- Beautylish is the exclusive retailer of Bioderma (cult favorite French micellar cleansing water) in the US and they just debuted a 500mL bottle with a pump top!
- Speaking of beauty e-retailers, Birchbox is launching their own makeup line.
- We’ve been indulging in affogatos for dessert. And breakfast. And anytime throughout the day. It’s fine. (P.S. You don’t even need to click through to that recipe, it’s literally just ice cream and espresso!)
- I’ve switched my engagement ring over to my right hand and am embracing a “wedding stack” on my left. Right now I just have my wedding ring and a few costume rings, but love the idea of adding a band for major milestones – anniversaries, children, Tuesdays… Some inspiration here, here, and (obviously) here. (P.S. This gel mani in OPIs Tiramisu for Two is now officially two weeks old and still looking flawless, if a little grown out!)
- Heading to the Wellfleet OysterFest this weekend! SO excited!!
In case you haven’t seen, they recently announced the Allure Best of Beauty Winners for 2015. Brace yourselves before you go look up all of the products though, as the list is quite long. There are about a million categories, and then winners are chosen across mass and prestige products, so there are quite a few winners. Obviously I haven’t tried all of them, but a fair few have made their way into my bathroom or vanity, so I did a bit of the work for you. Here’s my list of picks and skips.
(Allure Best Beauty Breakthrough)
As someone who only recently discovered the joys (and perils) of self-tanning, this stuff is gold. It’s super easy to apply in the shower (I turn the head off and just let the faucet in the tub run while I apply and let it sit), leaves a super subtle color that develops over time, and is only lightly scented. I picked up backups of this since I loved it so much. It’s a great way to boost or touch up a more intense tan as it fades.
(Allure Best Makeup Brush – Eye Shadow)
This brush is $30 and it’s far from an essential. The shape and synthetic fibers aren’t unique, and it’s not especially luxurious which is what you’d expect for the price. You’re better off picking up a Real Techniques Shader Brush which is very similar in size and shape and literally a fraction of the price, or some of the Sonia Kashuk brushes are equally wonderful and budget friendly.
(Allure Best Treatment – Scalp)
I’ve already sung its praises here on the blog, but this scrub is transforming for hair and scalp. I can’t say enough how much I love it. Such a fantastic product. It smells so fresh and the foam it creates is seriously luxurious. There’s nothing else I’ve found on the market like it. I feel like I should stock up on this one too!
(Allure Best Foundation – Mineral)
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love this product, but in no way would I consider it a mineral foundation. Mineral, ok sure, but it’s definitely not a foundation. This is the sheerest, barely tinted formula ever created. It’s great layered with other sheer products or powders, but “foundation” implies that you’re going to have at least some sort of coverage, and this doesn’t.
(Allure Best Brow Groomer)
This is my far my favorite Benefit product. It holds brows in place and adds tiny fibers to make them appear fuller. It doesn’t smudge and the colors are perfect and versatile. Definitely pick this up if you haven’t tried it. It’s both great on its own and layered over brow pencil or pomade.
(Allure Best Lip Stain)
I was really excited about these when they launched but after trying them, not so much. The formula is really thin and actually a big drying, and the tint isn’t true to color. It’s hard to work with and hard to predict how it will actually look on your lips from how it looks in the tube. It’s pretty expensive to boot. Skip this one.
(Allure Best Hand Cream)
Your hands show signs of aging just as much as your face (if not more so!) so this is a must have. Sunscreen for your hands will preserve their youthful look and keeping them hydrated will help with cuticles, cracked knuckles, or other hand woes. The pump bottle is also super convenient to keep on your bathroom counter or at your desk. Love this!
(Allure Best Bronzer)
This is a good bronzer, but it’s very hard to work with. It comes with a dropper applicator and is super liquidy and pigmented, meaning that it’s hard to both dispense and blend in. I think it’s worth checking out if you’re a pro at bronzing and adventurous with makeup, but otherwise there are MUCH better bronzers you can get for the money. It’s not a bad product, but it’s not for the new to bronzing.
Have you scouted out the Allure Best in Beauty Winners? Do you agree with them? It definitely highlighted some great products and brought a few more to my attention. My wishlist is growing!
This month’s box was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, one of the samples leaked so the whole thing was a bit messy inside, which led to less than fantastic photos, but you’ll get the idea!
