Chic Clean Beauty Buys To Gift This Holiday Season

Friday, December 20, 2019

For the gal who has all or craves a bit of glitz in her holiday stocking, the perfect gift is just a few clicks away. Whether your giftee enjoys cosmetics or skincare, taking a peek at this season's most coveted clean beauty launches will offer an array of stunning gift options. From luxurious skincare to must-have cosmetics, here's a few of the best clean beauty items to gift this holiday season.

What better gift to give than one of this year's most buzzed about eyeshadow palettes?
In collaboration with Silvija Gorcha, an ultra-talented tattoo artist and illustrator, Folly Fire launched this stunning palette of versatile, highly pigmented pastels and dazzling shimmered shadows that are truly next level.These wildly fun and universally-flattering collection of  colors are welcomed change from the standard holiday color palette we're all so used to seeing and using. A  fast best-seller by the bold clean beauty brand, now is the time to get your hands on this whimsical palette before it sells out once again.

Temptu, the authority in professional airbrush makeup, recently launched a lush, oil-infused mascara that offers a long-lasting wear without the dreaded fallout, clumping and lash-damaging effects. A true winner for sensitive-eyes and gentle lashes, this high-performance clean alternative will make you reconsider your favorite mascara. The vitamin-rich (B5) and nourishing (Agran Oil, Avocado Oil) formulation of Built to Lash offers a highly pigmented coat of rich black color which helps lashes look more voluminous and long (a major factor for me!). A favorite in both my makeup and gym bags, gift the look for full. fluttery lashes with this wondrous product.

Merging the gift of glam and philanthropy is Jane Iredale's mission this holiday season. Launching a limited-edition collection of luxe and radiant cosmetics aimed to give back, Jane's philosophy of caring and giving through beauty makes for a wonderful gift option during this gifting season. For this special range, she's partnered with HoneyLove Urban Bee Keepers, an exceptional organization deeply rooted in protecting endangered honeybees by inspiring new urban beekeepers while educating communities on the value and impact of bees in our ecosystem.

My favorite piece from the holiday collection is the ultra-luxe Queen Bee PurePressed Blush, which offers a soft, radiant flush of delicate fuchsia pink along the cheeks. A perfect pop of color to sport all winter, they won't want to leave the house without a quick dusting of  this best-selling, antioxidant-rich blush. 

During this year's Indie Beauty Expo (IBE), I had the pleasure of meeting with Jen Wojtaszek, the inspiring founder of Spoil Me Beautiful and discovered the power of her luxurious natural, vegan lip products. These beautifully formulated, hydrating lip colors are the ideal stocking suffers as the lightweight, smooth formula delivers a lovely wash of pearlescent color without the sticky, tackiness of a traditional gloss. All housed in a chic tube, you'll be eager to pull this lippie out of your makeup bag time and time again and can adjust the intensity of color with just a few swipes on the lips. Best of all, "Wild Heart," the luscious deep red hued lip color was recently nominated by IBE for best lip color in this year's show. Grab yourself this recognized lip color or opt for "Fling," the flattering bright pink shade with a dazzling gold iridescence blended throughout.

These unique lip products are gifts that give beyond beauty as a  portion of all Spoil Me Beautiful profits are generously donated to non-profit organizations and initiatives working towards rehabilitating animals that have been victims of cruelty.

HO HO HO, check out this chic polish set! A chic red manicure always looks so luxe and just so happens to be the classic color for this festive season. Côte's rounded up its best reds into a chic and gift-friendly set which makes this my top fool-proof  gift pick. The set, aptly named Santa Baby, includes a gradient range of vibrant reds to please every holiday mood. Most importantly, the brand is committed to maintaining a clean and safe  (toxin and allergen free) approach to nail varnish without sacrificing quality.

From luxe facial tools to elegant blends of beneficial skincare, Herbivore Botanicals has launched a number of effective products to tackle our greatest skin woes. Just in time for the holiday season, the brand has launched a super luxurious kit to reach maximum relaxation and a youthful glow through a lavish skin care treatment. The Amethyst Ritual Kit includes the radiance-boosting Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum, a potent hydrating and anti-aging product that is further blended into the skin with a pair of skin enhancing facial tools. To amplify the soothing effects on the skin, the tools are crafted in calming amethyst stone. An ideal gift for your favorite beauty enthusiast, this extravagant spa-like skin balancing set will be a memorable gift they won't be able to live without.

Images courtesy of brands 

Get The Look: Gigi Hadid's Luxe Bronzed Gold Beauty Look at 2019 VMAs

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Celebrity: Gigi Hadid
Makeup Artist: Carolina Gonzales
Brand: Maybelline

Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards were incredibly bold and it's prime guests certainly made quite the fashion and beauty statements. One of my favorite beauty looks of the evening was the stunning gold-toned bronze look celebrity makeup artist Carolina Gonzalez created for Gigi Hadid.

