About Face


I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but my skin has been balanced and (dare I say) radiant lately. The change of seasons can throw off even the most diligent of us but I’m getting along just fine. I say this in the most non-boasty way, trust. Honestly, it’s a revolving door of serums and cleansers around these parts so to keep my face from freaking I am always careful and committed to clean ingredients and being cautious about using too many treatments. I’m grooving on a few products at the moment and I told the lovely Meg Biram all about them with her latest “ask the beauty bloggers” column. There’s the blemish stick that looks like a lip gloss tube that I swear wards off any would be eruption from actually doing so, the bright cobalt bottle of vitamins and antioxidants that I mix with my serums EVERY morning and a face wash that is completely knocking my socks (and all surface oil) off. Check out more on Meg’s blog from me and the panel of beauty babes that also answered the question — > right this way!

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When Do You Feel Beautiful?

312 Beauty LaurieHi, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind. Specifically, feeling beautiful. Beauty is in this blog name and there’s a whole lot of product talk around here. But beauty is so much more than that. You know it. I know it. This weekend I took over the PrettyQuick Instagram to and we did a fun giveaway which I seriously wanted everyone to win. To enter, I wanted to see what made everyone feel beautiful. There was a hilarious boyfriend shot, some sister time, a fall run and so many others that made me smile. Seeing these pics affirmed that feeling beautiful has little to do with makeup and everything to do with how we feel about ourselves and our interactions with the world and others. I feel most beautiful when I’m confident and challenging myself. Be it finally mastering crow pose in yoga (still working on getting lift for more than a second) or nailing a presentation at work. Hard work can be gritty, sweaty and exhausting but so worth the effort. I wear makeup because I love experimenting and enhancing my features. I take care of my skin because it fuels my confidence and I’m a freak about an anti-aging regimen. But I feel beautiful when I’m strong. The distinction is an important one. What about you? When do you feel beautiful? The PrettyQuick takeover wrapped with the weekend but I still want to talk about this.

P.S. Yes, I chopped off all of my hair!

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All Hail Alicia Florrick

The Good Wife Beauty

Fall premiere week is like Christmas. I admittedly watch an embarrassing amount of network TV. I still DVR Grey’s Anatomy so I’m basically a rare dinosaur. I won’t even try to defend this action. It really is what it is. The most thrilling part of the week was last night’s return of The Good Wife. I live for Alicia Florrick. She’s a role model. A fierce, bold, strong and badass female. I wish she were real. Today’s pretty picks is dedicated to her.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer – Flawless porcelain skin is just one of Alicia’s signatures. This primer has a tint so I find I wear less foundation with this as a base. It does incredible things for the face. // Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon – For five seasons, I’ve admired how well Julianna Margulies pulls off a 90s style brown red lip. Bite’s crayon in Cognac fits the bill. // Rebecca Minkoff Medium MAB Tote – All business ladies need a great tote. // Ann Taylor Coated Zip Skirt – My day to day is a lot more casual than the pencil skirts, blazers and dresses that Alicia sports but I’m loving the edge of this skirt. Especially with the booties. // Bobbi Brown Brightening Blush – The Good Wife does not go too bright with her blush. Bobbi’s bronzing blush is on the money. // NARS Stylo Liquid Liner – It’s a hard life owning your own law firm and mourning your ex-lover…Alicia ddoesn’thave time for smudgy eyeliner. When I need to go day to night and into the night, NARS it is.

And now let’s talk about that premiere…except not in a spoiler-y way. Wow!

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8 Beauty Up and Comers

beauty up and comers

Fearlessness is a trait I admire so much. People who just go for it and take risks without knowing all of the answers. Being around people like this are good for my soul and being. The planner and the (over)thinker in me gets caught in my own head way too much. Because I just want to know how it’s all going to unfold. Nah, actually, it’s even worse. I want to plan how it’s all going to go down. I’m working on it, guys. When the lovelies at Clementine Daily asked me to cover up and comers in the beauty world, I honed in right away on a group of fearless women who are innovating and creating. They all have a story, a strong POV and passion that is 100% their own. Bow down, bitches. I know I do. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a handful of these women, some I call friends and all I respect. Head on over to Clementine to find out more about these fearless women and the beauty they are bringing into this world!


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About That Summer Glow

Dolce Gabbana Beauty

OK, autumnal blast. You had your moment in the sun. Now it’s my turn to enjoy sun. I’m not living in total la la land – I have to live with the fact that I turned my heat on this past weekend – but it is still summer. For six more days. Let’s live it up! I realize that most women wear the same makeup regardless of season, save for a little more bronzer in the summer months, but I really switch it up seasonally. Plus, chances are if you are reading this you are also not ‘most women.’


Dolce Gabbana Beauty Ibiza

One summer collection that is proving to extend well into boot season is from Dolce & Gabbana. It’s feminine, bold and flattering the semi-tan I have still lingering from a few August beach days. The metallic peach, gold and amber colors in the Tangier palette work this time of year and the cocoa brown makes for a great smoky liner. Do you ever use shadow dry as liner? I’ve been into it lately for an imperfect but still done look. The key is to smudge right at the lash line and then blend down. The color naturally fades out as you get further from you lash line. What I love most about these slicks of gold are how special they feel. Everything about D&G beauty is a treat! The double decker bronzing compact is amaze and the gloss encased in a lipstick is a fun party trick. Back to my earlier point, though. Six official days of summer. Tell me what you’re doing to send it off in style?

samples so kindly provided by D&G

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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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