Tag Archives: MAC Cosmetics

The Holiday Beauty Wardrobe

For one month only!

The way I’ve been working this beauty wardrobe is on a seasonal basis. And this would be the time I get ready for the next edition, however, December is in a world of its own. Plus, nearly half of mine will be spent in Miami so I’m not ready to hunker down for winter just yet. I know my winter wardrobe will be simple and skin-centric so I’m going to get glitzy now.

My approach to the holiday beauty wardrobe is classical, the same way I view the holidays. I like a tradition. I still hang ornaments I made in the 80s on my tree, all right?

The holiday beauty staples, as I see them.

Red Lips.

First things first. I aspire to wear my reds more. I just am not an everyday red wearer but the mood strikes often in December. The more noticeable, the better. I’ve got the new NARS liquid lip formula in Starwoman to put to test and Rihanna’s Stunna Lip Paint, which is supposed to be the one perfect universal red for everyone. With a premise like that, how can I not? I also made sure to put a bright red MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in there for support, along with the first step of Dior Sugar Lip Scrub. It’s a balm, it’s a tint, it’s a scrub – it’s all three and it’s perfect!



This is starting off like a templated holiday ribbon. I’m OK with that. Because, I’m bringing back the Marc Jacobs Dew Drops highlighter in the golden peachy color. This is a total build your own adventure. Sometimes, I’ll use this as a base or mix it in. The highlighter is imperceptible when mixed in with the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – my foundation of choice this month – but you will notice a difference. The best kind of makeup!  I’m also carrying over some complexion staples from fall: Glossier Skin Tint, Stretch Concealer and NARS Soft Matte Concealer.

I’m also bringing in gold undertones with the return of NARS Orgasm (x2). I’ve bene thinking about this blush lately so knew it was time to break it out for holiday. I’ve had my compact for yearsss and I love it (totally still good… it’s powder!) I know Orgasm is crazy popular but also polarizing – I’m in the love it camp. I’m including the powder and liquid blush version for use together and individually. I find the liquid is a more subtle, almost highlight version and it’s unbelievably pretty when layered. My girl Jordan at Petite Modern recommended it and I’m so glad I picked it up.

You pick glitz.

Think shimmer that goes beyond your regular acceptable definition. My way in is with my eyeliner. Sparkly eyeliners. Sparkly eyeliners, guys! Who am I? But, honestly, Maybelline blew me away with their metallic ink liquid eyeliners. They sent over all of the colors of the rainbow and I of course gravitated to the graphite and black shades. They’re deep inky shades with a hint of glimmer – exactly what any woman of any age would feel good wearing. Coat the lashes with Marc Jacobs O!mega Lash and feel like a present.


Lips are the next obvious sparkle ‘em up landscape. For those days where I’m going red, I plan to layer the sexiest combo: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick and the sparkly, glitzy, yet totally woman of a certain age, Fenty Gloss Bomb. Like her Lip Paint, Rihanna declared this the universally flattering gloss. There’s not a ton of pigment in it but what is a translucent-ish brown so it isn’t going to give anyone concealer lips. I dare you to find a better combo.

Party purse

You could say this is clutch … I WILL LAUGH AT THIS JOKE EVEN IF YOU WON’T. I always like to have a few always in the bag options for when you need to touch up on the fly. For me, this isthe MAC Next to Nothing Powder Compact (the mirror is key), RMS Uncover Up and highlighter. I’ll be doubling up on the latter with Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone and Ciate Dew Stick in Glow. When in doubt, layer them together. The Ciate is much more ‘wet’ and transparent whereas the moonstone is pearly and reflective. I like how they complement each other.

Contour or not

Listen, this isn’t for everyone. It’s not even really for me. Yet, I can’t help but trying my hand at it with the Burberry Contour Pen in Light/Medium. It was an ITG Top 25 inspired buy.

It’s so creamy, you could almost blend it all away. It works on eyes, too. Takes down the intimidation factor and the extra-ness of contouring to a normal level. I also watched this helpful tutorial from Burberry’s Wendy Rowe that also convinced me this was a need.  I also added back in my trusty NARS Laguna for moments when I just want bronzer.

Day to night.

