Holiday Hysteria

I remember being consumed with the idea of Santa when I was younger.  Obsessed with him.  I mean, this guy didn’t even really know me… I stopped buying into that ‘good girl’/’bad girl’ threat at the age of four when I stole a classmate’s fruit roll up, lied about it and still got Christmas presents that December.  The physical reaction that took place on Christmas mornings for me were like what I only assume dropping Acid in a room full of cash, while simultaneously being cheered on by your closest friends and family would be and just like a drug, it happens in stages.

First?  Anticipation.  The nights leading up to Xmas day were filled with angst and high hopes and around the 20th, sh*t got real.  Sweating, the shakes, scenarios running through my head… I needed it.  I needed it to be the 25th.  This hit a high point at the end of Christmas Eve dinner when I knew it was really in sight.  We got the goods.  To describe the night’s of 12/24 between the years of approx. 1992-1999 would basically be similar to a multiple personality, caged animal with a bad case of tourettes breaking out in random laughs, cries and keywords from my Christmas list.. “KABOODLE!!!?!?!??”, “TOMAGATCHI!?!??”, “CASH REGISTER!!!?!?”.  I really don’t have any recollection after this, so I can only assume my parents had to step in and slip me some kind of sleep aid and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I wake up, deceived.  HOW did this happen?  I fell asleep.. impossible.  No time for thoughts – C$H$R$I$T$M$A$S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Later in life, I learned the only way to describe this moment is…

mind_blown

taken from here

The sad reality is that this process, although traumatic, is magic and as we get older, it fades.  You learn that not everything you believed in was true (in my case, I found out when my Jewish best friend asked me when I found out that my idol, my beloved, my rockstar, Santa Claus didn’t really exist.  I responded confidentently and carefree, “HA, seriously.. I’ve known for ages………  I must be going now”, quickly turned my back and cried the entire way home).  But, then you fill the void with the memory of innocence and with appreciation for your parents going through all kinds of trouble to make the day as mind blowing as it was… I mean, my Dad once drove three hours north to meet a woman in a parking lot in the freezing cold to exchange a sold-out-everywhere Furby for more cash than than that loud, needy toy (that doesn’t turn off, by the way) was ever worth.  And yes, I still love Christmas.  Some part of me reverts back to that selfish, bratty, unappreciative eight year old every year and the spirit of children lives on.

*Reference to drugs was used for humor’s sake.  Don’t do drugs.  Just love Christmas.

Top Items On My List (in no particular order)

1

Prada 0PR 23OS Sunglasses $245

2

Proenza Schouler PS1 Wallet $165

3

Gorjana Alphabet Coin Bracelet $60

4

Vince Camuto ‘Tipper’ Boot $179

5

Lulu Guiness Blush-Perspex Lips Clutch $390

 

6

 

Etsy’s Naomilingerie Black Satin and Cotton Cat Eye Mask $23.07

 

 

 

7

 

 

Nixon Time Teller Watch $99.99

 

 

1

 

 

Coach Legacy Leather Large Wristlet $108

 

 

2

 

 

Urban Decay Naked2 Palette $50

 

 

1

 

 

Rebecca Taylor Giselle Leopard Zip-Around Wallet $78

 

 

2

 

 

Too Faced 3 Way Lash Lining Tool $22

 

 

3

 

 

T by Alexander Wang Inverted Pleated Dress $129

 

 

4

 

 

 

Nars Night Flight Nail Polish $18

 

 

 

5

 

 

Current Elliott Stiletto Jean in Day Glow Pink $65

 

 

6

 

 

Boutaugh Bow Tie in Pink $68

 

 

7

 

 

J Crew Vintage Short Sleeve Pajama Set $78

 

 

8

 

 

Anthropologie Kismet Knit Turban $48

 

 

9

 

 

Ka’Oir Wifey Lipstick $15.99

 

 

10

 

 

MAC Pro Lip Palette $40

 

