp up the drama.

MAKE is available at www.weseebeauty.com. Besides makeup, I highly recommend you also check out the unique products for sale in their design gallery.


Beautywall Buzz

Check out the latest in beauty, fashion, lifestyle and other good stuff!  xoxoNancy

  • The Vampire Facial is one beauty treatment I WILL NOT be trying. Click here to see what it’s all about.
  • Are Shellac manicures part of your beauty routine? If so, you’ll find important health-related info. here.
  • Raise a glass of wine, and make it red! A new study finds anti-aging benefits of resveratrol (again!) but the debate rages on. The latest news here.

Not For Your Eyes Only…A Surprise Use for Visine!

Did you know that Visine can be used for more than its intended purpose? The active ingredient Tetrahydrozoline, which brilliantly gets the red out, will also (SURPRISE SURPRISE!) get the red out of pimples! A few drops on a q-tip, applied to your blemish will make your pimple all but disappear!

blogshot - visine2


Want Healthy, Glow-y Skin?

Though, some people (young children and the genetically gifted, like my sister-in-law Jen) have naturally glow-y skin that seems lit from within, most of us need a little extra help.

Years ago at a deskside–that’s simply a buzzword for a quick meeting for convenience sake at a journalist’s office–I met skin care expert and celebrity esthetician, Renee Rouleau, and was taken with her smarts, her radiant skin and her product line. I recently asked her advice on luminous skin. Rouleau, says “exfoliation is one of the most important techniques you can do to achieve skin that’s bright, smooth and glowing. By removing the dead, expired skin cells you make way for  the new, fresh ones that lie below.”

Q&A with Renee Rouleau:

Why Is Exfoliation Important?  It can help resolve certain skin problems ranging from blemished skin to post-breakout red/dark marks, clogged pores, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, skin texture and signs of aging.

Should you exfoliate your body, too? Sloughing the body helps with problems like back breakouts, bumps on arms and legs, ingrown hairs, lightening dark skin on knees and elbows and for sunless tan prep. An exfoliating body cloth will remove dry skin cells and reveal softer, smoother skin and more even-toned skin on the body. These cloths work effectively with a mild shower gel. For back breakouts, using an antibacterial cleanser (like AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel) applied to the cloth and rubbed over the skin. It can be very effective for reducing back and body breakouts and fading post-breakout acne scars.

What are the different types of exfoliants?  There are two types of exfoliants:

First, a “chemical” or “acid” exfoliant does the work for you. You apply it, leave it on the skin, and it works to dissolve the dry skin cells. These exfoliants include ingredients such as Glycolic Acid, AHAs and BHA, and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple. (To try, Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel )

Second, a “physical” exfoliant means that you have to do the work. These exfoliants include facial brushes, sponges, and facial scrubs. Mint Buffing Beads

A combination of both physical and chemical exfoliants will give your skin the best results. For most skin types, this would be a mild alcohol-free Glycolic Acid Serum or AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) used under a night cream 3 nights on and followed by 3 nights off. This way, you’re still getting an intensive exfoliation, but you also give your skin a break. You’d combine this with a very mild facial scrub twice a week to lift off and remove the dissolved skin cells.

Is there anyone who should not exfoliate? For sensitive skin, I suggest using a gentle 10% version of glycolic acid like AHA Smoothing Serum 10%  as it’s safe for delicate skin types. For severely sun damaged skin, Retinol is effective because it exfoliates more deeply in the skin. In addition to a retinol a 20% AHA serum like the Renée Rouleau AHA Smoothing Serum 20%  helps to resurface wrinkled skin that is in need of more resurfacing to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Note a retinol and an acid should not be used on the same night.

Is there anything else about exfoliation we should know?  Do not exfoliate daily, for most skin types, it’s too much! A facial scrub should be used 2-3 times a week, and an acid serum should be used three nights on and three nights off.






How to Fake Wide Awake!

