Bite Beauty Lip Lab Custom Experience | New York

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In today's boundless beauty shops, you can find just about every color of lipstick imaginable. From radiant reds to beautiful berries and every poppy pink and peach in between, any lip color of your dreams is available in an array of finishes and textures. With such grand collections of colors, you'd think my signature shade would already be found. While I have a handful of favorites I've repurchased time and time again, there's one shade I just can't seem to find.

Oh those tricky pumpkin/brunt oranges.

There are certainly a plethora of burnt orange lipsticks currently on the market and it seems I've tried them all. The trouble is the true color of these lovely lipsticks appear differently on my lips due to my natural lip under tone. I often find that every burnt orange or pumpkin lipstick I've tried turns brick red or a variation of peach on my lips. It's very frustrating as the perfect burnt orange tone can only be achieved by layering 3-4 products.

If only I could create my own perfect shade of lipstick. 

I was thrilled to discover that my own custom shade of lipstick could be created thanks to Bite Beauty. Already a longtime fan of the lip brand's Amuse Bouche lipstick range, Bite Beauty's unique Lip Lab invites lipstick enthusiasts to create their very own signature blend. Located in New York's trendy Soho neighborhood, this chic and ultra polished space is truly a lipstick fantasy come to life.

While this dreamy service is a bit costly, there are varied services offered to help you find the best option for your needs. You can either choose a custom lipstick service which can be modified to either one ($55) or two ($80) pigmented shades offered in their vast library of color or opt for the ultimate bespoke lipstick service ($150, pp).

Custom Lipstick Service 
This custom service allows you to choose a pre-mixed color from their extensive pigment library, which contains almost 200 unique shades, in a scent and finish  (sheer, matte, classic, luminous) of your liking. The lovely scents offered by the Lip Lab are quite unique. While you may be used to sweet (vanilla) smelling lippies, Bite Beauty's Lip Lab goes beyond the usual and can scent your personalized lipstick in one of their 9 delectable options: Cherry, Mint, Fresh Citrus, Coconut, Violet, Vanilla, Citrus Mango, Wild Berry and Lime.

Bespoke Lipstick Service
If you want an extra special and extravagant personalized lipstick experience, their Bespoke Lipstick Service is certainly the option for you. All about luxury and personalized service, Bite Beauty's Lip Lab professionals help you create your custom lipstick from pigment to mold as you watch along in amazement.

Prior to choosing your custom shade, your lips will be treated to a Bite Beauty lip scrub and mask. Thereafter, you are in control of choosing the pigments you want and the Lab professionals mix your custom concoction into a lipstick made just for your lips. The possibilities are endless as you can create any shade from opalescent, sheer finishes to intensely colored mattes and every dreamy option in between. It's so lovely how each Lab professional is dedicated to helping you find your dream shade and are committed to creating a signature lipstick you'll truly love.

Along with your two signature shades, you're given a Bite Beauty lip kit which features a few of their superstar lip products (Agave Lip Mask, Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub and Line & Define Lip Primer) in beauty-bag friendly minis.

If you're looking to create a signature lipstick make just for your lips, I highly recommend you schedule a visit to Bite Beauty's Lip Lap. If you're not in NYC, Bite Beauty has two additional locations -- one in trendy Toronto and another in stylish San Francisco.

Life Is What You Make It -- Make it A Positive One

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Top: Equipment | Shorts: Banana Republic | Scarf: Victoria Beckham x Target
Bag: Kate Spade | Shoes: Tory Burch

This week marks one year since the heartbreaking event that changed my life in unimaginable ways. If you know me, I'm no stranger to difficult and frightening surgeries. While my first 2 major life-saving surgeries were filled with incredible happiness and joy, this one was just the opposite. It was unexpected, traumatic and completely heartbreaking -- the year following was a tough one which only strengthened my positive perspective on life and continuously reminded me to seek the light rather than the darkness.

