The Ten Step Manicure

dscn0186If you asked me what my necessary indulgence is, I would have to say manicures. Your hands are used so much from shaking them when you meet someone to using them to express yourself. I love making mine into an extravagant event, but free to do yours in a hurry on the bathroom floor if required.

  1. Using a crystal nail file, gentle shape your nails.
  2. Soak your nails to soften your cuticles. I always add a couple pumps of this miracle oil to the water.
  3. Apply cuticle removerPush back your cuticles with a metal cuticle pusher, than trim any excess dead skin.
  4. Using an exfoliator on dry hands, massage then rinse off.
  5. Apply a cuticle oil.
  6. Seal the oil in with a thick hand cream.
  7. Cleanse nail beds of all lotions and oils to prep the surface
  8. Apply a base coat.
  9. Follow with two coats of polish.
  10. Finish with a gel shine top coat.

The Brown Smokey Eye

dscn0192-copy
I’ve never liked the gray smokey eye. It’s so severe. Even if it’s beautiful, I get so caught up in how the black always seems to overtake the look. A brown smokey eye seems so much more organic, more sexy. Something about those rich, warm browns just looks so much more luxe. I especially am in love with this look I created, a grungier take on your classic smokey eye.

  1. Prime the eye – lash line to brow bone and under the eye.
  2. Start by taking a light brown matte eye shadow and applying to the crease. Blend up to the brow bone.
  3. Follow with a warm taupe matte eyeshadow over the light brown shadow.Blend well.
  4. Apply a chocolate matte eye shadow in the outer V of the eye. Blend up towards the eyebrow.
  5. Taking that light brown eyeshadow you started with, apply on the lid where no color has been applied. Also, go over the taupe and chocolate eyeshadow to blend all the shadows together for a seamless transition.
  6. I also go back over the crease with the warm taupe shade blended lightly into the lid. Apply to the lower lash liner as well.
  7. With a dark brown eyeliner smudge under the eye, winging it out. Blend into the upper lash line. Layer a dark brown matte eyeshadow on top of the liner smoking it out.
  8. Apply a beige satin eyeshadow on the inner tear duct and right under the eye brow.
  9. Coat lashes with a lash primer.
  10. Finish with two coats of mascara, focusing the second coat on the outer portion of the eye for a feline shape.

Makeup Brush Essentials

dscn0179
There are so many brushes out there. If you aren’t familiar with what you need it can get overwhelming really fast. I prefer the tactic less is more. I would rather invest in a smaller amount of quality brushes that have multiple uses, than to buy cheaper brushes to have a whole arsenal. Years ago (no specific number in mind) they didn’t have all these specific brushes for cream shadows and highlighting and what not, you had to do the same thing with a brush you already had and you know, we did just fine. I’ve listed below the bare minimum for a full starter collection. Add and subtract as you see fit.

Foundation Brush: They make all sorts of foundation brushes, but the best one to do the job is going to be a flat foundation brush.

Powder Brush: Fluffy is good. I prefer mine to taper, it can get into smaller spaces like under the eyes without needing a separate brush.

Blush Brush: Angled is a fine choice, but I actually have a smaller version of my powder brush for blush, allows for precise application, but fluffy enough to blend. Also great for highlighting.

All Over Eyeshadow Brush: Again, you want a fluffier brush for this. To cover a large area.

Fluffy Crease Brush: This is going to be your best friend when it comes to blending. Great for softly defining the crease and buffing out those harsh lines. Also good for precision highlighting.

Defining Crease Brush: Smaller version of the fluffy crease brush. The bristles are shorter and more compact to apply color.

Flat Eyeshadow Brush: This is a smaller denser version of the all over eyeshadow brush. This is what you would use to apply color on your lid. Get a brush that can be used wet or dry to maximize usage.

Smudger Brush: The is my favorite brush of all. Designed to smoke out the lash line. great for using powder liner. A passable substitute for an angled liner brush as long as you aren’t using it to make a sharp cat eye. (This can be used to smudge your eye liner into a cat eye though.)

Beauty Blender: I have tried substitutes and nothing comes close to it. I don’t know what it’s made of. Magic? Science? Spend the money and buy the real deal. Great for applying skincare, foundation, concealer… the list is endless.

 

Lingerie 101

dscn0183
We wear it every day, but how much thought are you really putting into it? A good set of lingerie is the foundation for your look. If they don’t fit well, you’re outfit won’t either. Your lingerie should make you feel good. It is surprising how a pretty set of bra and panties can really put a spring in your step. Even if you’re the only one who sees it, it’s still worth the investment.

Price Point
The first question you have to ask yourself is how much do you want to spend? With lingerie the sky really is the limit. You can spend some serious cash on this stuff. So pick how much you can live with spending.

