Despite the fact I have practically an entire drawer full of makeup brushes, I still rely on the trusty foam wedge. From preventing annoying eye shadow fallout (I can’t for the life of me do my eye makeup before the rest of my face!) or using damp to blend foundation, the sponge is the handiest tool in my box. And I’ve uncovered a new use: manicure blender. I’ve got butter London’s Katie Jane Hughes to thank for tipping us off to this pro trick. The hardest part of doing an ombre mani is getting the layering just right. Seems as one half of the nail is bubbly or raised and the color gradient never looks effortless. I love this mixed metal look Katie created for DANNIJO at New York Fashion Week, which she got looking so perfectly imperfect by swiping the steely taupe polish – called Posh Bird – over the rosy gold polish – called Goss – using a makeup sponge. I love everything about it – especially the butter London colors she used! What do you think — ready to give this a try?
After all the holiday glitz, it’s nice to get back to a more normal everything in January. Finally, my schedule is more open and I feel like I can relax a bit. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ll spend most of my January nights taking a hot and steamy bath. It’s the only way to survive! Here’s everything I’m loving for this month.
A better bottle. Must.Stay.Hydrated. I’ve been pretty loyal to my Camelbak but just picked up my first bkr glass bottle and am hooked! I love that there is zero plastic (it always has a smell, ya know?) and the colors and designs are really fresh.
Edgy baubles. I am so into everything in BaubleBar’s latest guest bartender collection with Ashley from Revenge! Who is also Ashley in real life, who knew? The fuchsia bib necklace is such a pretty burst of color and I like how she styled it with an emerald green striped tee. I’m also seriously intrigued by the ear cuff but wondering if I’m cool enough to pull it off? Here’s to trying.
Gel toner. Osmia Organics is responsible for the best blemish treatment, ever. I’m convinced that Dr. Sarah (creator and master!) has solved zits altogether. Her Gel Toner, which I rediscovered recently, cleared up my post-holiday dairy-induced skin issues in a matter of a couple days.
Spicy showers. More like hot showers and lots of them. It is nearly impossible to stay warm in this weather. For an extra jolt of alert, I’ve been using Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Body Wash. It smells like a sexy man!
Rose everything. Can’t get enough. This Kusmi Rose Green Tea is delicious! Trying to start 2014 off with more tea and less coffee. Adding Tata Harper Be Adored Lip Treatment to my wishlist — the rosy hue looks like the perfect go with everything color.
Cleansing sponges. How these Konjac sponges work to smooth and detox skin, I’ll never completely understand, but they do! Dr. Sponge has a variety of face and body sponges for different concerns and the black bar with activated charcoal helps get rid of those dreaded body blemishes. It is so soft and cushy but works better than anything.
I’m not good with goodbyes, but I’m ready to give 2013 its final sendoff. The promise a brand new one holds is pretty thrilling, especially when this year has been so good to me. I hit publish on my very first 312 Beauty post in January, the start of a wild and crazy ride! There was the time Refinery29 included me in a list of bloggers “you need to be reading,” the reminiscing I did on wedding day beauty for POPSUGAR and the segment I did on Chicago’s FOX 32 on Memorial Day. I’m still awestruck from meeting so many incredible women at A Night for Green Beauty and honored I got to interview Butter LONDON’s global colour ambassador Katie Hughes, Space NK founder Nicky Kinniard and Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston when they came to Chicago. Most of all, I’ve had the best time talking beauty and getting to know so many of you (on the internet and in real life!) Let’s do more of that next year, k?
I can’t wait to see what the next year in beauty will bring. It’s fitting that my last post of 2013 is all about the products I loved most this year. I give you, my top 10!
Deborah Lippmann Glitter and Be Gay is hands down, the best nail polish I bought all year. I wore this constantly! The sparkling yellow gold and bits of blue holographic glitter are killer.
I used to think that salt sprays were drying until I tried Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray. It’s the best styling aid for my type of hair (stick straight). I spray on dry hair before I curl and get the softest waves that last all day. No small miracle.
Everything I thought about natural mascara changed thanks to Kjaer Weis. The 99.8% organic mascara is better than most others (natural or otherwise). Plus, it smells like roses!
I tried at least a dozen facial oils this year and Lina Hanson’s Global Face Serum was easily my fav. It plumps up my skin and makeup looks better when I apply this first. The scent, from a blend of 11+ exotic plant oils, is intoxicatingly good.
ILIA Cosmic Dancer is the most flattering gold highlighter. It’s soft and brightening and not the least bit brassy. Word is that it’s limited edition for the holidays, which I’m not ready to accept.
Katie Hughes herself introduced me to Butter London Cheeky Crème Blush in Pistol Pink. It’s a bright pop of color and you can dab it on your lips, too.