I learned that it is OK to lean on your family and loved ones during a bad time. To depend on their love for a bit and to really take the time to recognize and appreciate those who have helped you build a life you've worked hard for and love. I am lucky to have an incredible support system -- my sweet family always reminds me that I don't walk alone in life. It is important to highlight these encouraging, incredibly caring and positive individuals as they help show you the light on darker days.

I always say you should never make a life out of a bad day. That one bad day is just 24 hours long. Twenty four hours to experience the worst, feel awful and still in between it all, we find the fight to make the following days better. For me that bad day lasted months. My recovery was, in one word, brutal. Every complication and downfall that could happen, happened. But hey, it could've been worse. My life could've ended last April.

It's all about perspective. 

Though you don't need to experience something devastating to appreciate life and to change your daily outlook.  My difficult journey in life taught me the tough lessons early and to really appreciate it all -- good and bad. In the midst of the absolute worst, happiness and peace can be found, its all about  keeping a positive attitude. At the end of the day, your attitude is the only thing in your control. Even on the extra difficult crappy days, know that it'll get better. Just learn to keep your attention on the light.

As someone who has really met death face-to-face on many occasions, nothing upsets me more than hearing absolutely comfortable and healthy individuals go on and on for hours, days, and weeks (yes, weeks) complaining about the same trivial frustrations of daily life. We all endure irritating daily annoyances such as traffic, simple work frustrations, or times when we question "why is this happening to me?" -- well, I'll tell you a simple way to get past it -- it could be worse.

Stop complaining about minor inconveniences.

How lucky are you to have to your health, to have a job in which earns you a living, to have a car or a paid monthly metro pass to get you to said job, to have a warm bed to sleep in every night and to have caring friends and family who stand by you through the good and bad. Remind yourself of this the next time something bothers you and you feel the need to take up another's time simply to detail these minor troubles. Its all about patience and attitude.

Expanding on these minor frustrations allow them to eat at you and ruin your days. I've learned that seeking positivity on smaller scale helps diminish daily negatively and ultimately makes it powerless.

You are responsible for your attitude and behavior -- there's no reason why you should make a bad life out of a bad day.

An amazing mentor once explained to me that God only gives us the challenges we can handle. The ones that test, question and break us are only given to remind us of our strength. When the big heartbreaking things happen, it's important to remind yourself of this lovely outlook.

Without sounding too much like a fortune cookie -- learn to celebrate life. Life has dealt me a very tricky hand that has tried time and time again to snatch away my life card. We never know when our time will come, learn to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS and speak of positive things. Negativity only invites negativity.

Here's hoping this beautiful year (and many more ahead) are happy and healthy!

Erdem for NARS Strange Flower Collection

Monday, April 9, 2018

Erdem for  NARS Strange Flowers Collection | Launching at NARS on April 12th, 2018
Designer Erdem to celebrate the launch at Saks Fifth Avenue NYC on May 11th, 2018

A beauty collection of dreams, this new designer collaboration with NARS Cosmetics is all things elegant and chic. 

NARS Cosmetics limited edition, stunning capsule collections have  not only become cosmetic must-haves but have become great collectors items for both beauty and fashion enthusiasts. For Summer 2018, the popular French beauty brand is collaborating with Erdem Moralioglu for a dream-like collection featuring 13 new colors, products and palettes.

Lipstick | $28
Top: Bloodflower | Moon Orchid | Larspur
Bottom: Voodoo Lily |  Carnal Carnation |Wild Flower 

Blush | $30
Loves Me | Loves Me Not

Without losing the classic elegance of the Erdem brand, the Strange Flowers collection beautifully illustrates his feminine and beautifully romantic signature style through color. Using unique bold pigments, this collaboration offers daring yet timeless tones  (bold berry tones, romantic reds/rose and earthy, cool-toned neutrals) which help create versatile looks from demure to bold.
Eyeshadow Palettes | $49
Fleur Fatale | Night Garden

One of most exciting products in this collection is the new Lip Powder Palette. This innovative palette, which is unique to this limited edition collection, includes an array of delicate neutrals and daring rose shades (fuchsia and scarlet, both matte). This customizable palette can be worn in a variety of ways as it consists of a lip priming balm and 4 powders (metallic and matte). To achieve a multi-dimensional, layered look, the stunning shimmery rose gold powder can be applied atop the nude rose, fuchsia or scarlet with the precision-tip lip brush included in the palette.
Lip Powder Palette | $49
Poison Rose

In addition to the stunning color roundup, the packaging of this beautiful collection is just as lovely as one of Erdem's designs. All of the products are housed in stunning, soft-toned cases and feature one of three floral prints Erdem designed exclusively for this spectacular collaboration.

Images courtesy of NARS Cosmetics

Spring Manicures with Morgan Taylor

Thursday, April 5, 2018

All White Now | Heaven Sent | In The Nude | One & Only | Beach Babe

Spring has finally arrived and I'm so ready to take a break from those dark, moody polishes of winter. The light and bright shift of the seasons has me itching to lighten up my manicures and opt for more creamy blush and nude-toned nail lacquers. A forever classic and polished look (and Kate Middleton favorite!), light-colored manicures pair well with all ensembles and are very forgiving when inevitable chips occur. With the royal wedding just a little over a month away (May 19th!), I thought I'd highlight a few pale polishes I'm currently loving from Morgan Taylor.

Before I get right to my favorites, I must share why I can't get enough of this awesome nail brand. While their nail lacquers are toxin-free (formaldehyde, touluene, DBP ), it's their exceptional quality of pigments (major color payoff!) that brings me back to this range time and time again. Whether you're looking for metallics, iridescent finishes, cremes or intense opaque tones, Morgan Taylor's impressive collection of colors does not disappoint. Best of all, MT polishes all deliver an even, smooth coating of polish with every sweep of the brush. Speaking of brushes, each polish is equipped with a great wider cut brush which makes application a breeze.

I've also found that most polishes become thick and sticky with continued use which thankfully does not happen with these high quality lacquers. By the end of the bottle, the formula, consistency of color and fluidity remain exactly as a fresh bottle -- simply excellent.

Now to The Colors -- 
While I love a nice opaque pale pink or creamy beige, Morgan Taylor's silky sheer polishes are some of my favorites. These luxe sheer colors deliver a hint of color that can easily be intensified with additional coats without the dreaded, uneven streaking. Two coats are sufficient for a beautiful flush of color and my current favorites include a creamy ivory (Heaven Sent), a pale ecru/nude (In The Nude), and a ladylike light cafe pink (One and Only). As a fun alternative to the common pale whites and pinks, I had to add Beach Babe to my updated lights collection. This pale peachy creamsicle polish has a subtle iridescence swirled throughout which is just stunning and feels extra fancy every time I wear it.

With the sun shinning (and even when the April showers hit), treat yourself to manicure with one of Morgan Taylor's stunning polishes, your nails will thank you.


Get The Look: Adriana Lima's Glamorous Beauty Look Using Maybelline

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Celebrity: Adrianna Lima
Makeup Artist: Patrick Ta
Brand: Maybelline 

The perfect complement to her dramatic and ultra-glamorous Alberta Ferretti gown, Adriana’s makeup look to the Vanity Fair Oscars Party was the epitome of Hollywood Glamour. Celebrity Makeup Artist Patrick Ta created a striking beauty look for the Maybelline New York Spokesmodel that was centered on a stunningly vibrant red pout. Here’s how he created this stunning look:

SKIN: As with all glamorous makeup applications, starting with a clean face is essential. The initial step in prepping the skin was to provide ample hydration with facial oil. Opting for a hydrating oil rather than a cream gave Adriana’s skin a subtle luminous finish while instantly reviving the complexion and creating an even base. To increase the radiance of her skin, Patrick followed with Gigi Hadid x Maybelline East Coast Glam Liquid Strobe, concentrating it on the high points of her face to give it a flawless, dimensional look.

