Rancho Mirage

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Caretaker House View-Art-650.jpgI stepped out of the ranch house the other morning just as the sun was beginning to heat us up for another cloudless day. The water on the stock tank was like glass and - since I hadn't had my coffee yet -- made me think I was looking at a mirage. At least that's what it looked like when I got back to my desk and gave it the Photoshop treatment.

Your eyes can play tricks on you out there. But, that's nothing compared to what nature can do...

Ranch Photobomb-650.jpg...like when I was taking this picture of Charlotte Mountain and stepped in a bed of Texas Fire ants. Geez, everybody's a critic!

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Guest Room: Pretty Pink Chantilly with Cranberries

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By Andrea Jourdan, author of 150 Best Desserts in a Jar Filled with antioxidants and loaded with vitamin C, cranberries are very healthful. However, we hear so much about their health benefits that we sometimes forget how truly delicious they... ...Read More

In the Mirror: 19 Summer-Perfect Beauty Buys Under $45

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Looking anything but red and wilted can be a challenge when the temp tops 90 most days (welcome to summer in Texas!).

That's why I'm lovin' these 19 fabulous finds. Made to take the heat, they're a sun-sational boost to your beauty routine.

About Face

Whether you're running around town or lazing by the pool, using sunscreen is one of the best things you can do for your face. Besides protecting against harmful UVA/UVB rays, it can slow the aging process.  

I like a formula that combines sun protection with moisturizers like these winners. They all soak in quickly and leave no trace of grease.1 AVEENO Protect+Hydrate SPF 50 Face 100.jpg

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50 for Face: A great beach buddy, this gentle, oil-free cream works to prevent the drying effects of sun, chlorine, sweat and saltwater for 24 hours. It includes Aveeno's Enviroguard Technology for long-lasting, broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays and Active Natural Colloidal Oatmeal to help hydrate skin. Plus, it's water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes. (Bonus!)

I love that it leaves my skin soft, smooth and healthy looking. Dermatologist-approved, this wallet-friendly sunshield doesn't clog pores so you don't have to worry about irritation. ($9.99 for 3 ounces at Aveeno.com and national food, drug and mass retailers)

Aveeno's SPF 50 for Face is a great beach buddy.

2 Ageless Protection SPF 30 Moisturizing Sunscreen 100.jpgEraclea Ageless Protection SPF 30: Recommended for all skin types, this light cream replenishes lost moisture while providing potent broad spectrum protection from damaging UVA/UVB rays. The antioxidant-, vitamin- and botanical-packed formula uses a unique hyaluronic acid complex to ensure deep-penetrating, long-lasting hydration.

In addition to protecting skin, this Boomerlicious find helps repair previous damage so skin looks smoother. It's a natural choice for outdoor outings as well as for anyone who has recently had microdermabrasion, chemical or glycolic peels, or laser treatments.

Eraclea Ageless Protection uses a hyaluronic acid complex to ensure deep-penetrating hydration.

You can wear this wrinkle fighter alone or under makeup as I did during Bob and my anniversary cruise. Whatever your choice, a tube goes a long way because you only need a dab. ($40 for 1 ounce. at Eracleaskincare.com and through physicians, estheticians and skincare spas)

3 SPF 15 Out of Package 125.jpgOlay Total Effects 7-in-One Anti-Aging Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 15: Geared for daily use, this top-rated lotion moisturizes, offers broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays and fights signs of aging.

Olay SolaSheer Technology helps block damaging rays while pouring on the hydration. A powerful blend of vitamin B3. vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5 helps reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and pores while improving skin tone and texture, reversing free radical damage, and brightening skin. Nice!

This top-rated lotion fights signs of aging while blocking the sun's harmful rays.

Although it feels a little thick straight out of the bottle, this multitalented cream goes on light and easy. And since it's fragrance-free, this workhorse doesn't aggravate skin that's on the sensitive side like mine. ($20.99 for 1.7 ounces at Olay.com and where Olay products are sold)

4 Angelica UV Shield SPF 40 100.jpgL'Occitane En Provence Angelica UV Shield SPF 40: Made without chemicals, this natural face protector is powered by angelica, an herb grown in France's Drôme region. I'm wild about most anything from the south of France after visiting the area so I couldn't wait to give this feather-light lotion a try.

Smoothing it on is a mind- and face-pampering experience because this fab fluid makes skin feel oh-so-soft and has a heavenly scent. Who knew a parsley-like herb could smell so delicious?  In addition to shielding you from sun damage, this dermatologist-tested face friend refreshes, moisturizes and gives your complexion a nice glow. Great for all skin types, it won't clog pores. ($38 for 1 ounce at usa.locciyane.com and L'Occitane boutiques)

Smoothing on L'Occitane's natural sunshield is a mind- and face-pampering experience.

Shades of Summer

If you're anything like me, you need more color in summer than any other season. So I was thrilled to find these three skin friendly color boosters:

Mary Kay CC Cream Sunscreen SPF 15: Another favorite multitasker, this complexion corrector combines broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen, tinted moisturizer and anti-aging skin care in one convenient tube.

Mary Kay CC Cream is wonderful if you crave color but don't like heavy foundation.

While pro5 mary-kay-cc-cream-intro 241.jpgtecting skin from sun damage, this oil-free formula helps conceal dark circles and blemishes, even out skin tone and reduce redness. It also hydrates for up to 10 hours, reduces the appearance of fine lines and pores, and uses powerful antioxidants to defend against environmental stressors. Who could ask for more?

The lightweight coverage is wonderful if you crave color, don't like heavy foundation and want an easy, wash-off option with a natural look. Plus, traveling with this do-it-all cream is a dream since it really cuts down on how much you have to pack!

Choosing your perfect match is simple because each of the four shades is designed to complement many skin tones. Light-to-medium works for me but you can also choose light, medium-to-deep, or deep. Plus, the long-lasting, fragrance-free formula works for all skin types, including those prone to irritation or acne. ($20 for 1 ounce from Mary Kay consultants; visit MaryKay.com to locate one in your area)

Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Moisturizer Plus Gradual Sunless Tanner: Want to keep a sun-kissed glow 24/7? This uber-moisturizing sunless tanner can help.

6 Gradual Sunless Tanner Out of Package 133.jpgIn addition to giving skin a lightly tanned look, this daily face cream helps make fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and pores less noticeable while balancing skin color and tone, gently exfoliating to enhance texture, and brightening skin. It adds color slowly so you can relax about using this light formula on your face. It won't give you a bad tan job or clog your pores.

I was pleased that my color had deepened slightly by the end of day one and subtle improvements continued with use. The effect wasn't too drastic, orangey or streaked. Thank goodness!  Instead, I got a soft, I-just-came-back-from-vacation glow without leaving my neighborhood. ($19.99 -$21.99 1.7 ounces at Olay.com and where Olay products are sold)

This uber-moisturizing self-tanning lotion can give your face a sun-kissed glow 24/7.

7 Travel Size TANtalizer BBS 60.jpgLORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Spray: To get a sexy glow all the way to your toes, try Lorac's botanical- and vitamin-enriched body bronzer.  

Using it after showering takes me from my normal shade of pale to island-inspired golden brown in an instant. I just spray it on; smooth the color with a tanning glove and go. The water-resistant formula does a nice job covering those bruises that seem to crop up out of nowhere, varicose veins and other imperfections. It dries so quickly I can pop on my white bathrobe minutes later without a trace rubbing off. And it doesn't streak or have a lingering smell like some other self tanners I've tried.

A must if you're beach bound, this clever color enhancer comes in a new travel size perfect for packing. ($15 for 1.3-ounce travel size at LoracCosmetics.com)

Lorac's body-perfecting bronzer comes in a travel size ideal for packing.

S8 Waterproof_Full_Exposure_hi-res 50.jpgweat- and Tear-Proof Style

Besides getting hot and sweaty when the temperature rises, I often battle my sensitive eyes. They're quite a nuisance because they tend to tear whenever I face bright sunshine.

That's why I'm mad about Smashbox Waterproof Full Exposure Mascara. Another winner from the folks that make my go-to eyelash primer, this new, sweat- and humidity-resistant formula lasts up to 10 hours. I gave it a real test recently, using it before planting, cleaning and otherwise fixing up my backyard for summer. Despite all the sweat and tears involved in that LONG, hot day, my mascara stayed put without running or flaking. It lasted so well only a quick touch up was needed after I showered that evening.

This waterproof wonder is ophthalmologist-tested so it's safe for contact-lens wearers like my sister Pam. The jet black color helps my lashes look longer and fuller even without my much-loved primer underneath. Plus, taking it off is no problem with the help of a little eye makeup remover. ($20 at Smashbox.com, Sephora, Sephora Inside JCPenney, Ulta and Nordstrom)

Sweat and humidity resistant,Smashbox Waterproof Full Exposure Mascara is made to stay put up to 10 hours.

Hot-Weather Hair Therapy

Hot weather can be a gift to your soul but not to your hair. In addition to making it almost impossible to hold a style, days spent enjoying the sun and surf can stress hair, zapping it of moisture and fading the color you worked so hard to achieve. (Woops, I'm obviously talking about me!)

Luckily, many of those problems can be avoided with the help of a little hair therapy from these experts:

Philip Kingsley Body-Building Trio: If heat and humidity cause your hair to fall flat, you'll adore this volumizing collection from Philip Kingley London. The protein-powered shampoo, conditioner and leave-in maximizer spray add gorgeous volume, body and shine. Whether used alone or in combination with one another, they also protect hair from UV damage and extend the life of color treatments. 

Gentle enough to use every day, the shampoo and detangling conditioner cleanse, strengthen and smooth locks while helping them look much fuller and reducing flyaways. The leave-in thickening spray continues that theme, upping the effect so even fine, thin hair like mine takes on a delightful bounce. ($28 for 250 mL Shampoo; $32 for 250 mL Conditioner and $23 for 125 mL Maximizer at PhilipKingsley.com)

This volumizing collection from Philip Kingley London protects hair from UV damage and extends the life of color treatments

9 Body Building Shampoo 175.jpg10 Body Building Conditioner 190.jpg12 Maximizer 150.jpg14 Swimcap (box) 150.jpgPhilip Kingsley Swimcap: This super-hydrating pool and beach essential shields hair from sun and sea damage. Originally created for the U.S. synchronized swim team, this water-resistant cream provides UV protection to prevent breakage and color fading.  It also helps maintain moisture so you don't have to worry about the drying effect of chlorinated or saltwater.

Great when you're in the mood for a dip, a dab combed through wet hair before swimming turns pool time into a spa-like conditioning treatment that leaves your locks feeling soft and silky. ($35 for 150 mL at PhilipKingsley.com)

14 huile celeste 100.jpgOriginally created for the U.S. synchronized swim team, Philip Kingsley Swimcap shields hair from sun and sea damage.

Kérastase Soleil Huile Celeste: Another top pick for warm-weather escapes, this addictive, leave-in shimmer spray from Kérastase Paris safeguards hair from the harsh impact of sun, chlorine and saltwater.

You can spritz it on wet or dry hair before or during outdoor fun. Either way, get ready for an eye-catching difference. This mega-shine formula contains shimmering micro-glitters that catch the sun and make hair gleam.

Besides boosting your glam factor, this lightweight mist blends UVA and UVB filters with nourishing macadamia oil to smooth hair and keep it from drying out. This oil-based spray might seem pricey but a little goes a long way, especially if your hair is fine. ($40 for 4.2 ounces. at Kerastase-usa.com)

This glam, leave-in shimmer spray from Kérastase Paris safeguards hair from the harsh impact of sun, chlorine and saltwater.

15 Lip Protector Sunscreen53.jpgLip Service

Too much sun tends to irritate my lips even more than my hair. In addition to making them dry and cracked, it can trigger an ugly fever blister breakout. What a pain!

So I'm happy I discovered Mary Kay Sun Care Lip Protector. Packed with broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen, it shields your smile from harmful UVA/UVB rays. This dermatologist-tested lip hydrator includes soothing moisturizers and antioxidants to keep your pucker feeling moist and comfortable in spite of the heat. Also helpful when you're swimming, it's water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

16 Age Defying Plus Lipcolor Coral Frost 50.jpgPacked with broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen, Mary Kay Sun Care Lip Protector blocks harmful UVA/UVB rays

Although you can wear this clear lip balm alone, I enjoy layering it under Merle Norman Age Defying+ Lip Color for a double smile pick-me-up. It uses Volulip, Argan Oil and Wild Mango Butter to moisturize lips while helping reduce the appearance of fine lines so it's ideal for Boomer babes.

I'm fascinated with peachy Coral Frost because it's a natural summer favorite. But with more than 21 shades, there are options for everyone.

Coral Frost Age Defying+ Lip Color is a natural summer favorite.

Mary Kay Sun Care Lip Protector - $8 from Mary Kay consultants; visit MaryKay.com to locate one in your area; Merle Norman Age Defying+ Lip Color - $15 at Merle Norman Studios; visit MerleNorman.com for locations)

16 AVEENO Protect + Hydrate SPF30 103.jpgBody Buffer

Whether working in the yard or playing at the beach, Bob and I have to douse ourselves in sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 or we'll regret it BIG TIME later. 

I want something that pampers my skin like Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen. It comes in broad spectrum SPF 30 and 70 versions that excel at protecting your body. Like Aveeno's SPF 50 for your face, these long-lasting sunshields hydrate skin with Active Natural's Colloidal Oatmeal while using Enviroguard Technology to block the sun's burning rays.

These water- and-sweat-resistant lotions help prevent the drying effects of sun, chlorine, sweat and saltwater for 24 hours. What's more, they absorb quickly with a little rubbing so you don't have to fear that pasty, white look you get with some sunscreens. ($9.99 for 3 ounces SPF 30; $10.99 for 3 ounces SPF 70 at AVEENO.com and national food, drug and discount stores)

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen comes in SPF 30 and 70 versions that excel at protecting your body.

After-Sun Heroes

No matter what you do to protect it, your skin deserves a treat after a day in the sun. That's when you'll really enjoy these deeply hydrating favorites:

Alba Botanica Very Emollient After Sun Lotion: This post-sun pleasure quenches skin with a blend of 85% certified pure aloe vera, antioxidant-rich green tea and vitamin E. A touch of this ultra-moisturizing lotion brings immediate relief to dry, itchy skin. Light and ever-so-softly scented, it soaks in quickly with a little rubbing and leaves skin feeling soft and healthy. ($7.99 for 8 ounces at Whole Foods Market stores where price may vary by region)

17 lotion 200.jpg18 gel 202.jpgAlba Botanica Very Emollient After Sun Gel: Handy when you're caught off guard, this skin-calming gel is wonderful for soothing sunburned skin. It's made with 98% certified pure aloe vera so it cools and soothes scorched, red skin helping end the "Ouch!" as soon as possible. 

As a plus, it's also comforting during or after shaving your legs. ($7.99 for 8 ounces at Whole Foods Market stores where price may vary by region)

Alba Botanica Very Emollient After Sun Lotion and Gel comfort skin with ultra-moisturizing aloe vera. Go for the green tube if you're sunburned.

19 Almond Supple Skin Oil 182.jpg

L'Occitane En Provence Almond Supple Skin Oil: Ideal after sun or anytime you want to give your skin a lift, this spray-on body oil is deeply hydrating thanks to a nourishing blend of omega 6-rich almond oil and omega 3-packed camelina oil.

Spritzing on it on makes dry skin super soft and touchable. This light, feel-good oil soaks in quickly leaving you with a sexy sheen (no greasy feel) as well as a to-die-for almond scent. ($42 for 3.4 ounces at usa.locciyane.com and L'Occitane boutiques)

This feel-good body oil has a to-die-for almond scent.

 

We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to the brands in this post for providing free samples for review and testing.

You'll also enjoy:

3 Fab, Feet-Saving Summer Sandals with Style

5 Brilliant Ways to Boost Your Smile

14 Shore Things

Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup

Terrific Treatments for Toughening Your Tresses


 


Score a $100 Shaping Spree from Spanx

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Ever long for a little more support? The folks at Spanx can help.

The brand that revolutionized the shapewear industry is now turning heads with the first Spanx retail store in Texas at Dallas' NorthPark Center, only a short hop from our very own Colleywood. Looks like I just found a whole new reason to shop one of my favorite destinations!

The first Spanx retail store in Texas opened in Dallas recently giving me just one more excuse to shop at NorthPark.

Spanx Northpark-119 Dallas 600.jpg

To celebrate the move to Texas, the shapewear giant has teamed up with us to give 1 lucky reader a $100 Spanx gift card. This ticket-to-a-smoother-you can be used at Spanx.com or any Spanx retail store in the country. (Check the end of this post for details on how to enter.)

Like other Spanx retail stores, the new NorthPark location is designed to take the sting out of shopping for shapewear. Everything from its chic, high-energy atmosphere to flattering lighting in the fitting rooms to helpful shaping specialists makes the experience easier and more fun.


Spanx Northpark-005 350.jpgYou could score a sensational shaping spree ... FREE! We're celebrating Spanx's arrival at Dallas' NorthPark Center by giving away a $100 gift card from the shapewear giant. This cool ticket-to-a-smoother-you can be used at Spanx.com or any Spanx retail location in the country.

Click "Read More" for details on how to enter. Contest* ends July 31!


 

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Love FREE stuff? We're celebrating Spanx's arrival at Dallas' NorthPark Center by giving away a $100 gift card from the shapewear giant. Click here for details on how to enter. Contest ends July 31, 2014.

Know someone battling cancer? Baylor Health Care System's Sammons Says... cancer blog is a great place to go for help. Here, you'll find information, resources, physicians, support groups and just about everything you need to help you navigate your way through this illness.

  


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