July 29, 2014
SEVILLE, SPAIN PHOTO DIARY - PART 2

SEVILLE, SPAIN PHOTO DIARY - PART 2


Carriages in Parque de Maria Luisa


Plaza de Espana


Outer wall of the Royal Alcazar 


Largest Gothic Altar at the Cathedral of Seville


Courtyard of the Orange Trees at the Cathedral of Seville 


View from La Giralda 


Lights after a celebration in Triana


Inside the Plaza de Toros 


Torre del Oro 


I got a bit 'snap happy' while I was away and I wanted to share the second half of my photo diary to follow up on Sunday's post. I pulled key monuments and photos that I feel think really capture the vibe and ambiance of this city laden with bright colors, lush greenery, rich history, and unique architecture. Of course, being back to the swing of things at home - blah - I am more appreciative of the beauty and inspiring feeling that these photos bring to me now. Every time my family travels I tend to play the role of paparazzi; following them around with my large lensed camera snapping both posed-for and awkward candid moments, all of which offer wonderful memories after time passes. 

My favorite spots in the city of Seville were the Plaza de Espana and the Royal Alcazar which were both unlike anything I have seen elsewhere in Europe. The Royal Alcazar was built by the same architect that constructed the Alhambra in Granada, which explains why it was done in an almost entirely Islamic style. If you ever plan a visit here, I also recommend exploring the side streets that branch off of the square where the Cathedral is located, as we discovered some seriously delicious traditional restaurants off the beaten path. Yay for Tapas and 'Cupa' Sangria...which I plan to replicate at home sometime soon. Do you feel a Spanish themed night coming on? I do.
July 28, 2014
MY SPANISH MAKEUP BAG

MY SPANISH MAKEUP BAG


Now that I am back from beautiful Spain - and not too thrilled about it - I thought I would give you a peek into what makeup made the journey with me. I love packing for trips, especially when it comes to makeup products; clothes are another story. I'm sure I don't need to tell you twice that my collection of products is not lacking in any which way, making it both fun and difficult to pick what should go with me and what should stay. I have a tendency to overpack in the beauty department - you know - three foundations, ten eyeshadow pans - just many unnecessary options. This time I decided there wasn't a need for an overflowing bag of colors that wouldn't get touched and opted for items that I know would get me through any situation, or weather, that may arise. 

For Face // In terms of bases there is one in particular that I always know I can count on for a light, skin-like coverage that offers lasting complexion and sun protection. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua is one of very few foundations that I have repurchased a multitude of times after loving it to the last drop. This has never caused me any skin woes and I love the way that it looks just like my natural skin but fresher. To keep my foundation staying in place even longer I brought along my Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour for setting and keeping things matte in the hot and humid Spanish sun. I also love this powder because it works really well in photographs, making the skin look glowy without the slick - always a bonus! I also brought along my trusty Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (surprise, surprise) to combat jet lag induced under eye bags and blemishes. The missing ingredients of a vacation worthy complexion, of course, were the highlight, bronzer, and blush - all of which fit snugly side by side in my beloved Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette. I have posted about its travel friendly packaging before and I stand by what I said. Bring this little guy and you will need nothing else. 

For Eyes // I have to say I am quite proud of my choices in the eye category of my travel makeup bag. I knew I had to put down odd colors and go for something easy to use and neutral toned, packaged in a sleek and small case. Well, ladies, look no further than the Clinique All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette. This sleek palette contains all your neutral eye needs and the formula blends like a dream, making these colors perfect for day and nighttime wear. I found myself using the shade third from left as well as the gorgeous taupe fourth from right on constant rotation all week and was pleasantly surprised at their longevity. I brought two different eyeliner options; the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner for a fierce cat eye look and one more suitable for day time, the Nars Eye Paint in Baalbek, a beautiful blackened bronze. I also tossed in a gorgeous cream shadow in a champagne shimmer shade, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Sugar Frost which worked wonders as an inner corner highlight. And of course...what would all this be without defined lashes? I'm currently loving the Maybelline Rocket Mascara for uber lengthy, flirty lashes sans clumps. 

