BLUSHIN’ BABE

I’ll admit that up until a few months ago, one of the items you’d never find in my makeup arsenal was blush. I was actually afraid of it — I thought I’d look like a clown because I’m so pale, I didn’t know how to apply it, I didn’t know what color to choose or what kind was best (cream? powder? so many choices!) so I just avoided it altogether.

I also felt like because my skin has naturally pink undertones (and I tend to blush on my own A LOT thanks to never-ending shyness and social anxiety) so I figured, why make my cheeks even redder than they are already?!

But I can admit when I’m wrong and in this case, I was so wrong. A makeup artist convinced me that blush is a crucial part of the makeup process and now I see how right she was.

First things first, there are so many shades of blush and many of them look great on all skin tones (really, I swear!) and the great thing about blush is, you can control how much color you get. If all you want is a little swath of color, a light brushstroke is all you need. For a more dramatic look, you can build up the color quite easily.

This Marie Claire tutorial shows the best placement for blush in an easy-to-follow image, seen here.

The two blushes I use most often are Milani Cosmetics‘ Baked Blush in Luminoso (a luminous peachy pink) and Sisley‘s Phyto-Blush Eclat in Peach. The Milani offers a brighter pop of color for days when I want (or need) a brighter look, and Sisley is great for a light, healthy flush of color. Milani is inexpensive at $8.95 and can be found at major drugstores. Sisley’s is much more expensive, clocking in at $88.

Now that I’ve jumped on the blush bandwagon, I cannot believe I ever went a day without it. I seriously won’t leave the house without blush on and am embarrassed I was so afraid of it for so long. I look like a zombie without some blush! It’s the perfect topper to give skin a warm, beautiful glow, no matter the season or reason.

xo A

BLUSHIN’ BABE

QUEEN BRITNEY

The interwebz have been abuzz lately about Britney Spears and how she’s “like the old Britney” again, citing her appearance at the Teen Choice Awards looking like a dazzling mermaid princess, and her latest Vegas shows in which she has energy and dance moves for miles. I’ve always always ALWAYS rooted for Britney and will always stan for her no matter what she does — girl could come out on stage in a costume designed by Hefty bags and I’d think it was genius and ~*artistic*~ so anytime she appears to be in a happy, healthy state of mind is wonderful to me. Plus I’m coveting that mermaid hair, girl.

Another video came out in which Britney proclaims that being single “for a year” has been “very, very profound” (oh, Brit.) while onstage performing “I’m a Slave 4U” and “Freakshow.” I’m slightly confused. Is she throwing shade at ex-boyfriend Charlie Ebersol by basically denying his existence in her world?

The wonderful thing about sweet Britney is that when she throws shade, it’s so delicious, because she still seems like such a nice, lovely person. Even her shade is sweet. I don’t know if the perfect guy for Ms. Spears actually exists in the universe, but either way, I do hope she is happy doing what she is doing and spending time with her beautiful babies, family, and friends. Love you B.

Side note: this makes me SO want to book tickets to Vegas, like, ASAP. I hated Vegas but it was so worth it to see Britney.

xo A

QUEEN BRITNEY

BRONDE: YAY OR NAY?

The hair trend I keep hearing about this summer is called bronde.

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Bronde? What is that? Like.. brunette and blonde mixed?

Basically, yeah. It’s somewhere between blonde and brunette — the perfect balance between the two. Major stars are ditching their signature colors for this hot new hue. Blake Lively dyed her gorgeous blonde locks a shade of “bronde” earlier this month and people went crazy over it!

Other stars to embrace bronde are: Cara Delevingne (pictured above with her shade), Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Diane Kruger, and Ashley Tisdale who’s loving her switch up.

Ashley says:

I’m naturally brunette, but have been rocking the blonde for a while now. With this strawberry color I wanted to do something different. I’m always fighting my natural warm color by bleaching and trying to maintain an ashy blonde. Which means I have to constantly get my hair done and the health of my hair ends up suffering.

