Thursday, June 26, 2014

Decorating My New House v.1: My Perfect Vanity

Okay, so I know I have been super inconsistent in my posting the last couple of weeks.. but this time I do have a legitimate excuse: I moved! not only houses, but cities, too. And jobs. And I am so very, very excited because I am now living by the sea, in a city I absolutely adore, where many of my very best friends live. However, moving can be such a pain! Packing everything up, arranging movers, unpacking everything again and arranging it... it can get a bit overwhelming at times (and it did!). So instead of letting myself be swamped by a huge to-do list, I decided to focus on the best part: decorating my house from scratch!

Being the beauty hoarder that I am, the first thing I wanted to sort out was my vanity. At my old place I didn't have the room to set a space just for me, where I could keep all my products organized and nicely stored, so when I started house-hunting I specifically looked for a space where I could arrange a gorgeous vanity to fit my needs. My needs being:

1. Sufficient room for all my beauty products.
2. Lots and lots of light (have you ever done your makeup in the dark, only to realize you resemble a drag queen once you have left the house!? not me, definitely not, never, no sir!).
3. Vintage inspired, yet not grandma-y, to match the vibe of the rest of our house.

When I was contacted by One Kings Lane, I was delighted to see that they had a ton of awesome stuff in a huge variety of styles and price ranges, and I let myself go wild looking for all the things I need to create my own perfect vanity. Fun, fun, fun! If you are wanting to update your own vanity, or add some nice touches to the one you already have, you will almost certainly find something there to fit your own style and budget. After some browsing around, here is what I ended up loving the most for my new space:

1. Vevey Oversized Mirror: In my opinion, the best way to start designing your vanity is with your mirror. A huge statement mirror will set the tone for the rest of the vanity, and you can then keep decorating around it. My favorite one from their site is this wooden one. I love the shape and color, which give it a vintage feel, but the wood counteracts its effect so it doesn't look outdated. And of course, by being oversized (29" x 45") it doesn't need a lot more to make a statement. And it brings in lots of light, too. Basically, it ticks all the boxes for me. For even more inspiration on how to make the most out of your mirror, I found this great list of 7 Ways to Work Magic with a Mirror. It is well worth a read!

2. Roland Table Lamp: I am in love with the texture of this lamp. I think it adds personality to it, while the white cotton shade keeps it sleek and clean. It also pairs perfectly with the mirror! Can you tell by now that I love things that have a lot of contrast to them? I find them so much more interesting!

3. Trellis Frame: I like the elegant feel of keeping my vanity light and neutral with some gold accents, but I still think it's fun and fresh to add a pop of color. My choice is this too-cute frame in teal, perfect to keep a picture of my boys right beside me when I'm doing my makeup. I love it a lot.

4. Apothecary bottles with gold accents: I love the old-school vibe of apothecary bottles, but sometimes they might be a little too old looking for my taste. But then I saw this chevron one and the polka-dotted one and they were exactly what I wanted to complete my vanity! Again, they are super contrasty: old bottles with modern golden accents? yes, please! I'm thinking I will put some fresh flowers in it because I love that it's kind of unexpected, not to mention fancy and sophisticated, no?

I am really happy about these four choices, I think they fit my personality and the rest of my house to a t, and I am super excited to have such a nice space to get ready every day. What about you? Do you also have a nice little haven all of your own in your home? I would love to hear about it!

This post was created as part of the "Reflect Your Style" campaign, together with One Kings Lane. 
All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Soft Everyday Makeup Tutorial

Hi there, long time no see!
I am back, and this time with my everyday makeup look. I like to switch up my makeup a bit every day so I don't fall into a rut, but sometimes there are those days when I just need a tried-and-true look, be it for lack of time, or maybe because I am not particularly feeling my best. On those days I know to go for some products that work like a charm. I love this routine because it is appropriate for multiple purposes, and it isn't too bold or difficult to pull off. Here is my routine:

1. First of all, I apply my foundation and concealer. I am currently loving the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation: it is super buildable and provides awesome coverage, which is great for those days when I'm in a pinch. Then I apply my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger under my eye area, and on all my spots and blemishes (specially that pesky little guy on my right cheek! Ugh!). Under my eyes, I do a little triangle shape all the way down to my cheekbones, and blend with my finger. These two products blend seamlessly, but now I am in desperate need of some color on my face.

2. Now come the powders: I am a lifetime loyal fan of the M.A.C. Studio Fix Powder. It mattifies my complexion like no other I've ever tried, and when you produce as much oil as I do, that's exactly what floats your boat. Next I put on my Milani Baked Blush in Berry Amore, because I'm wanting to bring lots of life to my face and I really don't have time to apply a bronzer. I love how it has a very subtle shimmer which also slightly highlights the face. 

3. Time to do my eyes, which is one of my favorite parts of doing my makeup. First off, I curl those eyelashes so they stop resembling a donkey's. Then I reach for a palette where I can find all the colors I'll need without having to look around for more, and that is the Stila In The Light Palette. I start with the color "Bare" right under my brow bone. Look how much more awake my eyes look just by applying some light under the eyebrows!

4. Let's add some color shall we? I'm sticking with matte finishes here, because like I said, this is an everyday look that I want to make work for most situations. I start with "Bliss" all over my eyelid. Then I apply some "Sunset" on the crease, which complements "Bliss" perfectly and adds depth and definition to the eyes. And finally, I apply a bit of "Sandstone" on my outer v, smoking my eyes a little and giving them an extra "something something". This is such a gorgeous deep brown, it reminds me of a rich chocolate milkshake. 

5. Or course this look wouldn't be complete without some good ol' mascara. I find myself usually reaching for Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara (what a mouthful!). It does exactly what it says: it adds that drama that we always want our eyes to portray. And this bad boy doesn't smudge at all, and reliability is something we want in a mascara, people.

6. Alright, we are nearly finished! The last step is to apply a gorgeous shade of lipstick that complements the whole look and voilà! In this case my choice is CoverGril LipPerfection Lipstick in 260 Heavenly. It isn't too girly or too bold, it is just right and appropriate. This lipstick was actually a gift from the gorgeous Martyna from Spoolish, as part of a blogger swap we did a couple of months ago, and I love it a lot. I'll dedicate a whole post to the swap sometime this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that if you're interested. Girl really knew the way to my heart! 

This is it! We are ready to walk out the door in 15 minutes, looking pretty. I hope you liked this look, and let me know if you have tried any of these products, and what are those that you reach for over and over when you are in a pinch?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Seven Ways to Avoid Beauty Shoppers Remorse

I don't know about you, but sometimes when it comes to beauty products, my eyes are bigger than my mouth (and certainly bigger than my wallet, but that's another story!). By this I mean that I get sucked into the vortex that is the beauty world (way more often than I would ever admit) and can't resist getting an over-hyped product, only to be disappointed later when I actually use it and it turns out to be a dud. Cue that little "The Scream" emoji. That's beauty shopper's remorse. It happens to the best of us (by "best" of us, I certainly don't mean me haha).

There is even a popular feature on YouTube called "disappointing products". If you look it up, you'll find hundreds of videos of the most experienced beauty gurus showing all the products they bought, only to be utterly disappointed by them afterwards. I guess you can't escape that reality, because the only way to actually know if a product works for you is to try it. HOWEVER, there are some ways in which to actually decrease the risk of suffering from buyer's remorse, and to learn to make the most of every product you buy even if it's not right for you. There's the obvious, of course, which is to go to the company's website and reading the description and reviews for the product you are looking to buy. But other than that, there are some other ways in which to lessen the risk of buyer's remorse:

1. Understand your specific traits: One of the most common mistakes when buying beauty products is not understanding your own face/hair/body. There are many factors to consider when estimating if a product will be good for you and your own characteristics or not. For example, when buying foundation, you will obviously need to know your skin tone to get one that matches. But you will also need to consider what skin type you have (is it oily, combination, dry?) and your skin undertone (pink? Yellow? Golden perhaps?) and some other factors in order to get the more accurate one for you. Take some time figuring out how you react to products targeted at specific types. For example, does your hair go limp and flat with products targeted at greasy hair? Figure it out, and you will know which products are right for that. 

2. Don't always follow the rules: I know, I know. I just said that you need to understand yourself and then purchase a product accordingly, and know I'm telling you to break the rules? Well, if you never go crazy and try something that you are kind of on the fence about, you will most likely miss out on some amazing products. Of course I will never ever try something specifically targeted at dry skin, but I might just go crazy once in a while and get something for combination skin, or for "all skin types". Sometimes it has ended in catastrophe, but others it has introduced me to some truly awesome stuff. The best example I can think of is The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter. Just the word "butter" on the name would have put me off of this, but I gave it a shot regardless and now I can't live without it. Leaving the comfort zone is a good thing, and that applies to beauty too!

3. Read blogs and video reviews: I love finding beauty reviews on YouTube and on some of my favorite blogs. Sometimes I have been on the fence about a product, and after reading someone else's experience, I will be able to make a somewhat educated guess on whether it's worth getting. I love how you get to hear someone's personal views on a product, rather than a flat description on a website. I have even reviewed a couple of products myself on this blog, that hopefully will be useful for someone thinking of getting them. Or sometimes I will not have even considered a product until seeing it on a blog or video, and that's how I have found some of my favorite products to date. If you can determine which bloggers have some similar characteristics to you, then you will be able to assess more easily whether they might be work for you or not. The more research you do before getting something, the lesser the chances of being unpleasantly surprised by your purchase.

4. Specialty websites: Some websites (TotalBeautyBeautylish, etc) specialize on having a huge archive of products reviewed by their own readers. The difference between this and the blogs and videos is that you can read multiple reviews by multiple people. The reviews aren't as in-depth, and reading many of them might actually leave you more confused than informed, but they are a great source of info nonetheless.

5. Getting samples: Most beauty counters will provide free samples of products, which is a great way to test them without the financial commitment. If you loved the miniature version, then you can always get the bigger one, and if it wasn't for you, then you didn't really lose much. If they don't offer them to you, ask for them! 

6. Get creative and think outside the (beauty) box: Okay, so you went and spent some good cash on that fancy-looking mascara and it made your lashes look completely straight? Use it as eyeliner instead with the help of a little angled brush! If your hairspray isn't working for you why not use it as a stain remover? Don't just toss a product because it wasn't what you were expecting. Google some fun or handy alternative uses for it, and you won't feel like your purchase was a total waste.

7. Use them as gifts: Just because a product wasn't good for you, doesn't necessarily mean that someone else won't love it. My Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil Review really didn't work for my skin, but it does wonders for my mom's, which is drier than mine. You might have a family member or friend who would be a perfect fit for your product, so why not give it to them so they can get some use out of it? I'm sure they will appreciate it.

Bonus tip: whatever you do, never EVER tell your husband how much your beauty stash actually costs. Believe me, you'll never hear the end of it. So God help me if I ever hear mine say "How dare you spend (insert any amount here) on a cream!!??" one more time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Full Coverage Tips For Blemished Skin

I was thinking that today we could play a fun little game: raise your hand if you enjoy breakouts...!  Come on....  Don't be shy...  Raise it...  Raiiiiise it....!!!  No? No one?
Ok fine, it seems no one likes breakouts. BUT life is funny like that and chances are you've had them or might even have one right now. What's that!? You do!? Yay, me too! We can be zit buddies today (or something less lame!).

Like any good friend, though, I am going to show you some tips and tricks I've picked up over the years to mask the little bastards. Yes, we all are beautiful, what's inside is what matters blah blah blah but let's face it: that doesn't mean that we want to walk around with a third eye. (Or maybe you do, I'm not here to judge!).

So first things first:

1. Make sure you clean your face properly: get into those pores and take out all the gunk they accumulate. 

2. Now start off with a good primer. There is no point in covering up a zit perfectly, only to have your makeup be gone half an hour later. On my last post  I also suggested using a makeup-setting spray, which is just as effective as a primer and gives a wonderful cooling sensation for when the temperatures are high. 

3. Use a full-coverage foundation. This DOES NOT mean putting eight pounds of it on your face! (which would actually be counterproductive). Start with a thin layer and build it up until you get your desired coverage.

4. Concealer! This is probably one of the most key parts of this tutorial, as what this is all about is concealing! So find a good one, and conceal the heck out of those little buggers. 

5. Another key aspect for me is to take as much focus away as possible from the culprits. So what I'll do is I will put on a bold lipstick and really play up my eyes. (Black eyeliner can do wonders for this!). There is a fine line, however, between having eyes and lips that steal the focus away from the rest of your face, and looking like a "lady of the night", if ya' know what I mean!  Oh, and if your breakouts happen to be around the cheek area, like mine, go easy on the blush. Again, we are trying not to bring attention to them!

6. Finally, don't take yourself too seriously. I used to get so miserable whenever I saw another pimple making its unwanted appearance, and I realized I was letting them ruin my mood way too often. Yes, zits still annoy me, but they don't control me anymore. And if you're like most women, you won't be able to escape them either. Kind of like your child when you are trying to go to the toilet in peace. So do what you'd do in those cases: ignore them and it will be over before you know it.

The photos above are the final look (non-photoshopped), and here are the products used for this tutorial:

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation in Medium Sand
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger
M.A.C. Studio Fix Pressed Powder in NC42
Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipstick in Shocking Coral
Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Pink Plum

Monday, June 2, 2014

10 Beauty Projects For Summer

If you are not ready for summer after a dreadful winter, then you are a really weird person. Or you might just live where I live and be sick of the 90F temperatures every single day. But the rest of you are likely already dreaming of barbecues, parties and beach escapades and other fun ways to spend those precious hours of sunshine. Pinterest is already busting with the best brunch ideas, outdoor activities, and party drinks and it gave me the idea to create some projects of my own: 10 beauty looks to try during the summer. It can be really easy to fall into a beauty rut when you are going to a multitude of social events every day, so this might give you some inspiration to switch things up a bit and leave that dreadful comfort zone:

1. Natural face and eyes with a bold lip
Looking fresh and natural is key for a day at the beach or the pool. Use a tinted moisturiser or BB cream instead of a heavier foundation to even out your skin, and then conceal the imperfections. A bold lip in a cool tone (think coral or hot pink) will add that pop of color to your look.

Achieve this look:
Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer
Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipstick in Fuchsia Flash

2. Smoky eyes in a fun color such as metallic blue or electric purple
For a night event, ditch the overused grey smokey for a more fun alternative. Try an electric blue or purple and leave everything else neutral to make them stand out.

Achieve this look:
Dior 5-Color Eyeshadow in Bleu De Paris 254
L'oreal Infallible 24-Hour Eyeshadow in Burst Into Bloom 759

3. Statement eyes and beachy waves with lots of texture
Beachy waves are one of the best things of the summer. Achieve unbeatable texture with a texturizing spray. Make your overall look more sophisticated and less "unruly" by tight-lining your eyes and applying a shimmery eyeshadow in a cool tone.

Achieve this look:
LUSH Sea Spray
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
Revlon Colorstay Creme Gel Eyeliner in Black
L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Iced Latte

4. Matte lips with an "Elsa-inspired" braid
Okay if you don't know what I mean by "Elsa-inspired" braid, seriously, did you live under a rock in 2013? In that hardly-known movie called Frozen, the main character Elsa rocks one of the most stylish braids in recent film history. There are an abundance of tutorials out there on how to recreate that chic look, which is a must this season. The matte lips counteract the playfulness of the braid so you look stylish instead of childish. You can also achieve the matte finish by patting a bit of translucent powder onto glossy lips.