FACE: Moving onto coverage, Patrick wanted Adriana’s skin to look healthy and youthful and didn’t want to diminish the glow with a heavy foundation. Using Gigi Hadid x Maybelline West Coast Glow Tinted Primer, a lighter and fresh alternative to a full-coverage foundation, he applied the tinted base onto her skin. To sculpt the face and provide chic definition, Patrick used Maybelline New York Master Contour Face Contouring Kit to define the cheekbones, enhance the jawline and slim the bridge of the nose with a fluffy angle brush. For a flush of color, Maybelline New York Fit Me Blush in 'Mauve” was applied to the apples of the cheeks with the same brush and diffused into the contour. To frame the cheeks, and the high points of her face, Patrick lightly dusted Maybelline New York Master Chrome Highlighter in 'Molten Gold,' along the tops of her cheekbones, and down the bridge of her nose. To brighten up the eyes, highlighter was also applied to the inner corner of her eyes.

EYES: Using the Maybelline New York Total Temptation Palette, three key shades were used to create her elegant eye look. First, Patrick blended the medium-brown shade into the crease and blended the shade upwards to brow bone. The same medium shadow was buffed onto the lower lash for a soft smoky look. Using a clean fluffy brush, he went over the freshly applied shadow to soften the look. He then saturated the eyelids with the iridescent pink champagne shade with a clean flat brush. Lastly, the inner corners of her eyes were further brightened by layering the lightest shade of the palette onto the highlighter that was previously applied. Patrick framed the look by coating her beautiful lashes in a few layers of Maybelline New York Total Temptation Mascara. To ensure Adriana’s brows were flawless, any sparse spots were filled with Maybelline New York Eye Studio Brow Define + Fill Duo and set the desired shape with Maybelline New York Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara.

LIPS: The striking focal point of the look was a perfectly bold red pout. Adriana’s luxurious red lip was achieved by using Maybelline New York Python Metallic Lip Kit in 'Passionate,' a stunning duo of lip color and metallic lipshadow. Patrick began by meticulously layering her lips with the poppy red lip color from the palette. To intensify the color and add a touch of dimension to the lip, he applied the rose gold lipshadow atop the red lip product resulting in a subtle sheen that further highlighted the bold look.


Artist You Need to Know: Catherine Stenhjem

Monday, April 2, 2018

Mon Petit Chou! - By. Catherine Stenhjem

I'm always on the hunt to find beautiful, stylish art. The kind of work that will complement both my bold spirit and space and will guarantee a wide smile every time I glance at it.
Luckily, I recently stumbled upon an image (Mon Petit Chou!) that was everything I was looking for -- equal parts whimsy and stylish -- this piece was stunningly done and I needed to find the artist behind this lovely painting.

The artist who created that painting was Catherine Stenhjem, an incredible artist from Arizona who beautifully illustrates awe-inspiring images both imagined and present. Much like the fashionable painting that initially sparked my interest in her work, her collections of paintings each vividly portray striking imagery that leave you wondering more about their backstory. Bold, regal animals like big wild cats (panthers, lions, tigers) and strong horses and more, along with fantastical folklore-inspired styles are common motifs in her work. Having spent some time living abroad in Iran, the warm and classic elegance of old Persia can also be seen in her paintings. Whether creating fancy fantasy worlds or striking portraits, Catherine's style of art is certainly captivating.

Catherine Stenhjem

The Beautiful Gypsy Girl & her Fairy Friends - By. Catherine Stenhjem

As a personal fan of majestic wild cats, I was struck by her style of incorporating these beautiful creatures in her flawless portrait work. Vividly illustrating both, Catherine's unique skill of meticulously perfecting every detail is what sets her work apart from most artists. The results are extraordinarily lively images that are sure to enchant every viewer. Her impressive attention to fine-tuning the details of every piece, while creating an almost multi-dimensional layering of color, Catherine's intense passion for art and storytelling with her paintbrush is wildly evident in every one of her pieces. When I received my very own Catherine Stenhjem painting, I soon learned that this luxurious style of painting was even more magnificent in person.

