Tag Archives: Bobbi Brown

The Great Beauty Purge of 2017

I had a head start. At the start of the year, I went through my beauty products and did a massive clean-up. My cream shadows—some I had for more years than I want to admit— were all goners. Not even joking, some of these dated back to when I lived in D.C. I moved to Chicago in 2009, so, yeah … I also had quite the stash of Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks and I practically held a memorial ceremony for them. Beach and Nectar, from her spring and summer 2010 collections, were especially painful to toss. So old yet hardly used. Not to the extent I intended to when I bought them, anyway.

And, that’s the thing. I don’t intend to neglect something I paid good money for but I think it’s easy to get caught up in new. There’s a split second that you decide, “I HAVE TO TRY THAT,” and then before you know it your beloved Shimmer Brick gets tossed aside and forgotten. And that “have to try” urge continues on and you have a cycle of “shimmer bricks” that you feel guilty about. There’s a reason why when you go to Sephora.com, the ‘Just Arrived’ section jumps out at you. I scan that constantly, but here’s the thing: new doesn’t mean need.

I’ve been lucky enough to try a lot of things through blogging that I haven’t bought myself. But, I still buy makeup. Most of the stuff I use, actually. Essentially, I’m discovering new beauty and trying products at a pace I can’t really keep up with. Nor, do I want to.

There’s a reason it feels so good when you ‘hit pan’ on a product (my face shows serious pride everytime I Insta story my almost used up Laguna Bronzer!) And the implication of what it means to ‘re-buy’ something: damn, it must be good.

But what about all of those lost beauty products I’ve raved about that will ultimately be thrown away? What is the implication of that?

This purge, almost halfway through the year, is significant because it coincides with a renewed 312 Beauty. I’m going to be trying out a new experiment in an effort to be more intentional and creative with makeup. It’s a seasonal approach to the makeup bag that I’m calling the beauty wardrobe.

The best part of living in Chicago is four distinct seasons with moods and traits all their own. The changing of my closet wardrobe is something I’ve done my whole life. In part because we had small closets growing up and you had to pack away the winter clothes and coats. Now, it’s more symbolic. I love approaching a new season. There’s hope and aspiration tied to starting fresh with a new set of rules. The beauty wardrobe is my chance to make sure the Shimmer Bricks of my past don’t become my regret in the future. It will be a seasonal beauty capsule in time. (Summer edition rolling out soon!)

But, back to the purge. If I’m being honest, I’m holding on to a few things. Like my Naked Palettes. I love them but not equally. I’m not ready to say goodbye, though, because they are not expired and may have a role in an upcoming season. But, I’m putting a lot of stuff on notice.

Along the way, I’ve asked myself the tough Qs.

Do I use it? This is the biggest aha! Because there’s “do I” and “would I” if I had more face? Take Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick. It was a Valentine’s Day treat to myself and I absolutely love that lipstick. But do I use it? Not nearly enough. It fell into the new then forgotten trap. So wrong! I’m sorry, Pillow Talk. You deserve to be worn. You will get your moment.

Do I like it? I was surprised by how much stuff I had that I just did not like. Perhaps I liked it at one point but it could have also been a sample, a freebie of sorts or a gift. Or something I bought and changed my mind on. It happens. My goal is to not let that happen in the future.

Is it my style? I have a pretty good sense of what I like and what I’ll take a chance on. I realized I don’t really like coral lipstick. Or hot pink. I also just really love black liquid eyeliner so all of those bright blues and purples aren’t for 2017 Laurie.

Does it work for my skin? There’s plenty I like that doesn’t work for me. NARS All Day Luminous Foundation is one example. It is too heavy for my skin and no matter how I try to sheer it out it looks like a mask. I’ve seen this on other people and it looks like airbrushed skin. Such is life.

Is it expired? I want to save this topic for another day because I’m always curious what is really the rule of law with expiration dates. I use a common sense approach and that’s the reason I have Benefit boxed blushes from years (and years) ago. Goodbye Coralista. Goodbye Hervana. Goodbye Bella Bamba. Rockateur, you get to stay.

This bag is truly bursting at the seams. It feels so good and yet there’s also a mild shame to it.

What to do with makeup you don’t want? I have a few options.

If it’s used or expired, I think it’s best to toss.