When creating this look, Carolina was inspired by the warm, golden shades of late summer and wanted the eyes to be the focal point of the makeup. The Maybelline New York spokesmodel sported an array of gleaming gold-toned products from the brand which included the ultra-chic and glamorous 25K Nudes Eyeshadow Palette in Gold. Using the affordable range, here's how you can recreate this look yourself:

A perfect canvas always starts with a clean, freshly cleansed face. Carolina wanted to create a flawless complexion that looked both luminous and subtly radiant. For an even base, she applied Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation in Buff Beige, to Gigi's face, softly blending into the hairline and along the neck for a perfectly blended effect that extended beyond the face. For a brightening effect, she went back in with Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Medium and delicately used her fingertips to blend the product under her eye-area. To achieve that radiant finish and lightweight sheen on  Gigi's skin, Carolina strategically applied Master Chrome Jelly Highlighter Face Makeup in Metallic Rose along her nose, cupid's bow and chin area for a wearable luminous effect.

Once the complexion was perfected, Carolina moved onto a soft contour which sculpted Gigi's face and further highlighted her striking features. Using City Bronzer Bronzer & Coutour Powder Makeup in Medium, she buffed the powder onto her cheeks and areas where the sun would naturally warm the face (hairline, jawline). For added depth and a uniform warm-glow, she pulled the product down along the neck and the ear area.

This awards show makeup was centered on the eyes and Carolina opted for luxe golden shades that enhanced Gigi's eyes and tied in with her effortless and elegant glowing complexion. To create this multidimensional bronzed smoky eye look, Carolina used both light and medium shadows from the 24K Nudes Eyeshadow Palette in Gold. Expertly blending the shades onto the lids, the brow bone and smoking the soft shades along the lower lash created the look of a more highlighted and wide-eyed look, ultimately making them appear bigger. To add a gltizy feature to the makeup, Carolina popped a champagne-tone shimmer atop the lids. Finally, Carolina elongated Gigi's stunning eyes by creating a subtle, soft-focused cat-eye effect with dark brown shadow concentrated along her outter lash lines. The look was finished by layering the lashes in generous coats of Snapscara Washable Mascara in Pitch Black, whereas a single coat was applied to the lower lashes. To further enhance the cat-eye effect, Caroline focused mascara on the outer upper lashes.

Feathery brows were the goal for this look, and Carolina used Brow Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil in Light Blonde to fill in any sparse areas and concentrated product in the inner corners of Gigi's brows, ultimately enhancing her natural shape and framing the full look.

To keep from competing with the glamorous golden eye look, Carolina chose to color Gigi's lips in a richly-hued nude tone. For an unexpected style, she created a gradient effect on the lips by contouring the outer lip line in Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner in Totally Toffee and filling the in the rest of lips in with the lighter shade in Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner in Nude Whisper. To seal in the lip, Carolina dabbed Shine Compulsion by Color Sensation in Baddest Beige with her fingertips atop the liners giving it a hydrated effect and providing a long-lasting wear.  The overall look was a modern ombre lip that beautifully complemented the bronzed tones of the full makeup. For added depth to the lips, Carolina's expert tip details the application of powder and bronzer along the outer lips to create a more plump pout.

For the final aspect of this look, Gigi's face was dusted in a light layer of Shine Free Oil Control Loose Powder, focusing on tricky areas like around the nose, chin, mid brows while avoiding the cheeks to maintain their glow.

Image: Courtesy of Maybelline New York/GETTY Images

Charlotte Tilbury Launches New Iconic Lipstick Collection with Purpose

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips 2 Collection 
Launching June 20th, 2019
Sephora | Charlotte Tilbury 

Nothing excites me more than seeing a sparkling new beauty launch from a brand I absolutely adore. One of those beloved brands is Charlotte Tilbury. The coveted luxury brand consistently delivers high-quality, ultra-glamorous products that become fast-favorites and her new collection will be no exception. 

Today, the brand launched the Hot Lips 2 Collection, a universally-flattering range of 11 fresh lipsticks inspired by iconic individuals. Each new, never-before-seen shade mirrors the styles and personalities of each recognizable inspiration including J.K. Rowling (JK Magic - peachy nude-rose) and the ever stylish Amal Clooney (Amazing Amal - elegant, soft berry pink) and Olivia Palermo (In Love With Olivia - pretty pink). Mimicking the effortless styles of these 11 icons is now a just a short Sephora trip away. 

