the estee edit late night eraser brightening eye balm0

the estee edit late night eraser brightening balm

let me preface this post by saying that i got up at 3:45 a.m. today.

thankfully that’s not the norm (i’m en route to NYC for the day and had to catch an early train), but please tell that to the skin under my eyes, which is wearing all signs of a too-short sleep cycle. whilst my tired self certainly feel like it could use a third cup of coffee, today’s hero product has worked some major magic on the puffs and creases i woke up with to reveal an under eye situation that’s perky and bright.

inside this tube by estee lauder is a thick, luxurious, not-at-all greasy balm with a gorgeous pearly sheen. i like to apply it over my moisturizer (either before or after my primer, depending on when i remember) and on the sleepiest of mornings, it smooths into place easily. it works like an extra hour or two of rest, delivering instant life and brightness to the half moon area under my eyes, counteracting puff and discoloration and basically working like hangover cure for my entire face.

while it’s less hydrating than this option (and it lacks SPF) it seriously changes the game in dire lack-of-sleep situations. in fact, the other morning i thought i could skip it, completed my makeup routine and then applied it OVER my foundation to the tune of outstanding results.

for anyone who likes to indulge or stay up past their bedtime, this wonder product is one to keep on hand because you’ll just never know when you need it. if you’re me, you’ll need it monday through friday without fail, but your coworkers will be none the wiser about your shenanigans / you will come off as the magical person who can survive on a few hours sleep and still slay her ad agency brief. (here’s hoping!)

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tata harper elixir vitae eye serum0


tata harper elixir vitae eye serum

i don’t know how to tell you this … but i’m in love with a $265 eye serum.

the reason that i’m even writing this post instead of hiding in shame in my bathroom (wondering how i will ever justify repurchasing this magic potion) is that it delivers on every single claim that it makes. so if you can imagine pooling all of the money that you’ve spent on inefficient eye treatments (i.e. overpriced moisturizers) and putting it towards the one thing that might actually change your entire face, keep reading.

tata harper elixir vitae eye serum is targeted, ultra concentrated, and has completely reversed all signs of aging around my eyes. fine lines are plumped, crows feet have vanished, and my eyes have never looked so youthful. the smoothing effects were visible after the very first application and the crop of budding wrinkles that had taken over my eye area are harder and harder to find every morning since.

i could honestly write pages on why i love this stuff so much, but it really comes down to the simple fact that it gets the job done. my eyes are as bright and full of volume as they were…well, i can’t even remember when. the bottle is massive and the tiniest drop covers both eyes. coming from someone who doesn’t even pay this kind of money for denim, i’m telling you – this is the holy grail.

** alas if $265 isn’t in the cards, the reviews have been pouring in for this option as an alternative. (please let me know if you scoop it up – it’s high on my wish list and i am so curious to see if it delivers!)

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benefit brow bar at ulta beauty5

benefit brow bar at ulta beauty

about six months ago, i went to a threading appointment that left me bleeding. (it was my regular place, not my regular girl – she didn’t know what she was doing and it ended pretty badly for me.) since then, i opted to let my brows go for a very long time without waxing or threading. while i tried pretty hard to convince myself natural brows were in, they grew into a definitive hot mess.

while becoming more and more frustrated with their state of unruliness, i have been reading reviews of the benefit brow bar at ulta. on a recent stroll through the store, i decided that it was time to take the plunge.

my brow stylist was downright adorable. she was chatty and her brows looked amazing, so i instantly felt like i was in pretty good hands. she told me that she had been fully trained in benefit’s specific method of waxing brows. she mapped them out, filled them in, and then waxed everything that fell outside of the lines, talking me through the whole process and making me feel very comfortable.

she used an ultra gentle exclusive-to-benefit champagne wax – it almost has a mother of pearl sheen to it, seriously the prettiest wax that i have ever seen! she used a new wooden stick for every dip, completely eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination. (something i had never seen before, but now i know that i will be looking for it at every waxing.) the whole process was quick and painless. while some might find it weird to sit in the middle of a store and have your brows waxed, it wasn’t weird at all for me.

when she was done, she used a little powder to fill things in and the end results were absolute perfection. the sharpest lines, the most perfect taper, i could not be more obsessed with my brow shape and thickness. she really listened to me when i told her that i wanted things to look natural, but pulled together.

since then, the compliments have been pouring in and i have already sent countless people to the benefit brow bar at their local ulta. i was really impressed with the whole thing, by far the best brow experience that i have ever had.

