Author: Jennifer Graham

What’s in the DS Diva’s Make Up Bag?

Because of my devotion (AKA obsession) with all things beauty, it’s no surprise that I’ve gotten several requests about what I carry in my makeup bag.   So never one to disappoint my fans, here is your exclusive peek at the ultimate items that I carry with me every day.

Between Ipsy bags, free gift with purchase bags and a couple of high end beauties, I have about 35+ makeup bags in my collection.  I tend to use a medium sized bag because, if I use a larger one I’ll just fill it with unnecessary items that I don’t use on an everyday basis.

Currently in my Clinique makeup bag:


whats in my bag

  1. Carmex lip balm. Chapped lips in any universe are never cool
  2. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. An all-purpose, multiuse ointment that I use on my cuticles, crazed eyebrows, flyaway hair and dry skin.
  3. Sample size of fragrance. At the moment it’s CoCo Mademoiselle by Chanel. A lady always carries a classic fragrance in case garlic or a marathon run are involved on a date. Obviously a toothbrush/paste and Altoids are in a separate bag I carry with me.
  4. Cover Girl Clean Powder Foundation. In my Dark Side HOF I explained my love of this item. Broken bottles of foundation can ruin my bags and my day. This powder covers like a liquid but with the ease and convenience of a powder.
  5. Ipsy sized Bahama Mama Bronzer from The Balm. I use this as a bronzer, blush or eyeshadow. The size is a bit strange but it’s convenient and I like having a color product in my bag.
  6. Travel sized Moonstone Highlighter from Becca. It’s a beautiful shade on my fair skin that can also be used on my eyes and lips. Even a Darth wants to shine!
  7. Outlaw Liquid Lipstick from Kat Von D. I will always, always have a red lipstick in my bag. It’s the absolute easiest way to go from a day to night look in seconds.
  8. Champagne Lip gloss from Heroes Beauty. Another HOF product! By itself or layered over any color it’s absolutely perfect.
  9. Clinique or any travel sized free gift with purchase mascara that doesn’t smudge or give me pink eye.
  10. Eyeliner/eyebrow pencil from NYX. I adore combo products that actually do what they say and this one fits the bill. Not too creamy or waxy and it’s long-lasting.
  11. Bare Minerals Powder Brush. It’s the perfect size to apply bronzer, highlighter and powder foundation.

I also carry a smaller Ipsy bag with a toothbrush/paste, mints, bobby pins, ponytail holders, travel sized dry hair spray, hand sanitizer and Wet Ones. Not exactly exciting products but definitely needed for beauty upkeep or emergencies. And always keep a pair of tweezers on you! There is nothing worse than checking yourself in your rearview mirror and seeing a 2 inch long chin hair. UGH!!!

So that’s the Dark Side edition of “What’s in my makeup bag?”  I’m going on vacation soon, let’s see how much I pack for a 4 day getaway!

I would love to hear what my Dark Side Devotees have in their portable beauty arsenals.  Feel free to share in the comments below!20759449_267510000402768_485000587671240704_n

Beauty Q & A


Laugh it up fuzzball!

Janet is having issues with her disagreeable eyebrows.

I know exactly what she’s going through!  The only thing that helped me from looking like a Wookie was having my brows professionally shaped.  Almost every hair salon has a stylist that can do this and they will know exactly what shape is best for your face.  It’s the best extra money you can spend on yourself.  Keep in mind that you must regularly keep up with the maintenance, aka tweezin’. 2232066 Check that brow bone daily for any stray hairs.  Starting with the proper brow shape makes filling in any sparse areas or gray hairs so much easier. A light touch is best and I swear by brow pencils from IT

ybf (1)

YBF brow pencil

Cosmetics, Benefit, YBF (found on HSN and a wonderful, fun line) and the brow kit from Milani.

Thank you for trusting me with your beauty conundrum, you have now officially crossed over to the Dark Side!

My First Luxury Purchase

At the ripe old age of 13, I decided to confront my mother. I was a teenager now and it was high time I looked like one. I deserved something more than Cover Girl or even worse Artmatic from my local D & K store. I wanted to go to the cosmetics counter at Kaufmann’s, which (at the time) was the Mecca for high-end makeup, jewelry, and fashion here in Beaver County, PA. To my wonderful surprise, my mother said yes! So armed with $25, off to the Rochester Kaufmann’s I went.

No one in the beauty department paid any attention to this newly-teenaged Diva in training.  I freely browsed each counter and gawked at Clinique, Estee Lauder, Adrienne Arpel, Shiseido, Ultima II, Clarins and more.  I picked up products, sniffed them, swatched them to my heart’s content for what seemed like an entire day. So what did I chose?

shiseidoAfter much contemplation, I finally decided on a beautiful lipstick from Shiseido called Bermuda Bronze. It was the most-perfect combination of bronze, nude and gold. I was so proud making this purchase, getting my very own Kaufmann’s bag. And when I got it home, I wore it constantly with blue Maybelline eyeshadow and lilac Cover Girl blush. I felt at least 16 years old when I wore my Shiseido lipstick. For the first time I truly understood the power of makeup, which still has me under its spell 3+ decades later. Funny enough, Bermuda Bronze has been my one and only Shiseido product, but I feel a trip to Sephora can easily rectify this!