If a new, stunning collection wasn't enough, the Hot Lips 2 collection will be presented in five stylish bullets. These beautifully designed bullets are both interchangeable and refillable, a creative new move by the brand which is sure to be a hit among her elite clients and beauty fans. 

Best of all, this launch not only gives you a luscious pout but is emphasizing beauty with a purpose. On a mission to inspire a movement (#LIPSTICKCONFIDENCE), the Hot Lips 2 collection is following in the steps of its first launch and making a grand million dollar pledge to Women for Women International, an exceptional organization helping female survivors of war. Charlotte, who has been a Global Ambassador of the organization since 2016, is committed to her charitable role and making an impactful contribution. The donation in company with this new collection will not only be the largest corporate donation to the organization but will be crucial in aiding women residing in the world's most unsafe, war-torn cities. 

Soon to become the chicest lippie in my beauty bag, grab yourself a shade a two at or With this new launch, reapplying my lipstick will become my favorite task of the day. 

Hot Lips 2 Collection - Lippie Shades 
Enigmatic Edward - Hydrating clear 
Inspired by Edward Enninful

JK Magic - peachy nude-rose 
Inspired by J.K.Rowling 

Angel Alessandra - sunset peachy nude 
Inspired by Alessandra Ambrosio 

Glowing Jen - tawny beachy rose 
Inpsired by Jennifer Aniston

Dancefloor Princess - cool  60's pop pink 
Inspired by Kylie Minogue 

Amazing Amal - elegant soft berry pink 
Inspired by Amal Clooney 

Carina's Star - modern soft peach coral 
Inspired by Carina Lau 

In Love with Olivia - pretty, luscious pink 
Inspired by Olivia Palermo 

Patsy Red - iconic statement-making red
Inspired by Patsy Tilbury, Charlotte's Mom

Red Hot Susan  - wearable,  tawny orange-red
Inspired by Susan Sarandon 

Viva La Vergara - soft wine 
Inspired by Sofia Vergara 

Summer Bucket List

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

With the unofficial start to summer finally here, its time I compiled a list of some of the things I want to do, see and enjoy this summer. If you didn't already know, this summer is a pretty big one for me because June marks my 10 year heart transplant anniversary. It's pretty wild to think it has actually been 10 very full, exciting and challenging years since I got my new lease on life. So, in celebration of that beautiful event, why not spend the whole summer celebrating life in the most fun (and safe) ways.

1. Take a dessert making class
I've had a Sur La Table summer dessert making class bookmarked for ages and never found a right time to schedule or get my friends together all at once to finally attend. This summer, I'm making it a point to attend one of these cooking classes and dazzle my mom with pretty summer sweets that won't result in a call to the FDNY. I promise I won't burn down your kitchen, mom!

2. Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center 
A night of live music and dance lessons at beautiful Lincoln Center sounds like the perfect NYC summer night. It also looks like a whole lot of fun. Best of all, a night of dancing with fun twirling seems like the ideal time to wear one of the many full-skirted dresses I have handing in my closet.

3. Visit all the NYC Pop-ups & Touristy spots 
Last year, my sisters and I made a promise to check out all the fun pop-ups, cute instagram-friendly events happening around the city and really appreciate the sights we've called home for all our lives. It ended up being a pretty fun summer and resulted in some hilarious memories. I definitely want to make the effort to get us all together for the same kind of fun this year.

4. Summer Love with the City 
The summer is the perfect time to visit unloved neighborhoods or gorgeous areas of the city I haven't been to in years. I loved the seaport but haven't been since its renovations which was quite some time ago. The same with the lovely BPC area, which I last visited in my early high school years. I've become so comfortable going to the same areas of the city and finding new gems to love in those areas but it's time to explore and fall in love with old places once again.

5. Weekends/Day Trips Out of Town
Even this die hard New Yorker enjoys a day out of town. Long holiday weekends are my favorite to stay in the city because it's so quiet and less busy but taking a day away from city life on an ordinary summer weekend is a different vibe that is much appreciated. Whether it's to a beach or new town, a quick trip is always a great idea.

6. Coney Island
I haven't been to Coney Island since I was a kid. I hear it's changed plenty but the Wonder Wheel is still up and running. During my visit all those years ago, I completely lost it on the swinging seats when it stopped at the top of the wheel and want to look at that fear straight in the face once more. I may not have the guts to ride the scary red and blue swing seats, but I'll give the white still seats a go with plenty of cotton candy in hand to ease my fear of heights.

7. Boating at Central Park 
Since we're on the topic of fears, water is another one for me. My BIL spoke about an afternoon of kayaking on the Hudson and the thought alone made me want to run away. While I may be too chicken to for this water activity, I'll try a safer option of boating at Central Park. It's equally beautiful, much smaller and there's a beautiful lunch at the Boathouse waiting for me after.

