The Surreal Life
This is Some Good Parenting Right Here

Wednesday Advice Smackdown

Oh man, I'm so torn.

On the one hand, it's Wednesday, which means that logically, I should write an Advice Smackdown.

On the other hand, I have a batch of what may be the most adorable, Internet-melting baby photos yet.

I mean, for real:


I wonder if I can somehow combine the substance of a Smackdown with the cheap thrill of a baby photo essay and create what could be the ULTIMATE ENTRY, one that would please the old-school readers AND the ones who curse any entry that is not a baby photo entry and who are still bitter that I haven't finished Part Two of Noah's Birth Story, which I KNOW, OKAY? I'll get it done before his first birthday, I swear. I thought it would be fun to write about my hospital stay and my Roommate From Hell Who Would Not Stop Discussing Her Diarrhea and how I got yelled at for sneaking Illegal Ice Chips, but it's turning out to be more boring than fun, and I only like fun things.

Like big goofy baby smiles! GOD.


Anyway, the first question in today's Smackdown is actually a big fat generic response to the dozens of questions I've received about Bare Escentuals, the mineral-based makeup that QVC will. Not. Stop. Advertising. All. Damn. Day. And. Why. Do. I. Forget. To. Fast. Forward. Commercials. When. I. Have. TiVo?

Everybody is fascinated by the marketing for this stuff. Except me, because I have a fairly firm rule about products that do cutesy things with the spelling of their name like that. ESCENTUALS? GEDDIT? It's ESSENTIAL but it has a SCENT so we'll call it ESCENTUALS! It's ONEDERFUL!

(Seriously, one time Jason brought home a bag of this natural wheat-based kitty litter called Swheat Scoop and the very sight of that bag sent me into near conniptions every day and I finally threw it out and decreed that we were never, ever buying it again, because that is the DUMBEST MOST AWFUL NAME EVER.)

Ahem. Anyway.

So I have not personally tried the Bare Escentuals line, but two of my real-life fellow product whore friends have, and they both hated it. Among their complaints: an overly complicated application technique, inferior coverage and too much shimmer.

But! Because the Advice Smackdown is not (entirely) gossip and heresay, I went the extra mile for you people and consulted the Powerhouses of Online Product Reviews: Real Girl of Real Girl Beauty and Melissa of DeLush.

Melissa's experience with the brand is limited, but she gave her initial impressions:

"We've been wondering about it too.  My mom uses it and says she like their shadows and blush (I've heard great things about the shadows).  But you know I stood in Sephora for 20 minutes one day debating whether or not to get the face kit thingy they have now that supposedly has everything you need in it to get started.  (A bit more than you probably need if you ask me, but I guess a good deal otherwise.) 

I finally decided to get the mineral veil (which devotees rave about) and I must say, it made me ITCH.  My face felt weird.  Also, I got the new tinted one, and it was pretty orangey.

I know it's all in the application (when it comes to their foundation, too) but it seemed like so much work, plus I didn't have a great experience with the mineral veil.  Maybe we at DeLush really should review this stuff once and for all..."

(Amy says: Yes! You probably should, and please subtract points for the horrific QVC commercial with the woman singing in the high screechy voice about hey-hey hey-hey what a sunny day or whatever because SHUT. UP.)

Real Girl went above and beyond the call of duty and actually WENT TO SEPHORA to try some additional samples before offering her full opinion, which WHAT A SACRIFICE PEOPLE, SHE COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED. Or left completely broke. Anyway, here's her lowdown:

"Sephora, I love you so. Especially when you greet me by my name--"That Girl Who's Always Asking For Samples."

I've tested and examined three Bare Escentuals products now from the i.d. line. The most interesting was the bareMinerals Foundation SPF 15.  (It's a powder! And a foundation! A powdation!) I get a lot of emails from readers with very oily skin asking me how they can use sunscreen without using lotion, and this foundation would definitely be an option. It's got titanium dioxide as its first ingredient and zinc oxide as well, and those are both the most powerful mineral sunscreens on the market.

Would I recommend this powder over normal sunscreen? Not so much. The layer might be too thin or not quite uniform, but for someone who doesn't already use lotion or a liquid foundation with SPF 15 or higher, this would be a fine option. So -- got oily skin and are scared of normal foundations and sunscreens? Give this powder foundation a try.

I also took a look at the Tinted Mineral Veil which is a perfectly fine loose powder blush for fair-ish skin, but I don't see why it would be better than any other loose powder blush. It's a little creamier, I guess, than most powders.

As for the other blushes?  Lordy go easy! That's some sparkle even Mariah Carey wouldn't have used in "Glitter."

