The stuffing of the stocking is the best part of the whole holiday gift season, both in terms of giving and receiving. The more miscellaneous the mix, the better. I come from a very utilitarian family—you’ll find socks and underwear in our stockings among the fun stuff. It’s always the last gift opened and we take our time appreciating each treat. For this gift guide, I teamed with SheKnows.com and Kohl’s Beauty to share my top stocking stuffers.
When I was in Wisconsin a few weeks ago at the Kohl’s Beauty Trade-in event, the team showed me the most clever sleep mask from Earth Therapeutics. It looks like an eye bra, but that shape makes it so your lashes and eyes don’t get crushed. I also picked up this Hello Kitty Headband for my nieces. It is seriously the cutest.
Nail polish is a stocking staple and the colors from Essie’s winter collection are perfect. My favorite is the pale blue Parka Perfect. I love this trio of lip products: the Sugar Lip Scrub that smells like cake, the moisturizing H2O Plus Lip Mender and Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Stick for a little hint of color. All three make for a lovely lip wardrobe.
I always try to gift others with my favorite things…channeling my inner Oprah and all. The Real Techniques makeup brushes are some of the best, especially the Stippling Brush which applies cream blush like a rock star. Everyone needs this brush!
There are also the stocking stuffers that you can’t help but treat yourself to in the process. I could not resist the LORAC Red Hot Lashes set. The studded lash curler did me in and it even comes with a full-sized mascara.
Note: This post is sponsored by SheKnows Experts Among Us and Kohl’s Beauty. All opinions, tips and recommendations are my own.
Beauty words to live by. Less really can be more, especially if your version of less looks like mine. I tend to favor the snooze button more than I should, so I’ve got a quick, no-fail beauty look to fall back on. Arm me with concealer, bronzer and highlighter and I can pretty much do anything. I call this look mascara optional.
First…reach for a concealer that wears a lot of hats. theBalm TimeBalm Concealer works under eyes and all over on any redness, blemishes or discoloration. I even pat it on my eyelids as a primer. The shade ‘light’ is the exact tone of my skin so it blends (melts, really) in flawlessly. It also has vitamins A, C and E to brighten and protect skin and linoleic acid and phospholipids to moisturize and prevent fine lines. I blend with my fingers because it’s quick, but there’s a tiny little sponge included, too.
Second…strategically place highlighter. One of my standby favs is theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, which is a seriously pigmented champagne creamy powder. Sweep it on lightly–a little goes a long way– on the cheekbones, in a ‘C’ shape around the outer corners of the eyes, above your lip in the cupid’s bow, down the middle of your nose and pressed on the eyelids. It seems like a lot, but it’s the secret to looking 22 again. Trust me.
Third…bronze and sculpt. By now, you’re glowy and fresh. The final step, should you be pressed for time, is to multitask with bronzer, on the hollows of your cheekbones, in the crease of your eyelids, along the jawbones and temples. One of the bronzers I like for all over dusting is Pur Minerals Mineral Glow Powder. It’s subtle and not the least bit orange.
theBalm and Pur Minerals are brands that I’ve previously shopped for at Sephora or Ulta and now they’re both available at Kohl’s. As a Wisconsin girl, I can’t tell you how jazzed I am that Kohl’s has expanded its beauty department! I grew up shopping this department store and still do. Kohl’s remodeled its beauty department in close to 300 stores and got a makeover online as well. I’m working on a fun series with SheKnows.com and Kohl’s Beauty – so more to come very soon on the new (to Kohl’s!) beauty lines.
Note: This post is sponsored by SheKnows Experts Among Us and Kohl’s Beauty. All opinions, tips and recommendations are my own.
November has its perks. The holidays are in sight and that means lots of sparkle and shine. Everywhere, really. The streets are now glowing with holiday lights and walking into J. Crew this time of year is like strolling through candy land. If winter decides to encroach on the last bits of fall, even that is welcome. You know…big picturesque snowflakes, infinity scarves and warm boots. Everything is just better in November. Here’s what I’m loving for the month ahead.
Dewy skin. Drier air has moved in and I’m feeling it on my skin. Time to break out the moisture-rich Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation. I love the finish and the coverage but tend to avoid it in the summer months. It’s just right this time of year.
