Tag Archives: CoverGirl

Moving on Up

Moving gives you a new appreciation for the ordinary and for what is yours. It’s beyond belongings, but also the look and feel. The familiar smell of your environment, the messes you made, and the tile you scrubbed till it shined. The stress of moving is manifesting in my muscles and mood. I spent my Fourth of July weekend knee deep in boxes and Target runs. But, there’s the ups: a new place with my boyfriend (yes, we moved in together!)  And the downs: cleaning out the bros that inhabited the space before we did. Let’s just say I don’t think they ever cleaned. When we looked at this apartment, I saw potential. Now that we’re in, I’m realizing it’s going to take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to uncover it to its fullest. Literally.

olay body wash

Olay Fresh Effects

Waves of emotion have been flooding in nonstop. There’s the sheer joy I feel about moving in with the man I am madly in love with and also the impatience and frustration because our home is not yet perfect. I’m craving the ordinary comforts of home. I might not have my living room set up, my clothes out of boxes, or anything in place, but I did spend time getting our bathroom ready. Stepping into the shower and seeing the familiar green bottle of Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash in the Energizing Lime & White Tea scent that I’ve been using was the ultimate ordinary comfort. I think I actually cried in the shower. My muscles were aching and the cooling effect the body wash has felt the best it ever has. I did a double cleanse – scrubbing with a body brush the second time. I needed that shower to be clean, sure, but also to get my mind right.

I’ve been doing so much manual labor that I reached for the Secret Outlast Xtend. A full 48 hours of protection did my body good. The Completely Clean smell is really soft and exactly what I like in a deodorant. Again, there was comfort in the familiar and just knowing something would work. Unlike my laundry closet light switch. That isn’t as easy a fix.

secret outlast xtend


When I say that my beauty products were the saving grace of this move, I assure you that that isn’t superficial. For starters, they are fun to unpack and organize so it’s satisfying progress. And, they make me feel like me at a time that everything feels foreign. I got really wild for a date night at Target in the cleaning aisle and smudged on the espresso end of the COVERGIRLl Tru Naked Waterproof Eyeliner Duo. So wild, right? I also dusted some COVERGIRL TruBlend Bronzer and Blush on my cheeks. These two steps were simple and also made me feel pretty, even though I’d been changing toilet seats and scrubbing tile moments before. The blush in the color Deep Mauve is so beautiful – I’ll be reaching for that a lot come fall. For summer, it’s really pretty with a bare everywhere else look.

We’ve got our work cut out for us with this apartment, but I’ve got beauty (and Summer Shandy) to give me a familiar mood boost when I need it most. Anyone move into a fixer upper? Please share your advice. I find I want to do everything and know that I need to focus a bit more.

This was sponsored by P&G Beauty. All opinions are based on my experiences and insights. Thanks for your continued support!

P.S. Previous P&G giveaways have been fulfilled; some twice. Please email me if you have not received anything yet and I will also follow-up with those of you that have contacted me recently. Thank you, thank you for being so patient as this gets worked out.

The Summer Outlook

Herbal Essences Body Envy

Chicago has been such a charmer these past few weeks. It seems that every weekend lately has brought beautiful weather and minimal wait times for an outdoor table. Memorial Day weekend was absolute perfection.  I savored it (especially dinner at Honey Butter’s patio) and tried to extend each moment because now that we passed this point on the calendar, time accelerates.  Summer is easy, sort of, but it’s so jam packed that I already have calendar anxiety. I’m pretty sure that every weekend for the next two months is planned out already.

This weekend, during a warmish shower (ain’t nobody messing with hot baths in an AC-less apartment) and a serious lather with Herbal Essences Body Envy Shampoo, I committed to squashing the anxious feelings and looking on the bright side. Maybe it was the citrusy scent, but I started to feel energized by all there is to do. Nothing like a good hair day and eight hours sleep to get your mind right.

Olay Body Wash

The move. I’m moving in a month. It’s hard to feel excited about that to do list, but I get to move in somewhere brand new, with a man I love, to a place we get to make ours.  With two full bathrooms (good for the relationship!), I’ve got the shower situation under control with a fresh restock of Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash in the lime and white tea scent that is so so good. This never dries my skin out and I use it to shave, too. The bottle lasts for many many (many) showers and gives me vibrant, fresh skin all day long.

The girls’ weekend. I’m also planning a bachelorette party in June. My college roommate is getting hitched and we are going to Madison to celebrate. I just want to make this the most fun weekend for her and everyone going. I want to give her a true bachelorette party, but no tiaras or anything too campy. The part giving me stress is that it falls during a really busy time at work, so I’m balancing that and being present.

