tips to nail your holiday manicure

how to nail your holiday manicure

the holidays call for manicures galore and since i like to change things up fairly often, i’ve taken to doing my nails myself more often than sitting down at the salon. here are a few things making my diy manicure routine a little easier this season:

squeaky clean nail beds: in order to make my at-home-polish last through the shuffle, i have learned to start with extra clean nail beds. instead of using a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, i take one of my simple eye make-up remover pads and run it over all ten tips. each wipe is oil free with skin conditioners, so polish sticks but my nails don’t get dry and brittle.

metallic polish: we all know the pain of trying to remove sparkle-licious lacquers. (seriously, who has time for that nonsense?) select a metallic polish that will give you all the glamour of the season without committing you to a lifetime of glitter. from left to right: clinique indie rock ($12.50, ester lauder brushed gold ($20), butter london petrol ($15), rgb copper ($18).

maximize your mileage: i found this tip in january’s instyle and think it’s kind of genius. when, inevitably, your nails start to fade, dip the tip of a bobby pin into gold polish and neatly dot it on. if you love the look of bordeaux, navy, hunter, or black nails but can’t stand when they go drab, this is the perfect trick to keep them looking sharp.

keep it pretty: you can also file this one under “pretty gifty.” anthropologie’s adorable nidus nail care case ($38) holds four polishes perfectly in place. with coated canvas and spill-safe lining, you can tote your favorite lacquers in style. plus, can you imagine gifting this cutie to your best one (packed with a polish or two, naturally)? such a cute concept!

estee lauder modern muse

estee lauder modern muse

at this point, i basically balk at the notion of a signature scent. beauty products barely survive long enough to last a week in my regimen, let alone a lifetime. but i’m not complaining! i’ve been testing the hottest new fragrances for fall and i have settled on my personal favorite – a perfume choice that has really surprised me.

estee lauder’s modern muse is a light, woody floral, with just the tiniest touch of vanilla to give it sweetness and warmth. it’s confident and feminine, not at all overwhelming and, best of all, it doesn’t smell a thing like grandma. (not that we don’t love you, grandma.)

while it technically launched over the summer, i was way too into this and this to pay it any attention. now that the weather is (finally) cooling and my fall wardrobe is coming into its own, i’ve been on the hunt for something a little more…grown up. i’ve smelled a few things but this one really snuck up on me and captured my heart. i’ve been spraying it onto my wrists and the nape of my neck for a little elegance with a lot of staying power.

while i’d love to say that this one is here to stay, let’s just say that i cleared off some room on the perfume tray so that the beautiful bottle could move in and make itself comfortable…at least until the next best thing comes along.

what fragrance will you be wearing this fall?

show me your lip bomb, elizabeth

eliabeth's lip bomb

name: elizabeth
number of products: 5
she says: couldn’t live without any of them!
the bomb: 

fresh sugar lip treatment spf 15 in berry, $22.50
fresh sugar lip gloss in sugar flirt, $18
kiehls lip balm #1, $7
elizabeth arden 8-hour lip protectant, $19.50
estée lauder all day lipstick in spiced cider, $18.50

i plucked elizabeth’s lip bomb from the pile of many for several reasons – not the least of which is its seasonal appropriateness. two lip balms known for their richness and healing, a tinted lip balm, a gloss and a lipstick both beautifully berry in color – it all sums up to one wickedly winter’esque #lipbomb. beyond that, the single thing on my shopping list this weekend has been elizabeth arden’s 8-hour cream and as i popped into my inbox this morning to put this post together, there it was staring me in the face! so thanks for the nudge, elizabeth. this girl has a date with the beauty counter.

if you want to see your #lipbomb in the glossarie, send it over to

holiday nails

holiday nails 2012

bobbi brown nail polish in black pearl, $18
face stockholm nail polish in pine for you, $10
estee lauder pure color in beautiful liar, $20
nars andy warhol nail polish in superstar, $18
dior diorific nail lacquer in lady, $26
l’oreal sparklicious, in drugstores
ciate ‘oil slick’ paint pot, $15
priti nyc in mulberry jam, $13.50

on my lips

on my lips

full-coverage base: stila’s long wear  lip color is subtle and stays put. a formula that begs to be layered under a gloss, the pigment is true to color and glides on with ease. because the applicator is much smaller than your standard lipstick, it’s a perfectly precise pop. the shade ‘lover’ is my current favorite for ruby-red, snow white lips.

gloss on top: i’ve been layering my new favorite lip gloss over absolutely everything. estee lauder’s pure color gloss in citron kiss is a golden yellow shimmer and it pairs perfectly with just about all of my lip products. it adds a lightweight gloss to anything matte and drying, warming up the darker shades that got me through the winter months. it’s a must-add essential to your lip wardrobe.