Ok, now to the major critique. The Bare folks are targeting these products to people with sensitive skin, but I think they'd be better for people with oily skin. Yet that said, I have a major problem with their motto, “Makeup so pure you can sleep in it.” Bare Escentuals people? Purity does not equal non-pore-clogging. Many of these powders contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These are not sunscreens that are absorbed by the skin -- they're used like a shield that rests on top of the skin. If you were to sleep in these products, I'd be surprised if your poor pores didn't wind up gasping for air, screaming for help. Please don't sleep in your Bare Escentuals.

In the end, what's most impressive about these products is their marketing. How's that for a long and boring answer to your short and pithy question?"

(Amy says: That was a fabulous answer, and I'm so totally digging this whole "dump questions on other people and then cut-and-paste their answers in" approach to the Smackdown.)


More questions to come later today, but as you can see, I've got me some slopes to patrol and some baby cheeks to gobble.

Dear Amalah!

A fellow Amy needs your help. My boss is getting married in April. Regarding the dress code, "it's a cocktail wedding so you can just wear a pretty dress", so I was all YAY I ACTUALLY HAVE ONE TO WEAR.

But the problem started a few days ago, where she changed her mind and now it's a FORMAL thing. Hence floor-length or three-quarter dresses for all. (Except for the men.) And the only floor-length thing I have is my formal (prom dress), and it's beautiful and silky and halterneck, but BLACK.

Is there something wrong with wearing black to a wedding? I just feel weird about it. At first I figured "screw her dress code, I'll wear what I like" but then at work she was all "so do you know what you're wearing yet? Got anything floor-length?" AARGH. I don't want to go out and buy some hideously expensive garment that I will never wear again.

(And if my boss sounds slightly controlling and psychotic, it's because we're piano teachers and I've known her since I was eleven.)

So. Buy something new? Wear whatever I want? Or go with the depressing blackness?

Sorry about the length of this. Congratulations to you and Jason on Noah as well, he's gorgeous.


It is perfectly acceptable to wear black to a wedding. I know it feels wrong, and perhaps at one time there was a rule about it (I do not own a Miss Manners etiquette book and never have -- my rules for social manners usually depend on What Everybody Else Is Doing These Days), but no longer.

I have worn black to weddings. I have seen other women wear black to weddings. I have been to weddings where just about every other woman in attendance was wearing black. (And these weren't even formal weddings -- I wore short black dresses with strappy heels and you could not pick me out from the pack on the dance floor.)

At an afternoon-ish wedding this past spring, Jason wore a brown sportcoat and I wore a cream and blue sundress, and we were the weirdos who didn't wear black, although I maintain we were dressed more appropriately for the time and season and blah blah blah, black is just everybody's dressy color of choice these days.

(Black: It's Not Just For Funerals Anymore!)

Wear your black dress. The end.


More questions to come, but right now I gotta go bust a move out on the dance floor, yo.


Okay, the child has just stayed wide, wide awake through his usual lunchtime nap. I am very hungry, and while he's been mostly charming and smiley, he's now at that overtired-overstimulated-I've-forgotten-how-to-go-sleep-so-I- will-scream-instead stage, which AHHHHHHHHHHGOTOSLEEPALREADYITISNOTTHATHARD.

Oh, and 10 minutes ago? I had to retrieve a small piece of rawhide FROM MY DOG'S THROAT, WHERE IT WAS CHOKING HER, SWEET MERCIFUL GOD.

And the minute I yanked it out? She tried to eat it. AGAIN.

I'm getting the sense that I am not spending my days with a pair of intellectual giants here.

So instead, I shall wrap this up quickly with a summary of the opinions about Bare Escentuals from the comments section, where the debate rages on. (And rage on, rage on, because I'm not going to provide anymore entertainment for y'all today.)

The BE line seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing -- I'm not seeing much middle ground. Those that love it, as a way of life even, and to the haters, it's a scourge upon humanity that must be stopped.

Bare Escentuals: it's the Amway of make-up, apparently.

So, I shall now dispense my own cribbed-from-the-comments advice. (And bear in mind this is coming from someone who has never tried it and probably never will, because, well, QVC? Really? So I can buy my make-up and then some creepy collectible dolls?)

And in that vein, if you want to try Bare Escentuals, DON'T buy it from QVC. If possible, go to Sephora and use the testers first, or see if you can score some samples. Since people are reporting some disturbing reactions to the stuff (from itching to burning to pore irritation to raging rashes), it sounds like you DEFINITELY want to try before you buy.

(Although I'm willing to give BE the benefit of a doubt here, because I imagine if your target audience is people with sensitive skin, it seems inevitable that your product is just going to irritate a good percentage of that audience, no matter what.)