If it’s new, I find a new home with friends or family. If it’s new(ish), like a powder blush with one or two uses, I’ll also try and give that away. This is where common sense comes in. No one wants janky used makeup but barely touched is another story.

Recycle. MAC has a Back to MAC program. Other brands are intended for reuse, like Kjaer Weis compacts. I also look to recycle any packaging that can be as well for the items on the ‘toss’ list.

I’m feeling lighter and more focused with this purge. I’m also more aware of what I have, love and trying to fight that urge that is telling me to get the new Becca Chrissy Teigen Glow Face palette! Because, honestly, I don’t actually need to want.

How do you handle this? Are you a use up until it’s gone and don’t buy anything new?

Back To Work

Two glorious weeks off from work.  I’m energized but I’m also craving more lazy mornings. It was hard this weekend not to feel the blues. Didn’t help that yesterday I went to the grocery store, Trader Joe’s and Costco all in the span of an afternoon. Me and every person in Chicago. Oy! Guessing you maybe had the same idea, too?  I’m counting on January to stay slow and fulfill my homebody ambitions. But, back to work and routine I go. There are ways to make it easier. Here’s my inspo!

Make Moonlight Primer

Here I am all worried about UV rays from the sun but what about our screens? Shoot, is that even worse? I know I’m certainly exposed to it more. I’d never heard of a product that shields against the lights from our devices until I saw Make Moonlight Primer. I’m mega intrigued!

There’s something about a new tube of lipstick that gets me excited for any day. I’m eyeing up Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color in one of those beautiful bright pink shades. Bobbi has perfected the raspberry lip color!

New year, new plans to be made! I started using my Evermore Day Planner – made in Chicago by a super talented papercut artist – and have a new Sharpie pen on my desk reporting for duty.

Not jazzed about those early (/structured) mornings. Loading up on the best concealer there is: Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector and Glossier Boy Brow to fluff up my brows in a swipe. It was inspired by moustache wax and embracing all of the messy tiny brow hairs we usually try to hide.

Oh sweet Buttercup Eyeshadow! I like makeup with a message.

I use my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler and it makes a huge difference. I use it before mascara or in place of if I’m feeling like bare lashes.

Breaking news: there’s now a Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm! The Ultra Facial line is iconic to fans of Kiehl’s for the way it gently moisturizes and a balm is next level.  Perfect for those morning commutes I’m facing again.

How are you handling this Monday?

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!

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.

Tan Lines


Tan lines happen and I usually finish the season with a few different patterns on my arms, chest and feet. Not my favorite look but hey, it’s proof of many a rooftop cocktails and patio meals. I spend the majority of my week indoors so I get more outdoor meals than I do beach days. When those happen, I treasure them like national holidays. Here’s to digging our toes in the sand at some point this week — it is an actual national holiday and all.

Tan lines, no. The tan line manicure: yes!  Sephora has the how-to and I’ve got just the Essie polishes in mind to recreate. // Suntegrity SPF 30 – This is way more than just a sunscreen (thankfully, because it pricey.) It’s a makeup primer and a moisturizer with an impressive list of ingredients to treat your skin: hyaluronic acid, aloe, jojoba, pomegranate, green tea and cucumber. // Bobbi Brown Beach Rollerball – Thank you, BOBBI! This rollerball needed to happen. This scent captures summer so perfectly. // Striped Muscle Tank – Here’s one way to prevent a farmer tan. Also, J. Crew’s summer sale is too tempting.  // Floppy HatThe best way to protect your face from the sun comes in the form of a big old floppy headpiece. This one is pretty fabulous (and under $15!) // Perricone No Bronzer Bronzer – File this one under makeup that is smarter than you. It’s a one shade serum that mixes with your skin to give you a healthy glow. I so want to try!

Seven New Beauty Products to Love This Summer


Summer is here, officially, and with it comes so much new beauty. There’s more to swoon over than just bronzer, though that will always excite me, too. Each and every one of these pretty newbies has me thinking of hot summer days and nights.

