All Posts Tagged ‘Makeup Monday


makeup monday: my favorite nail colors for fall.


It’s September, y’all! Welcome. The start of my very favorite season is ramping up, and I just can’t wait for sweater weather and apple picking and Fall festivals on small town streets. It’s still 90 degrees out but WHATEV. It’s all Fall, all the time here at Plumber’s Daughter.

And with the turn in the seasons, so follows the turn in my beauty color palette — especially when it comes to my nails. It’s like my brain flips a switch on September 1 and I no longer crave the corals and oranges and pinks of the summer season; I want something dark and brooding, something with a little edge. Even if I’m going nude (on my nails, people, on my NAILS), I want it to feel distinctly seasonal.

For this fall, I’m really feeling the jewel tones (for those of you who know me well, this should not be a surprise). Whether a juicy shade of winey plum or a navy so dark it’s almost black, I love the impact a darker nail can have. Polish with an edge (pun intended). This time of year is also when I go for the metallics; not the bright sparkly golds or silvers you might see around the holidays, but the ‘dirty’, antique gold shades, ones with a hint of green in them. If you’re a bit more color averse than I am, nudes are still a great option for Fall, but go for something warmer, less pink more sandy brown. And if you’re looking to buck the trend while sticking with the season, try a bright orangey-red; it’s unexpected but still pairs well with flannels and over the knee boots.

Whether you’re willing to throw down some cash for your fingers and toes, or if you want a pop of color without the price tag, here are my favorite colors for Fall and my recommendations at every price point.

If you’re feelin’ fancy…

 If you want the biggest bang for your buck…

What about you? What are you rocking for the Fall season? 


makeup monday: beauty must-haves for your next vacation.

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Hey guys! It’s been a long time and I missed your faces. Summer is in full swing and that means I’ve been prioritizing outside time over inside time, and usually inside time is where the blog magic happens. But. I’m back! And it’s gonna be a good week.

Why, you ask? Because I just returned from a glorious visit to the islands, and by the islands, I mean Hawaii, and by glorious I mean it was the best. THE BEST. #thebest. And I want to talk about it forever and ever because it was pure magic. And I want to keep it fresh in my mind so I don’t forget the deliciousness that is the island life. So this week is Hawaii week over here on the old blog. From now until next Sunday, it’ll be all Aloha, all the time. Get ready. It’s gonna be great.

And to kick off this island extravaganza, we’re talkin’ travel beauty. Truth be told, my travel beauty routine isn’t much different than my summer beauty routine, in that I seek out products that are easy to use, good for the skin, and able to withstand the heat and humidity like champs. I do find, however, that travel beauty can be even a bit lazier than summer beauty (which is great!) because you don’t need to master that perfectly made up look; it’s more about blurring the edges and giving yourself that beachy glow (while also protecting your skin from the summer elements).

I also tend to seek out products that have multiple uses so 1) I don’t have to check a bag, and 2) I’m not that crazy lady at airport security who has like fifteen clear plastic bags full of toiletries instead of the allotted one bag (I’m still usually that crazy lady).

The following are the twenty things you’ll find in my travel beauty bag (I know twenty seems like a lot but that’s covering skin, hair and makeup…and yes, I count sunglasses as a beauty product…gotta protect those peepers!), all of which I’m able to fit (snugly) into one larger-sized cosmetic bag. These were lifesavers in Hawaii and kept me looking fresh, beachy but not too beachy (if you know what I mean), and kept my skin happy and protected in the strong island sun.


From top left: 1) hair bands, goody ouchless hair elastics. 2) bronzer/blush/highlighter, urban decay naked flushed palette. 3) lip balm, this works turbo balm. 4) fragrance, elizabeth & james nirvana black rollerball. 5) sunglasses, tory burch t-print aviators. 6) argan oil, josie maran argan oil. 7) sea spray for hair, bumble & bumble surf spray. 8) eyeshadow, urban decay eyeshadow in toasted. 9) hair brush, conair travel hair brush. 10) waterproof mascara, maybelline big eyes waterproof mascara. 11) hairspray, nexxus travel size comb thru hairspray. 12) brow pencil, anastasia brow wiz in caramel. 13) eyeshadow primer, urban decay primer potion. 14) lipstick, nars lipstick in schiap. 15) clear nail polish, dior nail glow. 16) cc cream, clinique moisture surge cc cream spf 30. 17) cream blush, nars the multiple in portofino. 18) individual false eyelashes, ardell. 19) waterproof eyeliner, chanel stylo yeux waterproof. 20) bobby pins, goody.