8. Summer Sporting Events 
Living so close to Citi Field and the Billie Jean King National Tennis center you'd think I'd make it to sporting events often during the summer. I'd be lucky to get in two Mets games a summer which is pretty sad. Most of my friends find baseball ridiculously boring so finding a great game watching companion is pretty slim. Thankfully, that seems to be changing this summer. With some dates already scheduled, this fashionista will be at various sporting events this summer season.

9. Movies at the Park 
My favorite activity for the summer is attending one of the grand movie nights at Bryant or Central Park or the many other lovely outdoor venues around the city. These nights usually play popular old movies in a very fun fashion in some of the best settings in the city. It's a great activity to gather your friends and catch up over a great movie. A major upgrade from your standard Netflix night at home.

The Best of Spring Beauty

Friday, May 17, 2019

Come spring, I'm all about lightening up my beauty routine and find myself reaching for weightless products that feel effortless on the skin and lend to a more fresh and effortless beauty look. From my favorite shadow palette to innovative products and multitasking wonders from my favorite natural and luxury brands, I've rounded up the best spring beauty products you should try now.

Smith & Cult Veiled Threat Weightless Micro-Blurring Foundation (comes in 42 shades)
With the Smith & Cult brand growing into a full beauty brand which is delivering impressive product launches, I was thrilled to hear about their new foundation. The velvety formulation of these foundation is only the beginning of its wonderful features. Concentrating on providing a radiant and more hydrated complexion, this impressive 12-hour coverage includes ingredients like aloe vera and chlorophyll which lends to a more improved skin texture and overall brightness. Best of all, their inclusive 42-shade range offers a helpful shade finder quiz to ensure you get the perfect match.

Arbonne It's All In The Eyes Volume 1 Eye Shadow Palette 
You may have first read about this amazing palette in my Valentine's Day post and I'm happy to report that I'm keeping this versatile collection of modern neutrals in heavy rotation for the spring. The earthy tones and flattering shades beautifully enhance the eyes with excellent color payoff in soft matte and satin finishes. I love using the bolder shades Forest (green), Amber (soft gold peach) and Red Rock (Rusty Red) as accent shades smoked out along the lower lash line in lieu of eye liner. This not only adds an unexpected element of color but makes the eyes pop without looking too dramatic. Unlike other products, the botanical-rich (cucumber extract, sunflower seen oil) formulation of these eye shadows contribute to its smooth texture and application.  Best of all, its compact design fits into slim makeup bags making it the perfect travel palette.

ILIA Color Haze Pigment (comes in 5 shades, color Stutter shown above)
An ultra-creamy and dreamy pigment that's also muti-functional - sign me up!
Great to throw in the you makeup or beach bag, this pigment product really delivers a flattering flush of color on both your cheeks and lips in an easy fashion. Additionally, it perfectly adjusts to your personal intensity and dries down to a hydrated matte finish for a more polished look. If you're looking for a more intense hue, this cream product nicely builds without that dreaded caked on texture. Featuring Jojoba and Coconut oils, this whipped pigment is also both conditioning and soothing on the skin and lips. I love this lightweight cream color product for the spring season because it offers the perfect amount of color without using lots of product. Apply it on the cheeks, blending out in a soft-focus fashion for an instant fresh-faced look or pat pigment on the lips for pretty stained-effect pout.

Laura Mercier Sun-Kissed Veil - Riviera Sun
Achieving that chic sun-kissed glow has never been easier with this light-weigh bronzing balm. This illuminating bronzing product gives the skin the perfect dewy finish and creates a elegant, sheer golden veil on the skin. To mimic that lit-from-the-sun glow in a flash, apply the product along the face using your fingertips and softly diffuse the product as you pat onto the skin. A creamy bronzing balm like this is perfect to have in your beauty bag as brushes aren't required for application and can be used on the body as well. Applying along your arms and legs can create a quick warm weather glow on-the-go.

Images: Courtesy of Smith & Cult, Arbonne, ILIA Beauty, Laura Mercier 

5 Fool-Proof Ways To Tame Frizz On Rainy Days

Saturday, May 4, 2019

April showers bring May flowers and FRIZZ.

Rainy weather may lead to beautiful blossoms but they also tend to wreak havoc on our hair. From humidity to wind, spring rain can ruin a good hair day the moment you step out the door. With NYC experiencing consistent rain for the past couple of weeks, with more on the way, this seemed like the perfect time to write up a post on my best tips to tame frizzy tresses during wet weather.

