Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Late-Spring Fun

Hey Everyone,

This morning we are taking a stroll through my top ten favorite things to do as the weather starts to sizzle in late Spring.

Let’s get it going:

  1. Gardening. Though some see yard work or gardening as a chore, I enjoy it. 

  2. Being able to shop at SOWA, Boston’s outdoor market in the South End.  

  3. Wearing fun, colorful sundresses and sandals. Or buying new ones!! haha

  4. Hiking Ward Reservation while it’s blooming.

  5. Eating outside!  My favorite part of the warmer weather is dining outdoors.

  6. Opening the sun roof in the car!!  woo!

  7. Catching glimpses, or seeing a full on ‘Geese Walk’, of the baby Canada geese around Spot Pond.

  8. Being able to ride bikes!

  9. Waking to amber-colored, much earlier, sunrises from my bedroom window, and, watching neon-fuchsia, much later, sunsets from my kitchen window. (Sometimes I walk up the street-up the hill- to check out the full displays.)

  10. Walking the Back Bay, Public Garden, and Boston Commons hand in hand with my husband, and …WITHOUT a coat!

What are your favorite things about Spring?  List below or on FB! xo

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Animated Series

Hello WordPressland!

Today I am listing out my top animated series that have influenced me.


Not in any particular order, just off the top of my head.

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Animated Series

  1. Scooby Doo
  2. The Flintstones
  3. The Jetsons
  4. The Simpsons
  5. Futurama
  6. Aeon Flux
  7. Bob’s Burgers
  8. King of the Hill
  9. Ren and Stimpy
  10. South Park


Share your favorite animated series below or on FB! 

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Lipstick

Hi Everyone!

I am super excited I decided to make this a makeup Top Ten Thursday. These are my favorite ones!

Makeup is my ultimate obsession to discuss.  Did you know that scientists have found makeup first appearing in history as far back as 7 millennia ago? Adorning the face, mainly around the eyes and lips, was not just used by our ancestors as a beauty enhancer, but as a status symbol within tribes and communities. A mark of pride being a leader, a warrior, an elder, or whatever.  Both men and women painted their face. They concocted their face adornments by crushing and mixing natural resources like oils, colorful bugs and fish scales, minerals, clays, rocks and gems.  Makeup has evolved over time, filtering through cultures and technologies, to become what we know it to be today.  GLORIOUS!  haha


OK. Enough history lesson.  Let’s talk LIPSTICK!

Lipstick can truly transform a face without wearing much other makeup at all. With endless color choices and formulations, you can find the right one for you!  Ok, so, there are so many lipsticks on the market where does one begin?  If you have trouble with finding one this quick walk through before my Top Ten list may help guide you. If, however, you need more hands on help, there are so many people who work at makeup counters across the globe who are there to help, too.  Also, while there you could get a quick makeover!

Lipstick coverage and finish–  These depend on your personal preference, and/or, needs for a look.  Lipstick finishes vary from satin, cream, stain, sheer, matte, pearlized, or glossy.  Keep finish in mind, but there is also technology behind some of the brands to think about like moisturizing, color transfer resistance and lip plumping.

The most covering lipstick finishes will be matte and color transfer resistance.  With the upside of coverage and a matte look, they tend to lack moisture, which can dry your lips out.  Dry or cracked lips are not what we are aiming for here.  If you have more mature skin, however, applying these types of lipsticks may stop lipstick bleeding, which is when color bleeds outside of the natural lip edge onto the skin. Satin and cream are the most popular finishes out there as they glide on smoothly, and have good staying power.  Pearlized, aka frosted, are metallic glimmer pigmented lipsticks that can be found in most finishes.  Sheer and glossy finishes have the least amount of coverage or staying power, and are used either alone for a natural look or over lipstick.  Stain finish** is the most natural, as the product uses stains to color the lips, leaving flat pigment but no physical product.