For Lips // A girl's gotta have her lip color options and I have to say I brought the perfect amount for my trip. In terms of lipsticks I thought it would be best to stay away from colors that I would only slick on once like reds, so I brought MAC Lipstick in Patisserie and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Saga, which was a bit of a perkier neutral pink. I tossed in my favorite browny nude lip color, Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Whisper Beige , which is a lipstick/gloss hybrid and provides long lasting shine and moisture to the lips. The only punchy toned lippie that made the cut was the Nars Lip Gloss in Priscilla, a hot pink that looks amazing with a tan and dabbed on the lips for a cute, "I just drank fruit punch" effect. Aaand of course, where in the world would I go without my Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfecter - you guessed right - nowhere. This is a balm/gloss hybrid that gives a juicy hit of color and smells like vanilla cupcakes - need I say more?

All these products fit snugly in my Sephora Mesh Travel Makeup Bag perfectly. What did you guys pack for your Summer holidays? Are there any must-haves you are dying to share?
July 27, 2014
SEVILLE, SPAIN PHOTO DIARY - PART 1

SEVILLE, SPAIN PHOTO DIARY - PART 1


 Courtyard at our hotel - Alfonso XIII Seville


Hotel Alfonso XIII


Interior Courtyard at the Royal Alcazar (Game of Thrones filming location for upcoming season)


Gardens of the Royal Alcazar 


 Tapas in Triana


Plaza de Toros - Spain's oldest bullfighting arena


Plaza de Espana in Parque de Maria Luisa


In case you haven't been following my Instagram account (@necessarynothings) I have been in Spain for the last ten days. I travelled with my family - my Dad, Mom, and younger brother Nick and stayed in Seville, Spain at the Hotel Alfonso XIII. While in Southern Spain we also travelled to Granada and Cadiz, Europe's oldest city, and we had amazing (hot!!) weather and a wonderfully relaxing time aided by endless pitchers of Sangria. I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took while I was away give you some insight into what I enjoy doing that is unrelated to beauty. Of course, I will also be showing you what makeup and skincare products I lugged along with me to Europe, and how I managed to fit it all into one bag. Points for me!!

The above photos start out with my Hotel, which I would highly recommend if you are to ever travel to Seville, as it was a stunner, and take you through a few memorable moments of my first few days in this beautiful city. I have to say the gardens throughout the city were a sight of their own - uber lush and vibrant - those of the Parque de Maria Luisa, Plaza de Espana, and the Palace of the Royal Alcazar being some of my favorites. My one complaint from this entire trip is relating to the bullfight I attended for all of twenty minutes ( I couldn't bare to watch) which was shear animal cruelty and torture and I hope that this so called "sport" will see its final days soon. I won't go into details but I love animals and this was not a pleasant or enjoyable sight to see - I'll admit I stormed out of the arena in a fit of tears begging the guard to open the doors for me so that I could leave. Other than that, I have nothing but love for this city and fond memories of all it's splendid colors and cocktail flooded siestas. 
July 15, 2014
ALL GONE

ALL GONE


Hi, my name is Corinne and I am a self-proclaimed product addict (hi, Corinne). While it has its perks, like being able to try out new products constantly, it also has its downsides. I rarely ever come to the end of a product because I have so many of each category in use at any given time. What's odd though, is no matter how many fancy products I buy that I am dying to try, there are always certain products that, when missing from the stash, almost make me feel naked. As I was cobbling together this post, I actually felt a strong sense of pride seeing these products come to their end (sad, I know) as it means they were either well loved or at the very least were able to serve some purpose or another. I decided to hold onto them to let you know my thoughts on these items after they were entirely gone because that makes for a pretty solid review, don't cha' think?

