What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

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Outfit Details

Dress: Zara last season, similar here  //  Shoes: BCBGeneration  //  Bag: Clare V.  //  Sunglasses: Target  //  Bracelets: David Yurman, Kate Spade, J. Crew  //  Necklace: Forever 21 last season, similar here and here  //  Ring: David Yurman

Photography by: Robin Fox

It’s that time of the year again: wedding season!  My life as a makeup artist revolves around wedding season, which for me, is the beginning of May through the end of October.  I’ll have some random weddings in April, November, December, and January, but just one here and there.

As far as being a wedding guest, I usually have a couple weddings to attend each year.  Now that many of my friends and family members have reached the point where they’ve been with their significant other for a while, the number of weddings I have to attend/be in each year keeps growing!

The look that I’m showing here is a perfect option for a semi-formal summer wedding.  I actually wore this exact outfit to Greg’s friend’s wedding last summer, so the dress is last season but I linked a similar option above in the outfit details!

I will 100% admit that I wear black way too much, so I try to remind myself to wear something light and bright for summer weddings!  This yellow was the perfect choice, especially paired with the bright blue necklace and leopard clutch.

The shoes that I chose to wear in this post here are comfortable and practical; nude heels go with everything.  If you had nice weather and it wasn’t raining, sandals would be a great options as well.

Do you have any upcoming weddings this summer?  What do you plan on wearing?!

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Current Favorites: Hair Care

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I’m not someone who likes to spend a lot of time fussing over my hair, which is why it’s important to use high quality products that allow me to cut down on styling time. I like to use products that enable me to wear my hair completely natural if I don’t want to curl or straighten it with heat tools that day.

I’ve been a huge fan of Bumble and Bumble products for a couple years now, but I was recently introduced to a new brand that I love just as much: Monat.

First I’ll tell you a little bit about my hair, then I’ll tell you about the products I’ve been using.

My hair is naturally light brown, with some lighter balayage highlights that were added over a year ago. I would say it’s decently long (comes down to the top of my chest) and has a natural wave. When I wear my hair curly, people always comment about how “big” it is – but really it’s not at all. I have a lot of hair, but it’s made up of very thin strands. So therefore, I have thin hair. Does that make sense?

I don’t straighten it very often. If I do style it, I typically use a 1.5″ curling iron or wand. The reason I try not to style it with heat too much is because my hair is a bit dry, so for the past year, I’ve been trying to restore it, make it look shinier, and just use less heat in general. Oh, I should also mention that I finally stopped washing my hair every day like I did for a long time! It’s been a year or so since I stopped doing that – thank goodness. That’s also probably why it’s dry. Yikes!

These three products have really helped bring my hair back to life:

  1. Renew Shampoo – Before I talk about what this has done to my hair, I just need to tell you that IT SMELLS AMAZING. Like, really amazing. It reminds me of how my favorite hotel on Earth, Hotel Villa Franca in Positano, Italy, smelled. So needless to say, it brings back wonderful memories every time I shampoo my hair. I lather a decent amount of this shampoo into my scalp and ends for a few minutes. It’s a hydrating and moisturizing cleanser, so I like to spend at least a few minutes really working it into my head and hair. Since using this product for the past two months, I’ve noticed my hair looks more moisturized and shiny.

2. Replenish Masque – Once I’m done shampooing, I like to take a small handful of the masque and smooth onto my hair, focusing primarily on the middle to end of my hair (I personally don’t put on my roots because I never apply conditioner there since my hair gets oily on the top). This also smells really good, FYI. I leave it in for the rest of the time I’m in the shower, while I wash my body, shave, and wash my face. Once I’m ready to hop out of the shower, I will rinse the masque out of my hair. The directions say to use once or twice a week, but since I normally only wash my hair twice a week, I use this each time. This leaves my hair feeling very smooth and I’ve noticed a difference in the texture.

3. Restore Leave-In Conditioner – After I am out of the shower, it’s time to comb through my hair. This is where I’ve been using the leave-in conditioner. This has been the first time I think I’ve ever used a leave-in conditioner, and I’ve really been liking it. I spray this evenly throughout my hair, then comb it through with my big hair pick. Then I proceed to style my hair as usual, for whatever type of look I’m going for that day. If you didn’t just wash your hair but still want some added hydration, you can also use this leave-in conditioner on dry hair!

Another product that I’ve been using and loving from Monat, but don’t necessarily use every day or as part of my shower routine, has been the Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy. I take a TINY amount and rub between my palms, then apply to the appropriate part of my hair. For example, I will apply this to fly aways if I am wearing my hair in a sleek ponytail or bun, or I will apply this to my roots if my hair is looking kind of crazy and needs to be tamed.

I hope you enjoyed this review! What hair products have you been loving lately?

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LBD + Chartreuse

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O U T F I T   D E T A I L S

DRESS: Tangles Salon  //  HEELS: Mix No. 6  //  CLUTCH: Clare V.  //  SUNGLASSES: Target  //  BRACELETS: David Yurman  //  NECKLACE: J. Crew  //  RING: David Yurman

This upcoming weekend I have some very exciting plans for Memorial Day.  A few of my college girlfriends and I are going to celebrate one of our bestie’s getting married soon by going on a fun trip to Toronto!  Some of us are hitting the road on Friday and driving a few hours to get there, while other girlfriends and family members are flying.  We can’t wait to celebrate the bride all weekend, and explore one of Canada’s coolest cities.

On Saturday night, we reserved a table at a popular nightclub, Uniun (this is where Justin Bieber goes when he’s in town!).  On the bachelorette invitation, we made a note that the bride will be wearing white to the club while everyone else should wear something black.  I think most of us are opting for the LBD, and I’m so happy I found mine last week – photoed here for this post!

This super cute LBD is a great option whether you have curves or don’t (I happen to have curves, especially on my lower half).  Many dresses don’t fit me well because they’re too tight on the butt and thighs, but I was impressed with this one.  The material is very high quality (not thin at all) and stretches enough to smooth you out – kind of like Spanx would!  To add some pizazz, I paired this dress with chartreuse heels and a necklace, along with my favorite leopard clutch.

PS – the clutch is currently 40% off on Net-A-Porter!  If my mom is reading this, she’s going to be super pissed because her and my dad gifted me the clutch for my birthday this year…purchased from Net-A-Porter…but paid full price 😦

What are you doing for Memorial Day Weekend – any fun plans?!

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Whole30 Review

Whole30 Review, What Is Whole30, Caitlyn Michelle, Makeup By Caitlyn Michelle, Rochester NY Makeup Artist

Whole30 is a nutrition program I’d heard about for a few years now.  Some of my favorite fitness and lifestyle bloggers have tried Whole30 and swear by it.  So after giving the idea much thought, I decided to try it out for myself.

I’ll be honest: I’ve never really challenged myself when it comes to health and fitness. I’ve always challenged myself in other aspects of life (school, work, etc.), but have never pushed myself when it comes to what I eat and exercising (although, Whole 30 is not a workout program.  If you’re wondering what Whole30 is, I’ll explain below).

I eat “healthy” maybe about…50% of the time?  Honestly, I love me some junk food.  Specifically carbs, sugar and wine.  I love Sour Patch Kids, Reese’s Pieces, ice cream, Italian bread, cinnamon raisin bagels, pasta, donuts, cupcakes, pita chips, wine – the list goes on and on, but I’ll stop there (#embarrassing).  Oh wait, I almost forgot – did I mention that I absolutely LOVE cheese, too?  Well, I love cheese.  And I don’t discriminate – mozzarella, parmesan, goat, feta, cheddar, brie – I like em all.  So what does all of this result in?  Having very low energy levels, lots of headaches, and constantly feeling bloated…just to name a few.

WHAT IS WHOLE30?

“Whole30 is designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.

So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”

Read more about Whole30 here.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WHOLE30

You’re basically eating a lot of fresh foods; nothing processed. You’re going to remove all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet.  I cannot tell you how many people asked me, “So what do you eat?! Nothing?”  No, I would reply, I eat all fresh foods.  And believe it or not, there is A LOT to choose from.

You do not count calories (thank God, because I’ve never done that in my life and never will), you do not pre-measure anything, and you do not weigh yourself for the entire 30 days.  You can eat as much as you want (trust me, I ate so much food, probably why I didn’t actually lose weight, but more on that below).

You should really hone in to how you feel while on Whole30.  Are you less bloated?  Are your headaches gone?  Do you have more energy?  Are you sleeping better?  I was amazed that my answers to all of those questions were yes, yes, yes, and YES.

After the 30 days are over with, you reintroduce each food that you removed from your diet back into it, one at a time. This way, you’re able to identify which foods you’re sensitive to.

PS – Whole30 is not something you sign up for; you just do it on your own.  You don’t buy anything except your groceries.  No one is trying to sell you anything; it’s no bullshit.  It’s not an overnight fix; it’s a lifestyle change.

WHAT’S THE POINT?

I bring this up because about seven different people asked me, “what’s the point of doing Whole30?  You don’t need to lose weight.”  I didn’t do it to lose weight.  I did it to become healthier.  To get clearer skin.  To not feel bloated.  To have more energy.  To take care of my damn body from the inside out.

MY EXPERIENCE

Days 1 – 10

After eating so much food at my grandma’s house on one Saturday afternoon (stuffed shells, fried cauliflower, scalloped potatoes, cheesecake…and so much more), I was more than ready to start Whole30 on Monday morning. I made the mistake of working out during my lunch break on Monday (mind you, I had not ate anything for lunch yet), and felt super nauseous afterwards. It’s probably best to wait a few days before you start to workout again on Whole30.

After the first day, I already felt so much better!  Probably because I typically dine out a lot for lunch, which isn’t that healthy (for those of you who don’t know, I have a full-time job as a Marketing Director for a software company.  I do makeup and blogging on the side).  Working in an office all day can make you want to get up and go somewhere during lunch, which is why a lot of times my colleagues and I will go to the foodcourt at the mall or stop at Panera to grab a bite to eat.  Not good!

Speaking of the office, there were THREE work parties/functions during my first week of Whole30!  On Tuesday there was pizza and wings to celebrate two new employees; on Wednesday we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sugar cookies with milk to celebrate World IP Day; and on Thursday I had a marketing function at one of my favorite Rochester restaurants where pasta was served for all 100 attendees.  I had to grab a waiter and ask if he could get me a salad with plain balsamic vinegar.  I was proud of myself for resisting all of the tempting foods – especially my favorite, pizza!

Days 11 – 20

After making it through the first ten days, I was feeling so good.  My headaches were gone, my energy levels were high, I didn’t feel bloated, and my skin was so much clearer!  I had about six different people comment on how clear my skin looked, even without any makeup on.  I was still eating a lot; if I ever felt hungry, I would eat.  But the difference between eating a lot of Whole30 foods versus what I used to eat was that I never felt bloated after.

On Day 12, I went to lunch with my best friend and her cousin, and was so tempted to have a slice of the bread that was served – not to mention the chocolate birthday cake. Instead, I filled up on a grilled mahi salad, which was really satisfying – especially because the dish was served with kalamata olives and mini potatoes.  Up until this point, I didn’t realize you’re actually allowed to eat potatoes on Whole30 – nice surprise, haha.  After lunch we treated ourselves to facials and at the end, we were served hot tea.  I took one look at the ingredients listed on the label before taking a sip, and the #1 ingredient was sugar!  No tea for me.

Now here is where I’m ashamed to tell you what happened next, on Day 13.  I cheated.  I cheated really bad. I knew I was going out for my two best friends’ birthdays, and I told myself I wouldn’t drink.  Wellllll…I drank.  I had wine and vodka with soda water.  And THEN, I decided it was a good idea to have pizza – two slices of pizza.

The next morning I felt like absolute crap. It was probably a combination of drinking alcohol and consuming food that I haven’t in two weeks (sugar, cheese, grain, flour). Yikes.

Although I felt so mad at myself and defeated, I decided to carry on with the rest of the Whole30 program and not hit the reset button (I explain why below, in the WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? section). I know that’s not how Whole30 is supposed to work – you can’t cheat at all, but I still decided to continue with the rest of my two weeks without cheating.

On Day 18, I went to dinner with three of my girlfriends.  A couple of them kept saying, “I could never do that, I just don’t have the willpower.”  Here’s the thing: neither have I.  As I mentioned above, I’ve never done something like this where I’ve challenged myself with regards to what I eat.  It’s honestly not that hard.  When you notice all of the amazing results (that I list below), it’s so worth it.

Days 21 – 30

The last ten days I still felt amazing, just as I had during the first twenty days.  I kept thinking to myself, “this isn’t bad at all.  I could do this forever.”  The only times it was difficult for me was eating at restaurants and eating at other peoples’ homes.  For example, when I go home to visit my family, my mom and dad eat pretty healthy.  However, my two younger brothers do not, so the house is filled with so much junk food (sugary cereals, ice cream, Doritos, and more).  I just had to tell myself, okay, no matter what everyone else eats, I am going to make my own meals.

Same with eating at a restaurant.  You would think you could choose something on the menu that is Whole30 compliant at just about any restaurant, but I was surprised.  One night for dinner I figured I would order a salad with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp, but that wasn’t an option.  I ended up ordering a garden salad with no protein, so I went home and had some nuts and veggies afterward.  I would say the most important thing before you eat out is to go online and look at the menu beforehand to make sure there is something you can order (that isn’t just a boring garden salad).

FAVORITE SNACKS

– Grapefruit

– Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries

– RX bars (Chocolate Sea Salt and Coconut Chocolate)

– Almonds and pistachios

– Sliced peppers

FAVORITE MEALS

– Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Peppers, and Asparagus

– Riced Broccoli with Grilled Chicken

– Zucchini Noodles or Butternut Squash Noodles with Salmon

– Salad with Tuna

– Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie

– Riced Cauliflower (Mexican style) with Chicken in Lettuce Wraps topped with Homemade Guacamole

BENEFITS THAT I EXPERIENCED

– No headaches (not even one in thirty days, and I normally get a few per week)

– Clearer skin (noticeably clearer – several people commented on how nice and glowy my skin looks, and they normally don’t)

– Less tired, more energy (I never really got tired during the day, and normally I do.  Especially around 2 or 3 pm, which is common for a lot of people because this is when they crave sugar, or crash from it.)

– Felt lighter, tighter, and healthier – never bloated (my stomach looked much flatter almost immediately.  I didn’t feel like I lost weight, probably because I still ate a lot, but I did feel much tighter throughout my entire body.)

– Always felt satisfied (I still ate a lot during Whole30, so I always felt satisfied. The only times I thought, “wow, I really want that donut,” was if someone was eating a donut directly in front of my face.)

