On Holiday Hair + Fishtail Milkmaid Braids Tutorial

how-to-fishtail-milkmaid-braids-crownThis post is sponsored by Mirum Shopper.  Opinions and fun fishtail milkmaid braids hair tutorial are all my own. Thanks for reading!

We’re one full week into December and are super excited to attend the first of many holiday parties this evening.  I think the entire family is feeling the distinct spirit that comes along during this special season.

I’m trying to consciously not get caught up in the busyness of it all – and just focus on the fun of spending loads of time with people we adore.  I also certainly welcome reasons to get out of the work-from-home beauty rut and get dressed up for the festivities to come.  There’s absolutely something to be said about feeling your best on the inside when you practice self-care on the outside too.

While I’ve depended on those loose curl blowouts for nearly every special event – a fun beauty quiz on CVS.com made me realize that it’s due time to up my hair game; suggesting that I give my outfit a pop by achieving shiny hair status with recommended productions to use along the way.


Winter always has a way of wreaking havoc on my hair, and I’ve been trying to combat the overall dryness caused by heat tools and the change in temperature.  I’m replenishing my locks and preventing damage with products from Suave and TRESemmé® BOTANIQUE collection. I’ve also been experimenting with fun styles like these fishtail milkmaid braids – that also offer my hair a bit of respite since this lovely look is achieved without heating tools.


If you’d like to rock this quick, easy, and perfect-for-the-holidays ‘do – just follow the straightforward steps below.  Make sure that you have two little elastics, plenty of bobby pins and TRESemmé® TWO Extra Hold Hair Spray.  In addition to taming fly-aways and holding holiday styles in place, the hair spray is also a hero at locking in curls!


1. Divide your hair into two equal sections.  A middle part works best for this look because your braids will have similar thicknesses.

2. Fishtail braid each section and secure with a small elastic.  I think fishtails look best when weaving with tiny sections of hair to really define the braid pattern. I also recommend pulling out small sections of hair before braiding – to keep the look chic (and not Little House on the Prairieish!!!).

3.  Here’s the trick to making the braids look great.  Starting from the top of the braid carefully pull each braid apart to give the braids a fuller and naturally messy look.

4. Experiment with placement by wrapping the braids around your head.  I like my braids very close to my hairline for a lovely braided crown look.

5.  Position the first braid across your head and secure in place with bobby pins.

6.  Wrap the second braid across your head (I like to place it in the back of the first braid) and secure with bobby pins while making sure to tuck in the little elastics and ends.  Spray with TRESemmé® TWO Extra Hold Hair Spray to help tame fly-aways while holding the look in place.

Have fun – you’re set to party!

Want in on the savings on some great, affordable, hair care products that are currently in my beauty arsenal?  CVS is currently running the following deals:


$5 ExtraBucks® rewards when you spend $15 on participating TRESemmé®, Suave® or Dove Hair Care products.

Additionals Offers Valid 12/4-12/10
2/$6 WITH CARD Select Suave® hair care.
2/$8 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® or Dove Shampoo Conditioner and Stylers.
2/$10 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® Premium or Dove Advanced Hair Series haircare.
*Offer Valid WITH CARD 12/4/16 – 12/10/16. ExtraBucks® Rewards offer limit of 1 per household with card.

Additional Offers:
Valid 12/4 – 12/10
2/$6 WITH CARD Select Suave® Hair Care.
2/$8 WITH CARD Dove Base Hair Care or TRESemmé® shampoo, conditioner (28–32 oz.) or select stylers.
2/$10 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® Premium or Dove Advanced Hair Series haircare.
Valid 12/11 – 12/17
2/$8 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® shampoo, conditioner 28-32 oz., or select stylers-
2/$10 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® Premium Hair Care products.

Valid 12/18 – 12/24
Buy 1, Get 1 50% OFF WITH CARD Select Suave® Hair Care products.
Valid 12/25 – 12/31
2/$8 WITH CARD Dove Base Hair Care or TRESemmé® shampoo, conditioner (28–32 oz.) or select stylers.
2/$10 WITH CARD Select TRESemmé® Premium or Dove Advanced Hair Series haircare.

Looking for more hair inspiration?  Learn what hairstyle you should try this Holiday season by taking this quiz on CVS.com/YourStyleYourWay.

Wishing you all the best of the season!


On Fostering Confidence In Our Girls + Dove Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Mirum Shopper. Opinions, as always, are my own.

Through a small window, I watch her carefully chaine turn across the ballet studio floor.  Hands on shoulders, she is learning to spot, while sometimes losing stability.  In a powder blue leotard, with magic marker remnants on her hands, she is beauty in motion – exuding unfading grace, joy, and determination.  Despite getting dizzy  – she steps out of her spins to greet the studio mirror with a big smile lighting up her face.  I study the way in which she grins at her reflection and can’t help but marvel at her eight-year-old sense of self and increasing awareness of the world around her.



I’m reminded of all the times that I stood, as a girl, in front of a metaphorical mirror, feeling proud on my own accord – or unsure of myself and my abilities.  And in a pre-Internet era, I know all too well what it was like to feel diminished – in the murmur of a whisper – or the passing of a note.

Our daughter will someday be a part of the next generation of social media users – where a single voice can be amplified among an endless sea.


And now more than ever, it is our biggest hope that this future online culture will follow Dove‘s lead in embracing words as weapons – to speak beauty, support, and reciprocity; while influencing positivity, calling out injustices, and championing change.

That’s why, as a mother of a young girl, I love the Dove Self-Esteem Project’s mission in helping girls gain confidence and develop positive relationships with themselves and others.


Dove has sparked really important discussions online – and when I walk with my daughter to our local Rite Aid, I’m happy to pick up products (that I’ve depended on for years) from a brand that aligns with our beliefs. Along with Dove’s steadfast commitment to helping women and girls – I’m such a fan of their affordable products with delicious scents.



My current favorites, on regular rotation, include Dove Deep Moisturizing Body Wash, which never dries out my skin, especially in the colder months; Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo for quick hair fixes after rushing from spin class to ballet class pick-up; and Dove Advanced Care Original Clean Deodorant with a cool and fresh scent that always keeps me dry.


We’re thrilled to partner with Dove to giveaway my favorite products to five lucky winners.

Entry is simple over on our Instagram account.

A photo posted by Monica (@marinobambinos) on

Just comment on this image with your own story about a time that you or a friend had a negative experience on social media – and please let us know how you got through it. Use #SpeakBeautiful to be entered to win one of five Dove tote bags filled with full-sized Dove products.  Giveaway rules can be found here: https://goo.gl/pcrAjW.

Also, please join us in the #SpeakBeautiful conversation on social media, and in the comments below.

Here’s to our strong girls.


On Spring Skincare + Nerium Giveaway

With winter finally behind us, everything is abuzz with “spring clean” this and “Marie Kondo” that! Amidst the deep-cleaning, seasonal wardrobe swapping, and pedicure indulging, it’s important to go through a bit of a beauty overall. Perhaps the frigid temps did a number on your skin and spring is the perfect time to commit to a new regime to shed the dryness and overall blahs of winter.  Below are a few tried and true favorites to get your skincare regime on track. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an exciting Nerium International giveaway valued at over $390!


Wash + Toss

Let’s begin by washing those make-up brushes and tossing expired products. Some of my products have a way of telling me when it’s time to go.  If the scent or color changes, trash it for something new.


Leave those super heavy moisturizers for the winter months and do adhere to a daily and nightly moisturizing regime.  Over the past few years, I’ve had a great variety of editorial samples sent my way and nothing has improved my skin the way that Nerium International Age-Defying Day and Night Creams, NeriumAD Formula has.  I adore the instantly firm feeling that the night cream provides allowing you to feel the product working.  And the day cream delivers the perfect amount of moisture without causing breakouts like other moisturizers are prone to do. I’m now on month six of steadfast Nerium use, and my skin texture feels smoother while those pesky fine lines have visibly improved. I also love the simplicity of this complete 24-hour regime; it’s perfect for my busy lifestyle as it tackles multiple concerns including fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and enlarged pores all at once!


For complete well-being we absolutely must look inward, and Nerium supports this wellness model with their  Nerium International EHT Age-Defying Supplement Mind Enhancement Formula. Designed to help protect the brain against the signs of aging with a patented EHT molecule, that aids in keeping neural connections strong to increase brain performance and a healthy, focused mind.