Sharing my favorite products and hard-learned hair lessons, here are my tried-and-true tips on keeping the frizz at bay while keeping hair stylish:

1. Dry Hair Well
If you're like me, a great hair day begins with freshly washed hair. While some may want to skip a wash an rainy day, washing hair may be inevitable. Humidity likes any kind of moisture so it's important to really blow dry the hair from root to tip. Now is not the time to skimp on the effort - every bit of dampness you leave it your hair will ultimately frizz in this tricky weather. If you don't want your hair to look fluffy in a messy fashion, blow dry the hair in smaller sections to ensure all moisture is properly dried.

2. Prime Styling Products 
A rainy day is the perfect time to break out heavy-duty styling products that will not only protect the hair but diminish frizz while keeping styled hair in place. The best product to have on hand for such days is Living Proof Instant De-Frizzer, an ultra-conditioning finishing spray that packs a frizz-fighting punch (a hair taming power of over 90%). Another product I love using on hair, especially during wet weather is Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Oil. This lightweight oil smooths hair and adds a beautiful healthy shine while serving as a heat and UV protectant while calming frizz. Best of all, this oil tames pesky flyaways and extra frizz at the crown with minimal application. I like to blend a small drop onto my finger tips and gentle pat onto the crown for a polished finish. To seal in your look, Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Texture Spray offers a light mist of medium hold and allows the hair to have touchable body without weighing down the hair or using a ton of product.

3. Avoid Touching or Playing with Hair
Keep your hands off your hair. Constant touching or playing with hair only invites more frizz and unwanted texture. I can't tell you how many times I thought smoothing my hair with my hands would calm down the frizz but was sadly mistaken. The constant touching created more friction and awful frizz - an all around bad move.

4. Avoid Pretty Curled Styles 
A rainy day is not the time for perfectly styled curls. Chances are they will not hold up in rainy, humid weather and lead to an unwanted puffy look. Trust me as I have been on this side of a tragic hair day one too many times. These are the days to opt for sleeker looks and straighter blowouts.

5. Embrace Hair Accessories & New Looks 
A week of rain is just the time to try that chic ponytail or braided style you've been eyeing. Additionally, pinning the hair back with a trendy barrette or pin is stylish way to hide frizz-prone tresses while looking polished. Luckily, hair accessories are making a major comeback and New Yorkers have a wealth of options in this dreary wet weather. My favorite way to quickly tame hair in a flash is pulling my hair in a low ponytail and popping on a stylish silk scarf headband - quick, chic and out the door.


Discovering Pili Ani and How it's Improving My Hypertrophic Scarring

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Brand
Pili Ani in a not like any brand I've used before. This Filipino skincare company features a truly unique ingredient in their products which is an absolute game changer. Originating in Bicol, the southern island region of the Philippines, Pili Ani was built around the rich oils of the pili tree, which is specific to this location. Rosalina Tan, creator and proponent of organic agriculture, gravitated to this "chosen tree"and focused primarily on its beneficial oils.

These potent oils -- pili oil, which is found in the fruit's pup and elemi oil, which is found in the tree's bark -- carry intensely moisturizing qualities as well as being antioxidant-rich and have skin firming properties. These vital oils coupled together are the star ingredients in their exclusive skincare line.

The Key Product
While their multi-dimensional products are promoted as ultra-hydrating, fine-line and wrinkle diminishing skin wonders, pili oil is rich in Vitamin A and E which also aids greatly in healing. I was thrilled to learn more about the pili oil and was excited to hear stories of skin ailments and scarring healed through its use. I couldn't wait to get my hands on their Intense Hydrating Facial Cream and try it on my own scars, of which I have plenty.

With so much hope and being so moved by the brand's story and testimonies, I wondered if this product would work on my aggressive, hypertrophic scarring, With a lot of patience, I put their cream to the test.

To help explain the degree of my major scarring, I should explain a bit and how they develop. Oh boy are they frustrating.

My Scar Story
Caused by trauma, some of my scars are more extreme than others. Surgery is a form of trauma which causes inflammation of the tissue. With time that inflammation converts into a scar, sometimes becoming a hypertrophic scar (keloid). This kind of scar is a thickened, elevated scar that grows beyond the measures of a surgical lesion. As someone who has experienced extensive surgery, I am all too familiar with keloiding and found that my skin responds to all trauma with this kind of collagen-rich scarring.

The most frustrating and decades-old scarring is on my shoulders which was caused by a terrible sunburn. As the skin naturally-healed and peeled away, it caused small tears in my skin which healed over in large, puffy, dark-toned keloid scars. Growing with time, these were painful, tight scars which would pull on the skin. I didn't know how to tackle them at the time and tried everything under the sun to treat and heal.

