Find The Perfect Holiday Look With GlamST for iOS

If you’re like me, you spend hours (days?  weeks?) putting together the perfect outfit for holiday events, only to then proceed to step 2 and wonder how you’re going to style your make-up.  Should you go glamorous with deep reds and traditional bouncy curls?  Want to keep it hipster and opt for pomegranate lips and a pair of falsies?  Need to be hip and cool and incorporate the latest glitter trend?  And how can you truly decide if you don’t have all of the necessary products to experiment with in your arsenal?  Does it warrant a $500 trip to Sephora?

GlamST (http://glamst.com), a new app for iOS, helps quickly navigate this experience for you.  It was love at first download.  By following a few easy-to-navigate steps you can quickly try on a bevy of make-up looks, and even buy the complimentary products right through the app.  The holidays just got easier….check it out:

STEP 1: Snap a Selfie

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There are two easy ways to filter the vibe you want – by LOOK or by CELEB

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The easy-to-use adjustments ensure that the makeup filters are placed optimally for your features:

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The Slider Tool helps you compare Before/After photos:

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Once you find THE look, you can view all products that were used and purchase them directly through a Sephora link:

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Take it one step further and look at the Inspiration Photos for hair and outfit ideas:

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So what are you waiting for?  Download the App (https://itunes.apple.com/uy/app/glamst/id917490858?mt=8), and let me know what inspires your holiday look!

 

Per FTC Guidelines, this is a Sponsored Post powered by Brandbacker

#UnleashNakedHair: Herbal Essences

I keep quite a few shampoo/conditioner pairings in my shower.  Firstly, I like to decide on product based on how my hair is feeling that day, and what I plan to do with it (Answer: usually it’s bored, and knows I’m just going to schlub it up in a ponytail).  Secondly, my husband tends to just use whatever hair products I have selected, so I know I need to keep some variety around if I don’t want him to smell like roses.  Right now, the shower collection includes: Wen Shampoo & Conditioner (husband’s current fave), John Barrett Elementage (my go-to), a Matrix system, and Bumble & Bumble.

You might notice that we don’t often stock up on drug store varieties.  But I received a sample box from Herbal Essences – a favorite from my high school days – and gave it a try.  The box contained moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, as well as a dry shampoo.  You can purchase the set for around $10.

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The Naked line is 0% paraben and silicon free.  The packaging has a clean look that mirrors the company’s commitment to considering the ingredients they put into their products, and the impact those ingredients have on the environment.  I was expecting a customary “Herbal Essences scent”, but the smell was just a simple refreshing ‘clean’.

The shampoo quickly sudsed up, which is always promising.  I like to feel like my shampoo is actually doing something.  The conditioner was a nice consistency, as well.  The duo left my hair tangle-free (and it was pretty tangled going into the shower) and surprisingly soft.  Let’s just say they earned a space in our quickly diminishing shower shelving, and I’m sure my husband will try them out next time instead of reaching for the Wen.

I haven’t tried the dry shampoo yet, but plan to in a few days.  A few months ago I decided to give dry shampoos a try, with mixed results, so I’m interested to see on which side of the spectrum the Herbal Essences falls.  I have high hopes.

What are some of your hair care staples?

Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland

Last week, I had the unique pleasure of finishing one of those biographies that leave you in awe and with a greater appreciation of the subject. ‘Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland’ provides multi-dimensional insight into the true life of the fashion icon. The author, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, successfully navigates Vreeland’s world and is able to humanize her in a way that makes her all the more appealing. It’s also delightfully unbiased – we see her strengths as well as her weaknesses, and love her the more for them.

