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Beauty, Life,

Faux Tanning For Dummies

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For the last two months I’ve sacrificed my body to test multiple faux tanning products. I received many odd looks at my streaky skin and several comments from friends about my inconsistent skin color. It was all worth it to find the most effective faux tanning solution for any time of year.

With my fair and sensitive skin, products react differently on my body than most people but there is a process for application regardless of your skin type or product.

Step 1: Always exfoliate. Scrub away dead skin cells while paying close attention to your knees, elbows, ankles and heels.

Step 2: Moisturize. Excess tanner will grab onto dead skin which often lies in those obvious areas along your elbows, knees and heels.

Step 3: Start with your arms when applying your price of choice. Then to your shoulders and wrists, this avoids dense areas of product at your hand and wrist area. Cover your legs starting with your thighs to the tops of your feet. I always apply to stomach and chest last.

Step 4: Throughly rinse your hands to remove tanner from creases.

Trick: add a small amount of product to the tops of your hands and blend.

Now that you know what to do, here are some product reviews to help you decide what to use!

Faux Tanning For Dummies

Product: Tan Towel
Price: $20 for two body and two face towels at Sephora
Rating: One Star
Review: The tan towel product works miracles on some people, but not me. The tan towel is meant to be applied the night before. Tan towels are a colorless and nearly odorless disposable towel. They leave embarrassing inconsistencies on my skin, making the fake tan look extremely obvious and disproportioned. It also leaves my skin very warm while the product is setting in.

Faux Tanning For Dummies

Product: St. Tropez Bronzing Foam
Rating: Two Stars
Price: $12 at Ulta
Review: St. Tropez is an amazing and trustworthy brand, so I had to try their Bronzing Foam. The results were mediocre. It’s not the best self tanner I’ve ever used, but it’s not the worst. The scent was extremely strong to the point it was waking me up at night. The application was easy and essentially fool-proof, leaving little to no streaks. I would recommend this product if you don’t mind the odor.

Faux Tanning For Dummies

Product: Avene Moisturizing Self Tanning Lotion
Price: $28 on Amazon
Rating: One Star
Review: This lotion goes on odorless and colorless, but unfortunately leaves endless streaks similar to my issues with the tan towel. It also leaves my skin warmer than usual. Application is fairly simple with a detailed guide to the amount of lotion that should be applied per each area of your body. All in all, I would not use this product again.

Faux Tanning For Dummies

Product: Neutrogena Micro Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan
Price: $15 at CVS (In the sunscreen section)
Rating: Five Stars
Review: I love and live by this product. Spray the mist directly onto clean, dry skin, keeping the can about six inches away from your body. The mist is almost impossible to mess up or cause streaking. Even better, it has no scent after application. It leaves a beautiful glow on your skin and can be applied several times per week. As always, be cautious about ankles and elbows.

Faux Tanning For Dummies

Product: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer
Price: $14 at CVS
Rating: Five Stars
Review: This is one of my favorite products year-round. When you need a touch of color any time of the year this is your product. Apply as your daily lotion and watch as your skin shows a subtle tan over the next seven days. Also available in firming body lotion and face lotion.

Have you tried any other faux-tanning beauty products? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Beauty, Life,

Guide: Sunscreen for Every Occasion this Summer

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When it comes to summer, there’s one golden rule of thumb – bottom line, always wear sunscreen. After burning one too many times, I’ve become a big advocate of sunscreen and faux tanning methods. Everyone’s skin tone is different: I have extremely sensitive and fair skin. Your level of protection will vary, but always use something.


I apply 50-70 SPF daily before moisturizing. Even if your moisturizer and makeup have SPF, it’s usually not good enough. I use Aspire Life from Che Sguardo in River North. It’s a small family owned business that caters to makeup artists. Kathy is an expert when it comes to beauty, makeup and skincare.  Aspire Life sunscreen works as a moisturizer as well as a sunscreen – two in one!  I love it because it doesn’t over saturate your face but rather works like a serum.  Sometimes traditional sunscreen can be dense and leave oil that causes blemishes. Protect your skin the right way, don’t make it worse!

Pool and beach days:

I use 70 SPF Neutrogena Sport which is a bit heavier but for full sun days, it’s important to stay protected and wash your face after being in the sun. Don’t forget – the water reflects the sun which ups your chances of getting burned!