Keloiding is my skin's natural response to healing. That meant cuts, surgery wounds, or even a pesky blemish could and would heal as an unsightly keloid. I refused to get cosmetic work (injectables and laser therapy) or have them surgically cut out as the chance of them returning or getting worse/bigger was far too high. Additionally, the amount of scars and area of coverage was far too much. The time, pain and money involved to treat by these cosmetic methods without a guarantee was not worth it.  I knew a topical treatment was my only method.

The Results
Vitamin E was working the best so far. Discovering that Vitamin E was a component found in pili oil, I had high hopes and started to lather my scars in their Intensely Hydrating Facial Cream as a new at-home treatment method. The progress was slow and while I secretly wished for a instant response, I held on and continued use. To my surprise the condition of my scars, even those decades-old shoulder keloids which I was so self conscious of, began to improve with use.

With a few months of consistent use, Pili Ani's cream has not only improved the texture of my keloids but has began evening out their color and lightening the harsh darkness, The raised-puffy nature of my scars haas also flattened which is such an improvement from their initial state. A keloid is very tough to the touch and with use, the areas of intense hypertrophic scarring has softened and continues to do so. Best of all, the painful strain I feel in each scar has finally settled due to do the intense hydration.

Like all great things, this is not an over night cure-all. It took consistent use and twice-a-day application to garner any results. I imagine it would work much quicker if the product is applied to a fresh scar. The scars I've treated are many years old and therefore require more product and greater attention. I have used Vitamin E creams and various oils in the past, in the same fashion, to no results. It is this uniquely blended, pili oil-rich cream that has really delivered an overall improved change in the condition of my scars.

Pili Ani has become a major staple in my daily morning/evening routine and I can't rave about it enough. I have been so embarrassed of my scars which constantly draw odd looks and comments. I am thrilled to proudly show them thanks to the help of Pili Ani. While I know my scars tell a visual story that will never be fully erased, I'm so glad I found a product that truly works and heals the additional troubles that come along with my scars and has improved their overall look and texture.

Hair Pin - Asos | Lace Bralette - Free People | Robe - Flora Nikrooz

Currently Loving - Kristin Ess Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub

Monday, April 1, 2019

As the weather cools, it's completely normal to see your skin dry out and require twice as much moisture than the warmer months of the year. While we're inclined to drench the skin on our faces and bodies with moisture-rich products, we often forget that our scalps need the same attention.

The winter season tends to strip the scalp of its natural hydration and leaves behind a flaky, somewhat irritated surface in need of extra attention. Though it may seem like you would need a plethora of hair care products to remedy each issue separately, I found a single product that is getting to the root of our troubled winter scalp concerns. 

Kristin Ess' amazing hair care range for Target recently launched an effective scalp-targeted hair care roundup with products providing a hefty dose of protective TLC. More specifically, the Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, which has changed the way I look at my scalp health. 

Prior to shampoo, this richly-formulated sugar scrub is meant to be applied directly to the scalp and massaged in small circular motions. This method gently exfoliates the targeted area while softly breaking up buildup and flakes. I found that my scalp started to flake more during the brutally cold winter and this product effectively lessened the flaking and subsequent roughness from the buildup. Additionally, I found that while my scalp feels incredibly clean after use, it's more hydrated without producing more oil, an issue I found with most hydrating conditioners and masks. Greasy roots the next day after a wash is not something I want after using a high-quality product. 

Along with its lovely subtle scent, I feel that my hair has become stronger from prolonged use and see less breakage and fallout. This could be a result of the Zip-Up technology unique to this product. This exclusive complex aids weaker bits of the hair (the cuticle and split ends) while promoting overall healing and protection against those pesky environmental irritants. 

Much like the skin on our face, we need a product that tackles seasonal scalp issues while offering enough protection and healing long after the product is applied. While this product has rebalanced my suffering winter scalp, my overall hair health has great improved. Best of all, this genius hair product allows me to skip an extra day (three) between washes and still feel fresh and clean without losing its bounce/natural volume. 

How Basic Invite is Taking Custom Invitations and Stationary To The Next Level

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thank You to Basic Invite for Sponsoring This Post 
Follow Basic Invite on Your Favorite Social 

It all starts with your invitation. 
An invite to a personal event or celebration should be as unique as the event itself. While custom invite services have been around for quite sometime, I recently approached by Basic Invite, a unique website that is taking customization to the next level in more ways than one. Whether you're in the market for invitations, save the dates, or personal stationary, Basic Invite's easily navigated site previews a stunning collection of options in every respective category and beyond. The best part of it all, their unique service allows you to edit and customize every design element in a color of your choice. 

