October 30, 2014
NUXE HUILE PRODIGIEUSE

NUXE HUILE PRODIGIEUSE


If you had asked me a few years back whether or not I could ever see myself using oil as moisturizer, I likely would've scoffed and replied "ew, no way." Flash forward to now, and I'm bathing in it, rubbing it on my body, pressing it into my face, and combing it through my split ends without second thought and loving the youth-infusing effect it gives. Until someone can prove it's actual existence, let's all agree that oils seem to be the closest we've come to experiencing the benefits of the fountain of youth. If this is true, then it would appear that nothing is better than an oil that has your plumping and moisturizing needs covered in every category.

Allow me to introduce you to another French pharmacy cult product - the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Purpose Dry Oil. If you haven't tried this, I'm sure many of you have heard mention of this somewhere before. It's a spray on oil that eliminates any messy spillage situations and is amazing for use on, well, anywhere you want to put it. Spraying this on limbs post-shower will give you such glowing skin that you'll actually want to show it off, not to mention any remaining residue can be smoothed through the lengths of the hair as a lightweight frizz-fighter. It's fast absorbing properties make this concoction appropriate even for facial use, although that's something I've yet to try due to my easily aggravated skin.

Huile Prodigieuse is made up of six precious plant oils including macadamia, borrage, St. John's wort, almond, camellia, and hazelnut. I personally think the scent is divine and unobtrusive enough that you need to get pretty close to someone to smell it, and I've found it layers beautifully with any fragrance I may decide to wear it with. It's no surprise this is so popular, as Nuxe products never disappoint - I have a feeling this will be a major savior for my skin in the upcoming dry winter months. 
October 29, 2014
THE PALETTES I'M BRINGING BACK THIS FALL

THE PALETTES I'M BRINGING BACK THIS FALL


There have been so many new palette releases in the past year that it can be a bit hard to keep track of them all. The Naked(s), the Lorac Pro, the Narsissist, some offerings from Bobbi Brown, not to mention Chanel - you get the gist. I feel like it can be so easy to chase after that sleek new palette before you've even made a dent in one shade in a palette already residing in your stash. The struggle is real, you know?

All the other makeup junkies out there can pay testament to just how difficult it can be to ignore all those rave reviews we're faced with whenever a new palette is released. It's sort of like, how do you skip an episode of your favorite show? Sometimes I need to take a step back and realize that I am only one person, with one face and two eyelids, and yet I am slowly building up an army of shadows large enough to fight off an entire country of bare lidded gals. It's ridiculous! In the name of self control I have decided to forgo the shiny newness and whip out some of the often-neglected, but still gorgeous ones I already own. 

Of course, like with any palette rediscovery roundup, the Urban Decay Naked takes the cake for housing the most universally flattering shadow offerings ever. There's something in there for everyone and looking at this now makes me wonder why I ever continued my search for other neutrals. You can pretty much create any smokey eye look you could want with this palette and I especially love using it in conjunction with my Urban Decay Naked Basics matte shades. This remains a firm favorite, and a true classic. 

Next up, I have two Nars palettes - Ride Up to the Moon and Fairy Kiss - both of which had extremely hyped releases last year and rightfully so. The Fairy Kiss palette is chock full of smokey pinks and purples that can be worn together to create a gorgeous spin on a neutral smokey eye. Ride Up to the Moon is the other palette in question, and if you were to wish for a palette that spoke to the hues of fall, then your wish would be granted with this. The shades emulate those of fallen leaves and firewood and create either a unique or neutral eye look, thanks to the inclusion of a dark green shadow named Night Porter. Nars does it again, surprise, surprise.

Then there is the beauty that is the Chanel Ombres Matelassees Eyeshadow Palette in Charming, which hails from the Chanel 2013 Christmas collection. I hate to ramble on about limited edition and discontinued palettes, but staying true to the nature of this post, I can't not mention this gem. Though, I do believe something similar is on the horizons for release with Chanel's 2014 holiday collection, so we may be in luck. Yes, these shades are amazing and I used them nonstop after purchasing, but it's the formula of these that really stole my heart. I still stand firm in my opinion that these are much more buttery and pigmented than shades in any other Chanel eyeshadow palettes that I own. I will happily be breaking back out the blending brush and putting on my artist hat thanks to this chic compact. 