First, the prime offender, Number 4™ Lumiere dhiver Fluoro5 Elixer Restore & Repair Oil. Ok, ignoring the fact that this has the longest name ever and spilled all over the place, I really like it. It smells amazing. I had it all over my hands after handling my slippery box contents, so I quickly ran them through my hair and my initial impression is a good one. And given the mess it made and the amount left in the bottle, it seems like a little bit could go a looooong way. I think I’ll like this, and I think it will pair well with my hair styling holy grail.
Next up, another hair product that I’m DEFINITELY looking forward to using, Macadamia Professional™ Style Extend Dry Shampoo. I’m a big dry shampoo fan, and I love the Macadamia Professional cleansing conditioner and hair mask, so I’m thinking I’ll like this too.
Sheet masks are incredibly trendy, so I was excited to see a BioRepublic Skincare Cucumber Breeze Soothing Fiber Mask . I wish I’d get more than a single use out of the sample, but I haven’t really gotten into sheet masks yet so I’m interested in trying it out.
Next up, my sample choice pick, Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara. This has gotten so much hype lately I was excited for the chance to try it. We’ll see how it compares to the Clinique Chubby Lash I’ve been loving so much lately.
Finally, a little k-beauty treat, the Too Cool For School DINOPLATZ HIGHLIGHTER. This has actually been on my wishlist lately. You know how I feel about highlighters, especially liquid illuminators, and the packaging here is so cute! However, I do think the shade name is a little insensitive. “Pearl Bay Invasion” is definitely reminiscent of Pearl Harbor, which I don’t think is entirely appropriate (and I’m not one who’s easily upset by things like that, believe me!) but I supposed I can chalk it up to a translation error.
So aside from my leaky hair serum, I’m SO happy with this box!
Did you get the October Birchbox? What was in yours? Or did you pick one of the Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness boxes? Let me know!
I woke up to the sound of the rain on the roof this morning. As lovely as that sound is, a rainy day is not the most encouraging after a long weekend! But it brightened up a little bit when I threw on my favorite rainy day outfit.
Obviously, I started by not washing my hair, and instead applying a healthy amount of Bumble and bumble’s Pret-a-Powder.
For my outfit, there’s nothing cozier than an oversized sweater, and pairing it with sneakers can still be chic if you choose metallic or printed low tops, which look perfect with ankle length jeans. I couldn’t be bothered with contacts, so I threw on my Warby Parker tortoise shell frames, and balanced them with a bright lip (Tom Ford’s Cherry Lush). I polished the whole thing off with my favorite knotshine lariat necklace from Madewell.
What’s your go-to outfit for gloomy weather days?
- My new favorite pizza topping (pair it with Italian sausage – YUM)
- Returning home from San Diego to all of the snuggles from this handsome (yet suspicious) fella
- I’ve also been living in that white sweater from Madewell. It’s now sold out, but I’m eyeing this one next.
- So much lust for the new Everlane Petra Backpack in leather. Unfortunately it won’t fit my laptop, so not the most functional for me, but so beautiful.
- ALL. OF. THE. HALLOWEEN. CANDY.
Shopping for jeans has always been bittersweet for me. Sweet because: new jeans! Bitter because: the fitting room (and the price tags). It’s been a long time struggle until recently.
I magically found a pair of jeans that fit perfectly on sale at Intermix about three years ago. They were the J Brand 835 Mid Rise Capris (yes, capris, I have short little legs) in Misfit. The length hit me right above the ankle, which is perfect for wearing with ballet flats or heels or even sneakers. They weren’t too skinny through the legs, so they didn’t feel jegging-y or trendy, and the rise was just high enough that they weren’t sliding down whenever I bent over, but not so high to approach mom-jean territory. The wash was a medium dark, with just the right amount of stretch in the denim, and just the right amount of destruction on the knees. I wore those jeans until they fell apart.
At which point I began to panic. Because they were perfect, but soon they’d be unwearable.
But then I had a brilliant idea. I could just buy the same pair again!