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NYX retail store2

nyx haul the glossarie

it’s no secret that beauty is a very personal thing – but i think that we can all agree, finding amazing quality makeup at a great price point is worth its weight in gold.

for many, NYX is leading the way in this area. the brand is bursting at the seams with amazing quality products (somehow getting even better with time!) at crazy price points that are always right within my budget.

fans of the brand will already know that actual NYX stores are popping up around the country. i recently visitedthe location in tyson’s corner (VA) – and to say that i’m impressed would be an understatement.

the store carries over 2,000 NYX products – including many things that i didn’t even know existed. it’s a beauty lover’s wonderland that has to be seen to be believed. after i regained my balance from nearly passing out over product euphoria, a quick chat with the head trainer for the brand told me that NYX caters to the self-taught makeup artist, especially those of us who have learned our makeup mastery from YouTube and bloggers.

my favorite space in the store was the beauty bar. the DIY station is stocked with an oversized mirror and iPads where guests can watch tutorials and easily replicate looks with any of the NYX products available. genius! i loved having the freedom to play, but still know that the super sweet employees are standing by to lend a helping hand in any way that they can.

while in store, i took advantage of the opportunity to try some products and learn a new trick. i have been trying to master the contoured cheek, so i perched at the beauty bar and away we went. i loved the NYX employee’s educational mindset. she walked me through one side and then handed off all of the tools so that i could try the technique on my own. the palette she used did amazing things for my cheekbones!

visiting the NYX store and meeting the team was such a pleasure. (don’t you love when one of your favorite brands is run by amazing people?!) keep your eye out for NYX stores opening up all over the country and please come back to tell us about any new product discoveries! our NYX wish list is ever growing…

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why i shampoo twice2

jennifer aniston hair meme

(story of my life ^ ^ ^)

i always scoffed at the “repeat” portion of my shampoo instructions, but it turns out that those manufacturers are really onto something. i have gone through the last 34 years believing that one round of lathering and rinsing is enough, but by double washing my hair, i can actually get my hard working blowout to last much longer. since discovering this trick, my new reality is monday and friday washings only and 30 more minutes of sleep 3x per week.

my hair stylist had once advised me that double washing my hair was actually better than washing it more often (i.e. every day or every other day) because more washes mean more heat styling. in my monday morning shower, i shampoo twice (lather-rinse-lather-rinse-conditioner-rinse), finding that my hair lathers up so much more the second time around.

out of the shower, i don’t notice anything different when it comes to styling, so on day 1, it’s business as usual. on day 2, my hair is looking GOOD, with more volume than ever before and no need for dry shampoo. on day 3, i usually find that it starts to get greasy in the afternoon, so i preempt that mid-day disappointment with a dose of dry shampoo in the morning. on day 4, things are still in really good shape. i could probably get away with wearing it down, but i usually opt for a voluminous pony or pumped-up top knot. on day 5, i’m ready to wash it again but, in truth, i could squeeze out a 5th day if i really needed to.

(side note: i’ve also been doing this before wearing my hair curly and along with using this wave texture spray, i can get a curly do to last 3 days easy.)

double washing has extended my time between washes, cut down on the need for dry shampoo (resulting in a much happier scalp) and i swear that it has also made my hair more healthy. i have noticed a big difference in the look and feel of my hair since i started doing it.

so, in summary – better hair and more sleep? now, we’re winning.

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on lash tinting7

34 damsel in dior

my lashes have always been fine.

they’re not thin or sparse, they’re not short and stubby, they hold curl fairly well – but still, they are nothing to write home about. and for me, fine just isn’t enough, because i’m a girl who likes a lot of lash. i don’t know why it’s the one part of my face that i focus on, but something about a full fan of fringe just makes me feel on top of the world.

you would be hard-pressed to find a mascara that i have not tried. i have liked a lot of them over the years, but finding the love formula has been quite an undertaking. a few of them come to mind favorably – currently this one – but none of them are really delivering the end result that i’m after on their own.

a couple of weeks ago, i read this article on lash tinting. it’s something that has been on my radar for the better part of a decade (my aunt has been getting it done forever and she has always sung it’s praises), but this seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge. so, I googled and yelped my way to a local salon and went in for the kill.

the $25 treatment was a piece of cake. lay down on a bed with your eyes closed for 15 minutes? no problem. my aesthetician even warned me of burning and stinging after she cleaned the excess dye off of my lashes, but i didn’t experience that at all.

now, for results. while my cautious caretaker prefaced the whole thing by telling me tinting would not make my lashes thicker or longer, i must fundamentally disagree. the dye gripped onto lashes that i did not know i had, ones that i have never before been able to discover with any type of mascara wand. it also made my lashes completely black from root to tip, meaning that yes! they do in fact look longer. in fact, my lash line actually looks tight lined 24-7 because the roots of my lashes are so dark and my bottom lashes are full and beautiful. the whole set looks permanently mascara’d without the risk of smudging.

these days, when I wake up in the morning now, my eyes look halfway done! i love running around on the weekends now without mascara because my lashes look longer, fuller and very much darker. mascara, what used to be my obsession, has now become an afterthought. it’s great if i have time – and it definitely still adds oomph / enhances the situation, especially in visible length, but it’s no longer absolutely necessary.

the aesthetician told me that my dye job should last six weeks, at which point i will definitely be going back for more. so, while i know that I am very late to the lash tinting party, i had to share this big beauty win.

do you get your lashes tinted?