Achieve this look:
NYX Matte Lipstick in Eden
Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Matte Lip Gel in 144 Flirt

5. Double eye-liner and glossy lips
The trick here is to use a light neutral eyeliner such as beige (but NEVER white), and then a deep one, like a bronze or dark purple for the night and a vibrant fuchsia for the day. The glossy lips add even more freshness to the whole look, perfect for any event, really!

Achieve this look:
Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in BronzeBeam
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Deep Fuchsia
M.A.C. Cremesheen Glass in Richer, Lusher

6. A laid-back hair tuck with lots of hair accessories and nude lips
If you are in need of an easy, no-fuzz yet still trendy look, do a quick 2-minute hair tuck. Adorn it with lots of color and accessories (this is the perfect time do so!), and rock a nude lip and matte eyeshadow to let your 'do be in the spotlight.

Achieve this look:
Dior Addict Lipstick in Tulle 214
Fruit Vine Headscarf from Anthropologie

7. Aqua/Turquoise/Cobalt eyes and soft lips
The blue eye is fun, different and frankly? pretty brave. There is just something about it that just screams "self-confidence" to me. The easiest blue hues to pull off are aqua, turquoise and cobalt. If blue eyeshadow is not really your thing, try an eyeliner instead. This will give your eyes that extra-oomph. Peachy pinks and corals for the lips pair perfectly with this look. Stick with aqua and turquoise for the day, and go with cobalt for the night. Apply your favorite mascara and you're done!

Achieve this look:
YSL Ombres 5 Lumières Eyeshadow Palette in 5 Riviera
Stila Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt
CoverGirl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner in BluBoom
Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Golden Pink

8. Pink mascara
Purple and blue mascaras are very 2013. This year is all about the pink. Don't be afraid to wear it in the summer: it will stand out your eyes while giving them a high-impact pop of color. Apply a shimmery champagne or ivory eyeshadow. Finally, a glossy nude lip that matches the eyeshadow works best for this, too, so they don't compete with your eyes.

Achieve this look:
Dior It-Lash Mascara in Pink
Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten
Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipgloss in Imagine

9. Red-orange lips and biiiig eyes
If you are looking for something with a little more sex appeal than a coral lip, try the extra-hot orange red lipstick. It will pop best paired with foot-long lashes, and keeping the rest of your look neutral.

Achieve this look:
Nars lipstick in Heat Wave

10.  Incorporate Radiant Orchid into your look
And last but not least, the Pantone color of the year! It has been everywhere lately, from fashion to decor to beauty. Rocking gorgeous orchid eyes and a lilac or lavender hue on your lips (think Lupita Nyong'o at the 2014 Critics' Choice Awards) will secure you a spot as one of the most stylish in any room this summer.

Achieve this look:
Maybelline Color Elixir in Vision In Violet
Make Up For Ever Pure Pigments in No. 14
Formula X Electrics Nail Polish in At Your Own Risk
Marc Jacobs Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl in 208 Truth Or Dare

And finally...
Don't forget these basics to get you through the summer looking your best:
- Wear lots and lots of sunscreen. And don't forget your lips!
- Of course a flawless complexion is essential, but don't overuse foundation at this time of year. Opt for a tinted moisturizer or bb cream, a good coverage concealer, and a luminous blush to brighten up your face.
- Well- sculpted brows are the fastest way to frame a face.
- Primers are usually the way to get the makeup to last all day. However, summer is the time to try to apply less product on your face. A setting spray works just as well as a primer but goes on less heavy, and spritzing it on will also freshen you up in an instant. Win-win!  This one from Urban Decay is my personal favorite.
- Buffing or exfoliating your lips will ensure your lip product lasts a lot longer, and looks better on.

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