Sephora VIB Sale Recommendations

It’s one of the most anticipated times in beauty girl world – the semi-annual Sephora VIB sale! If you remember last holiday season, the sale crashed the Sephora website for days on end, and hot new products, gift sets, and limited edition launches sold out in a flash, so I thought I’d use my insider beauty knowledge gained from watching hours upon hours of YouTube videos to share what I think is worth the spend (especially at 15% off)!

Stila Field of Florals Convertible Color Palette: Without question, the palette that I am loving most at Sephora right now is this magical Convertible Color palette from Stila. If you haven’t tried these multitaskers, Convertible Colors are creams that can be used on the cheeks & lips (and actually work beautifully in both). They’ve combined some of the most popular shades and international exclusives to create the most travel friendly set I’ve seen in a long, long time.

NARS Dual Intensity Blushes: One of the most fun formulations to come out this year, NARS Dual Intensity Blushes can be used wet or dry. I love to use them wet for a watercolor effect, and dry for a softer finish. Because of the specific application, I highly recommend purchasing the Wet/Dry Brush (not available from Sephora).

Alterna Caviar Perfect Texture Finishing Spray: Tis the season for beachy waves, but for me even sea salt spray alone isn’t quite doing the trick. Fortunately there’s great texturizing sprays available to pump up the volume. Alterna’s version packs the power of dry shampoo with a touchable hairspray, so the effects are crunch-free.

Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Dry: Perfect for this transitional skin season, this moisturizer is packed with all the good stuff – acids, hyaluronate, and fruit extract – for continuous moisture and a healthy glow.

The Sephora VIB Sale started on Sunday, April 12 for VIB Rouge and runs through Tuesday, April 21 with (current code) ROUGELOVE. For more recommendations, scroll through the widget below!

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What's On My Desk

My desktop, complete with a “don’t make me blog about this” mug and a 25oz Sparkling Champagne S’well Bottle

Having a well-stocked desk is a lot like packing for a camping trip. You’re never quite sure what you might need, and the necessary supplies range from essential to the wild card. Since I just settled into a lovely new workspace, it’s a perfect time to share what I keep in & on my desk.

Tech essentials:

  • Powerhouse pc – Since I’m a freelancer, I have the benefit of making my own schedule, but that also means that I provide my own gear and tech support. The more I use Dell’s new XPS 13 laptop, the more I love it. It boots quickly, responds to my every command, and looks good doing it. I shared my first impressions last month, and I’ve only grown more fond of it since then.
  • Click in style – I’m very picky about the mouse I use, mostly because so many of them are absolutely unsightly. Although the trackpad on the Dell XPS 13 is great, I love to use an external mouse wherever space allows. Microsoft releases limited edition Artist Series Wireless Mouses every year and this Geo Prism print is by far my favorite.
  • Keep your battery at 100 – I received the Samsung Multimedia Desktop Charging Dock to accompany my S4, and while I’m two phone upgrades beyond that now, I can still use the dock with my Note 4.
  • Office headphones – It was clear when I reviewed the Bose SoundTrue Around Ear Headphones last year that it was love at first listen. Because they fit so comfortably around the ear and have a longer-than-average cord, they’re the perfect desk companion. The sweet mint color is a lovely bonus.

Beauty Drawer

Onto the beauty drawer, where I tend to go a little crazy. I never know when I’ll get invited to a last minute event, media appearance or need to touch up for an office photo. Anything can happen!

  • In case of emergencies – The Hollywood Fashion Tape City Chic Stylette is the perfect desk companion, stocked with 10 essentials to assist with any style mishap (or hiccup that you might have missed BC – before coffee). My favorite is the deodorant removing sponge, because sometimes I don’t even notice until someone tells me. Oops!
  • So fresh & so clean, clean – I’m obsessed with the mini toothbrushes from Colgate called Wisps. I have them hidden everywhere, from my luggage, to my makeup bag, and now my desk. Bad breath will take down even the best of us.
  • Tired eyes – No matter how bulletproof my makeup is, you can always see the tired creeping through around my eyes. I love Nuance by Salma Hayek’s Cooling Eye Gel because it’s not too hydrating and dries down quickly, giving my eye bags a quick shot of caffeine.
  • The higher the hair…. – Naturally I keep a travel size of my favorite dry shampoo in my desk for a quick hit. Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo is as crucial to my being as lipstick.
  • Speaking of texture – When dry shampoo isn’t enough, I call in reinforcements. Specifically, Alterna’s Perfect Texture Finishing Spray transforms my air dried hair into something magically presentable in a couple of sprays.
  • Emergency red lipstick – is totally a thing. My love for NARS Carmen is unparalleled, and sometimes you just need to keep a backup of your signature red lipstick on hand at all times. For reasons.
  • Sometimes I forget to apply mascara – Somewhere between letting my liquid eyeliner dry and reaching for a tube of mascara, I become distracted. I’ve gone entire days without realizing that I forgot to apply it, so I keep a random sample in my drawer just in case.
  • Balm’s the way – Strawberry scented lip balm is essential everywhere, but especially in your desk. I love Lip Session from E. Burnham Cosmetics because it’s hydrating, but not overly thick so it doesn’t interfere with any lip color I’m wearing.
  • The Heat – Sometimes the only way to revive your hair is to throw some heat on it, which is exactly why I love this mini flat iron from Amika. It’s fairly small and unassuming, but perfect in a pinch.

Snack Drawer

Snack drawers are essential, and if your desk isn’t well-stocked, you’re doing it wrong. I had a lot more dried fruit in this drawer, but such is the short life of dried pineapple from Trader Joe’s.

