Oct 18, 2014

Halloween makeup ideas from Illamasqua

Halloween this year also happens to be the 6th birthday of one of my favorite makeup brands, Illamasqua.  Makeup artist Alex Box gives us some fabulous ideas for Halloween makeup using some of her favorite Illamasqua products.  Check it out:

Violetta
For the creepy black smile in this look, Box used Illamasqua Lipstick in Kontrol with a generous layer of Sheer Lipgloss in Tantrum on top.  The eye look was created using Powder Eye Shadows in Obsidian, Inception, & Static.

Xena
For this look Box created the chiseled, gaunt cheekbones of a skeleton, but the full pout of someone fully alive.  For the sunken eyes, she used Powder Eye Shadows in Sex, Incubus & Obsidian. For the juicy lips, these were created using Lipstick in Sangers with Intense Lipgloss in Touch.

Electra Doll
Certainly the more innocent of the looks, Electra Doll is all about the eyes.  Box used a combination of Pure Pigment in Furore, Powder Eye Shadow in Sex, and Powder Eye Shadow in Machine.  She also used Precision Gel Liner, followed by Lush Lashes.  For the nude pout, she used Lipstick in Sonnet and Sheer Lipgloss in Electrify.

Countess
The supernatural red eye in this look was created using Powder Eye Shadow in Obsidian and Daemon.  To further accentuate the eye, Box used Pure Pigment in Berber and Grandeur Lashes. The blood-soaked lip look was created using Lipstick in Maneater and Pristine, followed by Intense Lipgloss in Touch.

Oct 16, 2014

Gwen Stefani rocks my world



You ever think to yourself that a certain celebrity may be your spirit animal, or is that just me?  For me, I often think mine is Gwen Stefani.  I mean, maybe I can’t sing, I’m not married to Gavin Rossdale, and I’m not even close to as cool as Gwen is, but still in my mind I feel that we are a kindred spirit.  Anyhoo, the pop icon didn’t become an icon just because she’s a talented musician.  We all know her clothing line is boss, and let’s not forget her Harajuku Lovers perfumes!  Today on HSN, she’s launching the newest fragrances in the line, called Pop Electric, and making a special 2 hour appearance at 7:00 pm.  Will I be watching?  There’s about a 99% chance.  Will I be purchasing some of these items?  99.9% chance. 
Here are the offerings that are available starting today:
Harajuku Lovers "Pop Electric" 5-piece Fragrance Gift Set

Includes all 5 Pop Electric EDP’s: Baby, G, Lil’ Angel, and Music.  So that’s 5 different 1 oz EDP’s, for $124.90 (value of $200). 
Or you can buy the fragrances individually if you don’t need all five.  Each fragrance, if bought separately, is $40.
Another option is to go for the 3-piece gift set, which includes the EDP, a body lotion, and a cute little keychain.  The 3-piece set is $60.  

And here’s a little background on the individual fragrances:            
LOVE: A floral jasmine scent, with fruity notes like apple, and pear, grounded back to cashmere woods and musk. 
LIL’ ANGEL: A berry fragrance blended with candied violet, sugared rose, with a lollipop accord, grounded back to amber.
G: A whipped coconut accord, complemented by soft florals and musky woods.
MUSIC: Apples and berries open up this fragrance, then watery floral mid notes come out to play, with base notes of amberwood and musks.
BABY: This is a powdery fragrance, but a sophisticated one, with a baby soft musk accord, blended with florals and vanilla.

Oct 13, 2014

Drink Recipes: Halloween Cocktails


Hot Pumpkin Tequila Toddy
  • 2 parts Sauza® Blue Reposado 100% Agave Tequila
·         ½ part DeKuyper® Mixologist Collection Ginger
·         6 parts apple cider
·         ½ part real pumpkin puree
·         2 cinnamon sticks
·         ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
·         Small lemon sliced into wheels
·         Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
·         Dash of fresh ground nutmeg

Preparation: In a non-reactive sauce pan, combine all ingredients except the whipped cream and heat just until steam rises then lower heat to keep warm. To serve, ladle into coffee mugs, top with whipped cream and dust with fresh ground nutmeg.


Candy Apple Margarita
·         1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
·         ½ part DeKuyper® Hot Damn! ® Cinnamon Schnapps Liqueur
·         1 part lime sour
·         1 part candy apple soda
·         1 lime wedge (for garnish)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Café Loco
  • 1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Reposado 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part Kamora Coffee Liqueur
  • 4 parts coffee
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon, 4 parts sugar) plus more for dusting
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)

Preparation: Combine hot coffee and tequila. Mix in cinnamon and sugar until dissolved. Float whipped cream on top and dust with cinnamon-sugar. Garnish with cinnamon sticks (optional).  

Witches’ Brew-ski
·         1 part Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
·         1 part chilled light beer
·         2 parts raspberry lemonade concentrate
·         Apple slice for garnish

Preparation: Mix all ingredients over ice and serve. Garnish with apple slice.


Scary Skele-tini
·         2 parts Skinnygirl® Tangerine Vodka
·         1 part fresh blood orange juice
·         Candy corn for garnish (optional)

Preparation: Combine blood orange juice and vodka in an ice shaker. Strain and pour into a frosted martini glass. Optional: garnish with candy corn.


Spooky Sipper
·         1 part Skinnygirl® White Cherry Vodka
·         3 parts lemon-lime sparkling water
·         Splash of cherry juice
·         Lime wheel for garnish
·         Cherry for garnish

Preparation: Pour vodka and cherry juice over ice. Top with lemon-lime sparkling water. Garnish with a cherry and lime wheel.

Sep 28, 2014

Can we discuss the new Tarte Holiday palettes? Because they're so good.

I love holiday palette season.  I mean obviously I'll find any excuse to spend money on beauty products, this is no surprise, but holiday palettes are the best.  You can give them to any woman on your list and she'll be jazzed.  If you're a savvy budget babe, you can split them up and give them out to a bunch of people.  Or you can keep them all to yourselves.  Who knows?  But they're my favorite.  They're always pretty, sparkly, and a killer bargain.  Tarte holiday palettes seem to be the first ones to land in stores, and they're a-ma-zing.  

Tarte Chic to Cheek Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set ($35) 

Kiss & Belle Deluxe LipSurgence Lip Set ($34)- 4 LipSurgence Lip Tints, 2 LipSurgence Matte Lip Tints, and 2 LipSurgence Lip Glosses 

Ladies Who Lash Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler ($19)

Tres Chic Park Ave Princess Contour Palette ($34) 

Sephora Exclusive: Bon Voyage Collector's Set and Travel Bag ($59).  Contains 20 Amazonian Clay Eyeshadows.  TWENTY.  A full size LipSurgence Lip Tint, Full Size LipSurgence Lip Gloss, Cheek Stain, Maracuja Oil, Smooth Operator Clay Finishing Powder,  Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, and it all comes in a limited edition travel bag.  

Ulta Exclusive: Away Oui Go Portable Palette and Collector's Set ($48).  Contains 16 Amazonian Clay Eyeshadows, 4 Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushes, 3 Maracuja Lip Glosses, 1 Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, and a cool portable compact so you can take your looks on the go with you.  

Sep 21, 2014

Benz On A Budget: Inexpensive beauty products used backstage at Fashion Week


Not every beauty product in your arsenal has to be expensive.  I have drugstore brands that I trust day in and day out for my beauty routine.  There are things I'll splurge on (anything by T3 for my hair) and things I'll save on (Alba Botanica is like THE best brand ever).  The annoying thing about New York Fashion Week this year was that all the beauty was simple, clean, and beautiful.  Great for the world, but kind of boring to write about, truth be told.  The great thing about it is that not only are we walking away from this overly made-up, heavily-contoured thing that is happening now, but there are AFFORDABLE beauty options out there for normal people like you and I.  "I woke up like this" is a reality for us poor folks of the world!  Here are some of my favorite (and easy-to-use) beauty products that I saw being used backstage:

The show: Jonathan Simkhai
The product: Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara
The cost: $8.99  
The rundown:  I'm officially hooked on this Brow Mascara now.  It's perfection for a quick and easy natural brow look.  Basically if you've ever held a mascara wand, you should be able to figure out how to use the product.  It's really natural since you're brushing it on in the direction of your brow growth (like you'd do with your eyelashes and a mascara wand), but if you want a more intense look it can be applied over top of your regular brow pencil.      