I use anywhere from 30-50 SPF with several applications throughout the day. Don’t forget your ears, the tops of your feet and back. The past few years, I’ve been using the spray sunscreens. It’s a more even application without that embarrassing hand print or missing section. And there’s no reason not to do it when application is so easy!

What’s your sunscreen routine? Let us know in the comments!

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Beauty, Life,

4th of July Beauty Essentials

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Independence Day should be all about freedom. Freedom from work, responsibilities and worries.This holiday should be spent in a pool, on a beach or floating in a lake. Keep your beauty and skin routine as simple as your weekend.

Here are my Fourth of July essentials:

Neutrogena Sport Face Spf 70 ($7) 


Full sun, partly cloudly or cloudy I apply sunscreen.  I’ve learned the hard way that the sun will burn you when you least expect it.  This is my favorite sunscreen for an active day. Protecting your face is the most important part of your routine, so reapply when necessary or at least every three to four hours.

Jao Refresher ($10 at Che Sguardo and other beauty stores) 

This little bottle is a portable sink.  Not just for your hands as a sanitizer but can also be used as a zit zapper, body splash, after shave and deodorant!  I always keep a bottle of this in my purse for emergencies making it perfect for a scorching 4th of July weekend!

Neutrogena Micro Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan ($15) – stay tuned for my sunless tanner review!


I’m in love with this mist.  I’ve tried countless different types of sunless tanner.  This nearly odorless spray requires very little effort. Just spray it on your skin after you shower and let it dry.  In 8 hours you’ll be two-three shades darker.  The spray without blending sits on your skin naturally, avoiding any blotches.

Red White Blue & Sparkle OPI & Orly nail polish ($9 each) 

Stop wasting money on manicures, you’re a fully capable human and can do your own nails. My trick is in the top coat (Seche Vite $9 at Sally’s Beauty Supplies).  Everyone’s nail beds are different.  Find out what nail polish brand works best for you and stick with it.Kms California:  Hairplay Sea Salt Spray ($12) 

Keep your hair wavy and beach sexy from day to night with this Sea Salt Spray.  Simply spray your entire head after showering (or swimming) when damp. The spray gives you an effortless wave with a refreshing scent.

What products are you using on the fourth of July? Let us know in the comments!

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Events, Life, Pets,

Dog Dayz of Summer: Chicago Dog-Friendly Events

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Summertime in the Chi. The most anticipated time of the year for Chicagoans. After months of sub-zero temperatures, excessive cab fares, crowded bars and commuting while wearing half your wardrobe, we all are ready for some time in the sun. Especially the four-legged members of our community.

Let’s face it, as much as we hate being cooped up indoors during the Winter it can be equally depressing for our pets. Dog park? Forget it. Long walks? Better have boots and a coat. Picking up after your dog in the snow? Worst thing ever (but necessary – don’t be a jerk!).

So Chicagoans here we are, on the cusp of July. By now I’m sure you’ve got your own routine down with your dog and your other dog owner friends. Personally, I’m a fan of packing a few cocktails and going to the park but sometimes I like to switch it up. I want to let you know of a few little swanky dog-friendly events going on within the Bucktown and West Town areas.

First up on the Cheap Ass pet calendar is Lotties Pub located at 1925 W. Cortland Ave in Bucktown. This bar is one of my personal favorites. Super friendly, good food and specials, old Chicago styled pub and of course…a dog friendly patio. If you’re looking for something to do this July 4th before your festivities start or just want a change of pace check out their Independence Day Celebration benefiting the Veterans Service Dog Program! Featured specials include:

  • $4 – Two Chicago Style Hotdogs (100% of the proceeds go to the program)
  • $4 Fireball (c’mon, it’s America’s birthday)
  • $15 Buckets of Veterans Beer (not sure which brew will be served, heard this stuff is good though)
  • Dog Body Art available
  • Doggie Fro-Yo

If you can’t make it to Lotties Pub this 4th no need to worry. The Rush and Division group are hosting the West Town Pup Crawl. A “Yappy Hour” event every Tuesday night from 6-9pm until 10/16/2015. What they’re doing is at select venues the have happy hour specials for humans and some dog treats, beverages and gear for your pawsome partner. 15% of the sales from the evening will go to a different rescue each week. Featured venues include:

  • Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, 551 N. Ogden Ave
    • $2 Tacos
    • $5 Margaritas
  •  G&O (Grand and Ogden), 459 N. Ogden Ave
    • $5 House-Batched Cocktails
    • $6 Burgers
  • The Aberdeen Tap, 440 N. Aberdeen St
    • $1 Drafts
    • $5 Wings
  • The Matchbox, 770 N. Milwaukee Ave
    • $7 Pooch Hooch Punch
    • $5 Old Style Tall Boy w/Bartender’s choice of shot

That’s all I got Cheap Asses! I’m looking forward to updating you all with some other pet friendly events and activities this summer!