1) hair bands: I get scolded regularly by my fashionista friends for perma-wearing a hair band around my wrist, but it is literally my worst nightmare to be caught without one just when I need one, and that goes doubly for when I travel. My travel hair style tends to be of the ‘pile it on top of my head variety’, especially in warmer climates, so hair bands at an arm’s reach (or wrist’s reach in my case) are mandatory.

2) bronzer/blush/highlighter: this might be on some people’s ‘maybe’ list for travel beauty, but I find a combo palette that includes bronzer, blush and a highlighter one of the easiest, low maintenance ways to add a little pretty to your travel beauty routine. During the day, a sweep of bronzer over the face (after a liberal application of sunscreen, of course) keeps you fresh; adding a little blush to the apples of the cheeks and a little highlighter to the tops of your cheek bones sets you up for an easy, breezy evening look. I love the Urban Decay palette pictured, but Nars and Neutrogena both have great options as well.

3) lip balm: whatever your preferred method of moisturizing your lips, please don’t forget it when you travel. And please don’t forget the importance of SPF if you’re headed to a sunny locale.

4) fragrance: this one might be a ‘nice to have’ but I always love a little spritz of something when I’m on vacation.

5) sunglasses: does this one really need explaining? Fashion accessory + protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun = win.

6) argan and/or coconut oil: use it as a moisturizer, use it as a makeup remover, use it as a sunburn soother. It’s the multi-faceted-iest of the multi-faceted beauty products.

7) sea spray: when it comes to styling my curly mop while on vacay, this stuff is my jam. Spritz it all over and not only does it give me a perfect beachy wave, it helps to control frizz, which is a must in humid climates. Combine with a little hairspray for hold and you’re set to go.

8) eyeshadow: choose a neutral shade you love and you only need to bring one. When I’m on vacation, I’m not doing any fancy eye makeup, I’m probably not even applying it with a brush (fingers for the win). I wear one shade to give my eyes a little oomph and leave the rest at home.

9) hair brush: um, this one’s self explanatory. I hope.

10) waterproof mascara: I don’t wear anything else during the summer and the same goes for summer travel. It’s quick and easy to apply, it adds just the right amount of ‘look’, and the waterproof formula ensures I can take a dip in the ocean or pool and keep on truckin’ with my eye makeup intact.

11) hairspray: the best combatant of my mortal enemy, humidity. I spray it all over before I head out for the day, and by using a lighter hold formula, it keeps frizz at bay while not feeling super ‘crunchy’.

12) brow pencil: this is one of those prissy girly things I just can’t give up. No matter whether I’m going to work, to the club, or across the street to get coffee in my PJs, I still have to do my brows before I leave the house. The Anastasia Brow Wiz makes that a quick and easy task and keeps me looking groomed but natural all the day long.

13) eyeshadow primer: just because I’m only using one shade of eyeshadow while on vacation, doesn’t mean I want it melting off my face. Primer is the only way to ensure even the laziest of looks stay in it for the long haul.

14) lipstick: this is my second girly add to my travel bag. I don’t need to go into my serious, long term relationship with lipstick AGAIN. Suffice to say, no matter where I am in the world, there will be several lipstick options nearby at all times. For most people, a nice neutral or pretty pink shade will do the trick; for me, vacation is the perfect opportunity to rock a bold lip (and maybe for you too?).

15) clear nail polish: I usually try to work in a mani before I head out on vacation, but if I don’t have time, I’ll throw a bottle of clear polish in my bag to get me through. This way my nails are still shiny and pretty but I don’t have to worry about chips or smudges that you might get with brighter colors.

16) cc cream: for me this is the dream face product for vacation. It’s easy to apply, usually high in SPF, and it’s everything you need in one product so it cuts down the number of bottles you’re throwing in your cosmetic bag. I love the way Clinique’s CC cream mattifies my skin, gives me a hint of color, and doesn’t look too ‘made up’. The SPF 30 doesn’t hurt either.

17) cream blush: the easiest of the easy beauty products. Add a little pop of color to your cheeks and a touch of mascara and you’re ready to face the day. Add another layer and set with powder or a powder blush and you’re ready for a night out on the town.

18) individual false eyelashes: these are just FUN. If you have a special occasion dinner or activity during your trip, false lashes add a bit more definition to your look while still looking completely natural (vs a full strip of lashes which can sometimes look too overdone). If you’re not going to try new things while on vacation, when are you going to?

19) waterproof eyeliner: this probably also falls on the ‘nice to have’ list, but I think it’s a great option for a day-to-night transition. Add a little definition to the base of your eyelashes or go a little smokier and blend with your finger; either way the waterproof formula will ensure that your look stays in place (and it comes off easily with a little argan oil!).

