June 28, 2017

Scent Stories: Fragrance Picks for Men

A few weeks back, with Father's Day approaching, I thought about what to gifts to pick up for a few of the Father's in my family. I know some may call it cliché, but I've always gravitated toward fragrance as a foolproof gift option. The only issue is actually choosing said scents when the time came; especially when it's something for the opposite sex and something so...personal. While the holiday has came and gone, there are still quite a few birthdays just around the corner for which I know I will choosing more scents as gifts. In the past, I've garnered the help of a few male & female volunteers who really know their scents. But now, I've looked to the professionals, or more specifically, the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) for advice, and these very fragrances were award-winners of the CEW Beauty Awards. Yes, the organization who virtually leads the conversation in beauty has hand chosen these scents as top of their class. 

1) L'Homme Prada - A layered, amber-meets-iris scent whose main notes are juxtaposed by fresher, floral notes of neroli and patchouli. It's both sensual and distinct at the same time; certainly one that will leave a lasting impression.

2) Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano V - Pine, pepper and patchouli combine to create a seriously tempting, yet classic fragrance that seems to draw the wearer close to nature. Don't be fooled by the inclusion of patchouli, though; this rendition smells more of swanky Italian leather than other versions I've encountered and gives it incredible sillage. Think of this as the ultimate fragrance gift to give someone who really appreciates a good one.

3) Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir - This elegant scent is inherently masculine with its musk base, but it's the unexpected cedar and nutmeg that give it an added zest. It's edgy, but seems to me a foolproof choice for the timeless man.

4) Issey Miyake L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme Fraîche - This aquatic, fresh fragrance is classically clean and fresh; just like the well-groomed man who wears it. Unlike typical crisp fragrances, this one has a certain warmth that gives it incredible longevity and a tempting edge. 

5) Axe Black Body Spray - A budget option, yes. But this one doesn't sacrifice on scent power, that's for sure. I recommend all men having one of these on hand for emergencies, as notes of bergamot and rosemary make this a warm, comforting scent. 

6) YSL L'Homme Ultime - Fresh sage mixes with aromatic woods in this cool, yet deep scent that boasts a uniqueness not unlike its wearer. It's powerful - addictive, almost - and has the rose and ginger notes to prove it. Beware, this is one that ladies just may want to "borrow" sometimes.

*pr samples included.

June 11, 2017


A few years ago, a basic blow-dry (without a brush!!) was just about as much of a "hairstyle" that I could wrap my head around. I hated the thought of spending time on my hair, and the shorter shoulder-sweeping style I had was swishy enough to handle a simpler 'do. Flash forward three years, and probably ten more inches of hair, and here I am: that girl who "does" her hair every time she washes it. I have to say, those years of dreading styling were really for nothing. I now give myself loose waves on most days, and let me tell you: after you've learned a few tricks it's really not so bad. Here is what I recommend to make your hair routine as enjoyable as possible...

1) Wait it Out: Seriously, just wait a minute! Letting your hair air dry for as long as possible before heat-styling it makes the whole process seem much less daunting. Arm yourself with that hair dryer when your hair is only half wet, and the seven-or-so minutes that it will take is not that bad. It's also nice to think that you're not harming your hair as much when you do it this way. 

2) Use the Right Products For Your Hair Type: I used to want to use any and every hair product possible. With my thick, fine hair, I'd reach for the heavy oils and volumizers that only aided in weighing things down even more. I'd use conditioners that were near impossible to fully remove from my hair in an effort to get "shinier" locks; trust me, I tried it all. What I've realized over the years, though, is that it's best to stick with what works for you. Now I don't waste precious time or money over-applying product only to end up worse off that I had started. 

3) Invest in Proper Styling Tools: I avoided purchasing "grown-up" hot tools for so long because of their hefty price tags. In reality, though, over the course of ten years, I probably purchased 8 straighteners (at $100 a piece - ouch!) and 5 hair dryers...when I could have invested in higher quality tools that would last. I now use (and love) my GHD tools so much. Not only do they cut down on styling time, but they have already lasted me two years of near-daily use and kept my hair in better condition.

4) Learn a Few Techniques and Master Them: Don't focus on all the hairstyles that you can't do. Find a few great styles that suit your hair type and style and really take the time to master them. You will end up having a "signature" look that you can get done in about 20 minutes flat every time. Trust me - you'll thank me later!

What are your tips for styling your hair? 

June 04, 2017

Natural Summer Makeup: My 5 Must-Haves

Not that I'm a fan in any season; but especially during summertime, thick makeup just feels...wrong. That being said, I'm all about finding ways to look as though I'm not wearing any makeup (and really, I barely am) at all. I am the first to admit that I do need a bit of sprucing, so going completely bare isn't an option either; but I promise you that the following five products will get you as close as possible. 

Faking natural skin is easy with the right base. I love textures that mesh with the skin and provide a light coverage that stays put, which is why RMS Un Coverup is one of my all time favorites. The coconut oil base makes this natural pick dewy and fresh, while the pigments blend seamlessly with the skin for a complexion pick-me-up. I use this as both a concealer and foundation, and the result will have anyone fooled. 

The base is so good on its own, but I am one to abide by the "healthy dose of color" law. I need a bit of a boost for lips and cheeks and for that I am all about liquid blush and colored balms. Right now, I love the Nars Liquid Blush in Orgasm, which is a more natural version of the cult-classic peachy golden hue. For lips, the perky Lipstick Queen Mornin' Sunshine is favorite, as it adapts from a balmy yellow to a peachy coral hue on the lips. It's great because it can be worn very sheer, for a barely-there look, or it can be built up for a more full-on bright lip. Did I mention...it's also moisturizing? 

And, of course, I can't forget brows and lashes - two beauty categories I almost never skip. I do like opting for a more natural brow in the hot weather, so I groom them and give them a bit of a color and shape boost with the Glossier Boy Brow - a classic! Finding a smudge-free mascara that looks natural is probably summer's biggest beauty conundrum, but I have to say the Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara is pretty close to being perfect. Once it dries, the rubbery consistency doesn't budge until you wash it off. I'm obsessed.

You can also shop my Glossier rep page to get 20% off your first order. 

June 01, 2017

Tips For Casual Bold Lips

Everyone has always told us that bold lips are a major statement. Sure, they can be. But they definitely don't have to be. As I've lightened up on my overall makeup, I've started looking toward bold lips as a way to brighten up my face and add a bit of color...especially during the warmer months. Follow these few simple tips and you too can wear bold lips without looking overdone.

1) Lighten Up That Base - A caked on base with a bold, intense lipstick never looks *casual*. Try a light, fresh foundation that mimics your skin's natural texture, but evens out your complexion. You don't want ruddy skin with a colored lip, but you don't want to overdo it. I recommend mixing your serum and foundation for an undetectable, comfortable, and slightly sheeny base.

2) Color-Free Lids - There's something to be said for the rule of only focusing on one feature at a time. Don't go bold on the lids and the lips...unless, of course, you're at a night club. But since we're talking about looking a little more nonchalant, try going nearly bare on the lids. I'm all about an über thin lick of dark brown or black liner and some mascara, and nothing else at all. 

3) Bushy Brows are Best - Natural, slightly defined brows that still look like they are made up of individual hairs are best with this look. Let's call it the cherry on top of this French-girl inspired look.

What are your tips for dressing down bold lips?
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