The sophisticated color library available on Basic Invite goes far beyond the standard colors of the rainbow. It features over a whopping 180-shades from which you can pick and apply to your chosen design. Along with color, the options of fonts is equally vast. As someone who prefers an amplified touch or an unexpected hint of elegance in paper goods, I was so excited to learn that they also offer flat foil (gold, rose gold, silver) options as well. A truly luxurious design experience, this degree of customization can really allow you to create a special invite that expresses your personality and taste in the finest fashion. 

A New Way to Look At Invitations 
Upon browsing their beautifully designed invitations, I found that photos could also be added to an invite as a fun layer of customization. With graduation season just around the corner, Basic Invite's incredibly tailored designed experience is certainly one to try when creating your own graduation party invitations. As special as the event itself, the beautiful graduation invitations offered by the website reads professional and elegant yet incredibly stylish. Far from the traditional fonts and classic grad-centric clip art, these ultra-classy, modern designs will make for a memorable invite that's pretty enough to frame. Whether your style is fun, sporty, chic or beyond, the stunning array of options will satisfy your every need. 

The only website with an impressively grand collections of colors, incorporating your school colors into your grad invite design would be a breeze. For those who want a more glitzy invite, their Hollywood graduation invitations also feature the luxe option of the exclusive foil. 

A Personal Look at Stationary 
In addition to the dazzling collection of various invitations, Basic Invite is taking standard stationary and upgrading it with incredible quality and style. While I love a nice stack of personalized stationary, most times I find myself disappointed at the cost of a poorly made product. The lack of quality I've experienced in the past with various companies may range from color pay-off, paper quality to the overall printing of the design itself. If the quality of your own stationary is weak, it can certainly hurt some aspect of your personal branding.

I decided to give Basic Invite's business stationary and notecards a go and was welcomed by a dizzying array of lovely designs. While I absolutely adored a handful of designs which aligned with my aesthetic, I ultimately settled on the stunning and sophisticated Script Monogram Business Stationary. This is where I got to experience their customization options first hand. I was able to swap colors to my liking (I chose Pumpkin for my base rather than black) and loved the font in the color present (white). Another interesting aspect of this design experience was getting to edit the text. Thanks to their instant preview and real-time editing feature, I had the ability to edit the original design to include my whole name rather than just the initial.

I also appreciated the unexpected editing touch which included the website's logo at the back of the card. I loved how the whole stationary card, including something as small as a logo, could be customized. Additionally, a unique factor which amplifies their website's exceptional services consists of a complimentary set of peal and seal envelopes which are delivered with almost all orders and can be matched in a color of your choosing before finalizing your order. 

With a pleasant delivery which arrived beautifully packaged well before the estimated arrival date coupled with the unmatched quality and wallet-friendly rates, I highly recommend Basic Invite for your next invitation and stationary needs. For the month of March the site will be offering 15% off your order with code: 15FF51

Valentine's Day Beauty Inspired By Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's hard not to plan your Valentine's Day beauty look without reaching for all things pink and red.

While most imagine a classic V Day look to be created around a bold red pout, I wanted to do something a bit different this year. Inspired by Living Coral, Pantone's 2019 color of the year, I wanted this Valentine's look to be fresh and bright with the same romantic tones you'd expect from a classic look. 

This look, which will feature soft coral tones and sultry tones on the eyes, is all about soft romantic tones, flawless skin and poppy coral lip. Using these key products, here's how I'm reimagining the Valentine's Day makeup:

The key to achieving a flawless base is amply treating it with proper skincare. Prior to applying any foundation or concealing products, richly hydrating the skin is a must. For this look, I wanted to amp up the skin itself to create a perfect canvas for color and chose, Pixi Rose Caviar Essence, an ultra-light hydrating serum. This antioxidant-rich wonder product acts as a blurring product and primer in one which brightens the skin while its botanical-based formulation gives the skin an added boost of radiance. 
Sultry, muted hues would beautifully complement the coral tones of this beauty look. Arbone's recent launch of their It's All In The Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Volume 1 is the perfect palette housing an array of earthy shadows for this makeup. 
Starting with the lightest shade, Fog, use a fluffy flat brush to highlight the brow brown. Then, with a clean flat medium-sized brush, saturate the lid in Amber. Using a tapered-tip brush, Softly blend clove into the outer corner and gradually bring the color into the crease. To brighten the inner corner of the eyes, use a pencil brush and apply Desert onto the tear ducts. 
To line the eyes, use a fine angled brush and blend Cypress tightly along the upper lash line. Finally, to define the lower lash line, lightly apply Amber along the lower lash line using a flat liner brush.
Arbone It's All In The Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Volume 1, $56