 

1 1

 

 

Kate Spade Colorblocked Silicone iPhone 4 Case $35

 

 

2

 

 

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray $19.50-39

 

 

3

 

 

Nespresso Latissima Plus $399

 

 

4

 

 

Sephora by OPI Gelshine At Home Gel Colour System $159

 

 

5

 

 

Jiffy Steamer $58.12

 

 

6

 

 

Frends Taylor Rose Gold Headphones $199

 

 

7

 

 

 

Ciate Mother of Pearl Caviar Manicure $27.95

 

 

 

9

 

 

Nikon 1 J1 10MP Digital Camera $399.99

 

 

10

 

 

Current Elliott Stiletto Jean in Camel Leopard $198

 

 

11

 

The Little Dictionary of Fashion $19.95

12

Paige Denim Edgemont Ultra Skinny Jeans in Cheer $167.30

Foundation

Foundation is amazing.  It transforms your look and evens out the most unbalanced skin tones.  HOWEVER, it is perhaps the hardest (at least I think so) process to master.  We’ve all seen people out with a streaky foundation or one that makes the face look flawless, but the neck look white.  There’s just so many places to go wrong.

It’s VERY important to test before you buy foundation and one very important trick is to stock up on a few varying shades to interchange as your skin gets tanner/lighter.  I also find it really helpful to use either a brush or a blender.  My favorites are either the BeautyBlender ($19.95) and the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($34).

   

Use clean hands and start with less then you think you need.  There’s always time to add more, but applying too much will result in starting all over or going out looking like a clown.  I have had the best success by using the MAC brush to dab into the product, then start at my nose, progressing to my cheeks.  Next, I cover my jaw-line, neck and ears (don’t leave out places like ears, neck and hairline – it makes your makeup look cakey and not blended/natural).  Lastly, I cover my forehead.  After my whole face/neck is covered, I use the beauty blender to make sure there aren’t any streaks.

People have different theories on the next step, but I find it crucial to air out my foundation by waving my hands in front of my face for 60 seconds (I literally count out loud and yes, this is somewhat superstitious) before setting it in a loose powder.

My 10 Favorite Foundations:

Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation $34

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation $46

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup $38

MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation $30

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $42

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation $42

Dior Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation $62

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation $42

Covergirl Naturelux Foundation $11.98

Maybelline Fit Me! Liquid SPF 18 Foundation $6.99

Blushing

I have pale skin, so my foundation, bronzer and blush are important to me.  Blush especially adds life to the complexion, which becomes necessary (especially when I’m waking up too early to feel like I have any energy).  I like to have a variety of hues on hand, as I’m a big fan of blending/layering.  This is especially useful as you learn to contour your face and enhance your best features.

My All Time Favorite Blush Options:

NARS Blush in Orgasm $28

Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Palette $45

Cargo Blush in Catalina $29

Benefit Dandelion Blush $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star in Rose Diamond $44

NARS Cream Blush in Penny Lane $28

Stila Custom Color Blush in Sheer Pink $20

LORAC Blush in Desire $20

Loreal True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Baby Blossom $11.49

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Frisky $25

LORAC Baked Matte Satin Blush in Plush $24

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural $11.99

Eye Color Palettes

I have been completely obsessed with eye palettes, Urban Decay’s Naked Palette in particular, for a while now.  I love having colors that are in the same family and feel better buying something that gives you options as opposed to one color.  The Naked Palette’s color choices are great and nicely pigmented, so it stays put.  They just came out withe a second edition and even though the use makes it far worth the $50, I think I’m going to wait for a special occasion.

