Thursday, December 13, 2012

made for each other

perfect pairs

I rarely leave Sephora with just one product in my bag. Like clockwork, I go in to buy one necessity (foundation, concealer, bronzer), but I leave with at least one wildcard purchase. Like that time I bought a jelly-tone YSL lipstick without a second thought.

Here are six perfect pairs for the holiday season. One item is practical, the other is purely fun. Enjoy!

1. Classic red lips and golden-lined eyes. Burberry Lip Cover in Deep Burgundy + YSL waterproof eyeliner in luminescent gold.
2. Pretty pink blush with a hint of illuminizing highlight. NARS blush in Outlaw + Benefit's Watt's Up highlighter.
3. Plump lashes with emerald green eyeliner. Estee Lauder TurboLash mascara + bareMinerals Liner Shadow in Turquoise Sea.
4. All black nails with a matte black accent. YSL No. 6 Terriblement Noir polish duo.
5. Nude lips with deep, dark purple mascara.  Kevyn Aucoin lip gloss in Vesuvian + YSL mascara in Deep Plum.
6. Perfectly pink lips with navy blue eyeliner. bareMinerals Round the Clock Eyeliner + Aerin Lipstick.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

winter wonderland manicure


Happy holidays! I hope you've checked more names off your gift-buying list than I have. After purchasing a few presents for friends and family today — while simultaneously resisting a metallic-knit sweater and studded black shorts — I treated myself to an at-home manicure. 

Because I can't get snow in L.A. (hey, I'm not complaining), I decided to go with a snow print. I started with three coats of sparkly blue polish and created the dots by dipping a bobby pin into white polish. Voila! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

well played, mom


While I was home in the Midwest for Thanksgiving, I opened my mom's medicine cabinet in search of hairspray. What I found was the quintessential collection of hair, face and beauty products. It's absolute perfection. Plus, she has these amazing heated mirrors that can't fog up. Yeah, I know.

I did what any good beauty blogger would do and properly documented the whole thing. Here's a complete list of her favorite products. Enjoy!

[I tried and loved all bolded products]

1. Obagi Nu-Derm Foaming Gel, $40.
2. Obagi Nu-Derm Sun Shield SPF 50, $46.
3. Bobbi Brown Brightening Moisture Cream, $72.
4. Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel, $26.
5. Obagi Nu-Derm Exfoderm Forte, $50.
6. Obagi Nu-Derm Clear, $70.
7. Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil, $62.
8. Kevin Murphy Powder Puff, $40.
9. Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder, $32.

A. Goldwell Brilliance Radiant Star, $21.
B. Bumble and bumble Prep, $17.
C. Goldwell Double Boost Root Lift Spray, $19.
D. Goldwell Brilliance Glamour Whip, $14.
E. Bumble and bumble Brown Hair Powder, $35.
F. Goldwell Big Finish Volume Spray, $16.
G. Sebastian Professional Shaper, $16.
H. Bumble and bumble Thickening Hairspray, $27.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

holiday gift idea: jewelry dish

I can't believe it's already time to start shopping for holiday gifts! I usually wait until the very last minute (as in, December 23rd), but I'm turning over a new leaf this year.

I'm starting with friends and coworkers, and gradually moving onto family. It's hard to find the perfect in-between gift — something that's thoughtful but not too expensive. Sink-side jewelry dishes meet all my requirements, and they're just so cute! It's an especially sweet gift for newlyweds. Here are a few of my favorite options from Etsy. Enjoy!

Shabby Skeleton Key Ring Dish by Sweet Meas, $22.
Rustic Cream Trinket Dish by NS Pottery, $18.
Handmade Moroccan Lace Dish by Burning Fork Studio, $40.
Tea Cup Ring Holder by Little Lemon Cake, $30.
Monogram Ring Holder by Promise Pottery, $14.
Dusty Blue Lovebirds Ring Holder by Darrielle's Clay Art, $25.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

four products I've repurchased

I'm a sucker for trying new beauty brands whenever I can. That also means I don't have a strong sense of brand loyalty. There are a few brands — Laura Mercier, Make Up For Ever, and NARS — that I gravitate toward, but most of the time I don't focus on designer names.

