ARFotography. » Lifestyle. Detail. Design.

Let’s talk skin and skincare. As the years tick by, people are often commenting on my skin. Yes. I take care of my skin. You guys here me talking about skin care ALL THE TIME. I will tell you that prior to 30, I didn’t give my skin a second thought. I’m pretty sure I didn’t wash it much, I didn’t have any products aside from what I bought here and there at the grocery store. I spent all of my childhood, teens and into the college years in the sun. I grew up on the beach and I was a swim instructor and lifeguard for years. I LOVED the sun. By the end of any given summer, I was so tan that people could barely recognize me. Think tan mom. I shudder just thinking about it. On my 30th birthday I woke up and decided that it was time to take care of my skin. What that meant was not so clear but I got the occasional facial and even invested in a line of fancy skincare. As my 30’s ticked on I was vigilant about sunblock, I never slept in makeup, and I was aware of the suns aging effects on my face.

Fast forward to my late 30’s… I started my photography business and I was lucky to work with some of the best in the skincare biz. I was doing a lot of work with the girls over at TRYST. I watched and learned from them. I jumped into the world of chemical peels, oxidizing facials and amazing products that helped me to reverse the damage I had done for the better part of almost 40 years in the sun. It was at Tryst that I met KATHRYN RUSSO, a nurse practitioner specializing in cosmetic dermatology. Kathryn has a practice in Framingham but makes the trip to TRYST on the South Shore once a month to service clients down in that area. Kathryn is in a league of her own when it comes to skincare and aesthetics. Her understanding of facial structure and dermatology is amazing. She understands how the skin ages, and has an amazing arsenal of treatments to handle any issue.

A few weeks ago, I went to Kathryn for what is known as a Vampire Facial, known more formally as PRP Therapy. I documented the whole thing on my Instagram stories and I have edited them all together into a YouTube video below. The vampire facial takes your own blood, spins it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelet rich plasma which is then used on your face to regenerate collagen and cell growth. The science behind it is incredible and the whole experience was SO COOL.

The treatment took just under an hour. They drew my blood and while it was spinning she numbed my face with a numbing cream. From there she did a Microderm treatment to prep the skin and once the platelet rich plasma was ready, she treated me with a derma pen which makes tiny little pricks in the skin which she then applies the platelet rich plasma on top. Basically creating small incisions which the body then heals with the help of its own plasma which increases collagen production and fresh skin cells.

Did it hurt? Nope. Not at all. My skin was numb, but as you can see in the video, we decided to do my neck which was not numb. I could hold a conversation during the treatment on my neck. It felt like a rubber band snapping on my skin. Uncomfortable? A little. But not painful. Did it smell like blood? Nope. The plasma didn’t really smell like much of anything at all.

The vampire facial is beneficial for so many different conditions including acne, rosacea, and aging. The results are amazing and there is very little down time. My skin was red that evening, and the next day, it was hardly noticeable.

While my skin was in great condition prior to the treatment, my results have been amazing. Almost everyone I came into contact with in the weeks after the treatment asked me what I had done to my skin and told me that it was glowing. The image above was taking about 3.5 weeks after the treatment and the skin is completely unedited. I will be 45 in a couple of weeks, and I am quite proud of the strides I have made with my skin over the past 15 years to reverse all of the sun damage from the first 30 years of my life.

KATHRYN RUSSO offers a wide variety of skin treatments from Botox and fillers to laser treatments. She is offering $50 off your first treatment to all first time clients I refer. If you are concerned about the effects of aging and would like to give yourself the gift of self confidence and glowing skin, KATHRYN is your woman.

Below is the video of the process. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us! Kathryn can be found on INSTAGRAM @russo.aesthetics

 

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If you are viewing this on your phone…the items are all linked via the words in ALL CAPS below!

1. I absolutely love my INITIAL CHARM NECKLACE. This is the perfect price point and you can add each of your kids’ initials for mom. I have worked with Jennifer Tuton, the designer in the past. I shot her headshots while out in California. She is super talented and as you know, I love supporting other female business owners!

2. If there is only one hair tool to own, this is it. You can even air dry your hair and make it fab with this STYLING WAND. This WAND is legit and curls last for days on end without any styling products. If you have been watching my stories on INSTAGRAM, you will know that it’s my go to day after day.

3. THIS DESIGN BOOK by Orlando Soria is everything. It might be the only design and decor book she will ever read word for word. It reads like a hilarious memoir and includes tips like “don’t hang your curtains too fucking high” and “inviting a Gay over to a naked-windowed home is a crime in 48 states…” Not only will it look beautiful on your coffee table, it will crack mom up and help her Get it Together with her decor!

4. I bought this CASHMERE TRAVEL SCARF back in March. I had been thinking about this purchase for so long. Let me tell you, it’s worth every penny. Nothing says “happy mother’s day” like a massive pile of cashmere. She will die. It’s perfect for long flights, cool summer nights, or chilly winter days. Truly a 365 staple.

5. These RETRO LEOPARD ADIDAS are legit to die for. Bring mom back to her roots with these show stoppers. I got sucked into a pre-order via an Instagram ad in my feed, and I can tell you, the gram didn’t disappoint. They are beyond comfortable and are over the top on style points.