Urban Decay Naked Palette $50, Urban Decay Naked Palette2 $50

Other Palettes I have my eye on (no pun intended)…

NYX 5 Color Eye Shadow Palette- I Dream of St Lucia $8.50

Lancome ‘Sensational Effects’ Eye Shadow Palette $49.50

MAC ‘Shop & Drop’ Eyeshadow $38

Sephora Moonshadow Baked Palette – In the Nude $30 and Sephora Moonshadow Baked Palette – In the Dark $30

NARS Duo Eyeshadow – Iridescent Orchid/Iridescent Regal Blue $34

Pop Beauty ‘Pop Your Eye Color’ Palette – Brown Eyes $26

Stila In the Garden Eye Shadow Palette $39

Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection $36

Physicians Formula Eye Enhancing Palette – Green Eye Candy $8.76

Sephora + Pantone Universe – Strokes of Nature Palette $55

Tarte Femme Naturale Eye Palette $44

Sephora Collection Smoky Studio Customizable Eye Palette $34

Physicians Formula Baked Collection Wet/Dry Eye Shadow – Baked Sweets $7.03

Sephora Collection Izak Baked Eyeshadow Palette $30

E.L.F. Studio 144-Piece Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette $15

 

Bright Lipstick

I have a very distinct memory of getting together with friends as a child to trade makeup and praying to God that they would want my old lipsticks in exchange for their shiny glosses.  It was unimaginable to me that anyone would actually prefer a stick over the sparkly, youthful gloss, but as what normally happens when I initially hate something in beauty or fashion, I end up loving it.

These days, I’m using bright lipsticks at whatever chance I get to accent what I’m wearing.  Pigmented colors provide drama and to me, are a great way to accomplish a fresh look while sticking to the majority of your regular beauty routine.  The number one tip for bold colors is to make them your own.  I often times blend different shades together or add some concealer to make the colors a touch more muted.  What also helps is a really good primer.  I recently bought MAC’s Prep + Prime $15, which helps the lipstick stay put and last a lot longer.

Other Primers Worth Trying:

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Lip Service Primer $25, Origins Underwear for Lips $15, Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion $20

Favorite Red’s:

Napoleon Perdis DeVine Goddess Lipstick – Xenia $24, Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Stain – Fiery $24, Exude Lip Creme – Red #1 $29

Nars Semi Matte Lipstick – Heat Wave $24, E.L.F. Essential Lipstick – Fearless $1, Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick – Fire & Ice $7.99

Favorite Pink’s:

Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick – Candy Pink $8.99, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – Roman Holiday $24, MAC Lipstick – Viva Glam Nicki $14.50

Bare Escentuals 100% Natural Lipcolor – Bevarian Creme $15, E.L.F. Studio Matte Lip Color – Tea Rose $3, Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick – Pout $19

Favorite Purple’s:

   

Estee Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick – Black Cherry $22.50, Clarins ‘Instant Smooth’ Crystal Lip Balm – Crystal Violet $24.50, E.L.F. Mineral Mineral Lipstick – Prime Plum $5

Lipstick Queen – Medieval $20, Beauty Without Cruelty Natural Infusion Moisturizing Lipstick – Blueberry Coulis $22.95, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre – Violet Singulier $32

Favorite Orange’s:

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year Creme Lipstick – Tangerine Tango Cream $18, YSL Rouge Volupte Perle – Shimmering Coral $34, Guerlain Rouge Automatique – Fleur De Feu $35

Armani Beauty Rouge Sheer d’Armani Lipstick – Acid Tangerine $30, Shiseido ‘Perfect Rouge’ Lipstick – Day Lily $25, Sephora Collection True Cream Lip Color – Sunset Rhythm $12

Nailed It

There’s no denying that going to get a manicure comes with a lot more options these days.  Growing up, we really only went as far as french or color and looking back, it seems strange that the evolution of nail innovations has just come around these past few years.  Everywhere I look people are experimenting with nail patterns, colors, textures and honestly – I love it.  It’s such an easy way to test out trends without having to purchase something where you worry about cost and fit.

