June 29, 2015
KATE SOMERVILLE SKINCARE

KATE SOMERVILLE SKINCARE




I've used Kate Somerville Goat Milk Creme for as long as I can remember and I absolutely love it. It's one of those products that I go back to when my skin has had enough of trialling products with fancy promises and it soothes and comforts like no other. Well, these other Kate Somerville products have quickly become my go-to's in the same sense as the cream; they actually work and fast.

As I mentioned, the Goat Milk Creme is one of my all time favorite skincare products. It's an amazing cream, packaged in an air-tight pump which prevents bacteria from contaminating the product, allowing it to last longer. I just love the packaging, and the cream inside is worthy of its own rant. It contains goat milk, which means that natural lactic acid is constantly exfoliating and renewing the skin, while witch hazel fights bacteria. It also calms my skin no matter what strange treatments I have been testing and never leaves an oily residue on my combination skin - it absorbs completely. 

The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is a cult product that I've always heard great things about, but never had the pleasure of trying out. Well, I'm afraid there's now no going back as this stuff is the best manual exfoliator I've yet to come across! I am in love with everything about this from the warm cinnamon smell to the smooth and soft skin that you're left with as a result. Better yet, it packs a dual purpose punch as it also contains Lactic acid, which is a natural AHA, and it can be left on the skin for an additional two minutes for a deeper treatment. My skin is overall more clear and the texture is refined than it was when I began using this a few weeks ago. 

A hormonal acne-buster, the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask, is seriously one of the most soothing and comforting skin-clearing masks I've ever tried. It comes out as an almost gooey pink cream, and when it's left on the skin it starts to foam up, indicating that the mask is ready to be washed off. It has been keeping my skin spot-free and my pores small even during that time of the month, which is a miracle in itself. It's one of the few acne masks my skin has agreed with as well, and it's left instantly brighter and clear post-treatment thanks to honey and rice bran extracts.

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.
June 28, 2015
TIPS FOR BUDGE-PROOF SUMMER MAKEUP

TIPS FOR BUDGE-PROOF SUMMER MAKEUP


It seems like it's been here for a long time now, but summer has only recently begun officially. Melting makeup and some less than adequate staying power seem to go hand-in-hand with the change in seasons, and I'm sure I'm not the only one whose efforts have been wasted all too many times. This is where a few extra steps and tips to holding things in place make the world of difference. 

Using base products that are right for your skin: 
  • Dry skin - you may not think so but you have the upper hand now that the summer months have rolled along. You can get your makeup to sit well as long as you keep up your normal routine and use hydrating products. A small fan brush dipped in a finely-milled powder and tickled just along the t-zone will be plenty to keep your base in place.  
  • Oily skin - there are a bevy of newly launched serum textured foundations that are meant to stay in place all day, and their gel based formulas allow that to happen. I also like to use a light all over dusting of setting powder if I'm going the tinted moisturizer route, and using a primer beforehand makes the world of difference as well. An additional tip is to stop yourself from tanning on and off, as it seems to dry up your skin at first, but then comes the sebum-overproduction to counteract that effect. So, in essence, more tanning = more oil in the long run and some seriously unstable skin. 
Eye makeup prep:
  • Whether you have oily lids or not, they will be more so than normal come warmer months and longer days. You'll be happy that you slapped on some Nars Pro Prime when your co-workers invite you to drinks on the patio after work. It'll help your shadow and eyeliner to go the extra mile. 
Keep lip colors from migrating:
  • Even when you're using a nude lip color in the summer, the humidity has a tendency to be ruthless and cause at least a bit of color migration outside the natural lip line. Go in beforehand with a liner pencil that matches your lip color and draw a line a bit outside your natural lip line for a fuller effect and longevity. It also helps to keep your lips exfoliated and hydrated with a balm at all times. 
June 27, 2015
WANDERING AROUND MILAN

WANDERING AROUND MILAN


Walking out into the Piazza del Duomo, I couldn't help but snap the typical tourist shot. I mean, you can't help but to snap a good twenty photos of the beautiful Duomo cathedral. I always love how Italian cities are still centered so much around history. The church was, and still is, the most important aspect of Italian culture (aside from food and fashion of course) and it stands true even today. All of the hustle and bustle is around the main square where this grand structure sits, hundreds of years later.
And while you're wandering around, don't forget to look up. You'll likely see the beautiful structure reaching up toward the sky filled with cotton candy clouds.
For an even closer look at those guys, climb to the top of the Duomo. Amongst the hundreds of carved spires, you'll see out across the whole city, which seems to stretch on forever. It really puts things into perspective...
And when you get down, you might just cross paths with a building that was once home to DaVinci's codex. It's no longer there; instead it can be found at Biblioteca Ambrosiana today, which is worth a visit if you find yourself in Milan. It's a bit eerie how these relief statues still seem to be guarding something important.
Don't forget to do a spot of shopping in between sightseeing. Milan is after all known for it's chic streets filled with high-end stores and is home to the oldest shopping mall in Europe, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Also, probably the most beautiful, in my opinion. 

