A Signature Lip

Fall LipstickThis weekend my friend Maria from The Style Letters had us over for some girl time to celebrate her Redbook mag appearance. In the September issue, no less. To that I say, you go girl!  We ate ice cream cake and played with makeup. It was a fabulous Saturday evening. There was a bucket of lipstick (truly my kind of party) that L’Oreal and Redbook sent over. Of course I tried the shade du jour – Ruby Opera – and it really was a power red that flattered all of the ladies in the room. At some point, my hair had picked up some of the glossy red and whisped it onto my face. And then I got to thinking about my signature lipstick shade for fall. I’m backing off of my tomatoes and cherries a bit in favor of something softer. Not just because of the case of the traveling red gloss stain but because a neutral matches my mindset this time of year. It’s a reset to the basics and the classics. A pinky nude looks good every season. I’m all about the soft power lip this season. What do you think? Which one do I go with?

Tory Burch Son of a Gun – I’m a fan of the overt Burch branding in this case. There are so many feminine neutral hues in this lipstick collection but I love this one because it has a warm golden shimmer. // Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Nude – Girlfriend basically invented nude lipstick so Bobbi is always in the mix. Plus, the thought of a matte lipstick that moisturizes for eight hours is really appealing. // Lipstick Queen Silver Screen You Kid – Impossibly glamorous. My gah. Designed to look like silk on the lips for an all day “wet” look. How pouty! // Aerin Beauty Rose Balm Perfect Nude – Aerin’s lipsticks are more on the sheer side which I usually like for a darker hue. But I could be convinced for the sake of that gorgeous gold tube. // ILIA Funnel of Love – Best organic lipstick, ever. While this hue has more peach than pink, the inspiration for it hails from Brigitte Bardot. I think it’s a winner. // Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick Bitch PerfectThe namesake collection for the British makeup artist is now available stateside. People are excited. I’m personally excited for this lipstick – that name is everything. //  NARS Audacious Lipstick Barbara - NARS released 40 new lipsticks. Truth be told, I want to try them all! But the place to start feels like it should be the tan rose Barbara.

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Space NK on Autumn Beauty


It’s Autumn Beauty Edit week at Space NK. Tomorrow, September 10, there are beauty bashes being held at all U.S. locations. For 312-ers, that means a stop by the Bloomingdale’s location may be in order. The highlight – of course – is this swagtastic gift. Space does this a few times a year and it’s always epic. It’s a one-day phenom, designed exclusively for the event. Highlights for me are the African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil, Lipstick Queen Chinatown Glossy Pencil in Chase (sheer watermelon perfection), Diptyque L’ombre Dans L’eau perfume (fresh and green scent – like an English garden!)and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (enough for several uses!)

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More Than Makeup

La Bella Figura

Every time I break out I curse a little bit. There’s usually a bit of why me anguish – because it always appears in the most unfortunate of places – and then the blame game. I’m always looking for a logical explanation and usually there is one. Starts with chem and ends with cal. Out of this cycle is an emerging trend that my La Bella Figura ladies are dominating, along with Kjaer Weis, RMS and Gressa: Skin care first, makeup second. Enough with that blemish biz! Let’s be good to our faces. When I was in LA last month for A Night for Green Beauty, LBF officially launched their makeup filled with vitamins, minerals, omegas and breathable waxes that do not clog pores. Each color wears flawlessly on the face and lips and can be as vibrant and bold as you want it to be.

La Bella Figura Makeup

The colors are cheekily named for their friends and family. There’s Lisette La Coquette after LBF co-founder Victoria’s sister. She’s a Chicago girl, too! And having met her a few times I can see why this ruby crimson lip tint bears her name. Her deep olive skin rocks this color like a boss. Last Friday I met Just Jenna and now definitely connect that cheery orchid hue for lips and cheeks with her bubbly personality. Oh, and if you were at A Night for Green Beauty, it was hard to miss the fabulous Brazillian Denise at the LBF table. May we all take on a little bit of Denise’s persona with this gold highlighter that also doubles as eye shadow. You can see tons of #morethanmakeup pics on Instagram. Including this one by yours truly!

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Real Soaps > Other Soaps

Real Soaps

Real Soaps understands this girl’s need for a refreshing cocktail and an invigorating body scrub. Bonus points for delivering them at the same time. The Tom Collins Scrub is a morning maker made by the artisanal master Shamus McClain of Real Soaps. The soap is made with actual gin botanicals from Chicago’s Letherbee Distillers and there’s lemon, lime, ground coriander, anise and juniper. Don’t you just want to get down with this soap right this very moment? Me too!