Will you be tapping your brush into shades from old favorite palettes, or are you all for hoarding the newly released ones?
October 28, 2014
MAC KEEPSAKES/PLUM EYE BAG

MAC KEEPSAKES/PLUM EYE BAG


I'm not usually one to go after new MAC releases, as the colors can be so out there, and well, you know me - I love my neutrals. But I never say never, because when I spotted the Heirloom collection in stores, so many of the colors had new neutral written all over them. Being the brown eyed gal that I am, any deep purple tones usually complement my dark peepers and help them to pop a bit, so naturally, I "needed" the Keepsakes/Plum Eye Bag

I had been on the lookout for a new mascara and I've heard good things about the MAC offering before, so this was like killing two birds with one very pretty stone. The set also comes with the Powerpoint Eye Liner in Permaplum and the Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Duo containing the shades Triple Impact and Round Midnight, all nestled into this adorable limited edition cameo encrusted black glitter bag. I think that this is the perfect edited eye pairing for a chic and vampy look that's different from my usual browns in a really good way. These shadows are nothing short of amazing and I'm not sure if MAC sells them on their own or if they are a collection release, but I would advise you to get your hands on them before they're gone. The colors really do have a multidimensional sheen to them and I have been using the pearlescent shade to highlight the inner corner of my eyes nonstop since I purchased this set. 

With the holidays on the horizon, I can't help but rate all my products based on their ability to come into play for a Christmas look. Yes, I know this wouldn't work in tandem with your classic golden eye and red lip pairing, but what about a bold metallic plum eye and a neutral lip combo? Now that could be a new winter weather classic. 
October 27, 2014
CONTOURING WITH MAC HARMONY BLUSH

CONTOURING WITH MAC HARMONY BLUSH


I love a set of well-carved cheekbones as much as the next guy, it's just that sometimes it can be hard to find the right products and techniques to get the job done. When it comes to contouring, we risk riding that fine line between being perfectly sculpted and natural and looking like a makeup job gone totally wrong. I am not the most experienced in my contouring endeavors and certainly not on the same level as Kim's makeup artist (like, at all) - but I have dabbled in the art of faking a supermodel bone structure enough to know whether a product is up to par or not. 

Until recently, I was loyal to one product whenever it came time to fake a bit of cheekbones, and that was, unsurprisingly, the Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium. It's definitely a great contour powder, and still a much loved item, but my arsenal was lacking something a bit more everyday friendly.

Back in my early college days I used to love MAC Harmony Blush more than I care to admit - I think that was made pretty obvious thanks to my overzealous application of the stuff. I didn't own a proper set of brushes, okay? Last year, I repurchased the shade just for old time's sake and sort of forgot about it after the next "hot" blush made its way into my possession. Well, by chance, I picked it up again and I couldn't be happier about it. Our relationship has been rekindled and I have found a solution to my contouring woes. No more questioning whether I should use contour and blush, or how much is too much - I have just been applying Harmony in similar contour fashion and skipping blush altogether. As you can see in the photos above, it lends a barely there type of shadow that's neither too grey nor too brown, and does both the blushing and contouring for you. As if that isn't enough, it also goes with everything, is impossible to overdo, and makes it easy to contour on a normal basis. Now we can all be pros. 
October 25, 2014
THE EYESHADOW EVERYONE SHOULD OWN

THE EYESHADOW EVERYONE SHOULD OWN


Lately it hasn't been so easy getting out of bed in the morning. You know - that whole, it looks like it's 3:00 AM, but it's 6:00 AM thing never makes anyones morning any easier. Rough times call for products that you can carelessly apply and still be able to make it out the door on time, and I have found an eyeshadow that makes the biggest difference in my morning routine. 