I also like to switch up my looks a lot, so changing from a bold, bright nail to a more muted pastel is also a great way to enhance your wardrobe and day to day style with very little effort.  There are so many products and shades on the market that make trying out new techniques very easy and I’ve never found myself so excited to scour the market for the hottest colors and prints – in nail polish!!

My Favorite New Nail Colors for Spring:

O.P.I. Care to Danse? $7.35, Love & Beauty by Forever 21 Bubble Gum Pink $2.80, Essie Mint Candy Apple $4.95, Butter Opaque Cantaloupe $14

My Favorite Nail Colors for Summer:

Essie Pretty Edgy $8, Chanel Peridot $26, Nars Cyan Blue $18, Zoya Mitzi $8

Go To Line for Fun Events/Your Birthday:

Deborah LippmanCandy Shop $18, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? $18, I Love the Nightlife $18, Some Enchanted Evening $18

Best Quirky Nail Option:

Orly Matte Couture Vinyl $2 (appears completely flat black)

New Nail Line I Love (It’s A Tie!!):

NCLABel Air Trophy Wife $16, Poolside Party, All Eyes On Me! $16, Pick Me Up At Melrose Place $16, Hollywood Hills Hot Number $16

Models Own (European Line) – Beach Party $6.63, Indian Ocean $6.63, Lemon Sherbert $6.63, Emerald City $6.63

Fun Color Sets:

Models Own Ice Cream Sundae Box Set $26.52, The New Black Rainbow Polish Set $32, The New Black Pink Ombre Box Set $22

Quality Inexpensive Nail Line:

E.L.F.Nude $2, Bubble Gum Pink $2, Smoky Brown $2

Easiest/Coolest DIY Manicure:

NCLA Nail WrapsMoney Green $16/22 strips, H-Fi Stereo $16/22 strips, Sephora by O.P.I. Trend TipsBlack and Gold Glitter $22/16 strips, Ikat $22/16 strips

*These are SO easy to use and last a long time!  I love them!!  Just stick them on your nail and file the edges down to create a really unique look.  Use them on all fingers or just two one while you polish the other 8 for a cool affect.

Favorite Nail Accessory:

NuBar Nail Art Neon Pack $39.95/8 pens, Lazer Nail Art Pen $4.49, Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen $8.74

*Use these to draw designs/graphics on your polished nails.

Upcoming Line I’m Most Excited For:

O.P.I. Minnie Mouse Line coming in June 2012 $8.50 each

*How cute is the glitter polish?!  It has little hearts in it.

Beauty Buff’s Beware…

…because you are about to add an expense to your monthly budget.  I have found something so exciting for Beauty lovers that if even 1 of you do not know about it, this post will be worth it.  I had heard of Beauty Subscriptions, but for whatever (insane) reason, I was frustrated that they are mostly popular/available abroad.  It was hard to find any I was interested in that shipped within the U.S.  The idea behind them is to pay roughly $10-15/month (normally) or $25-40 every three months and have 3-5 samples of a new product sent to your home once a month.

I love getting packages and when I see mail that is not a bill, it’s like a little thrill, so this for me is like a pint sized Christmas I get to experience every 30 days.  Not only is it great because you can try a huge variety of products (some of which you’d probably not try if you had to buy the full size), but also because I’ve found you can actually spend less money on hair/beauty supplies by subscribing to one or two.  So far, I have only tried BeautyBox 5 (most of the good providers either are still working on shipping to the U.S. or have a wait list, so sign up for as many as you are interested in and then pick the ones you want when they are able to accommodate your orders).  Although I am definitely still a fan, I initially didn’t customize my order (they have options to put in your hair/eye color, skin type, etc) to see what their standard shipment was, but I think this was a mistake.  My first shipment was very much geared towards “anyone’s” features and I think I’d prefer something more particular to me, so I’ve since changed my profile.  That being said, it’s still a really fun service and something I am really excited about for $12/month or $30/3 months.