CoverGirl TruBlend Bronzer CoverGirl TruBlend Bronzer

The road trip. I’m taking a road trip through Colorado with my boyfriend. I’m such a planner and research every single thing there is to do to a fault. But with all of the rest of the planning I’m doing, I’m considering just winging this one. Is that a freeing feeling I’m experiencing?  I can’t think about it until after I get through June and the move, so I’ll let you know if this carefree attitude sticks around. In the meantime, share any recommendations throughout the state. I want to see it all.

It is summer so one major thread running through all there is to do and experience? Bronzer, obviously. I’ve been trying many and really like COVERGIRL truBLEND Bronzer. It reminds me of a baked bronzer from a brand that would cost way more. It gives a natural bronzy highlight and is really glows on my skin. I use it like blush and then dust it all over with a really light hand.  For the latter, take your fluffiest brush and sweep lightly over your temples, nose, chin and eyelids.

What is your summer outlook? Are you chilling or off to the races? Have you found your summer bronzer?

This was sponsored by P&G Beauty. All opinions are based on my experiences and insights. Thanks for your continued support!

P.S. Confirming by the end of this week all past giveaway prizes will be mailed out. Most should be en route or arriving as you read this. Again, you have my sincerest apologies as well as the P&G team’s. Thank you for keeping me updated!

Spring Mythology

Spring Chicago

Spring is a myth in Chicago. There are spring things happening, sure, and when they do it’s glorious and I love everyone in this city. But for the most part, the tulips stay closed and we’re all moody. Allergies come in with force, the winter coats are on and off, boots one day and sandals the next—I can go on. We want to fully shed our layers, but the forces of nature just aren’t ready for us to do that yet. April can be tough. I think people wear pastels and more color in the spring to help ease the lingering chills. Note: I am not among the pastel people, but I do bring in spring in my own ways.

CoverGirl Oh Sugar

CoverGirl Oh Sugar Lip Balm

I’ve got a few go-to ways to welcome in the season. Sheer lip color is so decidedly spring. I’m way impressed with the COVERGIRL Oh Sugar! Lip Balms. It’s a tinted lip balm hiding inside of a lipstick.  They do have a slight sugary taste, which is a bonus You know what I love most? It can be near impossible, especially at the drugstore, to tell what a color will actually look like because there are no testers to swipe on your hand. These show on lips exactly as they appear on the outer packaging. Smart! Punch is a must-have.


Head & Shoulders Lavender

SPF season is back. It never goes away, but now you need it on your limbs, too. Or you will when you can take your coat off again. For face, still digging Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream with sunscreen. Over time, this one has some added benefits, helping firm and brighten skin and reduce the appearance of lines.

The smells outside aren’t nearly as good as Head & Shoulders Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner. Mulch and pollen have nothing on this lavender delight. I’m still about the baths at night to warm me up and love how this brings in a light aromatherapy.

What’s spring like for you? Do you too have like 100 new photos on your phone of flowers and trees blooming? I can’t stop snapping (note: I’m laurieleopold on snapchat) them!

Would love to hear how you’re dealing with spring(ish) starting and if you’ve tried the Oh Sugars yet!

This was sponsored by P&G Beauty. All opinions are based on my experiences and insights. Thanks for your continued support!

P.S. I’ve heard from some of you that have previously won a P&G giveaway. Can you let me know if you haven’t received? I sincerely apologize for any delays and want to make sure that everything gets to you!

Express Yourself

CoverGirl Plumpify Mascara

I’ve been reading Women in Clothes this past month. Bits here and there. It’s not a book you need to read consecutively, rather best to soak up the collection of interviews, essays, conversations, surveys, photography, conversations and closet peeks over time. Hundreds of women share their POV on style and clothing and it is all so relatable and affirming. About halfway through the book is this list by Canadian artist Margaux Williamson on contemporary dressing.  She references that our faces communicate almost everything we thought we were hiding or enhancing through our clothes. “…communication happens with twitches of our muscles, with the way we move our eyes and lean our heads in. We have learned that people see who they are before they even look down.”

That feels true. We dress and rely on personal style to define ourselves, but our eyes and facial expressions tell the world who we are in that visceral sense.  They form opinions on who we might be and how we act by what our faces reveal, even before glancing down. I find myself constantly looking at peoples’ faces for cues. To see how they smile, what their eyes take in and the way they touch their hair and faces with their own hands. I’m aware of how my limbs travel upwards when I’m talking with someone. Are they studying me, too? Chances are, yes.

CoverGirl Plumpify

I asked my boyfriend the first thing he noticed about me when we met blindly for drinks. He said, “your eyes.”