If you don't have a Sephora near you, I would still suggest you avoid QVC and buy the products at Sephora's web site the first time you try them, because Sephora has a very excellent 60-day return policy (you can return opened products that just didn't work for you no problem), whereas returning something bought through an infomercial is usually a labyrinth of sputtering futility. (And we have at least one testimonial as to the shittitude of BE to issue a refund.)

If you love Bare Escentuals? Awesome. Use it, love it, go with God.

If you hate Bare Escentuals? Well, you seem to be in pretty good company.

If you could not give a rat's ass about Bare Escentuals? Well, here's a photo of the Storch Family Brain Trust instead.


Got a question about...something? Anything? Send it to and blahblahblah it might get answered someday.



i will feel so much better skiing this season knowing who is patroling the slopes. and i'll be able to recognize him for sure because oh my god i don't think you had a baby i think you just cloned jason.


Is it possible that boy gets cuter every day?

I think so.


Oh the big baby smiles may kill me with their adorableness. But it would totally be a great way to go. What a cutie!


Bare Escentuals is BAD. I'm embarrassed to admit that I got sucked into the stupid QVC presentation on more than one occasion. It's like some kind of mind control. Anyway, I finally broke down and purchased the kit. My reason for being drawn to it is that I don't wear makeup (but probably should), and I have very sensitive skin. It was a DIS-AS-TER. I experienced the weird itching Melissa of Delush describes and ultimately ended up at the dermatologist with a raging case of perioral dermatitis (trust me, ick), which required TWO rounds of antiobiotics to kill. The doc said it was likely from the high amounts of sunscreen.

I have to say that I did like the way the maekup looked on my face. It evened out my skin tone, covered freckles, etc., and it "felt" lightweight. BUT, you know, the raging rash of course negated all of that.

The kicker? When I contacted the company via phone and multiple emails, no one would talk to me about it. I couldn't get my money back. I couldn't complain about it. Nothing. No responses to emails. Shuffled around on the phone and ultimately disconnected. So disappointing.

If you have sensitive skin, I'd say steer clear! And even if you don't? My experience with the company and their unwillingness to stand behind their product says a lot about them.

Heather B.

So I suppose the consensus is not to use Bare Escentuals...? Or I guess use it with caution. QVC definately over plays it and then there are the infomercials for it...I should've known it wouldn't be all it's cracked up to be.


I have melted!


Yay - cute cute cute baby pics and a critique of idiots who try to be clever with their spelling! (I friggin' HATE that, and my brother-in-law calls the technique "Klassy with a K" while making a K with his fingers.)

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Krispy Kreme gets an exemption from the hate because oh, the love!! That is all.


Can I have just one small gobble please?


I let a girl at the mall apply that Bare Escentuals junk on my face. A half an hour later, my pores appeared to be the size of dinner plates. Ick!

But oh, Noah. He is so, so precious. He looks like he's asking for someone to give him a raspberry.


I've actually been using Bare Escentuals for about 4 years now, and I love it! I have combination skin, and it evens everything out really nicely. It also feels really good, I think--not heavy like liquid foundation, but it covers blemishes nicely. And I don't know what you people are talking about, it's not hard to put on!

My mom uses it too, and she has very dry skin, so I always thought it worked for everybody. Hmm. Maybe I'm in the minority here?

I smell an assvice debate coming on.

P.S. Noah? Way too adorable. I have not seen a smile that big EVER! so cute!


such an adorable little guy! I say post a pic after every paragraph! Or pics of him next the products!


I just bought the Starter Kit last week. I used it once then put it away until I finish the last of my Lancome foundation (because I'm all thrifty that way). From my one use I'm concerned that it's not going to provide enough coverage. Because? I have the undereye circles of the undead. And? I suspect that mineral foundation plus concealer is going to be a Very Bad Look. I DO like the "Skin Revver-Upper" lotion that came in the kit, though, and am using it daily.


He's so adorable! I love his smile - he's going to be a heartbreaker!


Just a comment about the Bare Escenscuals... I use just the powder foundation with normal Clinique concealer, good sunscreen, NARS powder, etc., etc. etc. and I love it! Great coverage that feels light, especially in the terrible central Texas heat/humidity. I have very sensitive, acne-prone skin and have been using mineral foundation for several years (had been using Glo Minerals, available only at my derm., but going to Sephora is SO much more fun). Anyway, for my sensitive skin, mineral foundation is just so much better than anything else.

The baby? Smiling? Quite nice.


Noah is truly the most BEAUTIFUL baby in the world !!!!


oops, make that NARS blush. but whatever.