– More aware of what I’m consuming (this is a big one, people. I am sooo much more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth before it hits my lips. “I think I’ll have salsa with my sliced peppers – oh wait, this salsa has sugar as one of it’s main ingredients…never mind!”)

– Better breathing (I don’t know if this is all in my head, or if it’s Whole30 related, but I honestly think it’s Whole30 related. I have suffered from the World’s Worst Sinus Infection since 2010.  Okay, I’m being dramatic. But really, I basically have a constant sinus infection. I should have went through with the surgery that I had scheduled back in 2011. Anyways, my breathing sucks. Especially in my right nostril – if you close my left one I legit cannot breathe at all. But guess what? I’ve noticed a slight difference – my breathing is a little better!  Could it have to do with the change in my diet? Maybe!

– More creative in the kitchen (doing Whole30 forced me to make 90% of my meals, snacks, and even condiments!  For example, I started following Real Food with Dana on Instagram and fell in love with her recipe for ranch dressing.  I’m not even a huge ranch fan, but it was nice to have a little something to dip raw veggies into.  This recipe tasted so good!)

PHYSICAL CHANGES

I weighed myself right before I started Whole30 and I’m the same weight that I have been for a few years now.  I fluctuate a few pounds up and down, but nothing crazy.  I also decided to take a “before” photo so that I could compare it to an “after” photo once the program was complete.

Believe it or not, I actually gained two pounds!  Luckily, I’ve never paid attention to the number on the scale because I think as long as you feel like you’re healthy and feel good about yourself, that’s really all that matters.

But I will say this: I definitely look slimmer.  As I mentioned in a section above, I felt lighter and tighter the entire time I was doing Whole30.  I noticed that my clothes fit better, for example, my pants and jeans were not as tight.  My mom and Greg both noticed I look slimmer as well.  I’m thinking the two pounds are likely muscle gain, since I was eating healthy for 30 days and working out about 4-5 days per week.

Note: I originally posted my before and after photos in this article, but decided to remove them because I was in my underwear…oops!  Probably should have thought about a different “outfit” than that when I took the before photo, but oh well.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?

YES, especially since I cheated.  Everyone who is on the Whole30 train will tell you that if you cheat, you must restart all over again.  When I cheated after the first two weeks, I didn’t want to restart right then and there because I knew I would not be able to resist non-compliant Whole30 foods/drinks while on a mini vacation in Toronto for one of my friend’s bachelorette parties (that would fall within the 30 days if I restarted then).  So I told myself I would do it again, and not cheat, sometime soon.

Greg and I decided that we will follow Whole30 during the week.  For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we will eat the same way that we did while on Whole30.  However, we will allow ourselves to have a few drinks on the weekends or have a plate of pasta at a restaurant if we’re out to eat.  I think this will be a good balance.

The #1 takeaway that I gained from doing Whole30 was realizing how much shit is added to food.  When I would go grocery shopping, I would go to purchase something (such as a can of sauce to add to a recipe) and see that sugar is added.  It made me so much more aware of what I consume.

Have you done Whole30 before?  What are your thoughts on the program?  Let me know if you have any questions about my experience!

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Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have something to look forward to this weekend, even if it’s just relaxing on the couch! I rounded up some of my current favorites, in no particular order. These four categories are kind of random, but oh well!

1. Great Hair Products

I’m currently obsessed with quite a few hair products, so here are three of my favorites:

Invisibobble Traceless Hair Rings – These hair ties/rings are amazing! I wear my hair up a lot when I’m doing things around the house and almost always when I go to bed. The downside? My hair always creases where the hair tie was, which can make it difficult to restyle. The solution? These hair rings! They remind of those weird keychain bracelets that people used to wear in the 90s, but using that shape to hold your hair is genius! It allows hair to be held strongly in the ponytail without feeling too tight or leaving a kink.

Monat Renew Shampoo – I’m going to do a full review on all of the Monat hair products that I’ve been testing for the past couple months, but this shampoo is hands down my new favorite! It smells amazing and has made such a difference with my normally thin, dry hair.

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Cleansing Oil-Crème Duo – Another bomb.com hair product that I’ve been currently crushing on is this magical oil-creme duo! I already owned the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer, and the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Dry Oil Finishing Spray. LOL, can you tell I like this line of products?! And as of a few weeks ago, I added the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Cleansing Oil-Crème Duo to my arsenal, and I’m obsessed. I use it in the shower after I shampoo and it makes my hair so silky smooth!

2. New Makeup

Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Countour Palette – This makeup palette right here, thoooo…game changer! Why did I not own this way sooner? It’s my new favorite (I feel like I always say that, but really, this is my new favorite). There are several different neutral, matte eyeshadows in a range of cool, warm, and neutral tones. If you’re a makeup artist like me, this is perfect to have in your kit!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water – I’ve been using this primer ON REPEAT for the past couple of months. It works so well! I know what you’re thinking: “water…really? come on.” But I promise you it works. I spray it on my face before applying makeup and as soon as I’m done, and my makeup has never looked so good or stayed in place so well.

3. Mother’s Day Ideas

It’s a little late to be posting about this, but if you still haven’t bought or made your mom a gift for Sunday, here are some of my favorite ideas:

Etsy Custom Cutting Board

Kate Spade Recipe Book

Versace Bright Crystal

Kendra Scott Necklace

4. Healthy Snacks

I’m doing this nutritional program called The Whole30 (I’ll do a blog post on it once I’m done), so I’m all about the healthy snacks right now.  RX Bars, almonds, grapes, peppers, olives, and carrots have been my go-tos.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Polka Dots + Red

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O U T F I T   D E T A I L S

DRESS: J.Crew  //  HEELS: BCBGeneration last season, similar here  //  PURSE: Kate Spade  //  SUNGLASSES: Ray Ban  //  BRACELETS: David Yurman and Kate Spade //  NECKLACE: Forever 21  //  RING: David Yurman  //  WATCH: Guess

P H O T O G R A P H Y :  Robin Fox

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I had a relaxing night on Friday with Greg, which was just what we needed.  We made a really tasty dinner (recipe here; we added chicken and homemade guacamole) and watched The Usual Suspects – great movie!

On Saturday I had a few makeup appointments which are always so fun for me – one prom, one wedding trial, and one birthday! Then I went out for two of my best friends’ birthdays and I am SO mad at myself because I cheated my Whole30 program 😦  I’m doing a blog post on Whole30 that will go up later this month, and I’ll explain what happened there (basically I had no willpower and ended up drinking and eating pizza…and Milano cookies).  Oh well, ya live and ya learn people, ya live and ya learn.

Sunday was spent feeling like CRAP all day thanks to cheating on Whole30, but I made up for it by making a really great dinner (salmon with roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli).

K, enough about food. Isn’t this black and white polka dot dress paired with the red and pink accessories just perfect for spring and summer time?  There’s nothing I love more than an easy cami dress that you can glam up or make casual.  They are basically my wardrobe staple for work and play.

What’s your wardrobe staple?  Leave a comment below!

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Blue & White Stripes

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O U T F I T   D E T A I L S

TOP: Forever 21, similar and similar  //  JEANS: Old Navy  //  HEELS: Vince Camuto, similar  //  CLUTCH: J. Crew  //  SUNGLASSES: Target  //  EARRINGS: Forever 21  //  BRACELETS: David Yurman and Kate Spade //  RING: David Yurman  //  WATCH: Guess

P H O T O G R A P H Y :  Robin Fox

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a nice weekend. I spent Friday night catching up on lots of work (Etsy orders, makeup appointment prep, and social media and design work for a marketing client that I have on the side). Saturday morning was filled with makeup appointments with my soon-to-be-brides (yay!), followed by a quick trip home to visit my Big Fat Italian Family! My uncle was in town from Texas, so my grandma decided to have a few people over (aka 45 people). Needless to say, we ate for two days straight and I am more than ready to have something healthy for dinner tonight!

A couple weekends ago, my mom and dad came to visit me for a late birthday celebration. My mom and I dragged my dad and boyfriend to the mall, and while we only had an hour to spend before our dinner reservation, I found this super cute blue and white pinstripe top and fun tassel earrings. For some reason I don’t see the top listed on the Forever 21 website, but I linked a few that are similar!

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White & Green for Spring

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S

TOP: Francesca’s last season, similar here  //  SKIRT: Chicwish  //  HEELS: BCBGeneration last season, similar here  //  CLUTCH: Clare V.  //  SUNGLASSES: Ray Ban  //  EARRINGS: Baublebar  //  NECKLACE: Love Always //  BRACELETS: David Yurman and Francesca’s (no longer available), similar here  //  RING: David Yurman

P H O T O G R A P H Y :  Robin Fox

Vacations are always so fulfilling, aren’t they?  I just returned yesterday morning from spending the last few days in Florida with my boyfriend, Greg, and his family.  The warm weather felt so good!  We kept saying to each other, “how nice would it be to live in this weather 24/7?!”  We live in Upstate, NY and while we do enjoy the summertime very much, we are very limited with the amount of time we have to spend in the sunshine.  It would be nice to get out of work almost every day and see the sun shining!  I love New York so much, but my only complaint is I wish it was sunnier.  I don’t even mind the cold weather and snow (wait, who am I kidding – yes I do), but it would be so much better if it was at least brighter outside!

While we were on vacation for Easter we spent one day at Clearwater Beach and the weather was perfect.  The beach = my happy place.  When I’m on vacation, especially somewhere with warm weather, I like to pack light and flowy things.  This maxi skirt is perfect because it looks good on any body shape and is super comfortable!  And don’t you just love the color?  I think kelly green looks good on just about everyone – light, medium, and dark skin.  Dress it up with heeled sandals like I did here, or dress it down without the heels.

Do you have any vacations planned for this year?  I would love to hear where you’re venturing off to, even if it’s just an hour away from your hometown!

Glossier Favorites

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I’ve come to the realization that being a freelance makeup artist is basically just a big excuse for me to try new skincare and makeup products (kidding, kidding). But really, as much as I love making people look and feel beautiful, I also love to try new products. One brand that I’ve recently tried and been currently crushing on is Glossier.

I’ve seen a few blog and social media posts on the up-and-coming brand, but haven’t tried any of the products until a few weeks ago. Here’s what I’m loving:

Priming Moisturizer – It’s no secret that the “secret” to perfect makeup is having great skin.  Some days I use moisturizer and primer, other days I just use moisturizer and skip the primer.  This Priming Moisturizer by Glossier is the best of both worlds because it’s a two-in-one that doesn’t leave your face feeling like it has too much product on it.

Balm Dotcom – This stuff is the real deal when it comes to making your lips feel as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  I’m not always a huge fan of chapstick; I tend to prefer something more balmy. So needless to say, this formulation and consistency is perfect for me and I’ll bet you’ll love it, too.

Super Bounce – This serum is a 10-out-of-10 because it leaves your skin looking bouncy and plump. #Winning.

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Cloud Paint – This is my favorite product out of all the Glossier ones I’ve tried. I love it on myself and I love it on clients. The shades are very pigmented but they’re so easy to blend. You only need a teeny, tiny drop of product on your finger tip, then bounce it onto the apples of your cheeks and you’ve got color that will last all day!

Boy Brow – This reminds me a lot of Gimme Brow by Benefit Cosmetics, another product that I have loved for years. Boy Brow comes in a few different shades to match your hair color, and makes it easy to have perfectly groomed brows in a matter of one minute (or less).

Stretch Concealer – Last but not least, this concealer is the real deal. I was skeptical to try it at first, because I typically don’t like concealer that comes in a pot/jar. But I must say, I really like this product. It’s easy to blend and perfect for covering up dark circles and blemishes.

Have you tried any Glossier products yet? Leave a comment below!
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Favorite Fragrances

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Happy Wednesday! I may have posted something similar to this in the past, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to do another Favorite Fragrances for spring time!

Here I’m breaking down my top six choices and what I like about each one. I honestly have so many other “favorite” perfumes, but these are the six that I currently have on my tray. Also note, this list is in no particular order 🙂

1. Daisy by Marc Jacobs – This is an oldie but a goodie. I’ve been wearing Daisy for years now and still haven’t gotten sick of it. It has a very elegant scent to it and isn’t too overbearing (just don’t spray too much).

  • Notes: Strawberry, Violet Leaves, Jasmine, White Woods
  • Style: Fruity, Floral

2. Daisy Eau So Fresh by Marc Jacobs – Clearly I don’t stray too far from what I like…#oops. Very similar to it’s mother, Daisy, this “Eau So Fresh” edition is similar but a little bit more fruity, in my opinion. It gives me more of a spring and summer feeling, and also feels a bit more “youthful” than the original Daisy. Does that make sense?

  • Notes: Red Raspberry, Wild Rose, Warm Plum
  • Style: Fruity, Floral

3. Sheer Beauty by Calvin Klein – This is probably the least expensive fragrance out of this group. They don’t sell it at Sephora, but I normally find mine at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or even Kohl’s. It isn’t too strong or powerful – I would say it’s a “soft” scent. It makes me feel very elegant and clean!

  • Notes: Sparkling Peach Bellini, Pink Lily, Creamy Woods
  • Style: Fruity, Creamy

4. Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani – I can’t say enough good things about Acqua di Gioia. 1) it’s fun to pronounce 2) it’s different than the other fragrances I own 3) I always feel my best when I wear it. If I have an important meeting or want to feel sexy on a date with my boyfriend, I always grab for this. Fun fact: Acqua di Gioia means “water of joy,” which is exactly what I think of when I spray this (just kidding – that’s definitely not the first thought that crosses my mind).

  • Notes: Mint, Brown Sugar, Lemon, Jasmine, Peony, Pink Pepper, Cedarwood, Labdanum
  • Style: Joyous, Aquatic

5. Nirvana Black by Elizabeth and James – Nirvana Black is the most distinguished out of the fragrances I have listed here. It’s the most…different. It’s mysterious and a little bit masculine. It’s definitely not a scent that I reach for during the day, but it’s perfect for nighttime. And if you aren’t so sure about the perfume, I definitely recommend the dry shampoo. My best friend Missy got me hooked on it! So many people say, “omg, you smell so good!” and really it’s just my hair 😉

  • Notes: Violet, Sandalwood, Vanilla
  • Style: Sensual, Mysterious, Warm

6. Chloé Eau de Parfum by Chloé – Out of these six, this one has to be my current favorite. It’s perfect to wear during the day and also at night. I receive so many compliments when I wear it from both ladies and gents. It’s the perfect mix of a floral and woody scent.

  • Notes: Peony, Rose, Honey, Cedarwood
  • Style: Floral, Powdery (in a good way!)