20) bobby pins: for when you want to attempt a slightly fancier hairstyle than messy ponytail and/or topknot.




makeup monday: the best drugstore makeup for summer.

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Let’s face it, makeup in the summertime can be a challenge. You’re trying to look your prettiest while also dealing with hundred degree temperatures and stifling humidity and constant transitions from the sweltering out of doors to the overly air conditioned indoors (that’s my life, at least, just living my truth). What this typically means is that I wear as little makeup as possible while still maintaining a polished look, so there’s less chance of my makeup ending up on the floor. Or my dress. Or my hands. Or my iced coffee.

Sometimes this also means I lean on my drugstore favorites this time of year, since I don’t feel as bad when I have to reapply my $7 lipstick a few times vs. wasting my $50 one (oh hey Tom Ford, heart you). So what do I grab from the drugstore aisle for that summertime look? Why, these goodies right here, of course, all with a less than $10 price tag.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eye Shadow ($6.99)

When it comes to wearing eye shadow in the summer, I look for something that provides maximum impact (and maximum staying power) with minimum effort. With heat and humidity at play, your eyeshadow can quite easily slide right off your lids, which, let’s be honest, ain’t pretty. Nobody intends to look like ‘the morning after’ when they head out the door to start their day…but that’s a reality if you don’t use products that can hang in there for the long haul.

That’s why, for summer, I love cream eyeshadows. The Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows, which admittedly bear a rather unsettling name, are amazing — they’re highly pigmented so a little goes a long way, they glide on smoothly, and they stick around all day and night with minimal touch ups (which also means you can wear them without primer). I love this for summer when I want my makeup to be minimal; I can apply with just my finger, and with a bit of blending, I’m ready to face the day.

Almay Wake Up Under Eye Concealer ($8.99)

If I was ever forced to choose only three beauty products to use for the rest of my life (oh, the horror!), concealer would be one of them (the other two would be mascara and lipstick…but that’s another blog post). There is no better way to look awake and refreshed than with a touch of under eye concealer. Whether it’s the morning after one too many summer cocktails or a sleepless night with a restless baby or it’s just morning…again…ugh; concealer packs the right punch to brighten up those peepers and erase that sleepless night. In the summertime, especially, it’s one of the best ways to pull off the ‘no makeup’ makeup look while still completely covering any unsightly bags or dark circles.

If I’m going to trade in my Touche Éclat for a more budget-friendly option (which, if I’m being honest, does not happen very often), I generally really like what Almay has to offer. They use the same brush applicator as high-end brands, and I find the product blends smoothly and matches my skin well. I also use this as a highlight under my brow bone and on the top of my cheek bone to add a little extra dimension to my look.

Nyx Rouge Cream Blush ($6.00)

Oh, cream blush, let me write you seventeen songs about why I love you. For a girl with dry skin, cream blush is just a dream. It goes on easily, it blends well, and it adds the perfect pop of color while not highlighting my dryness like a powdered blush would. I tend to use cream blushes year round because of this, but I find they really shine in the summer.

Nyx is a great option in this category because their highly pigmented cream blushes add great color and they stay put all day long. Easy to apply with just a finger, they also come in a range of shades to suit all skin tones (my favorites are Tickled and Rose Petal, I find them to be the most versatile). They’re the ticket to that dewy, fresh-faced look that works day or night.

Maybelline Volum’Express Falsies Big Eyes Waterproof Mascara ($9.49)

Longest mascara name everrrrrrrrr. Despite the mouthful, however, this mascara is my jam. It coats my paltry lashes easily and makes ’em big and lashy without clumping, and it’s also really, really black, which I love; I find it difficult to find mascara that is truly black from the drugstore aisles.The waterproof formula keeps everything in place, which is paramount in the summer with all the humidity and the sweating…nobody wants their mascara running down their face after five minutes on a sweltering subway platform. I also really like that it still uses a natural fiber wand — many brands have switched over to a plastic or silicone wand, and my very sensitive eyes do not enjoy them. This wand is soft and gentle but still applies the product precisely where I want it, and nowhere else.

If that weren’t enough, this mascara also includes a separate ‘baby wand’ perfect for your bottom lashes or the lashes in the inner corner of your eye, which is also great for adding a little extra oomph to your lashes without applying an entire new coat.

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter ($7.49)

For lip products in the summertime, I tend to go for things that provide as much moisturizing properties as they do pops of color. I also like products with a more sheer finish, as I feel they are more seasonally appropriate (I don’t completely abandon my full color lip, but they are mostly reserved for nighttime outings).