Bronzed complexion. Who says bronzer is only for summer? I think it’s fresh and modern to wear bronzer and hardly anything else on the skin. RMS Buriti Bronzeris a cream bronzer made with Brazilian Buriti Oil and can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips (see it in action on Bare Beauty – stunning!) Pur Minerals Mineral Glow Bronzeris subtle enough to dust all over and and for a peachy bronze, the creamy Kjaer Weis Desired Glowis where it’s at.
Incense. Diptyque’s holiday collection is sick, guys. They are the ultimate splurge but my gosh, I need no convincing. Nicky Kinniard of Space NK gifted me with a mini of the Indian Incense – frankincense, myrrh and rose, can you even? – and it’s transformed my living room into some exotic destination. It’s all very “we three kings” and puts me in the mood for the holidays.
Body serum. Speaking of exotic…Kahina’s Fez Body Serum. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I think I have a good idea of what it smells like. I tried a mini sample from a recent Spirit Beauty Lounge order and it was incredible. Stay with me – rose and orange blossoms layered over patchouli, vetiver, ylang ylang with hints of cumin and clove. I’ve never smelled anything like it before. I want to take a hot steamy bath every night and layer this on after. Adding to the allure is this New York Times culture piece on Fez, the city. Kahina may be singlehandedly responsible for boosting Moroccan tourism.
Neutral tote. Leopard print is the hardest working neutral. I’ve added this French Connection ‘Animal Mania’ Tote to my wishlist. It would fit my computer and just about everything else I lug around. What do you think?
Mini oils. Can it be November 15, already, so this little trio can be mine? La Bella Figura is launching a value set for the holidays – a rollerball of the Daily Elements Defense, Barberry Fig Renewal Serum and the brand spanking new Travel Therapy Mood Boosterwith some mighty fine soothing botanicals (including rose essential oil – my fav!)
I’ve been favoring a more natural makeup look lately. I’ve rediscovered this palette and have been wearing minimal makeup on the rest of my face. The Pür Minerals 5-Piece Start Now Kit, which just launched in the Birchbox shop this week, could not have come to me at a better time. Hello heat wave, goodbye full face. The five items in this kit – primer, Pür Minerals 4-in-1 pressed mineral makeup, mineral bronzer, mascara and the ‘chisel’ complexion brush – help you get that coveted “no makeup makeup” look. Which BTW, always seems to take more time than makeup makeup. But not in this case. I remember interviewing this Chicagoan for 312 Beauties and hearing her rave about this sample she got in her Birchbox that helped her even out her skin in a natural way. Finally, I get it! Admittedly, I don’t wear a lot of powder because it seems to just sit on my face. However, Pür Minerals 4-in-1 feels invisible, thankfully, but still provides enough coverage. All you, chisel brush. A few sweeps of the mineral bronzer on my cheeks and in the crease of my eyelid plus two coats of mascara and I am successfully out the door, when everything but my face proceeds to melt. The real test was during a 3pm meeting when a coworker said I looked matte (in a good way). Done and done. Seems like this would be a great way to spend those Birchbox points you’ve been hoarding (I can’t be the only one who does that!)
I’m rolling out a new feature here, fittingly called 312 Beauties. I’ll be tapping some of Chicago’s most fabulous women to tell me of all of their beauty secrets and dish on makeup must-haves. I’m excited to kick off the series with Rachel Gillman, a PR Specialist and Freelance Writer for NBC, Michigan Avenue and Serious Eats. Rachel is the ultimate media pro and knows all when it comes to BYOB and gluten-free dining in Chicago. She also has the most enviable lashes you’ll ever see. Lucky for us, she tells all.
How do you start your mornings?
I’ve learned that I do better working out in the a.m. Two mornings a week at 6am, I’ll do the elliptical or an Insanity or P90X video in the living room. On those mornings, I’ll wash my hair. I usually aim to wash my hair every other day. A trick — which you taught me! — is to go to sleep with my hair twisted on top of my head in a clip. It’s a game-changer! It makes two-day hair full and fresh looking. It’s a major time saver in the morning.
You have flawless skin. What is your skin care routine?