After typing all of this out, I’ve realized that I’m definitely a “floral” girl! What type of scents do you like? Do you have an all-time favorite perfume? Leave a comment below!

How to Stop Your Concealer from Creasing

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Do you ever wonder why even though your concealer looks perfectly smooth right after you apply it, about five minutes later, you look in the mirror and see creases? The answer is probably that you aren’t setting it correctly!

I personally have dark circles underneath my eyes (thank you Dad, and your side of the family for inheriting that!), so I typically use a liberal amount of concealer in an effort to combat the darkness. I often times apply under eye cream, color corrector, and concealer to cover it up. But with all that product, it can leave your under eyes looking wrinkly and crease-y. Ew, not cute.

Here are the steps I do on myself and on my clients to stop concealer from creasing:

1. Apply color corrector and/or concealer to your under eye area with a wand (if the product comes with one) or a concealer brush. My favorite concealer at the moment is Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer by Too Faced ($28).

2. Blend the concealer in even more with a Beauty Blender ($20). This is a crucial step in making sure nothing creases. When you blend, you want to really press the Beauty Blend into the skin. Don’t smear it around – bounce it up and down to work the product in.

3. Set with powder. This, in addition to step 2, is a very important step. You want to set all of the product you just brushed and blended and buffed into your face with a loose setting powder (it makes all the different to set with loose versus pressed powder). My all-time favorite is the Translucent Loose Setting Powder by Laura Mercier ($38). I like to take the Velour Puff ($15) dip it into the powder, then tap off the excess back into the lid, and gently press onto my skin. When I press the puff under my eyes, I roll it back and forth that way I don’t mess anything up. This works the powder into the skin and sets the makeup perfectly.

And voilà – now you and your under eyes are all set (literally, hahaha)!

Did you find this article helpful? Comment below!

*In partnership with Laura Mercier and Influenster. All opinions are my own.

New Year, New You

 

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How many of you made 2017 resolutions?  I know I have, although I prefer to call them goals rather than resolutions.  Goals seem more attainable than resolutions, in my opinion.  I’m Type-A, so I like to write my goals down otherwise they don’t feel real.  I originally typed them in a Note in my iPhone, but later wrote them down in my new 2017 planner, that way every time I open it (which is every single day) I will see them.  I broke my goals down into four categories: relationships, health, finance & career, and personal.

Today I’m sharing with you a few health and beauty goals that you might want to try in 2017.  It’s been a while since I posted to The Beauty Blog, and I’m hoping that’s one thing I get better at this year!

Health & Beauty Goals

Water – H2O, oh H2O, how I’ve always struggled with you.  For whatever reason, I am just not a water drinker.  I’m not an anything drinker.  I can go an entire day without drinking anything (SO bad!).  I think I inherited this trait from my mom; we’re like camels.

I always tell myself, “I want to drink more water,” but it usually only lasts a few days before I fall off the bandwagon.  For Christmas, my boyfriend was very thoughtful (and funny) and bought me this cute and practical water bottle that has helped me tremendously, and I am sticking to it! It’s a glass bottle by Motivational Bottle and here’s why I like it: 1) it’s glass – I don’t really like drinking out of plastic; 2) it’s cute – the quote on it reads, “Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring;” 3) it’s motivational – it marks how much water you should drink from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.  With that amount you will go through two water bottles, but I aim to have three or four in one day, especially if I’m also working out. Which leads me to my next goal…

Exercise – Let me give you a quick briefing on my exercise situation throughout my 26 years of life.  When I was 5 – 18 years old, I was part of a competition dance team (well, not right since I was 5, but you get the point).  I danced 6 days a week, and that kept me in AMAZING shape as a teenager.  Like damn, I’d give anything to have that body and that booty back.  Aside from the daily dance classes, we would also warm up with an additional work out or pilates each day.  That dancer body was on point!

Anyways, once I got to college I didn’t do much of anything, and gained the typical Freshman Fifteen.  I joined the dance club, but it wasn’t anything near what I was used to – much more of a leisurely club than a competition team.  Throughout my four years of college I would go to the gym here and there with my girlfriends, but nothing routine…very sporadic.  I didn’t work out after college either.  I did lose some weight, but I think that was just from ditching the college diet of pizza and mac & cheese 24/7.

It wasn’t until last summer (August 31, 2015 to be exact) that I finally made a commitment. I joined a gym (or a club, as it likes to be referred to).  A couple of my girlfriends had joined earlier in the year, and somehow, in the blink of an eye, they convinced me to join as well. I was hesitant because 1) it’s expensive and 2) I had never regularly worked out before.  My thought was, if I’m actually going to spend this money every month for the membership, maybe it will force me into going.  And believe it or not, something crazy happened.  I kept going (it’s been over a year now!), but it wasn’t because of the monthly membership fee that I had in the back of my head.  It’s because…I enjoy it.

I realized that you need to find what you like to do.  This is applicable with everything in life, right?  You don’t want a career that you don’t like.  You don’t want to date someone you don’t like.  You don’t want to be friends with people you don’t like.  And you don’t want to exercise in ways that you don’t like.  I realized that regular gyms, the ones that just have treadmills and elliptical machines and weights, are not for me.  That’s not what I like.  Since joining the gym, I figured out that I like high-intensity interval training classes that push me, as well as spin classes, yoga, cardio, and core classes.  I like having an instructor with loud music playing and being in a room filled with other people to motivate me.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when I fall off the bandwagon.  I might go on vacation and not work out at all for a solid week.  But then I get right back into the routine of things.  My goal for 2017 is to make it to the gym 3-5 times a week which I think is attainable.  I don’t have any specific weight loss goals or anything like that; I just want to be strong and healthy and have lots of energy!

Sleep – I want to be better about my sleep habits in 2017.  They honestly aren’t that bad, and I don’t have an essay to write about this like I did with Exercise, but my goal is to get 8 hours per night.  I know that won’t be the case every single night (sometimes I have to be up late balancing my other jobs such as my Etsy shop), but that’s my goal.

Skin – I’ve done so many blog posts on skincare – just use the “search” function on here to see what you find.  But something that I still struggle with is maintaining good skincare on the weekends.  I’m pretty good about it during the week; I’ll cleanse my face every night and apply the proper products before bed.  The weekends on the other hand, are a lot less effort.  I’m lucky if I wash my makeup off at all, and at best it’s usually just the swipe of a makeup removing wipe.  This is because I travel a lot on the weekends, and if I’m at my boyfriend’s house and don’t have all my products with me, it just doesn’t happen.  I have purchased some trial sized products that I can throw into my bag, but it still doesn’t feel like the same routine.  Does anyone else have this problem?

Another thing I need to stop doing once and for all (if any of my friends or family are reading this post they will shake their heads and laugh at this) is stop picking my face. I’ve had this terrible habit since middle school and it’s so hard to break.  I’ve definitely gotten better throughout the years, but there are still nights where I will examine my face and pores in the mirror, obsessing over anything that resembles a blackhead, and start squeezing and picking.  It’s terrible.  So I need to stop doing that.

Makeup – I’m a professional wedding makeup artist.  A lot of the looks I do are similar to one another because, let’s face it, many people are looking to achieve similar bridal looks (i.e. soft, glowy, romantic, glamorous yet natural).  And that’s normally how I do my own makeup.  I tend to stick to the basics, probably because I have an 8-5 office job during the week and don’t like to spend a lot of time doing makeup in the mornings, especially if I’m getting ready at the gym.  But on days where I have the opportunity to try something new, using the 1,000 makeup products that I have in my Glamboxes, I should try rocking a purple lip if that’s what I feel like doing that day.  I need to start doing more of that.

Hair – I already started doing this in 2016 but want to continue, and get better at it in 2017: not washing my hair everyday.  You might be thinking, “ew, gross!,” just like I would have thought a year ago.  But I’ve realized how bad it really is to wash your hair every single day. I would watch YouTube videos of all my favorite vloggers talking about how they style their “second” and even “third-day hair,” and wondered how the heck it still looked so good. The truth is, my hair really doesn’t look that great on the second or third day if I try to wear it down.  What I do instead is use a really good dry shampoo, such as this one, and wear it up!  So what if it’s in a ponytail or a bun, it can still be cute 🙂  I’ve already seen an improvement in my hair from not washing it every single day, and I want to get it even healthier this year.

Fashion – This one is simple: wear what I already own.  As fun as shopping is, and as much as I love it, I need to cut back.  I already have cut back SO MUCH over the years (I truly don’t shop that often). But I need to ask myself, “do you REALLY need that?”  I’m making it a priority to wear what I already own, and if I don’t wear it frequently, to the donation bin it goes.

Sorry this post was so long, but I hope that maybe it inspired at least one person to think about new goals for 2017!  I would love to hear the ones you set for yourself – comment below!

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon

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Although the Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayons have been out for a while now, I recently tried a few shades for the first time. When I first glanced at the product, they look very similar to a color marker! The packaging is great, though, because it’s high quality and you can twist the lip product up and down (I like when you’re able to twist versus having to sharpen).

The lip crayons have the word “matte” in their title, but don’t let that scare you away. I personally don’t usually gravitate toward lip products that have a matte finish because often times they can look and feel dry on the lips. These are matte but I would say they do have a bit of a satin finish that does not look or feel the least bit dry. They are honestly the most moisturizing matte lip products that I have tried.

The three shades that I tried were Cava, Glace, and Red Velvet – all very different from one another. Cava is a warm mauve shade, Glace is a warm pink shade, and Red Velvet is a warm red shade.

Something that I really like about these crayons is that they are easy to apply. They aren’t as thin as a liner and aren’t as thick as a lipstick, so you can use them for both! I first line my lips with the crayon and then fill the rest in. Who doesn’t love a two-in-one product?

I would recommend these lip crayons to anyone who is looking for an easy-to-use lip product and who wants something with a finish that’s in between matte and satin. Have you tried #TheMatteCremeLip yet? If so, what are your thoughts?

DIY Spa Day

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Fall: every basic chick’s favorite season.  Crisp air, flannel shirts, PSLs, riding boots, blanket scarves, football Sundays, hard apple cider…the list goes on and on.  One of my favorite things about fall is how everything seems to slow down a little bit.  During the summertime, I always feel the need to make the most of every second (at least in New York, since we deal with winter for about half the year!).  And then when the leaves start to change, everything feels a bit more relaxed.

Lately, I’ve been in the mood to throw on sweatpants, watch Netflix, and do a DIY spa day with my girlfriends.  Going to the spa is nice, but it’s also expensive.  I usually go a couple times a year (this year my mom, aunt, cousins, and I have planned our second annual spa day the day after Thanksgiving, instead of crazy Black Friday).  The perfect fall activity is inviting your girlfriends over for an at-home spa treatment filled with the following ideas. It would be easy, fun, inexpensive, and the perfect excuse to get together!

Light Some Candles – First things first, whip out your favorite fall scented candles and light ’em up to set the mood.  I love the candles from Bath & Body Works (I usually wait for a sale).  A couple of my favorite scents are Warm Vanilla Sugar and Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint.

Infused Water – Often times when you go to the spa, you’re welcomed with infused water of some sort (or in some cases, wine!).  Check out this post for 25 different fruit-infused water combinations.  My favorite is lemon, mint & raspberry.

Healthy Snacks – If you and your girls want some guilt free snacks, have a bowl of fresh apples, oranges, mixed nuts, and maybe some cheese and crackers.

Relaxing Music – To really set the mood in addtion to the cozy smelling candles, play relaxing music on your speakers.  If you have Apple Music, Pandora, or something similar, there are several different playlists and stations you can choose from.

DIY Facial – There are five easy steps to complete an at home facial.  First, cleanse your skin with a light cleanser (my personal favorite is Philosophy Purity Made Simple), then exfoliate with a product that has beads in it to really clean out and tighten your pores (a great one is Peter Thomas Roth Blemish Buffing Beads for Face and Body).  Next apply a hot washcloth to your face and let it lay there for a few minutes.  This will feel so good!  After that, use one of your favorite masks to do a treatment.  A few of my favorites are Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores and GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment.  Finally, you’ll want to complete your facial with a moisturizer.  Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation is great for all skin types including normal, combination, dry, and oily.

Pedicure – What’s a spa day without a good ole pedicure?  Whip out your favorite shades (my favorite brand is Essie!) and be sure to have nail polish remover, Q-tips, cotton balls, nail trimmers, nail files, and hand moisturizer ready to be used.

Watch a Movie – Last but not least, after you’ve sipped your water, ate healthy snacks, listened to relaxing music, and did your own facial and pedicure, it’s time to throw in a classic movie!  I love watching a good drama with my girlfriends – be sure to check out Movies On Demand, HBO, Netflix, and Hulu to find a good one!

Have you ever done a DIY spa day?  If so, what did you do – I would love to hear!

4 Bridal Makeup Looks

Whenever a bride (or client in general) sits down in my chair, the first thing I ask them is if they are looking to achieve a specific makeup look.  Sometimes brides bring me photos (mostly from Pinterest!) to show the type of look they would like, and some brides leave the look completely up to me.  Depending on their style, personality, and level of comfort, there are four go-to looks that are my favorites.

1. Romantic

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Everything about this look screams romantic, from the makeup to the hair to the dress.  What makes her makeup romantic is the soft face makeup – nothing is heavily highlighted or contoured, defined (but not harsh) eyebrows, rosy cheeks, pinky-neutral lips, and fluttery lashes that make you want to keep staring into those beautiful baby blue eyes!

2. Bohemian

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I love the boho bridal trend that has become very popular in the past couple of years.  This includes more of a messier hairdo and makeup that is very pretty but looks effortless.  The eyebrows remain natural looking (still filled in, just not very defined), shimmery eyes, shadow liner, mascara but no false lashes, and glossy lips.

3. Natural & Glowing

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This look is great for the bride who normally doesn’t wear any makeup, and doesn’t want to not feel like herself on her wedding day.  You’re still wearing makeup, just not an extreme amount.  I would do a light layer of airbrush makeup on the face, blush on the cheeks, champagne hues on the eyes, a few coats of mascara, and a natural lip color.

4. Glamorous 

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Ahhh, the ever popular “smoky” look.  I get this requested quite a bit, as it is a very beautiful and sexy makeup look.  To achieve this look, I apply foundation and concealer to the face, followed by powder, bronzer, and blush.  For the eyes, I would use several different eye shadows, working my way from the inner to outer corner.  Lighter and more shimmery colors go on the inner corner, then I would blend some brown shades into the crease, and work dark browns into the outer corner.  I usually always stay away from black shadow as that can be too harsh.  Then I line the eyes with liner, and always apply false lashes.  If you are going heavy on the eyes, be sure to keep a neutral lip, just as pictured above.