The show: Yigal Azrouel 
The product: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Athens
The cost:  $6.00
The rundown: Benjamin Puckey was the makeup artist that gave us this most perfect, natural, surfer-girl beauty look at Yigal Azrouel.  He used all NYX products for this look (so the whole thing is budget-friendly) but my favorite part has to be this just-bitten lip look that he created using the Matte Lip Cream in Athens.  He applied the cream using his fingers by just patting it in to the lips, giving it the feel and long-wear of a stain.  


The show: Mara Hoffman
The product: Catwalk by Tigi Transforming Dry Shampoo 
The cost: $19.95
The rundown: For the most perfect fishtail braid ever, Tigi hairstylist Nick Irwin created the grit and texture that he needed using a this dry shampoo.  Unlike other shows where you need 1,000 products to create the look, this braid was really all about the dry shampoo.  It was used on each girl, regardless of hair color, with no sticky white stuff in sight.  Irwin parted the hair down the center, sprayed the dry shampoo, created the fishtail braid, and then really mussed the braid up with his hands to get that perfect "undone" look.  That's it!  He finished with some Tigi Session Series Work It hairspray and the girls were good to go.        

Sep 17, 2014

Fall beauty favorites

With the chill of fall starting to set in, changes to the beauty routine is as inevitable as the changes in clothing.  Nails become darker, skin becomes drier... the whole routine's got to change!  Fortunately I'm already prepped and ready to go for fall with my current favorite beauty products.  
Clarisonic Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution
There is something in life that I'm absolutely nuts about, and that is skin tone.  It drives me crazy if I have discoloration from acne, hyperpigmentation from the sun, or any form of uneven skin tone whatsoever.  So I'm super excited that Clarisonic has made a whole brightening system just for ME!  (and other like-minded individuals).  The Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution works to slow down the synthesis of excess melanin to decrease existing dark spots and combat future dark spot formation.  It also happens to be their debut into products that are left on, rather than washed off, with their new Brightening Activator Serum that comes with the kit.  The Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution Regimen includes the ARIATM Cleansing Device, a Radiance Brush Head, a Skin Illuminating Cleanser, Brightening Activator Serum, and a Skin Renewing Peel Wash.  So it includes the device, a morning routine, and a night routine!  The Skin Illuminating Cleanser (morning cleansing milk) has licorice extract to help reduce spots, and then you leave on the Brightening Activator Serum all day, so the potent ingredients in that are working the whole day to keep your skin looking radiant.  Then at night you use the Skin Renewing Peel Wash that gently exfoliates and re-texturizes the skin, which you follow up with the amazing serum so it can work on the skin all night.  The whole thing is brilliant, really.  A morning solution, a night solution, high-powered ingredients, a gentle clean, and a pretty pink device?  I mean, they've pretty much thought of everything.  Oh, and in case you don't know how long you're supposed to cleanse each section of your face, it has an automatic timer, so it's pretty much idiot-proof.  No worries if you already own a Clarisonic, you don't have to buy a whole new device, you can just buy the Sonic Radiance Customization Set that has all the skincare products in there, along with the  Radiance Brush Head.            