CoverGirl Mascara

I wonder if he notices today the ways I try and accentuate them. Does he appreciate my CoverGirl Plumpify Mascara? Because I certainly do. I try every new CoverGirl mascara that comes out because they’re always the best at the drugstore. COVERGIRL Plumpify Mascara has this double twisted wand and one of those rounded spiky tips to help you get lashes that are hard to get normally. If you start at the base of your lashes and roll the wand up, your lashes separate and immediately stand out. I do a few coats and once they dry give them a curl. If I use my lash curler, they get really long and I’m obsessed. I didn’t do it in these pictures, but you can see the extra oomph without. It’s an effort that warrants a second look from him, I say.

Women In Clothes

Pantene Airspray

I wonder if people notice how I always grab my hair with my hands when I’m talking to them. I’ll flip my part, sweep it behind my ear or even grab at the ends and cover up my lips. I think it depends on my comfort level. And, if I’m feeling “cute.”  As a rule, I don’t wear much hairspray because I fiddle with my hair all day. I do use Pantene Airspray, though. Pantene’s alcohol-free formula means my hair moves naturally (or with my forceful hands) and doesn’t get stiff or sticky. You just spray it and it sort of dries without adding any weight. It’s perfect, actually. If I’m curling my hair, I spray it once my curls are cooled to set them.

Clairol CC Conditioner Clairol Nice n Easy CC Conditioner

Speaking of hair, another non-clothing observation I find to be true is how we observe a change in hair. Color, style, cut, accessory, etc. I always notice when someone I see regularly does something different. I find myself in conversations a lot around my own “balayage.”  “Did you just get it done?” The color is constantly evolving as it grows or fades, so people continue to ask. Because I’m straddling the “bronde” color spectrum, I don’t want to deepen or brighten it up too much in a traditional lane BUT I am REALLY excited that you can get the conditioner that comes in a box of hair dye without the actual box of hair dye. Clairol Nice ‘n Easy CC Plus ColorSeal Conditioner is a real live thing! The brand must have been paying attention – for years, people have been stocking up on dyes only for the conditioner. It has a little more power than your average conditioner, helps keep color safe from stripping minerals in water and up the shine factor. Why hasn’t this been a thing before exactly?

I’m curious, what do you notice first about people? And, let me know any and all questions you might have on any of these products mentioned. I did some deep testing of the Plumpify mascara – waterproof version, included. I can tell you that it is indeed very (very!) waterproof.

This was sponsored by P&G Beauty. All opinions are based on my experiences and insights. Thanks for your continued support!

Stripped Down

Lululemon Karma Kurmasana Sweater

I’m keeping warm, sure, because I’m wearing unspeakable amounts of layers. It’s the only way I could have survived January in Chicago.

Commuting has its aches. This is how my train of thought usually goes when I’m running to catch the L to work.  Why didn’t I wear my snow boots, the ones with better traction…I’m going to crack my skull on an ice patch, I know it.  Shoot, I forgot to wear wool socks. Why didn’t I wear the gloves that have working “smart” fingers. Do I really need to respond to that text? Thank goodness I wore heat tech leggings under my jeans. Why is it so windy?? I should just take an Uber.

It should come as no surprise that I’m taking a bare approach to beauty. No unnecessary layers. When Chicago’s signature chill is at peak, my eyes water, my hair is met with static electricity and my skin requires extra hydration. The less complicated, the more put together and cute I feel during the day.

Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream

It starts by prepping skin with something really rich and hydrating so your skin doesn’t dry out before your day officially begins. One option is Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream which, over time, helps firm, brighten skin and reduce the appearance of lines. It also has sun protection which is, in fact, a key layer in the morning.

I’ve been using the CoverGirl truNAKED Shadow Palettes – I’m partial to the ‘nudes’ and ‘roses – constantly. The depth of each shadow is impressive and they are so easy to blend. As somewhat of a nude eyeshadow expert (never.enough.palettes!) I can confirm the quality of these are as good as you’d expect from something that costs four times as much.

CoverGirl Naked Palette CoverGirl truNaked Shadow Palette

I’ve been trading in my liquid liner (because mega watery tear ducts) for truNAKED Waterproof Eyeliner Duo in the cashmere/espresso blend. It goes on really evenly without any tugging. I layer the two shades on the bottom lash line and skip it up top and outer corners when I know it’s going to be brutal outside.

Herbal Essences Naked

Mostly, my hair is on auto pilot. I try to wash it less and avoid heat styling. In my shower is the Herbal Essences Naked Clean & Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner. It removes buildup of a few days’ worth of styling products, lathers just enough and never weighs my hair down. Day one is especially sweet because the minty strawberry aroma wafts along and when I take off my hat when I get to work, it reveals itself.