Are you getting married soon?  What kind of makeup look do you want?!

 

How to Simply Apply False Lashes

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Have you ever tried to apply false lashes, only to end up with one looking decent, the other one looking like a hot mess, and feeling stressed out and frustrated?  Me too.  At least that’s how I used to feel, years ago, before I learned that applying false lashes can be simple!  Follow these few steps and you’ll be a false lash master in no time.

1. Choose an appropriate style.  There are so many different false lash styles to choose from, it can be overwhelming!  I usually keep 8-10 options stocked in my wedding makeup kit to let my clients choose what they like best (my personal favorites are the Ardell Demi Whispies).  If you want a sexy cat-eye look, choose lashes that are tapered and go from longer on the outside to shorter on the inside.  If you want lots of volume, choose lashes that are full throughout.  If you want a more natural look, simple choose a more natural looking false lash, such as these.  Also, I prefer false lash strips over the individual false lashes.  To me, they look better and are easier to apply.

2. Trim the lashes.  Almost every time I apply false lashes on myself or someone else, I need to trim the ends a little bit.  This is because we all have different eye shapes and sizes.  The false lashes are not necessarily one size fits all.  I always trim from the outside versus the inside, using a small pair of scissors.

3. Let the adhesive get tacky.  This is a very important step.  After you apply adhesive to the false lash line, wait about one minute and let it get tacky.  If you apply the adhesive and then try to place the false lash immediately on your lash line, it will slide all over the place and make a mess.  My favorite adhesive is Duo Striplash Clear Adhesive.

4. Press into the lash line.  Once the lashes are in place, I take the end of a makeup brush, typically either an eyeliner or eyebrow brush since they are skinny, and press the lashes into my own lash line.  This really helps set them and ensure they will stay in place all day and night.

5. Curl them and add mascara.  Last but not least, wait until the false lash adhesive has completely dried, then take a lash curler and curl them up with your own lashes.  This will lift them and blend them into your own lashes.  I then finalize everything with one or two coats of mascara.  Then you’re done!

What style of false lashes are your favorite?

How to Add Volume to Your Hair

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Ever wonder how celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Blake Lively, and Gigi Hadid get their hair to look so thick and voluminous?  While a big part of it might be due to hair extensions (no shame in that!), there are lots of tricks you can do to obtain the volume you want.  Whether it is textured beach waves with a little “oomph” or full-on Texas-teased hair, you can do these simple things to get your roots lifted.

1. Wash your hair really well (and don’t wash every day).  You should be picky with what product you’re washing your hair with.  Choose something that cleanses well and also has the word “volumizing” on the label.

2. Blow dry properly.  When your hair is still wet, flip your head upside down and start blow drying.  This will help tremendously with volume.  After your hair is about 60% dry, flip your head back up and keep blow drying while you also pick your hair up from the roots.  Be sure to use a heat protectant product while doing so!

3. Use dry shampoo.  If you are on second or third day “dirty” hair, dry shampoo works wonders to not only reduce oiliness, but to add lots of volume.  Be sure to spray the product close to your root.

4. Use lots of hairspray.  Up until about two years ago, I would purchase any old hairspray from the drugstore.  But then I discovered the brand Kenra and my life was changed!  I like this hairspray because 1) it smells amazing and 2) you can use a lot of product and your hair won’t get hard and crunchy feeling, like a lot of sprays do.  When I want to add volume to my hair after I’m done styling it, I always spray the heck out of it.

Favorite hairspray: Kenra Professional Volume Spray

What tips do you have for getting “big” hair?  I am always looking for new tricks!

How to Be a Great Friend

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Let’s face it: we’ve all gone through a tough time when we really needed a good friend to help us get through it.  As you look back on that time, you are probably so thankful you had that person.  They might have helped you much more than you even realized at the time.

I went through a bit of a rough time last year, and I was so lucky and thankful to have the friends and family that I do by my side with lots of love, support, and words of encouragement to help me get through it.  I was (and still am) so appreciative to have those people in my life.

Life is filled with ups and downs.  Sometimes you feel like you’re on top of the world, and other times you feel like everything in the universe is working against you.  It happens to all of us – that’s just life.  So when you notice your friend (or family member) going through a hard time, remember to be a great friend.  It doesn’t take that much effort, and you will be more helpful than you probably even realize.  Here are some easy tips that I like to do when one of my friends is feeling down:

1. The most important thing: LISTEN.  Simply listen to what your friend has to say.  Understand why they are upset and try to put yourself in their shoes.  Don’t give your opinion, just listen.  Some things can be really difficult to talk about, such as break ups, illness, divorce, etc.  But if you give your friend the chance to really talk about their situation, they will already feel better (even if they don’t want to open up right away).

42. Shower them with heartfelt words.  Whether it is sending a handwritten card, having a long conversation on the phone, or talking with them in person, I feel as though words mean the most.  I am very blessed to have two loving and supportive parents that constantly “pick me up” when I’m feeling down, and they do this by offering powerful messages.  One of the things my dad said to me in the past was, “what is this teaching you?”  Everything that happens in life, both good and bad, is a lesson.

13. Give a hug.  This sounds weird, but never underestimate the power of a good hug.  When you can’t find the words to say, sometimes a long, meaningful hug can do more than you think.

4. Send a care package.  If you don’t live close to someone, send them a little package in the mail to let them know that you’re always there for them.  My cousins Audrey and Haley did this for me earlier in the year, and it was the sweetest thing ever.  They sent a handmade card, handmade crocheted headband for the winter time, a candle, DVDs, a picture frame, and candy.  It honestly made me tear up because I felt so lucky to know how much they love me.

15. Send an Edible Arrangement.  Similar to sending a care package, you can easily send your friend some chocolate covered fruit by simply placing an order online and having it delivered to their office or home that same day.  I recently did this with a friend who discovered an illness in her family and was feeling beside herself.  The text message that she sent me after she received the arrangement gave me chills – she was so grateful.  My friend Michelle did this for me as well.  I was going through a difficult time and when my office secretary brought them to my desk I was SO surprised – I wasn’t expecting anything at all.  If you or your friend aren’t big on sweets, you could also send flowers!

36. Be honest, but don’t pass judgement.  This one is important.  After you’ve listened to what your friend has to say, you can feel free to give them a little advice…but don’t pass judgement.  For example, you probably have one friend who went through a rough breakup, only to get back together with their ex.  The worst thing you could do is talk negatively about the ex because then if they get back together, your friend won’t want to share things with you anymore (knowing how you really feel).  Now, I’m not saying I’ve never done this.  I have plenty of friends who have crappy exes and I expressed what I thought about them (after they broke up…and after I knew for sure they weren’t getting back together).  I didn’t necessarily talk negatively about them, but just reminded my friends why they broke up in the first place.

27. Invite them to do things.  Whether it is going to lunch at your favorite restaurant, having them over for a movie/wine/girls night, treating yourself to a spay day, getting a manicure – these are all things that will help take your friends mind off of the current situation they are experiencing.  If your friend lives in another city, go visit him or her!  They will appreciate it so much.  And if you can get away with making it a surprise, that’s even better!  Keep your friend busy with activities, laughing, and love.  They will thank you for the time you spent with them later on down the road when they are feeling happy again.

8. Check in on them.  After you have one conversation, don’t let that be it.  Be sure to follow up and make sure they are doing okay.  You don’t need to ask every single day (that could get annoying), but be sure to bring it up at least once in a while until you notice an improvement in their overall wellbeing and happiness.

What are your favorite things that you do to be a great friend?

Summer Beauty Must Haves

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Summer makeup routines can be tricky: you don’t want to wear a lot of makeup because things can get hot and sticky, and because you want to show off your natural, radiant glow!

I was recently sent a few products from The Estée Edit and couldn’t help but think how perfect they are for the summer time.  Let me break down each product for you, and also remind you that all opinions are my own!

s1802917-main-Lhero1. Pore Vanishing Stick – This bad boy works wonders if you have large pores or are just looking for a good primer to smooth over your skin.  I have been using it almost every day before I apply any makeup to banish oiliness as much as possible.  Since it comes in a stick, you simply glide it onto the areas you wish to prime (I normally apply to my forehead, nose, and chin), then blend in with your finger.  No brush or beauty blender needed!

 

s1802925-main-Lhero2. Beam Team Hydrate + Glow – When I first opened this product I wasn’t sure what exactly it contained.  But it is a lightweight tinted moisturizer that leaves an illuminated, sheer finish to your skin.  This is perfect if you want to wear barely any makeup – you could just wear this alone – or, you could do a full-face routine.  If you open the flip cap on the end of the tube, you can apply a touch-on shimmer product to highlight certain areas of your face.  I like to dab this on the high points of my cheekbones, the inner corner of my eyes, and right above my lips on the Cupid’s bow.

s1801281-main-Lhero3. Flash Illuminator – This is my favorite product out of all four.  I’m all about the glow, especially in the summer time.  After I apply my primer and tinted moisturizer, I add one pump of Flash Illuminator to my finger or a damp beauty blender, then dab or pounce into the apples of my cheeks for a creamy blush/highlight.  The shade I have is Day Light, which is a rosy hue that looks great on light to medium skin tones.  You can wear this product alone, or wear it with other products as well (such as a powder blush).

s1799931-main-Lhero4. The Barest Lip Color – While I wasn’t crazy about the color I tried (Nude Scene – it was just a bit too dark for my liking!), I did really like the texture and how it felt on my lips.  Some lipsticks can be super drying, and this isn’t like that at all.  I think I’m going to try out a different shade, Exposed, which is more of a lighter nude rather than dark.

 

What products are in your summer makeup routine?  I would love to hear 🙂

In collaboration with The Estée Edit.  All opinions are my own!

Self Tanning Made Simple

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One question I am constantly asked is, “how are you so tan?”  I rarely ever see the light of day (okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic), so it’s not from laying outside in the sun.  And thank goodness it’s not from tanning beds anymore (something I regret from my college days).  What I discovered is this little bottle of magic called St. Tropez.  I’m sure many of you have heard of it, as it is very popular and it really does work wonders.

I have tried so many different self tanners, and never really found one that I loved.  Some of them turn you orange, some of them are streaky, some of them are just a down-right pain in the ass to apply (sprays, etc.).  But this one has really been my tried and true product for 2016.  It doesn’t really have that self tan smell that many products have, it’s streak-free (especially if you use the Applicator Mitt which I linked below), and it dries immediately and doesn’t feel you leaving sticky.

Here’s how to apply:

  1. Exfoliate your body in the shower.  Really scrub around your chest, elbows, knees, and feet.
  2. Completely dry your body.  Do not apply any lotion, moisturizer, or deodorant.
  3. My favorite St. Tropez product is the Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse because the tan develops within one hour.  I apply one pump of mousse to each part of my body and blend it in with the Applicator Mitt, so that you don’t stain your palms.  I normally apply it to each arm, each leg (one pump for each calf and one pump for each thigh), my chest, stomach, back, and even my face.
  4. Shower after one, two, or three hours depending on how developed/dark you want your tan to be.
  5. Be sure to moisturize.  And that’s it!

Do you use self tanning products?  What’s your favorite?

How to Organize Your Closet

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When it comes to being organized, I am extremely Type-A.  I know where everything is kept at all times, I make to-do lists for to-do lists, and I keep my closet in tip top shape.  If I don’t keep things that way, I get stressed out.

Many of my friends ask me to help them organize their rooms and closets, and this is also something that I offer as one of my services with Caitlyn Michelle Makeup & Fashion.  I thought I would share with you some of my organization tips and tricks so that you can get a jumpstart on organizing your closet – and KEEPING it organized!

1. Know what you’re getting yourself into.  Realize that organizing your closet is not going to be a quick and easy process.  It will likely take an entire day to do, and depending on the size, could take longer.  Be prepared to part ways with a lot of things that have been sitting in there forever – it might help to have a glass of wine or champagne while doing this 😉

2. Clear it all out.  I like to start by taking everything out of the closet, dressers, and drawers.  Starting from scratch is the best.  Place everything on your bed (or the floor if there isn’t enough room) so that you have an empty space to work with when you are putting everything back together again.

3. Begin organizing.  You’ll want to hang and fold your clothes based on item type, such as dresses, skirts, pants, blouses, tanks, blazers, sweaters, sweatpants, work out clothes, etc.  I also like to organize by color.  For example, I have all of my tanks hanging in one section of my closet and they are arranged from light to dark.  Same with blouses, sweaters, etc.  As you organize each section, you need to get rid of whatever you don’t wear.  If you haven’t worn something in a year, GET RID OF IT.  You won’t wear it again.  Don’t keep it just because “it might be good for a Halloween costumer one day.”  If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s getting tossed.  Same goes for things that don’t fit.  Don’t keep them because “maybe I’ll lose 10 pounds and be able to fit into it again!” or “that will be good to wear when I’m pregnant someday.”  Just get rid of it, and when I say “get rid,” I mean donate to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill, or give it to a friend (as long as the item is in good shape).

4. Make it aesthetically pleasing.  Aside from organizing the contents of your closet by type and color, you can also make things look nicer by using the same hangers.  Stick with all white, wood, or velvet hangers.  If you store anything in bins, such as scarves, belts, hats, etc., be sure to use all of the same bins to maintain consistency.  If you want to take it a step further and make things look even nicer, use a label maker to place labels on each bin.

5. What to do with all of those shoes?  If you’re anything like me, you might have a few too many pairs of shoes – and it can be hard figuring out where and how to organize them.  It honestly just depends on the space inside of your closet.  I am lucky enough to have a walk-in closet in my apartment, so I keep my heels lined up along one of the walls in three different rows.  I organize them by style and by color (pumps, wedges, heeled booties, etc.).  I then have a shoe rack/shelf where I store my sneakers and sandals.  Again, it depends on the size of your closet, so you might need a different type of organizer such as an over-the-door rack or something similar.  As long as they are not all sitting in a big heap on the floor, that’s all that matters!

6. Don’t forget about purses and jewelry.  For large purses, I keep them stuffed with tissue paper (to keep their shape) and place them on the top shelf in my closet.  For smaller crossbody bags, I have a rack that hangs over my closet door with crystal hooks and I display my bags there.  It keeps them organized and easy to grab.  As far as jewelry goes, I have a lot of costume jewelry.  I like to keep it where I can see it because all of those necklaces and earrings and bracelets are so pretty!  I have a burlap covered cork board that I use to hang my big necklaces on (with clear thumbtacks), a bracelet stand to display all of my colorful bangles, and the rest of my earrings, bracelets, watches, and rings I keep in little tea cups and saucers.