This year will go down as the year of MAC RiRi Woo. It was released several times with all of Rihanna’s MAC collections and it sold out quickly with each one. Worth the hype.
My mornings were greatly improved after discovering R.L. Linden & Co Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist, which is like a blast of floral adrenaline. Plus, I want to be friends with the owners. They seem like such cool chicks!
Washing my face will never be the same. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil exfoliates with plant extracts as it breaks down all of your makeup. Two thumbs up.
I’ll never be Camilla Belle, but at least I have Benefit Gimme Brow to get me a little closer in the brow department. It’s part brow filler part volumizer and takes 2.5 seconds to apply. I’m already on my second tube!
Happy New Year!
Today’s gift guide goes out to all of my fellow bag ladies. Which is every female reading this, right? We’re so easy to shop for. I’m bag lady central. Or, as I pronounce it, begs. The Wisconsin in me really comes out when I say the word. While this gift guide could have gone on for days, I edited myself and pulled together what I think is a supremely awesome set of bags that would make someone very happy this holiday.
Here’s what you need to know.
The holidays translate to amazing value sets in the beauty world. Take this Guy Bourdain x NARS Larger than Life eyeliner set. Or the MAC “Stroke of Midnight” gift sets which come with some of the best bags I’ve seen from the brand in years. Love the nylon black and white with gold piping. Bonus? The mineralize brushes that come with this set are stellar.
I can practically feel the butter soft suede and leather on this midnight blue and gold Baggu envelope clutch. I want to put my things in there, badly.
Just add red lipstick to this Jouer “It” bag and you have a truly chic gift.
Butter London had me with the quilted patent bag but really lured me in with four of their best polishes (Yummy Mummy!) all for under $40. This is one of my top picks for the season!
A mini leopard crossbody satchel? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Sparkles and fur? Obviously this Stephanie Johnson makeup bag is a must.
Behold, tis the season for gift giving. But we’re all friends here, so it’s OK if I admit that I’m shopping for me, too, right? The holidays really test my self-control. I’m kicking off gift guides today and each is filled with the most incredible prezzies. For yourself, for others or both — I’m not judging. Or, in this case, gilt-ing you.
Sasha told me about the Gold Box at A Night for Green Beauty back in September and I have been eagerly awaiting! It’s so pretty in its special box and it’s Ilia, so you know it’s going to wear beautifully.
This ‘lip tease’ mug is the cutest. I’d couple this with a box of tea and a nice handwritten note.
The Threshold jewelry boxes are such a great Target find. I actually got the smaller size for my nieces and I can’t wait to see them fill it with their most special things.
I love how this bib necklace has a delicate and feminine feel.
Butter London Stratford Honey Overcoat makes every polish look like it was dipped in gold glitter.
Gold leaf lip balm? Girl, you fancy.
This Jonathan Adler Metallic Zebra Dish is begging to be on top of my a dresser, holding tiny treasures.
Every girl deserves a little RMS Beauty in her life. The Solar Cream Eyeshadow is a beautiful golden beige hue.
P.S. Since it is Cyber Monday and all…worth noting that Net-a-Porter has 15% with code HOLIDAYBEAUTY (I already snagged an Ilia Gold Box for moi!) and Tatcha has a 20% Friends & Family sale through December 11. Go for the gold leaf!
Sparkle! Fur! Glitter! And more glitter and sparkle, please. That, my friends, is how this next month is going to go down. Rather than just tell you, I teamed with ShopStyle to also show you. The December List is inspired by ShopStyle’s latest print ad campaign. My modeling debut? Hardly…but it was fun! Let’s discuss my style priorities for December.
Sequins. I’m sure there are studies out there that show how wearing sparkle improves your mood. Whenever I wear this skirt I’m always more cheery. I picked it up at Old Navy this fall. I saw it once and never again – online or in store. I’m so happy I acted fast. The gold top on the upper right is from J. Crew a few years ago. Season after season, it’s still one of my most beloved tops.
Cozy knits and skinny jeans. Thick infinity scarves, like this one from Old Navy, are a staple around my neck. I’m also tempted to get this Madewell sweater in every color. It’s so warm, easy to layer with and the suede elbow patches are the cutest. You will also find me wearing the Gap Legging Jeans pretty much every day. I have them in several colors and the ankle version is the perfect length for my short frame.
Neutral accessories. I like my holiday ice and accessories to be on the neutral side. My husband bought me this mini Rebecca Minkoff tote for our anniversary (I know…he’s a keeper) and it allows me to carry a surprisingly large amount of stuff. Also, these fur-laced Stephanie Johnson makeup bags double as clutches. I’m especially obsessing over this one — love the gold tassels! I wear this BaubleBar necklace every other day—one of my favorite purchases all year!— and am loving the Kate Spade-esque bracelet that came with the Tarte “Off the Cuff” Blush Palette. It sold out everywhere, so if you find it, do not hesitate.