Sara Happ Clementine Lip Scrub – This sweet orange box is like a present for making it to June. The sweet citrus, sugar and oils are exactly what is needed to get your lips lipstick-ready. // Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Primer – This does for your hair what primer does for your face. So much promise in this bottle…less frizz, UV protection, detangles, less breakage. // Ruffian Endless Summer Collection  – I so was hoping for one of these metallic polishes in my Birchbox. Each one is prettier than the next, but that blue…right? // Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Eyeshadow Palette – Bobbi Brown is the master of nude eyeshadow and her summer twist is everything. That gold, dusty matte clay and all of those seashell pinks…I mean….perfect. // By Terry Cheek to Cheek – This is a brand new type of blush…a syrup, technically. I need to get myself over to Space NK stat to see what this is all about. // Lollibalm – Benefit done did it again with a balm version of their iconic tints. This is a brand that knows how to please. // One Love Organics Gardenia Body Serum – This is summer southern charm in a bottle. The spray nozzle ensures a fine mist to give your body the right amount of dewy glow.

Cherry Blossoms In Bloom


Two words: patio season. I had dinner outside this weekend and it was glorious. Those first few patio moments after winter make all of the bundling and freezing seem worth it. It’s also prime time for the cherry blossoms. I was bombarded with pictures from DC friends this weekend. That was always one of my favorite parts about living in DC.  Spring in Chicago has its perks, but a view of the cherry blossoms from a paddle boat in the Tidal Basin might trump a patio dinner. Maybe. On to this week’s pretty picks!

Rifle Paper Co. captured the cherry blossoms perfectly with this print. // This DKNY Trench can be worn a handful of different ways, thanks to an optional capelet. // These flats (by Toms!) actually look like they’d be worn by a ballerina. I adore them. // Aerin makes insanely beautiful palettes and this one for face and eyes is at the top of my wish list. // Tarte’s pepperminty lipsurgence pencils now come in a lip gloss. // Cosmetic bag meets clutch…how adorable is this speckled pattern? // Bobbi Brown now makes eyewear and this blush pair of sunnies are so chic. // ILIA multi-stick in Tenderly is the perfect cherry blossom pink hue.

Mascara with a Mission


Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful mantra sums up precisely why I love makeup so much. That unstoppable feeling you get putting on a red lip before facing the world or how a sweep of bronzer makes all of the difference in your day. These feelings don’t mean I don’t feel equally powerful bare-faced but the ability to match my lipstick to my mood, or better yet, create the one I want with my lipstick is what I love. There’s been palettes, books and blush before it, but now ‘pretty powerful’ is a mascara…with a mission. Bobbi’s Everything Mascara got a pretty powerful makeover — loving everything about that pink tube! — and every cent you pay for it goes to a charity Bobbi Brown is supporting called The Girl Rising Fund. Every cent! That’s huge. It’s limited edition but you’ve got a few months to snag a tube.

P.S. Did you know that Bobbi Brown now makes eyewear?! Really want to get my eyes behind these frames!

The List: March 2014


Maybe it’s because I got a taste of summer in Tulum or the fact that I can’t possibly fathom the idea of wearing boots and sweaters for another month. Either way, I’m not interested in buying anything else for winter. I’m completely over it. Now that everyone is bringing out their spring and summer wears, I’ve got quite the shopping list assembled. Here are a few things I’m excited about for March!

PRETTY GLOSS: Literally, this is the name of the strawberry pink gloss in Chantecaille’s spring collection. You won’t find a more chic tube – this one was even made famous by Angelina when she whipped it out of her purse at the Golden Globes a few years ago. // NECTAR CHEEKS: I’m all about the cheeks in Bobbi Brown’s spring Nectar & Nudes collection. This pot rouge with a sweep of her classic Shimmer Brick in the most perfect coral hue looks so fresh. // BUCKET  BAG: I want in on the trend, but not at $400. Found: the perfect alternative at Zara. On its way to me now. //  NEW SKINCARE: I’ve been testing a lab sample of La Bella Figura’s new Enzyme Cleaner and I look forward to the evening when I get to slather this rosy and grapefruit goodness on my face. It officially launches this week and I can’t wait to snag a full bottle. // ROOM SPRITZ: I long for the days where I can open up the windows and let fresh air in. In the meantime, settling for Antica Farmacista Prosecco Room Spray. This was part of the recent Space NK gift – such a fun discovery!  // SPRING BOOTS: I can see myself wearing these lace-up wedges into the ground. Anthro sealed the deal for me with this insta! // BAUBLEBAR x ANTHRO: Two of my favorites! I want it all. Especially this necklace.