Let's get started with cleansers; it was purely by chance that I used up two of my favorite cleansers within the same day. The Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser is a great cleanser for morning or night, packed with skin-loving ingredients and a gentle hit of tingle. Yes, this is a gel cleanser, but I find that with more natural products that is not at all an issue, as it is still soap free and leaves the skin in a fresh and balanced state. The REN ClearCalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser is quite a unique cleanser, that I am definitely sad to see go…and so is my skin. Do not let the product name scare you off as this is one of the most softening and moisturizing clay formulas I am yet to come across, and is perfect for use a few times a week. This is not a drying clay formula, I use it massaged onto dry skin for a minute or two and it leaves the skin feeling amazing and exactly like you have just had a facial.

A few haircare bits made their way into the can as well, including the Agadir Argan Oil Daily Volumizing Shampoo. I usually don't stray from my normal shampoo, but noticed the consistency had almost had an adverse affect on my hair, so switched it up to this sulfate free formula. For reference, I have super thick hair that tends to fall flat at the roots because of its weight and this did help with volume a bit, however, other than that I honestly feel that it is a bit expensive for being such a basic product. My hair also tends to go oily only 24 hours after it has been washed so I do like to keep dry shampoos handy like this Tresemme Fresh Start one. This is one of those 'it does what it says on the tin' products but I did find it to leave a tad too much white residue post spritz for my liking. 

While I had hit pan on my Nars Laguna bronzer about a month ago, I have since been scraping the last bits out of the corners like it was gold. I love this stuff - the perfect shade of blendable tan -  I am no doubt due for a repurchase. Another item that was great until gone was the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara, as it gave my lashes amazing volume right down to the root without ever being clumpy. The last item that I used up was a fragrance, Miss Dior Cherie, which has honestly been sitting atop my vanity forever.  I loved this scent like crazy when I first purchased it - but I found I was struggling to use up the bottle because it now seems too heavy and sickly sweet for my liking. I think things ended between Miss Cherie and I long ago…Au Revior 

Have you guys used up any noteworthy items recently? If you have opinions on the products I used up let's chat! 
July 14, 2014
BEST OF THE FRENCH PHARMACY

BEST OF THE FRENCH PHARMACY


I was having a poke around my skincare stash this weekend while attempting to pick out items to pack for my trip to Spain this week. I am leaving Thursday and working up until pretty much the last hour  - woe is me. Time is obviously of the essence here, but I was a bit sidetracked when I noticed that a good portion of some of my all time favorite products come from the French pharmacy. I know that it is now considered 'trendy' to use French brands in your skincare routine, but that trend developed from the fact that many of these products work skin wonders without costing you your rent money. Marketing BS aside, these brands offer products covering all matters of skin issues so there is really something for everyone. Here are some of my favorites:

From Avene // One of the most simple and effective cleansers out there, Avene Cleanance, is a soap free gel cleanser that is gentle enough for all skin types and removes makeup without leaving the skin tight or dry. Avene also makes great and simple moisturizers that are perfect for sensitive skin - my favorite is the Skin Recovery Cream. This is one of those products that  leaves the skin super happy and balanced with just the right amount of moisture. I also reach for the Avene Cold Cream on a regular basis, which is a lip balm in a white pearlescent stick form. It leaves the lips with a bit of a sheen and keeps them hydrated which is a plus.

From Nuxe // This brand is another one of those French girl beauty secrets, as they use a lot of honey in their products which is great for a balanced complexion. Their lip balms are absolute essentials for me; the Nuxe Reve de Miel is a cult product that is both rich, creamy, and matte at the same time. I love sleeping in this lip balm for an intensive moisturizing treatment for lips, not to mention it smells like oranges and honey. I also have the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm in the stick form for tossing in my bag anytime I'm on the go. Another favorite from this line is the Nuxe Aroma-Perfection Anti-Imperfection Care, which is a skin tone perfecting moisturizing and mattifying fluid that I love using under my makeup in the morning. 

From La Roche Posay // This is one of my go to brands when I need a quick fix for something, as they have a solution for just about every skin woe without ever being too harsh. Two items that I always keep on hand are the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, for fighting off any pesky blemishes that may plague the complexion, and the La Roche Posay Solution Micellaire Physiologique, to balance out the skin whenever it has had a bad reaction to anything. I would say that this isn't one of those makeup removing miracles of a Micellar solution, but it is a great balancing and soothing toner as it contains glycerin, which my skin loves. 