Lately, my beauty sleep has taken a back seat to everything else I’ve been up to–attending beauty events, catching up on 3 years worth of Downton Abbey, caring for my little guy who who’s been under-the-weather and the normal day to day of cooking meals, chauffeuring back and forth to activities, tidying the house, reading for the two book clubs I belong to, staying on top of my part-time job and writing this blog–and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Eyes: Red, tired eyes are the tell, but forget using white eyeliner on your waterline, it always looks unnatural. Instead, use a skin-tone or nude pencil on both the inner upper and inner lower lids to neutralize redness and brighten the entire eye area. A creamy, budge-proof formula will stay put and won’t tug the delicate eye area. I like Chanel Le Crayon Khol in 69 Clair, $28 and Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte, $24. Curl lashes and add mascara.

Face: When you’re tired your complexion tends to look dry and lackluster. Don’t overdo it with a heavy foundation. Use a moisturizing makeup with a sheer, luminous finish. Try Clinique Supermoisture Makeup, $25 or Chanel Vitalumiere Fluid Makeup, $55. Finish with a pop of color on cheeks and lips such as, Julie Hewett Cheekie Cheek & Lip Shine, $24.

Yes, I’ve been burning the candle on both ends, but thanks to these beauty tips I don’t have to look it…and neither do you!


Thought of the Day

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”

- Abraham Lincoln



Win This Bag!

Give your beauty products a pretty place to hang out!  Inspired by the Spring ’13 runway shows, Modella’s Zebra Blossom 4 Piece Fitted Mini Train Set is on trend and will keep you organized.

One lucky reader will be randomly selected to win this travel set.


  1. Subscribe to my blog, www.thebeautywall.com.
  2. Write a comment for this or any of my previous blog posts. Be sure to include your e-mail or other contact information so I can send you your prize if you win.
  3. Share this contest on facebook, pinterest, twitter or forward it to a friend.

Giveaway will run through Friday, 3/8/13. Good luck and thanks for participating! Nancy



You’re Invited! Bath & Body Works Event

Snow is predicted (again!) by weeks end, making it harder than ever to believe that warm weather is just around the corner. No matter how much snow may fall, I’m thinking Spring.

In my family, Spring has always been special–my brother, sister, daughter and I are all born in the Spring and share birthdays within days of each other. Beautiful flowers sprout up everywhere and I always receive more than my fair share of impromptu bouquets–the dandelion bunches are the absolute best! And a favorite activity of mine–strawberry picking–is always done in late Spring. My husband, kids and I head to Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ where we fill our bellies as much as we fill our baskets. When we get home, we whip up strawberry pies and strawberry preserves and as many other wonderful treats as there are recipes on pinterest. Click here for an easy and delicious strawberry shortcake recipe. If you’re not a baker yourself, Alstede’s homemade goods are for sale. My favorite? Their mixed-berry pie!

For an early taste of Spring yourself, mark your calendar for this Saturday, March 9th from 1:00pm – 5:00pm. At participating Bath & Body Works stores nationwide, there will be Farmers’ Market inspired events where you can try strawberry, peach and tangerine fragrances and other products from their new “Fresh Picked” collection. You’ll also get to test their latest soaps, creams and candles and go home with free samples of the new line’s Body Wash or Body Lotion. At their Spring Home Decor Workshop you’ll learn how to refresh and enhance your home, and you’ll even receive a Peach Candle, as a gift with purchase.

To RSVP “Yes”, click here.


Natural Beauty

I have a friend who I’ve known for years. She’s smart, funny, down to earth, focused on career and family and great fun to hang with. She’s confident and comfortable in her own skin and was never concerned with her looks…in fact, so unconcerned that she didn’t wear a drop of makeup!

I never said anything about it until I went to her home and caught a glimpse of her in her wedding photo…she looked gorgeous. Like 1,000 times better gorgeous!!! She has the most beautiful blue eyes, but because her lashes are light you didn’t  notice just how special they are. Now, I might have been a little out of line (maybe even a lot!), but I made her promise me she’d try to wear concealer to even out her skin tone and mascara to make her eyes pop.

Her husband didn’t want her to change–he said he prefers her “au natural” and he asked me why I was pushing makeup on her when I didn’t wear any myself. Ha!!! Us beauty girls know everyone looks better with a little makeup. Done right, you look like your best self–skin more glow-y, eyes a bit brighter, lips more alluring. When I see my friend now, she’s usually wearing a little something…and she looks great!

For my usual “no-makeup” look  I wear:

  • under-eye concealer
  • beauty balm or strategically applied concealer
  • cream blush
  • eye liner
  • mascara
  • clear lip balm