RMS Beauty is a brand I'm a bit familiar with (I'm sure you know their famous Living Luminizer) but I had never ventured into their eyeshadow range prior to recently. I snatched up the RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Solar after seeing swatches of it's golden beauty somewhere in the depths of the internet. I am here to tell you that it really does live up to the hype - it is the perfect golden bronze shade that would absolutely look amazing on anyone during any season, whatsoever. I would even go as far as to say that if I had to limit myself to one eyeshadow ever again, this would be it. Bold statement, I know. It can be worn sheer for a wash of luminous color that helps awaken tired eyes, or it could be built up and smudged into the lash line for some oomph and a sexy, "Who, me? I'm not trying to look this good - I just do" look. Blending is so seamless that it doesn't require any tools but your fingers and wear time is, well, however long you want it to be. 

I am already envisioning myself wearing this shadow in multiple different looks, especially during this upcoming holiday season. Berry, bold, or classic red lips for Christmas with a swipe of this on my lids? Gold never looked so good
October 23, 2014
MY SERUM ROTATION

MY SERUM ROTATION


I am a self-proclaimed skincare junkie. I love learning about new products, trying new products, and most of all the application process at the end of a long day. As much as I love makeup, and you might have guessed - it's a lot, I love nothing more than taking it all off and slapping on a good serum. Personally, I have found from experience that serums are the best category of skincare to invest your hard earned cash, as they tend to have the most obvious results. I am also a mask junkie...I might be too embarrassed to show you around my stocks. Shame on me.

I try to limit myself to only owning a few serums at a time, as they tend to last long because you really only need to use a little bit of product to obtain desired results. As of late, there are three superstars stationed in my camp, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with things. To be honest though, I might even cut one out when it comes to repurchasing - that being the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, shockingly. I know - I've sung it's praises many times before but I truly think the Kiehl's Over Night Biological does in one night what ANR does in a week. The Kiehl's serum speeds up the cell renewal process,  resurfaces rough patches, and has things looking super radiant and renewed come morning. For the purpose of playing it safe I limit use to three times a week, as it has the word "peel" in it's title, but I would probably bathe in the stuff if I could afford to. It's that good, and it's half the price of the ANR for the same sized bottle. That's a win in my book.

On nights when I'm not using the Kiehl's Overnight Biological peel, I have been reaching for the Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence. I am a true combination skin girl - oily patches in the t-zone, dry patches elsewhere, and this stuff is just the ticket to balancing out hydration levels without leaving any signs of an unwanted oil slick. It's a fluid-gel like serum infused with sake that feels cooling when applied and rids skin any signs of redness or irritation. It has even had long-term results on dryness and never leaves me feeling tight or sticky which can often times be the case with some "hydrating" serums. 

What serums have you been including in your daily routine? Any star products I should know about?
October 21, 2014
& OTHER STORIES BEAUTY

& OTHER STORIES BEAUTY


Perusing the digital shelves of '& Other Stories' beauty section made me feel like a kid in a very fancy and adult candy store. The clean lines and basic packaging scream "Scandi-Chic" so much so that I feel like the obvious next step is moving myself into an all-white apartment with nothing more than a table and chairs furnishing the place. While I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging, I'm even more of a sucker for deliciously scented products that work well and don't cost you the arm and leg that you're attempting to moisturize. 

Word on the street is the brand created the exclusive fragrances of their bath and body range with Ben Gorham, the nose behind cult favorite Byredo perfumes. Does it get any better? They've just launched the previously Europe-exclusive range in the U.S. and are pushing out their beauty products in phases. Naturally, it was bath, body, fragrances, and candles to start - and I hear next year will bring color cosmetics, skincare, and nail laquers. Oooh...

I tested two scents in their various product spectrum - the 'Punk Bouquet' piqued my interest, and naturally so did the 'Fig Fiction'. Any fans of Diptyque Philosykos out there, this one's for you! Punk Bouquet is also delicious; a unique and sparkling scent that smells of roses and vanilla, which is unobtrusively cozy and comforting - perfect for the fall. I picked up two of the 'Body Mist' which is something I would normally stay away from entirely, but lately I find myself spritzing on perfume post nighttime shower, which can be wasteful when it's Serge Lutens. Whoops. These are a great replacement for just that, and they leave you smelling so yummy and fresh I've dubbed them "shower-scent extending" products. 