Lush, flirty lashes are must for this look and achieving it is easier than you think. Choosing the right mascara is crucial as the formula and brush have the power to take your lashes from limp to fluttery. A personal favorite and instant lash booster, Lancome Monsieur Big is one of the greatest products to achieve that full, voluminous look with a few coats. Best of all, this iconic mascara, which lives up to its name, comes in limited-edition Valentine's Day heart packaging making it an instant gift for yourself or your favorite girl friend.
Lancome Monsieur Big Heart, $25

To illustrate the beautiful Living Coral shade, colored blush is to be applied to cheeks. Using a small blush brush, delicately swipe Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact in Orange Pinks and blend onto the cheeks, making sure to softly diffuse the product up and outwards. 
The focal point of this look is the lips To find the perfect shade mimicking Living Coral, I turned to Clarins newest Joli Rouge lipstick range. The ultra-nourishing, creamy lipsticks, which are formulated to last without drying out the lips are a perfect pick for this love-centric holiday. This stunning range is offered in three finishes- satin (Joli Rouge), shiny (Joli Rouge Brilliant), matte (Joli Rouge Velvet) - and made to fit your unique needs.After browsing the richy-hued collection, I found 711 Papaya to the perfect bold coral hue to top off this Living oral inspired beauty look.
Clarins Joli Rouge Velvet, $30

Valentine's Day Manicures with JINsoon

Thursday, February 7, 2019

JINsoon "Sweetheart Stripes" Manicure | Valentine's Day 2019
Breakdown Below

Valentine's Day is one holiday you can indulge in all the darling heart motifs along with red and pink toned everything. Incorporating these joyful tones and designs into our beauty routine can spark fun results. When it comes to nail art, the creative designs one can create inspired by this love-centric holiday is endless and no one does is it better than nail guru and leading influential nail artist Jin Soon Choi.

Creatively remastering classic Valentine's Day themes and imagery, Jin Soon has created two unique and ultra-darling nail designs that are sure to dazzle. The first is a dialed up take on the iconic shades of the holiday whereas the second design is a take on the iconic conversation candy hearts we all adore on V Day in a modern color palette. Using her own incredible polish range, here's how you can create these looks: 

Look 1 -- Sweetheart Stripes

Step 1 - The key to creating a perfect manicure is to be sure you have clean polish-free nails and no signs of any left over residue that may linger after polish removal. Once clean, cut, buffed and shaped to your desired length and shape, you're ready for polish. 

Step 2 - Once nails are sufficiently prepped, its time to prime the nails. Apply a single layer JINsoon Power Coat to the the nails. This base coat not only protects the nails from additional coats of polish but allows the following products to adhere to the nails in a more even and smooth fashion. 

Step 3 - Now it's time for color. For the base shade, apply two coats of JINsoon Doux, a sweet powder pink shade, to the nails. Allow to dry a bit before moving on to design.

Step 4 - To start this chic striped design, you'll begin with JINsoon Aero. Using a striping brush, dip into Aero and neatly draw a single in the center of the nail from cuticle to tip. This will be a marker and foundation of lined design. 

Step 5- Once that is done, the curved lines will be created next. Before moving onto the next shade, clean the striping brush with polish remover and gently remove the excess onto a paper towel. Using JINsoon Hope, a creamscile orange, create a curved line to the left of the center line in the same direction as the previous line. 

Step 6 - Simply repeat the previous step on the right side of the center line but this time use JINsoon Love, a sophisticated bold pink. 

Step 7 - Allow the design to set a moment. Once set, seal in the look by layering a coat of JINsoon Top Gloss to the nails. This final sealing touch locks in the design while giving it a professional, lustrous finish. 

Look 2 -- Candy Hearts 

Step 1 - Removing all traces of old polish is a must before any any manicure. Hydrate the cuticles, cut and/or shape the nails to your liking prior to any polish application. 

Step 2- Once nails are prepped, prime the nails with a single coating of JINsoon Power Coat. This brilliant base coats the nails in a protective base, filling in any ridges that may be present on the nails and creates a clean  and fortified base ready for color. 

Step 3 - For the foundation color, use JINsoon Doux, a pale pink tone. Apply two event coats to each nail and allowing a moment to set in between applications to avoid streaks or uneven spots.  

Step 4 & 5 - Once the foundation polish sets, these two steps will detail how to create the curved heart shape design. To begin painting the left side of the heart, use JINsoon Aero and create a curved shape half way down the nail. Continue on the next nails with shades JINsoon Hope and JINsoon Love.  Once complete, the same curved method will be done on the right side of the nail, making sure to overlap the previously created curve. Only this time, you'll use JINSoon Spriffy on each nail to create the mixed sweetheart candy heart look. 

Step 6 - Allow the design to set a moment before sealing the look with a coat of JINsoon Top Gloss 
The finally look will be ultra-glossy, chic multi-toned candy heart-inspired tips. 


Images courtesy of JINsoon

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