Category Archives: Beauty

Leopard Love.

I decided to lighten things up after my last post.

Jenna Lyons, formerly of J. Crew, famously said, “Leopard is a neutral.” Well, I happen to agree. I’ve always loved a touch of leopard. Too much is too much, but one piece? I constantly find myself drifting towards it. So much so that one of my bridesmaid’s asked me if she could wear leopard shoes in my honor. I told her, “Of course!” Because I’ve got some leopard love.

Once I had someone assume, aloud, that it was because I am Italian. I don’t see the correlation except maybe that Jersey Shore was on at the time and when leopard is done wrong, it is so very wrong? Or maybe because the Real Housewives of New Jersey (most of whom are Italian) wear a lot of animal prints? I didn’t take offense to the comment because first of all, she meant nothing by it. Second of all, it’s now a joke between us. And thirdly, I probably have done leopard wrong in my life.

But I won’t steer you wrong here. (And yeah, I did use affiliate links. They cost you nothing. But I’m hoping they pay for another year of hosting this blog).

Here are five pieces of leopard out this season that I love (a few of which I have my eye seriously on):

1. Claire V. Calf Hair Foldover Clutch

I’ve had my eye on this bad boy for years. I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger. But, how chic, right? It could dress up jeans or pair with an LBD.

2. Kate Spade Leopard iPhone 7 Case

I had this and I loved it but then I upgraded my phone and it didn’t fit anymore. I’ll probably ask for this as a stocking stuffer. But if you have a good iPhone? How can you resist?

3. Leopard Pattern Apple Watch Strap

Do I have an apple watch? No. Does this make me want one? Kind of. If you have one, upgrade your strap. Super affordable!

4. BP Mixed Leopard Scarf

Again, affordable in the BP section of Nordstrom’s. It also looks bigger than the normal scarf. I’m not saying it’s a blanket scarf but…it’s amazing enough that I want to do some research. Love this look with jeans and a black shirt so much! Add a camel color riding boot and bam.

5. Kate Spade Blush Fawn Leopard Calfskin Milano Too Heel

Confession: I am seriously considering getting these for engagement photos. There the right height to still be comfortable. It’s a pump heel so that’s also comfortable and they are gorgeous. Is it a splurge? Yes. But as someone who studies leopard,  I am very picky. It’s been years and years since I found a leopard shoe that I could truly get behind. (That time it was Target so you win some, you lost some).

Do you dig leopard or not? Man, it’s weird to ask a question like that and write a post like this one. But I’m trying it on, to see how it fits.

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An Easy, Inexpensive, Organized, Chic Vanity.

vanityHere is the deal. I feel as if I have hacked the whole vanity situation. While the dresser it sits on was  in my nursery and my girlhood room and the beautiful mirror above it lived not only there too but in my own mother’s as well, I have a special affection for everything here. That’s because, yes, there is nostalgia but also because I’ve made things so easy for myself. So here is how I created an easy, inexpensive, organized, chic vanity.

I believe in a grab and go jewelry situation so what I wear most often is on the three-tiered plate system (Target) and also the cutest giraffe dish (Anthro). I’m more likely to amp out an outfit or you know, my yoga pants.

I also have recently talked about how much I love and adore trays. Guys, can I just tell you this is a game changer? I can pick it up and easily wipe down the area where I do my makeup. I can also carry that acrylic tray (Target) and my gold hand mirror (Target) to other parts of the house, like the front room where I can watch Bravo and put my makeup on there. vanity2It’s also important to have some organization within the tray for two reasons. First of all, it would be a hot mess if everything was just thrown in there. Secondly, it helps me keep the makeup I use on the daily in a kind of capsule makeup situation. I use these copper/rose gold organizers from Target. To be fair, I have a ton of other makeup stored in the top drawer of my dresser, along with everything I use to blow my hair out.

It’s truly a one-stop shop…but one that I can move too.vanity1Because I kept it pretty minimal on the top of the dresser, I chose three of necklace that kind of pull colors from the rest of my room and laid them out. It’s kind of a glamorous touch to me. It’s like I am Elizabeth Taylor picking through my diamonds except these are from H&M. Ha.

For more tray options, check out that specific post.

What’s your vanity situation? Did you pull any tips from me and do you have any tips for me?

x,
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Loving and Coveting in January.

It’s winter in Chicago, people. Having spent most of my life living in such winters I’ve learned that certain comforts inside (and a few outside) the home are so helpful in the quest to stay cozy. Since I am transition (I just moved but I am sleeping in the Dining Room until the third roomie moves out) the things that are comforting and cozy to me are small and simple. Plus since I am living out of a suitcase, my wardrobe is limited which means it is more important than ever to have pieces I can cuddle up with. I know Christmas just passed so this isn’t a wish list but instead what I am loving and coveting in January to stay cozy and feel at home (also I’m sure we all have some giftcards burning a whole in our wallet).

I am not going to lie; I judged Ugg slippers. I thought: how in the world can one justify the price? Can they really be worth it? They can. They truly can. I sometimes keep mine on my bed because they are just that comfortable. As someone who struggles with chronic pain, they are a Godsend, no joke. But everyone I know who has them, says they are worth every penny. I am loving these more than ever during the move as I find the warm spots in the house.

