Friday, September 12, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Haul & Review

I am so excited to share with you my first purchases from Charlotte Tilbury! Charlotte is a UK based celebrity makeup artist who launched her own makeup line last year in the UK. After seeing some of her products in action on various blogs and YouTube videos I was just dying to get my hands on some! Alas, they were only sold in the UK and with the shipping and outrageous exchange rate they were just way out of the budget! I follow her on social media and was SO excited to find out that her line was finally coming to the US this fall! The line is now sold at Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter, BeautylishBergdorf Goodman and her own new US Website. Heres what I picked up:





Filmstar Bronze & Glow

This is the product I was most excited about. It is a sculpting and highlight kit that Charlotte uses on her celebrity clients to shade and highlight features to achieve red carpet ready looks.




The swatches didn't come out that great in the picture but trust me its gorgeous in person. Sculpt is a warm, bronzey contour shade while Highlight is a celestial champagne beige. Both sides have a slight hint of shimmer but it is extremely finely milled and adds a bit of natural glow in all the right places. I've even used it for a simple eye look with highlight on my lids and brow bone with sculpt in the crease. Can we please talk about the packaging!? This is probably the prettiest makeup packaging I own. Charlotte modeled the Filmstar Bronze & Glow after the glam cigarette cases of the 1920's. Its art deco inspired with a modern twist with the Rose Gold color.




K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Nude Kate, Hepburn Honey and Bitch Perfect

Charlotte describes her lipsticks as having "fallen from the lipstick tree" which is an anti-oxidant that "naturally protects lips from UV damage and external pollution leaving them cashmere soft and irresistible." She developed 10 shades that were inspired by fashion icons. The formula is soft and highly pigmented and leaves the lips with a slightly luminous finish thats very comfortable to wear.




Nude Kate - This is a beautiful nude shade, inspired by Kate Moss. Its a lighter nude but leans more on the peachy side so it doesn't give you that dead lips look. Its one I would describe as "the perfect nude" that will go with any look.

Hepburn Honey - This is a darker honey-toned nude, inspired by Audrey Hepburn. It is slightly darker than the nudes I usually gravitate towards. Although its a darker nude that leans more brown its not too dark for my skin tone and I've been really liking colors like this for fall.

Bitch Perfect - This is a light pink-coral shade. I just love the name! Its one of those your lips but better shades that make you look fresh and put together.


These are definitely luxury beauty items. I'd put them in the same category as Chanel or YSL, as in the price is high but so is the quality. The rose gold packaging is just so pretty and luxurious. This is really only the tip of the Charlotte Tilbury iceberg. There are a lot of other products on my wishlist that I have yet to try such as the Magic Cream, Wonderglow primer, Cheek to Chic blushes and her eyeshadow quads.

I purchased mine through Beautylish and I wanted to share that they are running a promotion for new customers where you get $10 off your first purchase of $50 or more. Any little bit helps!





Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August Beauty Favorites



Since I started blogging, I've been wanting to get into a routine of doing a monthly post on my most used products. As we transition into a new season I thought, what better time than now to do my first favorites post! These are things that I've genuinely been using and loving throughout the month which includes both new products and things that I've rediscovered.

August was a hectic month. We traveled a lot which meant living out of suitcases half the time. I've been packing and repacking my travel makeup bag nonstop. I've had it kind of half unpacked on my vanity all month. This made it really easy to see what products I've been getting the most use out of lately. Here's what made the list:


Urban Decay All Nighter 

This is a great setting spray that really helps elongate the wear of your makeup. It has also been a staple in my rotation to help combat makeup breakdown in the heat and humidity we've been having.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

I've been loving the Lorac Pro 2 palette this month. It has the same half matte/half shimmer shadow split as the first pro palette but this one is more cooler-toned. This time they've switched it up by adding in some brighter colors along with some great staple neutrals for everyday. Its been perfect for summer but there are also some great deeper shades in the palette that will transition beautifully into fall.

Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara

This mascara gives my lashes some serious volume. I actually hated this mascara when I first got it. Its a really wet formula which applies heavily and left my lashes volumized but clumpy. It required alot of combing through to get a pretty effect. I got frustrated and left it untouched for a few months and when I picked it back up last month I was in love. The formula had dried out slightly and now it is magical. If you have this and didn't like it at first, definitely give it another try, it gets better!

Tarte Exposed Blush

This the perfect summer blush that I've gone back to year after year. I'd describe it as a rosy nude. It gives a natural muted flush to my skin when I've gotten some sun. Its a color that I don't have to think about, it goes with everything.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

This has not been a great skin month for me so I was thankful to have found a new go-to full coverage concealer. Its a nice all-in-one product that is great under the eyes for covering dark circles and also does an awesome job covering blemishes and dark spots. As the name suggests, it is very long-wearing and doesn't break up halfway through the day.

Everyday Minerals Eye Kabuki Brush

This is the brush I've been using for concealer. I've actually had this for years and decided to bust it back out this month and give it another try. It works so well with my Pro Longwear concealer! I use it two ways. For under my eyes, I dot on concealer and then go in with this brush to fan it out and blend it in. To cover blemishes, I dot concealer on the back of my hand, dip my brush in and then stipple the brush over the blemish. It provides great coverage without looking cakey.

Sephora Pro Airbrush #56 Foundation Brush

As I mentioned before, I had a rough skin month in August and was looking for a fuller coverage foundation application and this brush was perfection for that. I'm a devoted Beauty Blender user and this is the first foundation brush that I've fallen in love with. It blends beautifully and gives that natural airbrush finish I get from my Beauty Blender but with a fuller coverage. The bristles are buttery soft and it feels so nice on my skin.

MAC Good Kisser Lipstick

This is from the new "A Novel Romance" collection. Its a medium fuchsia with a matte finish. I've really been loving brighter lips lately and this is a great hot pink thats not too hot or crazy to wear to work. It is long-wearing and when it does fade it leaves a good deal of staining color behind.

Maybelline Luxe in Lilac Color Elixir

This is from the Bleached Neons summer collection. Its a vibrant plum that I'm actually wearing today. The color has a muted Radiant Orchid vibe that I think will transition nicely into fall as it leans more on the purple side. I love the formula of the Color Elixirs. They're creamy and comfortable to wear with great color payoff that isn't sticky. The only thing they're lacking in is staying power but I really don't mind reapplying throughout the day.


What have you been loving lately?



Friday, August 29, 2014

Beauty Bad Habits



I think we all have the best intentions when it comes to our beauty routine but there are always those areas that trip us up. Bad habits that we simply can't kick. Some things I don't even realize I'm doing, but most of my trouble spots can be chocked up to good, old fashioned procrastination. These are my confessions:

Face Touching

Throughout the day I find myself resting my chin on my hand, rubbing my eyes, scratching an itch, etc, etc. This is definitely something I don't' realized I'm doing until I'm doing it. Its just human nature, but its definitely something I need to work on. It not only breaks up your makeup, but it introduces bacteria to your face making you more susceptible to blemishes and sickness.

Pumping the Mascara Wand 

When using mascara, in between dips back into the tube I move the brush in and out and pump it up which forces air into the tube. The extra air causes the mascara to dry up faster. Pumping also overloads the wand with mascara which results in chunky, spidery lashes. This is one of those habits where I have no idea where I picked it up and I do it without even realizing it. To remedy this, try to gently pull out the wand from the tube and if you need to, swipe off excess at the opening of the tube. Also, make sure to screw the cap on tight when you're done and try to dip the brush back in as few times as possible during each application.

Lazy Workday Makeup

I love doing my makeup, its always been enjoyable to me and not something I think of as a chore. With that being said, I also enjoy sleep. When my alarm goes off the snooze button usually looks more appealing to me than applying a full face of makeup. This is a constant struggle for me. I am always scrambling to get out the door in the morning so most days my makeup consists of dabbing on a little foundation, blush and mascara. This is really a time management issue and I need to start waking up earlier or making my lunch the night before so I have enough time to get ready.

Lack of Switching it Up

I have a center drawer in my vanity which is where I keep my most used makeup so that its easily accessible. Problem is I tend to get lazy and just use the same products that are in there and forget to switch it up. I need to make it a point to spend some time once a week changing out products and shopping my stash so I get more use out of my collection.