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Events, Life,

How to Survive a Chicago Summer Festival (in Style)

Fellow Chicagoans… Festival season is upon us (click here for a pretty definitive list)! I’m a huge fan of music festivals like Lollapalooza, and have a few I plan to attend this year (Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Piqniq).

The Top 5 Chicago Summer Festival Necessities

Chicago Summer Festivals

1. Camelback. The Camelback (or whatever off-brand strikes your fancy) is the quintessential music festival foundation piece. It’s important both because it holds the rest of the items on this list AND provides a steady stream of water once filled up. I usually work at the water filling stations when I volunteer at music festivals and those lines get long. Plan accordingly, and make hydration easy since it’s usually pretty hot and you’ll be moving around a lot.

Chicago Summer Festivals

2. Solar Phone Charger. A regular external battery charger is fine, but has limited recharges. Music festivals are notorious battery sucks. You don’t want to be in the position of trying to meet up with someone as your phone’s battery is in the dreaded red zone. If you’re willing to splurge, give the Panasonic Solar Charger a try. It’s $70 and good for multiple recharges. You could make up the cost by asking friends for a beer in exchange for using your nifty device. 😉

Bonus Tip: Knowing that phone connections can be a little jank, set a predetermined meeting spot if you lose your festi-besties (I just wanted to use that word).

Chicago Summer Festivals

3. Snacks! Festival food is always expensive, and never nutritious. Look at the guidelines provided by the venue for the festival you’re planning to attend to see if outside food is allowed. If so (score!), I would suggest a mix of fruit (healthy! refreshing!) and calorically-dense snacks like granola bars since you’re going to get hungry after moving around and being out in the sun all day.

Chicago Summer Festivals

4. Rain Jacket. The reason I suggest a rain jacket over an umbrella is because it’s easier to move around in and to store (in your Camelback). With Chicago summer festivals, the weather can change on a dime. It’s much more enjoyable to come to a festival prepared than to get drenched in a downpour (lookin’ at your Lollapalooza, basically every year). Make sure you’re also wearing shoes that can brave the elements – I always wince when I see a girl wearing sandals that inevitable cause blisters.

Bonus Tip: Your phone needs a rain jacket, too! Bring a plastic bag just in case.

Chicago Summer Festivals

5. Sun Protection. Even more likely than rain is SUN. Pack a travel-sized bottle of sunscreen, and wear a hat or sunglasses. You don’t want to be in pain for day two of a multi-day festival (or at work after a weekend of being in the sun all day).

Chicago Summer Festivals

6. Tickets, Credit Card, and ID. Let’s talk about the absolute worst thing you can do yourself when getting caught up in Chicago summer festival preparations – FORGET THE TICKETS. This has probably happened to everyone at some point and it’s the worst feeling to arrive at your destination and not be able to get in. On the fringes are forgetting your ID (no booze!) and a credit card/debit card/cash (No food! No cab afterwards!).

Here’s a checklist for you to save (it looks lovely on a Pinterest board) so you don’t forget the essentials!

Chicago Summer Festival

What else is a necessity for you when attending any of the Chicago summer festivals?

All Photo Credits:

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Beauty, Life,

Basic Skincare for Chicago Weather

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Please join me in welcoming our newest blogger – Mallory LePage! She’s seriously fabulous and is an early adopter when it comes to trying beauty products. If you have any questions or products you’d like her to review, please let her know in the comments!

We all get suckered into trends and new skin products that are a gamble for wallets and skin, alike. It took me 27 years to get my skin routine down… and it’s still evolving!

The key to great skin is consistency. You don’t need creams made from caviar, or cotton balls made of silk. This is my basic skin routine for Spring, Summer and Fall. Chicagoans need to adopt an aggressive plan in the Winter to handle the wind, hail, sleet, snow, and most recently… polar vortex. But we’ll worry about that when our two months of summer are up!

Before attempting, remove all makeup via makeup wipes or cotton ball and makeup remover.