My roommate, MK, came home with these ROAM candles and they smell amazing and have special meaning as well because each scent represents a city. MK spent a large chunk of her life in NY and I spent a chunk in SF so she got one of each. They also smell incredible. Little touches like lighting a candle, especially one like this make me feel warm and fuzzy amidst the chaos that is my current life.

A classic piece like this watch just makes a girl feel put together on days when she is anything but. You feel me?

Hand Cream like this is a luxury. And when you are living out of a suitcase you take your tiny luxuries where you can get them. This scent? It’s the same as my favorite candle so I am coveting this pretty badly.

I found this oversized leopard cardigan at Target on sale. I plan on living in it these next few weeks until I have a closet.

You know how I feel about a bright lip…Everything is gray around these parts, but my lips don’t have to be. I love this color on its own or to layer. But lipstick as I switch out items in my suitcase may be my saving grace.

If you have Hunter Boots and you live anywhere that gets remotely cold, do yourself a favor and get some Hunter inserts. They come in all sorts of styles (I have leopard…are you sensing a trend?) but your Hunter’s can double as snow boots and you don’t need another pair of shoes (like I have room for them anyway right now).

If you don’t have Hunters stay cozy with socks like this. I am not going to lie…I hate sleeping in long pants but when I am lounging I get cold. Here is the solution. Also what a great boot sock.

I am dying for a faux fur vest and I love this one. I would live in it. Definitely coveting.

Finally, these curtains. Again, this is a covet for me. But have you seen my vision for my room? As I write this in a room full of boxes that cannot be unpacked yet, I am dying to nest. Anthro, why do you do this to me?

Anything here strike your fancy? What is keeping you cozy in the new year?

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Santa Baby Beauty.

VIBsale

I have mixed feelings about Gift Guides this time of year. On one hand, I love them because I truly have found great things to buy for family and friends or to add to my own list.

They also work for me because my family treats Christmas presents as a gift registry. You make a list and then a single person is designated to give people the correct gift that fits in with their price range and to make sure there are no duplicates. For example, my mom is that person (on both sides of my family) for me and my brother. My stepmom does it for my little sister. And on it goes. So in many ways, gift guides are perfect to help me “register.”

On the other hand, it’s that time of year again when everyone is doing gift guides. I mean, they are starting to slowly trickle in but after Thanksgiving there will be a flood. But I cannot ignore the Sephora VIB sale which starts on Friday. Plus, this week has been heavy with Monday’s Do I have it out for Men? post and yesterday’s Veteran’s Day post. And then there is still discussion about last week’s The Only Way I Can Keep Blogging post that still has great discussion going.

So here we go with some beauty, babes.

One place that does not disappoint is Sephora with their Holiday Beauty Bundles (PLUS, can I say AGAIN, if you are a VIB member, you get 20% off starting Friday!). If you love make up at all, if you are frugal but like nice things, if you have any other females to buy for, these beauty sets are where it is at. They are worth waiting all year for because of the price for the quality and quantity cannot be matched.

You can click on the boxes below or the links. In fairness, I always let you know when/if a few cents of your purchase is fed back into the blog. That’s the case here but it’s at NO cost to you. Zero.

These are my picks and I’ll tell you why. I give you, Santa Baby Beauty:

These crazy pretty brushes are probably the only thing on the list that I added because they are pretty. I am a sucker for both rose gold colored things (who isn’t these days?) and leopard.

Tata Harper does amazing, natural skincare. A friend of a friend works for Tata (she’s a real person!) and I’ve seen the instagram pics on her farm in Vermont to prove how “down to earth” these products are. I’ve also used them and they are fab. The downside is the price. Isn’t it always? But you can’t beat their complete skin care system and mask for this price.

This–Urban Decay Setting Spray–isn’t a beauty bundle but it’s supposedly on sale for Christmas. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews on this. Honestly, I am going to go into the store to try it out before I add this to my “official” Christmas List (trust me, we have a “maybe list” and the “official list). If it lives up to its hype, I’ll actually be saving money in the long run because it sets everything so well. But for the price I need to know it works.

I love this Living Proof Hair Set. It’s such a great brand for any type of hair and this set is perfect for your toiletries. Sure, when I am hope I have special shampoos and conditioners for my curly hair but I do love this brand and what it stands for. And I do love that I don’t need to think about if I can check my luggage based on hair products.

Stila is an awesome all around brand and this is a price you cannot beat for what you get. I’ve bought Stila packs like this before and I love them still. If ever there was a time to purchase, it’s now because have I mentioned the holiday deals that Sephora has?

The same goes for Tarte. A few years ago, I got a version of this and it was/is amazing. You get so much for the money, it’s insane. I happen to love Tarte as a brand. It’s a great place to start if you want you want to move up a level from drugstore make up. No hate for drugstore make up!  It’s just the brand I recommend when my friends say, “I have no clue about make up but I want something nice.”