When I do repurchase a beauty product, it means I love it. Like, really, really love it. Here are four of my all-time faves:


{essie absolutely shore ($8) and Sally Hanssen Shell We Dance? ($5.99) are two of my most-used polish colors. Powder pink is the perfect year-round shade, and this milky mint green is ideal for a weekend away.}


{Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32) is the most highly concentrated concealer I've ever tried. One tube lasts for months. It also stays put for hours, which is perfect for going out.}


{Rusk w8less plus hairspray ($16) is light but holds strong all day. Plus, you can usually find it on sale at Target and TJMaxx!}


{Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream ($46.50) doubles as day and night cream. It's rich, blendable and leaves my skin feeling totally hydrated all year.}

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

bridesmaid makeup 101

bridesmaid makeup

A few things I learned from being a bridesmaid:

1. So this is why they make waterproof makeup.
2. Always carry extra Kleenex.
3. Telling a bride she looks beautiful on her wedding day never gets old.

The morning of the wedding, the bridesmaids had the option of getting their hair and makeup done at the bride's house. I opted out of hair, but decided to treat myself to professional makeup ($50 without tip). The makeup artist was truly awesome! She used mostly MAC products (foundation, concealer, eyeliner and eyeshadow) and a few drugstore brands (mascara and lipgloss). My only prompts were: "I like a subtle cat-eye liner" and "neutral shadow, please!"

The day couldn't have been more perfect! Everyone's makeup stayed put long into the night. The bride looked absolutely incredible, and I couldn't believe how amazing it was to watch a close friend get married to her best friend.

Cheers!

Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY: Medusa costume


 [photos by Chelsey Grasso]

Looking for a last-minute Halloween costume? Here's an idea! Medusa is super easy—all you really need is an assortment of plastic snakes. 

To add to the look, I put my hair in a bun and wore two fake-hair braid headbands. Then, I looped two more hair ties around my bun (this is how you'll secure the snakes!). I wove the plastic snakes in and out of the hair ties for a wild look. 

For makeup, I wore dramatic false lashes, deep purple eyeshadow and extra bronzer. To top everything off, I bought a Grecian-inspired white dress — but any dress will do if you're crunched for time. Happy Halloween!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

work appropriate


I'm lucky enough to work in a "casual-cute" office environment. No, really, that's the unofficial name for our dress code. Colored skinny jeans, baggy-chic sweaters and Converse are all commonplace in our hallways. The freedom extends to hair and makeup, too!

When I saw my coworker Chelsey walk in today, I thought, "Great bun!" I think I actually said that out loud. She had quite possibly the cutest top knot I've ever seen. It was worthy of a photo.

No matter what your dress code — stuffy corporate or totally casual — this hairstyle transcends the laws of beauty. It's also perfect for a not-so-good hair day. According to Chelsey, these are the secret steps to her bun:

1. pull hair into a high ponytail (don't use a hair tie yet), and smooth out any bumps.
2. twist the ponytail until it's tight — almost like a piece of rope.
3. twist the tight ponytail around itself (counterclockwise).
4. fasten with a hair tie.
5. pin any loose hairs with bobby pins.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

monster mash

Halloween is the perfect excuse for cheesy nail art. After an exhausting Pinterest search, we settled on these adorable little monsters. They look tough, but they're actually super easy — we used a nail art pen for the tiny details (nose and mouth). Enjoy!

 photos by Chelsey Grasso

1. paint each nail a different color. we used orange, pink, yellow, green and purple.
2. add two large, black circles for eyes.
3. using a black nail art pen, draw two lines for the nose and a stitched-up smile.
4. add small white dots to the eyes.
5. cover with top coat.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

four little things

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make us happiest. Here are a few things that make me smile: 

 

(fake grass that doubles as a holder for my favorite rose gold ring while I'm doing dishes)


(milky bath melts with incredible texture)


(a new place for q-tips)


(an impromptu nail art session at work — just in time for Halloween)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

DIY: lavender bath melts


When I first started looking at DIY bath products online, everything seemed so complicated. Many recipes involved hard-to-find ingredients and tricky instructions. When I came across this one, I knew it was right. It's uses just three totally natural ingredients (only one of which I had to order online).

I was so pleased with this recipe that I would definitely try it again. These lavender-studded bath melts make the perfect holiday gift or housewarming present. Enjoy!



Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 cup pure, raw cocoa butter (I ordered mine on ebay)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (I found mine at Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 cup lavender buds (I found these at a local farmer's market, but you can also order online)
Here's what you do:
  1. Add cocoa butter and coconut oil to a sauce pan and turn heat on low. 
  2. Gently stir until the mixture is liquid. 
  3. Use any ice cube tray (I opted for silicone) as the bath melt mold. 
  4. Pour liquid into each cube.
  5. Sprinkle lavender into each cube.
  6. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer overnight.

Monday, September 17, 2012

fall cravings

fall cravings

Even though the stubborn summer heat won't let up, there are signs of fall popping up everywhere. Gauzy sweaters replace sheer T-shirts, pumpkin spice lattes give the boot to iced tea concoctions, and makeup counters substitute pastel colors with jewel tones. It's the perfect time of year for so many reasons. Here are a few items that top off my fall wishlist:

1. Burberry Fresh Glow ($48): This pink-tone brightener is meant to be worn as a sheer base. For weekend purposes, it's all you need. The pearly finish gives you that glow-from-within look — and who doesn't want that?

2. theBalm Staniac ($17): That rosy, frost-bitten glow is nearly impossible to obtain in Southern California. This blood-red lip and cheek stain is the perfect way to fake it!

3. Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Palette ($60): I'm a forever fan of Bobbi Brown eye palettes. They're always versatile, practical and totally gorgeous. This one is full of shimmery, moonlit colors and nude basics. Ideal for work and play.

4. Sisley Kohl Eyeliner ($55): ...for an eyeliner? It's called a wishlist for a reason. This eggplant color would look amazing on the waterline or above the lash line. Smudged out or drawn on thick — you can't go wrong.

5. YSL Nail Trio ($45): Rich, velvety colors are ideal for fall months. This trio is the epitome of jewel-tone perfection. If I had to pick one (to appease my budget), I would choose the tiger's eye hue on the right.

6. By Terry Sexy Plum blush ($75): If you have a moment to click away, do yourself a favor and read the well-written description for this compact: "It sculpts cheekbones with a melt-away halo." Melt-away halo? Leave it to Barneys. Now I kinda have to go test it out, right?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

high school sweethearts

high school sweethearts


Everyone dated that one guy in high school. The one you thought was totally perfect and couldn't do anything wrong. Meh, so much for that.

The other day, I was walking past a Bobbi Brown counter at the mall and realized I hadn't stopped by for quite some time. You see, Bobbi Brown was my favorite makeup brand in high school. I still love it, but I find myself branching out to explore new brands more and more. In a way, those original products are like high school boyfriends. It always seemed like they were the end-all-be-all... until you step back and realize there's more out there.

You'll notice a mix of higher-end products and drugstore brands. For me, it's important to splurge on the basics and cut back on things like lipgloss and mascara. Here's the breakdown:

Mascara: Lacome waterproof mascara —> Maybelline Great Lash
Concealer: Bobbi Brown concealer stick —> Make Up For Ever concealer
Bronzer: Bobbi Brown bronzer —> NARS Laguna bronzer
Perfume: Marc Jacobs Daisy —> Chloe Eau de Parfum
Lipgloss: Lacome Juicy Tube —> Forever21 sheer gloss

Monday, September 10, 2012

it's a setup

These last few weeks of summer in Southern California have been some of the hottest. Wearing a full face of makeup isn't practical in the heat, so I stick with a few basics: tough-as-nails concealer, bronzer, winged eyeliner and mascara. While walking around a music festival the other week, I realized my winged eyeliner was MIA. As in, it wasn't above my lash line anymore. It was smudged in my crease and quickly disintegrating. I did what any port-a-potty-fearing girl would do — I slipped on a pair of sunglasses. Problem solved.

It got me thinking, though, about how to make eyeliner last through heat, sweat and humidity. Setting the liner and your lid with powder really does the trick. Here's what I do: 
- Use liquid liner as usual. 
- Load an eyeliner brush with dark brown eyeshadow. 
- Trace over the liquid liner with the eyeshadow. 
- Apply a neutral eyeshadow all over your lid.