A Golden Spirti - By. Catherine Stenhjem

So Dreams The Lotus - By. Catherine Stenhjem

With impressive versatility, Catherine's artistic talents extend beyond the finest of papers. She also paints her exquisite signature designs on leather accessories with the same vibrancy and expert technique seen in her paintings. Additionally, Catherine's special collection of  original paintings can be purchased as cards. Using high quality paper materials, Catherine has taken classic greeting cards to the next level. A gift itself, her beautiful art cards feature an original hand-painted piece of art along with a blank insert to detail your personal messages -- all of which are presented with a chic ribbon closer and beautiful envelope. While these fancy art cards are beautiful on their own, these smaller works can also be framed.

It's rare to see an artist exhibit their unique works in such a varied fashion -- Catherine expertly does it without sacrificing quality or authenticity.

Catherine Stenhjem Art Cards

While admiring her work from a far (aka stalking her consistently impressive instagram), I received a message from Catherine herself. She generously offered to paint my portrait and I was just incredibly honored to become one of Catherine Stenhjem's Enchanting Girls. Already a major fan of her style and just blown away by her creative interpretations of all her previous portrait models, I knew my very own portrait wouldn't disappoint.

I've only had my portrait done once before by an amature student in my college drawing class and was pretty horrified by the results. Every feature I've always been teased about or troubled by was highlighted in a very unfortunate fashion. To now have a chance to have my portrait redone by a professional, I was hopeful that those feelings would not be revisited.

The final result was something I'd never imagined. Coupled with her signature regal black panther, Catherine not only painted my face with exceptional accuracy and depth, but created a sharp richness with every stroke that was beyond stunning. It was bold, it was intense and simply mesmerizing. Both interpretations illustrated a beautiful story: a royal pairing of a strong beauty with her equally fierce cat companion. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I believe that's what Catherine's work expertly does. It immediately captures your attention and speaks volumes. Each stroke of her brush paints an emotion that frames each piece's unique story. For me, Catherine made me royalty, and I couldn't be more appreciative.

Beloved - By. Catherine Stenhjem

A Golden Time Royalty - By. Catherine Stenhjem

The kindness she extended to me through this unique experience and gifting me a lovely pair of portraits will be remembered for a lifetime. These paintings (along with a collection of her other work)  will be enjoyed and cherished. These vibrant works have lit up my home in so many ways. Her love for painting enchanting faces and capturing their essence is a she's mastered through her many years as an art professional. It also highlights how she truly connects with her subjects in such positivity  and light.

In my  chats with her I soon learned that Catherine is much like the work she creates -- beautiful. A beautiful individual with equally stunning heart, Catherine's philosophy on art is one that many can appreciate. She explained that while original art is luxury, it shouldn't only be available at steep price tags. In effort to share her work with more of her passionate and art-loving audience, she has lowered the rates of her work and will often host giveaways of her work on instagram. Additionally, she has generously chosen to sell all of her art, especially her  folkoric art series which centers around fantasy and fairies with each piece depicting a unique story. 

Catherine Stenhjem 

In learning more about her work, I was very moved by her contributions to animal-centric charities. Having an immense passion for the welfare and protection of animals, this connection is seen throughout many aspects of her work. She continues to support such charities with a bulk of the proceeds of her art sales going to animal rescue organizations, her favorite being Rancho Relaxo

Catherine's professionalism coupled with her passion and dedication to creating and delivering high quality original designs make her a unique and noteworthy artist. 
Though, it is her kindness and generous, inspiring spirit that make her a truly lovely woman.  

Thank you, Catherine. It was such a great experience getting to speak with you about art, the world and outstanding women making a difference in their respective fields. 
I cannot verbalize enough how much these personal pieces of art mean to me and how much they are appeciated and loved. Your work is truly magical. 

Catherine's work beautifully embellishes a space and are sure to become fast favorites! From her beautifully bold and consistent high quality work to her stunning, original designs, I couldn't recommend her more! She's just brilliant! 

Contact Catherine Stenhjem

About Rancho Relaxo
Upon rescuing a lovely mustang named Halona, Caitlin Cimini was unaware that her heartfelt rescue would soon lead to her to a lovely farm she'd ultimately transform into Rancho Relaxo, an animal advocacy nonprofit. Caitlin's story is pretty incredible as is the terrific work she and her team are doing to better the lives of animals. 

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