Extras // My favorite dry shampoo of all time is the Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk which I picked up on a whim in a Parisian pharmacy once and haven't searched for another since. It is really the only one I have come across that restores the bounce completely without feeling heavy or giving that dreaded white scalp effect. Another obvious one to try from the shelves of CityFarma (or dermstore.com) is the Embryolisse cream. This cream has been touted by celebrities, models, and makeup artists alike for its anti-ageing, skin calming, and moisturizing effects. I have found that this is an amazing basic moisturizer that is great for layering on thick for night or even as a makeup primer - kind of a do it all. Love this stuff. 
July 11, 2014
CHANEL LES BEIGES

CHANEL LES BEIGES


It's very rare that Chanel releases a collection that I feel the need to snatch up in its entirety. Now - don't get me wrong - I would love to own all of the Chanel collections that are released, as they are truly gorgeous products encased in swoon-worthy sleek compacts. However, this summer Chanel dropped a unique  collection covering a category, that to me, is much more worthy of a second look. The Les Beiges collection embodies the key components that make up glowing complexion perfection in three foolproof products. If you aren't intrigued yet, Lisa Eldridge partnered with Chanel to give us poor suckers 'private lessons' using the products -and they will get you good

Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid // Chanel says, "Ultra light, sheer color achieves a luminous, healthy-glow makeup result, as it smoothes and evens the complexion." I say, this is a nice summer base to keep in your stocks - it smells fresh, includes SPF, and creates a sheer tint of glowing, dewy coverage that refines the skin texture a bit. This is a great one to wear if you are having a good skin day and just need a little boost, but if you are looking for full or matte coverage then I would recommend spending your dollars elsewhere. The Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet would, perhaps, be a good one to try if that is the case...

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour // Chanel says, "With an effortless touch, this innovative, versatile powder makeup enhances, brightens, or bronzes the complexion for a custom glow." I say, this powder is super-fine milled, and offers a silky, non-chalky dusting of coverage that works great in conjunction with the aforementioned 'fluid.' I love using this to top off the areas that I don't necessarily want too much of a 'healthy glow', as it's still undetectable and skin like. This powder not only melts into the skin, it adds a tiny bit of extra coverage and comes in a compact that is great for on the go touch ups. 

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-Colour // Chanel says, "Lightweight, multi-striped powder offers a palette of effortless effects. Acts as a highlighter, sculpting powder, bronzer, and blush - all with a sheer natural finish." I say, as someone who isn't a fan of most bronzers (Laguna, not included) this is a great powder for adding a beautiful healthy dose of color that has you lookin' like the sun hit you in all the right places. Swirl your brush across all three colors for a peachy-bronzed effect, or use each separately for a highlighter, blush, and sculpting powder in one convenient pan. On a side note, the brush that is included works really nicely with the product, especially for carving cheekbones in tandem with the middle shade. 

Will you be picking up any of these limited edition releases before they're gone? Or is this a skip for you?
July 10, 2014
AN ODE TO DIPTYQUE FRAGRANCES

AN ODE TO DIPTYQUE FRAGRANCES


The creme de la creme of the fragrance world, Diptyque, certainly knows their way to a girls heart. I don't dare count how many instagrammers, pinners, and bloggers have shown the brand love via their photos of aesthetically pleasing flat-lays and vanity shots. The obsession with their candles may even seem a bit overly frivolous and unnecessary, but who can be blamed - the hand-blown glass packaging is just so gawwgeous. I am here, as one of them, to express my adoration for the brands fragrance lineup, and unfortunately for my wallet, I have yet to smell a Diptyque scent that I dislike. However, I have refrained from going too crazy and think I have found my favorite three that will have me smelling amazing year round.