Shamus keeps it real from his home in Pilsen, a.k.a. the “Soap Lab. He uses a cold-process method to produce small batches of Real Soaps — and balms, salts, scrubs and beard oils. The demand for his form of realness is ever present as evidenced by this emerging empire of zest. Central to his brand is a mission to repurpose and recycle as much as possible in the making process. The conscious approach to creating is something I admire. I snapped the above pics during a recent West Elm pop-up a few weeks ago. Shamus was so genuinely happy to be selling his wares and enthusiastically telling me about stuff in the works. Two words: salt soap.

Real Soaps is available to all on Etsy and available all over Chicago. Do yourself a solid and go check out the line at Alapash. Shamus spends a few days a week working at the shop with Marco. And, if you’re in Chicago this coming weekend, The 12th Annual Renegade Craft Fair is coming to Wicker Park. Shamus will be there with Alapash & Dallas Maynard Jewelry at booth #235.

P.S. Share the Real Soaps love as they take on Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards!

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September Mantra

September Style

Labor Day came especially quick this year and no, I’m not at all ready for it to be actually fall. However, I like what Labor Day signifies. It’s a new start. A giant reset button, if you will, filled with a month full of feelings usually reserved for December 31. Personally, I’m hopeful for new beginnings and a fresh perspective to carry me through the rest of 2014. I’m embracing all of the September feels in a real way. I’m also kicking off a new project with Lindsay of White Oak Creative today for 312 Beauty. I owe you all a fresh perspective here, too. Cannot wait! In that vein, let’s talk how these pretty picks will really up my September game.

Birds of a Feather Notebook – I just want to pour my thoughts and inspiration into the pages of these Rifle Paper Co. notebooks. Starting with the swans. Because why not? // Urban Decay Naked2 Basics – There’s never too much a good thing with this eye shadow franchise and I’m all about these taupey mattes. It’s inevitable that I will own this at some point this month. // Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar – I’m really feeling the simple aesthetic of this line I’ve been trying out. I’m always up for inventive ways to wash my face and this liquid toner style is effective and gentle. // Deco Lariat NecklaceI love the delicate vintage brass (faux) lariat chain by my gal Michelle. // YSL Rouge Volupte in Beige Ultimate – Lindsay and I are both jonesing for this mauve-hued lipstick. It feels just fall enough without going all berry. // Kiehl’s Micro Blur PerfectorWhen September wraps, I should have smoother skin according to Kiehl’s. // Slinky Space Dye SkirtBooties and skirts – especially this cozy looking Lou & Grey one – are my September jam.

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Argan Oil Is Always a Good Idea


I am a full-fledged beauty oil devotee and I will speak at length about how it has changed my skin for the better. But, even I wasn’t sure how oil would fly as a blush. I mean, doesn’t that just seem like a slippery disaster in the making? As it turns out, no. It’s a pretty fab reality. Josie Maran is creating makeup with Argan Oil in more nontraditional ways and the Creamy Lip and Cheek Oil is a prime example.  Stays in place and gives a dewy pinch of color. It starts as a cream then melts into a sheer oil when it warms to your skin. There’s Argan Oil (obvs) but also butters from sunflowers and tangerines so the smell is citrusy and uplifting. To minimize the dew a smidge you can also use a brush to stipple on.  But I recommend going full dew. Limitless Pink is a soft and feminine hue that makes me feel precious but Boundless Berry and Always Cherry bring out my sassy side. Speaking of which, someone told me that I share similar face characteristics to Eva Green and now I’m all BRING EM OUT. Right? What a compliment.  I’m totally channeling this persona. Always Cherry it is! Besides the loveliness it imparts on my cheeks it is also a divine soak of moisture on the lips. A major feat since so many lip and cheek products never quite deliver on both fronts.

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The 3-Minute Face


After too many trips with an overstuffed makeup bag, I’ve reached the conclusion that less is more. Summer brings out the simplistic side of me. I was in Minneapolis last week working, visiting family and going to Katy Perry concerts (so so fun!)  That was basically a two hour dance party with my favorite girlies in the world. It was also the first concert for two of my nieces and their energy was so contagious. 12 year-olds really know how to have a good time.

During the concert, there was some mascara and a little eye shadow but the rest of the weekend was mostly a few complexion products. The humidity was in full force in the ‘sota so bareMinerals Bare Skin Serum Foundation was a savior. I have been wearing this a ton all summer. I give the bottle a few good shakes and then squeeze a few drops onto the Face Perfecting Brush – which holds excess foundation like a reservoir. When you press down on the brush, you get more coverage. It’s as genius as you think. I spend about 60 seconds buffing it onto my face by sections. I’ve completely abandoned all of my tried and true luminizers for the Kjaer Weis Radiance highlighter. It’s a silvery taupe that lights up my face. I also use it as eye shadow – so convenient! And, for a non-bronze take on the summer staple, I’ve been using Bobbi Brown Telluride Illuminating Bronzer. Yes, a bronzer that isn’t quite a bronzer. It’s more dusty rose but it gives my skin a healthy glow. And, that’s what I call a good use of three minutes.