Chipped Nail Polish

I love nail polish but what I don't love is the chip factor. I usually do my nails on a weekly basis. I'd say they stay looking nice for about 3-4 days and then they start chipping like a mother. This annoys me to no end. Not only does it look ugly but it makes my nails more susceptible to breaking and splitting. This is another example of me just being lazy. When they start chipping I need to at least remove the polish and file them a little bit instead of rocking the chipped nail polish walk of shame until I'm ready to do another manicure.

Brush Washing

This has got to be my worst offense. I have a good sized collection of makeup brushes and while I have the best intentions to keep those babies squeaky clean, it generally falls low on my priority list. Regular brush washing is important to battle product and bacteria build up. I know some people do a weekly brush cleansing of their entire collection and to those people, I bow down to you, but I just don't have the time. I've set a goal for myself to do a deep cleaning every other week with spot cleaning my most used ones as needed in between, this is a good one from Sephora.




I hope this post was helpful and maybe you can relate to a few of my bad habits. I'm a work in progress but becoming more aware of these bad habits has helped me realize what I need to work on and come up with a plan of action to improve my beauty routine for the better.




Friday, August 15, 2014

August Rush

August is always a bittersweet month. Summer is on the downswing and we start to stress a bit about getting everything we wanted to do over the summer packed in before it starts getting cold. So far its been a really busy month, but we wouldn't have it any other way! First up was a trip to the South Shore for my friend Liz's wedding!




The wedding was held at the Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull, MA. Growing up I spent alot of time at Nantasket Beach so I jumped at the chance to bring Mike down and show him my old summer stomping grounds. We made a weekend of it and took Friday off to get a little beach time in. Unfortunately it wasn't the bright sunny day I was hoping for but we did take a nice walk on the boardwalk. Later we had dinner at the Sea Dog Brew Pub. We are all about waterfront dining and craft brews so this place was a must. Both the food and the seasonal brews were delicious and you can't beat the view of the Boston skyline in the distance.




Saturday was the big wedding and Liz was an absolutely radiant bride! The ceremony was beautiful and it was extra special because my friend Meghan, who introduced Liz to her husband David, was the officiant!




The reception was a blast. Some highlights were a photo booth and Liz and her Dad doing karaoke to Pitbull & Kesha's "Timber". Its always so much fun getting together with my friends from high school.




After the wedding we walked next door to Daddy's Beach Club for the after party. Pizza, beer and a live band, whats better than that? Sorry, these grainy iPhone pics could be better but you get the idea!





Other than the wedding, Mike and I spent most of the weekend freaking out. Why? Because we bought a new Camper! We'd spent the last few weeks searching and finally found one that was absolutely perfect for us. We checked it out on Friday before heading to the wedding, mulled it over and then went back and bought it that Sunday.

Why the reason for the upgrade, you ask? Our current trailer didn't fair too well last winter and has been having some water issues this season. Its actually in great condition other than that for its age (its from the early 90's, we inherited from Mike's grandparents) and was well taken care of. We were hoping it would last a few more seasons but we just decided to upgrade now rather than worry about further problems down the road.

We're taking delivery of the new trailer this weekend and are beyond excited! I'll share more once we get settled in.




Speaking of camping, last weekend we partook in some tent camping. We meet up with our friends Lindsay, Bart and their new baby, Pearse, and camped at Horton's Campground in Truro, MA on the Cape. Lindsay and Bart moved to NYC a few years ago so we don't get to see them that much and its always so nice to catch up. We brought Dale and they also brought their dog, Elby.





The best thing about this campground is that its right down the street from the most amazing beach! Beaches with Sand Dunes are my favorite, it doesn't get any more Cape Cod than this!




Another nice thing about Truro is that its right next door to Provincetown. We love P-Town, its so much fun. On Saturday night we headed down for dinner and ate at our favorite restaurant, Patio. They have great outdoor dining, so you can hang out outside and watch all the Commercial Street action as you eat. P-Town is very dog friendly, you can bring your dogs into most of the shops and Patio even has a few dog friendly tables. 