Sticky lids + liquid liner = smudge city. Powder-coated lids + powder-coated liner = eyeliner that stays put. How do you keep your makeup fresh all day? Leave a comment below!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

searchlight nail tutorial

You'll need: 
  • two nail polish colors
  • scotch tape
  • top coat
How to do it: 
  1. start with two coats of your first polish. I recommend using a lighter color (or a metallic) so it really pops.
  2. Cut tiny strips of tape and leave one side pointed (like really long, skinny triangles). Apply the strips of tape to your nail, making sure the pointy ends meet at the top. 
  3. Cover the whole nail, including the tape, with your second polish. 
  4. Quickly peel off the tape before the polish can dry or set. If you wait too long, the polish will chip. Once the design is dry, cover with top coat.

Monday, September 3, 2012

the best of the best: hair accessories on etsy


1. Think hair combs are reserved for the 50-plus set? Think again. An embellished comb looks great nestled into a bun or chignon. This turquoise feather number is from FawningInLove (they sell amazing jewelry, too!).
2. A hair chain is the perfect accessory for a music festival or girls' dinner (guys just won't get this trend). La LaRocque has more than a few styles to choose from — this simple, three-strand chain is a good starter piece.
3. Clusters of crystals, stars, and pearls make this headband one of a kind. Although it's advertised as bridal jewelry on Wish Piece, the statement accessory could be worn with a striped tee and jeans.
4. These embellished bobby pins are crafted with tiny snippets of vintage map paper. The other pin is domed lucite from the 1940's, which just sounds very fancy and fabulous. Check out sherry truitt studios if you want to wear NYC — or another city — in your hair!
5. Don't forget to check out vintage shops, like RapidCityVintage, for retro hair accessories. This golden beaded bow is sweet enough for work and chic enough for a night out.
6. Put your bad hair day in check with a super stylish turban. This elastic, light-weight material is perfect for running errands or brunching. Rum Raisin is your one stop shop for the best patterns and best prices ($12.50).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

sh*t... melted lipstick

 
Life lesson No. 72: Never, ever leave brand new lipstick in your car during a California heatwave. I learned this valuable lesson over the weekend when I found this poor lipstick holding on for dear life. The color is almost perfect — it's one of those your-lips-but-better shades. I decided it must be saved.

I cleaned out an old Pixi gel eyeliner pot (with eye makeup remover, hot water and anti-bacterial soap) and filled it with the soft, melty lipstick. Then I used a kitchen knife to push the product down and even out the surface. I popped the pot in the freezer for an hour to firm up the consistency. And now I have beautifully potted lip color. Hey, it's better than throwing away a brand new lipstick, right?



Friday, August 10, 2012

DIY: vanity-top brush holder

  

Tell me this has happened to you. You grab a blush or bronzer from your makeup bag, open it up and reach for a fluffy brush. Dig, dig, dig. Finally, your brush emerges. What was it doing at the bottom of your makeup bag? And what else is down there? The thought of using that brush all over your face is suddenly unappealing. 

Solution: Store your makeup brushes on top of your vanity or dresser. It keeps them clean, germ-free and totally accessible. Here's how to do it: 

1. Gather your supplies. You'll need: 
  • one shallow vase 
  • two cups of glass pebbles or beads. I used these guys
2. Pour the pebbles into the vase, leaving one inch uncovered.
3. Voila! You're done. Sink your brushes into the pebbles and enjoy. It's kinda like having your very own Sephora brush display at home, right? 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

good vibrations

good vibrations

Have you ever tried to read a sign that hurt your eyes? I'm talking about bright lettering on top of a bright background. In the design world, that's called a vibrating color combination. The two bright hues interfere with each other, making it hard for your eyes to process the words and letters. It's not a good thing.

But in the whimsical world of nail polish, there shouldn't be rules. Especially not about vibrating colors. All three of these color combinations are considered vibrating colors on paper — but let's forget about that for now. How can you wear these colors together?
  • beginners: wear one color on your fingernails and the other on your toenails.
  • intermediate: choose one color for nine of your 10 fingernails. Paint one fingernail the contrasting color.
  • advanced: try using one color as a base coat and the other color as a polka-dot accent.
Want all the deets about these cute colors? Keep clickin' for links and color information!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

curly hair 101


You know that feeling you get when you buy a hair product and it just doesn't deliver? I've felt that way... a lot. I have super curly hair, like, ringlet curls. It's tough to find products that deliver on their promises. You name it, I've probably tried it. Frizz tamers, smoothing heat treatments and shine serums. Truth is, many drugstore and high-end products fall flat.