How to choose color?  Let your natural skin tone guide you. Ok, what I am about to say may sound weird, but believe me.. it works!  Most makeup colors are split by neutral, cool and warm.  How to know where your skin color falls lies in your wrists.  YES, wrists! Take a glance down at your wrists.  Do you see your veins?  If you see blue and purple veins mapping up your wrist, then you probably have cool skin tone.   Warm skin tones normally have greenish hued veins visible. And, olive skin, as a rule, is usually neutral; so are those that have a harder time deciphering the color of their veins.

This is the best part of choosing lip colors and finishes.. experiment!  Look at your natural lip color.  For an everyday color lip, start by trying on lip shades that are two shades (light or dark) from your natural lip color.  For a dramatic lip, have fun trying on all the red, dark browns and funky colors on the market that has an undertone of your kin tone.  For example, if you want a red and have a cool skin tone, look at a lot of reds. You will notice some have an underlying blue tone to them.  These will be the right reds for you.  If you have two different colored lips, like the bottom lip is lighter than the top, choose the darker color as a starting point.

To line or not to line?  My rule of thumb is to always use a lip liner. Using one is not the only option, but it is the best option if you want..

⇢a well-defined lip look;

⇢a longer lasting lip color;

⇢fuller looking lips;

⇢to even out misshapen lips;

⇢to create color contrast;

⇢to stop lipstick bleeding.

Choosing a color lip liner that matches your natural lip is preferable, but it does depend on the look you want to achieve.  I actually like to use a darker tone compared to my lipstick color.

One more thing before I get to the Top Ten Thursday list of what products I like, let’s talk about how to apply lipstick.  All concealer, foundation* and face powder should be applied beforehand.  Actually, dabbing on a little extra concealer or foundation to your lips helps with keeping the product on longer. 

Draw your lip liner along the rim of your lips. If you are wary or have never used lip liner before, draft light dots of color along the outline of your lips with your liner. Follow through with your liner, completing the full bottom and top lines.  For fuller lips, apply color just along the outer edge.

Apply lipstick, either straight from the tube or with a lip brush, to your lips starting at the center (of either the bottom or top lip).  Swipe the color towards each corner, filling in all visible lip space. If you can’t reach with the tube, use your pinky or the paper core of a Q-tip. 

With a tissue, blot your lips to remove excess (or from teeth). I like to reapply a little more color.  

*Before I apply foundation I use a lip balm. My favorite is Lancome’s Absolue Lip Balm because it’s not greasy under my foundation.

A little bit of information about myself before I get into the list; so you know why I like the colors I mention below.

Naturally, I am fair-skinned with light freckles, a few darker beauty marks, too. I have dark brown hair and eyes. Though people at a glance categorize me as a warm tone, my skin tone is actually cool.  (my wrists say so. haha) I usually wear the lightest foundation colors available.  I will try on almost any lip color.  Almost being that I am personally not a fan of lipstick colors in the unconventional high fashion colors like blues, grays, greens, or, yellows.

All of these lipsticks that I like listed below were worn with a lip liner; most often Clinique’s Plummy, or Perfect Plum by Avon, or Vamp by Chanel.

Ok, let’s go!