After a great evening in P-Town we returned to the campground for drinks and S'mores. I especially love their fire pits! The design reminds me of Mickey's hat in the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Fantasia anyone? 

Well that's it for now. Hope August is treating you well!



Friday, August 8, 2014

A Kiss of Sun



One of the first things I think about when summer rolls around each year is getting that beautiful sun kissed glow. Growing up in a beach town I spent every spare moment at the beach and would have a beautiful tan all summer long. As I got older, not only did I not have as much time to get to the beach but I also started to take the dangers of the sun more seriously. 

I don't deprive myself from the sun altogether but when I do indulge in a little sun I use a much higher SPF than I used to. I protect my face with an even higher SPF so it typically ends up being lighter than the rest of my body. Adding a bronzer is an easy way to bring some color back into the skin. 

Here are my top 5:



Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer

This is a great bronzer if you're looking for a glowing summer complexion. It has a slight shimmer but its not chunky or glittery. The shimmer, blended into the skin, gives off a beautiful golden glow that actually looks quite natural. It contains two shades that you can use on their own or mix together so its really 3 colors in 1. The swatch is of the two colors mixed together.




Laura Mercier Bronzed Pressed Powder in Dune Bronze

This is my old tried and true. I've had this for a few years and I've hardly even made a dent in it, you can still see the wave pattern in product. The color really mimics a natural tan by warming up the skin without being too orange. The consistency is silky smooth and long wearing.




Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light

This is a beautiful matte bronzer. Its not at all orange or red in tone, I'd describe it as golden brown. Its very natural looking and blends beautifully into the skin. It gives a nice, natural summer glow that doesn't oxidize or change color throughout the day.




Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Hoola is another tried and true bronzer that you can't go wrong with. Its the lightest of the bunch so it makes it easy to wear in all seasons and its great for fairer skin tones. It is totally matte and the color is buildable is you want a deeper look. 




Smashbox Bronze Lights in Suntan Matte

This is my most recent bronzer purchase and its actually the darkest of the bunch. Although its dark, on the skin it doesn't come off dirty or muddy as some darker bronzers do. The color is buildable so you can start off with just a touch and then build it to your desired darkness. Its buttery soft and blends like a dream.




I apply bronzer with a fluffy brush under my cheekbones, across my forehead into my hairline, under my chin and down my neck to slightly contour and add warmth to my face. I've never been a fan of self tanners so I rely on bronzer to give my face that "kiss of sun".






Thursday, July 31, 2014

ByAlegory Compact Organizer Review




I've been doing some re-organization of my makeup and was looking for some new storage options for my powders when I stumbled upon these acrylic compact organizers by the brand ByAlegory.




The organizers have eight spaces and can hold a wide variety of compacts. They actually come in six different colors. I picked up two of the clear acrylic ones to use for bronzers and highlighters. These fit nicely into the larger drawers of my Ikea Alex 6 drawer unit.

What Fits

The Dimensions of the total organizer are 8.6 x 3.5 x 2 inches. Inside compartment dimensions are 2.95 x .90 inches.

Most standard sized circular face powders fit nicely. Even some of my square powder compacts fit like my Laura Mercier Bronzing Pressed Powder, Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer and Nars blushes and highlighters. I chose to store bronzers and highlighters but blushes would also fit, just a little looser.




I tested this with MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes and found that they also fit nicely in the compact organizer. They are a little wider so they don't sit all the way to the bottom but they still fit and allow my drawer to close.




What doesn't fit

The Balm tall and wide powders (i.e. Bahama Mama, Hot Mama, Instain Blushes). To get technical these do fit sitting upright but that left too much room on the sides for my liking.

Nars Bronzers

Benefit Boxed Powders

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

Wet n Wild To Reflect Shimmer Palettes

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzers




Final Thoughts

I really love these. They're sleek, well-made and an effective storage system that fits into my Ikea drawers. They're also pretty enough to keep out on my vanity.

I wish they were a little longer and had 12 slots. I was really hoping to be able to fit two of them back to back in my drawers but unfortunately there's not quite enough room.

