September 2016 archive

Makeup and Skin Care in Cuba

Just enough to get me through a weekend!

Just enough to get me through the long weekend!

The thing I was most curious about when I went to Cuba was what makeup and skin care products were available there. You know me. Well, it turns out the stuff is pretty hard to come by.

I didn’t see many women wearing makeup. The only Cuban women I noticed wearing makeup were those working in our hotel. According to a hotel employee named Yoana, to get makeup, you need to have people send it to you from places like Spain, Mexico City, and the U.S. Or if you are a maid in a hotel, guests leave some for you in their rooms as part of the tip at checkout. (We left a few things for our maid. I also gave Yoana some samples from blogger goody bags for being nice enough to answer my questions.)

Cuba operates on a cash-only economy, so if you have some sort of side (or even a main) hustle to earn the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCs) available to tourists, you might be able to buy whatever is available in a few smaller stores. You can read more about the currency system in Cuba here.

As for me, I MacGuyvered my way through the weekend. (See pic above.) Since luggage had a weight limit, I pared it down to La-Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60, Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush in Coral Rose, Smashbox Blendable Lip and Cheek Color in L.A. Lights, NYX High Voltage Lipstick in 05 Flutter Kiss, and Maybelline mascara.

I also brought Chapstick with SPF and ROC eye cream. At night, I used sample packets of Goddess Garden Dream Repair Cream. And after a long day of walking around and sightseeing, I got the sweat and grime off with Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub. Oh, and I always had Supergoop! hand lotion SPF 40 in my bag.

I never tried La Roche-Posay before. I loved it! It contains antioxidants so its good for your skin, and it feels nice and light, like Neutrogena Dry Touch. Thanks to the La Roche-Posay, Supergoop!, a big hat, and sunglasses, I didn’t get burned.

Last year, Cat Quinn O’Neill wrote a blog post for Allure about going to a Cuban perfumery. You can read about her experience here. Pretty interesting!

Writing this post got me thinking. If you could only take 3 beauty products to a desert (or Communist) island, what would they be? Tell me all about your must-haves in the comments!

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Hola Cuba!

Boarding the plane to Havana

Boarding the plane to Havana

Hola! I just got back from the trip of a lifetime to Cuba. I was very nervous about going, because I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up having an absolute blast.

The best way to see Cuba is with a tour company that can take care of all the visa paperwork for you. We went with Insight Cuba, because they did such a great job with my mom and sister’s trip to Cuba last July. Mama Bear and I went under the “people-to-people” travel designation, since “tourism” is (still) not an option, as Cuba remains under Communist rule.

The tour we chose was the 4-day/3-night Weekend in Havana. Our tour guides, Graham and Pablo, did an amazing job explaining the history of the island and the story behind everything we saw.

Insight Cuba tour leaders Graham and Pablo

Insight Cuba tour leaders Graham (l) and Pablo (r)

My favorite part of the trip wasn’t on our itinerary, though. Cuba is known for its classic cars. So one night my mom and I, and another member of our group, hired a driver and his 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible to show us the city at night.

We drove around around for almost two hours! I loved the smell of gas and motor oil, and the wind in my hair, believe it or not. It gave the experience authenticity. We saw statues and monuments that were lit up for the evening while our driver told us about them.

We also saw people hanging out on the sea wall along the oceanfront highway called the Malecon. Every evening, the locals like to spend time outdoors, weather permitting. This sea wall is a popular spot to sit around and chat.

The highlight was when we climbed to the top of an old Spanish fort, Fortelaza de San Carlos de la Cabana, (aka La Cabana). The fort overlooks the Havana harbor. Every night at 9 p.m., they fire an old cannon as part of a ceremony called canonazo, and we got to see it.

At one time, the firing of the cannon signaled the closing of Havana’s city walls, to protect citizens against attack by the British. Canonazo has since become an island tradition, complete with young men dressed in colonial uniforms and carrying torches to light the cannon.