How often do you clean out your closet?  What are some of your organization tips?

My Daily Skincare Routine

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Until a few years ago, I never realized the importance of good skincare.  All of high school and college, I rarely even washed my face before going to bed (how disgusting is that?).  No wonder my skin always looked so bad!  Luckily, I have changed since then and I take pride in taking good care of my skin (most of the time – I would be lying if I said I never fall asleep with makeup on after a night out with friends).  Here’s what I do in the morning and at night:

Morning Routine

  1. Cleanse – I have a few different cleansers, but my go-to is Purity Made Simple by Philosophy.  It makes my skin feel extra clean and it smells really nice (some cleansers don’t smell that great, which is a big turn off in my opinion).
  2. Serum – My favorite serum for the past few years now is Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster by Ole Henriksen.  Another product that smells amazing, is good for all skin types, makes your skin feel tighter, look brighter, and minimizes the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
  3. Moisturizer – It’s very important that you follow Step 2 with moisturizer after you let the serum soak into your skin.  A hydrating facial cream that I love is GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer by Origins.  Wonderful scent, lightweight on your face, and extremely hydrating.  After this I am ready to apply my makeup!

Night Routine

  1. Remove Makeup – My current favorite wipes to remove makeup with are the Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes by Simple.  After watching a few YouTubers rave about them in their “Monthly Favorites,” I decided to switch things up a bit (from my normal Neutrogena wipes) and am glad that I did.  They leave your skin feeling much cleaner than any other wipe I’ve tried.
  2. Cleanse – I normally use the same cleanser that I do in the morning, Purity (mentioned above).
  3. Exfoliate – The current exfoliator that I’ve been using is the PoreDermabrassion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator by Dr. Brandt.  I naturally have larger pores, so I try to exfoliate at least a few times a week.  If I don’t use an actual exfoliator product, then I will cleanse my face with my Mia2 by Clarisonic.
  4. Mask – Masks are my favorite!  I try to do these a few times a week, and I switch up what I use.  Some of my favorites are Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores by Origins, Gravity Mud Firming Treatment by Glamglow, and the Green Tea Face Mask by Sephora.  There are so many different types of masks out there that cater to each skin type/skin problem.  Just know what you want (clearer skin, tighter skin, brighter skin, etc.) and there is a mask for it!
  5. Toner – Since I personally have oily skin, I like to balance it out with some toner.  This Oil-Minimizing Toner by Olay does the job and doesn’t burn a hole through your wallet.
  6. Serum – Same as mentioned above, Vitamin C Truth Serum.
  7. Moisturizer – At night I need to really add some moisture to my skin, so I either use 100% Pure Argan Oil Light by Josie Maran or Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask by Fresh (expensive but worth it and it will last you a really long time).  Both of these products will leave your skin feeling amazing even when you wake up in the morning.
  8. Eye Cream – I have been blessed with extremely dark circles under my eyes and eyelids (thanks, Dad!).  While I haven’t found a product that is truly lifechanging, my favorite is the Complete Eye Renewal Balm by Algenist.  I have noticed a small difference after using the product for a few months now.
  9. Neck Cream – While I don’t do this every night, I try to remember to moisturize my neck.  And yes, neck cream is different than the normal moisturizer you apply to your face.  It is much thicker and has a different formulation.  My go-to is the Maracuja Neck Treatment by Tarte.
  10. Lip Balm – Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about your lips!  Nothing is worse than applying lipstick when you have chapped lips.  I normally grab whatever is sitting on my bathroom sink, but one of my favorites is the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy by First Aid Beauty.

As you can see, my nighttime routine is much more extensive than morning, but it is well worth it!  When you take proper care of your skin, you truly notice a difference.  What does your skincare routine consist of?  Do you have any holy grail products?

Summer Statement Jewelry

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Happy Monday, friends!  I started my morning out with a 6:00 am tabata class, and I already feel spent for the day!  Anyways, I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite statement jewelry pieces that I’ve been wearing this summer.  When it comes to purchases, accessories, and jewelry in particular, are my weakness.  Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, but there’s something about jewelry that is so much fun (and not to mention, you never have to worry about how it fits!).

What are your favorite shops to purchase fun jewelry?  I would love to hear!

Links: Blue Drop Earrings // White and Gold Cuff Bracelet // Gold Tassel Necklace // Turquoise Tassel Drop Earrings // Periwinkle Collar Necklace // White Crackled Beads

Bridal Hair Inspiration

I’m very excited for a wedding that I’m attending this upcoming weekend (and also doing all the makeup for the bridal party!).  One of my best friends is the Maid of Honor in the wedding, and the other day we were talking about hairstyles.  All up or all down?  Or half up half down?  There are so many decisions, and so much great inspiration – it can be hard to choose one style!  I rounded up some of my favorites bride/bridesmaid hairstyles via Pinterest.  Let me know what your favorite style is!

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Italy Packing List

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If you saw my post on what to pack in your carry on, you may know that I recently visited Italy!  It was so incredible and I’m already dying to go back, although that probably won’t happen for a long time (I can hope, though!).  One of my friends is going to Italy this summer and she was asking me what to pack.  I thought she might not be the only one who’s wondering, so I put together this quick list for you to get some inspiration.  This of course isn’t everything that I packed, but I thought these 13 things were essential.

  1. Flats – Tieks
  2. Sneakers – Sperry
  3. Sandals – Steve Madden
  4. Sunglasses – Ray-Ban
  5. Maxi Dress – Old Navy
  6. T-Shirt Dress – Target
  7. Strapless Dress – Francesca’s
  8. White Jeans – Old Navy
  9. Chambray Shirt – J.Crew
  10. T-Shirts – Madewell
  11. Colorful Scarf – Anthropologie
  12. Fun Jewelry – Baublebar
  13. Crossbody Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

Here are some more non-fashion related helpful tips on traveling to Europe:

  • Be sure to take out Euro beforehand (try to do it at your bank). I should have done this but waited until I was at the Toronto airport, and got hit with some pretty crumby exchange rates converting US Dollars to Canadian Dollars to Euro.
  • Purchase an adapter. I bought mine from Target for about $6 (just get the small one, not the large one – those burn out easier).
  • Set up automatic out-of-office email replies before you leave.
  • Purchase an international cell phone plan. I have Verizon and they have a new option called Travel Pass that allows you to pay $10 per day only if you use your phone. I only used my phone to iMessage and use data when I was connected to WiFi, so I honestly didn’t even need this – they only charge you if you use it, which is nice.
  • Learn a bit of Italian (or whatever country you’re visiting) before you depart. It’s good to know the basics – you can look these up online, even on Pinterest, or purchase a book.
  • Have a little bit of an idea about what you want to do/see while visiting the country.
  • Pack a camera and a notebook. I brought my camera (which of course broke about half way through the trip. Thank goodness for smart phones, though!). However, I didn’t bring a notebook and wish I did. I took notes in my phone, but later realized it would have been nice to jot notes down each night after the day’s adventures to remember what I did.
  • Don’t forget about siesta – most restaurants and shops close later in the day (I can’t remember exactly what time, but basically after lunch and before dinner). There were a few different times I wanted to go into local boutiques but they were closed.
  • When dining at a restaurant, you have to ask for the check once you’re ready to leave, otherwise they will let you sit there forever (which is a nice thing, in my opinion).
  • Most of the hotels I stayed at did have hair dryers in the bathrooms, but they weren’t the greatest. I didn’t pack one because I figured mine would blow a fuse, so I made due with what was there. They didn’t look like regular hair dryers – they almost looked like the hose of a vacuum and they were attached to the wall.
  • When it comes to flushing the toilet and washing your hands, sometimes it’s hard to find where to flush/dispense soap/turn on water. My advice? When in doubt, look down. Many times the button to flush or turn on water was on the ground.

Do you have any trips planned for this summer?

Kylie Lip Kit Dupes

As you probably already know, Kylie Jenner lip kits are all the rage right now. The only problem is that they seem to almost always be sold out. Not to mention, they might not be budget friendly for everyone. So I decided to share with you a list of dupes that I curated, if you’re interested in getting similar colors and texture as the Lip Kits, but don’t want to wait until they’re restocked or spend as much money!

MATTE

a

Dolce K (medium beige nude)

c

Candy K (soft, warm nude)

b

True Brown K (deep brown)

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Kourt K (deep purple)

f

Koko K (pale, pinky nude)

d

Posie K (dusty, mauve pink)

e

Mary Jo K (true blue red)

GLOSS

like

Like (warm mocha, warm brown beige)

literally

Literally (warm toned peachy nude)

socute

So Cute (warm nude beige)

Also, NYX just came out with a new product line called Lip Lingerie, and those are very similar to the Kylie lip products for only $7 each!

What is your favorite Kylie Lip Kit color?  Mine is Koko K!

What to Pack in Your Carry On

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If you’re reading this blog right now, there’s a good chance that I’m currently in the air, flying to Italy.  It’s a country that I’ve always dreamed of visiting, and this year I decided to turn that dream into a reality – and I am beyond excited.

I travel a lot.  I’m probably on a plane at least 10 times per year, and although I don’t mind flying at all, I wouldn’t describe it as a “fun” task.  I never say to myself, “yay, I can’t wait to fly today!”  Especially this flight to Italy – it’s going to be almost 10 hours.  So what will I do that whole time?  Well, since it’s a PM flight, I will hopefully get some sleep.  And after that, watch movies, read, and listen to music.  That’s pretty much it.  I’m not bringing my laptop with me on this trip, since it is a true vacation, otherwise I typically do work on the flight as well.

I find that if I pack a good carry on bag – well, more of a tote, not an actual duffle bag – it makes the flight much easier.  Here are some tips…

What I like to wear:

What I like to pack in my tote bag:

  • Wallet (I like to keep my ID, cash, and credit card on hand at all times)
  • Passport (if you’re traveling internationally)
  • Charger (duh)
  • Headphones (to cancel out the noises of obnoxious people)
  • iPad (to watch movies and play games)
  • Lip balm (my favorite is Fresh)
  • Gum (helps with popping your ears, and battling stank breath)
  • Granola bars (for when hunger strikes)
  • Fuzzy socks (in case my feet get cold)
  • Eye mask (to help with sleeping)
  • Travel size lotion (my skin is always dry!)
  • Travel size perfume (gotta stay smelling good)
  • Travel size deodorant (gotta stay fresh)
  • Makeup remover wipes (because flights almost always results in breakouts)

I also typically carry on a fuzzy blanket!  I am seriously always cold, even in the summertime.  If you’ve flown on a plane before, you know that flights are usually freezing (in my opinion).  So I try to remember to bring a blanket with me to wrap myself up in.  If I’m cold, I’m uncomfortable, and if I’m uncomfortable, I can’t do anything (including sleep).

What do you like to bring with you on planes while you’re traveling?

25 Wardrobe Essentials

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You probably already own some of these classic wardrobe essentials, but there might be a lot on this list that you are still thinking about adding to your collection.  I hope that you find inspiration from these 25 Wardrobe Essentials that I’ve put together for you.  Keep in mind that most of these are basics, and if you have these pieces in your closet, you will find it so much easier to put together several different outfits together by mixing the staples with the fun stuff.  Enjoy!

 

1. Trench coatExpress, $98

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2. Crew neck sweaterBanana Republic, $78

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3. Nice walletKate Spade, $178

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4. Black pumpsNordstrom, $78

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5. Simple fine jewelryDavid Yurman, $625

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6. BlazerNordstrom, $74

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7. Perfect fitting jeans Express, $80

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8. Pretty scarf Anthropologie, $50

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9. Plain tote bag Madewell, $168

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10. Diamond or CZ studs Shopbop, $69

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11. Turtleneck H&M, $18

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12. Nice sunglasses Ray-Ban, $130

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13. Silk blouseAnn Taylor, $98

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14. Ankle boots TOMS, $129

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15. Little black dress Nordstrom, $168

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16. Nice clutch GiGi New York, $225

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17. Midi skirt Chic Wish, $52

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18. White tee Nordstrom, $32

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19. Weekender bag Everlane, $98

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20. White sneakers Macy’s, $60

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21. Leather jacket Nordstrom, $400

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22. Nude heelsDSW, $50

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23. Flats Tory Burch, $225

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24. Black skinny jeansNordstrom, $179

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25. Red lipstick – MAC, $17

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So those are 25 of my essential pieces for my wardrobe – what’s on your list that I’m missing?  I would love to hear!

26 Things

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Happy Thursday!  Only one more day til the weekend, thank goodness.  This has been such a long week for me because this past weekend, some of my best friends and I went to Las Vegas for a fun little trip.  Okay I’m not going to lie, it was more than just a “fun little trip.”  It was the best weekend ever 🙂  We stayed at The Bellagio, went to pool parties at Encore Beach Club and Wet Republic, and danced our heads off at Hakkasan at night.  Not only was it an amazing weekend with close friends, it was also my birthday – I turned 26 on Saturday.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how 26 seems like it is going to be “my year;” it’s already been amazing and we’re only through the first quarter.  I thought I would take some time to think about what I’ve learned about life so far…especially the past year.  Here’s my 26 things…

1. Work hard – I was taught to be a hard worker from a very young age, and I thank my parents for that.  When I was a teenager and a young(er) adult, I was a little bit annoyed that my dad and mom made me do so much on my own, never allowed me to quit anything, had me pay for my own bills, etc., but now I really appreciate it.  It makes you a more independent and appreciative person.

2. Stay humble – This is something that I always try to remind myself.  There are so many times where I feel on top of the world, but I always tell myself to stay humble.  There’s nothing more obnoxious than people who brag.  Just stay grounded and be nice!

3. Family comes first – I’ve learned this more and more in the past few years.  Family has always been extremely important to me, and luckily, I am very close with all of mine (mom and dad, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and TONS of cousins – we’re all Italian, baby).  I think as you get older, you start to truly appreciate your family more and cherish the time you spend with them.

4. Give thanks – Similar to staying humble, I always try to count my blessings and be thankful for what I have.  If you have clean water to drink, food to eat, and a roof over your head, you should certainly be thankful.

5. Look at the glass half full – This is something that I still struggle with from time to time.  It is a saying that my dad drilled into my head since I was a little girl: “look at the glass half full!”  I have a natural tendency to get pissed off if something catches me off guard or doesn’t go as planned, but I have gotten a lot better at being more positive lately.

6. Get to really know who you are – Sometimes we think we know “who we are,” but then you realize you don’t until something major happens (a life changing event, etc.).  I used to think I really knew myself, but I don’t think I discovered the “true me” until the past six months or so…and it feels really amazing.