My first venture into the world of Diptyque's fragrances began with a love affair for the wonderfully smokey and warm scent that is Volutes. I touted this scent in a previous post, gushing over its ability to transport you with scents of tobacco and spices that relay a cozy and warm feeling without being too sickly sweet. Volutes is a very unique scent, but very transitional as well; layering it with a light floral or fruity scent makes for a perfect custom fragrance come early fall. 

Philosykos was naturally my second choice when it came to choosing favorites. I love anything to do with figs - eating them, fig scented lotion or shower gel, the tree itself, and fig scented perfume. An old favorite of mine was the Acqua di Parma Fico di Amalfi, which I picked up on my first trip to Italy when I was pretty young. I have to say I'm impressed with the younger version of myself, as fig is quite the acquired taste in scents, and definitely a more mature one. This one by Diptyque is somewhat reminiscent of that, but slightly more refined with a woodier feel and a delicious milky flavor. This is one of those conversation starter scents, and unless you hate fig, I would tell you it is a must have.  A trip to Greece might not be in the cards but this will take you there in spirit…

Last, but certainly not least, is Geranium Odorata. This is certainly the floral lovers pick from the bunch but still is unlike most floral scents I have encountered in the past. It smells of geraniums blossoming in early spring, which is hard to imagine unless you have walked by the crimson clusters yourself. I can describe this to you as a flower that shares similar scent characteristics to that of a rose while leaning a bit more on the masculine side of things (in a good way) with notes of Mediterranean cyprus. You will just have to have a sniff for yourself.

The question that is posed by Diptyque is often in regards to the price of their products, for which I would personally answer - Yes, they are worth it. Save the glass after you use up the product for a beautiful vase or vanity decoration. Post to come on that? I'll get moving...
July 09, 2014
NARS DUAL INTENSITY EYESHADOWS

NARS DUAL INTENSITY EYESHADOWS


I'm sure that you have noticed my everlasting love for Nars products, as they tend to make recurring appearances on this blog. That being said, it appears that my infatuation will only live on thanks to these new Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows. Nars eyeshadow offerings have long been some of my favorites, I always check their seasonal releases and head to their counter when in doubt for buttery, pigmented payoff. This is a release I did not quite see coming, as it is quite unique and definitely something a bit outside the box for Nars, which is really what piqued my interest. That pattern stamped in the shadow didn't hurt either...

Nars recommend that these be used one of two ways; dry for a soft shimmery wash of multi-faceted color, or wet for a more deep, dramatic look. My initial gatherings from these were that they result in a look that is quite similar to that of a cream shadow, but with much more blending power as they don't set as quickly. I picked up the shades Himalia and Phoebe because I find I reach for bronze and purple tones most often to suit my brown eyes. This is one of those products that I really can't fault; I have reached for both of these beauties almost daily ever since their stash induction. They have even replaced the cream shadows that I once touted as my summer favorites, due to both their blendability and ease of application. When applied to the lid and blended into the crease they give a much more smooth gradient than some cream shadows that tend to set before you get the chance to blend enough. I would have to give these a stamp of approval and say run, don't walk to pick up yours. 
July 08, 2014
FIVE WAYS I USE COCONUT OIL

FIVE WAYS I USE COCONUT OIL


A while back I never would have expected myself to be reaching for a jar of coconut oil on an everyday basis, but change is the only constant after all, right? I have always been so into the marketing and look of the packaging when it comes to products that I wouldn't have even glanced in the direction of this miracle worker. Low and behold here I am now, and I wouldn't go back on my decision to venture into the world of the organic and unrefined goodness that is coconut oil. My five favorite ways to dig into my jar are as follows:

1) Eye Makeup Remover // I scoop a quarter size dollop out of the tub and warm it up between my fingers, massaging it into my eye area just as I would any cleansing oil. I then use cotton pads to remove the excess and go in with my regular cleanser afterward to cut any excess grease. This works just as well, if not better, than any cleansing balm or oil and leaves the eye area comfortably moisturized -not to mention it even breaks down the waterproof stuff.