All of these desires are easily attained using my Revlon Lip Butters. They are the perfect blend of lip balm and lip gloss, with the pigmentation of a lipstick. So you get your color and your moisture and your shine all in one, and they come in approximately a bazillion colors (a scientific number…my favorites are Pink Truffle and Peach Parfait). Since they’re so cheap, I tend to keep one in every bag I own so they’re always close at hand. Given their sheer formula, they’re not going to stick it out through a meal or a session of heavy petting (my absolute favorite euphemism for kissing), but they’re low maintenance enough that you don’t even need a mirror to reapply.

So, what about you? What are your summertime drugstore go-tos that keep you looking fresh and pretty?


makeup monday: stay fresh from head to toe.


Ugh, humidity. My sworn enemy. It is the ruiner of things, period, the end — most noticeably any hairstyle and/or makeup look I try to pull off between the months of June and September. There is nothing that makes me feel more uncomfortable, and it leaves me looking like a flat, melted, sweaty mess. Which is why I’ve made it my life’s mission (one of many) to find products that will ward off the effects of humidity and keep me looking so fresh and so clean, clean. I have yet to find a product that keeps me from sweating uncontrollably on city subway platforms in the dead of July, but here’s hoping. Until then, these are my favorites for keeping me lookin’ fresh from head to toe.

Head: Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray

6oribe-impermeable-anti-humidity-purse-spray-lgnAs a naturally curly-haired girl, the absolute most difficult thing to wrangle in the summertime is the mop atop my head. I love my hair, I really do, it’s soft and pretty and does what it’s told when it comes to styling, but when humidity shows up to the party, it turns into that girl who’s had too many jello shots and is now passed out on the couch while the party rages on — in simpler terms, a total train wreck.

The Oribe Anti-Humidity Spray is the best product I’ve found to stay the effects of humidity on my tresses. It keeps my ‘do in place, acting as both a hairspray and a smoothing agent. It’s not cheap, it goes for around $40 a bottle, but a little goes a long way, and for me, the price tag is worth it. Frizz be gone!

Face: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

hourglassIf there’s one step I absolutely do not skip in summer makeup application, it is the application of primer. This nifty little product is the best way to keep everything on your face in its proper place — it grabs on to your foundation or tinted moisturizer and keeps it from creasing or melting or wearing off, so you’ll look as fresh at 6pm as you do at 8am, all the while evening your skin tone and adding an extra layer of SPF.

My favorite primer of late is the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. It glides on beautifully and creates the perfect palette for your foundation. It almost has a powder-like finish, and I can’t even believe how fresh my foundation looks throughout the day. Minimal touch ups required — this, my friends, is a miracle product.

Need even more staying power? If you’re prepping for a formal event or a night out on the town, add a spritz of makeup setting spray once your makeup is fully applied to really lock in your look.

Body: Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

LUSH-silky-underwear-lgI have a confession. I am a sweater. No, not a knitted garment often worn in cooler weather. I am a sweater, in that I sweat. A lot. It’s one of those things I hate most about my body, but it’s always been that way. I don’t understand those girls who can flit about in the summertime and look perfectly dewy and effortlessly cool; I’m the girl just next to them who has sweat stains on my t-shirt and a glistening upper lip. It’s gross, but it’s my truth. I’m glad I can talk about it here, dear readers. I’m hoping one or two of you out there feel me on this.

So, in an effort to counteract my overactive glands, I scoot, nay RUN, over to Lush the minute there’s a hint of humidity in the air, and I buy them out of their stock of Silky Underwear Dusting Powder. Truth be told, I kind of hate the name, but I looooove the effects of this miracle powder. I use this liberally in the summertime; a dash here and sprinkle there, both in the nooks and crannies that are sweat magnets (back of the knee sweat, anyone?) and on the rest of my body as a light moisturizer (one of its main ingredients is cocoa butter). It leaves your skin with a lovely jasmine scent, and it does a nice job of keeping you fresh and dry throughout the day. I keep a travel size in my bag so I can touch up during the day (or after a particularly sweaty subway ride).

The moral of the story: Nothing can completely mitigate the effects of a humid day, but hopefully with these products in your arsenal, you’ll look fresh and pretty even when you feel anything but.



makeup monday: makeup blunders (and how to fix them).

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Whoa! Look at that, I blink and a week goes by and I haven’t posted anything and it’s like I never even started this little blog. Apologies, dear reader (I think I’m back down to one). With two cross-country jaunts and crazy amounts of work and a serious lack of sleep getting in the way, I just haven’t had the time or the zeal to muster a post.