Recently though, I feel like I've nailed my hair routine. I found the perfect combination of products that leave my hair feeling soft, smooth and manageable. At the same time, I feel like everything is staying in place. Here is the winning combo:

1. Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo
2. Neutrogena Triple Moisture Conditioner
3. Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream
4. Tresemme Flawless Curls Extra Hold Mousse

Keep on clickin' to see what my curls look like when they're tamed and under control!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

rose gold fever

Rose gold


Almost every item on my current jewelry wishlist is rose gold (like this, this... oh, and this). There's just something special about hard, metallic gold mixed with rich, creamy pink. It got me thinking about how perfect that color would translate to makeup. And whaddya know? It's already rearing its head in some of my favorite collections. Here are a few of the coolest rose gold products on the market:

Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick
This blush/bronzer/highlight combo is all you need to heat up your summer look. Use the colors individually or swipe your blush brush across all five shimmery shades.

LancĂ´me Star Bronzer Aqua Stick
Apply this slide-on bronzer to your cheekbones, temples and décolletage for a perfectly sun-kissed glow.

NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Gold Digger
After applying a pink lipstick, dab this gloss on the center of your bottom lip for a instant boost. You lips will instantly look fuller!

NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Hula Hula
Try using the golden shade (right) as an all-over lid color; use the pink shade (left) in your crease to define your eyelid.

Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer
A shimmery liquid highlight, like this one, adds just a touch of light to your cheekbones.

Dolce Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick
This would be the ideal lipstick to use with the NARS gloss. It's the perfect blend of pink and nude, with just a hint of golden undertones.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

battle of the conditioners: triple moisture


I try to switch up my shampoo and conditioner every month (I'm paranoid that my curly hair develops an immunity to most products after that time). The other day, I realized my last two conditioners both promise the same thing: triple moisture/nutrition. I guess my hair is trying to tell me something. Is there a clear difference between these drugstore products? YES! Here's what I found:

Price: Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition is less expensive at $3.99/bottle. Neutrogena Triple Moisture rings up at $6.99/bottle.

The "triple" ingredients: Both conditioners advertise three key ingredients that provide the moisture and nutrition. Garnier uses olive oil, avocado oil and shea oil. Neutrogena uses olive extract, meadowfoam seed and sweet almond.

Consistency: The Garnier conditioner is really watered down. For thick hair like mine, I ended up going through the bottle too quickly because I had to use more product. The Neutrogena conditioner is thick and creamy — you only need a quarter-sized dollop to do the job.

Results: Both conditioners work just fine to relieve my hair of tangles — but the Neutrogena conditioner left my locks feeling soft and nourished. Even after my hair dried, my curls didn't feel brittle in the summer heat. You can't beat that!


The winner: This one goes to Neutrogena, hands down! Though the price tag is steeper, it's well worth the extra $3. Plus, you'll go through the bottle slower.

What's your favorite conditioner? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

all-american mani

 
Finding an outfit for Fourth of July activities can be tough. You have to craft the perfect mix of red, white and blue that's fashionable and comfortable. After all, you'll inevitably end the night watching fireworks from a blanket in the grass. Comfort is key. 

And what's more comfortable (and classic) than a pair of worn-in blue jeans, a billowy white top and a cute red accessory? To add a kick to any Fourth of July ensemble, try this patriotic manicure. It's sure to command lots of compliments!

Keep reading this post for easy step-by-step instructions. A special thanks to my friend and coworker Megan for letting me borrow her nails!

 
1. Start with your base colors. We did three red nails, one white nail and one blue nail on each hand.
2. The white nail will get a thick coat of metallic polish. We used a silver polish to create an opaque color. Layering the white polish underneath helps bring out the color and shine of the silver.
3. Onto the polka dots! Pour a glob of white polish onto a piece of paper. Use a pen as your dotting tool — simply dip the tip into the white polish and dot it on your nails. When I started using this technique, I practiced dotting on the paper first.
4. To get even, well-proportioned dots, start by creating three dots down the middle of your nail. Next, add two dots to both sides of the middle line. 
5. Use a good top coat to help your mani last!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Four essentials for a night out

nightout


Packing my purse for a night out is always an afterthought. I throw the essentials — ID, debit card, phone, cash — in a clutch and I'm out the door. Recently though, I decided to stock up on a few necessities to keep in my going-out clutch. That way, I'm never without those simple essentials. What's in my clutch? Blotting papers (a) to dab off excess oil in the bathroom, gum (b) to keep my breath fresh, a rollerball perfume (c) for a quick scent boost, and a rosy pink lipgloss (d) for a fast touch-up.