2) Hair Conditioner // I like to use this as a deep conditioning mask for my hair, as it smells amazing and washes out better than any other natural oil I have tried. Set aside a bit of time for this, as the results tend to be better when left on for an hour or two. I smooth this on my hair avoiding the direct root area (only because I have oily hair), let it sit for an hour, and then hop in the shower to rinse it out and shampoo. With continued use, coconut oil really helps to alleviate frizz.

3) Natural Shaving Cream // Slather this on your legs in the shower (don't stand directly under water) and shave as usual. It leaves an amazing scent as well as deeply moisturizes your legs, which is especially great for summer.

4) Intensive Moisturizer // Dry elbows, knees, and cuticles vanish with a small slathering of coconut oil. I have noticed a major improvement in the areas with continued use - especially nails. I am no scientist but I believe the high percentage of lauric acid in coconut oil also helps to lighten discolored nail beds, at least, it has had this effect on me.

5) Facial Scrub // Coconut oil is not only an emollient, but also a carrier oil. It is a great base for making a homemade facial mask or scrub, but seeing as I have oily/combination skin, I usually opt for a scrub. Essential oils usually need diluting before applying directly to skin, so a drop or two of your favorites into a bowl of coconut oil mixed with some brown sugar makes for quite an amazing skin treat.

Do you use coconut oil for anything other than these five purposes?
July 07, 2014
MY CONCEALER WARDROBE

MY CONCEALER WARDROBE


Banish bags, bumps, and bruises with this well rounded array of concealers. When it comes to my makeup bag concealer is item that, when missing, can single handedly cause me anxiety. I cannot go anywhere without some form of concealer pot, pen, or pan in my possession in case a blemish rears its ugly head. The notion of said concealer-induced anxiety is somewhat laughable to me because most times I find that a bit of base covers up any minor imperfections that are occurring on my mug at the moment. But what can I say, a girl's gotta have her options and all that…

I will admit, my collection of concealers extend a bit beyond this, but for the sake of necessity, I have edited it down to these five products that are great at covering anything you may encounter. If we are talking about those lingering bags that plant themselves beneath your eyes come Monday morning, then look no further than the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer which comes packed with the perfect balance of moisture and brightening coverage. For a highlighting concealer, or if your case of bags aren't too terrible but you want a bit of light help, the Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen will have your face looking naturally illuminated in just a click of the pen. I love using the Mister Light to brighten up any areas that are looking a bit dull; think Kim K koncealing (is that a thing?) but with a much less heavy product and more French-girl 'no-makeup makeup' results.

Want to cover a tattoo, or perhaps your entire body? A pot of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer could do just that with its super thick and pigmented consistency. Personally, I find it a bit too drying and waxy for my under eye area, but one tiny dab of it can cover a pesky spot and last all day. Sitting somewhere in the middle of the light and full coverage spectrum lies the Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette. This palette contains an array of colors with a light yet creamy consistency that are perfect for mixing and layering under foundation. I find that this is great to have for travel, especially when a potential tan is in the cards as custom mixing will result in the perfect skin tone match, not to mention, these are great for everything from contouring to covering bags and blemishes. Speaking of custom blending colors, the cult classic Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, uses a special two-shade system to completely and naturally cover imperfections. This mini palette contains two high pigment shades; one to match the skin's depth of color and one to match the skin's undertone. This little gem is a long time favorite of mine, as it's great for pinpoint concealing and mixing it with a bit of moisturizer makes it an amazing (and long lasting!) dark circle remover.

If owning this many concealers seems a bit frivolous to you, for which I wouldn't blame you, then perhaps two is a bit more reasonable. Narrowing things further would leave me with the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, my two (dare I say it) holy grail concealing products. Which are yours?
July 04, 2014
THE DAILY FACE: FOURTH OF JULY

THE DAILY FACE: FOURTH OF JULY


Happy Fourth to everyone, I hope you're enjoying this lovely long weekend! I am thrilled to have this day off to enjoy a little extra piece of the summertime, as it can be so fleeting. I don't know about you all, but I will be enjoying my holiday at the lake and that usually calls for minimal makeup. But seeing as it is a holiday... I thought I would throw on a little something special - a bold red lip - courtesy of Sephora Cream Lip Stain in shade 01. I am not one to wear a bright lip color during the day but this gem of a product is an exception as it is so long lasting that even your Corona's won't show any trace of red on the rim. 