After a day of hard work, wander a bit more to find a place to get a nice cold drink, preferably, somewhere you can admire the views...
Perhaps try the Terrazza Aperol, for some aperitivo, and of course, an ice cold glass of the classic Italian cocktail.
Okay, now I'm thirsty.
Then back at the hotel, Boscolo Milano, take a dip in the silver bubble speckled spa. Then you'll feel refreshed enough to wander back into the city to find something to eat. Notice a theme?
This Antica Trattoria looks as good a spot as any. A plate of Spaghetti Vongole and enough wine to put you to sleep, followed by a big bowl of homemade Tiramisu. 
The next morning, you may want to find your way to Sforza Castle, and walk through the halls and labyrinths once home to the Duke. Then I'm sure you'll get tired, and hungry...and find another cafe from which to enjoy a bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara or Cotoletto Milanese. Mmm...Milan, you're quite the dreamy city. 
June 26, 2015
THE NEW NUDES FOR SUMMER

THE NEW NUDES FOR SUMMER



I have something I need to tell you all...I've been having a bit of a nude moment lately. And no, not that kind of nude. The kind of nudes that bring out that naturally pretty glow and have that whole "no makeup, makeup" thing down. I have so many nudes in my arsenal, but there are a few that I'm loving right now and they have one thing in common; they all have a bit of a warm peachy tone, or flecks in one case. It's a look that's beautiful for summer and easy enough to wear anytime to enhance, well, just about everything

Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in Eat Cake - I've always been a fan of Marc's lip products, but the shades in the new nudes collection really speak to me. I particularly love this color, as it has a peachy-mauve hue while still managing to be nude and suit any look. The formula also enhances the appearance of the lips and smells of actual cake, which never hurt anyone either. It's kind of like the next best thing to the real deal, right?

Clinique Cheek Pop in Melon Pop - This cheek color that melts into your skin and has found its'perfect place on the cream-to-powder scale is one of my favorites. Melon Pop is the perfect shade of fruity nude flush, and is quite the "pick-me-up" neutral that instantly brightens and adds a pop of color into an otherwise flat complexion. I love that these virtually can't be overdone, so if you have a heavy hand, allow me to introduce you to your new blushing best friend...

YSL Full Metal Shadow in 4 Onde Sable - I'm so into liquid shadow tints lately and this new release from YSL does not disappoint on that front. It's an extremely long-wearing and vibrant shadow formula in a beautiful neutral sable shade with shimmering peachy flecks running throughout. It's nothing short of dreamy and would make for the perfect complement to a holiday tan, I suspect. 
June 25, 2015
MURAD TAKES SKINCARE HYBRIDS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

MURAD TAKES SKINCARE HYBRIDS TO THE NEXT LEVEL



I'm all for skincare that works. In fact, I'm always searching for something that gives my look a boost and cuts time out of my routine. These new products from Murad are innovative multi-taskers, so that we don't have to be. Well, at least not in our makeup and beauty routine...

While I was in Italy a few weeks ago, I found myself struggling to beat the heat in a multitude of ways, but especially when it came defending myself from makeup meltdowns. During hot and humid weather I want to protect my skin with SPF, while keeping thing in place, and shine free. The Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield delivers on all three of those, and goes the extra mile. It's got all the functionality of an SPF 30 sunscreen, built right into an amazing skin-smoothing and anti-aging primer that never gets greasy or breaks me out. I have to say...I don't think I'll be switching back to a normal primer anytime soon with this wonder bottle around. Not to mention, it actually holds my makeup in place throughout the day, unlike some other "primers" I know.

And speaking of adding some longevity, the Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion for Lips is another product that takes skincare to the next level. It's a collagen-inducing and line smoothing lip serum that is the perfect lip balm prep-step that your lips need. I've quickly become addicted to this little tube and noticed within the first week of use that not only were my lips generally softer and smoother, but so was the surrounding area. I now use this as the last step of my skincare routine as an extra boost, and I find it also helps my lip glosses and lipsticks to last longer as well. 

Two products from one brand that you need to have in your arsenal...trust me. These aren't just two-in-ones, they're all-in-ones!