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Perhaps my favorite part of the exploration is the idiosyncrasies of Diana. She always had a definitive take on the quirkiest of things. For example, in the chapter entitled Youthquake, in which Diana is veering away from catering to the aristocratic ladies style and merging the newer, fresher fashions of a younger generation into the couture lifestyle of Vogue, we discover that she still remains stodgy and neat when it comes to … the care of shoes:

“Unshined shoes are the end of civilization,” Diana was won’t to say.  Reed, she claimed, had the butler in Hanover Terrace polish his shoes for five years with cream and rhinoceros horn until the leather was ‘contented.”  Yvonne [the Vreeland’s French maid] used a rhinoceros horn to polish Diana’s shoes, too. “A highly emotional French lady, she wouldn’t lift a finger to polish the furniture, but she meticulously stained and polished all my shoes after each wearing – including the soles.  Why, I wouldn’t dream of wearing shoes with untreated soles.  I mean, you go out to dinner and suddenly you lift your foot and the soles aren’t impeccable…what could be more ordinary?”

This exquisite work has led to my desire to read Diana’s autobiography, D.V. – hint, hint, Santa?  I imagine that the literary gems and amusing asides penned from the icon’s own hand would be nothing short of magnificent.  But for those who yearn to learn more about Mrs. Vreeland (or even about the evolution of fashion magazines throughout the 20th century), or who are desperately searching for a book to curl up with as you sip your Ferraro Rocher hot chocolate by the fire, run out and grab Stuart’s masterpiece, and enjoy.

Billion Dollar Brows

My entire life, I’ve been plagued by my brows.  As an adolescent, they were of the unruly/dark/bushy variety, way before the success of Cara Delavigne made that popular.  Once I hit adulthood, I started obsessively plucking (to little avail), and occasionally even sneaking to have them done by my hairstylist or adding a wax onto a manicure session.

On the flip side of the equation, I grew up in a household where my mother had NO eyebrows.  Seriously, every morning I would see her get out her eyebrow pencil and literally draw an arch where they should have been.  She says this was a side effect of her pregnancy with me, but my grandma faces the same issue, so I’m a little skeptical.

Fast forward to now: despite my eyebrow woes, I’ve never really tried eyebrow products (except for Tweezers, let’s be real).  But I was excited to have the chance to try some Best Sellers from Billion Dollar Brows.  Why should I keep neglecting the beautification of (arguably) the most prominent feature on my face?

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I dove into product #1: a Universal Brow Pencil. (Flashback to my mother’s morning routine…..)  I’ve always shied away from pencils for one main reason – I honestly had no personal idea if I should be purchasing in brown or black.  So I was pleased/surprised to find that this brown looking pencil was actually designed for all hair colors and skin tones.  With a few brush strokes it went on very smooth and natural, and it’s self-sharpening, which is amazing.  There’s nothing I hate more than dealing with pencil shavings …. a pet peeve that’s a close #2 to my childhood brow difficulties.  There’s an attached brush on the pencil that helps you blend, so it’s really sort of a fool proof process.

Afterwards, still in shock at the difference a single pencil application could make, I turned to product #2: a Brow Gel.  I’ll admit it: even though I follow all of the plucking tips, my brows go this way and that.  They’re probably more self-expressive than my smile (and not in a good way).  But I never wanted to apply a gel because it made me think of the crusty/sticky hair gels of teenage boys.  Did I want something gooey on my eyebrows?  Would it weight them down instead of just controlling them?  Well, have no fear, because this brow gel was super easy to apply, and you can’t even notice it.  With an applicator that is very close to one you’d use for mascara, it was really easy to apply the gel where you needed it without any smearing.  It was the icing on the pencil cake.

Increasing pleased with the set, I picked up product #3: a Brow Duo Pencil.  Five years ago I would have rolled my eyes at this, but after discovering the magic a good highlighter can do for your cheek bones, I’ve learned not to be skeptical about other similar applications.  The highlighter went on very creamily, in a pleasant way, and it was so easy to blend with the Smudge Brush.  (Sidenote: I’m the type of girl to buy brushes separately instead of using the ones that come with product sets, but this is a quality brush.)  I did not use the concealer (part deux of the duo), but I’m definitely happy to have it on hand if I need to add it to my routine.

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Summary?  Easy three-step process.  I’ll definitely be adding this to my morning routine, and I’m sure my brows will thank me!  Check out the company yourself at http://www.billiondollarbrows.com

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Per FTC guidelines, this is a sponsored post powered by Brandbacker.