7. Live in the moment, not the past or the future – I used to have an annoying quality of always wanting the next best thing – a newer, nicer car, a bigger, better city, etc.  But then I just started appreciating what was right in front of me, and things really changed.  Life just feels so much better.

8. Put in effort – Nothing is more attractive than EFFORT.  I’m not only talking about relationships, but friendships with your best friends and relatives, too!  People recognize when you put in effort, or at least they should.  And if they don’t?  Maybe it’s time to move on.

9. Compromise – Sort of similar to putting in effort, be sure you learn to compromise on things!  Again, not only with boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife relationships, but with friends and family, too.  Learning to compromise takes practice, and remember that it isn’t a one-sided thing.

10. Realize that you will lose some friends and make some new ones – After high school and college, it can be very difficult to stay close with friends because everyone lives in different cities.  In college it was SO EASY to be best friends with everyone because you all lived together, ate meals together, went out together – literally did everything together.  And then it all changes.  After a few years go by, you realize who your true friends are and they will likely be in your life for a long time if you’ve managed to stick close with them even being hundreds or thousands of miles apart from each other.

Going along with this, you will also meet new friends after college – yay!  A few of my very best friends came into my life after college, and I am so grateful for them.

11. Help people – There was a point in time when I was younger, when I thought my life was all about me.  Because it’s my life.  WRONG.  While you should always care about your own life, it is so, so important to care about other people – even if they are strangers – and help them out whenever you can.  It can be simple things too (I don’t mean donating your money to every person you see).  For example, I receive lots of comments on this blog, and I always try to respond to every single question.  Most of them are about makeup, and how to become a makeup artist in particular.  I remember when I was first starting out, I had no one to ask advice…I learned it all on my own.  So I feel like it’s my duty to help out other aspiring makeup artists as much as I can!

12. Invest in experiences, not things – I am all about traveling.  If you can travel, do it (within your means, of course).  You won’t remember that dress you bought in 5 years from now, but you will remember that time you went to California to visit your best friend.  Life is nothing but a giant collection of moments and memories.

13. Do not compare yourself to anyone else – This is something that I still have to remind myself, because it is easy to fall into this trap, but…do not compare yourself to anyone else, whether it be a friend, a parent, a celebrity, or a stranger.  It’s so easy to think, “wow, when my mom was 25 years old, she was already married and had me.”  Or, “wow, they just got engaged after two years and I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years, why am I not engaged?”  It’s so easy to think these things, but just try not to.  Everyone’s life unfolds at different paces.

14. Embrace the hard times – First of all, realize that you ARE going to experience hard times in life.  It could be losing a job, going through a terrible breakup, having a miscarriage, losing a parent, getting in a bad accident…I’m not going to continue listing things, but you get the picture.  I always try to learn something from each experience, even if it is a really horrific time.  You might not see clearly while the hard time is going on, but it usually hits you afterward.

15. Realize you will make mistakes – Man oh man have I made some mistakes in the past 26 years, both big and small.  The best thing to do?  Learn from them.  Plain and simple.  Don’t ever repeat the same mistakes.

16. Realize you will be forced to make life-changing decisions – Yes, you will have some tough decisions to make in life.  But always be sure you are thinking with a clear head (or a clear heart), and everything will fall into place…it always does.

17. Know that it’s okay to always care about your first true love – This doesn’t mean you will always be in love with this person, but you will most likely always hold a tiny little spot for them in your heart.

18. Understand that everything happens for a reason – Going off of what I said in #14, Embrace the hard times, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  It is so freakin’ cliche, but it is also so very true.  Even when something bad happens, there is almost always something good that comes out of it.

19. Take care of your body – I have never been into working out or eating healthy.  I’ve always had a big sweet tooth and a fast metabolism, and never worried about the gym or food that much.  However, last September I decided to join a gym with a few friends.  I went from working out 0 days per week to about 3.  And guess what?  I actually enjoy it.  I realized that you need to figure out what you love.  I absolutely hate running, so I don’t run.  But I love classes (spin, yoga, etc.), so that’s what I do.  I eat healthier now, but don’t get me wrong, I still love my carbs and sweets.  I didn’t make this change to lose weight or anything like that, just to take better care of my temple – aka my body.

20. Treat yourself – You should work hard, stay humble, but still treat yourself.  We only have one life, after all (YOLO)!  Want that cupcake?  Eat it!  Been thinking about that purse for over a year now?  Buy it!  Just remember that life is all about balance and moderation, so don’t go treat yo’self too much 😉

21. Do not complain – There is nothing less attractive than people who constantly complain.  I don’t care if it’s about your weight, job, money, whatever.  Chances are, people don’t want to hear about it all the time (unless of course you really are in a tough situation and need to complain about it – that’s fine).  But you know what I’m talking about.  We all have those friends who talk about “how fat they are” (when really they aren’t) or something of that nature.  Just try not to complain and you will actually be so much happier.

22. Do not sweat the small stuff – I once read a book that my dad gave me titled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff, by Dr. Richard Carlson.  It changed my life.  I used to get so hung up over the stupid, small things, such as being late for a doctor’s appointment, or something like that.  But when you take a step back, you realize IT DOESN’T MATTER.  So chill the eff out.  Your life will become much more stress-free.

23. Try not to force things – Whether it’s love, friendships, losing weight, or whatever.  You can’t force someone to love you, and you can’t force yourself to love (or fall in love) with someone.  You can’t force a friendship that isn’t genuine.  You can’t force your body to lose weight if it’s comfortable right where it is.  Just don’t force anything – let it all be.

24. Take risks – Yeah, change is scary.  But being boring is even scarier.  Book the trip to Italy.  Go visit that person you haven’t talked to in years.  Move to that new city you’ve always wanted to move to.  Big risks usually means big rewards.

25. Appreciate the little things in life – Never forget to stop and smell the roses (gosh, I am so cliche).  In all seriousness though, don’t take the little things for granted.  Big hugs, holding hands, laughing until my stomach hurts, and having a nice glass of wine after a long day are some of my most favorite things in this world.

26. Be genuine – Always give heartfelt compliments, good advice, and a warm smile.  People appreciate that.

What reflections are you making on this past year or on your life so far?

Favorite Beauty Products

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Hi friends!  Today I thought I’d share with you my all-time favorite beauty products, broken down into three categories: skincare, makeup, and hair.  Makeup is my favorite, but I wanted to share my skin and hair secret weapons, too!

Skincare

Makeup

Hair

Please note, these are just products that I truly love – everyone has their own opinions on products!  Certain things work for certain people, and others don’t.  For example, I have super oily skin so I wouldn’t wear a super dewy primer or foundation (unless I specifically wanted a dewy finish, but I never do because my skin does that on its own).

What are YOUR favorite products?

International Day of Happiness

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Do you ever stop and think, “what truly makes me happy?”  It can be difficult to stop and smell the roses if you live a busy, hectic life, but you have to at least once in a while.  Many of us, myself included, can get so caught up in what we do: “I’m a marketing director, makeup artist, freelance graphic designer, and Etsy shop seller.”  Heck, it even says some of those things in my Instagram bio.  And while those things do make me happy, they are not what define me.

Today I decided to make a list of some of the biggest things that truly make me happy because this Sunday, March 20 is International Day of Happiness!  Here’s my sweet 16:

  1. Spending quality time with my family
  2. Traveling to new cities
  3. Going out or catching up with friends that make me laugh so hard I cry
  4. Working out with my girlfriends and getting peanut butter protein shakes afterward
  5. Enjoying a glass of wine and Brie cheese with my roommate while we watch TV shows after work
  6. Lighting candles – particularly scents from Bath & Body Works, those are the best
  7. Cleaning and organizing things
  8. Walking into my family’s home and being greeted our dog Lola
  9. Laying on a beach
  10. Eating Italian food, Mexican food, and anything peanut butter related
  11. Reading books that are so good I just cannot put them down
  12. Playing with little kids – particularly my little cousins
  13. Going to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ulta, and Sephora with my mom
  14. Listening to great advice from my dad – he always has the right answers
  15. Watching “cringe-worthy” videos on the internet with my brothers
  16. Getting together with my grandma, her sisters and brothers, and the rest of their family at her house for lunch – they make me laugh my ass off

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love doing makeup and it does make me so happy!  But the things mentioned in this list are much simpler than that and I try to never take them for granted.

What makes YOU truly happy?!

Favorite Beauty YouTubers

It’s Sunday night at 9:37 pm.  I’m laying in bed telling myself, “set your alarm for 5:00 am, get some sleep, and then get your butt to the gym.”  But for some reason, that just never happens.  The weekends always go by way too quickly, and I can’t force myself to sleep at a normal hour on Sundays.  So typically, I lay in bed and watch makeup YouTube videos on my iPad until I get tired and finally fall asleep.

I’ve been watching beauty vloggers for about five years now, and I’ve acquired my list of favorites – so I thought I’d share them with you today!

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1. Jaclyn Hill – Yep, you could have guessed it.  Jaclyn Hill has built herself an empire of not only being one of YouTube’s biggest stars, but has also partnered with beauty brands such as Becca Cosmetics and Morphe to create makeup products of her own (if you haven’t heard of Champagne Pop, you’re missing out).  Jaclyn started her makeup career working for MAC, then began to do freelance work.  Her channel on YouTube has nearly 3 million followers, or as some fans call themselves, “Hillsters.”  Her skin and makeup is always flawless.  Aside from being an outstanding artist, her giddy personality makes the videos fun to watch.

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2. Lauren Curtis – My favorite blonde Aussie, Lauren Curtis is such a sweetheart (at least that’s the vibe I get from her videos – I’m acting like I know her personally).  She also incorporates a lot of drugstore products into her looks, which I like because you don’t always need to spend a fortune on makeup to achieve the look you want.

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3. Carli BybelCarli was one of the first YouTubers I really started following a few years ago.  With a fun Jersey accent and long, dark hair, Carli is very pleasing to watch and listen to.  She is absolutely gorgeous and has a makeup and fashion collection that is to-die-for.  One thing I really like about Carli’s channel is that in the very beginning of every video, she opens it up with an inspiring quote.

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4. Nicole Guerriero – Another one of my favorites, and also best friends with Carli Bybel, Nicole seems like such a kick-ass, down-to-earth kinda girl.  She cracks jokes, she makes fun of herself, she sings, and so much more, which make her videos all the more entertaining (in addition to learning about the power of makeup, of course).

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5. Wayne Goss – I don’t have enough good things to say about Wayne, also known as gossmakeupartist.  When I was first starting out my makeup business, I used to watch a lot of his videos to listen to his tips and figure out what to stock in my kit.  I watched so many different videos that showed what to include in your professional makeup kit, and I wish I watched his first (before I went out and already purchased so many products that I didn’t end up needing).  This guy knows his stuff.

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6. Teni Panosian – Aside from her YouTube station, Teni also regularly posts to her super cool website, Miss Maven.  One thing you might not know about her is that she is also an actress!  That makes sense why she is such a natural in front of her YouTube camera, and it makes her videos so easy and fun to watch.

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7. Nicol ConcilioNicol is someone I recently started watching and I’m so glad that I found her.  I think I actually found out about her through watching Nicole Guerriero.  She is the funniest, spunkiest, and possibly weirdest (in a good way) person that I follow on YouTube.  Her makeup is always on point and she’s a great teacher.

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8. Stephanie Ledda – Fun fact about Stephanie, also known as smlx0, is that I went to college with her!  I didn’t know her that well but did have a couple classes together, and I always thought she was so beautiful.  I think it was my senior year of college that I realized she had a makeup channel and started watching – she’s one of my favorites.

These are my top 8 favorite beauty YouTubers that I’ve come across so far, however, I do have many others that I enjoy watching as well!  Definitely check out Karissa Pukas, Chloe Morello, and Kandee Johnson.  Another person to look out for, and one of my friends from home, is Christina Emmanuelle.  She just started her channel recently and is already killin’ it – be sure to check her out!

Who do you love to watch to get makeup, skincare, hair, and fashion inspiration?

Wedding Makeup Dos and Don’ts

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When it comes to planning your wedding, you have so many things to think about.  Your dress, venue, ring, food, cake, open bar, shoes, bridesmaids, guest list, music, gifts, favors, decorations, theme, officiant, transportation, invitations, hotel…the list goes on and on.  With having to wrap your head around so many different things and trying to stick to a timeline and budget, wedding planning can get stressful.  I like to think that the fun things, such as makeup, should be relaxing and exciting.

I’ve put together this list of “dos and don’ts” that I think every bride should keep in mind when it comes to wedding makeup.

DOS

Do hire a pro – Yes, of course I’m saying this because I’m a professional makeup artist.  But seriously.  Do yourself a favor and let a pro handle your makeup.  Even if you are amazing at doing your own, which so many people are, you really don’t want to have to deal with all the crap that could go wrong – we all know how tricky false lashes can be to apply.  If you hire a professional, they are the ones who truly know (or should know) what will look best on you and have all the tricks up their sleeves for a flawless execution.

Do wear waterproof mascara – This is a no-brainer.  Even if you don’t think you’ll tear up when you walk down the aisle or when you have your “first look,” you’d rather be safe than sorry.  Even if you’re not a crier, waterproof mascara is the way to go on your wedding day no matter what since it is (typically) such a long day.

Do wear setting powder – Despite people who say “powder ages you,” um, no it doesn’t.  I mean, it does if you apply it the wrong way.  Just like some people apply their eyeliner to make themselves look like a raccoon – that doesn’t mean “eyeliner makes you look like a raccoon.”  It’s all in the application and the products and tools.  Setting powder sets all of your liquid makeup so that it stays in place and doesn’t crease or move around, such as foundation, concealer, cream contour/highlight, etc.  My favorite: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

Do have some ideas – Don’t be afraid to tell your professional makeup artist what you’re looking for in your bridal look.  Many of my clients show me pictures on their phone during their trial or on the day of their wedding to give me inspiration.  If you don’t have an idea in mind, that’s fine too!  The pro will know what will look good on you.

Do wear false lashes – …but nothing too crazy!  I am a big fan of false lashes, when the correct ones are used and they are applied properly.  False lashes truly complete a look.  They make your eyes look bigger and brighter, and your lashes look fuller, longer, and sexier.  The best part?  They look amazing in photos (and in real life).  My personal favorite are the Ardell Demi Wispies.  They work great because the lashes feature an invisible, lightweight band and feathered by hand for perfect uniformity, absolute comfort and an outstanding natural look.

Do use a setting spray – I always mist a generous amount of setting spray on my clients before they get out of my chair.  My favorite is the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.  It feels completely weightless and seriously makes your makeup last all night. Now, this product on its own probably wouldn’t be the one magic trick to have your makeup last for 16 hours – it’s a combination of this plus all of the other products that your professional makeup artists uses as well as how he or she uses them, and with what brushes and tools he or she uses.