Do you change your beauty routine this time of year?

Let me know if so. I’m giving away up to 10 prize packs of all the products mentioned in this post. It’s a good one! Leave me a comment or send me an email if you’re interested.*

Update 2/3: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

*If you’ve previously won a P&G giveaway, note that product fulfillment takes some time.   

First photo taken by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative

The Beauty That Bonds Us

P&G Beauty

What a difference a year can make, I keep repeating. Aloud, silently, to myself, on paper. I shrug, I smile, shake my head. I say it with relief, hope and anticipation.

Thanksgiving has always been my holiday. I like rituals and tradition. The pies my Dad makes from scratch, the ridiculous “nap pact” we always make after our bellies are full, permission to binge watch holiday movies endlessly for the next four weeks and writing in the family Thanksgiving book.

Last Thanksgiving, I was five days away from officially dissolving my marriage. It was an ending, but more of a beginning and the strain of it all came to a head. For all of the strength and courage I was portraying, inside I was navigating completely new territory. I didn’t know how to communicate what I needed from my family because I wasn’t even sure myself.  I also couldn’t grasp in the moment that they were experiencing their own pain. Divorce is lonely and selfish; it almost has to be as it is a bond that is breaking between two individuals. You go through it together because you have to but you’re flying solo. Like any storm, though, the devastation impacts everyone, not just those in the eye.

A lot changes in a year.

In the wake of even the most horrific storm, there’s always a burst of sun. You see the wreckage in bright light and you resolve to rebuild it again. Time and resilience help strengthen your foundation, which is forever altered but stronger for having been shaken.

I’m thankful for this year and all that has changed in my life. For family that can weather the storm, for the opportunities I’ve been given and the love I’ve discovered. I’m just so thankful. I can’t express it enough but if there’s a week to try, it’s this one.

One of the relationships I’ve built this year is with P&G Beauty. Their family of brands has been a common presence in my home now and growing up so partnering with them is an opportunity I’m thankful to have. I love ritual and traditions and P&G represents that to me. Beauty is a bond, one that I share especially with the women in my family.


It bonds us through firsts. Secret was my first deodorant and my nieces, too. My nieces are going to go wild for the Secret Clear Gel I’m bringing them on Thanksgiving. I found myself burying my nose in the Fresh Lotus scent. They’ll love it because it doesn’t leave behind white stains on their clothes and keeps them dry during their active 13-year old days of school, sports and snapchatting. I love it because of the attention Secret has dedicated to anti-bullying through Mean Stinks. The #ChainofNice campaign they led recently on social media was extremely positive.

CoverGirl Lash Blast

Beauty bonds us through the unknown. If anyone understands intense emotion, it’s 13-year old girls. It’s not lost on me that they experienced a loss last year, too. They’re strong as steel, which I’m thankful for as navigating their teenage years is going to challenge them. They’re starting to wear makeup, so they need to be introduced to CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara as a rite of passage. It’s only fair they don’t have to add clumpy mascara to their list of teenage girl probs. LashBlast never smudges and even though the wand appears oversized, it’s one of the easiest to apply. The bristles latch on to your lashes and do the work for you. Years of experience not required to master.

Clairol Root Touch Up

Beauty bonds us as we age. We don’t grow out of beauty; rather, our needs evolve.  Some of the moments I feel closest with my mom are when I’m caring for her. Being vulnerable is beautiful. I want to see my mom strong and confident. I would love to see her embrace her gray but she’s not there yet. She’s constantly getting it colored so I always love to help her extend the time between salon visits. She’s trusted me to color her hair before and I’m prepared to do so again with Clairol Root Touch Up by Nice n’ Easy. It comes with an expert control brush that really makes it easy to apply and it covers grays.  You’d be surprised how stubborn those silvers can be so this is most important.

What a difference a year makes.

Beauty is a bond that ties us together – this community, all who make 312 Beauty a place to be honest. It’s easy to be reflective in my head and a lot tougher to put into words. But I can’t help but try.

Come say hi to me over on Instagram. I’m doing a giveaway with P&G Beauty today to show my thanks and gratitude to all of you!

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. May it be filled with happiness and peace.

Thank you to P&G Beauty for sponsoring this essay.