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.
June 23, 2015
HERBIVORE BOTANICALS

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS



Skincare packaged in chic, minimal jars and rollerballs? Obviously right up my street. I love testing new skincare, as I'm always interested in finding the latest and greatest products to whip my skin into shape. It's safe to say that Herbivore Botanicals didn't disappoint, so here's a little breakdown of the products I tried out...

Herbivore Coconut Soak - If you love coconut scented, well, anything you need this bath soak in your life. I swear it leaves you with skin softer than a baby's bottom and the I find the scent to be so stress relieving. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that I feel as though I'm inhaling a mixture of fresh coconuts and sunscreen lotion while relaxing on the beach. Mmmm...

Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil - Fighting oil with oil has grown to be one of my favorite concepts in skincare and I find my skin agrees with me. It works wonders at keeping my skin hydrated and in clear of blemishes without feeling greasy. I like to press a few drops into my face at night as the last step in my skin care routine. I find it seals everything in and has my skin plumped and glowing come morning.

Herbivore Pink Clay - I rely on exfoliators to keep my skin smooth and clear so this type of product and I go hand-in-hand. I really love that you can mix this up yourself to the desired consistency - not to mention it's super easy. Just add a bit of water and brush it onto your skin. When you wash it off everything looks refined and feels soothed and soft, never dry. Two thumbs up!

Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist - Quite a mouthful, but every bit as dreamy as it sounds. It's a beautifully soothing and hydrating (pink!) face mist that leaves my skin soft and quenched - never sticky. I love the scent and that it's a product containing all natural ingredients makes it even better especially considering I spray it all over my face after I cleanse. Quite a nice additional step that helps the remainder of my products to be more effective. 

*PR Samples, All Opinions are my own.
June 22, 2015
TOM FORD FLEUR DE PORTOFINO

TOM FORD FLEUR DE PORTOFINO


I've spoken about my fragrance loves time and time again, but for now Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino has stolen my heart. It's both an aesthetic and olfactory addiction; from the acqua blue glass bottle to it's hypnotic and transportive scent. Initially, the fragrance comes off as a pure and vibrant bouquet of exotic florals, but what makes it unique is that once it settles it quickly begins to open up and you can distinctly smell the warm citrus, honey, and musky vanilla. To me it is truly a Mediterranean scent, and having just spent time there I can't help but to associate it with the Italian persona that is both iconic and delectable. It really is reminiscent of the warm and floral aroma that drifts through the air after a coastal rain. This scent steals the show and begs to be noticed, and when I'm wearing it and catch it's complex notes, I fall in love all over again. A delicious summer scent, but great for any time of the year.  

Top Note: Crisp, citrus essences including a blend of Sicilian lemon, mandarin from Sorrento, Calabrese bergamot, juicy tangerine, bitter orange leaf absolute, violet leaf absolute Orpur, and Syringa. 

Heart: Centered around the white acacia blossom, combining notes of cassie tree, mimosa, magnolia, orange flower Templar, Moroccan rose absolute, and jasmine grandiflorum concrete. 

Dry Down: Structured around a Acacia honey accord, with notes of Cistus absolute, vanilla absolute, Tolu balsam, civet, and ambrette seed.

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.
June 20, 2015
KATE SOMERVILLE DOES BASE PRODUCTS

KATE SOMERVILLE DOES BASE PRODUCTS


Lately it seems that more than half of my base collection consists of BB/CC Creams and it probably has something to do with the fact that they just keep getting better and better. Even Kate Somerville, famous for her wonder-working skincare products (more on that to come) is taking a stab at the world of bases now...and I couldn't be happier about it.

Even though they only launched launched some weeks ago, it's no surprise that I've already heard great things about the Kate Somerville IllumiKate CC Cream and the IllumiKate Concealing Eye Cream. I have the shade 04 Medium in the CC Cream, and 02 Medium in the Eye Cream, and both are good shade matches for my current sun-kissed complexion. I was actually struggling to find a product in my stash that was the right color for me once I returned from Italy, but these have sorted me out on that front.

I'm loving that the new CC Cream releases seem to also provide a high coverage in the SPF department, and this one is no different boasting a factor of 50. Another perfect summer base product, giving skin that dewy and healthy glow we're all after, especially when used in tandem with the eye concealer. The finish mimics my skin's natural look and the texture sits somewhere between a thick moisturizer and a tint. It's dewy without being greasy and gives a brightened and perfected look to the skin. It contains a blend of ingredients that help to even skin tone over time as well as minimize water loss, which is perfect for dry or dehydrated skin types. Oily girls may want to powder their t-zones over top of this but I would say this is a perfect suits-all everyday base with light to medium coverage. One worth trying, for sure.