This is why, this time around I decided to go warm, have a hint of red, but stay in the blonde-ish area. Basically I wanted the best of three worlds. [Stylist] Kristin, who’s a red-head herself, helped me find the right shade of red and what to do to make the color last.

I decided on this “strawberry bronde” color, which has been such a relief to my hair since I was relying on extensions to cover up the damage up until now. Seriously, I was doing the most. Since I’m now embracing my hair’s natural warmth and no longer fighting to make it make blonde, I’m getting a break from the bleach and can rock my real hair length.

And here’s the final result of Ashley’s strawberry bronde look. Strawberry Bronde

Call me crazy, but I hate this color. First of all, I was naturally born a “bronde” and I’ve fought all my adult life to change it! (I thought it was called “dirty blonde” though, not a very nice term for hair color) I just don’t find anything “standout” about it. I do love the fact that it’s totally low-maintenance (no roots! no brassiness! no fading!) but that’s about it. I’m hoping this trend will fall away with the leaves this coming autumn. To me, bronde is the color I go when I’m switching from my normal platinum blonde hue to a rich brunette and don’t want to fry my hair in one sitting. Sorry brondes. I’ll pass on this one!

xo A

BRONDE: YAY OR NAY?

REVIEW: TARTE MARACUJA CREASELESS CONCEALER

Finding a good concealer feels so much trickier than it should. There are so many different kinds — from liquid, to cream, to stick, to powder. Then there is the quintessential problem every girl has — finding the perfect shade. You need something lighter for the eye area, something green or yellow to neutralize redness and blemishes, and something that matches your skin tone perfectly.

Our skin changes so much from day to day, too. Some days I have plenty of blemishes and marks to cover up (thanks, hormones!) and other days I barely need any coverage. Some days my skin is uneven and red, and other days it’s too oily. In the summer, I’m always slightly darker than in the winter, so my skin tone changes a bit. It’s virtually impossible to find one single solitary concealer that works on me all the time.

For the past few months, I have been using tarte maracuja creaseless concealer. At $25, it’s a bit pricier than drugstore brands but not by much. I have some pros and cons for it as I still try to figure out if it’s worth buying a second tube.

The pros:

  • tarte’s website has a great, easy-to-use shade finder that takes all the guesswork out of picking the perfect shade. this concealer, in particular, has 14 shades, which is fantastic but could make narrowing it down tricky. but I was able to easily pick the shade for me (fair skin with pink undertones) without even going to a store — great for online ordering.
  • it’s definitely full-coverage which is perfect for deep marks.
  • a little goes a long way. i’ve been using the same tube daily for five months (!!) and am not even close to running out. that’s impressive.
  • it has a nice, creamy consistency.
  • it does not make me break out, which is always appreciated.
  • apparently it’s vegan, too, which is a nice bonus.

The cons:

  • it is definitely not creaseless. at all. in fact, it creases quite a bit. I have to check myself in the mirror about a half hour after applying to clear up the annoying crease marks.
  • it slides a bit on the skin, possibly because it’s very thick, giving your skin an oily feel. this is probably fine for drier skin but for oily girls, I’d watch out.
  • the tube is THE most annoying thing. too much comes out at one time and it’s impossible to get it back in, so you end up wasting a lot or trying to cover spots that don’t really need it to avoid wasting the product. if you accidentally store it right side up in your makeup kit, it gets all over the cap.
  • it’s not incredibly long-lasting. it’s fine for normal days where you’re not really active, but I feel if you’re doing any activity, it fades fast.

I usually apply it first and then set with a powder/bronzer and blush on top and this works well for me. My favorite trick is to apply it after primer on eyes but before eye makeup, it beautifully gets rid of those yucky looking eyelid veins. It makes the eyelids look even and bright — so much so that I’ve skipped eyeshadow and still looked wide awake.