My conclusion? If you're going to try a few items from the range, go for the candles and body scrubs, both of which look good enough to eat and pleasantly chic. But with the price range of the products ranging from just $8 to $25, why stop there? More, please
October 20, 2014
THE 90'S APPROVED AUTUMNAL LIP

THE 90'S APPROVED AUTUMNAL LIP


Everyone is loving that 90's lip look this season. From runway to real life, it's a wearable trend as it is created using nude hues. The only real difference is that there are no pinky-nudes to be seen with this type of lip, just muddied-up nudes with brown tinges lending that throwback vibe. I am definitely excited that these colors are finally on trend as they tend to grace my pucker on a regular basis anyway. 

While I do love the matte finish that this look has seemingly adopted, I have really taken to Nars Lipstick in Bilbao, an almost rusted nude without shine, but with the slightest bit of shimmer running through it. I like the way it gives a bit more dimension and looks less dingy during the daytime, which for me, can sometimes be the case with nude based matte colors. When I wear these types of shades, I tend to apply a nude liner first just to create a more structured line and prevent any bleeding. My favorite for this is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk - the color is perfect and the staying power is on point. In order to avoid a dry or flakey pout and to add the illusion of fuller lips, I then dab some Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 to the center of the lips. The finished look is an easy lip that pairs beautifully with a sweater for a "cozy chic" look.

Would you wear this lip color combination, or are you not feeling the 90's vibes? 
October 17, 2014
A PORELESS DUO

A PORELESS DUO


If you're anything like me, your beauty stash is chock full of primer and powders all promising to smooth over pores and make makeup look flawless. Sometimes, said products even make claims as ridiculous as "transforms the look of skin, completely erases flaws for an airbrushed finish." Yeah, yeah - sure it will. With thousand of products marketed toward us, how are us poor women to know whose BS (for lack of a better term) to buy and whose to leave behind? I still don't, and that's coming from someone with an entire cabinet devoted to a graveyard of products that turned out to be liars. Headstone space is running low in the cemetery. Here lies, "miracle smoothing, barbie-skin making..." whatever. 

After testing out many products and reading countless raves, I have finally found a duo that really helps mattify, prime, and seal in all those layers that we work so hard to paint on these mugs of ours. I have been smoothing on a layer of Dr. Brandt Pores No More after my usual moisturizer and am loving the retextured surface that I'm left with. Skin as smooth as a baby's bottom, people. Worn under makeup, it definitely increases the staying power of my foundation by at least a few hours, which is good enough for me! If you want your makeup to go the extra mile - dust on some of the infamous Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder as a sealer of sorts. The combination of these makes makeup look super smooth and longer-lasting without adding any obvious additional layers. 

It is Friday, after all - try this duo out tonight for makeup that lasts as long as you do, be it an early bedtime post-date night, or a party til-dawn type situation. You can thank me later.
October 15, 2014
MY "LONG WEEK" ESSENTIALS

MY "LONG WEEK" ESSENTIALS


You know when the week seemingly won't end? You do anything you can to pass the time, trying to ignore that it's only Wednesday, but you can't. Some weeks fly by and others drag on relentlessly. I guess that's just the way of the world. These are the types of weeks that I rely on certain products to help me de-stress as much as possible and just enjoy the moments I have to myself. 

I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of pampering yourself a bit come mid week. I love to take my usual shower to rinse myself of all the day's harsh wear and grime (yuck) and then tack on a few extra steps to ensure a deeper level of relaxation. I usually fill up a tub and slap on a good old face mask, like the GlamGlow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate, so that it can work its magical powers while my troubles soak away in the hot water. I then add my bath product of choice, which is always some type of bath salts, bubble bar, bath bomb, or oil (or many at once). Lately, I've become slightly addicted to the Lush Fun bar, especially of the "Blue Fun" variety. It is a calming bedtime bath roll that smells of chamomile and lavender and resembles a piece of moldable clay. It can be used as soap, shampoo, bubble bath, or just for some malleable fun, and even better - a percentage of it's proceeds go to a charity created by LUSH to create safer play environments for children in Fukushima, Japan. 