Do get rest the night before – Rehearsal dinners can get a little bit once your favorite Aunt Patty pops the champagne, but remember that you have to wake up early for pretty much the most important day of your life, like ever.  Try not to drink too much, get to bed at a decent time, and get some shut eye (or at least try to – having butterflies in your stomach is expected!).

DON’TS

Don’t go too heavy with the eye makeup – You want your makeup to look great and be noticeable in a good way, but you don’t want it to be too heavy.  You especially do not want your eyes to look super dark.  A bit of a smokey eye is fine, but don’t overdo it.  And don’t use any black shadows – stick to softer browns, grays, or even purples.

Don’t try a bold lip that you’ve never tried before – If you’ve been wanting to a try a red lip, your wedding day is not the time to do it.  If you do however, always rock a bold lip as part of your signature style and want to carry that over to your wedding day, go for it!  But if it’s something you’re not comfortable with, leave that for a weekend out or a concert, just not your wedding.

Don’t wear too much – You want your skin to look flawless, but not caked.  Airbrush makeup is the perfect way to achieve that perfect bridal glow (as long as your makeup artist uses a light hand with the machine!).

Don’t do anything too trendy – While contouring and strobing have been all the rage the past couple of years, it’s not something you want to do on your wedding day.  A little contouring and highlighting is great, but don’t do it full-on.  Define your cheekbones and jawline by using a contour brush and the right shade of bronzer, but don’t try to do the whole cream contour thing – it’s just too much.  On your wedding day, you should look and feel timeless and elegant, not dramatically chiseled.

Don’t feel rushed – If you hire a professional makeup artist, chances are he or she will create a schedule for you and your bridal party with pre-planned time slots to determine your order.  This way, you don’t feel rushed or anxious about having enough time.  When you get your makeup done, that should be your time to just sit back and relax for an hour.  I typically tell my clients to put their cell phones down, and just enjoy the moment.  It’s not everyday you get pampered like you do on your wedding day!

Don’t always listen to other people’s opinions – Wedding planning can be stressful sometimes if you are dealing with many opinions, typically from your mom, mother-in-law, grandma, bridesmaids, and maid of honor.  When it comes to your makeup, go with what you’re happy with looking like – not what your mom wants you to look like.  If you have a professional makeup artist who you trust and know does great work, leave that decision making up to them.

Favorite Oscar Beauty Looks

Happy Monday!  I was a bit slow-moving while getting ready for work this morning because I was up until midnight watching the Oscars.  I had no other choice, though – I had to see my man Leo win his first Oscar!

After first being nominated at the young age of 19-years old for his work in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY won.  His work in The Revenant was outstanding, and that award was more than well deserved.  I may or may not have applauded out loud, by myself, in my bed, while shedding a tear, but I just could not contain my excitement.  I, along with the rest of the world, have been waiting for Leo to win one of those little golden men for years now.

Aside from DiCaprio stealing the show, there were so many beautiful ladies struttin’ their stuff on the Red Carpet.  I thought these five females looked absolutely divine when it came to makeup looks.

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Rooney Mara – While I wasn’t particularly in love with the blunt bangs, I did adore the fresh face of makeup and bold lips on Mara.  Her eyes had a grayish/purplish smokiness to them, but it wasn’t over the top since she went with a bold lip color.

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Kerry Washington – She is such perfection, isn’t she?  I really liked the boldness of her eyeliner – how it was flicked upwards, lined on both the top and bottom, and finished with lots and lots of full lashes.  I also liked how her lips were completely nude (well, I’m sure she was wearing lipliner and lipstick, but it was a completely nude shade that is most likely almost identical to her own pigment).  Those eyebrows and contour were on point, too!

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Jennifer Lawrence – J.Law was missing in action during the Red Carpet, but finally made her entrance into the awards 10 minutes late – and looking drop-dead gorgeous.  She debuted her new bright blonde hairdo and it looked amazing.  The makeup was kept pretty simple, but still very pretty.

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Sofia Vergara – With a slick yet voluminous low ponytail and a killer smile, Vergara looked amazing for the Oscars.  Her big brown eyes are always the first thing that I notice, even when she’s rockin’ a bold lip like she did here.

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Reese Witherspoon – How perfect and glowy does Reese look?  Pretty darn perfect if you ask me!  Her skin is literally glowing and her hair worked well with the whole look, too, even though it was super simple.

Who do you think looked phenomenal?

Beyoncé Super Bowl Makeup

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As if dropping a new single and accompanying music video with opening lyrics “Bitch, I’m back,” wasn’t enough, Bey slayed it during yesterday’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show. While some people weren’t crazy about the Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé mash up, there’s no denying that Queen B didn’t crush her performance and of course look scorched, as usual. Oh, and I hope you didn’t miss the commercial that immediately followed the show, where she announced THE FORMATION WORLD TOUR 2016 – ahhhhh! (can you tell I’m a Beyoncé fan?)

While I wasn’t “Crazy In Love” with her hair style, I did love her makeup. Her skin looked #FLAWLESS as always, her copper-toned eyeshadow was to die for, and the cinnamon-hued lipstick pulled the look together perfectly.

Her makeup artist, Sir John, wanted to create a “juicy, honey-kissed” look, and that he did. If you want to re-create this look, here’s what to do:

  • SKIN – Apply a clay mask the day before to shrink pores and tighten skin. The day of, apply a few drops of oil (Sir John used rose oil) to skin to give it that luminous look. Next, apply a little bit of moisturizer, then primer, then liquid foundation.
  • CHEEKS – Contour your cheekbones with a taupe-toned powder, then warm it up with a bit of bronzer and peachy blush on the apples of your cheeks.
  • EYES – Sculpt your lids with a matte brown shadow, then apply a rust-toned shadow on the center of the lids, followed by a copper shadow on top of that to achieve a nice layered effect. Don’t forget to add lots of mascara to both top and bottom lashes.
  • LIPS – Apply a warm nude lipstick as a base, and then add a little bit of that metallic copper shadow by pressing into the center of your lips to achieve the same look that Sir John created on Bey.

Did you love Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 halftime look?

How To: Get Glowy Skin

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Wintertime can be beautiful, but it can also be a pain in the derrière.  Shoveling snow off your car, wearing coats, gloves, and boots, being careful not to slip on ice, and of course, dealing with dry or dull skin.  At least all of these are things that I deal with living in Upstate New York (although this year really hasn’t been bad, so I can’t complain).  If you’re lucky enough to live out West or down South, maybe you don’t have these frustrations 🙂

My hands, my legs, and even my face get so dry in the wintertime (which is kind of crazy considering my oily skin).  If you run into the same issue that I do, to following these steps next time you’re putting makeup on:

1. Moisturize – This is the most important step. Apply moisturizer to your face and let it set in before you do anything else. I love Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar or Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light.

2. Prime – Priming helps keep all of your makeup in place, and depending on which one you use, it can also give you a nice glow. I recently discovered the new Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil, and even though I have naturally oily skin, I love it! It sits on to of your skin to help smooth out the texture, and it also absorbs directly into your skin to give you extra hydration.

3. Foundation – Liquid foundation is the way to go – skip the powder if you want that glow, girl. Try something lightweight that moisturizes your skin but still gives some good coverage, such as the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.

4. Highlighter – Now that you’ve moisturized, primed, and applied foundation, it’s time to highlight! I’m really loving Benefit Cosmetics Sun Beam highlighter. It has a golden bronze hue that looks great on just about any skin tone. Apply it in a C shape to the very top of your cheek bones – you can add it to your brow bones, too!

5. Blush – The secret ingredient to make you look alive, no matter what?  Blush baby, blush. I am a sucker for just about any shade – pink, plum, coral, red, whatever. NARS Blush in shade Orgasm is always an award winning product that looks bomb on almost anyone.

6. Nude Gloss – Last but not least, don’t forget to complete you glowy look with some glossy gloss! I’m obsessed with the Urban Decay Naked Ultra Nourishing Lip Gloss in shade Nooner.

Do you have a special routine to keep your skin moisturized, healthy, and glowing? Leave a comment – I would love to hear!

New Products to Try

1

Today I had the first part of a crown put on my tooth, and let me tell you – it was not fun.  After sitting in the dentist’s chair for over two hours of numbing, drilling, drilling, and more drilling, I found out the original crown he was going to put on won’t work and I need to come back in two weeks.  So while I was staring up at the ceiling for over 120 minutes, I was thinking of so many different things – one topic being new beauty products that I want to try this year and possibly add to my professional kit.  Deep thoughts, I know.

My best friend, Missy, who I have probably mentioned on this blog before, has every woman’s dream job.  She is a Beauty Educator with Sephora.  If you’re wondering what that means, she basically visits different stores within her territory once per month, educating them on all of the new products that Sephora will be launching that month, including makeup, skincare, hair, nails, and everything in between.  The job, as you can imagine, is amazing, but one of the major perks is that she receives all of these products before they hit the market – and yes, she gets to keep them.  It’s seriously ah-maz-ing.

She’s currently in Dallas, Texas for an annual conference with hundreds of other Sephora employees such as herself, learning about the brand spankin’ new products from the creators themselves.  So far she’s spent this week with Anastasia Soare, owner and creator of Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kat Von D, Josie Maran, and many other names and brands you are probably very familiar with.  Shoutout to Missy – I am so, so happy for you and so, so proud of you! #GIRLBOSS

With that being said, Missy is constantly chirping in my ear about brand new products that no one else, including social media, knows about yet.  And it gets me so damn excited.  I’m constantly texting and snapping her back with, “OMG I NEED THAT.  GIVE ME NOW.”

There are lots of new products that are on the market in 2016 that I’m dying to get my hands on, so I’ve put some of them on this list here.  If you’ve already tried any of these, let me know – I would love to hear your thoughts!

  1. UD Gwen Stefani Blush Palette ($45.00)
  2. GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment ($69.00)
  3. GlamGlow Plumprageous Gloss Lip Treatment ($24.00)
  4. Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint ($20.00)
  5. Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon ($18.00)
  6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer ($23.00)
  7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit ($40.00)
  8. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer ($27.00)
  9. Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow ($10.00)

Pantone Color of the Year 2016

Every year I look forward to the big reveal of Pantone Color of the Year.  This year I am extra pleased by the announcement because for the first time ever, there are two shades: Rose Quartz and Serenity.  And let me tell you, I think they are both beautiful.  Each shade is soft, light, and airy and compliments the other.  At first glance, they remind me a lot of colors that would be used in a little girl’s/little boy’s nursery.

If you aren’t familiar with this yearly announcement, here’s what it is (as described by the official Pantone website):

“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.  For the first time Pantone introduces two shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity as the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

Why do I care so much about the Color of the Year?  Because I’m in the beauty and fashion industry, and I always to like to keep up with trends and incorporate them in my work!  Here are some great photos that might give you some inspiration to incorporate Rose Quartz and Serenity into your wardrobe!

Image via @decor_hunter

Image via @decor_hunter

Image via J. Crew

Image via J. Crew

 

Image via POPSUGAR Fashion

Image via POPSUGAR Fashion

Image via InStyle

Image via InStyle

Image via InStyle

Image via InStyle

What do you think of these two shades – will you be rocking them this year?

Reflections and Resolutions

Happy 2016!  Although I am a few days late in publishing this, I still wanted to post something about the New Year before it gets too late in the month.  After taking a week and a half off from work and enjoying much needed time with my family and friends, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2016 with all it has to offer – and I hope you are too!

I spent a lot of 2015 thinking about things that I could have done differently in my life, and maybe some of you did the same – reflected on past years, events, things you did and said, obstacles you overcame, tough times you went through and survived, etc.  So my goal for 2016 is to really enjoy every minute of every day, try not to think too much about the past, and don’t think too much about the future – just try to live in the moment and “be present” as my dad always says!  Aside from “living in the now,” here are six more things that are on my mind for 2016.  I did not create any of the typical “resolutions,” such as, “lose 10 pounds,” or “save more money.”  I just don’t stick to things like that!

  1. Strive to serve instead of striving to please.  There is a big difference between the two, and I think for a lot of my life I have been trying to please people instead of striving to serve.
  2. Develop positive relationships.  I have already done this throughout my life with so many people, both family and friends.  I met a bunch of new friends this year and I am so happy about that.  I’m also very blessed (and I mean that sincerely, not #blessed), that I have stayed best friends with people for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years!  It’s kind of crazy if you think about it.  I want to keep growing those relationships because they are really what help you get through life and enjoy it.
  3. Disconnect with social media, connect with real people.  I think the millennial generation (which I am a part of) have a problem with this.  I am definitely guilty of checking my phone first thing in the morning, checking it throughout the day, and scrolling through social media before I go to bed at night.  When I am with friends and family I try to remember to keep my phone in my purse and not touch it, but I can’t say that I always do – so I want to get better at that this year.
  4. Maintain a healthier lifestyle.  Like I said above, not “lose 10 pounds” or “work out 5 times a week,” but just be more conscious about what I put into my body (I am guilty of eating like crap sometimes…almost all of the time).
  5. Be simple.  I’m a female.  And by “I’m a female,” I mean I’m a girly girl.  By nature, I am drawn to fashion and beauty and anything and everything that is pretty (hence the reason I’m a makeup artist and wardrobe stylist).  I have a tendency of seeing something and wanting it, whether it’s a new purse, new shoes, new bracelet, new bedding, etc.  But I’ve been reminding myself you don’t need things.  Collect moments, not things.  And I have to say, I’ve seen a big change in myself over the past year.
  6. Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.  This quote means everything to me (as so many quotes do!  My friends and I are obsessed with sharing funny and positive quotes with each other, thanks to Instagram).  I think the quote is pretty self explanatory, but it holds a lot of weight.

What are your thoughts on last year and dreams for this year?  I would love to hear!

Holiday Look: Dramatic Eyes

Image via Carli Bybel

Image via Carli Bybel

If you regularly follow my blog, you may have read about my latest holiday makeup ideas, including Classic and Glitter Eyes.  This is the third and final part of my holiday series, and today it’s all about Dramatic Eyes.  Whether you have a glitzy holiday party to attend or you’re going out on New Year’s Eve with your friends, this makeup look will be perfect.  And the best part?  All of the products are budget-friendly!