The List: February 2014


Congrats, we survived January. While February is just as wintery, I like it so much more. Related news: I will spend five days this month on a beach in Mexico. That tops my list this month! I’ve also got my eyes on pretty pink beauty and accessories and plan to update my bra wardrobe with everything Free People. Love the back straps on these two.

I’m down for positive reinforcements, especially when they are stamped onto one of my favorite Bobbi Brown products. The Antigua Illuminating Bronzing Powder has never looked so good.  I want everything in Illume’s new “Go Be Lovely” collection for spring. And, this iPhone case by The Everygirl is a must.

Making it my mission to finally master applying falsies this month. ESQIDO mink lashes are the lash extension alternative I’ve been looking for!

I can’t quite commit to shopping for warm weather clothing yet, but lighter versions of my winter staples…YES.  This J.Crew Silk Snood (with poms!) will be mine.

This leather clutch in pink, though the mint and cornflower blue are equally tempting.

NARS Bimini looks like the perfect, wear with everything gloss.

I love every color in Essie’s Resort collection. The plummy Under the Twilight will be the perfect balance to all of these soft pinks!

Bloomingdale’s Gets a Face Lift


Extreme makeover, Bloomingdale’s North Michigan Avenue edition is now complete. And the big reveal is all sorts of pretty. I finally got to check it out last night with a few of my fellow Chicago blogger gals and strolled every inch of that iconic black and white tile soaking up all of the beauty real estate. It’s like 15 mini boutiques in one. When I’m in the Bobbi Brown space, I feel like I’m in a Bobbi Brown store! There’s LED screens with videos playing, right now it’s all Bobbi + Katie, and spacious counters to give you a little more room to play. Beyond flashy upgrades, there’s also more cosmetic brands, including NARS, Illamasqua—available in about a dozen total Bloomingdale’s stores now— Sisley, SK-II and four fancy private spa rooms, one solely dedicated to Chanel. Oh, and my fav part, the first Space NK apothecary in the Midwest! Space NK carries Rahua, Jin Soon, African Botanics, Tata Harper, Oribe, Lipstick Queen and other brands you don’t see in stores as often.


Gisele greets you upon entry!

Now that everything is fresh and shiny, Bloomingdale’s has a busy social schedule for the coming months. Tonight, The Everygirl is hosting a grand opening bash and the founder of Illamasqua, Julian Kynaston, will be making an appearance and hosting a “beauty crossfire” of sorts. Think ready-to-wear makeup looks vs. creative and colorful works of art. Oh, and….Space NK will have one of their ridiculously amazing gift-with-purchases available. Seriously, I can’t even believe all that is packed in this GWP. The good news? It’s available online if you’re not able to visit a store. The bad news? Quantities are super limited.

The List: September 2013


Welcome, September. While I’m already mourning the demise of summer Fridays, I am excited for the first signs of fall. Plus, football Saturdays are a fair trade-off. I think I might have had my last hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend at a Brewer’s game sweating it out in the hot sun for three hours to near delirium. It was a good reminder that September can actually be one of the hotter summer months. With that in mind, my list for September is ‘fall light.’ I’m treading lightly with boots, resisting cozy knits and just starting to dip my manicured nails and pedicured toes into deeper colors. Consider ‘the list’ a favorites/wish list all wrapped in one. Here’s what September is all about for me!

Tassel necklaces. It started when I picked up this trio of tassels from Ann Taylor and has now expanded to several more from Bauble Bar (help, I can’t stop ordering!) The gemstone chain and blue pendant necklace is especially amazing with a white tee, blazer and skinny jeans. We’ll just call it the September uniform.

A classic red nail polish. Every fall needs one and Essie Twin Sweater Set is it. I gave myself a pedi with it over the weekend. It’s crimson perfection.

Neutral blush. I’m taking a seasonal break from my corals in favor of something softer. The new Benefit Rockateur is a shimmery rose gold that has just enough pink to still perk up your face. I’ve been layering it over bronzer these past few weeks with this big fluffy brush brush.

Off-black eyeliner. Fall means the return of the smoky eye! It just doesn’t feel as natural to do a heavy eye when it’s hot. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Mahogany and butter LONDON Wink Eye Pencil in Brown Sugar are two not-black options that I love for a softer take on the usually dramatic look.

Boyfriend jeans. These are hands-down the hardest pair of jeans to shop for. I want them to be baggy and loose but still be fitted where it counts. Who wants baggy butt, really? The GAP’s version has never fit me right, but they have a new ‘deconstructed’ fit that is looser and longer AND PERFECT. I love the dark rinse.