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday – Lipstick

  1.  Rouge in Love, Lancome-  I think this lipstick is an absolute win when it comes to color choices, finish and feel. This lipstick is so lightweight, yet lasts all day while leaving my lips feeling silky smooth (cream finish).  That is not common in the longer wearing lip formulas. My favorite colors are Sweet Embrace*, Violet Coquette, Tea Rose, and Rouge Valentine.  *Sweet Embrace is one of my day-to-day color choices, worn with Plummy lip liner from Clinique.
  2. MatteTrance, Pat McGrath Labs- Ok, so I bought this lipstick because the packaging was so cute with the lips on it, but the lipstick inside ended up being PRETTY SPECTACULAR!!  This lipstick glides on like a cream but is a matte, and lasts all day.  My lips never feel dry.  It comes in a variety of fun shades from nudes to plums to reds to BLACK!   My favorite colors are Modern Woman and Anecdote. And, I have my eye on buying Faux Pas for the Summer.
  3. Color Design, Lancome-  This lipstick is fantastic on so many levels.  Namely, CHOICE!!  They offer 42 shades; which is dizzying!  Also, they offer five different finishes. I tried their matte, sheen and metallic, and they all lasted most of the day.  The matte finish did not dry out my lips, which is usually a problem for me. My favorite colors are Into the Rapture, Hit List, Fashion Icon and Bow and Arrow.    Very diverse color options here; it’s a definite great lipstick to check out!!
  4. MAC Lipstick, in cremesheen finish-  The finish of this lipstick is a cream without a lot of shine.  I personally love this lipstick and the finish it comes in. It glides on smoothly, and even though it’s not technically a long-lasting lipstick, it lasts almost all day on me.  My favorite color is Creme Cup and the newest Spring line color Boom, Boom, Bloom in Hey, Kiss Me!  Gah I love this pink so much!
  5. Audacious, Nars- This lipstick comes in an insane amount of colors, 46 shades!! I really like how long-lasting the color is without drying my lips out, and it felt light.  The texture is smooth cream, and glides on full coverage in one swipe. I tried a few different colors on but the colors I like best are Dayle, Liv, and, my favorite, Silvia!
  6. Rouge Coco, Chanel– This hydrating lipstick is what I consider the creme de la creme of lipsticks.  The texture goes on smooth. The coverage is opaque with one swipe. The feel is lightweight. The scent (or taste) is beautiful. It’s all that a person wants in a lipstick.  I mean, it’s Chanel, the name says it all.  My favorite colors are Erik, Mademoiselle and Lover.
  7. Stay All Day, Stila, liquid lipstick- All I can say is this liquid lipstick is potent!  Talk about high pigment and long-lasting! Normally, I am not a fan of liquid lipsticks.  They never last and they end up looking flat. But not this one.  I own the color Paradiso, which is a bold berry color.  It is richly pigmented, and lasts most of the day.  When it does start to fade the color is still even.
  8. Addict Lip Glow, Dior- This stuff is crazy good!!!!!!! Let me put one more exclamation point to get my feelings across. Dior has created a product that comes in three finishes – a glow, a matte glow and a holographic glow. I know this is  technically a balm, I know, but with a darker shaded lip liner it just has a super sexy, lip plumping effect that you have to try! My favorite colors are Pink and Holo Purple.
  9. Hot Lips, Charlotte Tilbury- Everyone wants hot pouty lips, am I right?  This lipstick will not disappoint. The packaging is sleek. The lipstick is lightweight, but is full coverage. This lipstick does have a scent to it, however, like a brownie, but if you like brownies you will not care!  My favorite shade is KimKW with my Avon Plum lip liner.
  10. Butter Lipstick, NYX- This is a hydrating lipstick under $7!  SEVEN BUCKS, PEOPLE! What I am saying is, that this is a major steal! And, it comes in 31 hot shades.  This lipstick glides on smoothly. The coverage is great and even.  My favorite shades are Daydreaming, Cherry and Hunk.

** I didn’t list any stain products in this post. So let’s call this number 11.. If you are looking for a stain, the best one I ever used was Benefit’s Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain.    It is a rosy red stain that comes in a snappy glass nail polish type bottle with a brush.  It smells really good and does stain the skin for hours.

My gosh, what a flashback. I used this stain for years, too. First one I had ever bought was back when Benefit Cosmetics was only found inside Henri Bendel’s.  Remember when Henri Bendel’s was in Massachusetts!!?? OR OPEN!!?? 

Ok, enough of me makeup gabbing!  BYE MY BEAUTIES!!

Let me know what your favorite LIPSTICbrands and/or LIPSTICcolors are by commenting below here or on FB!  xoxox

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Self-Care Ideas

Self-care is a deliberate activity, action, or purpose that helps in regulating your mind, feelings and/or body.  Taking time for one’s self is absolutely important. You can change your whole perspective of your feelings, day-to-day situations, your energy, or anything that you need to uplift yourself from.