But here I am, a new week has begun and I’m ready to PAAARTAAAYYY. Just kidding, I did plenty of that this weekend (hello, two-day hangover). But I am ready to blog, and today it’s all about ‘what not to do’ when it comes to your makeup. Listen, we all make mistakes in the realm of beauty products (please refer to the several years that I had a passionate love for white eye shadow), but now that I’m a grown-ass woman, I find it relatively easy to avoid major beauty blunders. I’m here to help you do that too. Here are a few of my biggest ‘please don’t’ makeup moments and how to avoid them.

Mismatched Foundation

wrong foundation

Where we go wrong: oh boy, this one’s a doozy. I see so many women out there who do themselves such a disservice by choosing the wrong shade of foundation. It’s either too dark or too light or too orange, and it can be the easiest way to derail your entire look (and age you, which no one wants, am I right?). The function of foundation is in its name — it is the foundation for the rest of your makeup, which means it should only serve one purpose, to naturally even out your skin (both in texture and tone). It’s not meant to add color (that’s a job for blush and bronzer), it’s purely meant to give you the best version of your skin so you can more easily enhance your features with the other makeup that you apply.

What to do instead: for foundation to do its job, it should be as close to your natural skin tone as possible. It will take a little work to find the right shade, but you will be all the better for it. The best way to do this is to grab a friend (for moral support and because shopping for makeup is fun), head to your local makeup store, choose a few shades that you think might work and test them on the skin just below your jawline in natural light. The shade that disappears when applied is your match. Easy peasy.

Clumpy Mascara


Where we go wrong: women go wrong in so many ways here. Tell me, who really enjoys clumpy, spidery eyes? Anyone? Bueller? I didn’t think so. I know that most women would love to have those thick, long perfect lashes that don’t need a hint of mascara, but for most of us, that’s merely a pipe dream. But applying layer after layer of mascara in search of volume just makes you look like a messy clown, especially if you apply equal amounts to the tips of your lashes as you do the base. It’s also worth noting that most mascara wands if used straight out of the tube carry way too much product on them and can send you immediately to Clumpy Town.

What to do instead: getting mascara right is all in the application and in layering. Before applying to your lashes, blot the wand with a tissue to remove any excess product. When you’re ready to apply, place a mirror on the table below you (looking down into the mirror will help to limit mascara getting on your eyelids) and place the wand at the base of your lashes. In an upward motion, wiggle the wand back and forth and then sweep up. This will apply the bulk of the mascara at the base of your lashes, where volume is important, while still coating the rest of your lashes with the right amount. Once you’ve coated your lashes once, let dry for a few minutes, then apply a second coat (you can skip this step if you prefer a natural, ‘no makeup’ look).

Overdrawn Lips

overdrawn lips

Where we go wrong: I’m going to blame this one on Angelina Jolie and her perfect lips. We all want what she has and about 2% of us actually have it (myself not included). In an effort to pump up our pout, we go crazy with the lip liner and the gloss, and in extreme cases, the collagen; and instead of looking like a hollywood starlet, we end up looking more like an ’employee’ of Hollywood Blvd…if you know what I mean.

What to do instead: there are perfectly easy ways to add a bit of volume to your lips without looking like this (First Wives Club, such a classic). First, when you’re applying lipstick or lip liner, smile while keeping your mouth closed. This stretches the skin slightly and allows you to apply product to the full canvas of your lips. If you want to slightly expand your lip line using lip liner, do so only on your bottom lip in the center for the most natural look. If you want to amp up the volume even further, apply lip gloss to the center of your lips — at the cupid’s bow on the top lip and the center of your bottom lip. This amplifies the shape and creates the illusion of plumper lips.

Too Much Makeup, Period.

too much makeup

Where we go wrong: I think this one comes from a few different places, but the biggest offender is lack of self-confidence. When women wear too much makeup, often they’re trying to compensate for or hide something about their face that they don’t like. I know I’ve had plenty of days where I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror (can those bags under my eyes really be that big?), but the problem with applying too much product is it tends to highlight those areas you don’t like instead of hiding them.

What to do instead: listen, don’t get me wrong here, the answer to wearing too much makeup is not not wearing any. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love a great smoky eye or a bold lip, but the key to pulling these looks off without looking crazy is all in the balance. If you’re going to wear a smoky eye or a bold brow, pair it with a nude lip. If you want to try a bold lip, go for more natural eye makeup. By focusing your pop of color in one area of your face instead of everywhere, you’ll look made up in a chic, understated way, while still being able to have some fun with it.

The moral of the story

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, makeup is only meant to enhance what is already there. Each and every one of you is beautiful in your own unique way, and makeup is a really fun way to amplify that beauty. But. Less is more, people. Makeup is not meant to be a mask, so don’t use it as such (unless you enjoy looking like a clown…or maybe you are a clown, you know, as a profession…no judgment). Find something about your face that you really like and focus your beauty efforts there — that will ensure you really like what you see in the mirror each day. And remember, we’re all in this together. So let’s help each other out and celebrate our beauty! It’s the only way we can hope to escape the horrors of white eye shadow.


makeup monday: how to make your lipstick stay all day.