The Concealing Eye Cream is right up my street, being the perfect combination between an illuminating pen and a higher coverage concealer. The texture is a lightweight cream that, when applied, quickly perfects my under eye area without looking as though there's anything there. It doesn't settle into fine lines whatsoever, and best of all - it contains anti-aging ingredients that help to actually improve wrinkles and imperfections, not just cover them up. The fact that it's a click pen doesn't hurt either.

What do you think about Kate's take on base products?

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.
June 18, 2015
DAYS IN VARENNA AND MENAGGIO, LAKE COMO

DAYS IN VARENNA AND MENAGGIO, LAKE COMO

I have to say, Varenna is quite the charming little village, perched on the slope of a mountain that jets out into the lake. A mini peninsula of sorts speckled with colorful centuries-old buildings that seem to have just sprouted from the hillside
 That charming port...
This red iron-railed pathway hangs just above the lake and runs the perimeter of the town, making for the most convenient of walking paths to enjoy the scenery.
Cypress trees act as windows to the intense sunlight and line the famous Villa Cipressi. Obvious translation, huh?

 My Mom and I happy (and tired) to be hiking up the hillside in Varenna.

Water as clear as the sea...spot the fish if you can! Those are called Lavarello, which are famous Lake Como fare. I'm not one for seafood, err I guess, lake food in this case...so I wouldn't know! Though, it is a famous local dish.

 I couldn't not snap a picture of this classic Italian scene. A shiny retro red Vespa...
 Medieval buildings in Menaggio.

 My favorite local cocktail, besides a Bellini of course - Aperol Spritz.
While Bellagio was where we spend most of our time while on Lake Como, Varenna and Mennagio were on the agenda as well. I spent a few days hopping from town to town, but these were by far my favorites as well as the ones I was able to stay the longest period of time. Varenna was the only other town I visited that would elicit its own separate stay; its' walker-friendly pathways and authentic cafes serving up quite the delicious pizzas had me at "Ciao." Any of these towns are so beautiful, and romantic, there are endless gardens, alleyways, small old churches, and shops to explore. Until next time, Varenna. 
June 17, 2015
THREE PRODUCTS WORTH A TRY

THREE PRODUCTS WORTH A TRY

Before leaving for my trip I ran out to Sephora with the intent of picking up only a new mascara, which I of course, needed. Lo and behold my eye was drawn to many a shiny object and I ended up taking home three products to try out. You may have spotted these in my Italian makeup bag post, which you can read here, but these products are all worth an additional mention - they're that good. 

Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Taboo - I certainly love my browny nude lip products, and I have to say I did have a thing for Marc Jacob's previous lip glosses. Well, if you're a gloss lover, you need to pick up one of these. Much more lightweight than his previous glosses, with a bit more pigmentation and shine. You better believe that this is my current gloss du jour and that I will be picking up a few additional colors. It doesn't hurt that it also packs a minty fresh punch.   

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer - I have an obvious soft spot for concealers, which you'll know if you frequent this site. I've heard good things about Kat Von D's base products in the past, and if her eyeliner is any indication I figured that this could be amazing stuff. Well, I'm happy to report my assumption was correct and that this stuff works great for covering a multitude skin sins. Blemishes, bags, and discoloration pretty much vanish and won't be able to shine back through until this stuff is washed off. It sets down and doesn't budge without being dry or cakey. It looks like your skin, just without the imperfections. It turned out to be quite the little lifesaver on my trip too, if I do say so myself. 

Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara - The one product I was supposed to purchase, which is an old favorite of mine. I try to be good about mascaras and use mostly drugstore brands, but lately I've had a hard time keeping them from drying out. So naturally, I gave this shiny tube of goodness another go and I'm so glad I did. It keeps my lashes separated, gives them length and volume, and never flakes or smudges. It's also a good size tube of product and the brush may just be the best ever, in my opinion. Love affair = back on
June 16, 2015
CRUISING COMO

CRUISING COMO


If you ever find yourself in Bellagio, or anywhere in Lake Como for that matter, renting a boat to cruise the lake is probably the best move you'll make the whole visit. When I arrived in Bellagio, I was told that the best way to see the lake, was in fact, from the lake. That was certainly the truth and I have to say it's now one of my most treasured memories from my trip. The landscape is certainly a stunner, but from the water things appear bigger, and the lake opens itself up to exploration. I'm a lake girl at heart, and there's nothing quite like picking a quiet spot in the open water to have a swim, and a cold drink in my opinion. I chose a basic outfit with a 70's twist thanks my current favorite skirt, while still managing to fit my swimsuit into the mix. 

Wearing: Vince Tee Shirt (similar) // Zara Denim Skirt // 
Fendi Colorblocked Round Sunglasses // Jennifer Zeuner Necklace (similar