So this Dry Bar set…If the day should ever come, when my Chi hair dryer dies (just discovered that my baby is on major sale at Ulta right now), I believe I would replace it with this (honestly, that sentence was so hard for me to even write…my blow dryer is almost ten years old–eeep–and it was an investment in the time for sure but my baby and I have been through some times and traveled the world together). I am impressed with DryBar and their products as well. Again, for what you are getting, this is a good price. If you think I am joking, you have probably never had your hair blown out by a blow dryer that cost over a $100. I am not saying that to be a snot. I am saying that because I have very curly hair and that price point is a game changer. The other hair dryer I would consider is Harry Josh because I have heard good things everywhere I turn.

Usually, Sephora comes out with a mascara box, a lip box, their “faves for the year” box/the hot box, and an eyeliner box even. The lip box this year? Amazing colors and amazing brands.  I just felt for the price, even a girl who love her lippies like I do, would have plenty. And what a cute case.

Speaking of lips, I love Tarte’s LipSurgence. Basically, it feels like a lip balm and yet you have the color. The color isn’t as bold as a lipstick because it pulls from your own natural lip color so it’s automatically flattering. While lip gloss has it’s place, none of that stickiness is involved here. I bought one of these 18 months ago and use it on the daily almost and I just finished it. Love.

Merry Christmas, ya bodacious babes! (Get it…Like Home Alone?)
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Soft, Ballerina Makeup Session to be Photographed.

I’ve always loved makeup itself and doing other people’s (sometimes more than my own…ha!). I have no formal training but I consider the fact that I have done two of my friends’ weddings as my credentials. Who you let near your face on your wedding day is a big deal (at least in my mind) and they both looked gorgeous because they looked like themselves–the most beautiful version of themselves, not someone standing in for them. Have you ever seen pictures like that? Where the makeup is beautiful but you are wondering: ummmm, where is Meg/Lara/Jane/Whoever?

Remind me to tell you the story of how I became friends with one of my best girls…her brow bones…I needed her to let me do her eye makeup, just once. Now, we are like this and I did her makeup for her wedding.

So when Bex decided she wanted to take special anniversary photos with her husband, she asked if I wanted to do her makeup, knowing that I’d enjoy it. I wanted her to look like herself but feel especially pretty because her outfit was just so pretty, reminding me a little bit of a ballerina in the stylish, I am not even trying way. You feel me? Also, I had to be aware that this was a makeup session to be photographed.

Bex washed her face and we took the before photo of sunscreen and previous makeup. I didn’t edit either photo but by the end of the makeup session the sun was beginning to set. You’ll see the look a couple different ways in various ways but we were on a tight schedule so these are the most similar “head on shots” I have. #badbloggersbeforeafter

First of all, I did not have all my supplies because I traveled to Florida with a carry-on. Bex and I are also different skin tones because she was so tan and Floridian…and I am not. So with a mixture of what I had and what she had (it so happened she was running out of some things so the cards were really stacked against us), I think a beautiful and feminine look was achieved.

A few notes on what I did before I tell you what I used. Bex normally uses a liquid liner with a bit of a wing that starts at the middle of her eyelid. I asked her if I could line her whole top lid with liner and the corner on the bottom. She gave me the go ahead. Now, this can make eyes look smaller in general so I don’t suggest that if you that situation going on. But for people with big eyes (like Bex, like me…Seriously my pupils are scary big) it can be a nice effect for a smoky but ballerina look like this. I blended it super well because there is nothing worse than someone taking a picture (or just plain looking at you) and all they can see is the liner.

Important PSA: if you are putting mascara on your eyes without curling them first you are doing it wrong. You must curl. IMG_3680

I highlighted and contoured trying out the NYX product. But then I went back to my tried and true Tarte bronzer to contour and Benefits High Beam for highlighting. I also used the beauty to blend really well.

As much as both Bex and I are fans of a poppin’ lip. I wanted this to be soft and feminine. I wanted her dewy and a bright lip went to do. The lip I used is seriously an amazing nude-pink that looks amazing on everyone. IMG_3598

Please go ahead and ask questions about my technique or any of the makeup I used which was (Bex and I used a combination of what I brought and what she had because this wasn’t planned…Fortunately I took notes in my Bullet Journal)

Primer: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Radiance
BB Cream: Loreal, Light
Concealer: Laura Mercier, Secret Concealer
Setting Powder: Makeup Forever, HD High Definition Powder
Bronzer: Tarte, Amazonian Princess
Illuminator: Benefit, High Beam
Also used for highlight + contour: NYX, Wonder Stick, Medium
Eye Primer: Urban Decay, Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Eyeshadow: Tarte, Steph’s pearl + Tarte, Erica’s dollhouse + Tarte, Jess Storybook (this palette is no longer available…This one is similar)
Eyeliner: Bare Minerals, Lasting Line, Absolute Black
Brows (pencil + gel): Jour, Brow Definer  + Anastasia, Clear Gel
Mascara: Dior, Diorshow
Blush: Benefit, Posie Tint
Lip Liner: MAC, Spice
Lip Gloss: Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect, 157
Also used the Beauty Blender a lot

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