  • Holiday candy – Themed chocolate is one of my favorite things about holidays, so naturally I had to keep Easter candy close at hand.
  • Tea time – I discovered Kusmi late last year when visiting a friend’s family owned gourmet food store (yum). The Wellness Blend is a perfect desk companion, with bags of green, mint, and energizing teas. The Euphoria blend combines mate, chocolate, and orange so it’s perfect to curb those afternoon sugar cravings.
  • Dried fruit – I’ve been obsessed with dried apricots since a recent spa visit, and since then I make monthly dried fruit runs to Trader Joe’s. When that sugar craving hits…..

Did I miss any of your desk essentials? Please share yours in the comments below!

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With all this talk of my favorite makeup products, I figured it was time that you actually saw me applying it. I’m not a makeup artist, but I do have an abundance of enthusiasm for exploring product texture, application, and color, so I thought it would be a little treat to share this insight into my routine. If you want to see anything in further detail, let me know and I just might create a post focusing on that in the future!

Products used (in order of appearance):

As I finished, my friend Ella (thanks for the camera work, bb) asked ‘do you do this every day?’. If we’re being honest, this is my “quick” everyday look.

Want to see more? Let me know in the comments below!

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Makeup Monday Spring Treats

Every ray of sunshine, no matter how brief, feels like nature’s way of attempting to convince me that spring is just around the corner. The 10 day forecast tells me differently, but I’ve been clinging to hope with the help of these four beauty treats:

Love, Don’t Be Shy by Kilian – I’m always torn between scents this time of year. Light florals don’t feel substantial enough, but deeper scents feel too heavy for the warmest part of the day. Love, Don’t Be Shy is the perfect combination of amber warmth mixed with the floral freshness of bergamot, honeysuckle, and iris. Once the weather warms, it easily transitions to a beautiful fragrance for evening.

L’Occitane Cherry Blossom L’Eau Hand Cream – I took this little wonder with me on a recent trip to Chicago and it’s still a constant presence in my makeup bag. Cherry Blossom L’Eau is a sweet & fruity floral that gently lingers on the skin and L’Occitane’s classic hand cream formula delivers non-greasy moisture. Win-win!

Burberry Pink Sweet Pea Lip Glow – The day I hosted ELOQUII’s first trunk show at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue also happened to coincide with Nordstrom’s Spring Beauty Trends Show. Naturally after my event, I scooted right down to the beauty floor and made my way over to the Burberry counter. There were several products I was curious about (hello, Light Glow Blush in Earthy) but the makeup artist had other plans. She selected a gift with purchase from the day’s event for me that included Pink Sweet Pea Lip Glow, a beautiful semi-translucent vivid pink gloss that leaves behind a subtle stain on the lips. It’s great on its own, but also as a companion gloss to Stila’s All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore or NARS Audacious Lipstick in Greta. And let’s be real – the packaging is gorgeous, too.

NARS Creamy Concealer in Vanilla – Although I’ve reached peak paleness, I’ve been loving the “lightness” of my pale skin. It gives me a chance to play with some of the fairer shades in my collection, like NARS Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. It adds the perfect subtle highlight to my problem areas, like underneath my eyes or around the edges of my lips (to make lip color pop). Vanilla might by synonymous with bland, but this color is anything but.

Are you relying on beauty’s brightest to keep your spirits up until warmer weather rolls in? Share your faves in the comments below!

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In-Flight Skincare RoutineOne evening I received a panicked text from a blogger friend about to board a red-eye flight who was recognized by a reader while waiting at the gate. It’s wonderful to meet readers IRL, but my friend felt vulnerable because she’d been caught without any makeup on. The truth is, I can’t blame her. I don’t like to see anyone (outside of my FedEx & Seamless delivery people) without my face on, which is why I’ve created a set of safeguards when I travel affectionately known as my “in-flight skincare routine”. It’s really code for “how to wear a little makeup as possible while looking human and not destroying my skin at 30,000 feet”.

A lot of friends have asked me to share my routine & tips so without further ado, here’s my routine squeezed into a quart size bag:

  1. Rule #1: no ugly bags allowed. I received this printed bag from an event and I hang onto it for dear life. I cannot take out a boring, #basic Ziploc at security. My ego won’t allow it.
  2. Coverage is key. We all know the secret to ‘no makeup makeup’ is actually wearing makeup, but I still like to keep it low key. These days I’m loving Dr. Jart+’s Premium BB for medium coverage or Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint for something a bit more sheer.
  3. A hint of tint. A sheer tinted lip balm is the perfect in-flight lip. These days I’m obsessing over Tata Harper’s Lip Treatment. Another great multi-tasker is the Josie Maran Infinity Lip & Cheek Creamy Oil in Everlasting Honey.
  4. Take it all off. Once we’re in the air and the wifi is enabled, I like to take everything off. For my recent trip to Chicago, I took Josie Maran’s Bear Naked Wipes (a travel size).
  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I love moisturizing masks any day, any time, but especially for flights because they’re usually colorless and invisible on the skin once they sink in. Most recently I’ve been turning to the Tata Harper Moisturizing Mask. I leave it until 30 minutes before we land, and I’ll remove it with another cleansing wipe.
  6. Lips & tips. All purpose balms are a core part of my daily hydration, but I can’t live without them in the air. Glossier’s Balm Dotcom has been in my bag every day for the past few weeks. Add it to lips, cuticles, and any dry patches often.
  7. Hands in. Hand cream is a total essential at all times, but I love the L’Occitane Hand Creams because they’re so darn portable. The fresh Cherry Blossom scent has helped me dream of spring even when it’s snowing out.
  8. Eye see you. I’m obsessive about eye cream, so I love deluxe sample sizes because I can take them anywhere. Lately I’ve been carrying Royal Fern’s Phytoactive Anti-Aging Eye Cream with me everywhere. It’s thin & moisturizing, but not intense, so you won’t risk adding additional luggage to your underyes.
  9. To conceal is real. When I start to put my makeup back on 30 minutes before we land, sometimes a new friend has magically appeared (aka a blemish) and I need some extra help. That’s where a great multi-tasking concealer comes in handy, like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I’ve even known folks who have used it as their foundation! Right now I’m using the shade Vanilla.
  10. Swish swish. Morning/coffee breath is no one’s friend, so a travel bottle is always necessary. I’ve been loving Colgate’s Total Advanced Pro Shield.
  11. Don’t forget the brows (like I did). I totally forgot to add my favorite brow pencil for this photo, but Stila’s Stay All Day Precision Glide Brow Pencil is my bff, but you already knew that.
  12. You must sunscreen. If you’re not thinking about sunscreen when you travel, you’re doing it wrong. It’s important to reapply a sunscreen before you land on your face and hands because going unprotected is just plain dumb (harsh, but true). This deluxe sample of Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection has been great, because it doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue and sinks in quickly.
  13. Oil is everything. Sometimes your skin is just dry, and there’s no recovering. A drop of oil to your moisturizer (or in this case, tinted moisturizer) will add an extra boost of hydration that you so desperately need after a few hours in recycled air. The Sunday Riley oils are really great, and this sample of Artemis is the perfect size to fit into any bag. If you’ve got a static, in a pinch you could lightly run this over your locks.