I use Cetaphil cleanser, though if I get something in a Birchbox, I always try it out. I use Lancome Bi-Facil to remove my eye makeup. I stock up on it when I buy mascara, whenever there’s a free gift at the counter. I was really hooked on Chanel skin care, the Hydra Beauty Crème, but I haven’t made the effort to splurge all over again on a new tub. Occasionally, I rotate Retin- A into my routine. I recently got a facial at Cellular Intelligence spa and bought the Lumiere Bio Restorative Eye Cream on a recommendation. It’s very light, and I use it every morning. I use Neutrogena SPF 50 as well, especially if I know I’ll be out in the sun. I’m more concerned about protecting my skin lately.
How about your everyday face?
I use a concealer from Benefit and then follow up with this Pür Minerals powder I got from Birchbox — it’s more matte and it helps even my skin out. A makeup artist at the Chanel at Bloomingdales, Ana Oveido, sold me two of the Quadra Eyeshadows in Mystic Eyes and Prelude and taught me how to use all four shadows together or take it down with just one or two. She is fantastic. I’m pretty particular when it comes to my makeup being done because you know what looks like you and what you’re comfortable wearing. She takes everything I do and improves upon it. I use those eyeshadows pretty much every day. And when I feel like I’ve done a good job and I’m near the Bloomingdale’s building, I’ll go and visit her and she’ll tell me how I did!
I also use Chanel eyeliner, in the shade Cassis. You twist it up, so it’s not a true pencil. It’s precise, lasts and really lets you get in between your lashes. My blush is Laura Mercier Pink Lotus and I use NARS Risky Business Lip Gloss. I also carry around a CO Bigelow tint with me always. A great makeup artist Jenny Patinkin (of Dollface Beauty) coached and shopped with me for makeup. I trust her judgment. She helps you create a better version of yourself. I fill in my brows with an Anastasia Powder. Jenny helped me pick that out as well. I just use a little bit.
Now about those lashes…
I am obsessed with Lancome mascara – completely loyal to the Hypnose Drama. I buy it two tubes at a time because I never want to be without. I’ve used something from Tarte and another from Sephora but I always go back to Lancome. The amount of time I spend on my lashes could be considered comical. I curl them to start and put on a coat. Not a wimpy one, either, but from the base and I coat every lash. I let it dry, do some other makeup and then come back. I’ll curl my lashes again, use a lash comb to separate and then apply one more coat. It never clumps. The Lancome brush is magic.
Rachel’s lip wardrobe
I love Birchbox, too. What are some of your favorite discoveries?
Let me tell you, this $10 a month service fuels my beauty routine. Some of my favorite items have come from Birchbox. I love the Jouer Lip Enhancer – I need to buy a big tube! Also, I love this chubby Tarte lip pencil in a coral shade. I also got the Benefit primer, POREfessional, and I’m pretty hooked. It helps smooth my skin before makeup. I love anything skin-related they send.
What is your beauty splurge?
I really have no problem spending money on my hair, but for some reason I do on my skin. I should probably reverse that! I love my hair stylist. I get my hair cut about every three months by Ingrid Trevino at Nancy Angelair on Rush Street. I’ve followed Ingrid around to three salons. Her blowouts are second to none and she cuts wavy hair so well. I can’t go much longer than three months because my ends get so damaged from heat and styling.
I’ve been using this donut lately to create the perfect bun. It requires a little effort but is so worth it. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding recently and they styled my hair with it so I just held onto it after the wedding. I don’t like too sleek of a look. Just a little bit messy when I wear my hair up.
Where have you been eating lately?
I probably eat out about five nights a week (research!) My favorite sushi restaurant right now is Kai Zan. It’s BYOB, which is one of my favorite ways to dine. Yuzu has really good maki rolls. I’m on a whiskey kick at the moment, and am enjoying cocktails in a new way with darker spirits. I had this drink called Cocktail at Billy Sunday – potent but very drinkable.
Grange Hall Burger Bar has a gluten-free bun. When I want a true burger experience, that’s my go-to. Bountiful Eatery in Lakeview is a great, healthy gluten-free cafe. They have these pita wraps with portabella mushrooms or bison burgers inside. It’s affordable and tasty. Prasino is my favorite brunch right now. They have a hippie omelet that is worth looking forward to all week!