Comment below and let me know what you keep in your going out clutch! PS: I don't own this adorable purple clutch, but isn't it amazing?

Monday, June 25, 2012

battle of the bronze

When it comes to sunless tanners there are dozens of options. Sprays, wipes, lotions and gels — it can all be a little overwhelming. I've been loving the ease of tanning towelettes (or wipes), so I decided to put two brands to the test. The Comodynes towelette came from my friend's Birchbox, and the L'Oreal towelette is something you can find at any drugstore. Here's how they stacked up:

Pricing:
L'Oreal $1.67 per towelette
Comodynes $2.25 per towelette

Scent: Both wipes claim to have a "fresh scent" rather than the typical sunless tanner smell. The Comodynes scent is  stronger and smells like a light floral perfume. The L'Oreal wipe has a light citrus-floral scent. When I first applied the products, I definitely preferred the smell of L'Oreal. However, about 20 minutes after application, the L'Oreal scent fades into that typical sunless tanner smell.

Packaging: The packaging is nearly identical for both products. The wipes are folded, and the user is instructed to gradually unfold the wipes as they're applying the product.

Staying power: Comodynes beats L'Oreal in this category, hands down. The tan was still there well after a week. My L'Oreal tan only lasted a couple of days.

Streaking: Both arms came out streak-free (woohoo!), but I've noticed subtle streaking with Comodynes in the past — especially on my legs.

The verdict: I would definitely use both of these sunless tanners again. Because I don't have time to use sunless tanner more than once every couple of weeks, I will probably repurchase the Comodynes wipes. Overall, staying power is the most important quality for me. If you're looking for a less expensive option for a night out, I would recommend using the L'Oreal wipes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

look good after a long flight


Red-eye travel always seems like a good idea. You fly in the middle of night, sleeping when you usually would. When you wake up, you're landing at your destination. The reality of a red eye is much different, though. It takes too long to get comfortable, your neighbor decides to keep the overhead light on throughout the night and your legs are restless. Not to mention the turbulence.

After arriving in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after my last red eye, I hit the bathroom to freshen up. But I found I didn't have everything I wanted. I made a mental note (aka iPhone memo) on the things I wished I had. One of those things (c) would have been useful seven hours earlier — so I made a note of that, too. Here are six essentials I'll be sure to pack next time:

a. cleansing makeup wipes: After an overnight flight, you suddenly realize that you didn't get a chance to wash your face before going to bed. Gross. These wipes take off all the leftover makeup.
b. concealer: Now that the old stuff's off, start new. I like to add a touch of concealer under my eyes and on any problem areas. If I can choose one item of makeup to reapply, this is definitely it.
c. sleep aid: 'Nuff said.
d. dry shampoo: For some reason, airplane air makes my hair oily and disgusting. Save yourself an extra wash with this travel-size dry shampoo.
e. eye drops: They don't call it a red eye for nothing.
f. gum: Because no one likes bad breath.

What do you crave after a long flight? Leave a comment!

Monday, June 4, 2012

a review: kiehl's creamy eye treatment

I've been on a hunt for the perfect starter eye cream. I wasn't looking for a cream to prevent wrinkles — I just needed to pump some moisture back into my eye area. Enter the friendly sales associates at Kiehl's. They recommended this creamy eye treatment with avocado as the perfect compromise. When I saw the price I hesitated on making the purchase... $28.50 isn't cheap for .5 fl. oz. of product. But then I found out that you actually only need a tiny, tiny dab of lotion for both eyes. I've been using the product for a few weeks now, so I thought I'd do a mini review:

the pros:
  • As mentioned, a little product goes a long way. I'd estimate that the jar will last through the year. 
  • I've seen a small difference in my under eye area. The skin feels moisturized and soft when I use the cream consistently.
  • The treatment is made for people with sensitive skin. The key ingredients are avocado oil, beta-carotene (antioxidant found in carrots) and shea butter. 
  • I've found that makeup goes on easily over the cream if you choose to use it in the a.m. 
  • It's fragrance free! 
  • It stays put. You don't have to worry about the product migrating into your eyes. Plus, the cream is meant to be applied to the orbital bone (photos above), so it stays far enough away from the delicate areas of the eye.
the cons:
  • The cream is a little thick for my liking. However, I learned a trick at Kiehl's. You can warm the cream up by rubbing it between your fingers. It melts the lotion into a thinner consistency. 
  • As mentioned, this product doesn't erase wrinkles or diminish fine lines. If you're looking for something with anti-aging properties, this isn't the best choice. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

time for toes

feet first

I officially pushed my favorite boots to the back of my closet last weekend. Strappy sandals, sky-high wedges and colorful flats have prime placement these days. And you know what that means. Time for a pedicure... at home, of course!

It's always a good idea to start with a rough body scrub to remove dry skin from your feet. Follow up with a yummy-smelling foot lotion to lock in moisture. Before you pick out a polish, make sure your nails are filed down and even — sidenote: how cute is this nail file?!

The hardest decision? Picking out the perfect polish! I never match my finger and toenail polish, but that's just a personal preference. Two of my favorite summer shades are Ratin Jot by NARS (part of their partnership with Thakoon!) and Action by essie.

What color are you painting your toes this summer? Leave me a comment :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

date night makeup

date night

Getting ready for a date — whether it's your first or your 21st — is so exciting. There's even more to look forward to now that it's summer. Sundresses, colored denim, cool pastels... and, er, a wider variety of date spots. Almost forgot we were talking about dates.

Anywho, let's get on with it. Above you'll find my fave date-approved cosmetics. And an amazing pair of earrings that just seem date appropriate to me (I would pair them with a tee and jeans).

Here's my rule of thumb: Use the same products you would to get ready for a night out... and then tone them down. A fresh coat of concealer and/or foundation is essential for a clear complexion. Don't overdo it on bronzer or blush — just a hint of each for a wash of color. Mascara and a super light smokey eye are perfect for dinner or a movie. I would use this purple eyeshadow palette to create a colorful smokey eye to add more depth and dimension to my eyes.

The finishing touches? A great neutral lipstick, a spritz of perfume and a stand-out accessory! Oh, and a date ;)



Friday, May 11, 2012

primed and proper

prime
Primer is a tough cookie to crack. When do you wear it? Is it for daytime or nighttime use? Should you use it every single day?

There isn't a correct answer for any of these questions. I've found that it's more of a personal preference. Here's what you need to know: Primers create a smooth base for makeup by filling in lines and pores — without clogging them. Moreover, primer helps keep your makeup in place after it's applied. It can also bring out the true colors of eyeshadows and lipsticks. Cool, right?

Here are a few primers that get excellent marks. I've tried or sampled almost all of them, except the Mary Kay lip primer. Enjoy!

a. bobbi brown lip balm with SPF 15, $19. Any lip balm can act as a primer. It helps lipstick and lip color go on smooth and last longer. Plus, you don't have to worry about the color feathering around your lips.

b. mary kay timewise age-fighting lip primer, $22. This lip primer  helps diminish fine lines on and around the lips while keeping lipstick in place.

c. urban decay primer potion, $20. Urban Decay's primer potion is a cult favorite. Use this right before applying eyeshadow for a super smooth surface. It helps brings out pigmented colors for an extra pop. Plus, your shadow won't crease.

d. clinique lash building primer, $14. I don't use lash primers often, but I've tried samples and am pleased with the results. This one coats your lashes with a conditioner that latches to your mascara for extra-long wear.

e. make up for ever hd primer, $34. This is an all-over primer for your face. If you ever see it at Sephora, I definitely recommended testing it out. It fills in lines and pores and creates an even surface for foundation and concealer. It's a must if you want your makeup to stay picture perfect all night.

f. benefit lemon aid primer, $20. This yellow-colored eye primer is perfect for correcting redness around your lids. Puffy eyes, be gone!

g. laura mercier foundation primer, $30. Similar to the make up for ever primer, this product can be used all over the face before applying foundation. This one is water-based (rather than silicone), so it creates more of a dewy finish.