New Kid On The Block

When it comes to beauty, certain brands arrive on the scene with such force that overnight their name is everywhere. These brands all have amazing products, wonderful packaging, and a certain aura of excitement and mystery that follow them around. When all of these things combine you’ll see a cult/niche brand blow up in a big way.

About a month ago Milk started blowing up in just this way. First, there was the high concept, low maintenance vibe of the brand. Quickly following was a spot on Sephora’s shelf that catapulted the product line into the lap of every beauty junky around. Their modern packaging and creative edge only helped propel the brand further along, creating a rabid fan base that can be seen in pretty much every major city today.

I was lucky enough to jump on this bandwagon early, and discovered what may be one of my favorite products yet – their Micellar Gel Makeup Remover. This unique formula works wonders when it comes to removing makeup. One swipe with a cotton pad, and you’re done. The gel formula keeps the product from seeping into your eyes like other micellar waters, and the light green-tea scent is relaxing and amazingly enjoyable. My only gripe is that the pump system is a bit hard to use. While it’s designed to dispense just the right amount of product (it’s the same type of pump that BeautyBlender uses on their Liquid BlenderCleanser), I felt like it wasn’t quite enough to remove all my eye makeup and it got a bit messy after a few pumps. However, the oil free formula, effectiveness of the product, and understated coolness of the packaging were enough to keep this on my shelf for quite a while. This is definitely a brand worth exploring, as I have a feeling their delivery is only going to improve with time.

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A Perfect Fit

Two weeks ago I shared one of my favorite eyeshadow essentials with you. If you missed that post, take a minute to check it out here. Today I’m going to share a very similar product that features just a few key differences. You can never have too much of an essential after all.

Pur Mineral’s Perfect Fit Eyeshadow Trio is a must-have palette featuring three shades of shimmery smooth shadows. With five different varieties you can create a plethora of different looks ranging from natural to bold, and the small size makes them perfect to pop into a makeup bag while you’re packing for a quick getaway. Here’s the rundown of the different color options:

Classic Beauty. This palette, which is pictured above, is your go to for everyday girl-next-door beauty. It’s subtle brown tones look great on any skintone and pair well with every eye color.

Jetsetter. This is my personal favorite.. It’s bronze and gold tones are perfect for blue eyed gals who really want their eyes to pop.

Bohemian Bombshell. If you’re looking for a look that will really pop, and is a bit out there this one is for you. The green accent color in this palette makes it a bold and vibrant choice that’s great for redheads and brown eyed beauties everywhere.

Little Miss Perfect. If you’re looking for a romantic look, this one’s for you. The rose hues of this palette are perfect for an angelic look, and are especially flattering on grey eyes.

Wild Child. Like the name suggests, this palette is for the bold girls out there. If you’re wanting something that will really draw attention, a purple lid is the way to go – especially if you have hazel or green eyes. Just be prepared for people to be unable to look away.

Rock Goddess. Everyone should have a go to palette for a smokey eye look. This one fits the bill perfectly and works for every skin tone and eye color.

Calm Yourself

Rituals are an important part of life. If you’re as prone to anxiety as I am, calming rituals play an especially vital role in your wellbeing. I find I function best and am happiest when I’ve integrated certain rituals into my daily life. One of these things is a nightly bubble bath. When I first started adding a bath to my evening routine it felt decadent. I kept having to remind myself that it wasn’t a waste of time (especially if I only spent half an hour soaking) and that I deserved s bit of pampering every day.

Now, I find myself looking forward to my evening bath time. I’ll turn my phone on silent, clean up everything around the house and run the water, adding a bit of scent or bubbles to the water. One of my favorite bath products to add is Honest Company’s Ultra Calming Lavender Bubble Bath. The subtle scent calms me after a long day at work, and I’ve noticed myself sleeping better since I began using it. Plus, the organic ingredients don’t irritate my skin so that I am comfortable all night long. I’ll pour a little into the bath, turn on the Spa Sounds playlist on Spotify and let my troubles drift away for half an hour before I head to bed. It’s the best way to end my day.

What are your favorite evening rituals? Leave me a comment to let me know!

A Pop of Peony

Spring is the time for shiny hair and rosy cheeks. It makes you look alert, youthful, and even angelic. It counteracts your winter pasty-ness, and is especially beautiful on us pale girls. So, if you’re looking for a way to welcome springtime, look no further than Bobbi Brown’s Powder Blush in Peony. It’s the perfect pop of radiantly bright, matte pink. Its silky texture bushes on smoothly and lasts all day long. The best part, it manages to be bright while still looking perfectly natural.

Now, a few tips on application:

  • Place the blush high on your cheekbones. Don’t go any lower than your nose under any circumstances! Placement is extremely important – get it wrong and you’ll look like a girl who raided her mom’s makeup drawer, rather than the youthful, vibrant, and elegant lady that you are.
  • Blend the blush upward across your cheekbone, and then downward for a natural look. We naturally blush downwards so using downward strokes ensures your cheeks look realistic and not painted on.
  • Start light! Knock off any excess powder before applying. You can layer for a deeper color payoff. If you happen to get too bright, simply blend a bit of highlighter, pressed powder, or foundation over the apples of your cheeks for a dimming, but still radiant effect.

Have any other tips for pulling off bright blushers? Let me know by leaving a comment!

My Everyday Jewelry Essentials

When I was in college I’d set my alarm to go off 15 minutes before class started, roll out of bed, throw on norts and an oversized tee (normally one that was a souvenir from a sorority or fraternity event), brush my teeth and slap on some eyeliner before walking – or driving if I felt extra lazy, which was most days – across the street to the design building. Given that all this happened in the span of 5 to 10 minutes it was important that everything was streamlined: from the clothes I wore to the makeup I applied. I wasn’t very far off from showing up to class in my pajamas, except for one thing – jewelry.