We’ve got a few holiday parties to go to and I know we’ll take advantage of nights out in Miami. Therefore, day to night! I lead a very day to pajamas life, happily, so this is a total shift in my day to day.  Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks make it so easy to instantly smudge up a smoky eye. I’m really into the new matte formula – the shade Cobblestone is the perfect taupe base to build on!

I’m adding the Juice Beauty cream blush in Flush – a very dewy nude. As a rule, I like to touch up for night with cream formulas since they give skin a healthier bouncy look. This is my pick! It’s also really perfect for every day wear. It’s a nice balance to all of that orgasm cheek color I picked as well. Also, if I’m touching up my complexion after a long day, I like RMS Uncover Up since the coconut oil formula revives the skin as well versus looking like you’re piling on.

And, my favorite party trick, is Chanel Stylo Eyeliner in Eros, a popping burgundy. I think the color was limited, but I can’t help but use this every time I get. These eyeliners are probably the only pencils I like (they twist up versus sharpen) because they don’t smudge. I remember watching this video last holiday from I Covet Thee when she applied this for a day to night look over her existing eye makeup and I’ve replicated it ever since. Pat a little ColourPop Truth (the creamiest powder shadows there ever were) on the lid and then go to town with Eros. DONE!

Told you this was going to be extra.


It’s the final (summer beauty) countdown

I’ve gone through phases with my summer beauty wardrobe. On one hand, I might have given myself too many options and on the other, just enough so I didn’t feel limited. It’s all psychological isn’t it? Really, though, I’m truly loving this experiment and got excited when I realized I should probably start thinking about fall. I’m going to stick with summer for another three weeks, just past Labor Day.

I did a mini audit of what I’ve been using and realized there’s some things I’ve used almost every day and some things I’ve barely touched. I’m going to do a rotation and make the most of my summer beauty.

First, things I’m close to finishing up.

I’m almost coming up empty on my IT Cosmetics CC Cream and Glossier Skin Tint – these have definitely been my summer workhorses. The coverage on the IT never ceases to amaze me. I’m also almost done with my NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil in Frivolous. I’ve gone through a handful of these over the years but for such a low maintenance pink color, it’s high maintenance to use. They need sharpening often. And, they are pretty glossy, so they will fill your sharpener with gloss. Regardless, I’m really glad I included Frivolous in summer. It’s the perfect I’m wearing makeup but you can’t tell lip color. I keep it in my purse and then usually curse when I pull it out and it’s a stubbie.

As for makeup I haven’t really used…

There are some surprises in here. My custom MAC palette. I made a point to put it on my bathroom counter now. I think with the move and travels, I haven’t given it enough love. It’s big and doesn’t fit in my travel makeup bag. I wish I had a slightly smaller size that didn’t have Cream Colour Bases in it. Cream products don’t last quite as long and looking at it every morning reminds me of how wasteful I am.

Ilia Cucumber Stick. Isn’t that weird? I was sure I would use this nonstop but the truth is it confuses me. Is it a toner? Skincare? Should I use it when I wake up to wake me up? Do I reapply it over my makeup? I’m deeply torn on the right way to use it. I feel like I missed a huge opp to bond with this by not bringing it to Mexico. I so needed the refresher in that heat.

MAC Strobe Cream. Nothing against you, MAC, I promise you’re a fav. It’s just that I haven’t used this peachy strobe cream more than a few times. I think I’ve wanted less on my face and I equate this more with winter beauty. When I want a strobe-y moisturizer under my makeup.

There have even been a few additions.

I apparently go through eyebrow pencils at rapid pace. I finished the It Cosmetics Super Skinny Brow Power in June and then broke an Anastasia replacement (not user error – super frustrating). TrèStiQue sent me their brow pencil, which has a built in brow setting gel not dissimilar to Boy Brow. However, Boy Brow is a perfect color match and I prefer the texture. The combo of the two has been working great for my brows.

I’ve also tried a few new mascaras. I knew this would happen because I was almost finished with my Lash Sensational and was looking for something easier to remove. Funny, I did not choose formulas that were easier to remove but I’m still pleased with my options. Dior’s new Pump’n’Volume formula has been such a worthy splurge. I also love L’Oréal Lash Paradise – the wand has really dense soft bristles that grab on to lashes well.