La Roche Posay Rosaliac CC Cream 
This redness-correcting CC cream is perfect for post-summer skin irritations.  Rather than your typical green-tinted redness corrections, this is a blend of several pigments to give you more even-textured looking skin immediately.  But the beauty of it is that it actually corrects redness over time, rather than just masks it the day that you're using the product.  It's packed with polyphenols, hydrating agents, and other good-for-your-skin products.  SPF30 prevents future redness/sun spots.  It's hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and paraben-free, so it's good for sensitive skin.  
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Palette  
Listen up, kids.  "Basic" doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Cue the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes, which make my world go round.  The first version was perfect enough, but now that version 2.0 has come along, I'm not quite sure of what to do with myself.  The 1st one is a little warmer in tone than the second, but they're both really beautiful matte colors that are flattering on pretty much any skin tone.  I have the fortunate ability of being able to wear both palettes because I have a warm tone to my skin, but cooler eyes.  All I know is that I love them both equally.  Because you're not supposed to pick favorites, right?  That would be wrong... it would definitely be wrong to say I like the 2nd one just a teensy bit more than the first... I could pick one over the other....but if you put a gun to my head.  OK DAMMIT!  I like the 2nd better than the first!  I know sequels are supposed to suck, but the colors in this one are just everything that is good about eyeshadow.       
Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer
Bye bye pores.  I've had enough of you.  Even on days that I'm not wearing makeup, I find myself wearing this primer because it instantly blurs the look of big ole pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.  But it's not just that it gives you smoother looking skin at the moment, it actually has Vitamins C & E to perfect the skin while protecting it from the outside elements.  Green bean extract and other natural ingredients provide moisture to keep the skin nourished.  But the genius thing about it is that it gives you a soft-focus effect, even though it's so lightweight it feels barely-there.  It's a mousse-like texture in the container, but instantly mattifies.   



Alexa Chung Nails Inc Fabric Effects in Alexa Leather
What things are cooler in life than a cat eye and a leather jacket?  While this nail lacquer will not necessarily make me as cool as Alexa Chung (probably not even close), I can still dream.  This textural polish will give you the feel of wearing a leather jacket on your nails, which comes in handy since the weather is so unpredictable as of late.  I have a feeling I'm going to be picking up some of the other Fabric Effects nail colors, like Alexa Cashmere, which looks basically too good to pass up (top left picture).  There's also Lace, and Sequins, and Silk to choose from.  This is not looking good for my wallet, but it's certainly a good outlook for my nails.            
2 coats of Alexa Leather, no top coat

Korres Black Pine Firming, Lifting & Antiwrinkle Night Cream 
Gotta respect a tree that can live for millions of years in the Mediterranean (read: deserts, mountains, sun, storms) and can still survive.  Black Pine trees are a natural wonder, much like the Mediterranean itself, and they're the inspiration for the newest additions to the Korres skincare line.  They combined some Black Pine Extract with 8 other extracts (many of which are patented, so it's truly like no other recipe you'll find on the market) to make a powerful line.  The line firms, lifts, tightens.  All the good things.  It's a complete line, including a serum, a day cream, an eye cream, and the night cream, so def an essential as we move into colder winter months soon.  Ah, who am I kidding?  Who can't use a powerful Night Cream like this one year round?  I started using it when it was still 90 degrees outside (aka last week).  Also, super chic packaging, eh?    



Dolce & Gabbana Aurealux Eye Gel
I cannot say enough about how friggin awesome this stuff is.  There's an entire Dolce & Gabbana skincare line that needs to be discussed, because it's amazing, but for right now I'm going to stick to the eye gel because it's my favorite item of the whole line.  It's got this Gold Flavo-Silk TricomplexTM that is made of a rare and bad-ass Gold Silk Sericin, and well as Italian Olive Oil extract and Vitamin B3.  Without getting into all the technology behind it, I'll just say that they really did their homework and found effective ingredients.  The stuff WORKS.  Immediately.  The Aurealux Eye Gel is super refreshing, which we could all use on those puffy under-eyes in the morning, and it's so light.  You'll never feel like it's settling into fine lines or wrinkles.  It's soothing, hydrating, and pretty darn genius.  You only need the tiniest little bit, and it has this bounce back technology so every time you open the bottle it looks like you've never used it.  Which I really enjoy because I never want it to end.  Much more on the rest of the Aurealux line to come, but I couldn't wait one more minute to share the news about this eye gel with you.  You can thank me later.  



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