Alas, no. The sale had ended, the jeans had sold out, and they were gone. But I did notice that J Brand had other washes and fabrics of the 835 Mid Rise Capris in stock. And on sale even. Which is when it hit me:
I could buy the same classic cut and size of jeans in various washes when they went on sale and never have to worry about trying on denim ever again. So I quickly signed up for J Brand emails, and whenever I got alerts about “Friends and Family” or “Extra 20% off” or “End of Season” sale events, I’d click through and quickly filter for my 835s and snag whatever’s in my size.
The different denim weights and washes sometimes feel slightly different, but every single pair so far has fit just as well as the original. Over the past few years, I’ve grown my denim wardrobe to include:
- Dark Vintage – A more structured, dark wash, perfect for the office
- Dropout – Soft, destroyed, light wash for summer weekends
- Malta – True blue, indigo sateen, super soft and thin
- Strobe – An unconventional gray that I wasn’t convinced about until I saw Kim Kardashian wear them
- and Misfit – of course, a re-up on the jeans that started it all when they came back in stock the following year
I purchased every one of these for less than $100, most at around $60-$80, which is pretty damn good for J Brand, but if you’re looking at a lower price point, you could probably manage the same trick at Gap, Express, or J Crew, all of which have great staple denim lines.
So yes, every pair of jeans in my closet is the exact same cut from the exact same brand, but it’s such a classic shape and so perfect for me that I don’t even care.
And since you asked, next on my wishlist: Nightbird – A perfectly faded black that’s the just right blend of casual and sophisticated.
Matt and I are both huge fans of pie (fun fact: our wedding was on Pi Day – 3/14/15). His favorite is pumpkin, and I can’t get enough blueberry, and we both agree: pecan is also at the top of the list. But really you can’t go wrong with any flavor. My easy pie making secret is to buy the pre-made rolled up pie crusts from the grocery store. I always get better results from the Pillsbury brand crusts rather than generic, but you can stock up when they’re on sale and keep them in the freezer for emergency pie situations.
Like we had this weekend.
How does one run into an emergency pie situation? Well, start by accidentally buying granny smith apples instead of golden delicious.
Oops! Oh well!
So this Caramel Apple Cranberry Pie happened on Sunday. I knew I wanted to make a pie, and I knew what we had in the house, but I haven’t yet accumulated recipes for every occasion just yet, and sometimes you just want to try something new.
When I look for recipes, I usually start out by googling the ingredients I want to include and what I want to make, so for example “apple cranberry dessert” or “greek yogurt salmon” or “roasted garlic salad dressing”.
Then I’ll look through the first few results. I love to find recipes from blogs, since the photos are always beautiful, but it’s hard to find feedback and reviews from people who’ve actually followed the recipe. Sites like allrecipes.com (where this pie came from) and epicurious.com typically have more information, but they can also have too many options and my decision paralysis sets in.
Anything that involves getting too many pots and pans dirty is immediately out. Same goes if there are too many steps. You want me to cook down the apples and the cranberries in separate sauce pans? Steam and then sautee? Um, no way.
I’ll also look through the ingredient list and make sure I have everything and that it appears in reasonable proportions. I get suspicious of either too many or too few ingredients and excessive salt or sugar.
Then I’ll read the few most popular comments, which typically have helpful tips or adjustments.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try tweaking your search terms a bit. I promise if you can think of it, there’s a recipe for it. I mean, within reason, obviously.
I wish I had a photo of the pie fully baked but honestly, we just dug into it too quickly.
The consensus is: this pie recipe is awesome. I would have preferred a recipe where you can throw the fruit into the shell without cooking it at all first, but I have found the pie turns out better when you cook it down a little bit. I also would have been more careful about sealing the top and bottom crusts.
But one of the best parts about baking is experimenting and trying something new!
Have you baked anything recently? Do you find recipes online or stick to cookbooks?
How-two: 2 easy steps to doing something just a little bit better…
A lot of people struggle with how to wear makeup with glasses. There are plenty of videos on youtube that will break down exactly what (and what not) to do, but as a long time glasses and contact lens wearer, this is what has worked for me.
- Really go for it with your lipstick. You’ve got frames adding weight and drawing attention to the top of your face, so a bright lipstick can balance that out and make your face look more like a face and less like just a pair of lenses. Now is the time to go for that red or fuchsia, but you can also stick with a more subdued color if you choose something opaque and creamy. The point is you really want your lips to be defined.