My First BeautyBox 5 Shipment:

Left Picture (top, bottom): side of BeautyBox 5 shipment, box opened up with samples in a bag

Right Picture (top row left to right, bottom row left to right): Freeman Pink Grapefruit Facial Exfoliating Scrub ($3.99/bottle), Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer ($55/1.7 oz), La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe ($9.99/24 wipes), BeautyBox 5 Card, Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe ($34/40 swipes), True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum ($69/.5 fl oz)

Overall, I was hoping there would be more makeup samples, as opposed to this one, which was focused more on skin care, but I was surprised that I enjoyed these products more than I thought I would.  Also, now that I’ve customized my profile, I have a feeling the samples will get more diverse and there are certainly other subscribers that focus 100% on makeup/nails, etc.  I did a brief synopsis of each product below, but considering had I bought all these products at a store the total would be $171.89, I can see why people are so crazy about these monthly indulgences!

Freeman Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Scrub:  Very vibrant fragrance!  I would definitely buy this to use for an early morning to wake me up.  The scrub is hearty enough to make me feel like it is getting rid of dead skin, but not too abrasive, which I like.

Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer:  My skin feels really healthy after I apply it and it is extremely light, but you can definitely smell the SPF in it.  It has an SPF 30 (which is a total plus!) but it does appear a bit greasy like I’m putting on straight sun-tan lotion.  I would use this on vacation, but don’t see myself buying it for everyday.

La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe:  I love makeup remover wipes and use them all the time, but I normally buy the cheap grocery store brand or for a few extra dollars, Neutrogena.  They are ceratinly more effective than the store brand’s and leave my face feeling fresh.  I still have to rub my eye a few times to get all the makeup off, but can accomplish it with one wipe.  They’re pretty much on par with Neutrogena for me.

Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe:  I really liked this sample.  I’m fair skinned, so sun protection is important to me (even though it should be important to all of us!).  Personally, I would still use a lotion on my face, but would absolutely buy a pack of these for the Summer to protect my body from the Sun.  They’re easy to use, no fuss and I managed to get through a pool day without a burn while using the swipe.

True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum:  This one was my favorite.  I’m starting to get into preventative tactics to keep my skin (especially my face) firm.  What I liked most about this product is that you can actually feel it working.  I applied a small amount and within 15 seconds I felt like I had put on a light mask.  It’s not too tight where you feel like you can’t make facial expressions, but more-so just a hint of resistance to make you feel it is effective.  It also made my skin really soft after I followed it with moisturizer.

Other Beauty Box Providers I’m Excited About:

BirchBox ($10/month, some brands include Nars, Stila, Kiehls, has a subscriber for Men, currently has a wait-list)

Julep ($19.99/month, formaldehyde free nail polish/products, available right now)

MyGlam ($10/month, some brands include Urban Decay, Tarte, NYX, currently has a wait-list)

GlossyBox ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include O.P.I., Bobbi Brown, Chloe, Shu Uemura, coming soon to the U.S.)

TestTube ($29.95 + shipping/quarter gets you four shipments of bigger products- usually 6 full size products + a magazine, some brands include Korres, Moroccan Oil, Smashbox, available right now)

Glymm ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include Butter, Anastasia, YSL, coming soon to the U.S.)

LooseButton ($12/month, some brands include Dermalogica, Benefit, Laura Mercier, currently has a wait-list)

BeautyArmy ($12/month, some brands include StriVectin, RapidLash, Joico, currently has a wait-list)

A Couple Gift Sets for Men:

HisKit ($12/month, has samples of grooming products, tech stuff, small wardrobe staples like socks, etc, currently has a wait-list)

MaleBox (coming soon, sign up to be notified when they are available to ship)

And One for Dog’s Too:

BarkBox ($25/month, usually comes with a toy, treats, fun product like printed doggie bags and shampoo, available right now)

*Know that there are many more of these (all kinds too) available to the public, but after doing a lot of research, I’ve found these work with the best products.  It is definitely worth keeping your eyes out though.

