necessary nothings

by corinne iaia

This month I've discovered quite a few new products in the skincare and haircare categories that I just can't get enough of. I absolutely love skincare and have really learned which products my skin responds best to over the past year or two, so it's easy to cherry-pick what will work. 

The Oribe skin and body care ranges are something that I've been loving lately, and after a longtime love affair with their haircare products, it's no surprise. The Cote D'Azur Restorative Body Crème is intensive and rich, but also smells heavenly. If you're a fan of the brand's Dry Texturizing Spray, you will think you've reached body lotion nirvana when you smell this cream. I've been relying on it to get my skin back into shape now that we've had nicer weather. For face, the Oribe Radiant Drops Golden Face Oil creates an envy-inducing glow that's perfect for days when you want to go light on makeup. I like that this one is deeply nourishing, and doesn't just disappear completely when you apply it; you can feel that it's truly doing its job. At nighttime, the Oribe Night Ceremony Ultra Rich Cream provides an overnight skin-boosting treatment that helps my skin to look more rested and smooth. I love the bouncy, fresh texture that it has, and how it doesn't leave my skin feeling like I'm wearing any heavy layers. 

There's also the Darphin Intral Air Mousse Cleanser, which is a new favorite product from a long-time favorite brand. This soft, airy cleanser wipes away all impurities and makeup with ease and leaves my skin feeling clean, hydrated and soothed. 

As for a product that I've been loving using as an instant fix, the Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer has fast become a staple in my everyday routine. I love that this blurs imperfections, but does so in a way that doesn't leave a thick film overtop the skin. Instead, it glides over blemishes and pores while hydrating lightly, providing the perfect canvas on which to apply makeup.

In the haircare department, the Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner is a strange but amazing product that I've become completely addicted to as of late. At first I didn't quite understand how it worked, but it's really quite simple. It's designed to be used in conjunction with dry shampoo, or on its own to detangle and soften dry hair between washes. Just a light spray of this through the mid-lengths of the hair gives a just-washed clean feeling and a soft, swishy texture. I am obsessed

Have you tried any of these products yet?

*pr samples included. 
Lip products are one of my favorite ways to have fun with makeup. It's easy to add a pop of color to the lips without overdoing it on the rest of your makeup, and I especially love bolder colors done in matte finishes. It can, however, be difficult to find a good matte lip color that lasts, but doesn't dry out your lips or look overdone in broad daylight. In my opinion, certain makeup trends are best kept to instagram selfies, but luckily, Burberry's new Liquid Lip Velvet isn't one of them.

These matte liquid lip colors pack a serious pigment punch, but still manage to glide over the lips feeling like plush velvet. The color can be worn more full on, or blended into the lips for a stain that lasts all day. I love using these for both purposes, and love how either way, they don't create a dry, tight, or overdone look that so many liquid lipsticks can. Think of these as next generation liquid lip colors.

If you're a fan of Burberry makeup, you already know how well they nail color ranges when it comes to their products; each shade is wearable and classic, yet still unique. The three shown here are Oxblood, Bright Plum and Fawn, all of which are stunning. I love Fawn for an everyday nude, as it looks gorgeous blended into the lips for a barely there finish, while Bright Plum and Oxblood create bolder statements, but also look amazing as brighter stains.

Have you tried these yet?

*pr samples included.
I know that with the amount of products on the market it can be quite (okay, very) difficult to decipher which will end up being the best for you. And, it's not exactly efficient to spend until we do discover the one. That's why when I come across a product makes me scratch my head and wonder, "where have you been all my life", I know I have to share.

Needless to say, that is exactly how I felt when I tried out the Artis brushes for the first time recently. I know you're thinking, she's awfully late to the party...but that only means if you haven't tried them yet so are you. 😬

I know that these look awfully intimidating (toothbrushes for your face, anyone?), but I swear, they are the exact opposite. These are absolutely amazing and blend every single type of product into the skin like for a silken effect. It's mind-boggling how you can dip them into powders, liquids, creams, and even glosses and then glide them across their respective application zones with ease.

The soft fibers are densely packed and don't eat up endless product (I'm looking at you Beauty Blender) and I actually enjoy applying my foundation again now that I am using these. My skin looks fresher, my makeup looks more natural and blended - I can't believe what a difference these make.

So, what are you waiting for? Invest in a few of these and you won't be sorry. My favorites are the Elite Mirror 3 Brush Set and the Palm Brush.

I am in love.
With the spring weather finally rolling in, we're all stuck wondering how on Earth we're going to get back our summer glow. It's been missing for what feels like ages (and probably was ages), but I must say that there are a few products that can get the job done in much less time than a whole summer. The best way to get glowing quickly is...

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad - I'll admit, it would usually be hard to convince me to use self-tanning products on my face. I'm not one who can pull off an overly bronzed look very easily; but these exfoliating wipes smooth the skin's surface while adding a light dose of healthy color. When I need to look alive and well rested - like I just got back from a quick trip to the tropics - I will use one of these. Trust me, all girls should keep these stocked for emergency situations.

Oribe Radiant Drops - This golden face oil gives the skin just what you'd expect it to - a quick hit of intensive moisture that is instantly absorbed into the skin but provides lasting effects. When I need my skin to glow, I use a healthy few drops of this oil before bed and wake up with plumper, healthier looking skin.

Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Cream - There's nothing that takes away a glow quite like tired eyes. This eye cream by Tata Harper is one of my absolute favorites, because, not only does it moisturize - it also gives a dewy luminous look to the area. Talk about an instant fix!

Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist - I'm always one who loves a face mist for revitalizing. This vitamin packed one from Pixi includes a bevy of brightening vitamins for a great pick-me-up mid day. I like to use it before and after makeup for an extra natural, awakened look.

Would you try these steps to bring back that healthy warm-weather look?
Something I know we can all agree on is that there's nothing quite like a good cocktail after a long week (or day). While I'm all for a good craft beer or a glass of wine (my favorite), there's just something about a slightly more complex drink recipe that makes you feel a bit more satisfied. From simple spritzers to more complex drinks, here are the links to some of my all-time favorite tried and true cocktail recipes from around the web. Get mixin'!
  1. Chambord Kir Royale - Simple, classic and refreshing. I've always been a fan of bubbly drinks and this one is a fan-favorite. If you're having company and strapped for time, try making a batch of these...nobody will know it took you just five minutes. 
  2. The French Gimlet - St. Germain is one of the most delicious liqueurs out there, and this fruity-floral martini is enough to get you going, but makes for easy sipping. This is one of my go-to martinis. 
  3. St-Rita - An elderflower margarita...what more do I need to say? Try this for a unique take on a St. Germain cocktail.
  4. Blue Moon - No, not the beer. This is a really delicious, almost candy-like drink that involves violet liqueur and gin. This liqueur seems to be making a comeback in the craft-cocktail world and I'm all about it. 
  5. Bailey's Chocolatini - OMG. This tastes just like dessert in a glass and should be drank as such. It's such a yummy treat, but be warned...they go down easy.
  6. Mango Peach Sangria - Light and easy, this sangria is perfect for summertime sippin'. I love making this for a group, as it's an easy large-batch cocktail that only tastes better the longer it sits throughout the day (and the more glasses you've consumed). 
  7. La Señorita - If you haven't read the blog Kitchy Kitchen, you're missing out on some seriously yummy recipes and crazy-good food inspo. But, it's not just her eats you'll want to check out. This girl whips up some seriously unique (and delicious) cocktails that I've come to love. This rose water-mezcal recipe is my current favorite.
  8. Rosemary Spiked Lemonade - This is reasonably easy to make and uses ingredients you most likely already have on hand in your liquor cabinet and fridge. It's yummy and refreshing...who doesn't love lemons and vodka?
  9. Berry Breeze - This berry-lime combo is to-die-for and a perfect year round cocktail. 
  10. Lychee Martini - I know, it seems as though I'm on a fruit kick, but I told you I liked it sweet and refreshing. This fruit has a unique, addictive flavor that pairs perfectly with vodka.
What's your favorite drink recipe? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
When it comes to new products, I'll admit I've become a bit of a creature of habit. What exactly do I mean by this? The more I have gotten to know certain brands, the more I have grown to love almost all of their new releases. I know well enough to ignore releases in certain product categories that I don't tend to use; but when they release something in a category that's up my street it heads straight to the "try right now" pile and into my current routine. After testing the above products for a few weeks, I can safely say that they have earned permanent spots in my routine. I am absolutely smitten with...

Sisley Phyto-Blush Twist - You know my love for Sisley's makeup is real, so I wasn't surprised that these were also incredible. Stick-like makeup always wins in my book, for obvious reasons, but it was the formula that won me over here. The consistency of these blush sticks is dreamy; they are creamy and apply impactful at first, but can be easily sheered out or built up, and the texture becomes powdery after it sets, but remains invisible. Yes, it's Sisley. So, yes, it's quite pricey - but these are worth it. I'd say...go for Fuschia, and if you're feeling extra ambitious, their highlighter shade, Glow, too. 

Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo - Hourglass can do no wrong in my book; I've yet to try something from this innovative brand that I don't like. I do, however, feel that they were lacking in variety of lip colors...but much to my delight they recently launched these creamy, smoothing twist up lipsticks. I love the way that the bullet is shaped, as it nixes the need for a matching liner, but also, the shade range is on point. Click that link and see for yourself 😉.

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex - My skin is beginning to love products that are chock-full of naturally delicious ingredients. This silky oil is no exception. My skin drinks this stuff up the same way I finish my wine on a Friday evening after a long week. The morning after I use this, I notice a true different in the softness and radiance of my skin. It's all around brighter, smoother, and plumped...and it doesn't hurt that Tata promises 100% natural everything in her amazing line.

Darphin Hydraskin Eye Refresh Gel Cream - Darphin is hands-down one of my most trusted skincare brands. I go to them when my skin needs help, and this little tube of eye cream delivered what it promised, too. I love the lightweight, cooling gel texture of this eye cream, and that it helps to smooth and depuff the undereye area like nothing else. I am already addicted, I swear to you.

Colorescience Tint Du Soleil Protective Foundation - This creamy, almost-whipped sunscreen infused foundation formula manages to feel both lightweight and hydrating, yet provides some amazing coverage. I like that it can be worn more naturally - in a sheer, light layer - or built up - for more serious coverage. As I get older, I worry more and more about sun protection, and with an SPF 30 already in my makeup, that's one less thing to think about!

Y Et Beauté Lipstick in Tranquille - Looking at this ultra-luxe lipstick, would you ever guess that it was made with completely organic ingredients? I love its sleek, black packaging and the satisfying click it produces when closed...but I love what's inside even more. The scent is incredible and reminds me of vanilla frosting, and the texture is smooth and ultra-pigmented. I love the pink-rose hue of Tranquille, but I'm dying to try a few other shades as well. Check them out...these aren't to be missed!
Red lips can be the hardest beauty bit to conquer. But...when they're done right and worn with confidence they can have the same effect of a little black dress. Classic red lips never go out of style, which is why I've compiled a list of five favorites for all occasions...whether black tie, or everyday.

1) FOR THE IT-GIRL - It's all about the Sisley Phyto Lip Twist Matte in 18. This gorgeous blue-toned red is a true Parisian red and looks chic in all the right ways. I love that it has a hint of moisture, but manages to be budge and shine-free. It's the perfect compliment to Breton stripes and a leather jacket.

2) FOR THE NATURALIST - Reach for the Tata Harper Tinted Lip Treatment in Be Adored. I love this sheer wash of color with impact. It's the perfect 'just ate fresh berries' lip look with all the comfort of a nourishing all-natural balm.

3) FOR THE MAKEUP-MAVEN - Try out Clinique Pop Matte in Ruby Pop. This is a fun, punchy red with just the right amount of pink pull to brighten the entire face. If you're up for trendy beauty looks...this one is a must try.

4) FOR SERIOUS IMPACT - Swipe on Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Notorious in 408. It doesn't get any more full on red than this gorgeous creamy matte lipstick. It's nondrying but seriously intense in the pigment department, which is why Lip Maestros reign supreme when it comes to bright colors. But, this is one of those reds that everyone needs in their lives.

5) FOR THE COLOR-SHY - Give the One Over One Lip Oil in Scarlet Bloom a whirl. My pick for a hint of red that's everyday appropriate. I'd be comfortable wearing this one to the office, but I'd also feel like it's enough of a look for evening too. It also goes without saying that this lustrous oil creates a full-looking pout and provides hours of hydration.

What is your favorite way to wear a red lip?

*pr samples included.
Does anyone else find that somehow when you actually need a product on-the-go, that somehow all you have on you is a basic lipbalm? I have always been that person. I own more products than a normal person would encounter over the course of an entire lifetime, yet, don't have what I need when I need it. So, over the past few months I've devoted a pouch inside my bag to holding my essential beauty products. You know, for those just in case moments. I rarely touch up my makeup throughout the day, but when I have to be somewhere on short notice, I'm ready with these:

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex - Just like they say, it's like a vitamin for the face. Have you ever looked at your makeup midway through the day and just felt like your skin looks parched? This is exactly where this product comes in. I'll roll some into my palms and press it into my skin to reawaken and energize my skin. It also makes for a great skincare treat when you find yourself on-the-go and without a proper moisturizer...

By Terry Rouge Expert Click Stick in Bare Me - A hydrating, yet matte nourishing lip color in the best nude shade I've come across in quite some time. I love the way this clicks up as you go, so you're always getting a fresh bit of color. It's also perfectly shaped so that you can define and color in just one swipe.

Byredo Rose of No Man's Land Travel Spray - I purchased a set of these Byredo travel sprays last year, and I they are the best for travel. I am currently having a moment with Rose of No Man's Land; it's an amazing winter rose with a hit of pepper and fresh green notes. 

RMS Uncover Up - Coconut oil based cover up = the ultimate refresh. While I use powder to set my t-zone after I apply my foundation in the morning, I'm not one for adding extra layers throughout the day. This does the job of adding coverage where I need it without looking like makeup.

Aerin Beauty Cool Gel Eyeliner in 02 Essential Brown - I sort of "shopped my stash" a month ago and discovered this again. I'm absolutely in love with the cool brown shade that's flecked with a hint of metallic (no glitter) shine...not to mention it lasts all day without smudging. This is the ultimate product for amping up a look to make it evening appropriate in just a few seconds.

*pr samples included.
It always takes much longer than I'd like to get my travel diary posts up, quite honestly because the longer I wait, the harder it gets to remember the names of restaurants and specific places that I want to recommend. Luckily, this time I took notes so that I could share my top picks with you all when I returned. On the fourth day in Ireland we decided to devote more time to see the best of what Dublin had to offer. By the end of Day 2, we had already fallen in love with this easy-to-navigate city and couldn't wait to see more and spend an afternoon soaking up the atmosphere of the pubs and session music. 

We started out the day making our way toward St. Patrick's Cathedral, the national Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, making it the largest as well. It was quite a stunning church with richly colored tile floors displaying Celtic motifs. We spent some time reading about the church's history (which I'd recommend doing if you're at all interested in Irish history) and admiring the stunning architecture and massive size of the vaulted ceilings. We decided afterward to head straight for St. Stephen's Green, which is probably Dublin's most famous park. The park was absolutely stunning and so green - even in the dead of winter - something we don't experience too much of in Connecticut. The park is actually situated right at the end (or beginning, maybe?) of Grafton Street, a major shopping street filled with stunning storefronts and restaurants. We found a cozy spot called Lemon & Duke and sat down for a few drinks and lunch. If you find yourself in the area, this restaurant definitely gets my vote! 

We wandered the city a bit more, weaving in and out of alleyways and purposely getting lost just so that we could see the most possible. Somehow, our wanderings *conveniently* landed us right back in Temple Bar in time for some of the session bands to start. We popped into Temple Bar (yes, the bar is named that as well) and were lucky enough to find to seats right near the band by chance. In such a crowded and popular bar, we were lucky and happily sat down with two pint to enjoy the music. I do have to say that the atmosphere in these pubs is just incredible; people from all over the world are dancing, singing, and drinking together and everyone seems so...happy. It's a nice change from the ordinary and a great place to take advantage of the conversation to learn a bit more about your surroundings - and even pick up some more recommendations. 

We popped into a few more pubs in the neighborhood and then headed to Pheonix Park back by our hotel to watch the sunset. Once there, we climbed atop the Wellington Monument and enjoyed the views over the rolling green hills and the city. Once it got dark we headed back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner. We ate at a great and really authentic pub called FX Buckley's, another place that I would recommend at least for a drink. 

Have you been to any of the restaurants or places I've mentioned? What was your favorite?
In the midst of all the overdone makeup tutorials on YouTube, another movement has emerged...and it's popularity only seems to grow as time passes; natural beauty. Of course, this isn't the first you've heard of this trend or idea in general, but it's something that has become easier to create thanks to the bevy of product releases in the past few years that help us to achieve the whole 'me, but better' look right. This look is all about being fresh, glowing and a just a generally more polished version of yourself. Here are some of my standby products that I'm always reaching for to achieve this...

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz - Like a swipe of dew, this stick highlighter is easy to apply and moisturizing thanks to an oil-based core. You'll never have to worry about a chalky, flaky shimmer ever again.

Guerlain So Volume Maxi Lash Mascara - interesting name, great product. This mascara is intense, yet never leaves a flake, clump, or smudge in sight. It is the ultimate your lash but better product, but I also love that it can be layered up if you're into a more intense lash look.

One Over One Cream Color in Alizarin Rose - These cream color duos come in a few shade combinations, but I love this shade in particular for its ability to add a touch of pink to the cheeks and a bit of bronze to the hollows for a naturally sculpted and blushed look.

Giorgio Armani Eye Tints - Any and all neutral shades in this range are essentials for a naturally-enhanced look. The formula is easy to apply - just dot on lids and smudge with fingers and this creamy shadow stays put all day.

*pr samples included.

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