Last, I’m trying some new complexion products. I’m working with Make Up For Ever and am remembering how much I love the Ultra HD foundation. This isn’t so much new as it is a classic. I brought it to Mexico with me and ended up using it on four of the bridesmaids (we’re all about the same shade – Y245!)

I’ve also been testing Glossier Wowder. My first impressions are the packaging is straight genius. It has what Glossier calls trampoline mesh instead of those little holes that sift powder usually unsuccessfully. And the inside of the lid is custom fitted so it fits over the mesh circle. It’s dream packaging! I am trying it out now and going to be comparing it to my RMS Tinted Unpowder, which is what I’ve been using for years to set and reduce shine.

I’ll do a full recap when summer wraps. Definitely learning more about what I really love.

Best of Beauty 2016

best beauty 2016

I am all about the reflective year in review. I do it through a beauty lens here and from a personal POV in my journal. I used to find this time of year rather sad because it was saying goodbye to a year but now I see it as hopeful. And, let’s be honest, is anyone else really sad to see 2016 go? Peace out, you were ruthless.

And about that beauty lens. This year was awesome from that view. The 90s came back with a vengeance, YouTubers put 100 coats of makeup on for fun and rainbow highlighter was a sensation. Not all my jam but trends that made this year what it was in beauty. We’re also living the rise of skincare as makeup and individualism, ala Glossier – an ascension I am 100% on board with moving into 2017.

beauty favorites 2016

I’ll get to it. My top 10 favorite beauty launches of 2016.

Honestly, Glossier everything. But especially the Stretch Concealer and Super Pure serum. I use two shades of the concealer (Light and Medium) and often use that combo in place of any other face makeup. They are so creamy and dewy.

Lancome had maybe the best idea for a liquid eyeliner: make the handle bend so application is easier. It works. And, to boot, the eyeliner formula itself is extra inky and concentrated so there’s never any tugging or skipping.

Technically, this is not a 2016 launch but I didn’t discover it until this summer. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara is the best drugstore mascara, ever. It lengthens and curls lashes, holds them in place all day and is 100% budgeproof – even the non-waterproof version.kiehl's midnight recovery cleansing oil

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil squeezed in just under the wire – but I’ve been using it for a month now and it’s love. This definitely has a place in every top of the year list. It breaks down makeup beautifully but its power is in bringing you the zen. I swear using this at night this helps separate me from the stress of the day.

As I said in my original review, it’s really rare that I want to use a multiuse product as intended. Inevitably, they are always best on the cheek. Not so with the Bite Beauty Multistick at all. Somehow every color works as an eyeshadow, wears comfortably as a lipstick and looks good on cheeks. Cashew is my favorite shade.

diptyque eau des sens

I love having a Diptyque boutique in Chicago. I remember trying their spring fragrance, Eau des Sens, on a freezing cold spring day. It gave me hope of warmer days to come. The best way to describe it is like an orange tree. But not just the sweet blossom but also the greenery and tree itself. In-freaking-credible.

elizabeth arden prevage spf

As you can see in my photos, I am about to squeeze the last drops of my Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF. This isn’t merely a really fancy sunscreen (but forgive me, I’m known for that at times…) but the most essential step in my daytime skincare routine. This formula is the color of pantyhose and the consistency of a thin lotion. It is loaded with Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage and helps protect against all of the damage you encounter outdoors – sun and pollutants. It truly is for city girls.

Like Glossier, Ouai had a sensational year. This line cropped up what felt like out of nowhere and for months it was all I heard about. As soon as I tried the line (review here) I understood the hype. The Hair Oil is a standout for me. It helps my hair dry shiny and bouncy and smells like an exotic vacation.
Mac Liptensity Driftwood

I try and love a lot of lip color. But most of all I love MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Driftwood. It’s a pinkish mauve that runs cool. I’m always attracted to these colors but find they can go awry. Not Driftwood – I give off healthy vibes with this one. I love that it is unlike anything I have in my collection.

So there you have it: my year in beauty. What rocked your world in 2016? Beauty or otherwise.

I Put a Spell on You

MAC Spellbinder Shadow The future of eyeshadow is here and it looks like a velvet couch from the 70s.