6. Shameless plug, but I can tell you first hand that your moms/wives love framed art. So many of them have one of my FRAMED PRINTS on their wish list. It’s the perfect gift to get your house looking and feeling like summer!

7. I have said it before & I’ll say it again….there isn’t a mom on the planet who doesn’t need an INSULATED COFFEE MUG. I brew my coffee at 8am every single day right into this MUG and it is still piping hot at 11am. Moms are busy. Moms are distracted. I feel like 99% of mom memes out there are about drinking cold coffee, am I right? Hook her up with a Yeti mug so that when she misplaces her coffee at 9am and doesn’t relocate it until 11, it’s still hot! It’s a home run.

8.COFFEE. See the theme? There’s a theme here. I absolutely love this MEDIUM BLEND COFFEE and I found it for you on Overstock! Bonus!

9. Taking a slight detour from the coffee theme for a moment and just think about it. GUCCI SUNGLASSES. Need I say more? Your teens are obsessed with Gucci, imagine the street cred mom will have rolling up to the sidelines in her Gucci shades?

10. Aaaaaaand we are back on coffee. This COFFEE MAKER is the legit bomb. It will save you millions if you get her brewing her own coffee. I know I know, you have a Keurig and a Nespresso already. I get it. We do, too – but this is 1000x better. I would’t kid around. I take my coffee so seriously. It’s not even funny. This machine has single cup, XL cup, travel mug size (see #7 above) as well as an iced coffee brew setting – because who wants watery iced coffee? Not me.

11. These PLATFORM ESPADRILLES are sooo comfy. The perfect spring casual sandal. They go great with pretty much everything and the price is bueno!

12. I am loving the fact that the STRAW MARKET BAG is having a moment right now. THIS ONE is a work horse transitioning from farmer’s market, to beach, to pool to the city! I’m kind of thinking that she needs this bag stuffed with some other things like the insulate mug and the coffee. I’m just thinking out loud here.

13. Now this is a total splurge – but what to get for the mom who has it all AND has thick long hair?? THIS HAIR DRYER. I don’t own it yet. But it’s high on my list. Always waiting for mom to finish getting ready because it takes her 20 min to dry those locks??? This is your solution. This baby dries thick long hair in minutes. It’s basically got a jet engine in there. I’m telling you….she want’s this baby and she has yet to figure out how to bury the expense….just a hunch.

Some other ideas to consider….I always love an experience gift. Book it for her. Take care of the kids. Get a sitter. Plan the day. It can be something like a facial at your local spa, a full spa day, a vampire facial (see my instagram highlights the results are INSANE), a massage, mani/pedi, etc. Take her shopping! Plan a day in the city. Take her to brunch and swing by her local boutique and let her go to town. The key to all of this is PLAN IT. We are so sick of being the family cruise director that the biggest treat in the world is to wake up and not have to think about what the plan is! Make the damn plan. Take care of it all. Every last detail. Because that is what we do all day every freaking day and it’s exhausting. I’m pretty sure she would be happy with whatever you gave her as long as she didn’t have to plan it. That’s just my 2 cents. But what do I know? I have only been a mom for 17 years.

 

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Ok so Sephora really never has sales. This is their annual Beauty Insider Event and if you are an insider, everything is 10% off. I mean, it’s only 1o% but it’s better than nothing!

I just went through my entire daily beauty routine in my INSTAGRAM story. If you want to purchase the products I use on the daily, they are all linked below in all caps.

I do start with the Rodan and Fields Reverse regimen – we all know someone who sells R+F so hit them up. It works.

I tend to only use this PRIMER at night, especially when wearing foundation, but you guys know that I go out about zero times a month so….but if you go out at night and use makeup, this is the PRIMER for you!

Next up, NO MORE BAGGAGE – I use this eye cream daily. It works. I did a before and after several weeks ago. Are you a tired grown up? You need this.

After that is this great EYE PRIMER – like I said, it’s a pretty new addition to my routine but the real beauty bloggers swear by it.

Next is CONCEALER – essential to brightening any tired face – no matter your age. I like this one from Tarte and have been using it forever. A little goes a long way and I apply it with THIS.

Next up is BRONZER. I swear by my drug store brand, but another true l0ve is THIS ONE.

After BRONZER we CONTOUR and this CONTOUR PALETTE is everything. I have been using it for years. I also invested in the CONTOUR BRUSH as well as the HIGHLIGHT FAN BRUSH.

Then we add BLUSH – in Snapdragon. I use it year round. It’s perfect.

On the eyes, I am loving THIS PALETTE. It goes perfect from day to night and for mascara you know I love me some drug store brand, but I also use THIS ONE from Sephora.

Everyone needs an EYELASH CURLER. Duh. Mine is from Sephora. It’s basic but I love THIS ONE in gold!

For the brows, the only way to go is with this BROW GEL. I have been using it forever. They recalled it but don’t worry. It’s back and better than ever!

For the lips, I love love love THIS GLOSS for every day. I have one in every pocket. I love the color late night. It’s perfection.