Every single day I’d put on the same bracelet, ring, earrings, and necklace (I actually slept in the necklace most nights) right before I walked out the door. These finishing touches were what made me feel like I had at least attempted to put an effort into my appearance.

These days I spend a bit more time on my routine, but my jewelry has for the most part remained the same. These essentials work regardless of what outfit I’m wearing or how formal of an event I am attending. I literally have to put zero thought into it, which is great when you’re juggling a full time job, freelance work, a thriving blog, running a social and philanthropic organization, having a social life, familial obligations, and chores. (Yes, this is my life.)

Here are the essentials that keep me looking polished and, in the words of my friend Sydney, super classy:

David Yurman 7mm Cable Classics Bracelet. I love this bracelet because it is both silver and gold, meaning that it goes with all my accessories and I’m never clashing my metals. Also, the cuff formation means it won’t slip off my wrist like bangles inevitably do.

David Yurman Cable Classics Cross Necklace with Diamond. If you’re going on a caribbean cruise anytime soon keep your eye out for jewelry stores carrying Yurman. You can get steep discounts on authentic pieces, just be sure you get the tag guaranteeing authenticity. I got this necklace in St. Martin and paid just a fraction of the price I would here in the US.

David Yurman Pearl Band Ring. Now, this ring is no longer available, but you can find a similar one here. I like that it’s a thinner size than most Yurman rings since my fingers are so thin that thick bands look really out of place and overwhelming. Once again, this is both silver and gold so it will go with anything. If you’re balking at the price tag, check ebay. I got my ring there for a great deal and it came with the statement of authenticity. Just be sure to check that the seller can provide proof of authenticity.

Eve’s Addiction Cable Hoop Earrings. Now, I really wanted these earrings from Yurman to round out my set. But, I couldn’t afford them. So I went with the next best thing and found a matching pair without the designer label. Eve’s Addiction is an online jewelry seller that specialized in “designer inspired” pieces. While their stock changes all the time, (they don’t have the ones I bought anymore) you can find ones like these that look almost exactly like a Yurman piece. Mine were the same except for the diamonds, I even wore them into a Yurman store and the manager offered to clean them for me because he believed they were authentic. Now that’s a deal!

So, that’s the rundown. Remember, it doesn’t have to be designer to be elegant, and it doesn’t have to be purchased directly from the designer in order to be authentic. So choose what’s important to you and run with it. The most important thing should be that you love the set. My only suggestion is that your daily items should be versatile and understated – nothing flashy or too colorful. That way you won’t even have to think about whether or not they “go” with your outfit.

 

A Strong Foundation

If you’ve met me in person or spent a few minutes scrolling through my instagram feed you’ll realize I have a thing for nail polish. If you ever see me without a manicure, chances are something traumatic has happened recently. Part of my Sunday evening routine is to give myself a manicure – yes I do my own nails – while watching the latest episode of Outlander. (If you haven’t checked it out you really should, it’s amazing and the books are even better.)

Over the years I’ve come to realize that getting the perfect manicure that will last all week without chipping is something of a science. There are a few key ingredients, the most important of which is a good base coat.

The right base coat will keep your manicure intact all week long (and sometimes even longer) while protecting your nails from cracks, yellowing, and breakage. It is the key to growing long, strong, beautiful nails. I’ve used a base coat since high school, and I’ve never needed gel manicure, or acrylic nails to get a long and polished manicure. In fact, I can grow my nails out just as long as any acrylic nails I’ve ever seen, and they’ve never once cracked or broken (except for the time I slammed them in my car door, but that was my own fault.)

My all time favorite base coat is a pretty recent discovery. It’s Tenoverten’s The Foundation. With Horsetail Leaf Extract + Vitamin E this base coat has given me the best nails (and manicures) ever. It’s cruelty free, and 8-free – which means it’s formulated without dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, or triphenyl phosphate. Not only does it strengthen and protect nails, but it also prevents polish chipping, repairs peeling nails, and acts as a ridge filler so that your polish applies smoothly every time.

Oh, and did I mention the bottle itself is adorable?

It’s Pur

When it comes to mineral makeup, there are only a few brands I actually like. When it comes to mineral foundation, I only use Pur Minerals. They’re one of the few mineral makeup companies that I actually trust, partially because they’re 100% cruelty free, never test on animals, and have a farm to jar program that ensures they use ethically sourced ingredients. Most of their products are made in the USA, and this eco-friendly brand is committed to minimizing waste.

I’ve also never had a reaction to any of their products. Other mineral makeup brands have caused me to break out, or worse. One particular company’s formula actually caused the skin to start peeling off my eyelids, which was every bit as painful as it sounds. Pur Minerals has done the opposite, it’s made my skin better. In just a week of using their products my rosacea was gone along with all other signs of irritation that are just too common for my sensitive skin.

Their most recognizable (and my favorite) product is their 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation. Loaded with skincare ingredients like waltheria extract and ceretin, this foudation has been clinically proven to correct, prevent, and interrupt your biggest skin concerns – from acne to aging. It comes in 11 different shades – I use porcelain or light depending on the time of year – and covers like a dream. It combines the power of foundation, concealer, powder, and sunscreen into one natural-finish formula. I literally cannot sing its praises loudly enough. Simply buff into face using a fluffy brush, and layer for additional coverage if needed. It’s really that easy.