Flawless skin. Nicky Kinniard gave me a sample of the Cane & Austin glycolic treatment pads and they are a lifesaver, especially when my skin is taking hit after hit. Between hardly any sleep, more wine than usual and holiday cookies, these will be a critical step in my nightly routine.
Big hair. No time like the holidays to make you want to backcomb your hair. I just discovered the miracle that is Oscar Blandi Dry Teasing Dust. If I’m tying it back, I’ll be doing so with these sparkly ties from Kitsch.
Red lips, sparkly tips. Butter LONDON released sparkly “overcoat” nail polishes for holiday that you layer over your existing polish. Stardust makes everything look holographic. Red lips are so festive and I’ll wear that more days than not this month. But a girl needs options, which is why the Tarte 8-piece mini Lipsurgence set is so perfect.
Note: This post is sponsored by ShopStyle and POPSUGAR Select.
P.S. Take a peek at the actual ShopStyle ads if you haven’t yet!
When I met butter LONDON’s Global Colour Ambassador Katie Hughes in Chicago a few months ago, she raved to me about the new Lippy Tinted Balm, especially the Strawberry Field shade which she deemed the best red ever. Now, I get it. At face value, they’re very unassuming. They look like an ordinary tube of lipstick. The colors even seem a little extreme within their respective palettes. The deepest wine, for example, and the palest nude. Even the red was not wowing me. That is, until I put it on my lips. One by one, they’ve quickly become the lip colors I reach for every day. Dare I say they are perfect? The creamy and hydrating formula— a combo of avocado, mango seed, cocoa and shea butters— feels phenomenal on the lips. The color transformation from tube to lip is an impressive one. Take Strawberry Field, which looks like a brick red with a hint of brown in the tube, but turns into a soft cherry tint. Or Black Cherry, which I imagine gets overlooked on the shelf due to its deep burgundy hue (acquired color – I get it.) In reality, it’s a sheer berry that you can feel comfortable wearing all day at work. And Toasted Marshmallow, the scary pale nude? It’s super flattering and gives my lips a natural dewy look. Plus, no mirror required.
The pretties are packed and I’m ready for a vacation! Seriously ready. I’ve hardly taken any time off this year. A glaring reminder is the fact that I still have 14 vacation days stowed away for the rest of the year. I’m ready to burn a few with a long weekend to DC. Since I moved back to the Midwest from DC in 2009, I’ve hardly been back. Can’t wait to catch up with friends and visit some of my fav places. Though, I’m not too happy about all of this rain heading up the coast from Hurricane Karen. I’m determined to make the best of the dreary days.
The makeup I’m bringing for this trip is a lesson in self-control. Two blushes is editing for me, guys. And please do congratulate me on bringing a single eyeliner. Cream blushes are my jam right now so I couldn’t possibly choose between Butter LONDON Naughty Biscuit and Illamasqua Velvet Blusher in Peaked. The BECCA Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation is like a tinted moisturizer with a little more oomph. Wears beautifully all day, so I like to travel with that one. I always over pack eye makeup, so I’m keeping it simple with Benefit Nude Swings, an always perfect with everything rose gold, and the option to go smoky with Chanel Enigma. That one eyeliner I can survive on for four days? Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl in Penny Lane. When you twist the cap, it sharpens itself! Since I know there’s probably a handful of lipsticks buried in my purse, I’m only packing two in my makeup bag. Burt’s Bees Sunny Day and MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous. If I can’t actually get a sunny day, may as well channel good vibes through makeup!
I think we’re all pretty jazzed that it’s October. I’ve seen this quote from the Anne of Green Gables author no fewer than a dozen times this week in my Instagram and Pinterest feeds. October is pretty magical, though. What’s not to love about the first real chill of fall and leaves changing colors? Here’s everything I’m loving for the month ahead!
Feminine fragrance. Once September wraps, it’s time to retire my summer scent. I’ve been looking for an ultra-feminine fragrance for fall, in part to balance out the “boyfriend” style wardrobe I love in the fall. Oversized everything is just so cozy! When I was previewing the new beauty floor at Macy’s a few weeks ago, I spritzed on the new Estee Lauder Modern Muse. The ladies at the counter explained to me how there are two different scent profiles that you may pick up, depending on your body chemistry. There’s the woodsy vanilla and amber musk side or jasmine and dewy citrus. The jasmine hit me right away and I’ve been wearing it every day since.
Glittery nails. I’m obsessed with the butter LONDON “Rock Your Colour” glitters for fall, especially Indigo Punk and the rust-colored Brown Sugar. Just look at this color! When the sun hits them, they glisten like crazy.