With a bold matte red lip I felt the need to stick to a pretty monochromatic palette everywhere else on the face. I opted for the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint as it's something that I tend to gravitate toward when I want to look like I am wearing no makeup at all while staying oil-slick free. This product also lasts surprisingly long for a tinted moisturizer and I think the fact that I used about a third of the tube in the last few weeks alone is definitely a testament to how great this stuff is. As you can see I left things pretty simple, dabbing some of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in Slate on the eyes for a hint of sheen and color. I finished by coating my lashes with one of my favorite mascaras, Bare Minerals Flawless Definition, which is perfect for achieving a natural, clump-free lash look. To avoid looking too flat and to amp up the 'I had an awesome night's sleep' factor, I dabbed my Nars Hot Sand Illuminator* along the upper bridge of my nose and my cheekbones to add a bit of dimension on top of the Jouer base. 

What are your plans for this holiday weekend? Will you be sporting a festive look as well?
July 03, 2014
MY MOST REPURCHASED ITEMS

MY MOST REPURCHASED ITEMS


When it comes to being loyal to products, my track record isn't anything to brag about. Too many exciting new releases and perusing of reviews have me lusting after the next item before I even slick on a brand spanking new Chanel lipstick. But sometimes, there is just no denying a products' ability to make you feel good and look your best; something that is hard to come by in such an over saturated market. For me, these are the items that I will grab when I don't feel like messing around with fancy colors and looks, and just want to look like me, but better.

My relationship with Nars Laguna Bronzer and the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation are two that have truly stood the test of time (and wear). As you can tell by the amount of pan showing through my trusty Laguna (I know, it's time for a new one) I rely solely on this bronzer to amp up my faux tan. I am not a huge fan of bronzers on the whole, but this one is another story; no shimmer shows up on your skin and its perfect honeyed bronze tone melts into skin leaving just the right amount of tan. Overall, I am a foundation floozy, but when I need my skin to look natural and flawless in a hurry I reach for the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua 90% of the time. This is a light fluid water-based formula that translates to a refined, naturally perfected complexion in just one pea sized drop. I love that this is oil-free so that you don't need to worry about looking greasy later on in the day and has you covered in the SPF department. Best of all - I don't think there is anyone that this combination of products wouldn't suit. 

What are your most repurchased makeup items or long time loves?
July 02, 2014
SLEEP WITH DAMP HAIR

SLEEP WITH DAMP HAIR


Now here is a beauty tip that, for once, involves no fancy products and costs absolutely nothing at all. Do I have your attention yet? I don't know about you, but in terms of hair, any 'styles'  that I tend to sport, should be categorized more so as non-hairstyles and I prefer it that way. You know, those famous hair looks we love to say have a bit of je ne said quoi, non? I think that this is true for many of us nowadays; gone are the days of pin-curls, perms, prom-esque up-dos (don'ts)...you get the gist. I think that the ideal hairstyle, is to make it appear as if you have done absolutely nothing to your hair at all, you know, like you just woke up that way. 

So the trick is...I sleep with my hair damp. Yup, that's it. That's the big secret, and it's the same secret that many actual French girls are hiding in their big bag of French tricks too. Believe me, I've spoken to them, asked them what they do to their hair to make it look that way, and most have said - "nothing really, just wash it before bed and let it dry on its own." I think that all this time many of us have been missing that last ingredient; emphasis on the 'wash before bed' part. So, after years of accidentally doing this to my hair, I have come up with a few tricks for sprucing it up and making it look less limp and more Olsen twins (a girl can dream) come morning.

A couple hours before I know I will be hittin' the hay, I wash my hair, brush it out and rub some oil on the ends. If your natural hair has a bit of bend to it you may want to take the front bits and twist it in the direction away from your face, pinning it to your head with a bobby pin. The twist will fall loosely on its own, so there's no need to worry about how taught your pin is - it actually makes a much nicer wave that way. Let the roots air dry a bit and they will have a little more texture and lift that way, and then it's time for a snooze. The next morning the first thing I'll do is unpin my twists and shake out the hair with my hands a bit, spritz on some wave spray like the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (you may skip this step if you prefer) and oomph it up a bit with my hands. I know the idea here is to not use any styling aids, but if you want the look to be a bit more uniform you may take a curling iron to loosely touch up any pieces that missed the wave. Personally I end up only using the iron on one or two pieces around the front for a bit of definition, and leaving the rest on the messier side - French in essence.

Would you guys try sleeping with damp hair to get that tousled effect? Maybe you already have and I'm late on the train…let me know! 
July 01, 2014
JUNE SKINCARE FAVORITES

JUNE SKINCARE FAVORITES


Naturally, following my makeup favorites, I thought I would share with you my skincare product favorites for the month of June. I haven't posted much in regards to my skincare routine lately, and that was due to a bit of a product testing and trial period. So, wanting to give you lovely people the best possible review and truest testimonials, I waited until I was able to tell you which products were doing my skin wonders. For the first time in years I think I have found what makes my skin, and therefore me, happiest. I used to buy loads of creams and random products, more so succumbing to good marketing than anything else, and not knowing what it was going to do for my skin.  After loads of wasted products (and dollars!!), I have come to realize that the more you research items and read reviews, the better off your wallet. This is not to say that what works for others will necessarily work as well, or if at all, for you. But, reading blogger reviews on brands and favorite products is a good place to start. 

That being said, I narrowed it to my four most 'cant-live-without-em' favorites. When I get home from work at night the first thing I do is run upstairs to my sink and slather on Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. The people naming this product certainly had their heads on straight that day, as that is exactly what this silky balm does for my skin. I take about a pea sized amount, warm it up in my hands, and massage it into my skin (in the tub its a solid but with the help of your body heat it turns into a fluid oil) and it takes off everything, even waterproof makeup. I used to scrub at my eyes with a gel cleanser thinking that I was taking away the oil that my skin supplied too much of, but really I was tugging at my delicate eye contour and stripping my skin of the natural oils that helped keep it balanced. This is a seriously amazing product, so good that I will be repurchasing this and looking for nothing else. Personally, I like to ensure that all traces of dirt and grime have left the premise, so I double cleanse with a gentle soap free gel or cream cleanser afterward. 

My nighttime skincare routine then involves a swipe of eye makeup remover to get every last speck of black off, a spray on toner (I have mentioned which in a previous post), and finally the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair 'Synchronized Recovery Complex II'. Let the clouds part and the sun shine through for this one, because there is a seriously magical potion bottled up in this jar. Estee Lauder describes this as "Ideal For: Multiple Signs of Aging, Visible Age Prevention, Dryness Dehydration, Lines and Wrinkles, Dullness, Loss of Radiance, and Oil Free"and I have to say I agree. This serum has improved on all aspects of my skin, is lightweight yet hydrating, tightens up my skin (and pores!), smoothes out any rough texture, and improves uneven skin tone dramatically. I find myself reaching for sheerer bases so much more often now thanks to this and I am NOT complaining. Yes, it isn't the cheapest option out there - but this is definitely a do-it-all product and leaves you needing not much else. I only use a dollop of the Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream after the serum has sunken into my skin. This is such a great moisturizer, is suited to sensitive skin, and contains great and mostly natural ingredients like all of Aesop's lovely products. 

After using these products, I wake up with pretty much glowing skin, if I do say so myself. I usually will splash on cold water, spray on my toner, and then reach for my REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturizing Cream, which I find to be the best facial lotion for daytime - ever. Although it does not contain sunscreen (add it before), it sinks in like a dream and calms and soothes my skin the same way a hot cup of tea does for  a sore throat. My skin is as soft as a baby's bottom and as happy as a clam - I think I will be sticking to these and supplementing them now and again when the current condition calls for it.

What are your go-to skin products and saviours of the moment?