If you are doing a dramatic eye makeup look, it is usually best to keep the rest of your face pretty simple.  Feel free to apply foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, etc. if that is part of your regular routine.  To get started on this look, you want to fill in your eyebrows.  Try using the NYX Cake Powder with an angled brow brush, and be sure to use a soft hand when applying (you don’t want to look like you drew them on!).  Next, apply eyeshadow to your lid and lower lash line.  Then apply a few coats of mascara to your upper and lower lashes.  Once the mascara dries, apply false lashes with lash adhesive (makeup artist tip: Trim your lashes at the end with a small pair of scissors, then apply a thin line of adhesive to the strip lash, and let it get tacky for about one minute.  This will prevent the glue from sliding around).  Finally, apply a nude lipstick, cream, or gloss of your choice!

  1. Brows – NYX Cosmetics Eyebrow Cake Powder, $5.99
  2. Eyeshadow – L’Oreal Infalliable Shadow Butterfly Collection in shade Gilded Envy, $5.99
  3. Lashes – Ardell Glamour Lash, Black 111, $2.99
  4. Lips – NYX Cosmetics Xtreme Lip Cream in shade Skin Tone, $5.99

Holiday Look: Glitter Eyes

Image via Nicole Guerriero

Image via Nicole Guerriero

There’s no denying that holiday season is upon us.  I’m sure you can tell just by walking into your local grocery store!  Some people get overwhelmed by this time of the year due to all of the cooking, baking, shopping for gifts, and what not.  But this year, don’t let any of that stress you out.  Keep it simple and remember what the holidays are really about.  Spend time with your family and friends, and shower them with love!  That doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money.

Speaking of not having to spend a lot of money…

You probably have at least one holiday event to attend this year whether it is a work function or a gathering with friends.  If you don’t want to go out buy a new outfit, just go shopping in your closet – I’m sure there’s something you have to wear whether it’s a little black dress or dark skinny jeans with a nice blouse.  One way to incorporate that holiday vibe into your look is with pretty, glittery makeup.  I’m not talking about dance recital makeup with glitter all over your hair, eyes, and lips, but a little bit can be very appropriate.  And again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this.  Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Eyeshadow Base – NYX Cosmetics Eyeshadow Base, $6.99
  2. Glittery Eyeshadow – L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in shade “Iced Latte,” $7.99
  3. Mascara – CoverGirl Bombshell Volume Mascara in shade “Very Black,” $11.99
  4. Mauve Lipstick – Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in shade “Mauve Outta Here” $1.99

Did you get a chance to check out my “Classic” holiday look?  Maybe that’s more up your alley if you’re not into glitter!

Holiday Look: Classic

Image via Pinterest

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, today marks December 1 and the beginning of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas!  It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, folks!  Aside from decorating the tree, baking cookies, and wrapping gifts, another thing to get excited about is holiday parties.  It’s the perfect excuse to get dressed up super cute and do your makeup in a fun and flirty way.

First up in this series of three holiday looks is the “classic,” which features a neutral eye and red lips.  Here are some products that will help you create this look:

  1. Neutral eyeshadow – NYC Cosmetics Nude Matte Eyeshadow in shade “I Have a Headache,” $4.99
  2. Black gel liner – Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in shade “Blackest Black,” $9.99
  3. Mascara – Rimmel London ScandalEyes Retroglam Mascara in shade “Extra Black,” $5.99
  4. Red lipstick – Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in shade “Rich Girl Red,” $7.99

Do you have any plans this holiday season?  What makeup look do you want to create?

Holiday Gifts for Him

A few days ago I posted my “Holiday Gifts for Her” article, so I thought I’d follow it up with “Holiday Gifts for Him.”  These could make great gifts for your dad, brother, boyfriend, husband, friend…whoever!

Holiday Gifts for Her

Hello! It has been quite some time since I’ve posted to my blog; I’ve been extremely busy lately. While I have my full time job as a marketing director, I’m also a professional wedding makeup artist. Although wedding season just ended (I consider wedding season May through October), I still have a few events and trial appointments left for 2015, and am busy as hell booking 2016 weddings right now (definitely not complaining about that). I also have been working on a few projects for clients through my side marketing business, East Avenue Marketing. I’m working on two completely new brands for two different clients: one is an accounting consultant and the other is a gourmet specialty foods store. And then…aside from all of that…I’m crazy enough to decide to branch my East Avenue brand into an Etsy shop: East Avenue Custom Wedding Creations.

It’s been one year since I launched East Avenue Marketing (November 20, 2014), and I’ve sold so many custom wall prints since then. It got me thinking: what could I do to make my brand bigger and tie together my two favorite markets – weddings and gifts? Since I already create different products and I already have connections to wedding clients, why not create a wedding gift shop on Etsy?!

So that’s that, and within the past few weeks I’ve been going crazy creating products, taking pictures, coming up with a new logo, figuring out how to post on Etsy, and not to mention trying to figure out how to ship all of these items, such as wine glasses, mugs, and hangers (packaging products, weighing them, printing labels…it’s quite confusing). I am so very excited to launch this little shop of mine and see what happens! I probably won’t limit it to just wedding gifts – so many people love my quirky wall prints like, “But first, champagne,” so I’m sure I’ll add those as well.

Okay, enough rambling about my life. On to more important things, such as holiday shopping! I’ve already gotten a head start on my gift shopping this year, so I thought I would share some “gift ideas for her” with you today!

  1. Lauren Ralph Lauren leather gloves – $58
  2. Tory Burch perfume – $90
  3. Kate Spade small square studs – $38
  4. Kate Spade wallet – $70 (on sale as of 11/19/15)
  5. Bourbon and Boweties Clear Iridescent Bangle – $30
  6. Sorel quilted canvas boots – $160
  7. “But First, Champagne” print – $16
  8. Forever 21 makeup pouch – $5
  9. Sephora Collection brushes – $62
  10. #GIRLBOSS book – $16

Favorite Fall Nail Polishes

What’s not to love about fall?  Crisp air, warm sweaters, bright colored leaves, tall boots, berry lips – the list goes on and on.  One of my favorite aspects of fall fashion is the different colored polishes that I get to paint my nails.  I’ve rounded up some of my top shades from Essie for this season ($8.50 each):

Chocolate Cakes – a creamy dark chocolate brown

Romper Room – pale tea rose pink

Find Me An Oasis – refreshing ice blue

Mind Your Mittens – deep, black teal

Bangle Jangle – a lavender amethyst

Shearling Darling – rich, plush ebony red

Brides To Be – soft-spoken caramel blush

What is your favorite nail polish color to wear during the fall season?

How To Create the Perfect Smoky Eye

Photo via Charlotte Tilbury

The perfect smoky eye: we all long for it, but sometimes find it difficult to create on ourselves.  Well, worry no more – I’m going to break it down for you in this easy step-by-step (PS, I’m not sure who this woman is, but she is absolutely gorgeous and flawless…I want her face)!

Hint: before you begin actually creating the smoky eye, but sure to conceal underneath your eyes and fill in your eyebrows.

1. Primer – you want to prime your eyelids to prevent any creasing.  Try Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, $20.

2. Neutral Shadow – apply an ivory or cream colored shadow to your lid.  Then take a champagne hued shadow and apply to the inner corner of your eye and underneath your brow bone to help accentuate your arch.

3. Medium Shadow – apply a medium brown colored shadow to your crease and outer corner.  Make sure you blend so that you don’t have any harsh lines.

4. Dark Shadow – apply a dark brown or black shadow to your outer corner.  Again, make sure you blend well.

5. Liner – apply eyeliner to your upper lash line.  I like to extend my line out a little bit to create a bit of a cat eye (just like the photo above).  Try Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $19 – you won’t be disappointed.  Then take an angled liner brush and line your lower lashes with a dark eyeshadow.  Smudge the shadow so that it doesn’t look harsh, but instead looks smoky.

6. Lashes – curl your eyelashes and apply a few coats of mascara to your upper and lower lashes.  If you want a super glamorous look, you can apply false lashes.  Try Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, $23 if you’re looking for lots of volume.

And that’s it!  Let me know what other “how to” makeup looks you’re interested in learning about!

Fall Outfit Inspiration

When it comes to blogs and social media, there is one category that I cannot get enough of: fashion and beauty.  There are some sites and accounts that I follow religiously, such as these five below.  I thought I would share them with you today and maybe inspire you to follow these lovely ladies, too.  These are all such perfect looks for fall (depending on your style, of course!).

Sequins and Things

Southern Curls and Pearls

Chronicles of Frivolity

Pink Peonies

Something Navy

Who are you inspired by this fall?

Most Important Makeup Brushes

If you’ve ever watched a makeup tutorial on YouTube, you’ve probably noticed that makeup artists use an overwhelming amount of different brushes and tools (myself included).  So you’re probably wondering, “what brushes do I actually need to get by with my everyday makeup routine?”

Many of my friends, family, and clients have asked me this question time after time, so I thought I’d break it down for you here on the blog (you might think this is still a lot of brushes, but I couldn’t narrow it down any more than these 10!):

1. FOUNDATION BRUSH

If you wear liquid foundation, there are easy ways to apply it: with your fingers, with a beauty blender, or with a good brush.  If you’re a brush person, opt for one that is rounded at the top with synthetic bristles (that way product and oil isn’t absorbed into the brush).  One of my favorites is this Pro Foundation Brush #47 from Sephora ($28).

2. CONCEALER BRUSH

While you can apply concealer with your finger tips, it might be easier for you to just use an actual brush.  Benefits of a small, flat concealer brush include not making as much of a mess and being able to get into every corner and crevice – especially the under eye area.  The Bamboo Deluxe Concealer Brush by Eco Tools is amazing and very affordable ($6).

3. POWDER BRUSH

If you’re wearing foundation and concealer, you’ll want to apply powder…and there is no better way than to do so than with a brush.  Some people prefer spongers or beauty blenders, but I think using a brush is the best way because it doesn’t pick up any of the makeup you just spent time applying ever so carefully.  A big fluffy brush is the way to go, just like this Bold Metals 100 Arched Powder Brush from Real Techniques ($26).

4. BLUSH BRUSH

I like to use a blush brush that is very soft but has defined bristles – something that is relatively small in size.  I have been loving this e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush, and for only ($3) you might as well buy a few of them.

5. BRONZER BRUSH

When bronzing your face, you want to focus on the temples of your forehead, underneath your cheekbone, and your jawline.  I love this bronzer brush by Bobbi Brown ($56) because it’s super soft, has a round head, and applies your bronzer flawlessly.

6. CONTOUR BRUSH

If you contour, you will want a specific brush to do so (don’t use your powder, bronzer, or blush brushes).  You want something that is more narrow and concentrated, since you are trying to create dimension and shading on your face.  This Angled Contour Brush #21 by NARS is perfect ($42).

7. EYEBROW BRUSH

Done with the face, now on to the eye area!  To control and shape your brows, having a good eyebrow brush is important.  Look for something that is small and angled, like this 247 Double Ended Eyebrow Brush by Make Up For Ever ($28).  Bonus: it also has a spiral end that is perfect for grooming your brows and even separating your eyelashes.

8. EYESHADOW BLENDING BRUSH

When applying eyeshadow, the most important thing is to blend…and blend…and blend.  You don’t want any harsh colors or lines, just like you don’t on your face when you apply foundation, bronzer, etc.  To achieve a nice blended look, you will need a good brush.  A really great one is the Airbrush Blending Shadow Brush #107 by IT Cosmetics ($14).  It is super soft, does its job, and is affordable – and only sold at Ulta.

9. SHADER BRUSH

Another important makeup brush you will want for eyeshadow application is a shader brush.  This will help apply color to a particular area on your eyelid, and allows you to be very precise.  It is also great to smudge out eyeliner.  This Shading Brush by Real Techniques is perfect ($6).

10. EYELINER BRUSH

Last but certainly not least, you want to have an eyeliner brush in your makeup kit.  This comes in handy no matter if you use a pencil, liquid, gel, or just shadow as liner.  I typically apply liquid eyeliner to my upper lash line, but then go over it with black shadow using a skinny, angled eyeliner brush.  An eyeliner brush, like this Professional Angled Eyeliner Brush from Japonesque ($15), is also great to apply a little bit of shadow to your lower lash line.

So those are the most important brushes, in my opinion.  Go to the store, feel the brushes, and see what you like!  Another very important piece of advice that I want to give is to always WASH YOUR BRUSHES.  You can have the best, most expensive makeup brushes in the world, but if you are not properly sanitizing them, they are doing you no good.  Try to wash them at least once a week.

What are your favorite makeup brushes that you absolutely cannot live without?  I would love to hear – leave a comment!

How to Get Thicker Hair

Wanting thicker hair is always on the top of my wish list (amongst many other things).  I am so envious of my girlfriends who have perfect, luscious, thick hair, because I am just not one of them.  And I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Although you might not be able to miraculously grow more hair overnight, there are some things you can do that will help speed up the process.

Use good hair care products – Just like with makeup and skincare, using the right hair products, such as shampoo, conditioner, and styling products, is very important.  You’ll want to avoid anything that is chemical based – try to find organic products that contains natural oils.  One of my favorite all-natural products is the It’s a 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin.

Don’t wash your hair every day – This can be difficult, especially if you have oily hair.  I’m not the best about following this tip, but if I don’t wash my hair I typically wear it up in a bun or in a loose ponytail.  Not only does that give my hair a break from washing, but also from heat styling.  If you feel gross about not washing your hair every day, try using dry shampoo – bonus: it also makes your hair look thicker.

Be gentle with your hair – Gently towel dry your hair after you shower – don’t do it roughly or else some hairs might break.  Then use a wide-toothed comb to work out the knots – do not use a brush.

Avoid heat styling tools – This can be difficult, but try to avoid styling your hair with heat at least a few times per week  If you use them too much, your hair can become dry and also fall out more than if you don’t use heat.

Stop dying and highlighting – Or at least keep it to a minimum.  I think we all love to change up our hair once in a while, but there’s a difference between once in a while and doing it all the time.  When you dye your hair, the chemicals in the dye can dry it out and cause damage.

Trim your hair – So many people hate doing this, but trust me, trimming your hair every month can seriously make it thicker and healthier.  Notice I’m saying trim – that’s not the same as a full blown hair cut.  By trimming the ends it keeps your hair looking healthy, bouncy, and full.

What are your favorite hair tips and tricks?

Fall Fashion: Hats & Sunnies

Fall weather is here, and so are the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, apples, boots, sweaters, and accessories.  Two of my favorite accessories are hats and sunglasses, or as I like to sometimes call them, sunnies.  They are my favorites because they go with every season, no matter if it’s summer or winter.

Below are four of my favorite combos – what are some of yours?

Combo 1 – Floppy Hat + Cat Eye 

Combo 2 – Beanie Hat + Oversized

Combo 3 – Fedora Hat + Wayfarers

Combo 4 – Baseball Cap + Aviators