Step One:  Use two types of cleansers. Try to avoid anything too harsh. I interchange my cleansers every few days based on the level of dirt and oil on my skin.  My favorite more expensive brand is Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleaner.  It’s black and warming, which makes for a nice morning cleanser. One pump is enough and will rid your skin of the city grime.  My other cleanser is Kiehl’s which is typically expensive unless you go to Nordstrom Rack where they regularly have it for a third of the price! Boscia tends to provide a deeper cleanse, and Keihls is softer and appropriate for all skin types.


Step Two: Time for spot treatment. Look, none of us are perfect. Blemishes happen. Stop them, without picking or squeezing, before they really cause a problem. My go-to is Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix. It can easily last six months, making it well worth your money. It does not cause redness like several other ‘solutions.’ Apply after cleansing and before lotion.


Step 2 1/2: On the sunny days (which are rare in Chicago)… apply 50+ SPF before lotion.

Step Three: Lotion. Why not listen to Jennifer Aniston – use Aveeno. She has the best skin around and is notorious for being particular with endorsements, so I listen.


I use Aveeno with Vitamin C, because why not put that on your face? Creams can cost more than clothes. Aveeno is simple and affordable for your every day basic skin care routine.

Never fall asleep without doing your routine! Your skin needs special care when the weather is constantly changing.

What are your skin care secrets for dealing with Chicago weather?

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Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Photo from Lollapalooza’s 2014 Volunteer page (that’s me in the middle!)

The title is a little click-baity but it isn’t untrue.

The secret to free Lollapalooza tickets is to VOLUNTEER at the music festival.

Ok, you’ll have to pay a $10 application fee, and commit some time, but it’s a small price to pay for being a Lollapalooza insider (and not paying a hefty three day ticket price).

Still interested? Read on and I’ll show you how to get into Lollapalooza for free*.

Volunteering: Getting free Lollapalooza Tickets

Every year around May, Lollapalooza starts advertising volunteer opportunities on their website. For the best chance of getting the team and times you want (more on that soon), you should sign up for Lollapalooza’s general email newsletter to have first dibs. If you have volunteered in prior years, you will get a head start (of about a week) on new applicants (nice).

The volunteer application costs $10 to help Lollapalooza fight spam signups and to make sure potential volunteers are willing to commit. Keep in mind – you must have a Chicago address to be eligible to volunteer.

In terms of actually scoring a volunteer gig, you need to fill out a profile. You’ll be asked about:

  • Past Volunteer/Work Experience
  • Past Lollapalooza Experiences
  • Availability

The more effort you put into this, the better your chance of scoring a gig. Basically, the Lollapalooza staff just wants to know you’re jazzed about their amazing music festival and want to see if you have the skill set necessary to deal with the tasks involved in your role.

Availability is extremely important in actually getting selected. You will need to be available the full weekend (all three days, including one non-weekend day) to have the best chance. Shifts are about 4 hours and are roughly one of the following:

  • 10am-2pm
  • 2pm-6pm
  • 6pm-10pm

If you have already volunteered, you can get whatever time shifts you want. If you’re new, you’ll need to be a little more flexible. Seniority rules, but you can still see the bands you want if you’re willing to work a less than ideal shift at least once. Pick an early shift on the day you’re most interested in, and opt for the midday/night shifts on days that are less important to you.

Free Lollapalooza Tickets

Teams range from environmental initiatives, volunteer headquarter operations, map handouts, general festival guides, and more. I personally like working on the environmental initiative teams. They tend to have the most spots available. I have volunteered for both Green Team and Aqua Team in my three years of volunteering, but I prefer Aqua. Green Team is a little intense – you have to stand in the sun half of the time (see the above picture) and try to reason with people who are under the influence about what goes in trash, recycling and compost. It can be so much better than this, people. Aqua team is awesome – shade, a plentiful supply of water, and lots of thankful patrons.

Perks, in a nutshell:

  • Free day pass for each shift worked, up to 3
  • Free food coupon valued around $5
  • Snacks and drinks at volunteer headquarters
  • …not to mention a much less-used bathroom
  • Not paying over $200 for a ticket

There are so many other non-obvious perks that I’ll let you discover on your own. You’ll meet some awesome people who are volunteering by your side and interacting with you as a festival-goer. So don’t miss this opportunity to experience a different side of Lollapalooza!

Have you volunteered at a music festival before? Which teams have you participated in? Share your free Lollapalooza (and other festivals!) experiences and more in the comments.