Balms, butters and more balms. With the cooler temps, I’m all in with balms. After a steamy bath, I slather my entire body in them. Ellovi Butter, rich in coconut, macadamia, marula, hemp and shea (those are the only five ingredients!), melts into skin like, well…butter. It’s not heavy at all, making it the perfect October balm. I’ve started to test the Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm and so far, it lives up to all the praise it has earned. And I’ve discovered the perfect alternative to Aquaphor with CV SkinLabs Restorative Balm. It’s packed with anti-histamine, -oxidants and -inflammatories so it actually heals and soothes!
Cherry lips. Just a tint of red is what you’ll get from Fresh Sugar Cherry. Add a messy bun and a chambray shirt and it’s like you walked out of a J. Crew catalog.
Exfoliation. My cleansing ritual is getting a major upgrade this month. I’ve started to use May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt, a blend of cleansing clays, spices and salts that you blend with water to activate. It’s like microderm at home but your skin is soft and plump afterward instead of “scrubbed.”
Boy shirts. I love men’s flannel shirts and am counting down the days until I can wear them on the regular. The more fem version from Madewell is majorly inspiring me. And, I spy a budget version of that skirt at Target. How cute would this outfit be with tights and boots?
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?
Rockover is the new makeover, according to butter LONDON. We know them for their always on-trend nail polish shades and for expanding our vocabulary with cheeky British slang, and now the brand is making waves with its first full-blown makeup collection. The Bespoke Colour Collection is outside the box in the best way. Think lime green nails for fall with eyeliner and mascara to match. But don’t fret. The seemingly wild colors are also balanced with rich blues and deep browns and the perfect sheer lip neutral colors that go with everything.
I chatted with butter LONDON’s Global Colour Ambassador Katie Hughes this week while she wraps up the ‘Rock Over’ tour that’s stopped at dozens of Ulta stores across the country. It’s fitting that Chicago is her final stop, as she has family here and loves to visit as much as she can. Note: she once went to Hot Doug’s three consecutive days. This Brit loves her some Chi-town!
Your title of Global Colour Ambassador just got even broader. There’s SO MUCH color in this collection!
Butter London is known for best nail lacquer colors and we wanted to create a makeup collection that spoke to that and was also on trend. All of these colors are going backstage with me this [Fashion Week] season. I think that people are just starting to experiment with color. Think even a few years ago – going into the board room at work, colored nail polish was frowned upon. Now it’s everywhere. Glitter, bright colors, white nails. You can be more adventurous with your eyes. People are embracing blues and purples. I think they are the new neutrals.
What are some of your favorite Bespoke looks?
The pencil in the green story – Jaded Jack – is one of one of my favorites and looks amazing in the tear duct area. Everything in the line has a multiple use. All of the mascaras can be used in the hair and brows. Try the brown mascara on the brows. Just take the entire product off with a tissue and skim it over the brows without touching the skin. I use the CHEEKY on the lips, LIPPY balm on the cheeks and the Pistol Pink WINK eye pencil on the lips. Alabaster Gaze Cream Shadow works as a highlighter. Even the mascaras double as eyeliners. Apply the Union Jack Black pencil and let it be lived in for a moment and then take a really thin eyeliner brush and layer the mascara over it. I wore the pink the other day and got so many compliments. When people look at you when you wear color, they do a double take. It’s not crazy nuts just a hint. I like to be understated, use one color at a time.
What do you mean by ‘lived in’?
My personal makeup style on set is makeup that looks like its effortless. Creased shadow doesn’t bother me. It looks lived in and that’s what I want to see. I want character not retouched makeup. If you get your base right and pick the right foundation that’s buffed and beautiful, whatever goes for the rest of the face. I work with smudges and purposefully smush my mascara into the bottom lash because I like that slightly edgy look.
The WINK cream shadows are softer colors – I’m especially loving that gold! How do you like to use these?
They are designed to be a wash of color. If you want to build, layer them together rather than putting on more. The cream shadow and liner are like best friends – they work even better together. Apply a dab of the cream shadow to the lid and take the liner across the lashline and blend right away with your ring finger. I always go back in at the lash to get more depth with the pencil.
Last year, during the Erdem show at London Fashion Week, I did the nails with a color called Hen Party which looks like organza and NARS did really neutral makeup with a matte saturation of lilac in the inner corners. That pop of purple looked so gorgeous and I’ve been using these that way. Be very slapdash about it. Go back to basics and don’t think so hard.
Can we expect more makeup from butter LONDON?
Yes, we’re going to grow and grow. We’re always going to be a nail care and color brand but we’ll now launch makeup with our lacquers. Big colors with themes and we’ll start growing into collections that are, for example, 12 shades of the same product so we’re building our portfolio.
Chicago ladies, don’t miss the opp to meet Katie yourself and get a “Rock Over!” She’ll be introducing the Bespoke Colour Cosmetics at two ULTA stores today. From 11-2 p.m. at the State Street location in the Loop and from 3-6 p.m. at the 2754 North Clybourn ULTA location.