This past weekend, I had a makeup date with MAC Cosmetics Regional Makeup Artist John Naughton at the Michigan Ave boutique. I was curious to get the scoop on MAC’s new magnetic eyeshadows, the Spellbinders.  a.k.a. those velvet couches. Think a more intense version of MAC’s loose pigments ionized in magnetic jars. The texture, velvet to the touch, is unlike anything I’ve seen before. They’re loose but you can shake them upside down and they stay put. Beyond the novelty, the shadows themselves are intensely pigmented with a metallic finish. Definitely not my every day wear, but I was curious to see how they fared.  As always, I left John’s chair with so many useful bits of knowledge that I couldn’t wait to try myself at home and also share with you.

MAC John Naughton Chicago

That’s John!

To prep my lids, John used a fluffy brush to apply Painterly all over my lid. I knew Paint Pots were an awesome base and this was a nice reminder. I’m going to start applying with a brush. He applied the soft greige-y lilac Quarry over Painterly before doing anything else. Quarry was like the home base, do-it-all hero. He kept on going back to Quarry to blend out everything in the crease. We also did the eyes first – something I almost never do but should. Especially when you’re out to make a mess.

MAC Spellbinder

MAC Spellbinder Dynamically Charged

MAC Spellbinder ShadowJohn layered the Spellbinder shadows in Dynamically Charged and Retrograde on the lid, concentrating the coppery Dynamically Charged on the inner and center of the lid. I love this color – it’s the most neutral of the bunch. They stay well on the lids and I think would be a lot more user-friendly at home than the pigments (I can’t be trusted with loose shadows!)  He sprayed the brush first with Fix+ which also helps any loose bits stay on the brush and intensify the shadows even more. Retrograde challenged my comfort zone in the outer corner but I was into the bold look. I do think that layering these over a black liner close to the lash line is how I would wear Spellbinders in my daily life. They just come to life over a black base.

Mac Soft and Gentle

John went minimal makeup on my skin, using the new Studio Fix concealer sticks instead of foundation and dusting a layer of the new Studio Fix loose powder to set everything. It didn’t feel like I was wearing any makeup. On my cheeks, John mixed the same brush in Soft and Gentle Mineralize Skin Finish (a peachy bronze highlighter) with Gentle Blush and spritzed it with Fix+ to apply slightly damp. The technique was really cool and something I’m trying at home.

MAC Liptensity

mac liptensity smoked almond

I have been wearing almost exclusively MAC’s Liptensity shades this month and John kept with my plan and applied the rosy brown nude Smoked Almond to finish the look.

It was a ton of fun to experiment with the Spellbinders under the guide of a MAC makeup artist. I’m reminded of how much I really love the brand and how fun it can be when you go beyond your daily routine.

On the Celeb Makeup Front

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 07: Taraji P. Henson at MAC Michigan Avenue on September 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MAC)

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MAC

Makeup and celebrities go together like me and wine. The connection between the two is always evolving but never wavering.  From being the face of the line to actually developing their own makeup.  Even with the welcome rise of YOU-lebrity (Glossier, anyone?), cosmetic companies will still be a medium for bringing us access to celebs. You know, by way of lipstick. Or in the case of MAC’s most recent collab with actress Taraji Henson, by way of highlighter. With anything, though, its success lies in its authenticity. MAC is known for its celeb partnerships – they release dozens each year that sell out almost as soon as they launch.

Last week, when I was standing in line outside of the MAC Cosmetics store on Michigan Ave waiting to meet Taraji Henson who was launching her three-piece collection in person, I noticed the women standing with me were as excited about the makeup as they were to meet Cookie. “The things we do to feed our makeup addiction,” I heard, as we were all trying to cope with the muggy weather. Taraji is a true MAC girl – she told stories about shopping at the mall growing up and showed everyone how she layered her Mineralize Skin Finishes for that perfect “Taraji Glow” – also the name of one of the sold out powders.  Her obvious influence on the products makes it easy to see why it sold out instantly (before her Mom could even order!)

Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder

If you’d asked me a few years ago, I might have attributed the allure of a celeb makeup line to be about attaining the unattainable. Now, I think it’s about relatability. Like, me and Posh wear the same bronzer so we could be besties, right? We all get ready in the morning to be our best self. We’re the same! ICYMI: Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder launched this week…and quickly sold out of a few items. It’s Posh so it’s ridiculously glam in that Posh way. The black and gold compacts, statement lips and very evening eyes. Somehow the flack she got for posting a “5 Minute Face” video that clearly showed her “with face” before she started made sense, at least to me. It’s Posh; do we really expect her to be skipping steps for the sake of beating the clock?

And, let us not forget the fast beauty empire Kylie Jenner is building…

Five Things I Learned From MAC Artist Keri Germain

Makeup by MAC artist Keri Germain

Chicago loves its MAC  Cosmetics. The proof is in the third free-standing retail space the cosmetics giant recently opened at The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Ave. As far as MAC stores go, it’s pretty slick. Mirrors everywhere, a lash bar to please everyone’s falsie comfort level, wall-sized LED screens streaming  demos and even a hands-on “playtable” (that’s an official description.) There are also 25 in-house makeup artists on staff.  I had a little playtable sesh of my own recently with one of them:  the talented Keri Germain.

MAC Keri GermainThat’s Keri!

My strategy when getting artist time is to just soak up all their knowledge. My only agenda was glowy skin (always) and long lashes (again, always). The rest was in Keri’s hands and did girlfriend ever deliver! Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks. She reintroduced me to some classic MAC products that had fallen off my radar and dropped some tips on me that are changing how I do my makeup. I’ve got you curious now don’t I? Of course I’m spilling.

1. Strobe Cream is your bestie. Apply it before your makeup. Or, if you want, wear it instead of makeup. Unlike other highlighters, this is more of a light-reflecting moisturizer so it it’s more subtle. This has been a major morning-after saver after all of this season’s holiday parties. Sleep ain’t got nothing to do with the glow on my face.

MAC 187 Brush

2. One brush really can do it all. Keri used the #187 to sweep on the Strobe Cream, foundation, highlighter and blush. Building in that order actually helps. A little Strobe mixes in with your foundation and your highlighter melds with your complexion. And, color comes last.

3. Speaking of blush… we tend to apply right at the apples of our cheek. Keri says “no, no.” Instead, start further back so you don’t have a big blob of color concentrated so obviously on that part of your face. The duo-fiber brush helps make it more subtle and you can build it up as needed.

MAC 124 Brush

4. Have you ever used a fluffy brush to sweep eye shadow under your eyes?! Me neither, until Keri converted me. The key is to take a neutral not too much of a contrast to your skintone (for me – MAC Wedge or Soft Brown) and use a brush like the MAC #124 to blend it naturally. Even though you’re adding darkness to that area, somehow it works and gives balance to whatever look you’re rocking above the lash line.

5. Naked Pigment is the universal must-have. Keri sprinkled some on the lid and then pressed the same fluffly brush over it to pick up the color and sweep all over my lid. It added just the right amount of sheen. Keri tells me dark skin tones can even use this as a highlighter.

Oh, and a bonus rave from me? MAC Matchmaster Concealer is like a magic eraser! I love the stick formula and the colors blend to your skin tone. So, even if it isn’t a 100% match, it soon becomes one on your skin. I keep this in my purse now, always.

The Ecosystem of Eyeshadow

Back 2 Mac

The perk of being a MAC-aholic is the reward they dish out just for using their makeup. For you and the environment. The Back 2 Mac recycling program means that empty plastic container you’re ready to toss will emerge anew as a fresh tube of Ruby Woo. I don’t need an incentive to recycle but I sure to do appreciate the reward for finishing up makeup. I consider it a major accomplishment when I finally make it through an entire pan of eyeshadow and can even see the silver lining when I run out of Pro Longwear concealer. It works like this: for every six finished products you return to a MAC counter in their primary packaging – think anything in a compact or a tube – MAC will give you a free lipstick. And, if you bring your finished loot to a MAC store, you can also exchange for an eyeshadow or lip glass. As a seasoned Back 2 MAC-er, I’ve got a few more tips to share.

Empty-ish is OK. Regret that glittery gloss? Hanging on to something for years? Did that nail polish chip constantly? It’s cool…you don’t literally have to finish every single drop.