Edited to add the STYLING WAND that I can’t live without. Perfect beachy waves for days!

Edited again to add the SMASHBOX EYE PALETTE and the awesome FENTY LIP GLOSS I will show you how I use it tomorrow. Promise!!

Happy shopping! Sale goes through the weekend!

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Happy Friday! I’m super excited to show you guys the room that I have been working on in collaboration with PRETTY KENNELS and BACKUP DESIGN! If you have been following along on Instagram, you will know that we recently moved our TV to the living room giving up our cozy family room to a massive pool table. We had promised our kids a pool table forever. Ollie had it all mapped out in our Cohasset basement and then we up and moved to Dedham. There was not a natural place to add a pool table in this house as we don’t have a finished basement and the kids hang out room is up on the 3rd floor and not big enough to house all the video games, couches AND a pool table. So I think late one night when I was deep in a podcast and not paying attention, they asked if they could put the pool table in the family room and move the TV above the fireplace in the living room. I seriously must not have been listening because somehow they took my slight nod as a yes and before I knew it, the table was ordered, the TV was mounted and all furniture was moved. This is just the back story to the real story which is how the heck to incorporate dog crates into my vision for this sleek clean room!

We have 2 french bulldogs and a house with 3 boys and a lot of rooms. I really don’t like to have the dogs wandering around the house while I am out. Inevitably, they figure out how to kick a bedroom door in, knock over the stack of crusty dirty ice-cream bowls, knock over the trash and help themselves to gross half eaten subs and stale Doritos – you can judge all you want, but if you have teen boys who don’t each have their own personal full time maid, you KNOW that this is your reality. It’s gross, but somehow par for the course. If you only have one or 2 teen boys, thank your lucky stars. I have THREE of them. They are messy and there are always crusty bowls. Always. Bottom line is that I crate the dogs when I leave the house – mostly to cut down on the disaster clean up when I get home. Little dogs seem to just get into more. I see all these people with labs and goldens who just lounge in the kitchen while the humans are out. Not these dogs. The minute I pull out, they wander the house searching for stale food.

We had standard black wire crates that lived in the family room. They kind of blended into the chaos of the big sectional, excessive pillows and throws. The room was chaotic, the walls were dark and honestly, I hadn’t realized that I had another option! I had decided to paint the walls all white. I wanted a light clean look to balance out the big heavy table. I had a vision and black wire dog crates were not a part of it. I KNEW there had to be a better option. So I headed over to Instagram to figure it out. Somehow I stumbled upon PRETTY KENNELS – clear lucite dog crates with beautiful brass hardware. You guys, these crates are a designer’s gift from the heavens! They function not only as a cozy little home for your dog while you are out, but also as a side table or even a coffee table! I absolutely LOVE how they look and Chloe and Charlie love them. Of course now that I had found the perfect crates, I needed beautiful dog beds to enhance their beauty and make them comfy and cozy. I was lucky to find BACKUP DESIGN on Etsy, an amazing shop with custom beds made with beautiful cover fabrics. The combination of the beds with the kennels gave me the perfect foundation for my room renovation!

Paige over at PRETTY KENNELS  has been so fun to work with. I absolutely love supporting small business, however a small business started by a woman? Double bonus! I have gotten to know Paige through Instagram and I am so happy to have supported her growing business! Paige had a very similar experience trying to incorporate dog crates into her decor and two years ago decided to take matters into her own hands and create a crate that she loved for her dogs and her home. She decided to work with a local fabricator to build an acrylic crate. After the first one came together she knew she had to sell them! After several months of tweaking and many different versions she decided on the Pretty Kennel as you know it today. They build PRETTY KENNELS in their warehouse in Austin Texas. They ship all over the US and as of last week their patent for the transparent pet crate was finally approved! They also like to give back by supporting their local no kill shelter which is the largest in the country called Austin Pets Alive. They also support thePet Education Project.

Elizabeth over at BACKUP DESIGN saw a similar void in the market – beautiful pet beds that fit into your design aesthetic are lacking in the market, so she started her own ETSY SHOP! They offer hand-crafted, high-quality pet beds for the design conscious animal lover. They create beds out of vintage, hand-printed, and other beautiful fabrics. They offer both quick-ship and bespoke options. The palm frond bed covers that I chose are made out of 100% polyester indoor/outdoor fabric, which is dirt and stain resistant, liquid repellent, and super durable. Their removable and washable covers feature a heavy-duty brass YKK zipper closure, and seams are overlocked for durability. The inserts have channels sewn in, which helps maintain an even distribution of the super soft down alternative inside. Unlike other pet beds, these won’t get flat or lumpy over time. And best of all, they’re uber comfortable for your pet!

And now for the room reveal!

I’m thrilled with the way it all came together! The art is all my original work (tutorials on the small one on top of the crate and massive one on the wall to follow). The bench is what used to be our TV console – made by Ollie from IKEA cabinets and some stained lumber, the chair, ottoman and side table are all from Target’s new Opal House collection. The circular mirrors are a Homesense find and the tree and palm fronds are all from World Market. Paint color is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace and pool table is Brunswick.

 

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