Care
Keep in mind the maintenance of the items. Silk and lace really should be hand washed only. If you put them in the dryer the lace deteriorating. If you only want to wash your delicates in the washer, get something durable that will hold up. You should never use the dryer. It ruins everything.

Function
Especially true for your everyday sets, find things that do what you need them to. Do you want to push up? Minimize? If you wear a lot of deep v-neck tops, a bralette might be the best way to go if your aren’t especially large chested. It also makes shopping easier because you can sort by the features you are looking for, otherwise it’s rather overwhelming!

Occassion
Where do you want to wear this? Is it saved for date nights and special occasions only? You can get something a little bit more dramatic. If you are looking for quality pieces for every day, you will want to find something that works under your clothing and makes you look good.

Brand Spotlight: Lierac Sensorielle Oil

dscn0176A multi-tasking maven. The Lierac Sensoirielle oil is no one trick pony and I love a product that has many uses. To start, it’s a heavenly, fast absorbing body oil with a sultry floral scent. I wish they made a perfume, the scent of this oil doesn’t linger nearly as long as I;d like. It can also be used in your hair, on your face or added to your bath. And those are just the ways I’ve used it so far.

The Plum Velvet Lip

dscn0172
Plum is such an unexpected color. Everyone loves a classic red lip, including myself. However, if you want to wow them, go with a luxurious rich shade of plum – perfect for any time of year. Any finish will do, but I love the velvet matte finish the best (and also requires some of the least work). Don’t just slap it on and call it a day, make a ritual out of it. Add or subtract steps as you see fit.

  1. Lip scrub: To be honest, I use a damp towel to exfoliate my lip, but Sara Happ and Lush make some of the greatest scrubs that smell amazing.
  2. Lip Balm: Not too much and you want to give it a minute to soak in. If it hasn’t fully absorbed, blot the excess with a tissue.
  3. Lip Color: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu is my all time favorite. It smells great, it lasts for hours and its a liner and lipstick in one. The trick with this pencils is not to purse your lips together to distribute the color, that results in patchiness. One coat, touching up as you need will give you a beautiful finish.
  4. Blot: These pencils don’t really need it, so don’t expect a lot of color to transfer
  5. Touch up: Go over any spots that need a bit more saturation or sharpness.
  6. Clean up: If you couldn’t get the line sharp enough with the pencil, use a concealer brush and go around the perimeter of your mouth with your concealer.
  7. As an optional final step dust a little highlighter on your cupids bow

The Investment Bag

dscn0129The dream bag. What we work so hard to spend our hard earned money on just to never want to use it so it stays looking pristine. Everyone should have on. If you look up investment bags you see a lot of the same ones; Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. The investment bag is unique to your taste. Buy the one you love, It’s going to cost you a pretty penny so buy something worth the investment. There are a few things you want to keep in mind when shopping for this piece.

Size
Keep in mind what you are using this for. I say this bag should be your every day bag, so keep in mind how big is going to be comfortable for you. I like my bag to be big enough to be able to conceal a small dog, even though I never have one in there. It’s just the size I’m looking for. I want to be Mary Poppins and pull out a broom and a choir of singing elves out of my bag. So for me, but every day bag is large. You might only want to carry a few essentials, so a more compact version might be more your fit.

Functionality
What do you want this bag to do for you? Is it s special occasion bag? Is it your work bag? Keep in mind the setting you will be using this in. When spending money on your investment bag it is crucial to wait for the perfect bag. IF you are spending $2,000 on a bag that is everything you want except it doesn’t have a shoulder strap. Eventually that is going to wear on you and you don’t want to hate your purchase, this is all about love.

Color
You can decide this at any point really, but I find it best to make this choice after you have decided what you are doing with the bag. If you want a green every day bag and you have a very colorful wardrobe, you may want to reconsider.

However, all of these aren’t rules, more of guidelines. The investment bag can be one of two things. The utilitarian bag that you use every day and get to enjoy all the time. Or the insane purchase that is for special occasions and makes you smile every time you look at it.

Define Your Style

dscn0139To create a wardrobe you love and are happy with, you must decide what you want to look like. Ask yourself – who do you want to be? And then, plan accordingly. Don’t feel that you can only be one thing. What will make you more unique is blending different styles together.

I’ve always loved the restraint of French fashion, the sex appeal of Italians and the simplicity of minimalism. So my style is a combination of all three. How this would look is my wardrobe is mainly in blues, grays and blacks, but in body-con cuts and deep neck lines.  Accented with just one or two pieces of jewelry and stilettos.

The best way to determine this is to do some research. Pinterest, magazines, celebrities, street style. What stands out to you? There are no rules. Do what makes you feel best.