Night Cream, Day Cream, Body Contour Cream, EHT

Remember the skin on your body too!

It’s not just our faces that need attention and care.  We’ve found a gem in  NeriumAD’s Firming Body Contour Cream. This clinically tested revolutionary body cream is ideal for getting beach ready.  The advanced ingredients, including their exclusive NAE-8xtract, help firm and tone problem areas for sleeker, more youthful-looking skin.

Win It!

We’re so excited to partner with Nerium International to give away ALL of these products to one lucky winner!  Enter to win this exciting Nerium prize pack valued at over $390.00 via the rafflecopter below. US only please and best of luck. Wishing you all a beautiful spring!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I Tried Cyrotheraphy’s Frozen Facial and Here’s What Happened

During a blustery week in February, I developed one of those horrid colds resulting in a patch of dryness under my nose.  It was a special-event heavy week, and my standard makeup routine seemed to only emphasize my new trouble spot.  Not even my coveted moisturizes did the trick – and I was looking for a miracle.

When I told my husband that I was heading to the spa to “get my face frozen off,” all in the name of beauty, he looked at me like I had two heads. Assuring him that I wasn’t chasing foolish vanity, as Cryotherapy has been around for centuries.  The CyroCure Facial TM , (also known as frotox) utilizes the same “frozen” Cryogenic technology, via a controlled beam of vaporized liquid nitrogen effectively freezing the skin on the face and neck.beautiful-snowy-trees

As I climbed under the covers in my treatment room at Skintology Skin and Laser Center, I thought about the wavers I just signed and probed my esthetician about the non-invasive procedure.  She prepped my skin and gave me quite the education.  “Stop eating so much cheese!!”  How did she know? Also, learning that all those editorial samples that come my way aren’t always the best choice for my particular skin.  What I needed was something simple and streamlined via a gentile cleanser, moisturizer, and, of course, sunblock. As we moved on to discussing the specific treatment, I was skeptical when she told me that the bursts of localized, liquid nitrogen vapor would erase my post-cold dryness. Not just that, the cold nitrogen would bring on instantaneous tightness, filling in fine lines and wrinkles.  Collagen is also activated to produce more cells, causing the skin to become more elastic over repeated use. Since skin vessels and capillaries undergo severe vasoconstriction (to keep the core temperature from dropping), followed by vasodilatation after the procedure – toxins, and other stored deposits are flushed out of the layers of the skin and blood perfusion is improved after several treatments.

It all sounded too good to be true.

After the esthetician thoroughly dried my face, I thought that we were good to go, until I opened my eyes, blinked and teared, and needed to be meticulously dried all over again. Then a little nozzle was run over my face, getting progressively colder as the treatment went on. Was it cold? Yes! But not unbearable, and she never stayed in one spot for too long.

When I looked in the mirror after my treatment, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The familiar lines, wrinkles, and cold-induced dryness were gone (yes gone!).  While those glorious results didn’t last forever, I enjoyed my glowing, youthful skin for a few days post treatment.

I can only image what the recommended series of treatments would do.

Treatment provided for editorial consideration.


The Scoop On At-Home Laser Hair Removal

“You’re an excellent candidate for laser hair removal,” my dermatologist said.  Before motherhood, her not-so-subtle sales-tactics sometimes worked – but now, my current beauty regime is a lot simpler that it once was.  Before I had the chance to say “no, thank you,” she started talking about things like highly concentrated light being emitted into hair follicles and destroying hair growth.  Forever.

Although that laser hair removal package (at Manhattan MD prices) never transpired, the “forever” stuck with me.  I left dreaming of never waxing, shaving, tweezing, plucking or threading, ever again.