- Don’t neglect your brows. There are three potential situations here: your frames hit above, below, or right on top of your natural brows. We’ve all seen the photoshopped images of celebrities without eyebrows (if you haven’t, please google it) and know that it’s not a good look. What you want is for your brows to peek out from your frames but still look natural. If they already show 100%, you’re golden; all you need to do is fill them in! Otherwise, brush the hairs either upwards or downwards so they aren’t hidden and then hold them in place with a clear brow gel (Anastasia’s is the best) and then fill in any gaps and clean up any lines with a brow powder.
I think my next how-two will be on shaping your brows at home. Thoughts?
Before we get too far into October and this becomes irrelevant…
I don’t know if I’m going to do monthly favorites. It feels a little repetitive since it’s rare that I find anything life changing, but I haven’t listed my general favorites since my holy grails, so I thought now could be a good time. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately, my September favorites!
Again, the R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste. I couldn’t not include it after raving here, here, and here. Like I mentioned before, a little goes a long way to help style dry, wet, clean, or dirty hair. It’s so versatile and pretty much the only thing I’ve been putting in my hair lately.
Sticking with hair care, the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub. This is a scrub for your hair and scalp that really does balance any oil, grease, or dryness. My scalp has always been dry and sensitive even though my hair gets greasy pretty easily, and this has really worked for me. It’s a little tricky to massage in the large salt crystals, but they eventually dissolve to create a thick, luxe lather. I use this every 2-3 times I wash my hair, and wash my hair every 2-3 days, so I end up using this a few times a month. It’s expensive ($52), but at that rate this should last me at least 6 months, which seems about right for the amount I’ve used since purchasing in August. I picked this up from BeautyHabit via Amazon, but Sephora just started carrying the brand and I’m so excited to try other products from the line, especially the temporary color masks.
Moving on to skin care, the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has been on weekly rotation. It has the texture of mashed potatoes, which is kind of strange, but it’s a really lovely product. It tingles slightly but very gently and rinses clean leaving skin soft and smooth. Another pricey pick but again, a little goes a long way.
Similarly soothing and stimulating for skin, the Caudalie Beauty Elixir is one of those cult products that I never really bought into until recently. I’ve been loving using this mist as the last step in my skincare routine or to refresh throughout the day. I only bought the small size since I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but I’m almost out, so the big version might be in my near future.
On to makeup products, the Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara is potentially a new holy grail. It’s a deep black color and a very dramatic look, making lashes look thick and long and defined. Clinique almost always nails it when it comes to mascaras and this is no exception. It’s also pretty affordable for a high-end mascara. I’ve been reaching for it every day. I only wish it was slightly more water resistant.
Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is the perfect summer to fall transition foundation. It’s still light and sheer so your summer tan, faded as it might be, still shows through. It’s matte, but not flat, and hydrating but not heavy. I’ve been mixing it with an illuminator to hang on to summer a bit longer and have been loving the effect. I wear the shade nude.
Finally, my friend Lisa and I have been raving over the Urban Decay eyeshadows all month. I’ve been using my UD palette almost daily. The three staple shades, ABC Gum, Secret Service, and Blackout stay in the palette constantly as I use them as base shadow, eyebrow powder, and liner respectively, but the other shades rotate a bit more. Lately, I’ve been loving Solstice, my newest shade, a “Moondust” formula with pink-green duo-chrome glitter which is a lot more wearable than it sounds. I also have Freelove, a peachy-pink satin, and a Chopper, copper shimmer, in there currently.
Swatches, left to right: Chopper, Freelove, and Solstice.
What have your favorite products been this month?
Ok, there’s a theme for this one… It’s my five favorite Instagram accounts featuring cats. I’m sorry. I feel like it was only a matter of time. But it’s happening.
- @adventurecatsorg – One time, we took Bisous outside. He refused to get out of the cat carrier.
- @hellokitty – I mean, has Kim ever posted a photo of herself made out of spam?
- @cashcats – Actual cats on actual piles of money. I’ve learned a lot about foreign currency by following. #educational
- @drunk_cats – Exactly what it sounds like. I actually have several photos of Bisous drinking (are you surprised?) Maybe I should submit them…
- @bodegacatsofinstagram – Um, the bodega we shopped at on the UWS didn’t have a cat. I think we missed out.