The Blogger Tag: 11 Quick Q&As

M is for Melissa

I always enjoy getting to know other bloggers through these little tag posts, so I wanted to do one myself! I was tagged by the lovely Alejandra at Exquisite Glow to do this tag, and rather than answering in paragraphs, I decided to speed answer them – one or two sentences, off the top of my head, for each question. Here we go:

1) Why did you start blogging?

Because I was bored out of my mind at my finance job, and I needed a creative outlet. Now that I have a new, creative job in the fashion industry, I blog solely because it makes me happy, and I enjoy interacting with other bloggers!

2) Who is your idol?

Anna Wintour, hands down. She’s a power house.

3) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

This is tough – you could uproot me and put me down anywhere, and I think I would be happy. London is pretty far up my list of places to live, as is Hong Kong or Shanghai.

4) What is your signature scent?

I feel like you don’t qualify for a “signature scent” unless you’re, like, Kate Moss.

5) What is your favorite makeup brand?

This is a tough one – I think it might be NARS. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a product from NARS that I haven’t loved. Plus it is hard to beat their super chic packaging!

6) Would you choose high street or high end fashion?

High end, of course, if I had a bottomless bank account. The beautiful quality and craftsmanship is absolutely worth it to me.

7) What is your favorite song?

This changes all the time for me! Some of my most often listened to songs on Spotify over the last two weeks are Beyonce’s Partition, The Black Keyes’ Gold on the Ceiling, Baby Baby Baby by Make the Girl Dance, and La Grange by ZZ Top – quite the variety there, isn’t it? Ha.

8) What’s your favorite album?

Whole album? Geez, I’m not sure if I ever listen to an entire album anymore. I think the last album that I have enjoyed beginning to end was Maroon 5’s Hands All Over.

9) Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?

None? Ha. Probably Instagram, I guess. I only ever use Facebook to see people’s photos anyway, and Instagram is just that! I actually don’t use a personal Twitter, but I find it a great communication tool for the blog.

10) Who is your celebrity style icon?

Blake Lively, Kate Middleton, Emma Watson

11) What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas, of course! My family’s house always smells like cinnamon, which is the best. Plus, we have so many fun traditions, and we make up more as we go ha.

I tag all of you! I personally invite anyone who reads this to answer these 11 questions on your blog. Ready, set, go!

Neutral Palette #10: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

Urban Decay Naked 2

I think it is safe to say that Urban Decay’s Naked 2 Palette is the industry standard for cool-toned palettes. Somehow they managed to pick the perfect assortment of greys and browns to satisfy anyone’s need for taupe. I tend to reach for this every day in the spring, but it can definitely work all year round, depending on your skin tone. My general impression, based on the plethora of beauty blogs I read, is that this one is the most versatile of the Naked palettes, and many, many bloggers with many different skin tones love this one!

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2 Little Ways (and 2 Big Ways) to Deal with Homesickness

Homesickness

So we’re doing a little lifestyle rather than beauty today, and we’re talking about homesickness, which even the strongest people I know have suffered from at some point. I’ve lived 500+ miles away from home for the last 5 years, and while I had an absolutely amazing 4 years at Cornell, and another great year in New York City, it’s not always easy to be that far away from the people I care about. Here are the top four ways I fend off homesickness:

Say Yes

When you miss home, and you’re in a bad mood, it can be so tempting to stay in your apartment, curl up in your bed, and ignore the world, but truth be told, that just doesn’t make anyone feel better. Instead, say yes to anything anyone asks you to do with them. See your friends. Go shopping. Try a new restaurant. Go to the gym. Boredom and homesickness are best friends, so the busier you keep yourself, the less likely you are to be affected by the fact that you miss home.

Start a Project

Maybe you want to try something new. Maybe you want to tackle something you’ve been meaning to do for years. Get excited about whatever project you choose, and give it your all! In general, I find that I’m at my happiest when I’m working toward a goal. Start a blog. Decorate the living space that you’ve been meaning to transform for six months. Learn a new language. Visit all of the museums in your city. Learn to cook. Learn to bake. Hire a personal trainer and revamp your fitness routine. Train for a half marathon. Do whatever fulfills you, but once you’re excited about it, homesickness will fall away.

Get a Cat

Or a dog. Or a rabbit. Whatever floats your boat. Coming home to something alive that cares that you came home to see it is heartwarming, and it really helps with loneliness! Alone time can be some of the hardest times when you’re homesick because you have nothing to distract you, and having a little furry friend can really help you enjoy those nights at home on the couch with Chinese takeout and Netflix! Obviously, only get a pet if you can afford it, and you have the time to take care of it. It is a big commitment, but a worthy one, in my opinion.

Plan a Trip

This may seem like silly advice, but I’m always amazed how much I forget about this. There’s no reason you have to wait for an occasion to see your family and friends! I spent last weekend in South Carolina visiting my little sister at school just because I wanted to. While I was in school, my sister and I surprised our parents at home for a weekend just for fun. Cut your spending; save your pennies, and go on a trip, even if it’s just to relax for a weekend with someone you care about. Experiences are always worth more than any items you would spend your money on anyway, and it is super fun to look forward to something.

How do you all deal with homesickness?

Topshop in the US

Topshop

I finally made it to the Topshop in New York! Of course, while I was there, I couldn’t help but pick up a few beauty items, especially given the hype surrounding them in the blogging world. Plus, I could not ignore the adorable packaging. How cute are these?!

After reading so much about the great formulation of the Lipstick, I picked up one in the shade Macaroon, a bright, coral-based pink. The color and formula is stellar, so I’ve been wearing this quite a bit lately; however, it does accentuate imperfections on the lips, and I find that the pigmentation could be a little bit better. It’s a good lipstick, and I do like it, but it didn’t live up to the massive amount of hype for me.

I also grabbed one of the Cream Blushes in Afternoon Tea, a bright, blue-based pink that is slightly terrifying in the pan. This lasts ages on me, but it is pretty bright, so applying it takes a little time. I find that the easiest way is to apply and blend with your fingers first, and once it has dried down a bit, blend a little more with a fluffy brush – I’ve been using an Angled Contour Brush from Sonia Kashuk, but any fluffy brush will do the job.

Last but not least, I picked up a Lip Liner in Wheels on Fire, mostly because I just needed a red lip liner. I’m quite glad I did – this one is super soft, and it doesn’t pull on the lips at all. It adds so much wear time to my favorite red lipsticks, and I find myself relying on it all the time!

Overall, I’m pretty impressed. Have you all tried any of the Topshop beauty products?

FOTD: Samples Only!

FOTD: Samples Only

 

 

FOTD: Samples Only

Like any beauty lover, I just can’t turn down a free sample! This results in a junk drawer full of gorgeous beauty products that I tend to overlook, in favor of my full size products that are currently in rotation. So, I decided to pull out some samples, and pull together a quick sample-only makeup look for work this week!

These photos are entirely unedited, so can we just talk about how amazing this Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Invisible Skin Fusion foundation is? I used it in 02 Beige Clair over the Clinique SuperPrimer (which I’m not all that impressed with, by the way), and this foundation gives the absolute perfect finish and glow. I used my mini Stila Convertible Color in Peony on my cheeks, and a little bit of the Benefit Watt’s Up Highlighter on my cheek bones and under the brow.

For the eyes, I went for the BareMinerals 5in1 BB Cream Eyeshadow in Elegant Taupe blended in the crease and corners over my Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin (not pictured because my sample of it is ugly haha). I added a little cat flick with the Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner, and finished it off with some Lancome Definicils Mascara in Deep Black.

I topped off with a bit of Benefit’s Benetint on my lips, and it was off to work! Do you guys have the same sample troubles? Haha.

Sephora Appointment Haul

Sephora Beauty Consultation

Last weekend was a holiday weekend in the states, and while most people fled the concrete confines of Manhattan, I decided to stay around and treat myself to a little “stay-cation,” if you will. I cleaned my apartment, did a little home decor shopping, took a few naps, and treated myself to a 90 minute personal beauty consultation at Sephora.

I won’t go into all the details, but it was such a fun session. We touched all the bases – skincare, hair care, fragrance, and most importantly, makeup. She created a fantastic makeup look (shown here on my Instagram), and I got 10 or 12 great recommendations from her, including an impressive Clarisonic demonstration. So, out of all of those things, what did I get?