Once I'm done having all that fun (pun intended) in the tub, I like to lock in my skin's moisture with a layer of good moisturizer. My current favorite is one I've somewhat rediscovered; the Kiehl's Creme de Corps, which is a no fuss, no frills moisturizer that does the best job of sealing in moisture for extended periods of time. I also love to coat my hands in an ultra rich hand creme, as it tends to keep my nails and cuticles in great condition. If you like rose scented products, like me, you will love the L'Occitane Rose and Reines Hand Cream , not to mention, it's infused with a dreamy blend of Vitamin E, Rose Extract, and Shea Butter. 

Trust me, take the extra few moments for yourself before you hit the hay tonight and you will sleep like a baby with not a worry in sight - and you'll smell good too.
October 14, 2014
IF YOU LOVE INTO THE GLOSS...AND SKIN

IF YOU LOVE INTO THE GLOSS...AND SKIN


I'm like, pretty positive that any girl one who has any interest, in any beauty ANYTHING, loves Into The Gloss. If you haven't ever heard of it, or aren't guilty of losing track of hours perusing their Top Shelf archives, then just go. We have nothing in common and probably never will. I'm kidding, this is a bit harsh - but seriously go check it out - you'll love me just for introducing you. 

So Emily Weiss and her team of bad beauty editor b****es recently launched a line of perfectly curated products under the name Glossier. Pronounced Gloss-ee-ay. Maybe they wanted it to sound French, but that's just a guess. Apparently, the line will be pushed out in phases, starting with four products that focus on glowing skin that's never greasy. Their motto is catchy and has been stuck in my head since I first laid eyes on it, "Skin First. Makeup Second. Smile Always." It rings truer than any beauty gospel I've ever sung before. 

The idea of focusing the first products on skin is great, super trendy, and something that really hits home with everyone. The products are fuss-free and simple and don't promise any life changing results -- just that you will look like you, only much dewier and better basically. I picked up two items of the four including the Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, and the Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve, which is essentially a thicker version of the Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 with a much higher viscosity. It's awesome. The line also boasts two other products; the Priming Moisturizer Buildable Hydrating Creme and the Soothing Face Mist, which i opted out of buying only because my current skincare drawers are overflowing with spritzers and moisturizers and I figured maybe I should use some first. The products are designed to be used in tandem for a natural look and "leave you fresh and glowing right away." 

The Perfecting Skin Tint is the most unique product in the range as far as I can tell. It isn't quite a foundation, yet isn't a tinted moisturizer. It's an ultra-thin fluid that is meant to be shaken and poured out, then applied like a regular moisturizer. I tried a brush and found that fingers really were the optimal tools when it came to using this product. It does a lovely job of looking like absolutely nothing on your skin but evens things out in all the right places, settling down to a satiny luminous coverage. If you are trying to cover massive blemishes and things, this may not be for you, but it is superb in the way that it let's skin be itself and breathe for once. 

Now we can all pretend to be as cool as the ITG team if just for a moment while applying our Glossier products. Oh -- and, yes to the pink.
October 13, 2014
REPURPOSING CANDLE JARS

REPURPOSING CANDLE JARS


I don't know about you, but I am definitely not the type to toss out a beautifully labeled candle. Not even post burn. I know, you've all seen this before, it's by no means revolutionary stuff. But it is the stuff Pinterest dreams are made of. Perhaps the reason it's an idea that we've seen so many times is because it really is a great one. Whether your favorites be from Byredo, Diptyque, Voluspa, Nest, or Henri Bendel - the scents are no doubt housed in some impossibly chic hand-blown glass jars.

After burning through 6.5 ounces (more or less) of heavenly scented wax, you're left with a glass jar that can be used for storing a multitude of beauty bits and bobs. I've seen some super creative ideas when it comes to repurposing these containers, but for me I love them sitting atop my vanity where I can see my money. Yeah, you know what I mean. For the past two years I've been burning my way through several Diptyque favorites; my money wasting ways are the general befuddlement of my mother. What I'm trying to say is that I may have built up quite the collection of "empties". 