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Y’all know how much I love lipstick. I really, really do.

But what I love even more is lipstick that stays all day. I picked up the following method a few years ago after an embarrassing amount of internet research and I’ve never looked back. The Two Coat Method is simple and genius and ensures that your kisser stays quite kissable from dawn til dusk. The use of a highly pigmented lip color is key here; this won’t work for a sheer formula or a gloss. Those are not meant to stay all day, so no matter how many coats you apply, they’re going to be gone by the first sip of your morning latte. If you use a highly pigmented color (Nars, Stila and Revlon all have great options), however, this trick will work beautifully. All you’ll need is your lipstick of choice, a tissue, concealer, and some translucent powder.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Here we go.

  1. First things first. A key step to ensuring your lipstick looks great and has staying power is to start with lips that are moisturized and smooth. You can do this several ways — if you have a lip scrub, like Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, use that. If you don’t, a wet washcloth is a great substitute. Rub the washcloth vigorously across your lips to exfoliate, then moisturize with your favorite lip balm. Mine is this one.
  2. After you’ve given your lips a chance to absorb the balm (I usually do the rest of my makeup during this time), blot any excess balm with a tissue. Then grab your lipstick, smile at yourself in the mirror (hey you!), and begin to apply the lip color onto your bottom lip. You can do this either straight from the bullet if you have a steady hand, or you can use a lip brush for a bit more control.
  3. Once you have a good layer of color on your bottom lip, press your lips together a few times to coat your top lip and to get some of the color to sink into your lips, creating a stain of sorts. Fill in the rest of your top lip to your liking, make any necessary adjustments to your bottom lip, and press your lips together again. Don’t forget to get into the corners!
  4. Now, take your tissue, and with your mouth slightly open, blot your lips. Don’t be afraid to get in there; you want to really push the lipstick into your lips. When you’re done blotting, discard the tissue.
  5. Grab your lipstick again and apply a second coat of color. You can be a little less precise with this layer, the goal is just to add color where you need it, but the shape should be set at this point.
  6. The final step is the awkward but effective ‘stick a finger in your mouth and pull it out again’ trick, which will ensure that none of your lip color ends up on your teeth (oh, the horror).
  7. The final final step, if you really want staying power, is to brush your lips lightly with translucent powder. You may want to skip this step if your lips tend to dry out easily, but otherwise it really seals the deal.

If you have a shaky hand and need to do a few touch ups, concealer is your best friend. Grab a small brush (or your finger) and a bit of concealer and brush it just along the lip line. Then using your finger, lightly tap to blend. This will hide any mishaps and help to further define and highlight the lip color.

If you’re a gloss girl, now’s the time to pop some on, focusing just on the center of your lips for maximum plumpage (horrible non-word). Do one last check to ensure your lip line is smooth and your teeth are smudge-free and you’re ready to go. You may have to do slight touch ups during the day, but the Two Coat Method ensures that your perfect pout has staying power. Go forth and conquer your day!


makeup monday: the best cheap (and not so cheap) tinted moisturizers.

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As you may know (or you may not), I’m a big fan of changing up my beauty routine on a fairly regular basis (my bank account knows this best of all…sigh). Aside from following new trends and trying new products that come on the market, I think there’s also a seasonality to makeup — what you’d wear in November isn’t necessarily what you’d want to wear come April. So as my thoughts turn to spring and all the light and fresh and new that comes with it, my beauty choices tend to follow suit.

Enter tinted moisturizer. This is the perfect time of year to leverage this wonder product for so many reasons: it provides lightweight, sheer coverage that gives the skin a dewy look; it tends to have higher SPF than more full-coverage foundation, which is a must when you start to spend more time outside; and it hydrates your skin without clogging pores because at it’s core, it’s still a moisturizer. It also suits a multitude of skin needs with readily available options for hydration, anti-aging, firming, oil-free, the list goes on.

Tinted moisturizer is also not a product that requires you to spend beaucoup dollars to find a brand that actually performs. While I find the pricier products have more positive long term effects (higher quality ingredients = higher price tag), I have been very satisfied with options at a more wallet-friendly price point. The following are my top three high price and low price brands and why I like them. With so many great options available, there’s a perfect match out there for everyone!