This might seem a bit complex, but it all really comes down to taking the best care of my skin that I can while I’m in the air, and stepping off the plane looking fresh. It’s very rare that I have an opportunity to leisurely get to my hotel, take a relaxing bath and change for dinner. I usually have to hit the ground running to maximize my time, and that means maximizing all of my time.

If you have any in-flight skincare routine secrets to share, please leave them in the comments below!

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10 Minute Makeup

We’ve all had those days – late nights followed by early mornings where every moment of sleep is precious. Not only did I get home much later than I wanted from an Oscars viewing party last night, I had a breakfast business meeting that required a level of polish I did not have the energy for. The only solution? My go-to 10 minute makeup look that fakes awake better than a quad venti skinny vanilla latte and conveniently fits into this Rebecca Minkoff ‘Makeup Stash’ red leather makeup bag.

I love these products because they either include a built in applicator or are best when applied with your hands. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Start with a BB cream: American BB creams are like supercharged tinted moisturizers. My latest drugstore favorite is the Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing BB Cream is my favorite for these drier times of year. On quick days, I apply it over Dr.  Jart+Ceramidin Liquid serum and buff it out with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush.
  2. Conceal, conceal, conceal: Hands down, my favorite new product discovery is the Physicians Formula Super CC Instant Blurring Eye Cream. It’s lightly tinted, ultra-hydrating, and protects with SPF 30. You could also replace this step with your favorite concealer or YSL Touche Eclait.
  3. Fake the glow: Whenever I’m feeling tired, the first place I pump up the color is on my cheeks. That extra pop of color goes a long way to making you look (and feel more alive). For easy application on the go, I love Stila’s Convertible Colors. My favorite color of the moment is Rose – it’s a great bold flush on my fair cheeks and a beautiful lip color.
  4. Define your brows: One of the quickest ways to look pulled together in a flash is to define your brows. Stila’s new Stay All Day Precision Glide Brow Pencil is great for brows in a flash because even though I’m heavy-handed, I’ve yet to go overboard. It’s like it’s foolproof, magic, or both.
  5. Highlight the high points: Highlighter sounds like one of those “bonus” steps that would be nice to do, but adding radiance to the tops of your cheekbones, cupid’s bow, and inner corners brightens up your hole face. My favorite for doing it in a quick & natural way is NARS The Multiple in Copacabana. You could even use it as a sheer wash of color on your eyelids on top of an eyeshadow primer in a pinch!
  6. Define your (lash)line: Without liquid liner across my lash line, I get those ‘oh you don’t look like yourself’ or ‘you look tired comments’, so when I’m really tired, you won’t catch me without it. The quickest way to a fine cat eye is mark’s On The Edge liquid eyeliner in Cleo (a matte black). The thin brush makes it easy to create a sharp line and the easy access to additional product makes sure the application is smooth. Desert island eyeliner without a doubt.
  7. Lash out: Mascara is never optional in my book, no matter how many respected makeup artists send models down the runways au naturale. Stila’s Mile High Mascara is great at creating the lash look I want in a flash – deep black, defined, and volumized – thanks to the unique brush design. Plus, the mixed metals tube design is ultra-chic.
  8. Pencil it in: Lip pencils are the lipstick tubes younger, cooler sister. You can whip them around the curves of your mouth in a flash. My late winter favorite is NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal, a deep purple berry that is equal parts sophisticated and fashionable.

Granted this routine took far longer to write and read than the entire process actually takes, but I love the nearly every portion can be applied on the go – on the subway, in mid flight, or between appointments in the back of a cab. Or when you ignore your alarm because of one too many margaritas. No judgement here!

What does your 10 minute makeup routine look like? Tell me in the comments below!

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NARS NARSissist Dual Intensity Palette GIF

Not gonna lie, when I heard that the next iteration of the NARSissist palette line was focusing on the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows, I got super, duper excited. The NARS NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette ($78) is a collection of seven permanent shades and one exclusive color (Ursa Major, the brown on the top of third row). And wow, is it beautiful.

Because of the unique texture of the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows, I love using them dry for diffused color, and packing them on wet for a foiled look. I’ve collected a few of the individual colors, but having them housed in one palette is truly spectacular. The mirrored lid is requisite for the true narcissist, of course, but the real star is the mix of colors that is not only wearable but useful.

What I will say is “missing” from this palette is a matte eyeshadow, but since there isn’t a matte shadow in the line, it’s difficult to criticize the selection. Sycorax, the black on the bottom of the fourth row, has the closest finish to matte but is truly more of a satin. The silver, Lysithea, is gorgeous when used wet, as is Himalia, the rose gold above it, if you couldn’t tell from my brush marks. Speaking of brushes, this set comes with a specially designed wet/dry brush that I have been enjoying more for wet application. When using the shadows dry, I love to use a fluffier brush to “blow out” the shadow, exaggerating the unique textures.