Matte lips. I’m not ready for full-on berry lips per the usual fall beauty looks, but am craving a matte finish. I’m wishing for the ILIA Lipstick Crayons in every color – especially the berry Dress Me Up and pinky coral Karma Chameleon. Aren’t they just the chicest lip pencil you’ve ever laid eyes on?

Cutout booties. These are the greatest idea for people (like me) who want to wear boots but know it is just too hot still. Compromise footwear at its best! This pair by Steve Madden is calling my name. The only question: taupe or black?

7 Days of Summer Beauty: Translucent Color


My usual flush of blush just doesn’t have the same appeal in the summer. It’s like the heat intensifies it somehow and I’m one degree away from clown cheeks. When that happens, I always feel a bit garish. I much prefer a healthy dose of bronzer (see here and here!) And for a little more color and sheen, I opt for a more translucent finish. Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tints are that forgiving and flattering blend that delivers just the right amount of color to cheeks. While the shades come across bold and brassy in the tube, on the face they are dramatically less so. Rather than sitting atop cheeks, Bobbi made them so they glisten and reflect light. The darker “Nude Bronze” has a slight rosy hue which is my favorite under bronzer. The golden “Sunlit Nude” acts as more of a highlighter and the bright “Summer Pink” makes you look healthy and perky. No brush needed to apply and the pocket-sized tube is easy to stash in your purse for touch-ups. My trick? To dab the light golden shade and the pink on opposite fingers and then touch together before dabbing on cheeks for a custom sheer color. This trio is limited for summer, but fear not, I think we’ll see more Tints in future Bobbi beauty collections. Right now, you can still snag each for $26 apiece.

Catch the rest of 7 Days of Summer Beauty here!

Bobbi Brown Face & Body Bronzing Duo


{Bobbi Brown Summer 2013}

I’m willing to bet the phrase “go big or go home” came up at some point during the product development phase of Bobbi Brown’s Bronzing Duo. Part of her beach-inspired summer collection, this bronzer is so mega it could eat my other bronzers for breakfast. Naturally, I love it. It is bronzer season, after all. Meant for use on face or body, Bobbi’s super-sized duo contains two of the most natural hues of bronze I’ve seen paired together.  On the left, a pinky-brown that could double as a blush, and on the right, a medium matte bronze hue. Layering the two together is a fun experiment in sculpting. Neither is heavy or muddy so creating the most natural of tans is super easy.  My go-to move is to sweep the deeper shade along my hairline, jawline and under my cheekbones – a.k.a. the reverse “3” style application. Then I’ll dust the pinky bronze on my cheeks, blending slightly upward and downwards to create a natural finish that blends in with the deeper shade. For a finishing touch, I dust the deeper shade below my chin and under my jawbone on both sides of my face.

Bobbi also released new shades of her Sheer Cheek Tint which layer beautifully under this bronzer. Nude Beach, my fav of the trio, is a sheer bronze with a metallic glow. Because it’s so sheer, it gives just the slightest hint of color. All very beachy and carefree, which is the spirit of the season, right?

*note: editorial samples provided 

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Transfix


There’s one in every eye shadow palette:  a dark color meant to be used as a liner. I have the hardest time making these colors work. Applying wet is an option, but I find the color fades quickly. Layering them over another eyeliner is usually the route I take, but then I’m just wearing two eyeliners. This predicament is mine no more since discovering Manna Kadar Cosmetics Transfix. It’s a clear gel that turns any eyeshadow into a long-wearing eyeliner. And, guys, it works! I’m talking busy work day, cardio workout approved level of werk. NARS Mekong, one of my favorite colors that never actually resembled what it looked like in the pan when worn, is now the eyeliner I always wanted. The NARS Night Series shadows are the sparkly intense liners Francois intended them to be. And, Bobbi Brown Caviar and Espresso, which appear regularly in her palettes, have been given a new lease on makeup life. Manna Kadar packaged it in a skinny tube with a brush, but I find I get the best mileage dabbing a few drops on the back of my hand and then using this brush to dip in shadow and then apply along the lashline. It keeps the actual product clean and gives me a little more control. It’s really nice to dust off these darker shadows I’ve been ignoring for so long!