The Cheap

Of the options that you might find at a drugstore (or my favorite low-price beauty destination, the magic that is your local Target), these three really do the trick. I find that all of them provide natural, even coverage, and they make my skin feel hydrated but not overly greasy. The Aveeno option has the highest SPF and is the best option if you like beauty products made from natural ingredients. The Cover Girl option is the most moisturizing of the three, a great choice for those with dry skin, and the Neutrogena is good for more oily or combination skin or if you’re looking for an option with anti-aging properties (aren’t we all).

The Not So Cheap

If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your product of choice, these three options will pay off in spades.  I find all three give me a smooth, even, dewy complexion, and the coverage lasts throughout the day without needing to reapply or touch up. The Dr. Jart+ option definitely provides the fullest coverage of the three (in the best kind of way), which makes sense being a BB cream vs. a tinted moisturizer (typically BB creams fall somewhere between true foundation and tinted moisturizers on the coverage spectrum). It’s also going to be your higher priced all-natural option. The Estée Lauder is my go-to when I want to look slightly tanned; the formula matches to your skin tone and imparts this amazing sun-kissed glow that’s almost like actually going to the beach. Almost. And the Laura Mercier is the true workhorse of the bunch — it’s been around forever, gets rave reviews from everyone, and offers the broadest range of shades I’ve ever seen for a tinted moisturizer. It also comes in a variety of different formulas to suit your specific skin needs; basically if you want it, Laura Mercier has it. All three options are great for all skin types (though the BB cream probably works best on dry skin) and all are well worth the greater investment!



makeup monday: my go-to hair tools.

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OK. So technically, this post is not about makeup. Sorry. Hair falls into the larger category of ‘Beauty’, but ‘Beauty Monday’ just doesn’t sound as good, so here we are. Really glad we covered that.

The topic of hair, however, is one that I am just as willing to spend hours discussing, so I thought sharing the secrets to my good hair day would be helpful to you, dear readers. I don’t use these products and tools everyday (I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those girls who looks like she just left the salon every time you see her), but when I want a great bouncy/wavy blowout look, these are my tried and true.

A good blow dryer: I’m a big fan of my T3 (and not just because it was the key purchase that launched me into the upper echelons of Sephora’s loyalty program), but there are plenty of other ‘professional grade’ brands out there that will do the trick. The price tag might seem high, but if there’s one place to spend money on your hair, it’s here. I find that this dryer takes less time to dry my hair and I get smoother results. If you’re someone who blow dries their hair every day, this is even more important, as it will do less long term damage to your hair. The T3 also comes in travel size, which if you’re willing to live without a few extra features, achieves the same results for less money.

A boar bristle brush: As someone with naturally curly hair, I try not to brush my hair too often, as I find that it creates frizz. When I do brush my hair, however, I reach for the boar bristle brush. Because the boar bristles help to distribute the natural oils in your hair from your scalp through your hair cuticle, it polishes and smoothes the hair to encourage a glossy shine. I also find that it’s a great tool to use to help straighten those little wispy curls around my face. The bristles really grab onto the hair so I can easily get to them with my blow dryer.

A ceramic curling iron: For me, this is what takes my hair from blah to huzzah. After I blow dry, I curl my hair away from my face in 1 inch sections over my entire head. I let my hair cool, spritz with hairspray, then run my brush through it and it’s good to go. This step helps my ‘do stay all day, and I can usually stretch it to day two (or three) with some dry shampoo and a little re-curl of sections that may have fallen flat.

Good quality hair products: When I want a big and bouncy look that will last all day, I rely on three products — volumizing spray, smoothing oil, and hairspray. The volumizing spray, applied to the root of the hair when it’s wet, helps to get good height and bounce as you dry (not, like, Texas beauty queen height, but close enough). The smoothing oil, applied when hair is dry, smoothes (obvi) the hair and helps control flyaways and frizz. This is especially helpful on humid days, aka the entire New York summer. And hairspray, applied at the very end to set the hair, helps keep your style in place all day.

If you’re looking for some tips on how to perfect an at-home blow out, check out this video. With these tips and the tools & products above, you’ll have salon quality hair in no time!


makeup monday: what’s in my makeup case.

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makeup bag.jpg

1) revlon colorburst matte balm in audacious, $6.49. 2) real techniques multi task brush, $10. 3) elizabeth & james nirvana black fragrance rollerball, $22. 4) stila smudge stick waterproof eye liner in tetra, $20. 5) mac paint pot in constructivist, $20. 6) hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light, $45. 7) maybelline falsies waterproof mascara, $7.99. 8) thisworks turbo balm, $22.58. 9) chanel cream blush in affinite, $38. 10) laura mercier secret camouflage in sc-3, $32. 11) tory burch kerrington tall cosmetic case, $88.