Have you considered picking up the latest NARSissist palette or one of the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows yet? Tell me about your favorites or leave your questions in the comments below!

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On The Plus Side Winter Beach

Winter in New York is a magical wonderland – when it’s not snowing. On this day in particular temperatures soared into the 60s, so it was the perfect day to visit Rye Playland. I’ve only ever heard about this beachside amusement park, so when we had the opportunity to visit I jumped at the chance. And finally, Mariah Carey and I have something in common (aside from being women who know precisely what they want): she filmed her Fantasy video in this very same location! 

On The Plus Side: Winter Beach

I didn’t get swept up in the chambray movement a couple of years ago like everyone else (I blame J.Crew), but towards the tail end I really found this shirt from Old Navy to be such a versatile piece. My favorite way is to tie the ends up and crop it to emphasize my waist. This “Canadian tuxedo” was the perfect way to let my fuschia 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli and Evans Longline Blazer Coat shine. For details on the rest of the look, keep scrolling!

On The Plus Side: Winter Beach

 

Look details | Orange coat: Evans Longline Blazer Coat (in pink, orange no longer available) | Chambray shirt: Old Navy | Jeans: Torrid | Fuschia handbag: 3.1 Phillip Lim | Statement necklace: Bauble Bar (similar style) | Studded loafers: UGG | Lipstick: NARS Audacious in Greta |

 

On The Plus Side: Winter Beach

 

Photos by Heather Park

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A look A look back at all the makeup I loved in 2014. And WOW did I love a lot!

2014 Best in Beauty

I love makeup. It’s my favorite product category to write about and undoubtedly the category that I also spend the most money on. I want to try everything and I love when colors or formulas surprise me, pulling me outside of my comfort zone. No lip color could be too bold or liquid liner too intense. Looking back at my year in beauty, these are products I am proud to call my 2014 best in beauty:

  1. NARS The NARSissist Palette ($79) – My most used palette of 2014 and still the most versatile. It’s a must for me when I travel.
  2. Edward Bess Quad Royale in Summer in Capri ($45) – Still the best healthy flush blonzer (blush & bronzer) I’ve ever used, especially in the winter. There’s a drugstore dupe, but as with most dupes, it’s not quite the same.
  3. Revlon Colorstay Foundation ($12) – Still my favorite. It’s the best for combination girls who want a long wearing slightly luminous foundation. There’s nothing better!
  4. Anastasia Contour Kit ($40) – A relative latecomer to my favorites list, but a worthy mention all the same. The middle color in the bottom row, Fawn, has sparked my new favorite look for the last quarter of the hear. I use Fawn on an angled cheek brush and create a contour/blush effect, top it off with some highlight and I’m done. It’s perfect! I also use all three highlight shades in various ways. Best best best!
  5. mark On The Edge Liquid Liner in Cleo & Medusa ($10 each) – I love to try every liquid eyeliner I can get my hands on, but most disappoint. At first glance, these tubes look like every other ordinary brush liquid liner, but the formula is matte and opaque, and the super thin brush makes it easy to create a thin line. Cleo has become my everyday go-to line.
  6. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey, Vanilla, and Custard ($29 each) – Although I’ve worn Honey the most this year (under my eyes), Custard and Vanilla also deserve honorable mentions. There’s no better liquid concealer on the market, period.
  7. NARS Audacious Lipsticks in Greta, Brigitte, and Lana ($32) – Hands down, the Audacious Lipsticks are my favorite lipstick formula on the market. Although I selected these three shades for this photo, I would wholeheartedly recommend any of them. I’ve already gushed about how much I love Carmen and Lana is a close second. I could talk about my favorite shades all day long. Just try me!
  8. Burberry Effortless Kohl Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown and Pale Grape ($34) – Without a doubt, my favorite eyeliner formula that I’ve tried this year. They are super pigmented, creamy, and long wearing in my waterline. I want to collect them all, especially the black, but the purple and brown have proved to be quite versatile thus far. In 2015, I’m coming for you, Burberry!
  9. Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70) – I’ve already written about this concealer twice this year – need any more proof that I love it? It hasn’t left my makeup bag since the first time I used it. We’re in a deeply committed relationship.
  10. NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder ($35) – My favorite all-purpose setting powder. My skin still somehow looks luminous and perfected through the powder, and it’s also great for setting undereye concealer. There’s a lot of debate within the beauty community between the loose and press versions, but I love them both equally. Please don’t make me choose!
  11. Bare Minerals Bare Skin Foundation ($29) – The best foundation launch in 2014, in my humble opinion. From the color range to the formula to the wear, this foundation will work on nearly everyone. And it’s affordable!
  12. Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Everlasting Honey, Limitless Pink, Timeless Coral, and Endless Guava ($18 each) – I love these so much that I got my mom hooked, gave them out as birthday and Christmas presents, and have embarked on a journey to collect them all. They are effortless, hydrating, and so unique. Need more reasons? Check out my review.
  13. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal ($38) – This highlighter could send signals up to the space station, and it singlehandedly reignited my love affair with all things shimmering on my cheekbones. I love it so much that I followed a Pinterest tutorial so I could repack after it shattered. Carry with caution, but love without abandon.
  14. Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadows in Trafalgar ($60) – Every time I’ve visited a Sephora in the past six months, I’ve stood longingly in front of the Dior display and scanned the rows for the product that would ignite a fire in me the most. I’ve also said out loud, to friends, ‘I think I have a Dior problem’. The first step is admitting that you have a problem, yes?
  15. Maybelline The Falsies Mascara ($7) – It’s still my favorite mascara. Just that simple.
  16. Buxom Full-on Lip Cream ($19) – My absolute favorite lip gloss formula to wear. I have all of them and love them equally, but I receive the most compliments from Creamsicle. Are you sensing a pattern yet?
  17. Maybelline Color Elixir Lip Gloss ($8) – These glosses are comfortable, hydrating, and easy to wear. The color is never too overpowering or sheer, so it’s always just right. Goldilocks would totally approve.
  18. NARS Pencil Sharpener ($6) – You probably think this is a funny thing to include in a Best of Beauty list, but it’s still the best pencil sharpener I’ve ever used. It also happens to be cheaper than Sephora’s in-house brand sharpener, which amuses me to no end. I also gave this as a Christmas gift this year, because we all deserve the very best.
  19. mark Touch and Glow ($16) – My pal and celebrity makeup artist, Jamie Greenberg is OBSESSED with Touch and Glow, but it took me several (and I do mean several) months to finally come around to it. Now that I’ve finally seen the light, there’s no turning back. Touch and Glow is a hybrid blush/highlighter that gives you the best glow. I love to use it with a fan brush, but if your skin has more color, I’d go right in with a blush brush. The name says it all!
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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Carmen

My love for red lipstick and belief that everyone can wear red inspired me to start Really Red, a series where readers submit photos of themselves in their favorite rouge hues. Since that first post in 2012, I’ve seen so many of your beautiful faces in my inbox (some still waiting to be posted), talked to celebrities about their favorite shades, and continued on my own quest to find the perfected red. Well friends, that quest is finally over. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve found my new signature lipstick! Meet NARS Audacious Lipstick in Carmen.

It’s a blue-based red that brightens my entire face, the hallmark of a truly complementary red lipstick. The color is so vivid it’s almost electric, but in a way that maintains the integrity of a classic red. Each of the Audacious Lipsticks are named for iconic women that influenced NARS founder Francois Nars, so I can only dream of who this particular Carmen might be, but if I had my way it would be inspired by my childhood fashion icon, Carmen Sandiego.

I haven’t paired Carmen with a liner yet, though if I did I’d use Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in 69. I have been loving it on top of Buxom’s Lip Foundation in Naked (clear). It’s a slightly tacky lip primer that helps creamy lipsticks stay in place, matte lipsticks glide on more smoothly, or prolong the wear of any lipstick. I’m obsessed!

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Carmen

If you’re still looking for your signature red, take a scroll through the Really Red archives. If you’ve found your match, won’t you tell me about your favorite in the comments below?

PS if you’re looking for details on this look, there’s an outfit post with the details!

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As a New Yorker, headphones have become an integral part of my everyday life. They bring me closer to my favorite music thanks to Spotify, deliver an enthralling 16 year old murder mystery story told by Serial, and drown out the endless construction sounds around me (thanks, progress). I change headphones daily, based on my schedule, my outfit, my hair, or even the weather because the slightest tweak in utility can make the biggest difference. I’ve tried a lot of different types and I’ve selected my three favorite pairs of stylish headphones, just in time for the holidays!

 Samsung Level Over in White

Make no bones about it, the Samsung Level Over wireless Bluetooth headphones are large & in charge, but that’s part of what I love about them. They are noise cancelling, making them the perfect choice for noisy coffee shops, drowning out construction chaos, or even “showtime!” performers on the subway. My favorite way to use them is when I’m working from home, cycling between podcasts, music, and conference calls. It’s easy to do, thanks to the invisible control panel on the right ear that lets me change songs forward and back, pause, and adjust the volume. Bonus points for my ability to make another cup coffee or answer the door for a delivery while my coworkers on the other end of the conference call carry on blissfully unaware.

The Level Over is the most expensive pair on the list, largely due to the wireless technology, but they’re on sale right now at BestBuy for $250, around $100 off the original price of $350.

Beats by Dre Solo HD Drenched In Pink 

You know I couldn’t resist including a vibrant pair of pink headphones in this list. No shame if it’s one of your favorite colors too – Oscar de la Renta added it in punches throughout the pre-fall 2015 collection, so we’re in good company. The Beats by Dre Solo HD Drenched in Pink are the most travel friendly of my picks, thanks to hinges in the band that allow them to fold up into half the size. Beats by Dre are, as the name suggests, heavy on the bass, but that enhances the listening experience on the street or during commutes. It helps the music come alive in a crowded listening environment, which I really appreciate. Sirens and train delay announcements? No thank you.

In addition to being the most travel friendly, these Beats by Dre Solo HD Drenched in Pink are the least expensive of my picks, on sale for $136 from Target Electronics.

Bose SoundTrue Around Ear Headphones in Mint

I love that Bose has stepped into the style game with the SoundTrue Around Ear Headphones in Mint. I grew up in a house where Bose was a respected and coveted brand, so I’ve always had a dream of bringing it into my life as an adult. The mint color is so fresh and mixes perfectly with my favorite winter trends (spoiler alert: pastels!) that I couldn’t help but swoon from the moment I saw them. These are a great middle ground between the Samsung Level Over and the Beats by Dre Sold HD Drenched in Pink, both in utility and size. I love the Around Ear style because the cups are larger, making them more comfortable for prolonged wear and better at blocking out noise than on-ear styles. While these don’t collapse, the ears do swivel making it easy to twist them flat (like on my bag below) or to wear around your neck. The sound is balanced and pure, so step up the quality on those Spotify streams and enjoy!

Bose is offering the SoundTrue Around Ear Heaphones in Mint for $150, down from the regular price of $180.

Major thanks to my mom & Kibbe for helping me shoot these gorgeous photos!

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Quick Under Eye Fix

We’re stretched more thin than ever. We think we can do it all, achieve it all, and somehow unlock the magical secret to getting less sleep while overproducing thanks to our extreme dependence on coffee. Let’s pretend like we don’t feel just like this worn-in table that I used as a backdrop for this photo because we’re sleeping six (if we’re lucky) hours per night. Is any of this sounding familiar?

Yesterday I had approximately ten minutes to get ready, so I tried to do a quick, but full, face. I reached for a hydrating serum, tinted moisturizer, and then I took a hard look at the luggage beneath my eyes. My go-to concealer lately has been the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Honey for its slightly salmon tone, but the skin under my eyes has been looking extra dry (thanks, harsh winter winds). Why says that I have to apply my eye cream + concealer separately? No one, that’s who.  Three dots of concealer below my eyes and a dab of my favorite eye cream, Avon Reversalist Complete Renewal Express Dual Eye Cream, mixed together across my under eye area makes the perfect mix. Like a DIY eye BB cream, if you will. This trick is also great for end of day touch ups!

I still love letting all my skincare layers sink when whenever I have the luxury, but on days when I feel like Chicken Little, this is the perfect quick fix. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out???

 

 

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Sarah Conley Racked

These days, I spend a lot of time on photoshoot sets. I’ve learned so much about the magic of e-commerce, how to make the most of a tight startup budget, and even more about what it feels like to be a truly valued member of a team. It’s been a year since I first started working with ELOQUII, and I couldn’t be happier – just ask my friends!

I’ve always been such a huge fan of Racked’s Working It series, so when the opportunity was presented to the team for us to be featured, I jumped for joy. It was only natural that they capture me in my “natural element” – aka the photo studio – where I’m always running around, snapping pictures, and live tweeting hilarious quotes. As a result, I got a little glam help from our hair & makeup artist and my “hair honey”, Jennifer Brent. She touched up my makeup and turned my hair out. I wish I could have those glamorous waves every day! We’re a pretty special bunch, so I highly encourage you to get to know us better over on Racked. Keep scrolling for my outfit details!

Sarah Conley Racked

Look details | Lip print sweater – ELOQUII | Belt – ELOQUII | Tartan print skirt – ELOQUII | Boots – Torrid (no longer available) | Watch – Samsung Gear 2 | Phone – Samsung Galaxy S5 | Case – Otterbox x Nina Garcia | Small bracelet – Coordinates Collection (that’s the longitude and latitude of NYC!) | Large bracelet – H&M (no longer available) | Nails – JINSoon Nocturne | Lips: NARS Train Bleu & Fanny |

Sarah Conley Racked

Sarah Conley Racked

Photo credit: Driely S for Racked.com

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NARS Red Square

(Really Red is a photo project celebrating red lips and the women who love them. If you’re a red lip devotee, please visit the launch post for more info & to submit your own. Afraid to go red? I hope these photos inspire you to find your own perfect shade!)

  • Name: Danielle van Grondelle, model
  • Age: 27
  • Red of choice: NARS Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
  • First red memory: My mom used to wear a great red lipstick ever since i was a little girl. Red has been my favourite color ever since!
  • Tip for finding the perfect red: I love to stand out with my fashion and my lipcolor. But I think the best tip is to try out whatever red suits you best, and go with that one. For me it’s depending on my mood or the season. But I tend to always fall back to my red square lip pencil, if I want a pop of color.

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Julia DiNardo NARS Damned Swatch

(Really Red is a photo project celebrating red lips and the women who love them. If you’re a red lip devotee, please visit the launch post for more info & to submit your own. Afraid to go red? I hope these photos inspire you to find your own perfect shade!)

  • Name: Julia DiNardo, multi-hyphenate – fashion and beauty writer, FashionPulseDaily.com founder, NYU professor, t-shirt designer
  • Red of choice: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned
  • First red memory: I was a “toy soldier” in PIttsburgh Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker when I was eight, and it was the first time I was allowed to buy makeup, since I had to for the part. Unfortunately, the lipstick was used as face paint for a dramatic outline of my lips, but I still think of it fondly, and that actually lipstick, from 1989, is still in my makeup vanity drawer as a special memento!
  • Tip for finding the perfect red: It took me a long time to accept that I’m a “blue red” person and not an “orange red” gal, as much as I do love both sides of the red spectrum. Determine which side you are on, and it will make adding to your collection of red lipsticks that much easier. Also, you want to have a shade of red that is low maintenance and makes you feel so confident in it that you can apply and reapply without the assistance of a mirror- the ultimate test! I prefer long wear formulas opposed to stains, as I know they will just blur out a bit and can easily be revived with a quick splash of gloss. Last tip: study your lip shape so that you feel comfortable filling it in with the bright shade, and have concealer on hand for quick and easy fixes when you go over your lip line.
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In a wild twist of fate, Dear Kate, a brand known for their high performance underwear & yoga pants, asked if I would be interested in posing for their next lookbook. They selected a variety of awesome women in technology to photograph, so I’m wildly flattered that they even considered me. I was so pleased to see that they offer their products in sizes XS – 3X (ps, I’m wearing a 3X in the photos & I’m a 26/28).

Sarah Conley Fuck Perfect

| Fuck Perfect tee: Society6 | Nude undies: Dear Kate (coming soon!) | Earrings: Dior | Lipstick: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Lana |

Honestly, there was not a moment when I considered saying no to this opportunity. If there was a brand willing to put a woman of my size in their lookbook (especially on the heels of recent industry insights that I’ve shared) and product photography, then I was up to the challenge! I was the only plus woman in the group, and as a result I’ll be on every product page, front and back, for all eight pieces in this collection. I didn’t feel self conscious or shy on set, but admittedly seeing the photos was an intense experience. I’m so happy that the team believes in keeping things real, and for that I’m grateful. I mean, how many times do you look at a photo of your backside in underwear? Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, I’m guessing that’s a whopping zero.

Every woman included in this shoot is so remarkably talented in their own unique way and it was such a joy to spend some time with them. If you’re interested in learning more about these rad babes, check out the interviews Dear Kate did with each of us on their blog. The pieces I’m wearing are from the Ada collection, which officially launched on their site today. The plus pieces won’t be arriving for a few weeks, but you know I’ll keep you posted & share more photos when they’re available!

For fashion credits, keep scrolling!

sarah conley dear kate

Left photo| Coral & white striped tee: Old Navy | Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Smartwatch | Microsoft Surface Pro 2 | Earrings: Oscar de la Renta |

Right photo | Floral kimono: Living Doll LA | Nail polish: Jin Soon Heirloom | Earrings: Oscar de la Renta | Lipstick: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Lana | Samsung Galaxy S5 | Case: Nina Garcia for Otterbox |

sarah conley dear kate lookbook

| Coral & white striped tee: Old Navy | Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Smartwatch | Microsoft Surface Pro 2 | Samsung Galaxy S5 | Earrings: Oscar de la Renta |

sarah conley dear kate lookbook

| Navy striped tee: Old Navy | Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Smartwatch | Microsoft Surface Pro 2 | Samsung Galaxy S5 |

 Photos by Jennifer Brister

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Makeup Monday Peachy Keen

The past week was so hectic that I fell into the dreaded cycle. I started pulling from the same pile of products that I used the day before, maybe changing one element each day until I eventually just only used the items in my makeup bag. The look was basic: BB cream, pink cheeks, pink lips, and mascara. As I started seeing photos of myself from events (evidence), I realized that my minimal makeup look was actually minimizing my best features instead of “enhancing my natural beauty”. I reached into my drawers and found products to shake things up a bit. Here’s what I’ve been loving…

Physicans Formula Nude Wear Glowing Nude Blush ($13): I’m usually hesitant to try these sort of quad color blushes until I have more of a tan because of how unpredictable the color result can be. A quick swirl of my brush showed me that I was right to wait, because the final result was the perfect statement cheek. Whenever I’m going for low maintenance sheer lips, I always prefer a statement cheek to balance out the look, making this blush the perfect companion. If you’re a light/medium or medium & deeper, you’ll love this blush.

Buxom Full On Lip Cream in Creamsicle ($19): Speaking of low maintenance sheer lips, these Buxom Full On LIp Creams have been my jam this summer. I’ve recently gotten to know the brand a lot better, and I’ve been hooked on these glosses since first tingle. Creamsicle, a perfect peachy pink, has become my favorite and I’ve received compliments on my lip color daily as a result. I’m considering throwing all other glosses out because nothing else is this good. I’m serious!

NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Dione ($29): There are very few makeup artists that I will allow to completely refresh my face, but Jenny Smith is one of them. At the fall preview event, she gave me a killer purple smokey eye with Dione & Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadows, and as a result I’ve never been the same. Currently, I’m loving using a big fluffy shadow brush and sweeping Dione across my eye. It’s one of those special cream shades that creates its own dimension, making my eye look seem far more elaborate than it really is. The shimmer also makes me look more awake, which is never a bad thing.

Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava ($18): If you’re a Makeup Monday regular, than you already know that my love for these pigmented oils knows no bounds, especially Everlasting Honey. I wanted to turn the color dial up a notch, because summer, so I’ve been putting Endless Guava to the test. It’s the brighter, cheerier sister of Everlasting Honey and a perfect companion to Buxom’s Creamsicle. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara ($7): The way I feel about The Falsies is the same way that I felt about Maybelline’s Full & Soft Mascara in high school and L’Oreal’s Voluminous Mascara in college. It’s a love built on respect, understanding, and the consistent ability to perform. Two tubes of the waterproof formula get me through the summer with full, separated and voluminous lashes. No tricks, no extra flares, no gimmicks. Pure performance, which is exactly the way I prefer all mascara relationships.

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Nora Kirkpatrick Really Red

(Really Red is a photo project celebrating red lips and the women who love them. If you’re a red lip devotee, please visit the launch post for more info & to submit your own. Afraid to go red? I hope these photos inspire you to find your own perfect shade!)

This is a super special edition of Really Red. If you don’t recognize Nora Kirkpatrick by name (yet), you’ll definitely recognize her work. I first fell in love with her earnest portrayal of Katherine, Panhellenic President on ABC Family’s Greek, and loved seeing her popup in the new Jamie Pressly comedy, Jennifer Falls. I had somehow missed that she was formerly an accordion player for Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, firmly cementing her place on my list of awesome Hollywood women. Thanks so much for sending in your Really Red questionnaire, Nora! Get more of her style on Twitter and Instagram.

Name: Nora Kirkpatrick

Age: 29

Red of choice: NARS Morocco Semi Matte Lipstick, or NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick

First red memory: I used to dress up as various politicians and hold caucuses and such in my room. For my first big debate, I stole my mother’s lipstick.

Tip for finding the perfect red: I tend to gravitate towards the more burgundy, rusty reds. Old red barn is usually what I think of. Sexy right?

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Summer Essentials

Wearing makeup in the summer turns something fun that I do for myself into a complicated task that forces me to balance wear time, sun protection, and color. After all, I can’t wear all of the color on my face at once, but I most certainly want to! Because of this balancing act, I’ve become quite particular about what I wear during the warm summer months. Here’s what I’m loving this week.

NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer ($42): I raved about this magical tube of coverage before, and my feelings are still just as true. My #1 complaint about tinted moisturizers is the lack of coverage, only closely followed by a lack of staying power. The coverage is fantastic, and the wide range of shades (11 total) make it easy to find your shade. I’ve been setting it with my next favorite, the bareMinerals Mineral Veil, for the perfect finish & color correction. It lasts all day, and I don’t worry about any complications if I should need to reapply after a long day.