P.S.  My second luxury product was a bottle full of liquid green color corrector from Ultima II. It made my face so shiny and oily it was horrifying. And it didn’t cover a stitch of redness. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of working with the Beauty Advisor who sold me this product. Although in her 70’s, she still had gorgeous skin and remembered that exact product I had bought. This seasoned pro will never forget that feeling of purchasing a luxury brand for the first time. Again, the power of makeup!july 17


Summer 2017 WalMart Beauty Box

It’s that time again! Just received my Summer WalMart Beauty Box. This season’s theme is “Radiate Your Beauty. You are a force to be reckoned with.”  Isn’t it ironic?  Here’s what I got for the $5 shipping fee.

WMart beauty box

5ml of Palmer’s Coconut Oil Facial Moisturizer. No parabens, mineral oil, glutens, dyes or sulfates. I’ll be interested to see how it does under makeup during the humid Western Pennsylvania summer!

1ml of Palmer’s Coconut Oil Luminous Hydration Facial Oil. Same “No’s” as above. I’m a huge fan of facial oils, love to use them as my last step of night time skin care. They can also be used to salvage hard, dried up cosmetics. This product has 9 natural oils in it:  extra virgin coconut, Tahitian monoi, sweet almond, macadamia, argan, grapeseed, maracuja, sunflower, apricot and sesame. Same concerns as above – Western PA summers are not always a girl’s best friend.

5 count package of Pond’s Original Fresh Makeup Removing Towelettes. These are a cult favorite of several You Tube beauty gurus that I follow constantly. I cannot wait to try these, but I’m putting them aside for my vacation. They’re going right in my beauty train case.

5ml of ROC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest, Neck and Face Cream. I’m way late on the Retinoid bandwagon, so this is an excellent way to try it. I even convinced my Mom to give me her sample!

1.7oz of Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner. Pantene products can go either way for me, but it’s a nice, convenient size that is also going in my train case. If my hair falls out on vacation I’ll have no one to blame but myself!

1oz of Banana Boat Dry Balance Sunscreen lotion. I’m taking this to Lake Erie soon. It says it has a soft matte finish, 80 minutes water resistant and skin breathes easily. As important as sunscreen is (the MOST important beauty product in the history of beauty products) it can be a pain to find one that doesn’t irritate your skin or make you break out. I have high hopes for this as Banana Boat is a well-respected brand.

You truly cannot go wrong with these Walmart boxes. It’s nothing fancy or high end but well worth the $5 price tag. The sizes are large enough to give you ample time to test them out to see how they are going to work for you.  They ship four times a year and are all seasonally based. I definitely recommend giving these a try!

Dearly beloved…I miss you dreadfully!

There are literally millions of products out there in the beauty galaxy. But do you ever wax nostalgic about the ones that got away? I have several that I miss dreadfully, all for various reasons – melancholy feelings, Christmas morning memories, beautiful scents and soft skin, 90’s pop stars. Here are five products that tug at my heartstrings, proving that yes, even Darths have a heart!

Touch Me and Try To Leave Me Cream by Benefit

This is NOT the revamped Bathina version (that has also been discontinued). This was the original formulation in a white jar with pink lettering. At the time it was $24 which was quite pricey back then but oh-so worth it. Beautifully soft scented, extravagantly rich, a little went a long way. When Benefit changed it with the introduction of the Bathina line, I was heartbroken. It was not the same cream at all. I touched it, but unfortunately I left.

Aroma Calm by LancômeAroma_Calm

I can still see the extraordinary purple glass bottle that this fragrance came in. When I started buying it in 2000, it was (gasp!) $50. When I think really hard, I can still smell the floral, musky scent:  rose, but not your Great Aunt Ethel’s kind of rose. You can find fake reproductions on Amazon but they are over $100 and not the same at all. When my Lancôme BA found out it was being discontinued, she called me and said she hid the last two bottles at the counter for me. A sad day indeed.

1006Ten-O-Six Lotion by Bonne Bell

If you were a teenager growing up in the late 70’s or early 80’s you got a Ten-O-Six gift pack for Christmas. The centerpiece was this brown, softly scented, deep-cleaning lotion for your pores. We used this before we were introduced to Sea Breeze. It had me dreaming of blemish-free skin like the models in Seventeen magazine. If my memory serves me correct, you got the lotion, a lip smacker, a shower gel, moisturizer and I believe a bar of soap that looked like present day Neutrogena. It wasn’t Christmas morning until I unwrapped this gift set!

electric youthElectric Youth Lip Gloss by Revlon

Yep, Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth. I wasn’t a fan of the fragrance but I loved her and the peach shade of lip gloss that launched at the same time. It had a great applicator, came in a totally rad neon green and pink tube and my hair stuck to it every time I wore it. I didn’t even have to be outside for it to get all over my hair. It was thick, goopey and I looked fantastic wearing it while shopping at the County Seat drinking an Orange Julius. Funny side bar here…  I saw “Deborah” Gibson in concert years ago. Someone in the audience yelled “We love you Tiffany!!!” She never missed a foolish beat and started singing Only in My Dreams.


tinkTinkerbell Cosmetics

Ok, this is all melancholy for me right now. One of my earliest, most vivid memories of getting beauty products for Christmas was this boxed sets of Tinkerbell goodies. The watery, pink hand lotion that smelled just like baby powder. The pink peel off nail polish, waxy lipstick, and perfume that was all alcohol. And in the most fantastic plastic pink and yellow bottles! When I turned 10, I was allowed to graduate to Love’s Baby Soft and I never looked back. The Dark Side was slowly beginning to evolve.

Ah, now I’m feeling all sappy. I need to go put on my Andy Gibb records, read the latest Shaun Cassidy gossip in Tiger Beat magazine while eating a Jell-O pudding pop and drinking a Tab. But don’t tell anyone or else I’ll have to use my lightsaber on you!