#TryItTuesday: Bliss Micro Magic

If there’s one thing my skincare routine lacks, it’s a good exfoliator.  So tonight I decided to try a sample of Bliss Micro Magic Spa-Powered Microdermabrasion Treatment ($48).  It claims that ‘volcanic pumice and soothing aloe effectively and gently resurface, smooth, and renew.’

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Prep: Cleanse skin.

Application: Gently massage a quarter-sized amount onto skin for one minute, avoiding the eye area.  Rinse well and pat dry.

Frequency: Once or twice a week.

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I don’t have very sensitive skin, but I do worry about harshness when it comes to exfoliators, especially ones which mention “volcanic pumice” as the resurfacing agent.  But I found that it was very gentle on the skin. The pumice is very fine and feels almost like a sand as you exfoliate, but the creaminess from the aloe counteracts any roughness or redness-inducing effects.  I do have a little bit of dryness around my nose from the final days of this pregnancy, and that skin seemed to be scrubbed right off and softened/smoothed over.

The consistency of the product looks a little like toothpaste, and it does have a minty smell.  That minty-ness carries over into the product, and after washing the skin definitely tingles.  It’s a pleasant, fresh feeling – not the relaxation that comes from a mask, but invigorating.  You can definitely tell that it had an effect, which is always a good thing when it comes to a product like this.

Will I Purchase a Full-Sized Product: Jury is still out.

What exfoliator do you use?  Any recommendations for comparison?

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eye Color Palette

I was so excited to have the opportunity to try out some Paula Dorf products.  The company sent me two items: the Aztec City Eye Color Palette, and Lash Color in Teal.

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The mantra of the company is so empowering: “Become Your Own Makeup Artist”.  And with 5 eyeshadow shades to mix and match, the palette allows you to do just that.  I have brown eyes, so I tend to gravitate towards sandy neutrals with a white highlight (which the palette provides), but the blue and silver of the set is subtle enough for women to wear with all colorations.  I actually found myself using the sky blue as a base – out of my normal comfort zone, but that’s what the exploration is all about!  The powders are very soft, so even the most daring of combos are acceptable for the professional woman.

The packaging is high quality, as well.  The palette includes a mirror and a dual brush that is probably my favorite surprise of the entire set.  Really helpful for crease-work, and to mix wet/dry application.  At just $36, the set is amazingly priced compared to comparable brands.

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The lash color in teal was equally as exciting.  I normally stick to a standard black mascara, but I did notice my sister-in-law wearing a blue shade this summer, and have been wanting to try it ever since.  Instead of providing a stark electric quality to the eye area, I found that it provided a subtle color differentiation that really played nicely with natural sunlight to highlight the handiwork of the eye palette.

Pick up your own palette (or gift it during the holiday season!):  http://www.pauladorf.com/makeup/eyes/aztec-city-eyeshadow-pallet-5-shades-p-159  …. The company offers free shipping on orders $50+!

Per FTC guidelines, this is a Sponsored Post. The products reviewed were provided to me at no cost.

Sephora Collection: Rose Mask

A few weeks ago, I tried out the Ginseng Mask and had quite a few emails and messages from readers asking if I had experience with any of the other masks in the collection.  I actually received a Rose Mask in the same haul, & settled down with a good book to try it tonight.

The mask retails at the same price point as the Ginseng version ($6), but whereas the Ginseng tones and revitalizes, the Rose is intended to moisturize and brighten.  I definitely have some recent dry patches on my face – what with the return of cold weather + the final days of pregnancy – especially around my nose and on one cheek in particular.  So I was excited to see the results!

Fragrance: Unlike the over-powering hit of Ginseng on the previous mask, this has a very pleasant rose smell.  It actually reminds me of the scent of the Dior Rose Lip Balm (if you haven’t ever tried that, it’s worth looking into).  The scent does not linger on your fingers or face after use.

Product: This mask was saturated, but not quite as much as the Ginseng mask.  I did find that it was still challenging to unwrap the fabric while avoiding tears, but not too difficult.  I noticed this go ’round that the mask is actually quite cold upon initial application.