On the makeup front, the most obvious product in the picture is the new YSL Fusion Ink Foundation ($60) in B30 Almond. Kristina Marie applied this on me during the appointment, and I was so impressed with how this foundation wears. It’s incredibly skin-like and lightweight – seriously, when I touch my face with this on, I can’t even tell that I have foundation on, and I love that. I also picked up the Algenist Anti-Aging Pore Correcting Primer ($42). It had never occurred to me that skincare brands make primers like makeup brands do, but it makes perfect sense. The brand is well renowned for their anti-aging technology, plus you can actually watch this primer mattify your skin as you apply it.

For skincare, I picked up the set of the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster ($48) and the Pure Truth Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil. I don’t have any actual takeaways from these two yet because I’ve only been using them a few days, but I’m really excited about them! They make my skin look radiant and feel lovely, and they smell fantastic.

So only 4 things! I think I showed restraint haha. Have you all ever done a personal beauty consultation at Sephora?

Summer Pink

Summer Pinks

Summer Pinks

I am not a pink lipstick wearer. I’m just not. My olive-based skin tone lends itself more willingly to corals and peaches and reds, rather than the cooler-toned pinks. However, that being said, during the summer months, I find myself drawn to pretty pinks of all shades. I know that as fall comes around, I’m going to be reaching for richer shades, so I figured I’d touch on these now while they are still my everyday shades! (You’ll have to excuse the cat scratch on my wrist – thanks, Ranger.)

The only truly cool-toned pink I own is the Revlon Matte Balm ($9) in Elusive. It’s opaque, matte, and tastes like mint. It isn’t drying at all, and it lasts about 2 hours on me. It’s as close to a Barbie-pink as I’ll ever get, that’s for sure. Next up is Topshop’s Lipstick ($16) in Macaroon – a bold, coral-based pink. This is almost neon on the lips, and I find that it does emphasize flaws, so I have to remember to exfoliate before I wear it! Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick ($22) in Streak is a similar, but slightly more muted/wearable version of Macaroon. The formula on these is unbeatable – balmy, opaque, lovely, and lasts 3+ hours.

The Burt’s Bee’s Lip Crayon ($9)  in Hawaiian Smolder is actually a new acquisition I received in the fall Allure Beauty Box. Although it doesn’t look it in the swatch, it’s pretty sheer, and it feels like a lip balm. It’s a warm-toned, rich pink, and it is hands-down my favorite of the bunch. I can see myself continuing to wear this color in the fall. Plus, it’s all natural, which is a nice perk. Lastly, the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense ($17) in Plushest Punch is a bright, raspberry pink. This is such a stunning color on, and it lasts ages – 5 hours or more, plus a stain. Be aware though, the “Intense” version of the Chubby Stick is just that, intense. The swatch above is just one swipe! It isn’t sheer like the original line.

What do you think? Did you guys wear as many pinks as I did in the summer?

August Favorites

August Favorites

Most of the time, I start these posts with an exclamation of how quickly the month went by, but in this case, I feel like August dragged on forever, probably in part due to the fact that I had strep throat for a third of it. Boo. I’m really looking forward to September – it’s the fashion industry’s new year, and I just love autumn. Anyways, I managed to scrounge up a few things that I’ve been loving this month:

First and foremost, the Tom Ford lipstick in Slander (LE, from Holiday 2012). I reviewed this already, but long story short, I found this at a cosmetics outlet, and I’ve been loving it this month. It’s a bright, pink based red with a slight sheen. It has the most amazing staying power, a formula that cannot be beat, and bonus: I get heaps of compliments every time I wear it!

I bought Milani’s Baked Blush ($8.50) in Luminoso a few months ago, but I haven’t really loved it until now. It’s all over the blogosphere, so I won’t say much about it, but it is peach-based, with a subtle shimmer, and it has just the right amount of pigmentation. It manages to function as a blush, bronzer, and highlight all in one, which is perfect for rushed mornings (aka my every morning).

Earlier this month, my Sephora gave me a handful of samples of the Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation ($61) in 02 Beige Clair, and I’ve been using it all month! I typically apply it with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for a medium coverage finish. It has a skin-like texture, and it doesn’t transfer or get oily-looking during the day. I never even know I have it on, which is a hard-to-find must-have for foundations I buy. I’ll definitely be purchasing the full size.

I also rediscovered my love for the Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50). It has a big, soft brush that makes application super easy, and it gets every single little lash without ever clumping. I have almond-shaped eyes, so I’m a big fan of the winged-out mascara look, and this mascara makes that effortless. The “extreme volume” version is on my to-try list as well!

And last but not least, I picked up that pretty sparkly necklace at a random wholesale store near my office, and I’ve been wearing it with everything from a chiffon dress to a chambray shirt. Everyone can use a little sparkle in their wardrobe now and again.

What have you been loving this month?

Morning Savior: Cream Eyeshadow

Cream Eyeshadow

If you are anything like me, you are a mess in the mornings. I snooze my alarm 5 too many times, so I’m always rushing to get out the door in time for work. It is absolutely unhealthy, but I just cannot seem to help it, so quick makeup in the morning is key for me.

Cream eyeshadows are a one-and-done deal – you just apply it with your finger and run out the door. Plus, they usually have much better staying power than powder alone, although I typically use them over a primer anyway. I’ve tried both drugstore and higher end brands, and I’ll start with my favorite:

You pretty much cannot beat the Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadows ($7 – shown in Nude Compliment, from a LE collection). It’s the best one I’ve ever tried – it lasts 9 hours or so without creasing. It has a pretty dry/thick consistency, so it can take a little getting use to, but once it is applied, it does not budge. For $7, you just can’t go wrong.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots ($21 – shown in Soft Ochre) are a cult classic. I really do like this one, and I normally use it either as a base for powder shadow, or on its own if I just want to cancel out some of the pigmentation in my eyelid and do a dramatic lip instead. It has the best consistency out of them all, and it blends very smoothly. I do find that it creases after 6 or 7 hours, so I typically use this over my Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Another great budget option is the e.l.f. Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow ($3 – shown in Toast). This is a whipped-mousse consistency, and it takes quite a bit to get an opaque layer. I do find it creases slightly after 6 or 7 hours, even when over a primer. It’s pretty sparkly, so it should be applied sparingly, but the rich antiqued-gold is stunning on. And for $3, who can complain? I will definitely be picking up a few more of these.

The Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream shadow ($23 – shown in 13 Warm Beige) seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it product, and unfortunately, I lean toward the hate-it side. I think the color is absolutely lovely, and it is extremely pigmented, but I find that even when used over a primer, this creases badly on me after a few hours. It has a super slippery consistency, and it is extremely lightweight, which is nice, but the creasing puts me off from wearing it too often.

What cream shadows do y’all use?

Tom Ford.

Tom Ford Slander

Did anyone else know that there are cosmetics outlet stores in America? I found one while I was at the beach with my family – it was full of high end makeup brands, and everything was 20% off or more! Who knew? Most of the product was left overs from limited edition collections, but there were also foundations, and a ton of skincare products. Luckily for my bank account, I was on a spending ban when I encountered this store, so I only picked up this one lovely Tom Ford lipstick in the color “Slander.” I just couldn’t say no to Tom Ford at a discount!

This color is from the 2012 Holiday Collection, and it is a stunning pink-based red with an extremely subtle sheen. Obviously, since this is from a few collections ago, it isn’t available now, but as this is my first Tom Ford purchase, I can tell you that buying one of these cult classic lipsticks is a must for every beauty junkie like me.

The formula is one of the best I’ve ever tried, as it should be for $50 a tube. It sits comfortably on the lips, lasts 4+ hours, and it doesn’t transfer to my teeth at all. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the formula makes even the punchiest of colors feel entirely natural – you never feel like the lipstick is wearing you. Plus, I swear I feel more put together when I put it on! The packaging is equal parts sleek and old fashioned – it kind of reminds me of my grandmother, but it still looks chic on my dresser.

If you’re looking to treat yourself, a Tom Ford lipstick will absolutely do the trick. Have y’all given in and purchased any Tom Ford lately? How do you like it?

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