That being said, I've was also victim of the messy first attempts at removing the remaining wax from the jar once the candle had burned down. With one Google search you will find quite the varied opinions on which method works the best and quickest - freezing it, prying it out with a fork, heating the entire jar - one which I'd recommend you not trying. I ignored said search results and looked to common sense for my answer, which resulted in my brain telling me to soften the wax and wipe it away. I've perfected the method and here's what I recommend doing: once the candle has burned down to about a quarter inch from the bottom, pull out the wick from the wax with and fill up the jar with hot (not scalding) water. Then, let it sit for about 1-2 minutes, and use a few paper towels to push the wax out and wipe the sides of residue. Once the majority is gone, its simple - repeat the method if needed until you are left with a clean, polished jar. I'm usually able get it all out in one fell swoop, +1 for completing a DIY.

Once I have my empty jar, refilling is a piece of really delicious cake. The smallest sized Diptyque candles, often FGWP, are perfect for storing perfume samples, the next size up is great for holding sachets filled with lotions and potions, and the regular size? Well, that's where you can get creative. I have one in my bathroom for cotton buds and cotton pads, one on a desk somewhere filled with writing utensils, and the two that you see above hold my makeup brushes, eyelash curlers and all the accoutrements. Pretty nifty, eh? I'm not sure what I love more about these pretty home fragrances; the smell or the aftermath? Let's go with both. These cozy autumn nights are made all the more merry with a candle burning on your bedside table. As if we needed more reason to say to ourselves, "go ahead, treat yo-self." 
October 10, 2014
DARK GLOSSES FOR RED SCAREDY CATS

DARK GLOSSES FOR RED SCAREDY CATS


When I say "red scaredy cats" I probably mean you. Hell, I'm even hesitant to paint my pout red sometimes. What if I look like a clown or, worse, like I'm trying too hard? You know,  nobody wants to elicit reactions from strangers that go something like "who does she think she is?" So, for all of those types of people, the much less gutsy way to embrace autumnal trends is by going the gloss route. Not to mention they're just the slightest bit more wearable. 

At this very moment, there are two in particular that have my full attention. For a true red that's as close as you can get to the real deal without becoming a chicken about color again, the Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer in Spark is always a good bet. Its pigmentation levels can be easily altered; either swipe over balm for a bit of a pinky red tone, or pack on dry lips until your mouth has "Merry Christmas" written all over it. Don't be turned off by the bit of shimmer running through it, if anything it makes the lips look fuller and isn't at all obvious. If vampy reds are your thing, but you don't quite own a pair of balls big enough to rock them, then the Nars Lip Gloss in Sixties Fan is your guy. It is a deep pomegranate shade that makes the lips look as if you've been eating berries from the bottom of a champagne glass. It looks awesome paired with flicked eyeliner and can easily be worn during the day without the side effect of any unwanted attention. 

Ladies, do try these at home.
October 09, 2014
MAC STUDIO FIX POWDER

MAC STUDIO FIX POWDER


I used to be a powder fiend. It was without doubt, both my most used makeup item and my favorite to buy. I must have even gone a little overboard with the powder because there came a time when my mother would tell me I had to lighten up on the makeup; A.K.A. I was a cake face. The moral of the story is, I completely laid off most flat, skin colored powders in fear of a dull and chalky complexion with makeup-clogged pores. Ever since, I have spent my days dusting on powders with a more glowy finish, or powders that promise a translucent and perfected skin.

Then, the MAC Studio Fix Powder came into my life. I usually apply my foundation and then a dusting of setting powder, followed by blush (and, err highlight, contour...) which can sometimes feel like a lot. Ever since picking up this gem I have been skipping my usual setting powder and just tapping this on my t-zone, which usually eats up all my foundation by lunchtime. What can I say, I must have one hungry t-zone. When I use this powder, my foundation doesn't stray from even the oiliest areas of my face and I barely need to touch up at all throughout the day.