Charity exemption.  MAC donates 100% of Viva Glam sales to help people living with HIV/AIDS so you can’t redeem for this line. You can, however, include them as one of your empties.

Classics only. MAC has a ton of new formulas – Sheen Supreme, Mineralize, Pro Longwear, to name a few – but the freebies are limited to the classic formulas in the standard packaging. For lipstick, think the iconic MAC black bullet in classic shades like Ruby Woo.

All That Glitters. The best eye brightening goes with everything color. A classic worth every one of those six empties you’ll exchange it for.

Ear Cuff Style


All it takes is one crystal ear cuff to change how you’ve parted your hair for the better part of a decade. I’m totally on board with this ear accessory, despite that isolated incident where it was mistaken as a Bluetooth. Do people still wear those? As soon as this winged cuff came back in stock at BaubleBar, I snatched it up. I wasn’t totally sure I could pull it off but that usually doesn’t stop me from trying. Dare I say, I’m now hooked?

Bauble-BarEarCuff BaubleBar-Ear-Cuff

For the sake of showing it off, I’ve even moved my part way left which is probably the most drastic thing I’ve done to my hair in years. Even a daintier version like the one seen here, would look incredible with a messy updo look. While I love how it looks paired with this tunic (snagged on incredible post-holiday sale!), I think it looks just as good with a plain grey tee. It has a way of dressing everything up with a little edge. Also, I’ve been trying out the new MAC Huggable Lipsticks and really like them. The colors are beautiful on and they have a glossy balm finish. I’m wearing the plummy Commotion here.


Photo credit: Megan // Stylish & Scatterbrained

What I’m wearing:

The Best of 2013


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!

On My Radar: More RiRi Hearts MAC


Happy weekend! What is everyone up to? I’m up in Minneapolis for a few days. It’s like a fall wonderland up here — the colors are gorgeous. I know that this window is a precious one, so I’m going to enjoy it. I started reading The Silent Wife on the flight here and I feel like it’s just at the point where it starts to get crazy good. I plan to curl up with that before bed tonight! Here’s a few beauty reads to catch you up on the week…

RiRi Hearts MAC for holiday is coming soon. This means one more chance to score a tube of RiRi Woo!

I am totally digging this golden fall manicure. Reminds me of leaves falling.

Could this coat be any cozier?

I have no idea what’s in this box, yet, but I know I want in.

Katy Perry for CoverGirl is gorgeous. Being with John Mayer makes a girl look good.

I’ve had my gallery wall on the “to-do” list for like a year. I think Minted x West Elm will help me finally make some progress.

This body balm is legit.

I’ve been using Benefit’s Gimme Brow for weeks (and love it!) Can’t argue with these before and afters.

MAC RiRi Woo + An Important Lesson


I’m smiling because MAC RiRi Woo is perhaps the most flattering matte red lipstick I’ve ever worn. It’s a cousin to MAC’s cult classic Ruby Woo, but more matte and more bad girl. RiRi persona built in somehow?  But my RiRi-Woo induced bliss is another woman’s horror. A Harlem woman slapped MAC with a lawsuit this week, claiming that she contracted herpes from a tube of RiRi Woo a MAC artist applied on her while she visited MAC’s popup shop at Rihanna’s concert in New York. Eek! This raises a very important health matter and a lesson for all – be incredibly cautious when sampling beauty products (of all kinds) in store. Testers house all sorts of unwanted bacteria and germs. Stick to swatching colors on your hands and if you are getting your makeup done, make sure the artist is cleaning everything with alcohol and using disposable brushes with mascara and lip products.

And the one slice of good news for red lip lovers: RiRi Woo will return in June! The first time it sold out in a matter of hours so if you want in on it again, best to put your name on the list.

The Truth About My Brows


I love wearing and doing my makeup. I also love that I can be comfortable without makeup. Except there is a but. It’s my brows, guys. They are becoming a big problem. And by big I actually mean little and sparse. I’ve always had brow probs — cowlicks, vague arch and now the inability to grow really at all. What is up with that? I’ve always heard from those older (and wiser) than me that this can happen and they ain’t lying. It’s getting to the point where I’m not totally comfortable without a little fill. It’s a part of my routine on most days, but now I think it’s necessary every day.

