5 Ways to Brighten Your Skin


I’ve spent 3 of the last 5 weeks away from the moist, humid air of Hawaii and my skin is most definitely suffering. The cold, dry air of Northern Nevada sucked the moisture out of my skin, leaving my face looking dull and lifeless.

Now that I’m back in Hawaii, I’ve found I’m still not free from the winter weather. Not even kidding. It’s been windy and cold (okay, maybe not your kind of cold but 58 degrees here means we make a fire and wear fleece onesies to bed) and I’m in desperate need of a brighter face come Friday (it’s my birthday and I def don’t want to look the part.)

Here are five ways to instantly brighten up your complexion:


I try to visit my aesthetician once a month or at least once every two months. She has access to professional product lines that treat my skin for specific problems I’m having (dehydration!) and I can walk out of the salon looking bright times a million. Totally worth the money, in my opinion.


If you don’t have the extra time or money for a facial, invest the five minutes needed for a super hydrating moisture mask. Right now I love the Paula’s Choice Hydrating Treatment Mask. You can use it like a regular hydration mask or you can leave it on all night long for extra moisture. (It also doubles as eye cream in a pinch.)


This one is such a no-brainer because when I take the time to exfoliate my skin feels amaaaaaazing…but I always seem to forget. This is likely because my sensitive skin keeps me from exfoliating daily, so it hasn’t been part of my regular nightly beauty routine. Until now. Enter: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate GENTLE.


Can we just have a tiny moment of silence for this younger, sweeter sister of the original ExfoliKate?

I adore ExfoliKate and even keep a travel size tube with me when I travel, but I love that ExfoliKate Gentle is an option during winter months when my skin tends to be more dry and sensitive than normal. This gentler formula can be used daily yet still has all the fruit enzymes to remove dead surface cells while hydrating Vitamin E and honey keep skin supple.


Pores & wrinkles vanish immediate with Olay Regenerist Instant Fix Wrinkle & Pore Vanisher. The silky formula fills in fine lines and wrinkles while the thousands of tiny, light-blurring particles create the illusion of perfectly smooth skin and primes the skin to help foundation last all day.


Blush is the quickest way to brighten up your face with a touch of color. It takes two seconds to apply and makes everyone look prettier. I love Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Fresh Melon, a peachy pink that looks fresh and natural on most skin tones (try Calypso Coral for deeper skin tones). Be sure to apply right to the apples of the cheeks and blend down and out toward the ears. I like to use my finger and gently tap to blend.

As always, hydrate with lots of water and fresh fruits and vegetables for beautiful skin from the inside out.

This is 2015


I’m kind of aiming for a complete overhaul of my life this year, so it makes no sense to list out my resolutions here. It might be October before we get through all of them.

It has been 5 years since I moved back to Kauai, made a career change and put this little website on the back burner. (Time certainly flies by when you’re working your ass off!) Now that the restaurant business has charred my soul and stolen every last ounce of benevolence I might have possessed, I’m attempting to take my life back.

2015 is my year, I’ve decided.

Janey and I taking a selfie before we disembark from our flight to Kauai on New Year's Day 2015.

Janey and I taking a selfie before we disembark from our flight to Kauai on New Year’s Day 2015.


I’m excited to be back at Makeup Bag sharing all my favorite beauty finds. In addition, I’ll be posting updates on what life is like living on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And of course, there’s my latest passion slash stress-reliever slash life-saver: running.

July 2014: Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon


Never did I imagine that running would become my form of meditation, my way to unwind and sort through the rampant thoughts in my head, my portal to staying sane. Running has become an essential part of my life.


So as we all get settled into the new year, here are a few things I’ll be doing this month to get myself on track and take my life back, 2015-style:

Are we friends on Instagram? If not, we totally should be.

Happy new year! This is going to be the best one yet.



Kiehl’s Overnight Hydration Essentials Set


This Kiehl’s Overnight Hydration Essentials Set is every jet-setter’s dream come true.

All your favorite Kiehl’s products in convenient travel sizes!

Set includes:

  • Ultra Facial Cleanser (1 oz.): Gentle cleansing formula dissolves excess dirt and debris without over drying
  • Ultra Facial Cream (1 oz.): a 24-hour, light-textured daily hydrator that leaves skin comfortable and visibly well-balanced
  • Midnight Recovery Concentrate Elixir (0.14 oz.): a natural replenishing elixir of pure botanical oils that provides vital nutrients to enhance skin’s nighttime recovery.
  • Crème de Corps (4.2 oz.): a superb allover moisturizer that’s ideal for extremely dry or flaky skin
  • Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (2.5 oz.): a heavy-duty moisture treatment formulated for the driest, most active hands that offers all-day care and protection.

Available at Nordstrom for $33.00

Alba Botanica Good & Clean Foaming Cleanser


Face cleanser is one beauty item I just can’t justify spending money on.

I mean, I’m certainly guilty of splurging on my favorites every now and then, but I would certainly prefer to not spend the money if I find a drugstore cleanser that I love.

This week I am visiting Bailey and needed some face wash so I stopped over at CVS and found this Alba Botanica Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser:


The creamy formula lathers nicely to break up makeup and oil yet it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin.  With no parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances, this oil-free cleanser rinses clean leaving skin feeling refreshed and balanced.

The best part? It cost me less than ten dollars.

Alba Botanica Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser is available at CVS and other drugstores for $8.99.



Merry Christmas from Makeup Bag


Happy holidays Makeup Bag friends!

We finally opened our fourth restaurant in Kauai and since our Poipu Beach location is under renovations for several more weeks, I took advantage of the down time (and Janey’s school break) and came to northern Nevada to spend the Christmas holiday with Bailey.

We are sad that Bree isn’t here with us, but she is enjoying Christmas with her boyfriend Alex back in Kauai.

A photo posted by B. (@breeistheway) on

Last night my sister came over and we baked cookies, ate tacos and played the “new and improved” Clue game. Which, OMG, can we please discuss?? I’m not sure how or when this happened but Clue is just not the same. First of all the characters are ALL WRONG. I mean, look at Miss Scarlet.


scarlet     mustard

And Colonel Mustard is now moonlighting in a boy band, as my friend Sara suggested on Twitter last night after seeing his picture:


And check out the new game board. Looks like something crazy went down in the bedroom. I just haven’t been the same since playing this game last night.


In less upsetting news, here’s my Christmas nails:


This is called Holidaze from the Gwen Stefani OPI Collection. I love the deep maroon-red but the formula is more sheer than I prefer. It’s definitely not as dark as it appears in the bottle. Even after two heavy coats, I can still see through it. Three coats might have made this perfect.


Today was a relaxing day that included presents, a trip to the movie theater to see Mockingjay Part I and a nice long nap.

I even mustered up the strength to go for a run in this chilly weather. (Must have been the nap!)


I hope your holiday was filled with joy and you were surrounded by the ones you love.

Thank you for your continued support of Makeup Bag. I look forward to sharing a fun and beautiful 2015 with you!