*Photos taken from websites

Faux Glow

My makeup education is always evolving.  Because of my upbringing, attending an all-girls school for most of my life mentioned here, I didn’t have much experience with a wide variety of looks.  It was basically what I put on Monday-Friday (practically nothing) or for the weekend (still nothing… social lives in the suburbs of Baltimore are hard to come by… or maybe just for me?  Yikes.).  I always loved experimenting, however, and was enamored by the models in fashion magazines.  I remember one night I decided I would master the smoky eye, being as careful as possible trying to imitate how the makeup artist’s did it.  I probably went through an entire bar of face soap erasing my attempts that would more so make me eligible for Clown College rather than Marinello.

Through the years, however, and by being introduced to coed classes in College, I learned how to highlight my features and look appropriate in public.  Even now, I take a Saturday night, once and a while, stay at home to try out new colors and products.  This still sometimes ends in disaster, but the point is to have fun with your looks and not be afraid to add a new step to your daily beauty regime.  One suggestion?  Experiment on a day/night where you won’t be rushing to an event.  I have 100% been the girl who was 30 minutes late because I was scrubbing the season’s hottest color – deep purple (made me look like the time I dressed in Goth for Halloween) – off my lips.  Oops!

One way I’ve found to enhance your look (especially at night) is by using luminizers.  Anything to give your face a healthy glow, while making you appear sun-kissed and full of life.  Some of my favorite products like these include…

-Tan Towels $27/10 towelettes: I can’t live without these after a suggestion from my friend Heather, which unlike the other products, I put on before my makeup.  They enhance your skin tone and are really easy to put on evenly – they also come in bigger sizes to cover your face and body.  photo from tantowel.com

-Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing Primer $38: I’ve been a longtime lover of the Photo Finish Collection over at Smashbox and although it instructs to put on under foundation, I love the look I get when I dab it over my cheeks and forehead after I’ve finished my makeup.  It gives you an even and subtle golden pop.  photo taken from smashbox.com

-Tarte Ten Cheek Stain $19:  This was the first product I experimented with that has more uses than a blush, but in the pink family, instead of golds and browns.  I love how it gives you a good amount of color, without being overwhelming.  I spread this on my cheeks (sometimes my lips too!) and rub it in to give a shimmery, warm highlight. photo taken from tartecosmetics.com

-Curious by Britney Spears Perfumed Shimmer Stick $7.49:  First of all, wipe that look off your face.  B. Spears is amazing and this product gives you skin like the famous scene in Toxic.  See picture below… enough said.  photo of product taken from amazon.com, photo of Britney taken from broadway.com

-MAC Strobe Cream $15:  The Strobe Cream is one I’m more inclined to wear in the day, because it goes on a little brighter than most of these, but it’s still a great buy.  It really improves the look of your skin and balances out uneven skin tones.  photo taken from maccosmetics.com

-Smashbox Baked Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst $30: This is actually called a blush, but to me, it’s an all-over essential.  I use a powder brush and dab it on my face and neckline for a noticeably sun-kissed glow.  photo taken from smashbox.com

*I used to put as much bronzer/luminizers all over my face to try to get a golden look, but have learned to use these only on my cheeks and T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and then use a lighter, pressed powder like this one above the cheeks and along the jawline to create an illusion that your skin is more vibrant and you even appear skinnier!

Other Glow Enhancing Products I’m dying to try:

all photos below taken from Sephora.com

Nars The Multiple Stick $39

Benefit High Beam $26

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star $44

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum $32

Benefit Watt’s Up! Illuminizer $30

Edward Bess All Over Seduction Cream $38

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener $19

Givenchy Le Prisme Blush Bucolique $56

Guerlain Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer Highlighter $41

Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer $22

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Power Duo $29


Lorac Oil-Free Luminizer $28

Guerlain By Emilio Pucci Illuminating Powder $59

Givenchy Mister Radiant $37.50