bareMinerals Mineral Veil ($20): Somewhere along the way, I acquired a sifter jar of Mineral Veil, but admittedly it sat unloved for quite some time. When I started playing around with the latest foundation from bareMinerals, Bare Skin, I instantly reached for my jar in an attempt to keep it all in the family, so to speak. What I discovered is that Mineral Veil is an excellent match for all dewy or serum foundations, because it gives them something to bond with on your skin. It’s a great match for my tinted moisturizers or BB creams, plus the pink tones help to neutralize any overly yellow undertones in my summer shades. I’m almost done with this jar & you’d better believe I’m picking up another. The added SPF 15 protection certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Lise Watier Imagine Blush ($32): Lise Watier’s mosaic Imagine Blush is the summer equivalent of Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed for me. This beautiful compact sat unloved in my collection for a couple of months because I was terrified of how pigmented it might be. As I soaked up more sun this summer, I finally warmed to the idea of brighter cheeks and this was the first place I looked. When I use it with a Real Techniques Multitask Brush on the apples of my cheeks, the effect is soft and diffused. It’s hands down my new favorite powder blush.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat ($21): In all of my years, I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to seek out a waterproof topcoat for my mascara. I always end up with black smudges on my undereye area, thanks to my reliance on creamy concealers and a great eye cream. When I was discussing this topic with beauty girls over Pinkberry (as one does), Kristine recommended checking out this Anastasia wonder. The online reviews instantly had me on a mission, and several days later here I am wondering how I lived without this topcoat. It even improves the staying power of my waterproof formulas, making this the only way you’ll make it through another viewing of The Fault In Our Stars without black streaks down your face.

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Shanghai Sizzle ($10): Revlon’s latest Colorstay formulation is a combination of many things that I love: hydrated lips, opaque color, and long wear time. Don’t let the name make you think this is one lip product you’ll never remove – instead think it as a hybrid Just Kissable Balm Stain with the texture of a Maybelline Color Elixir and the hydration of a Revlon Lip Butter. Have I confused you yet? The color Shanghai Sizzle, in particular, goes on opaque and leaves a bit of color behind as it wears off, yet is comfortable on the lips thanks to a somewhat tacky formula (similar to the Color Elixirs) that has a pretty great wear time. There’s no need to worry about the formula moving around your lips – it’s going to stay put. I do think that the colors can be a bit hit & miss in terms of pigmentation, but they are all beautiful and true to what you see on the tube (you just might need more coats to achieve that color).

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Makeup Monday

Although Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, I know that it’s time for me to embrace the season when I start reaching for all coral everything. The biggest sign this past week was my codependency on Laura Geller’s Love Me Dew lip color in Lychee Glace. I had to wear it every day, even if I was sitting at home in my pjs. The second sign was when I opted to skip mascara (I know, I KNOW) on more low key days. Forget a whole new world – I feel like a whole new girl!

Laura Geller Love Me Dew Moisturizing Lip Crayon in Lychee Glace ($16): It took me a bit to come around to the Love Me Dew formula, mostly because I was expecting it to be something that it’s not. It is not a balm, nor is it a gloss, and it’s not a stain. Know that from the minute you pop the top off one of these unassuming lip crayons and you’ll be ready experience full on color. If you don’t believe me, check out this Instagram pic of me wearing Lychee Glace. At first application, the color is a beautiful pinky coral, but as color builds throughout reapplication, it becomes a gorgeous orange. The formula is definitely moisturizing, but it also has more staying power than you might expect. I’d compare the texture to that of Revlon’s Lip Butters. The price is great and the color assortment is too. I can’t wait to wear Plum Freeze this fall!

NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Portobello ($35): Many moons ago, when I was just started to explore the NARS brand, I picked up the requisite Orgasm blush & lip gloss. I soon branched out to eyedshadow duos, starting with Portobello. The matte brown shadows may look blase to some, but to me it unlocks a world of subtle definition. The two similar, yet different, brown shades look great in the crease, but my favorite use is to sweep them along the lower lash line. Especially in the fall months paired with vampy lip colors, like MAC’s upcoming lip color collaboration with Lorde, it adds definition without taking way from the focal point of your look. My passion for this duo was so strong, that during one visit I convinced my mom that she needed it too. Now that it’s back in my life, I can’t ever imagine being without it again. OTP, me and Portobello 4 ever.

BECCA Mineral Blush in Gypsy ($32): While I don’t love to wear the BECCA Mineralize Blushes all of the time, they do hold a very special place in my heart. They are incredibly finely milled and only available in the most flattering shades, so there’s no worry about trying a shade that is too far outside of your comfort zone. But they’re also packed with really beautiful, albeit intense shimmer that also doubles as your highlighter. If you’re looking to pair one with a strong eye or a bold lip, the shimmer may be too much, however if you’re going for a glow with the focus on your cheeks, this is a blush you should try. Gypsy in particular is a gorgeous blue-based pink that can sometimes lean a little lilac on me, depending how much sun I’ve seen. Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest enough to give them a swatch or two next time you’re in Sephora. It’s worth it!

Nudestix Skin Concealer Pencil in Light 2 ($24): There’s only a few single concept beauty brands on the market, so when another one comes along I’m automatically interested. Nudestix aims to take the concept of your makeup bag and edit it down to three to five pencils housed in a grown up pencil box (complete with mirror). While I’m still getting a feel for the line, the Concealer Pencil has found a permanent home in my (albeit oversized) makeup bag. The formula is a bit thick and on the drier side, so it makes a perfect spot coverup or lip outline companion. It’s also great for perking up your brow bone, but I haven’t loved it under my eyes. I’m a special case there, so take that opinion with a grain of salt. I love the ease of whipping it out, dotting it on and throwing it back into my bag, plus every pencil comes with a sharpener so you never have to be without.

mark On The Edge Liquid Eyeliner in Cleo ($10): mark recently revamped their iconic Hook Ups, the product that put them on the map when they launched over ten years ago. The revamped pairings now also come with new packaging that makes them just as pretty on their own, but connected they’ll have the same look that you know and love. There’s something about the thickness and flexibility of the brush that sets the On The Edge liquid liner apart. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it lays down well close to the lash line, yet doesn’t flop about as I *try* to gently sweep the brush around the curves of my lid. I also love that it’s available at drugstore friendly pricing and named Cleo, adding yet another layer to my never-ending Cleopatra fantasy.

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