Luckily for me, I received the opportunity to test out a nifty little gadget that in many ways sounded too good to be true.

at home hair removal laser Tria 4X

The first and only FDA-cleared hair removal laser available for home use, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4x uses the same diode laser technology that is used by dermatologists. This device safely targets unwanted body hair and permanently disables the hair follicles to stop hair growth on both the face and body.

at home hair laser removal Tria

Although the Tria Laser 4X is available for a fraction of what a laser hair removal package costs at a Dermatologist’s office, at $449.00, it’s still an investment.  I gave the device three solid months of use on a designated spot on one leg to share a thorough review.

at home laser hair removal Tria laser 4X review

  • It works: I fall into Tria’s beige-ish skin color category and have dark brown hair.  I followed Tria’s precise instructions to a T, being carefully consistent and meticulous.  I went over the small area on my leg once every two weeks for a little over three months.  The Tria 4X proved to be effective, and the results are visible.  I now have a spot of smooth skin on one leg with literally no hair growth.
  • Convenient and easy to use: The ergonomic and lightweight design is comfortable and simple to use.  Going over a treatment area in an overlapping pattern is straightforward – and nothing beats the convenience of treatments in the comfort of my home, on my schedule.
  • Make sure the device is right for your skin/hair color: The Tria 4X does not work on every skin tone and hair color.  It does not work (and is not safe) for light hair colors or medium to dark brown skin tones.  The skin sensor requires a skin test prior to every use – and if not suitable the device won’t unlock.
  • There may be mild discomfort: The Tria Laser has five different settings. I  starting on setting number 5 (the highest) because I wanted maxim results requiring the highest setting tolerable.  Now and then, I experienced a mild, quick stinging sensation, or a feeling of high heat.  The Smoothstart Calming Gel helps.
  • Refer to the Instruction Booklet: The troubleshooting guide in the back of the instruction booklet provided answers for all of the questions that I ran into.  There’s also a designated spot to record your treatment dates which helps maintain the suggested use schedule.
  • Large areas will take time: I tested a small area, and although it was highly effective at reducing hair growth, my entire leg will take time to treat, requiring dedication and patience.  That said, a smaller circumference shouldn’t take long at all.

If you’re serious about permanent hair removal and can’t bother with the hassle of appointments at a doctor’s office, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X is a solid, easy-to-use and cost-effective option.  It worked for me, and I’m ready to say goodbye to more unwanted hair, hopefully, forever.

Products provided by Tria.  Opinions, as always are my own. 


What I Want My Daughter to Know About True Beauty

I was a newly minted New Yorker, fresh from a two-year stint on an island, trying to find my way in a big city when stopped by a women’s magazine in Union Square.  They snapped my photo and asked me to describe what I viewed as my best physical feature. Without hesitation, I responded my hands. Not because I particularly liked how they looked, but because in them I saw my mother.

with mamaMe and my Mama, Summer 2014

Perhaps the most important beauty lesson my mother imparted was to find and spread true beauty in the ways in which you live. I was led by the light in her eyes when she helped and served others, and from the glow that radiated as she gave from her heart.  The hands that I always see within my own are perhaps most well known for their work with suffering humanity.

It is my greatest hope that she will continue to receive glimmers of the kindness and compassion that she has demonstrated to others.

Although my mom was never into beauty products, I view the umbrella of beauty as a positive avenue to take care of myself.  I strive to teach my impressionable daughter that a woman can be strong, empowered, and smart with whatever form of self-care she pleases.

I’m well aware, that I am my children’s most profound example, with values and messages practically formed by osmosis. The Dove brand reinforces this message, representing realness in beauty while striving to foster self-esteem among women and girls.

The new Dove Beauty Stories campaign celebrates the beauty habits and advice that are passed down from mother to daughter and encourages women to share their beauty stories to celebrate the women who have taught them to live beautifully.  A survey they commissioned actually found that most women trust the women in their lives more than celebrities for beauty tips and advice.

I hope to have this influence on my own daughter.  Human and flawed – I make mistakes.  But my body image issues consciously shifted the moment that I gave birth to a baby girl.  In many ways, I never felt more feminine and powerful as a woman.  Growing, birthing and sustaining life gave me a new perspective on my femininity, body image, and incredible capabilities.

My seven-year-old daughter is a joy-spreader.  She exudes unfading beauty and innocence.  I want her to feel beautiful and empowered by her magnificent inner light, compassion and capabilities.  And for her, I vow to continue to silence my inner critic – and stand guard while drowning the sea of voices murmuring: Beauty, that’s only found in how you look.

Pippa and Julie dresses

This post is sponsored by Dove via The Motherhood.  Thank you for reading.  Please join in sharing your #BeautyStory while celebrating the real women who inspired it.