The last time I got a brow wax was last summer and things truly haven’t been the same since. I tweeze the strays with my trusty Tweezerman’s (the best tweezers ever, period) but there’s no real growth where I want it to be. The upside is I have an arsenal of brow fixers that make my situation less of one. Here are my favorites!

  • At the start of the year, MAC launched a new pencil, Veluxe Brow Liner, and it might just be the best pencil I’ve ever used. I’ve been off of the pencil kick lately because most need to be sharpened too often. You only need to be left with a little nub while traveling once for that to be a concern. However, I think I’ve only had to sharpen this once in a month. It’s my go-to low maintenance, 30 second brow.
  • Make Up For Ever owns waterproof everything, so it is no surprise that the Aqua Brow is practically permanent (in a good way). The texture is a mix between a cream and a gel – the tiniest bit is all you need. I will use this a ton come summer.
  • I reach for Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse often, nearly daily before the MAC Veluxe Brow came along! It’s a really dry consistency and I prefer it to powders.
  • I’ve used a lot of different brushes, but this mini Anastasia brush is the only one that works for me. It’s precise and can be used with any product.
  • Benefit High Brow Glow is a savior for my “vague arches.” I swipe it under my arches before I fill and blend well with my fingers. It adds a little lift and brightness. It’s an extra step in my beauty routine that is totally worth the time.

Any advice you have to share on getting brow hair to grow would be much appreciated. I’ve dabbled in a few serums but nothing that has really had an impact. Help!

Le Metier de Beaute Spring, NARS Radiant & RiRi for MAC


Photo credit: @lemetierdebeaute Instagram

I’m a new fan girl of Le Metier de Beaute and am swooning over this eye palette for spring.  (Le Metier de Beaute)

NARS launched a new concealer this week and Café Makeup shared her thoughts and swatches of all the shades! (Café Makeup)

I dragged my husband to no fewer than 10 pharmacies while in Paris a year ago. This shopping list from team Birchbox would have been so handy! (Birchbox)

I’m certain I need this new Dr. Jart BB Gel. (Gouldylox Reviews)

Team Tarte does the Harlem Shake! (Tarte Cosmetics)

Rihanna and MAC are teaming up on four collections this year. RiRi Woo (inspired by the versatile Ruby Woo red) is coming in May. (Beauty High)

Low to Luxe: Red Lipstick


Nothing makes me happier than seeing a woman sporting a bright lip. Bonus points if it’s during the daytime. I think the ladies of Chicago are warming up to bold lipstick, as evidenced by the flurry of coral that dominated the past year. Seriously, if I see you on the El at 8am wearing your finest fuchsia to work, I will totally give you a thumbs up. And if you’re wearing a cherry red, I might even give you a high five. Red lipstick can be intimidating; at one point it was for me. Now, I can’t get enough. Especially when there’s snow on the ground! I think my winter uniform is thick black leggings, an oversized long-sleeve grey tee, glasses and a red lipstick. I love to dress a red lip down. It does make up for the fact that I’m wearing glorified PJs in public.

What reds are my go to? I’ve been known to tinted balm or sheer gloss it, but I have a stash of red lipsticks that I always turn to. Let’s tackle the subject, low to luxe style.

I think Revlon makes the best reds in the drugstore. The classic Revlon Super Lustrous formula in particular. I’m partial to Cherry Blossom (pictured at top) and Love That Red, but there are literally more than a dozen red hues to choose from. Depending on deals, you can snag a tube of this for $5.

At $15, MAC is square in the moderate, a.k.a. don’t feel guilty buying, range. Some of my favorite reds come from MAC’s infamous flurry of limited edition collections (read: once it sells, it’s gone or on eBay for a ridic price) but MAC Russian Red is one of my most beloved reds. It’s got a blue undertone so I like to think this one makes my smile brighter. Russian Red is a worthy red to add to your mix.

The experience of wearing a NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils is one I adore. At $24, this is on the luxe end and they feel every bit of it on the lips. I love the pencil application and the matte finish. Cruella is my jam, but Dragon Girl always tempts me.

I’d love to know your red lipstick philosophy and if you have any favorites to share, low or luxe.