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Posted in eyes, lashes | 7 Comments

algenist REVEAL color correcting radiant primer0

Algenist REVEAL Color Correcting Radiant Primer

as my skin has been aging, i have been finding a makeup primer to be more and more necessary. the layer of extra skincare and prep really help my face look more polished and my foundation to wear longer than if i had applied it directly over my moisturizer. however, as i have been testing various options, one thing became very clear – a good primer is hard to find.

recently, algenist REVEAL color correcting radiant primer started popping up across the web as a must-have for spring. it has a color correcting property (a super trendy and of-the-moment concept) that completely evens out my skin and prevents me from overdosing on foundation. out of the tube, the primer is white with small granules of color. as i smooth it onto my face, the colors burst and blend together to create a sheer wash of tint that erases dullness, neutralizes yellow tones, cancels out redness and softens any brown spots or dark circles.

from there, my foundation glides over top seamlessly and i find that i can get away with using far less product for that flawless finish. it provides a nice, even canvas for the rest of my makeup with hardly any effort at all. besides just looking great, my foundation lasts through the entire day and still appears just as fresh when i get home as it did when i left the house.

this one is a major win for my skincare routine, especially because it hasn’t caused a single clogged pore or breakout. if you’re on the hunt for an innovative primer that will minimize imperfections from your hairline to your chin, algenist is your new secret weapon.

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clinique pep-start eye cream5

clinique pep-start eye cream

first week at the new job was both thrilling and exhausting. my new schedule means that i am awake at 5 daily and back into the routine of getting myself presentable (i.e. dressed) for the office. while i would love to tell you that the reduction in beauty rest has no effect on my face, the truth is that my under eyes cannot tell a lie. the puff and darkness are making themselves known.

i used to think that there was no late-night shenanigans that could not be concealed by it cosmetics bye bye under eye, but this week quickly showed me that if the damage is bad enough, concealer alone will not hide your sins. thankfully, clinique is all over the solution to this common problem and their latest eye innovation, pep-start, is here to save the day.

pep-start is a lightweight eye cream meant to be worn during the day to wake up your face on contact. it instantly hydrates (feels super soothing and ultra refreshing) and visibly brightens, erasing all signs of not tending to your own basic sleep needs. i like to use my ring finger to apply instead of the ball tip because it’s a bit more gentle and i find that it’s easier to work with. once in place, the oil-free formula absorbs quickly, so my foundation stays put when i layer it over top (no creasing!).

aside from brightening my eyes – and i mean really brightening, my dark circles may be minimal, but they vanish after a dose of this stuff – pep start has also really softened the skin. there is far less need (actually, usually no need) for concealer once my face is all done up with primer and foundation. one dose per day provides enough extra hydration to help keep things looking fresh, rested and alert.

i am so pleased with the peak performance from this bright orange tube. i don’t know that any other daytime eye cream has ever made such a difference in my appearance!

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nate berkus mirror

i’ve had my eye on this nate berkus mirror ever since it popped up on rue magazine. it just seemed like something i needed for my desk – because swatching is serious business, and i’m a bit tired of popping into my powder room every time i test something new. i actually saved the date for when it would be available (today) and was delighted to find that not only is it very well-priced, but it’s also 10% off with code april10. win!

to catch all of my favorite products-to-be-posted i am fully lusting this super sweet dish, made by hand in brooklyn. i’m undecided on which glaze to go for – lashes or little lashes – or, let’s be honest, probably just both.

for added inspiration, i’m all over this “make it happen” mug from anthro. i love the aesthetic and i think it will be the perfect motivational boost throughout the day. that, and a little bit of this essential oil formulated to help with concentration.

what do you like to keep at your desk?

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packing a daily makeup bag1

sephora daydream voyager bag

i’m starting a new job on monday – and it’s been a good long while (five years to be exact) since i have commuted into an office daily. when considering this change of pace, obviously the very first place that my mind went was to my makeup bag. what do i need to have on hand? what will keep my face looking fab from 9 to 5?

for starters, a good hand cream is a must, followed by the best nail file, floss picks (trust me) and a crowd-pleasing, office-appropriate mini perfume. the kai oil is my current favorite, but it shares a place in my heart with this one and this one.

i tend to get shiny (read: i can barely make it to lunch without some kind of oil absorber) and i’m really taken with this solution from clinique. i’ll be stashing a retractable kabuki in alongside it, because dirty brushes tend to cause breakouts and well, that’s just not professional.

to take care of any touchups throughout the day, i find that i get the most miles out of a concealer that works for both my under eyes and my spots. i like a super creamy formula – this one is popular, but i’ve chosen this guy to take up permanent residence. love that it’s oil free and love, love the price point!

finally, i’ll pack a killer coral lip, one that’s moisturizing and easy to swipe on before a meeting.

tuck them all into one great-looking bag (with pineapple lining) and the sky’s the limit.

(at least, that’s what i’m telling myself.)

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Posted in bags, concealer, face, fragrance, lips, tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment