Tag Archives: Pretty Picks

Top of the Wish List

I started 2017 as many do: with ambitious goals of being my best self. Healthy was the goal. I started with a literal diet – Whole 30, which works amazingly to reset my relationship with food/cooking – and a financial diet (ACLU and Planned Parenthood donations notwithstanding). I scrutinized any reoccurring subscriptions I have – sorry, BeautyHeroes, you had to go – and became more deliberate about spending. I was extreme and didn’t let myself buy anything personal that I didn’t need – except I did get the new Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich. I’m not perfect and it was hard. I’m fully aware of that privileged packed into that admission. However, just like Whole 30 was for my fridge, this was a reset for my spending habits. I’m a beauty blogger so there’s always going to be something that catches my eye. Instead of impulsively buying, it’s kind of nice to just jot it down and wait. The act of physically writing it on paper puts a process in place for me to really acknowledge the money leaving my bank account. Now my challenge is to sustain the spirit of both this ‘no buy’ and Whole 30.

Here are a few things I jotted down this month. All about the jot!

Everything about the NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette excites me.  I love shades of pink on cheeks and it also includes Hot Sand highlighter. I had this in a liquid form a few limited edition summer collections ago and it was perfect.

I’m intrigued by the sheer violet Becca First Light Filter Face Primer. I’m a novice when it comes to color correcting so this is just my speed.  Anyone tried it yet?

I’ll raise you a Byredo candle with Overose. They are similar in label, no doubt, but I’ve never seen a vessel in this shade. The minimalists are going to catch on to this line soon.

Because the Beautyblender Bubble is more my speed than the hot pink original.

I am ready to take my at-home facial to the next level with Babyfacial (that name!)  I’m already really feeling all things Drunk Elephant (review here) and every beauty editor/reviewer says this was gentle on skin even though it is an intense AHA/BHA blend.

Charlotte Tilbury turned her iconic Lip Cheat in the shade Pillow Talk into a lipstick and it’s all I can think about. Isn’t it just the sexiest shade ever?

Have a good week, guys. FYI – I’m going to be reaching out to the winner of the ChapStick giveaway later this morning.

Under Things

Under Things

How was your weekend? I found cotton candy grapes at the grocery store yesterday and also made this barbacoa beef in the crockpot so I’m feeling pretty good and accomplished. I also relaxed in bed for a few extra hours on Sunday morning and realized I need to do that more. The bedroom in my new apartment has three giant east-facing windows that fill the room with light. I can’t be in there enough.

All of that loafing around has me thinking about beauty in a stripped down way. I’m all for no-makeup makeup days.

I’ve been layering on bareMinerals Butter Drench at night and waking up with soft, plumped up skin. I love this for summer because it’s heavy without the weighty feel on skin. It’s deeply moisturizing in an unassuming way.  I’m impressed with the new bareMinerals skin care range overall – the oil cleanser is a part of my evening routine now, too.

Did you know there’s a subscription box for minimalists? Irony aside, I’m loving everything that Minimalism.Co has to offer – they deliver quarterly parcels that you can opt into filled with essentials for travel, home, closet, beauty. The last parcel was all about grooming and brought me the Henne Organics Luxury Lip Balm. I keep it on my nightstand and use it before bed and when I wake up. It’s been helpful now that I’m testing so many different matte liquid lipsticks!

Speaking of matte liquid lipsticks, it isn’t made for shortcuts. Liner is a must – fill around and in for best results. I picked up the H&M Lip Liner in the pinky nude Choc Therapy and find it is also a great lip color on its own with a bit of balm.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter is hands down one of the best things I’ve bought all year. It’s a great makeup primer but also perfect for no-makeup days. It has just the right amount of sheen and blurs out any blah skin. Sometimes I mix it with Glossier Priming Moisturizer to dilute it a bit and give my skin more moisture.

I also wear NARS Pro-Prime eyeshadow base on most days even if I’m just doing a wash of shadow. It’s the best eye primer out there.

I’ve been seeing the Aerie billboards all around Chicago and really love how they project body positivity. I always had this idea that this brand was for younger girls but am impressed with their range of under things. The Vintage Lace undies (10 for $35 right now!) are a total knock for Hanky Panky thongs and I’m loving the Mesh Sporty Bralette. It does great things for your chest and is beyond comfortable.



I’ve been a little absent lately. Not my intention. I’ve written so many blog posts in my head! I guilted myself for being so radio silent but quickly decided that was silly. We can be so hard on ourselves. Everyone is their own biggest critic, of this I’m certain. If you’re not, who are you and what is your secret.

Honestly, this past month just hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve been somewhat of an emotional yo-yo and struggling with feeling overwhelmed. I’m sure the latter elevated the former and sometimes when I’m overwhelmed, I just shut down. It’s like I’m forced into focus. I think a little bit of that is healthy. In the middle of all that, I decided to go on Whole 30. You know, the elimination “don’t call it a diet” that removes sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes and alcohol from your diet for, yup, 30 days. I think it saved me from really crashing and burning. It was a strain on my time – so much grocery shopping, dishes and cooking – but I loved it even when I didn’t. I’ll spare you the full recap – believe me, my boyfriend and coworkers were subjected to frequent updates – but I do plan to keep it up. Normally at this time of year, I would be on allergy medication and I’m hardly sneezing. My skin is brighter, I’m not breaking out from cheese benders and I’m excited to eat veggies and cook. It was hard to give up alcohol at first but I might be a mental drinker. I thought I needed the glass of wine after a hard day but a Passionfruit LaCroix hit the spot just fine.  I needed to strike a balance there.

Some sunshine did me good this weekend and I’m looking forward to embracing the coming week. Here’s what has me excited.

Gwenyth’s new cookbook! It’s All Easy is all gooooood.  If Whole 30 taught me one thing, it’s that I don’t have hours to spend in a kitchen every night. There are some delicious dinner recipes, beautiful goop-y photos and a really convincing case for making cashew cream.

I started using the baked Lune + Aster Bronzer in the winter and love how subtle it is. I’m still pale as can be and the ‘necker island’ color is just right still. Oh, p.s., Lune + Aster is the makeup line by the founder of Bluemercury!

I think the Everlane Street Ankle Boots may be the coolest thing I own.

I wear the Chantecaille Cheek Gelee every day. I picked it up after watching this video from Ingrid and can’t stop wearing it.

I loathe aerosol air fresheners and artificial scents but love making my home smell beautiful. Enter Fig + Yarrow Atmosphere Mist in Rosewood Vetiver. It’s lovely in all rooms and soothes me in stress moments.

I decided to resurrect a Essie Chillato from last year’s summer collection rather than buying any new polish. I have way too many and find I don’t use them enough. This pistachio-ish color is perfect. Go find it now if you still can!

I take all of the texture I can get and spritz Aveda Thickening Tonic on wet hair whether I air or blow dry. It works as you’d expect by thickening each strand of hair. I notice a big difference when I forget to use or if I’m traveling without it.

One Note Nails

Fall Nail Polish

Life is unpredictable. My fall nail polish preferences are not. Like clockwork, I go through a pretty heavy month long wine-colored nail polish phase every year around this time. You may ring in sweater weather with pumpkin, but I choose vampy nails. I resurrect my old favs and because the world also loves this color for fall, always seem to find a few new bottles to add to the mix. I started the season with an oldie but a goodie – Chanel Taboo. It’s a shimmery burgundy in the bottle but flashes navy and purple depending on the light. I don’t think this color is even available anymore but Chanel Vamp is a fine distant cousin.

Bottega Organica Hand Regenerate

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure (Ruby Do is my jam!) has the best brush in all of nail polish – perfect at-home mani every time. Have you ever tried Sephora Formula X? The wear time is excellent and they happen to have a very glossy looking berry among the new fall colors. Essie created the perfect raspberry with Bahama Mama. I’m all about Ciate right now (because…) and this Napa Valley inspired shade looks spot on. Smith & Cult has simply the best packaging. I mean, come on with that curved gold cap! The polish is virtually chip-proof. They nailed fall with the vampy Lovers Creep.

Every color looks better on since I discovered the swankiest hand cream on the planet. I’m not kidding – it’s uber luxe. Between seasonal dryness and compulsive cuticle picking, I was in need of serious repair and Bottega Organica completely healed my hands. There’s olive oil, beeswax and tons of plants and vitamins but the real miracle here is prawn sage. There’s research that shows it helps to slow down aging in skin by helping to lengthen a segment of our DNA at the ends of chromosomes which shorten when we get older. I find this all very fascinating and I see it working on my hands in almost real time. I irrationally don’t care how much this costs – it works!

A Thankful Preview

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada which is awesome because I get two this year! I filled up on turkey and stuffing at an office lunch on Friday and smiled as every one of my coworkers went around the table and shared what they’re thankful for. I did as well and part of it was gratitude for two Thanksgivings. There’s a comfort like no other on Thanksgiving and it’s pretty cool to get a preview of my favorite holiday in October. I’m thankful for so much this year – and getting to live in Toronto and be a little Canadian for a while is near the top of that list.


In honor of my favorite holiday, I’m dedicating this week’s pretty picks with a thankful shout out to all of my favorite beauty products. These are the beauty equiv of my coziest (and stretchiest) sweatpants. Which is fitting because that’s the official wardrobe of my Thanksgiving, in the USofA and Canada.

I pared down the options in my makeup bag considerably these past few months, in part because it’s just more to bring back when I move home and also because I’ve rediscovered my love for NARS Orgasm. I’ve used this blush for many years. It’s got the perfect balance of pink and peach and it makes me feel all fresh and youthful.

I don’t know what I’d do without RMS Uncover Up and Living Luminzer. I wear far less makeup on my face than I used to and Uncover Up is a big reason why. I only use it where it’s needed and blend the Living Luminizer over on the high points of my face. I feel so comfortable in my own skin wearing this combo.

Simple is really where it’s at these days. At night, I’ve been skipping the serums and oils and instead massaging in the three ingredients deep S.W. Basics Cream onto my face. I wake up with happy skin – that’s what I call the effect of the Cream. My skin is plump and soft.

Some people have a beauty signature. I tend to switch it up but the look I favor above all others is a simply defined eye. I curl my lashes every day with Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler (perfect curl every time) and line my upper lash line with NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates. I’ll try other liquid liners but the felt tip and staying power of this one make it the best.

I favor masculine perfumes, they seem to soften and adapt with my body so well. The tobacco and floral notes in diptyque Volutes are so beautifully paired. I use this more so in the cooler months and cherish every spritz!

I Work Out


I’ve been Classpass-ing my way through Toronto since I’ve been here.  Working out regularly has made me feel a little more normal, like I live here. Which, I do, but I still can’t quite seem to master cooking at home and grocery shopping. I feel like I either waste food or don’t have everything I need to spice it up and cook properly. To say I’m craving the comforts of my own kitchen would be an understatement. But I am mega thankful that I can use Classpass here without adjusting my membership in any way. So easy! Toronto’s workout scene is pretty awesome – I’ve done “Ladies Who Lift,” tons of barre – including a restorative class where I basically gave myself an intense myofascial treatment with a foam roller (holy moans sounding in that room – hurt so good) and deconstructed yoga. Variety is my jam. Here are a few of the essentials for the #fitbitch life.

fitness finds

I’m paying these GapFit leggings forward. My friend wore them to a class one day and I ordered them the next day (in both colors!) I actually find I like wearing them for lounging and running errands because they don’t feel like workout pants. They’re so flattering with ribbed sides and a slimming waistband.

Most of my workout wardrobe is from Old Navy. Can’t beat the price and everything holds up really well no matter how much you wash them. I love the sexy mesh detail on this top!

Sometimes I shower twice a day (always steamy hot water) so I make moisturizing a serious priority. I absolutely cannot get enough of the One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Body Serum. It’s such a treat to breathe in this aroma and I love the oversized spray handle for easy use. It keeps my skin smooth all day and I think over time has improved the feel of my skin (bold statement but truth!)

I never understood why people have to replace their sneakers so often but I get it now. I love these Nikes but can definitely feel the wear after running and working out in them since the winter. Time for an upgrade.

I stocked up on these Hurraw balms at The Detox Market in Toronto and always keep one in my workout bag. I hate starting a class with dry lips and also don’t want to wear anything with color. These are perfect – and under $5 a pop!

I was in a good place with my Soapwalla citrus deodorant but decided to give PiperWai a try after I heard so many raves. It’s gray in color from the activated charcoal but blends in clear to skin. And it is incredible. You can use it right after shaving without irritation and it holds up the best of anything I tried. I’m a convert.

If you like cold water to stay cold or do any type of hot yoga, then S’well is for you. I’ve been seeing these bottles at gyms for the past year and finally decided to give it a go. Now, it’s the only way I like to drink my water. Cold beverages stay cold (like chillingly cold) for 24 hours. The bottles are mega cute, too. And this is when I admit to you all that I might have a water bottle accessory problem. Oy.

Time to Be Inspired

Be Inspired

It’s inspiration week. Or, so that’s what I’m calling it.  Someone told me that we’re seven weeks away from daylight savings time. This piece of knowledge got me thinking.  One: cause for excitement. Because it’s getting lighter every day until then! Two: these seven weeks are the time to really focus. They will go slow because that’s what winter does. Everything takes more time. Getting from point A to B. Even took me 10 minutes to get my dog outside for a one minute walk all week. Winter creeps in, makes you cold but also brings out clarity. More evening baths with nothing but steaming hot water and my thoughts to wander. Time to read. Time to write. Time to eat a lot of carbs. But, importantly, time to find inspiration. Kicking off the week today with a few inspiring pretty picks.

I met Chicago artist Laura Berger at the Renegade show last December. I picked up her 2015 calendar and had the best of intentions of gifting it but couldn’t actually part with it myself. I have it tacked up at work and it gives me a dose of inspo every day, at least three times.

I’ve recommitted to the #fitbitchclub (join me on Instagram under that #!) by signing back up for Classpass. I needed longer leggings (capris don’t cut it in these temps) and love Old Navy’s prints and patterns. The Compression Leggings are a steal! They wear comfortably and stylishly.

One of the most thoughtful Christmas gifts I got was from Lindsay. It looks like a book but inside the initialed exterior are blank pages. I plan to write this year – just for me – as a way to chronicle my year and thoughts.

Skin begs for some TLC this time of year. I’m pro-mask, on the regular.  La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask is this fantastic berry color and filled with manuka honey (tons of antibacterial enzymes), white clay, turmeric, Barbary fig seed oil and so much more that helps combat dry and irritated skin. It works moisturizing miracles.

Every night, I also give myself an eye mask. I dab a thick smear (which equates to the tiniest amount of actual product) of One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm under and around my eye so it can depuff and hydrate while I sleep. I’ve nicknamed this the “10 years younger by morning” balm. It’s legit.

This is the time to finally decorate. I moved last fall and am slowly getting pictures on the walls. I have a darker aesthetic and finally found the perfect black matte frame for this Garance Dore print. It really balances the feminine nature of the picture.

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.

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.

Chambray Me


Denim is forever and I hope chambray can be as well. I wear this super soft denim-ish fabric constantly in the spring and summer. It’s been two seasons of nonstop chambray and I have no intentions of stopping there. Madewell does it best with this shirt. This week’s pretty picks are inspired by this uniform, head to toe. Try not to wear at all at once!

My favorite thing in this picture is this LOFT blazer. I saw it on Liz in her Chicago Style Guide and love how she styled it — you could honestly wear it a zillion ways, it’s so versatile. Bring on the white jeans… // Dior’s spring 2014 eye shadow palette, with pale blue and rich cocoa, is inspired by Marie Antoinette and the French Trianon Palace. How very regal. // Deborah Lippmann Blue Orchid is the color of the sky on a sunny day. // A day doesn’t go by without a Twistband of some sort in my hair. Probably a sign I need a haircut. // The Gap has really stepped up their shoe game. Case in point: these Snakeskin Flats. // Speaking on stepping up their game, this Coach Borough Bag in Goldwashed Chambray. It speaks to my compartment-loving soul…THREE zipped sections.