what’s on your lips?

ps – the voting continues and the competition is heating up! please vote in the allure beauty blogger awards today. i’m so excited about challenges four and five and really want you to see them :)

estee lauder sumptuous two tone mascara

contoured lashes were all over the spring and summer runways last fall, and i loved them.

a little known backstage trick used by the likes of estee lauder’s tom pechaux and covergirl’s pat mcgrath is to brush contrasting colors on the root and tips of your lashes for a beautiful, wide-eyed look. my favorite combination is to add brown tips to a bold, black lash. the result is stunning and thanks to estee lauder’s new sumptuous two tone eye-opening mascara, i no longer have to fumble with two tubes to get the same lush effect.

this shiny gold number houses two shades and two different brushes that are going to add some major wow to your morning eye routine. the big brush comber on the bottom gives bold volume in inky black while the microbrush on top adds a pop of eye-brightening color. estee actually recommends using the microbrush on lower lashes, but i’m loving it on the tips of top lashes for the contoured effect we saw on the runways.

this mascara delivers serious lash and neither brush clumps, bringing big-time drama sans smudging. it’s one fun trend you’ve just got to try, so make room in the makeup bag  – estee lauder has brought us beauty at its best.

new sumptuous two tone mascara is available in three shades (brown, plum, and blue) and you can find it at counters or online  for $28.

sunkissed bronzer for spring

bronzed beauty
*          *          *

i don’t know about you beauties, but my sallow complexion is screaming for some sun. some of my favorite powders and potions for warming things up:

in the center: josie maran bronzing powder, $30

clockwise from top, center: givenchy poudre croisiere, $50

benefit sunbeam, $26

smashbox fusion soft lights baked starburst, $30

sonia kashuk illumunating bronzer, $14.99

estee lauder bronze goddess luminous liquid bronzer, $28.50

lancome star bronzer magic bronzing brush, $33

physicians formula bronze booster glow-boosting season to season bronzer, $14.95

nars illuminator in orgasm, $30

estee lauder mad men color collection

i haven’t fallen prey to the mad men television phenom, but there’s no denying that the beauty during the 60′s era was ultra feminine and completely irresistible. the looks portrayed on the show are powerful, allowing the women to ooze confidence, but in the girliest of ways. they do put their faces on in front of a vanity table, do they not?

estee lauder has hitched their wagon to the amc hit and created a two-piece color collection capturing the true heart of the mad men beauty look. packaged up in vintage estee boxes straight from the 60′s (with a slight modern twist), the lipstick and creme rouge duo are to die for. each comes swathed in its own gorgeous golden case and slipped inside a gold fabric cover for protection. they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore, girls.

the lipstick in cherry is a deep, satiny red with fuchsia undertones and the creme rose in evening rose is a blendable berry. both products will look as amazingly elegant on your lips and cheeks as they do when you pull them out of your handbag. be prepared for some oohs and ahs from your fellow lady friends if you add these lovelies to your lineup!

the estee lauder mad men color collection is limited edition and now available online.

estee lauder idealist cooling eye illuminator

hi beauties, happy sunday! are you ready to meet a new miracle worker? gals and guys who struggle with dark undereye circles and puffiness will want to pay close attention to this one.

i have been uncharacteristically busy these past few weeks. over-caffeinating, under-hydrating, running ragged and not getting enough sleep. the consequences are not pretty – ugly, tired eyeballs that are dark and puffy.

in a desperate attempt to fool the outside world into thinking that i am an effortlessly well-rested lady, i have added a new product to my daily routine. i pat a dot of this estee lauder cooling eye illuminator under each eye, over my moisturizer and let it do its thing while i blowdry and straighten my hair in the mornings. the results are crazy insane.

after three weeks of daily use, my eyes look brighter and more rested. shadows and puffiness are gone – refreshed pretty skin is here to stay and i swear it lightened that delicate skin under my eye a full shade.

gotta make some room in the makeup jar, this little tube is sticking around.

estee finds her inner animal

estee lauder is no spring chicken. not that it’s a bad thing, she’s a brand with 60 years of incredible experience complete with iconic products and faces to represent them. that being said, i’m completely blown away by the latest product release which includes teal liquid eyeshadow and this stunning powder blush whose crowning glory is hot pink zebra stripes. it may just be the holy grail for my darling little sister who has long been on the hunt for a tall order of a cheekie that’s bronze, shimmery, and bright pink. i think this product has appeal for young’uns and the young at heart. i am so happy to see this industry leader break out of the “your mother’s makeup” mold and reveal her inner bombshell!