Below are my top ten favorite ways to self-care.


Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Self-Care Ideas

  1. Meditate. If you have never done’s easy!  Find a comfortable spot to sit 10-15 minutes uninterrupted. If you have more time, that is even better. Set your cell’s alarm, place it close to you but not on you.  Close your eyes. Take conscious deep breaths. Listen to your breathing. Relax each part of your body as you feel the ground below you.  If you can, try to just be, without thinking about your day-to-day stresses.

  2. Apply a face mask. All faces can benefit from this!  Try any type that suits your skin type or needs- fibre, clay, gel, charcoal or mud, just follow the instructions.

  3. Listen to a segment of your favorite podcast, or watch it on YouTube.

  4. Take a bath.  Try it with lavender bath salts!

  5. Stretch. Since having my shoulder issues stretching is necessary.  I find I am so much happier on the days I stretch.

  6. Feel the sunshine.  Get outdoors, stand in a window, in the car..anywhere!  I like to  take a few minutes to appreciate the warm feel on my skin.

  7. Make coffee, tea or any drink you enjoy. My favorite pastime is to drink a latte on the couch; no cell phone, no TV, no books, nothing.  Just focusing on the warm joy of the coffee.

  8. Sit quietly.  I like doing this in the grass of my backyard. Looking at the colors and listening to the natural surroundings.

  9. Organize a cabinet or closet.  It’s funny to think that doing the work of organizing actually makes you feel good.  For me, it lifts that back of the mind stress, AND, I believe the concentrated motion of working, like this, helps us steep through situations to clear the mind.

  10. Read a book. Take a moment to read a few pages. Snuggle up on your couch, head to the beach, or, sit in your bed, anywhere you can take the time to dive right in for a few moments.


▶︎ I announced on FB that I am moving my Top Ten Thursday lists to a monthly post.  This will be my last TTT post for March.

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- more random things to know about Valeria

  1. I…trained our cat, Gordon Ramsey, to box. He knows when I ask him to ‘jump jump’ on the back of the couch in the front room that it’s go time. He is real good at it! He also plays hide-n-seek and tag.  He is that smart!!  Also, he is named after the chef but his last name is spelled differently as my cat is not a jerk.

  2. I…cannot believe my 13-year-old has a frickin’ boyfriend. By all means, I trust her and they are naive kids, more into the label of boyfriend/girlfriend as they find everything, like holding hands, to be awkward. Let’s hope everything is awkward forever. LOL. Bahhhh. Ok this isn’t about me, but it’s been on my mind for two weeks.

  3. I…will reference Seinfeld at least three times a day. *at least. A few weeks ago the damnedest trend started.. I met people who HAVE NEVER seen Seinfeld. 😮

  4. I…cook. It’s one of my strongest talents. I feel at most myself while cooking. On average, I cook at home 6 days a week. From the simple to complex, using whole ingredients, and I enjoy every minute.

  5. I…am utterly obsessed with Halloween. Anxiety kicks in if I don’t have a Halloween costume planned before Spring.  I am torn choosing between two right now.  I have some time.

  6. I…am currently on a baking mission. I cook but baking is different. So I decided a week ago to teach myself to bake from scratch. I want to be that person who whips up yummy treats all the time easily; and with my youngest daughter wanting to learn, I have to!!

  7. I…like giving advice. Ask me anything!

  8. I…was disappointed for weeks with my DNA test results until my husband convinced me how amazing they actually were. The results seemed lame to me because I look like a mashup of many nationalities. Guess what? I’m 96% Italian, from Sicily. Ha! The rest Greek.

  9. I…am actually more of an introvert than extrovert. Whenever I tell people this they don’t believe me, but it’s true!

  10. I…, since I was a kid, have been picking out which actor or actress would play my family and friends in my life movie.  I, especially, love doing this when I meet someone new. The weirdest part of this is … well, I have never chosen anyone to play me!  And yes, if we are friends irl, I have chosen someone to play YOU!  haha

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Face Cleansers

Hello everyone!

As I mentioned in my makeup posts before, I get stopped often about my makeup, and to be honest, whenever anyone asks me about my face I want to talk about skin care more than makeup. Good-looking skin starts with how we take care of it.

The first step in skin care is cleaning your skin. Cleaning your skin should be an effective way to clean pores/remove dirt, oils, makeup and/or dead skin cells.

How we choose our cleanser is directly correlated to our skin type.  Are we dry, oily, or have mature skin or sensitive skin?  Then our determination for a cleanser is the product formula type.  Do we choose a powder or bar cleanser?  Do we choose a face wipe or a foaming cleanser? Then we choose the product by our other likes and dislikes of cleaning power, the product’s texture or its scent.

Skin types vary person to person. Generally there are four major skin types: normal, dry, oily and a combination.

  • Normal refers to well-balanced skin; whatever way you wash this skin it feels dry to the touch but supple.
  • Dry skin type produce less oil than normal skin; whatever way you wash this skin it feels dry immediately after being patted dry (feels tight).
  • Oily skin has an overproduction of skin oils (sebum); whatever way you wash this skin it feels oily immediately and throughout the day.
  • Combination skin types go in both directions of dry combination and oily combination.  Each combo skin type is majorly defined by the skin of the t-zone and cheeks. ALSO, I’d like to add sensitive skin to the list of combination because some skin is highly sensitive.

On top of skin type there is skin condition.  Many exterior and interior factors play in your skin’s condition.  Skin condition is affected by age, climate, genetics, air pollution, certain medications, and stress, and they all play in how our skin reacts and what it produces (like oil/sweat).   You may notice skin condition if you travel often. You may see that people who live in high wind, coastal areas have drier, mature skin vs people who live in hot, humid climates that have oilier, smoother skin.

Then on top of skin type and condition, there are so many formula types on the market based on makeup removal, texture, consistency and scent. Personally, I have tried all the types out there, not all brands, but all types.

Here’s a quick list of formula types: bar, clay, cream, foam, gel, milk, oil, powder, micellar water, and wipes.


Before I get to the Top Ten Thursday list of what products I tried, let’s talk about how to wash your face.  Some folks may not know!  Now I am going to start here with using your hands (my favorite tools) to wash your face. There are a lot of brushes and tools on the market that can assist in washing your face, however.

Wet your face with warm water. Never use extremely hot or cold water, which can irritate your skin. With your cleanser of choice, dispense about a nickel-sized amount on one hand. Massage the product between hands, using your other hand to ‘warm’ the product. Then apply the cleanser to your face, moving in a circular motion until the product reaches all parts of your face, including over eyes.  This motion helps to breakdown makeup, dirt, oils, etc.. Then rinse your face with warm water, passing the water over your face still the cleanser is fully removed. Follow to dry, by patting your face dry. DO NOT rub the towel across your face, this can actually irritate your skin.

Here is my list of cleansers that I have used, but let me explain my skin.  My skin type is normal/dry, and my skin is still considered youthful.  My likes in a face cleansing product are 1.) one that washes away my makeup, 2.) AND leaves my skin soft to the touch before my serum and moisturizers, 3.) the consistency shouldn’t be goopy, and 4.) no overpowering scents.


Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Face Cleansers

  1. Peter Thomas Roth, Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel- This is by far my favorite face wash!! The technology, the scent, the consistency and the texture are everything my face wants.  I can clearly feel the smooth gel where it is being applied, and it fully rinses from my skin.  This product leaves my skin glowing and it feels refreshed …and squeaky clean.  (meaning no foundation is found on my towels when I pat my skin dry!)
  2. DHC, Cleansing Foam- This is a pretty fantastic cleanser in an unassuming package.  And, though, I am dry/combination skin this product is for oily/combination skin, and I still think it’s great.  This cleanser lathers to a fluffy mousse like consistency and feels like it moisturizes my skin as it’s applied.  It does a great job at breaking down my makeup, too.
  3. Neutrogena, Ultra Gentle Daily Cleaning Foam-  This foamy cleanser is a perfect cleanser for most folks.  The foaming action is not as tactile as the DHC one above, but it does a great job at cleaning the skin, removing makeup and leaving my skin feeling happy.  I used the gentle formula which means there is no dyes or perfumes, and it worked great for my two daughters, one a teen and one a pre-teen.
  4. Kiehls, Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil-  Let me start with this..oil cleansers are NOT like other cleansers.  They do not foam, they do not give you that feel, so please try this with an open mind. Oil cleansers are great for all skin types, but oily skins may like a foamy soapy feel.  I LOVE oil cleansers, especially in the Winter when there is not much humidity in the air.  This cleanser is great and I feel like my makeup melts off well. My skin was clean and soft to the touch.  There were a handful of times I did use a follow-up cleanser when I had non-transfer foundation on.  I did compare this to my other favorite oil cleanser I used to use (ten years ago) from DHS, and this oil was a touch better, but both are great.
  5. Lancome, Energie de Vie Foaming Cleanser- This lathering cleanser has THE best scent out of all on my list.  It’s a burst of glowing freshness.  My skin feels refreshed and clean, with all my makeup that was removed. 
  6. Oil of Olay, Gentle Clean Foaming Face Cleanser-  This creamy foam cleanser is simple and effective, AND INEXPENSIVE!  It left my skin feeling clean and comfortable.  This was my go to face cleanser for over 10 years!!  I haven’t seen it on the shelves of my local drug stores any longer, but I am not sure if they discontinued the product of not.
  7. DHC, CoQ10 Washing Cream- Another great cleanser that left my skin squeaky clean and refreshed.   Not a trace of makeup left behind.  Also, I would walk away from the sink with my skin feeling moisturized and supple.  I have gone through MANY tubes of this cleanser, and highly recommend it if you are looking for something to shake up your current skin care regime.  
  8. Lancome, Bi-facil Makeup Remover and Cleanser- This is a dual phase liquid cleanser, which needs to be shaken and used on cotton rounds like it’s brother Bi-facil Eye makeup remover (Bi-facil Eye is MY FAVORITE AND ONLY EYE MAKEUP REMOVER THAT I WILL EVER USE. ). This face cleanser works really well if you use infallible/non-transferrable foundations, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed.  However, I like to use a cleanser after this because, again, I prefer a foamy wash.
  9. Clinique, Liquid Face Soap- Ok, this is where I will not sound so positively.  This soap is good, not the best. And I only say that because it never left my skin feeling refreshed. And many days I felt like my skin had to be moisturized right away or I’d ‘die’.  
  10. Vichy, Purete Thermale 3in1 Cleanser- For a milk cleanser that is to be tissued off, this cleanser may be my favorite one. With that said, I am just not a big fan of cleaning my skin without water and tend not to lean towards milk cleansers like this one. I feel like I use an absurd amount of tissues, cotton rounds and towels to feel clean…then follow up with a cleanser and water.  :/   I started to use it in my shower as a conventional cleanser, which actually worked but I prefer foaminess.


Share your favorite cleansers!  I always love to hear what people are using out there..comment below or on FB!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 3 of 3)

Hello WordPressers!

Part 3 of what I love about Winter.

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 3)

  1. The glisten on fresh snow in the sunshine
  2. Wearing bright plum lipstick
  3. Smelling fireplaces in the distance on a crisp day
  4. Hot English black tea before bed
  5. Seeing birds from my window land on the bare branches of my boxwood tree
  6. Wearing my velvet thinsulate insulated gloves (BEST GLOVES EVER) 
  7. Burning peppermint scented candles 
  8. Scarves!
  9. Cuddling in bed early watching TV
  10. Seeing deer or rabbit tracks in the snow 

Though.. Snow is on the ground. The winds this week were whipping trees around, but yet, Winter is almost over!!  🙂  Spring is 21 days away!!  YAYA!!