I too use Bare Escentuals. I have oily-sensitive skin and this is the only product that covers my pores, helps with oil control, and doesn't "feel" like makeup. I do agree with some of the other posters in that I don't like the mineral veil (made me itch) or blush (not so much glitter as just didn't work as good as Nars Orgasm). Finally (then I promise to hop down off my soap box) I don't think it is that hard to apply. The first few applications were tricky, but after a while I got the hang of it, and now it takes no time at all.

Hope this helps :)


First off, love the Noah pics, he is such a happy baby!

On to Bare Escentuals. I am not a makeup-y person, at all. I like routines that are quick and easy. I also have never been into wearing foundation, EVER. That said, I am in love with BE! It provides decent coverage (fairly light, but I don't like a real makeup-y look, nor do I like to feel anything heavy on my skin), and it lasts a long time. The shadows are great, and very versatile, my only complaint is that by the end of a long day, the shadow is always stuck in the creases of my eyelids. But that is to be expected w/ any shadow after a 16 hour day, no?

Lisa L.

I sampled it at Sephora, and I think I put on too much. It did make my skin look *flawless*, though. I have a dark pink spot above the bridge of my nose that is impossible to cover up- it's like 3/4" in diameter. This stuff covered it beautifully. But did I go back and buy it? No. I can't say exactly why, but it just felt strange. Again, I think I applied too much. I may give it another shot next year.

Real Girl

Oh-ho-hoh, little Noah, your onesie says Cuddly and YES YOU ARE! Beauty talk AND smiley baby pics? That's like eating cheesecake with ice cream on the side.

Give your fella a few extra gagillion hugs for all of us out here. xx

Lisa L.

Yikes! I forgot about the baby! I like the top photo, where he has a very sly smile. That's going to get him far in life. If he can beat the ladies back, that is.


Oh my zeus, a value-added twofer. I get my newborn toofless grin fix without having to procreate and change diapers (been there, done that, depleted my lifetime maternal solicitude rations) AND amalah and her Trusty Correspondents saved me from the Bare Escentuals vortex. (I, too, reject on principle any products that try to lure me in with cutesy misspellings, but the 1 a.m. BE infomercial force was nearly overwhelming.)


Such yummy photos!

I have sensitive skin, and love BE - including the mineral veil. One trick I learned is to get it from e-bay. Great prices, and you can get samples for a minimum price.


This is like the Ultimate Fighting Champion of blog posts - the combination of Smackdown and gummy baby smiles are lethal.

Also: Waaaah, I wish there was a Sephora near me... I'm pretty sure the nearest one is in London (read: NOT near), and I know there's tons of them in France, but alas, my city isn't sophisticated for the Sephora love. Next time I'm in France, though, I'll be the wild-eyed Crazy, high from a Sephora frenzy.


"That's like eating cheesecake with ice cream on the side." Plus, no calories!!!

I'm with RealGirl.


Okay...seriously. Noah? Is so cute that my ovaries are KILLING. ME. How do you manage to do anything but harass and pinch and gobble him all damn day?

Now, on to Bare Escentuals. I ordered the starter kit in a cold medicine induced haze one day when I was home sick. I was, for the most part, pleasantly surprised. I think that using it as a concealer worked best for me, I've never been a foundation kind of girl, I stick to a mattifier and a pressed powder combo kind of thing. I did run out of the powder and haven't gotten around to buying more yet so I guess I didn't love it THAT much. Now the mineral veil stuff...I really do love love love that. And I also love the eye shadows, they go on VERY smooth. Plus I use that cute little kabuki brush with all my powder. Its kind of fun.


Adorable baby.

I really like Bare Escentuals (hate the spelling). I have dry, sensitive skin, so I have to be careful not to use too much.


I truly don't know how you get anything done -- he is downright edible!!! Do me a favor and plant some sweet kisses on his neck, then sniff that yummy baby breath for me. YUM!!!! (My sweeties, who were once that small, are now 11 & 13 -- sniff sniff. . .)


so am i the only one out there that totally thinks Amalah should have her own advice column about beauty care? the style section on perhaps to start?


How to score tons of free samples at Sephora in two easy steps:

1) Be a guy.

2) Actually care about your skin.

Not a trip goes by that doesn't end with a salesperson shoving handfuls of samples in my bag, all without me asking. It's like trick-or-treating! Meanwhile, my ladyfriends have to scrape and claw for every sample.

It would be hilarious if it wasn't for the "what makes YOU so special?!" looks the aforementioned ladyfriends shoot me for the rest of the day...


Dang, that boy is adorable! It almost makes me want to have my own real-life babies...almost.

Anyway, I have not tried anything other than the eye makeup remover from Bare Escentuals and I am here to say that it sucks. It actually burns and I don't even have sensitive eyes or anything that would explain the burning.


Two things:
One (and most important) Noah is so! Cute! Oh my goodness, what a sweet baby! With sweet baby smiles! Gotta love it...

Two: I tried BE. Granted,I did it wrong cuz all I bought was the powder without the mineral veil, and was then told that the mineral veil is the WHOLE POINT! But two anythings on my face? Too much for for moi. So I tried the powder and wasn't impressed at all. It looked like nothing.

I'll stick with my MAC studio fix NW 15, thank you very much.


I'm a BE junkie too. (And I also use Swheat Scoop. And I cringe every time I see the spelling on either of those packages because dammit, they are both awesome for me, why must they have lame names?) Anyway, I'm a combo/fair/hate wearing makeup type of person and this stuff is just perfect for me...takes me maybe 10-15 minutes to do my entire makeup routine (from primer to the last swipe of mascara) and I am makeup retarded so either I'm putting it on wrong or the application process is easier than advertised. (And I use the all-over face color as blush, because it's sheer enough to just make my skin pop a little more, despite the glittery sheen; I cover it with a layer of the mineral veil).

And now I am shutting up, because this is not my Advice Smackdown.


I agree that black is wedding appropriate. I wore black to a friend's wedding last summer, [in silent protest of her loser fiance'] but even if I was there in happy spirits, noone looked at me funny. As for a formal wedding, I would expect people to wear black or another 'serious' color, as neon orange dresses, by law, are only formal in Vegas.


Women used to get married in black in this country until after 1900. They usually had a "Sunday" fancy dress that they wore to get married in as well.

One wedding I went to had the bridesamaids in these totaly cute black knee length cocktail dresses. They looked smashing! I'm just glad someone is actually wearing a dress to a wedding - nobody dresses up anymore!

Thanks for the baby photos!! He is a doll!


And now that everyone has already added their two cents, I will add mine anyhow, because I am special.

I like Bare Escentuals. It is a rather complicated application process, but worth it (most days). The coverage is decent, without looking make-up-y. I totally forget I'm wearing make-up with it on... and I'm talking about the Foundation. The Warmth? Go easy - good for contouring, if you're into that sort of thing. Mineral Veil? FORGET IT! Worthless... if you used the entire line you will feel like you've added a layer of disgusting to your face, and you will LOOK like you've added a layer of disgusting to your face.
I think the thing everyone is blaming for being too glittery is the "Radiance"... which is actually quite nice, but you have to be careful to use the proper brush, you cannot use the same one you used for the foundation, and it's not really blush, so please still use blush.
But, yeah... they do make blush, which I haven't tried, and maybe that's what y'all are talking about, so maybe I should shut up. And I will.


When Noah smiles he looks like you.


Noah perfects his nonchalant, picking-up-chicks head toss in that last photo.


I have attended approximately 30 weddings in the last three years (fo' real) and I wore black to each and every one of them. I only own black dresses. The bridesmaids at my wedding wore black halter floor-length dresses (which were so stunning, I wanted one for myself. We bought them at Marshall Fields because I insisted on having dresses they could wear again. I called them my sexy bridesmaid dresses, and damn if they weren't).

Where was I? Oh yes, thank you acknowledging my need for the birth story, part deux. Those few details you revealed make me want more more MORE because it sounds like some high comedy.


LOVE the little baby cheeks! So kissable... watch out ladies!

As for the black to a wedding... I really don't see the problem, cliche coming.. everyone is doing it! If you really feel bad about the color, partner it with a pretty wrap in a bright color or silver or something sparkly and happy. You can always use a wrap for other dress functions and you haven't spent more money than the bride!


So great to live in CA where you can wear pretty much anything, in any color, to any event. Helps to have been raised by midwesterners so I know what to wear when I have to attend something out of town, though.

Thirds on the calorie-free cheesecake and ice cream thing with the pics. That smile is to die! What a honey!


Okay, two guys named Chris comment on makeup on a site where the majority of commenters are female. What have I gotten myself into?

Anyway, here's a male's take on the BE line. My wife loves (loaves!) it. She too is of the mixed complexion/oily skin and has good results with it. Her must have product is Multi-Tasking Minerals - Bisque. She too suffers from the dreaded eye-luggage and likes what this concealer does for her.

As for my personal tastes - the only real experience I've had with makup is of the stage variety which is a little thicker and heavier than your average street walker, so I thought the BE stuff didn't even feel like I was wearing makeup. And stop snickering - it was for our wedding pictures.