Seeing the canonazo and watching the locals enjoying the balmy weather gave me a real taste of local flavor. The Cuban people are very warm and welcoming, and I was touched by their pride in their island and its rich history. The extent of their knowledge is impressive!

Cuba was the most ‘mysterious’ place I’ve been to, for lack of a better word. When you go to places like Europe or Canada, you pretty much know what you’re getting into. But Cuba is still unknown to most Americans, including me.

Now, I am dying to go back! Next time, I want to take the Vintage Cuba tour, which is a few days longer than Weekend in Havana. Our tour leader Graham said Vintage Cuba is his particular favorite.

I’ll be posting pics on Instagram and Instagram Stories over the next few days, so be sure to check those out. (I’ve already put up a few of my faves.) I am also going to create photo albums on Facebook, and share them on the Fabulous Forever page.

So what was your biggest travel adventure? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Be sure to subscribe to Fabulous Forever using the form on the top right of the homepage, and use the social sharing buttons below the form to follow me on social media. Here’s my Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Snapchat at clobuono. And don’t forget to like the Fabulous Forever Facebook page!

 

Fabulous Links of the Week: Emmys Edition

EMPIRE: Cast Pictured L-R: (Bottom Row) Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Trai Byers as Andre Lyon (Middle Row) Grace Gealey as Anika, Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon (Back Row) Gabourey Sidibe as Becky, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha on EMPIRE ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: James Dimmock/FOX.

EMPIRE: Cast Pictured L-R: (Bottom Row) Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Trai Byers as Andre Lyon (Middle Row) Grace Gealey as Anika, Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon (Back Row) Gabourey Sidibe as Becky, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Ta’Rhonda Jones as Porsha on EMPIRE ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: James Dimmock/FOX.

A genius innovation for washing your face, how to shop independent beauty brands on the cheap, pumpkin-themed beauty products (because, fall), and a celebrity stylist’s tips for aging well, in this week’s Fabulous Links!

The new way to wash your face is with something called a facial cleansing stick. (The Zoe Report)

Small, mostly online-only beauty brands are winning customers by selling samples of their product! You can get a ton of goodies for very little money. (Racked)

It’s pumpkin time! Here are a few pumpkin-themed makeup and skincare products to get you in the fall spirit. (Total Beauty)

Stylist Gun-Britt is 60-something and looks amazing. FYI, Pilates and champagne are involved! (Into the Gloss)

This week on the blog, I learned more about the beautyblender x Supergoop! collaboration to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

If anyone out there tries (or has tried) the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask or a facial cleansing stick, share your thoughts in the comments!

And tonight is the Emmys! Go Taraji! Long live Empire and the Cookie Monster!

Be sure to subscribe to Fabulous Forever using the form on the top right of the homepage, and use the social sharing buttons below the form to follow me on social media. Here’s my Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Snapchat at clobuono. And don’t forget to like the Fabulous Forever Facebook page!

 

 

beautyblender sunny x Supergoop! for Alex’s Lemonade Stand

beautyblender sunny x Supergoop!

beautyblender sunny x Supergoop!

I mentioned the beautyblender x Supergoop! collaboration to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand last week. Well, I decided to do a deep dive and find out more, because Alex’s Lemonade Stand is such a great cause.

I spoke with Jeff Baxter, community engagement manager at Alex’s Lemonade Stand. He said that beautyblender first approached the foundation because the company believes strongly in the work it is doing to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

“I know beautyblender and Supergoop! feel they can connect their customer base with our mission,” Baxter said.

Using a beautyblender makes sunscreen application to kids’ noses and ears a lot easier, the company said in a press release. It’s a bargain, too. For $20, you get the cult classic beautyblender (a $20 value) AND a travel-size Supergoop! sunscreen (a $16 value). So you are basically getting a free high-quality sunscreen. And 20 percent of the sales go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. You can buy the limited edition set on the beautyblender web site here.