Given my penchant for regular beauty purchases, you can imagine that the contents of my makeup case changes quite often. And that’s completely true. I bought like four new things this weekend alone. However, I do have my go-tos and the above products are what I’m loving right now for the transition from winter to spring. Easy to apply, blendable, and long-wearing; all of them keep me looking fresh and natural with just a hint of spring color. And while most of my products are purchased at Sephora and Nordstrom, I don’t discriminate against drugstore brands — if you find something that works for you, it shouldn’t matter what the price tag is.

I keep them all neatly tucked away in a smart cosmetic case (isn’t she pretty?) so they’re never far from reach for touch-ups throughout the day.


makeup monday: three lipsticks every woman should own.

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Oh, lipstick. I just can’t quit you.

If there’s one thing in the world that makes me feel instantly pretty and pulled together (even when the rest of me might look ‘a fright,’ to quote my college roommate), it’s popping on a little lipstick. It’s also one thing I notice that many women don’t use, whether that be because they just can’t find the right shade, they don’t want to worry about upkeep throughout the day, or they don’t like the look of a ‘full on’ lipsticked lip.

Well, ladies, I’m here to help. The greatest thing about lipstick is its versatility. It comes in every color under the sun at every price point and in a variety of different finishes, from matte to shiny to sheer. So with a little work up front, you can find the right shade and the right finish at the right price for you and be done with it. It’s so simple! If you’re like me, however, you’ll never be quite ‘done with it,’ it’s just too much fun. Aaaaand, there goes my paycheck again.

And while I have a lipstick collection that rivals the most in-demand makeup artist at fashion week, all any modern day lady might need are these three trusty go-tos.

The Nudenude lipstick

When to wear it: This is your everyday lipstick. Wear it to work, wear it to cocktails, wear it to pick up your dry cleaning. Because its purpose is to enhance, not alter, your lip color, it’s perfect for any occasion and is the definition of low maintenance beauty.

How to find your perfect shade: A nude lipstick should be as close to your natural lip color as possible. It’s you, but just a teensy bit better. The best way to find your shade is to try, try, try. Grab a friend, take a trip to your local beauty counter, and get down to business. If you can try on shades in natural daylight, even better, as that will ensure you get a shade that looks natural. When trying out different shades, apply the color on the middle of your lip. If it disappears, it’s the right color. If it looks pasty, it’s too light, and if looks orange, it’s too dark.

What I have in my makeup bag: Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita, $26,

The Redred lipstick

When to wear it: If it was up to me, I’d apply the same rules to red lipstick as I do to a nude shade. I just love it that much. However, for ladies who don’t have the deep, border-line inappropriate relationship with lipstick that I do, the rules might be slightly different. For you, a great red lipstick should be a special occasion go-to. Whether it’s a night out on the town, a friend’s wedding, or a big presentation at work, red lipstick works anytime you want to feel sexy, confident and powerful.

How to find your perfect shade: Is there a more discussed topic in the land of beauty than how to find the perfect red lipstick? I think not. Which basically means there are no hard and fast rules to this game. There are the orangey reds, the pinky reds, and the blue-toned reds, and in my opinion, everyone can wear all three. While you should take into account your skin tone and hair color when choosing the right shade for you, it’s really about finding one that makes you feel beautiful. Trying shades with different undertones will help you understand if you prefer a classic true red or a more statement orange red. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-on red just yet, try a sheer formula for just a hint of color.

What I have in my makeup bag: YSL Rouge Volupté in 17 Red Muse, $35,

The Brightbright lipsticks

When to wear it: Bright lipsticks are perfect when you need a little boost or when you just want to have some FUN. They are playful, flirty and full of energy. If you’re having a bad day, popping on a bright lip color is the perfect way to turn that frown upside down.

How to find your perfect shade: Similar to red lipsticks, bright lipsticks come in a variety of different tones, so it’s best to try a few to see if you prefer a pink shade or more of an orange one. Bright lipsticks are also the perfect opportunity to try out different formulas — you might find you like the shine of a gloss or you might prefer the staying power and matte finish of a liquid lipstick. No matter what shade you choose, keep the rest of your makeup minimal so your lip color really pops (and so you avoid looking like a clown).

What I have in my makeup bag: Tom Ford Lip Color in Wild Ginger, $49,; Stila Stay All Day® Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, $22,; Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in Fever, $30,

At the end of the day, the best advice I can give you about finding and wearing the right lipstick for you is to have fun with it, don’t let it stress you out (it is only makeup, after all). Whether it costs $5 or $50 and whether it’s nude or red or orange or green (ok, maybe not green), choose a shade that really feels like YOU. This will ensure that you actually wear it, which means you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. And remember, you’ve got the goods already; lipstick is just there to pump up the volume (dance, dance).