The drawback? Our white bathroom countertops (thank you whoever built our apartment) eventually take on a tanish color if she doesn't lay a towel down when applying makup. We didn't even realize how bad it was until we wiped the counter and realized that the counters looked fine because they matched the walls. And the walls are cream.

Although, it was kind of like the white strips commercial - "Garunteed to lighten your counters up to three shades in just two weeks!" or the minute that it takes to wipe off a counter, whichever comes first.


And I don't know how to spell "guaranteed".

And I was serious about how much she likes the bisque. I think she eats it when I'm not looking.


I looooove BE. Conventional foundation always looks cakey on me for some reason. BE (I use the Mineral Veil first, then the foundation, because it helps with my huge pores) helps my skin look great.

Also - anyone saying QVC doesn't take returns or won't return phone calls? All you have to do is slap their built-in return label on the package and dump it in the mail with the slip. Don't even have to speak to a warm body :).


Amalah!!! an entry with a comments box!! finally!! :) i have spent nearly the past 3 weeks reading your archives (i started reading you only a few days before Noahalah was born, so i had alot of catching up to do). and there were lots of things i wanted to comment on, in alot of posts. but, i enjoyed reading about everything from the beginning until now. you've made tons of people smile with your sad/happy/hyper/tourette-ish posts, and we thank you for that. the fate of all on the Bunny Trail lies in your hands :P


you are a riot. and noah is too cute with that smile.

i am jealous that noah seems to have a neck, whereas my baby does not, which makes it a bitch to clean him up every time he spits up.

Real Girl

Posting again because that last photo wins the all time Great Expressions Ever award. Another *priceless* shot.


It's so bizarre that you talked about that Bare Escentuals stuff today. I woke up to the sounds of the BE infomercial this morning. (Leeetle insomnia issue, finally passed out on the couch w/ the TV on. Sigh.) The first thing I thought? "Wonder if Amalah has an opinion on that stuff??" Not only do I need to find a way to get to sleep at night, I need to get a life and get off the internet. Feh.

Stacy O

Bring on the Birthing Story Part II !! ....

I have several weddings to attend in the near future. If the occasion is a cocktail hour shindig, or is just held at night - seems the dress is going to be black tie or black tie optional ... so go with black! Live it up, play it up! with some shiny funky accessories, because, why not ?


Robin (and whoever else cares),

By the time the massive rash and many antibiotics had been in play--and I had sadly accepted that BE wasn't for me--QVC's return policy was null and void. Probably 2 months had passed since I'd purchased it. QVC was nice, but told me to contact Bare Escentuals directly, which is where the un-returned emails and phone-handler shuffling came into play. I really didn't even want my money back. I just wanted to talk to a body and find out if this perioral dermatitis had happened before, whether I'd ever be able to use their products, whether they all had the same sunscreen chemical, etc. But BE didn't want to talk to me.

Oh well. It's so weird because I actually pulled out all my BE stuff yesterday, wishing I was brave enough to try it again, 'cause I really did like the look it gave me, you know BEFORE the all-over face rash. But alas, itchy rashes just aren't my thing.

I'd agree with Amalah. Go to Sephora (if you live near one...not an option for me) so you have the ability to return if on an off-chance you're unhappy. I learned my lesson.

(Oh, and I feel truly shameful for going off on BE and not even commenting on the adorable baby-ness. Noah is scrumptious!)


Noah is so incredibly cute! But you already knew that. I love those first smiles. All together now: Awwwwwwwww.

As for BE, I think it's overpriced. I buy mine in a generic form off ebay, and it's the same stuff!! Works pretty well I think. Just wish they'd lighten up on all the sparkles in the blush. At the rate it is now, you need some the size of a pushpin to cover both sides of your face.

As for the wedding thing, I'm from the south & anything goes. All colors, styles, etc. I'd wear black too.

Occidental Girl

I use Susan Posnick powdered mineral foundation, and it is fabulous! It contains sunscreen, is easy to apply, and looks great. I LOVE IT. I found it when I was trying out new makeup before my wedding.

Check it out:

Lisa B

You are so funny. You always crack me up. I feel the same way with my three-year-old and my dog. The good thing though is that since my little man's main interest is Hotwheels and playing with his weiner, I'm not too worried about having to pay for an Ivy League college. I think a state school will be JUST fine.

Occidental Girl

I am SO with you on the cutesie naming of things. I refuse to shop at places or buy products with intentionally misspelled titles because I HATE IT WHEN THEY DO THAT. Drives me batty, which, admittedly, is not a long trip.

Love you, love your kid!


Wait, there's makeup that doesn't come from Target...?

So. Confused.

(You're never speaking to me again, now, right? Eep.)

Noah clearly prefers his women lightly dusted in cornstarch and nothing else....


Actually i could have sworn I’ve seen the BE starter kit at Target...

Oh and what's up with Noah always getting is picture taken in the bathroom? Either way he's the cutest.


Great post Amalah!! Keep those precious Noah photo's coming our way. He's delicious!

I too fell prey to the Bare Escentuals pitch. After seeing all those infomercials, I bought a starter kit off of eBay. Didn't care for it much ~ it is too "powdery" or something, and makes me look all shiny. It did minimize my pores, however, which was a plus. A friend told me that dusting the mineral veil on my bare skin, before putting on my regular (Esteè Lauder) foundation, would make the shinies go away completely, and it's TRUE I tell you!

So now, I use the mineral veil under my regular foundation, and dust a tiny bit of the colored powder foundation on my face before bedtime, and my pores are getting teensier by the day. I won't buy any more of this stuff except for the mineral veil.

Head pats & ear scritchies to Ceiba & Max, and a little cheek pinch to Noah!


My comment to add to this lovely Adivce Smackdown...I love the tile in your bathroom and will swear by tiled bathroom floors until I die.

Also-Noah is getting cuter and cuter by the second.


How do you feel about Bare Minerals? How does that line rank? I've never tried it. I'm addicted to Nars, Smashbox, and Mario Badescu. OH yes, and the Philosophy Kiss Me Red lip balm.


"The Storch Family Brain Trust."


Would that many of us had such a handsome pair to call as our "family brain trust."

But THAT dog -- she's going to end up killing you with all the mishaps. Was your head pounding from the adrenaline rush after you dug the treat out of her throat? Gawd.

Love the pics -- Noah rocks!


Ceiba is turning out to be quite the tragic heroine these days.

I'm a quasi BE user (I use a few products but not the whole damned medical emergency kit they're selling), and I worked at Sephora and had plenty of time to test all of the products. I break out a lot when I use oil-based foundation, but haven't had great results with oil free foundations. It's just the way my skin is, and I'm sure that's why BE has its fans. I use a tinted oil free moisturizer (Clarins) and the mineral veil over that and it works beautifully. It's really hard to match their powders unless your skin happens to be, voila, a perfect match, or you have two hours to custom blend at your countertop. I might have enjoyed doing that more as a little girl, but with my poor mom's makeup. Also an important tip -- don't apply that powder while you have a shirt on! Do it your bathrobe or bra, otherwise, the micro powder stuff gets all over your bodice...


PS- they also sell BE at Ulta.


I must live in a hole because I have never heard of this product and I am a product WHORE! But one question amalah? If you have seen all these commercials on QVC does that mean you watch QVC? mmm hmm... your secret is safe with me.


PPS (sorry) seeing a lot of posts from people who have under-eye issues. Make sure you keep that area hydrated and cool to keep swelling down (Philip Thomas Roth oxygen eye gel $$$, Roc firming eye gel $$ or Body Shop cooling eye gel $). It's really important to take care of that skin because it is so thin, not just smear gunk on it, or otherwise you will have dry wrinkles and lots of makeup creases. Use a yellow-based concealer (when I was doing makeup at Sephora, Prescriptives made a good concealer, and Benefit's Bo-ing! was the best. Follow the yello-based concealer with your powder of choice. It's really hard to fix under eye rings (but they usually mean STRESS or ILLNESS, people, so take care of yourselves), but these products are really helpful.



bare minerals is from the same company as bare escentuals, i believe.


I've used Bare Escentuals for the past three years and I'll never wear any other kind of make up again. I've received numerous compliments about my "flawless complexion" and beautiful skin tone -- and people are geniunely surprised when I tell them I am wearing BE foundation, "warmth" and the mineral veil. And it only takes about me about 5 minutes to apply it! I've got sensitive, combination skin and have never had a problem with these products, whereas other make-up caused outrageous problems.

I'd recommend that anyone who is curious about BE products to at least give them at try. You can get samples on EBAY at very low cost.

Anyway, enough of *that*.

Noah is so darn scrumptious I could eat him with a spoon. ;)


Is that the same bouncy seat upon which Ceiba fell and broke her leg? I'm surprised she allows Noah to sit in it. I would have figured she'd have bounced him right out of it, and then dragged it under the bed.


that last picture just made my day...too funny and adorable! Ceiba looks so alert and Noah is even more adorable than before!




It's Funny because that top picture of him looks like he's smiling up at that cute pic of her when she was a kid.


Do I watch QVC? Oh God, NO.

Around here QVC advertises on every other basic cable channel in my lineup -- especially and most bafflingly, Comedy Central. Which, what?