Sizing: Oversized, the same as the Ginseng mask.  I imagine every mask in the line is the same.  I did have an issue this time with it falling over my nose during use, even though I had folded it up again.  But it otherwise stayed put nicely.

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Freaky mask mug shot – worth it!

Timing: Directions are 15 minutes.  I actually became so relaxed that I left it on for closer to 45 (and I usually follow beauty directions to a T).  Because of this, I did not have as much excess product when I removed the mask.

Result: My skin does feel plump.  I did notice a glow.  Very relaxing.  It does seem to have better temporary results than a daily moisturizing routine.  There was no greasy feeling or unpleasantness.  No skin sensitivity.

I do have a few other masks from this collection, so my intentions are to use them more frequently – about once a week.  Be sure to check back next Monday night to see if I stuck to my guns.  The great thing about these fabric masks is that they’re hands-free, so even if we’ve welcomed Daughter #2 into the world in the next few days, I can throw one on before catching some quick shut-eye!!

Do you have a favorite mask?

 

Holiday Shoe Party

I found myself daydreaming about the holiday party season (despite the fact that I will have a newborn and will not exactly be hopping around the social scene).  In my book, dresses can be simple, outerwear comes off as soon as you arrive, jewelry can’t compare to holiday ornamentation …. but it’s time for your shoes to shine.  And my go-to shoe is a festive heel – how better to kiss your tall Prince under the mistletoe?

We all know I love my Kate Spade Charm Heels.  So much so that I previously wrote about how you can incorporate them into your casual wardrobe.  This season, I’ll continue to dream of a White Christmas – complete with the snow glitter of these beauties.

Have you picked out your holiday footwear yet?

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Sephora All Occasion Eye Ensemble

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t often wear eye make-up, of any kind, with the exception of mascara.  There is probably two contributing factors to this: 1) I wore glasses from the time I was in first grade through my second year of college, and anyone with lenses will tell you that it’s often a fruitless endeavor and 2) because of this I never took the time to play much with products designed for the eye region.

So I was really excited to get the Sephora ‘All Occasion Eye Ensemble’ – it does much of the hard work of eye pencil selection for me by pre-packaging the ten most popular colors.  For those looking to buy it, it’s $49 (but a $100 value, so essentially if you use these pencils you’re getting them for 50% off, or $5 per pencil instead of $10).  Colors are: Black Lace (1), Clubbing Stilettos (2), Diamonds Are Forever (5), Girl Talk (7), Girls Night Out (9), Tiramisu (13), Good Mood (20), Summer Cruise (23), Purple Stilettos (31), and Welcome to My Loft (38).  These colors all have a metallic coloration to them, which is perfect for the holiday season.

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Pros: Lasts for 12-hours (highly pigmented).  Waterproof.

In a second burst of excitement for the ‘not so eye savvy’ like me: the set contains two eye tutorials (with diagrams & directions).  The first is an ‘Easy Smoky Eye’ (utilizing Black Lace & Diamonds Are Forever), the second an ‘Eyes Tie Dye!’ (utilizing Diamonds Are Forever, Summer Cruise, and Good Mood).

I’ll definitely be playing around with this set over the next week, and will be sure to post my results from the tutorials.  In the meantime, do you have a go-to eye pencil?

DIY Easy Up-Do

I was recently going through wedding photos, once again reliving my happiness at how great a job my talented hair stylist did for my bridal party.  But as much as I wish someone would come to my house every day and do my hair for me (now accepting applications….), in actuality I would love to redo this hairdo on my own for the holiday season.

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In thinking back to my nuptial styling, I’ve compiled a “DIY Hairstyle Dupe” with just a few easy steps:

1. Comb through dry hair, and proceed to curl hair are over with a standard 1.5″ barrel

2. Tease top of hair for volumizing affect

3. Pull hair back into a low ponytail

4. Add festive handband to accentuate teased bump

5. Take side wisps from the front and braid; cross over in back and pin with bobby pins.

Voila!  Easy up-do.  Let me know if you try this for the holiday season!!  Do you have a go-to party do?