Price is $17.89 each. They sell them via Amazon and they're also Prime eligible. Find them at byalegory.com.




Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Happy Place

One of my all time favorite movies is Happy Gilmore. I love the part when Chubbs is teaching Happy how to putt and tells him in order to focus he has to clear his mind and go to his "Happy Place".

"Think of a place that's really perfect. Your own happy place. Go there and all your anger will disappear."

Ever since I can remember my happy place always has been Abakee Cottages on Lake Winnipesaukee.




This is an annual family vacation that we've been doing for well over 20 years. My grandparents first discovered Abakee Cottages in 1978. My parents have been taking our family there since I was two and for the past four years Mike and I have rented our own cottage. Its nice little family reunion for us and my sister even comes up from Chicago for the week.




It is an absolutely beautiful property with 12 lakefront cottages nestled together at the end of a dead end road. All the cottages have a water view and it is so relaxing to just sit on the porch stare out to the lake and see the White Mountains in the distance. The air is so fresh and clean. I swear a little fresh air and some sunshine makes me feel so much healthier.




In addition to the beautiful property and scenery, there is a great atmosphere at Abakee. It has become an annual tradition for many families to rent the same cottage for the same week every year. We've gotten to know some great people over the years that have become lifelong friends.





One of my favorite activities is lounging on the sun deck with a good book. When it gets too hot, nothings more refreshing than a dip in the lake.





Another thing I love about Abakee is its close proximity to Weirs Beach. With it being located at the end of a quiet private road you wouldn't know that you're so close to all the Weirs Beach action. It's about a 10 minute walk from Abakee to the Boardwalk and Pier. One morning we went down pretty early and I got a few shots before everything opened up. There are two arcades, bumper cars, souvenir shops and restaurants. Normally the streets and boardwalk are packed with people.






If you are at Weirs beach its worth stopping by the Winnipesaukee pier to get your cheap T-Shirt and Sunglasses fix. This is where I stock up on cheapy sunglasses to keep in my beach bag and car. Its nice to have a few inexpensive pairs that you don't mind losing. This place has an entire wall of sunglasses and I've found some awesome shades there over the years. A serious hidden gem! Also, be sure to try the GIANT fried dough at the shop next door, its delicious and not to be missed!




The weather was absolutely gorgeous every day. We hardly ever get a week like that so we made sure to make the most of it and spent most of our time in the water and soaking up the sunshine.







For the last two days of our vacation we rented a Pontoon boat. The whole family enjoyed this so much. It was such a fun way to cruise around the lake, and yes, we did listen to the Pontoon song a few many times. The first day we dropped anchor at Governor's Island and did some drinking, appetizing, swimming and floating. You need this Floating Lounge Chair in your life. 




Of course, no day on the boat is complete without a stop at the Naswa Beach Bar. Their frozen drinks are delicious and its a really fun atmosphere with live music and events going on all the time. Don't forget to ask for a souvenir sunglasses pin, this is your badge of honor, wear it proudly!






On our last day of vacation we got up early and took a boat ride to Meredith for breakfast. We ate at the Waterfall Cafe which is inside the Inn at Mill Falls. I always love seeing the lush flower arrangements there. I especially love the adorable window boxes.





After breakfast we went back to Abakee, changed into our swimsuits and packed the essentials for an afternoon at the Braun Bay sandbar. With the shallow water and sandy bottom, Braun Bay one of the most popular spots to drop anchor on the lake. This place gets hoppin' on the weekends and can be very crowded but its such a fun and carefree atmosphere its really the more the merrier. Its also extremely dog friendly, was wishing we had the pups with us! You'll see a dog on almost every boat. We swam, broke out Floating Corn Hole and drank in the last day of vacation.




I look forward to this vacation every year. It is a much needed recharge that helps me clear my head and get back to the simple things in life for a while. Visiting the lake, or even just thinking about it, helps me relax and gives me the ability to re-focus.

Some of my favorite childhood memories took place at Abakee and I've only grown to love it more as an adult. Its where I discovered some very important things like wine tumblers, spent countless hours around a campfire and took the time to experience some of the most beautiful sunsets. 

What does your happy place look like?