With this kind of staying power, and the promise of an "all-matte, full coverage finish" I was a bit wary at first, but this powder is so finely milled that it's the most undetectable of its' kind, at least from my experience. I find that the best way to apply this is not by means of the included sponge (because nothing eeks me like sponges do) but by tapping the product into the areas prone to shine with a tapered brush. This really works like a reverse primer, giving skin an airbrushed look with a silky finish, and can even be worn alone on lazy days just to avoid an oil slick. Meet the Instagram filter for your face. Genius.
October 07, 2014
THE PRODUCTS I WON'T GO WITHOUT

THE PRODUCTS I WON'T GO WITHOUT


While on the topic of packing light and trying to edit the necessities down to bare bones, I got to thinking about a few products I just could not give up. My 'desperate times' makeup bag of sorts - the products that I wouldn't let leave my side and that have my back in any situation. Having gotten pretty into skincare over the past year or so, I have eliminated the need for oodles and oodles of makeup and now see it as more of an enhancement than a necessity. There definitely was a time when I would sleep with my makeup on over going au natural in front of anyone I wasn't completely comfortable with. As I grow up I've become more comfortable in my own skin, enough so that I no longer need high coverage products and if it came down to it I'd be willing to skip out on foundation altogether.

That being said, there are a few products that I apply just where I need them; a little in the right places goes a long way. I've told you before how my super dark and thick eyebrows have a delightful, little-brother induced bald spot slashed right through the arch above my left eye, so for me the Anastasia Brow Wiz has been a bit of a lifesaver to say the least. It's safe to say I was the youngest of anyone I knew to begin wearing brow pencil (the ripe age of 10) when my doctor told me I'd be needing it, and still to this day I feel instantly more polished with my brows done. 

In terms of skin, a little swipe of the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer under the eyes makes me look so much more awake. I usually dab this on any spots and discolorations as well on days when I am not going for a full-on face, as I find its' creamy consistency doesn't sit on top of skin or look unnatural at all. Something else that I like to do even when I'm not wearing much makeup, is to give my skin a dusting of a glowy powder, like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Infusion. Some powders look flat when worn over bare skin, but these ones cut down on shine while imparting a veil of imperfection-diffusing pigments. For me, no look could be complete without lashings of mascara, and for that I'm not too picky - right now it's the Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express. I honestly don't feel or look like myself until the mascara goes on, so this step is crucial

If some bizarre circumstances landed me in a situation where I could only take a very small selection of products, with unwavering certainty, I'd toss these in my bag and run. If you ever find me on a desert island, surely I'll be dusting on my Hourglass powder to cut down on shine...
October 06, 2014
THE WEEKENDER : SUPER EASY PACKING

THE WEEKENDER : SUPER EASY PACKING


Another weekend behind us, another week ahead of us. Let it be as short and BS-free as possible, Amen. You may have noticed my absence around these parts this weekend, and that is due to another laptop-free weekend up at my parents' lake house. I have been trying to take advantage of a big empty house after stressful weeks to indulge in a bit of "me" time and relax with my boyfriend. We usually like to get the drive (it's a tad less than an hour) over with on Friday's right after work so as to enjoy the full day Saturday, and being able to do so has involved editing down my beauty bits and having them at the ready. Lately, I have been trying to lighten the load of products that live in my skincare drawers, and this edit is somewhat a result of that. This is my bag of mini essentials that has got me covered on all bases. All that's left is my small 'bag of tricks' that houses my makeup essentials, but we shall save that for another time.

I have been keeping this clear bag (it's just one I received as a GWP from Kiehl's - but I sure as hell love it) under my bathroom sink stocked with my bare necessities, if you will. It has come in super handy on weekend trips; between visiting friends and family, and just plain old escaping - sometimes we don't have time to think too much about our products. A great tip is to ask for minis or samples when you are buying your favorite products, otherwise, you may purchase many of them in small travel friendly kits, or decant what you already have into smaller pots. When it comes to packing lightly - it's important to pre-organize and plan so that you know you aren't going to be missing anything. I usually go by category and make a small list, filing my bag with items I know will not be awaiting me at my destination. 

Hair // Shampoo, Conditioner, Frizz-Fighting Treatment. My hair is pretty low-maintenance, but I do wash it everyday, so the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner are the perfect size and leave my hair feeling bouncy and fresh. I then like to give it a good frizz-fighting spritz - I've still been loving the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer. I spray it in when my hair is damp and it does a great job of fighting off those frizzes, without weighing things down. 