I wasn’t familiar with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, but Baxter was happy to share the organization’s backstory with me. Alexandra “Alex” Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, when she was not quite a year old. At the age of four, she received a stem cell transplant after doctors discovered her cancer was growing again.

After her treatment, Alex told her parents she wanted to set up a lemonade stand in her front yard, and give the proceeds to her doctors and what she called “her hospital.” Alex wanted other sick kids to feel as good as she did.

The first lemonade stand raised $2,000. The Scott family continued setting up lemonade stands in their yard every year, and donating the money to cancer research. Word spread about these lemonade stands, and soon other people were setting up stands, too.

It grew to the point where when Alex was seven years old, she told a reporter she wanted to raise a million dollars. The reporter said, “How do you think you can do that?” Alex replied that if everyone across the country had a lemonade stand, she thought she could reach her goal.

Sadly, Alex passed away at the age of eight. However, before she died, she made her million dollar goal. Alex’s Lemonade Stand was born out of that, Baxter said. At this point, the organization has funded over 650 research projects and raised over $127 million.

Now back to beauty. You know I love Supergoop! Have you ever used the beautyblender? Every makeup artist and beauty editor I know of raves about it. Its even won a few Allure Best of Beauty awards.

Be sure to subscribe to Fabulous Forever using the form on the top right of the homepage, and use the social sharing buttons below the form to follow me on social media. Here’s my Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Snapchat at clobuono. And don’t forget to like the Fabulous Forever Facebook page!

Fabulous Links of the Week

Are you ready for some football?!

Are you ready for some football?!

An adorable Beautyblender x Supergoop! collaboration, the pumpkin spice latte highlighter that is blowing up the Internet, Kat von D’s Holiday lipstick set, and Costco’s best kept secret, in this week’s Fabulous Links!

How cute is this Beautyblender x Supergoop! collab? It’s for a great cause, too: 20 percent of sales go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. (Allure) To buy the set, click here.

All the Internet can talk about this week is the pumpkin spice latte highlighter from Feather River Body, Heather Baker’s etsy shop. Psst..It also doubles as an eye shadow. (Allure)

A heads up to fans of Kat von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. Kat is releasing a set of 15 lipsticks at the end of September, just in time for the holiday season. It will retail for $240, so start saving now. (Allure)

Really great finds are hiding in the beauty department of …Costco?! Who knew? (Byrdie)

Oh, and on the 15th anniversary of the day the world changed forever. #neverforget

Be sure to subscribe to Fabulous Forever using the form on the top right of the homepage, and use the social sharing buttons below the form to follow me on social media. Here’s my Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Snapchat at clobuono. And don’t forget to like the Fabulous Forever Facebook page!

 

 

Fabulous Links of the Week: Labor Day Edition

Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend Where did the summer go?!

Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! Where did the summer go?

Halle Berry brings the body goals in a sexy Insta (at 50!), overlooked skincare brands at Sephora, a secret beauty ingredient from the Marley family (yes, the reggae Marleys), and a cool Korean beauty hack, in this week’s Fabulous Links!

This woman is 50. 5-0. (Allure)

You know I love trying those smaller beauty brands that fly under the radar. Here are a few worth checking out at Sephora. (Byrdie)

Apparently, reggae god Bob Marley’s family has a line of body care products called Marley Natural. It’s secret is hemp seed oil. (Byrdie)

Jamsu, or diving, is the latest Korean beauty hack. You apply your usual foundation and concealer, then pat baby powder all over your face. Stick your head in a sink of cold water for about 30 seconds, and you have a flawless matte complexion. Weird, I know. But its supposed to work. (Byrdie)

If you have tried hemp seed oil as a skin or body care product, or if you have tried “diving,” let me now in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to subscribe to Fabulous Forever using the form on the top right of the homepage, and use the social sharing buttons below the form to follow me on social media. Here’s my Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Snapchat at clobuono. And don’t forget to like the Fabulous Forever Facebook page!