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You Are What You Eat


I’m not ready to completely debrief on this yet but I’m in the middle of a semi-cleanse that is working. I say semi because I allow alcohol on my cleanses. IT’S SUMMER! And who are you people that can give that up?!  I started this cleanse on accident and I’ve just being winging it ever since. I’ve essentially ditched most carbs and am going heavy on juice, lean protein and fruits and veggies. It may be the longest I’ve ever been able to stick with a plan and I’m feeling great. Like suspiciously great given I’m avoiding nearly all of the things I love. I’ve even tapped into this spiritual side of myself that makes decisions based on energy and vibes. I find myself saying yes more and being very cheerful at times I should be a basket case. We really are what we eat, no doubt. Now seems like the appropriate time to tell you about the new Ellovi Tinted Lip Butter. Isn’t she purty? It’s a sheer red tint that comes from the red root of alkanet, a Mediterranean flower. The color is barely there but gives lips a little something extra. Like you just bit your lips and got a natural flush.  Ellovi is built on a very simple premise – your skin is like a sponge so let’s only give it the most pure and nutritional ingredients. There are three products in the line, the Tinted being the latest, and each has only six ingredients. And the best part = a tube is only $5.

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Looking Good in Dem Jeans



Jeans are the barometer for how we feel about our weight. Don’t you agree? I have skinny jeans – the attainable pair that acts as a benchmark. And there’s the skinny jeans that make me feel thin no matter my weight. Those are the best.  I really should just ditch the skinny skinnies but there’s something in my subconscious that keeps me hanging on with every closet purge. When they fit, I feel unstoppable and that’s a feeling that I’m not willing to donate to the Salvation Army.

Channeling that awesome feeling this week with some picks that go well with denim.

Madewell – First, about dem jeans. Those skinny no matter what jeans I wear are the High Risers. They are beyond slimming and never stretch out. Madewell says they do life altering things for the rearview and I ain’t mad at that claim. // Snakeskin Sneaks – These go great with denim – cutoff or full leg. // Lashes – My mom bought me the L’Oreal Butterfly mascara for my birthday and it’s knocked off the Falsies as my favorite drugstore mascara. The wand is angled and thicker on one side so lashes in your outer corner get crazy long and plumped up. // Denim Dress – Hello, fall uniform. // Lipstick QueenJean Queen – For 20 years, Poppy King was asked what’s the perfect shade to wear with jeans so she finally created one. It’s a universally flattering pink that lights up your face and offsets the blue in the fabric. // Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish – This replicates a professional blowout with just a few spritzes and tousles of the hair. A good hair day is the perfect complement to jeans. // Michelle Starbuck Chain Bracelet – I am outfitted heavily with Michelle’s vintage brass, denim or otherwise. // RMS Beauty Eye PolishI typically keep the blues to my jeans, but I need to try this silvery blue cream shadow from RMS.

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Free Mani in a Hot, PrettyQuick Minute!

PrettyQuick Laurie Leopold List of things ain’t nobody got time for?

  1. That.

OK, I actually saw that on Pinterest this week and it gave me a very near and dear chuckle. In that vein, let’s wrap up this week with a quickie beauty update.  A “PrettyQuick” one, that is.  I’m thrilled to join the Chicago-based PrettyQuick team as their beauty editor. I’ll be sharing all of my favorite spots around Chicago to get nails did, hair blown, muscles whacked and brows tweezed. Is this my favorite job ever? Perhaps. We share an ideology. PrettyQuick is the Uber of beauty services, helping the time-deprived women of Chicago book appointments at Chicago’s best salons and spas. Instead of calling and hunting down services, book in just a few clicks at PrettyQuick. While it works for the planners getting their appointments lined up well in advance, you can also book with just a few hours’ notice. You can narrow in by neighborhood, service and even actual location if you have a go-to. They house your payment info so when you leave your appointment, you are set and on your way. I appreciate that part so much because I am so bad at living the “cash only” life. Oh, and since I’m on the inside now, I have a little intel about a PrettyQuick app and rewards program in the works. Aww, yeah…

Now for the really fun part!

PrettyQuick Promo

PrettyQuick is offering first time users a free mani! Just sign-up, enter the code 312beautyblog and you’ll get a $15 credit in your PrettyQuick account. Chicago friends, seize the mani!

*NOTE: If you are redeeming the $15 credit please make sure to input “312BeautyBlog” 

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