Face // Cleanser, Toner, Serum, Moisturizer 'du jour', Eye Cream. Seeing that I go through cleanser quite quickly, I have already left a full sized bottle at the lake, to eliminate the need for additional product. However, for toner I find the sample sized packets, these are the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner, provide more than enough for a weekend. If I didn't have these, I might skip this step altogether just to save space. I have a sample size of the serum I've been testing recently, which is the Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, and is super convenient for packing purposes. I then have two mini pots of moisturizer, which I'm usually given whenever I make a purchase at my local Kiehl's counter. Right now it's the Super Multi Corrective Cream, and the Rosa Artica Lightweight Cream, which by the way is amazing - super hydrating, yet super light. I also love the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye treatment, that leaves my eyes super hydrated and fresh come morning, creating less need for piles of concealer. 

Body // Body Lotion, Deodorant. I have a full-sized deodorant living at the lake, but, you will almost never find me armed without my favorite moisturizers - the Kiehl's Creme de Corps or the Lush Vanilla Dee Lite.

Teeth // Toothbrush, Toothpaste. Both of which I keep permanently at the house, but they're no fun to speak about anyways. Am I right?

It helps to uncomplicate things, and also to garner a hefty-sized sample collection, by being brand loyal. I usually am not one to stick with too many products, but like I said, I've been trying to create a more streamlined skincare routine and my skin has been loving Keihl's. I would say that is pretty obvious, but of course, all my skincare extras don't come out to play on weekends away. Some would argue that this is still a fair few products to lug around, but I'd say that they are mostly miniature versions and all fit snugly into this little bag without weighing down any luggage. Win.
October 02, 2014
A LITTLE "NO MAKEUP" MAKEUP

A LITTLE "NO MAKEUP" MAKEUP


The concept of "no makeup, makeup" is something we have become all too familiar with in recent months. However, if you are unfamiliar, allow me to introduce you. It seems the industry as a whole is gravitating toward wearing makeup, or more so, utilizing strategic makeup placement, that creates the illusion that there is nothing on the skin at all. Basically, we have to fake it 'til we make it, because for all of us average people, having a pocket sized Lisa Eldridge to store atop our vanities and make us look "everyday flawless" isn't going to happen anytime in this life. Woe is me.

For me, in order to look like I'm not wearing any makeup, it can take a small army of products (cRaZy~I know). But, since my discovery of Perricone MD (an extra fancy name for Doctor) and his fabulous array of "no makeup makeup" products, I have found it much easier to create a natural flush and replicate a post-vacation bronze with fewer products.

First up, the No Bronzer Bronzer, a bronzy makeup/serum hybrid housed in a teeny-tiny matte glass bottle with a pipette as an applicator. At first I was a bit wary of the color, as it appears deeper than my usual bronzer shade and it's a "one shade suits all" offering. Oh, how wrong I was about this - it really does suit all. There are two ways that you can use this product - 1 being to layer atop foundation and pat in where the sun would naturally hit, and 2 being to mix into your foundation to create an all-over tanned look. If I am predicting the future correctly, this is going to be a vacation savior for many - use it to darken up a foundation shade that's just too light post sunbathe. Seeing as I'm not on holiday, I have been using this via method 1, and have been loving the nearly undetectable finish that it gives. My number one tip would be to apply this using a layering method, go in lightly at first and then build it up to your desired tone of tan.

The No Blush Blush is similar in texture, a makeup/serum with a bit more fluidity, and comes in a beautiful warm rose shade. I have been really getting into cream blushes lately, and this is the most natural and youth-inducing formula I've yet to cross paths with (disclaimer: I'm not actually old). I would actually love to see this put to the test on someone with more mature skin, as I think the finish would be gorgeous and so uplifting. I really find this product applies similarly to that of watercolors on paper, tricky to get the hang of, but lends an amazing flush with just one drop. The overall result is much more skin-like because it involves fewer powder layers and it all sort of melts right into the skin.

Trying to sell a makeup lover a product who's title reads "no makeup" is oddly like trying to sell candy to a baby. Sort of an oxymoron, nonetheless easy-peasy...