Drugstore Beauty Spree


I’m back after a fun weekend with the EcoTools Beauty Team. We spent Friday at a loft in the West Loop getting pretty. Have you guys ever watched any videos from Teni from Miss Maven? It was so amazing to not only meet her, but do makeup with her! Teni is one of the EcoTools beauty experts, along with Chicago native Carly Christman and celeb hair stylist Christine Symonds. We all had a group outing to the drugstore on Saturday which was super fun. It’s infinitely better to shop those beauty aisles with friends than it is alone so you can creep on everyone’s discoveries. And when those girls happen to be a bunch of beauty editors and bloggers, it’s basically the best trip to Walgreen’s ever. I’m letting you in on all the goods!

Teni led us through this awesome smoky bronze eye lesson using this NYX palette. Pretty neutrals! // Klaudia from Beauty Blitz confessed she loves the Kardashian Liquid Eyeliner and her liquid liner skills are major. // Teni says “save” versus splurge on bronzer and recommended Milani XL Bronzer. // This Fan Brush is dreamy on the skin with a shimmery highlighter. // I picked up this pretty pistachio polish from CoverGirl. It’s on my nails now and I love the color and how easily it applied. // Dani was wearing this hot pink lip all weekend and it looked crazy good with her dark hair and light eyes. // The konjac cleansing sponge is now available for under $6 thanks to EcoTools. I like the exfoliating version. // Christine recommended this leave in hair mask by Dove for dry hair. // We all wanted the Not Your Mother’s Texturizing Sea Salt Spray and I got the last bottle. Oops. (sorry not sorry) // EcoTools makes hair brushes now and they totally outperform what I’m currently using. Really exciting — especially the Styler & Smoother which is way to easier to use than a traditional round brush when blow drying.

Vacation Makeup Bag: Miami Edition


When you live in the Midwest, it is practically a medical necessity to travel south to a warmer climate for even a few days. By mid-February, I’m usually at my breaking point with winter. This year, my husband and I are seeking refuge in Miami. Per usual, my vacation makeup bag is packed to the brim. Here’s a peek at what I brought!

My favorite travel bags are the Stephanie Johnson ML Traveler, and I’ve had it in the Kyoto pattern for years. It fits a ton and has four different compartments which appeals to the perpetual organizer in me. I’m testing a few new products, the Tarte BB Tinted Primer and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, so brought both. The other face products are Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact and Benefit fakeup, which I’m digging so far. Jouer Bronzer in Suntan will be necessary on this trip and I couldn’t decide between Benefit Fine One One and Tarte Awakening Cheek Stain (a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband!) so I packed them both. Eyes are minimal. I brought my favorite Tarte cream shadow in Shimmering Bronze, a few NARS neutrals (Alhambra!) and CoverGirl Clump Crusher. The lip of this trip is Becca Ultimate Colour Gloss in Miami Vice. Because, obviously, right?

Low to Luxe: Mascara


Many of my conversations with friends and co-workers often start with or lead to beauty talk. It’s just my trade, ya know? Everything from dry shampoo tricks (my friends don’t like washing their hair either!) or what mascara should I buy? I’m starting a new series on 312 Beauty inspired by these informal chats called “Low to Luxe.”  I’ll take a category and give you my opinion on the best product from drugstore to lavish high-end. There’s a time and place for everything, so let this be your guide to practical choices and when to get all splurge-y.  Let’s start it off with mascara!

While I switch up my beauty routine nearly daily, I am incredibly loyal when it comes to lashes. Sure, I’ll try anything once but if it flakes or smears it’s a goner. In the words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Let’s start with the drugstore. For years, I’ve been recommending almost exclusively Maybelline The Falsies. I love the “spoon” wand and the fluttery lashes it creates. But now I’m adding CoverGirl Clump Crusher into the mix. CoverGirl says you can put up to 30 coats of this on without it clumping and they’re not kidding. I’ve tried to get this to clump and it just.WILL.not. Buy it and try it. It will astound you.

There’s a ton of average performers in the mid-price point. Higher price doesn’t necessary equal better – especially with mascara, an item you have to throw out after a few months anyway. Two that I’ve bought repeatedly are Tarte Gifted Mascara and Benefit They’re Real. Tarte blows my mind with this formula — to the point my lashes are practically hitting my eyebrows. A bit of liquid eyeliner right on the lashline and you have d-r-a-m-a. Plus, it comes off very easily. They’re Real wears like iron and the spikey tip helps separate and lengthen every single lash. The only downside (and it’s worth it) is that removing it takes real effort.

If you’re in the mood to #treatyoself, look no further than Guerlain Noir G Mascara. The jewel case is fancy-town, and the mascara lives up to its potential, even helps lashes to grow thanks to a keratin infusion. The good news is the case is reusable and Guerlain sells refill mascaras for $26.

Given how personal mascara can be, I know you all have a POV to share on the low to luxe scale. Let me know the mascara you love!