I will admit to getting sucked up in the occasional Smashbox presentation, but then still, I just happily head over to Sephora to actually buy the stuff.


Oh, and Bare Minerals is the same stuff as Bare Escentuals -- both by i.d. cosmetics.


You know you're a mom when your baby and your dog are with you in the bathroom. From the angle that last pic is at, it looks almost like you're taking the picture from the toilet. I'm just sayin.. A great smackdown today, oh queen of multi-tasking!


Ain't NUTHIN' better than a smiling baby.

Big Gay Sam

oh god. where's my insulin? that's just too damn cute. O.k. I want to sign up for female reproductive organs. Where can I get some?


There's one ingredient in BE that is responsible for both the over-shimmeriness and the itching/rashes -- bismuth. After reading some product reviews I went with a bismuth-free brand, Aromaleigh, which is also less expensive than BE. I have combination skin and this stuff is much kinder to my skin than the goopy liquid makeup I used to use -- although it can be a bit drying (I have to be careful to moisturize the dry-skin sections of my face). This is the first foundation I've ever found that actually reduces my breakouts instead of causing them. OK, assvice done now.


I'm REALLY going to have to stop coming in here and looking at the baby pics. It makes me all baby want-y, and that's SO not going to happen.

I don't wear foundation or powder of any sort, so I'm no help there. I'm sure that anyone who has seen my pic probably thinks I SHOULD, but I always feel like I look dipped in cake batter when I wear it, so I avoid it like bubonic plague. Then there are those hideous high school flashbacks... the ones where almost every girl I knew could mark her territory *read: boyfriend of the minute* by giving him a hug and leaving a pound of L'oreal behind on his collar.

I still have some random Clinique foundation compact my mom talked me into buying, um... 7 years ago? Yeah, THAT was a brilliant decision. 'Hi, I'm Nola, and I'll be frightening your children today.'

Amalah, I about peed my pants with the 'brain trust' thing. I have the world's most graceless cats, so I totally empathize. And laugh. A lot.

Soooooooooooooo happy for you and your family :)


Looking at Noah in the previous posts' he does/did look exactly like Jason. BUT. In the above photies he look like you... He really, really looks like you.


Hi Amy, look what I found!! You've not secretly located to NY have you?! lol

For Joke!

What's with being in the bathroom all the time? :)


Although all the idea I have about what 'Bare Escentuals' are are like 'hm, some cosmetics I would not use, not because I don't like it, simply because I barely use any cosmetics at all' - so although my knowledge in this field is limited and restricted, I loved this post.
I also like how the two of the Brain Trust diverge in the last picture.
God bless Noah!
And Mom!


Aww, the pictures are adorable! I love the one with the dog.. haha. :)

enxin wong



Jen - argh, the dreaded past-return date return-attempt :P

There are some other BE type products that are really for sensitive skin... Might want to give them a try. is the one I remember seeing most recently...


I have been using this for about 6 months now. I will never go back to regular foundation. It might take some mixing of the colors to get your perfect shade bit once you fo it covers beautifully. I still wash my face before bed cause I figure nothing can be good for your sleeping skin. It does come with two colors to mix that should accomidate most skin tones except maybe really light or really dark. I lovr the whole line. The best part is it's pretty much impossible to get makup lines.

Lt. Woman

Amy.. Thank you.

I hate mis-spelt or phonetically spelt names for almost anything. When I saw Bare Escentuals, I just wanted to cry in frustration. There are about two exceptions to this, and one of them is Krispy Kreme. You can mis-spell that and I'll still eat there. Because they're good. Evil, but still somehow good.
My personal protest against all the mis-spellings and shortcuts is to use complete words and sentences in any and all text messages. When I get a message that says "WHR U @?" I answer in as much detail as possible. Yes, I annoy a lot of people that way. I think it's funny.


Hey sweet my question got answered! (the wearing-black-to-a-wedding one)

Many cheers to Amalah.

Oh, and the funny part? The day after I sent the question in, my boss changed the dress code BACK to cocktail again. Sheesh.

Amy K.

Here's my take on Bare Escentuals: POWDER EVERYWHERE!

If you use the Bare Escentuals technique of "Swirl and Tap", then count on your entire bathroom sink being covered in a creamy powdered film. CONSTANTLY. I made sure that I wasn't taking too much makeup onto the brush and I STILL got makeup everywhere.

I'm pretty handy with a makeup brush, but seriously people, this is one messy loose powder.


Good Lord, you had a ROOMMATE in your post-delivery recovery room? For a few hours or days? That sucks big time. That baby of yours is just too cute though. I need to send him an evil-eye bead to protect him from all the jealous eyes.

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