But the fact that it creases is really annoying (especially because ‘creaseless’ in the title ..I mean, come on.) and doesn’t last long is quite dissappointing, hence why I am not sure it’s worth buying again. what’s your favorite concealer?

xo A

REVIEW: TARTE MARACUJA CREASELESS CONCEALER

LADIES I LOVE: DEMI LOVATO

So I know I wrote about Demi’s sexy summer anthem “Cool For The Summer” (which I’m still lovin’ by the way) awhile back, but in honor of our girl’s 23rd birthday I figured I’d post a little Ladies I Love action for her. She’s hands-down one of my favorites of the current crop of young Hollywood stars. She’s super talented, which I think gets forgotten about in the midst of the personal drama and struggles she endured in the past. Her voice is amazing and incredibly versatile. She sounds just as good belting out a huge ballad (“Let It Go” anyone?) as she does rocking out in a poppy headbanger. I’ve never felt her music career has gotten the attention and adoration it deserves (but I’m hoping it does as she has new music coming out soon!) and her Demi album is one of my all-time favorites.

She definitely has an edge but also seems way mature beyond her years. She’s experienced her fair share of struggles with substance abuse and mental illness and the great thing is, she’s opened up about them to let other people know they’re not alone. She’s helping end the stigma behind treatment for addiction and mental health crises.

Aside from all of that, though, the girl just seems like a ton of fun. She’d be my dream SoulCycle buddy. She has a great laugh and you can tell she has a good time no matter what she’s doing. She also loves animals and is hopefully doing okay following the untimely death of her puppy, Buddy. And she’s in a relationship that makes her extremely happy, so she has such a radiant glow about her. This is definitely Demi’s moment, and I hope that her career continues on such a high trajectory — she’s got the pipes and the determination to go as far as she wants. Happy birthday, Demi!

xo A

LADIES I LOVE: DEMI LOVATO

SEEING STARS WITH SEE BY Chloé

I know I said a few posts back that I’m a monogamous, long-term relationship with one perfume kinda girl, but my views are very quickly changing. There are some really amazing perfumes out there, and it’s making it quite hard to stick to just one.

The latest one I’ve tried is See By Chloé and I’m really loving it. On Sephora’s website, it’s described as:

See By Chloé embodies femininity while blending masculine codes in an urban-chic way. This fragrance captures the audaciousness and strong personality of the Chloé woman.

An addictive floral fruity fragrance, it captures the irresistible and playful personality of a young woman fully embracing life. The fusing top of juicy bergamot and apple translate her energy and her urban edginess. Her natural femininity is conveyed through a beautiful floral bouquet of jasmine and ylang ylang that grows into a sexy veil of vanilla and addictive musks.

A strong and feminine bottle that revisits the Chloé codes combining high-end perfumery with modern details. Its refined faceted glass catches the light to give a real luxury feel. Its uniqueness also comes from its three lovely feet beneath the bottle, elevating it to create the appearance of floating. The shiny silver cap is decorated with a delicate ring to catch the bottle.

The funny thing is, when I hear ‘floral’ paired with ‘fragrance’ I automatically think grandma-ish and tend to steer clear of those scents. But this eau de parfum is the perfect blend of floral and masculine, which gives it super sexy undertones. It’s a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy — I truthfully think it would smell just as great on a guy, too. It definitely has an edge to it, which I really like.

See by Chloé is also pretty versatile: it would smell great in the crisp fall months due to the apple, or a sexy summer night thanks to the jasmine and vanilla. It’s long-lasting without being overpowering. Right now, it’s quickly becoming my go-to date night scent. Plus, the bottle looks gorgeous on my vanity. LOVE IT!

xo A

SEEING STARS WITH SEE BY Chloé

Horror Themes: The Remix!

As we all know, the music in a horror movie is incredibly important. The opening chords of a song paired with the fade in to the beginning of a movie sets the scene and lets us know instantly that something’s about to go down. The music sets the tone, and it’s supposed to be the one thing that stays with us even as the lights go up and we exit the theatre. Have you ever tried watching a horror scene on mute? It can seriously damage the scene (or make it better for the scaredy cats of the world). If executed properly, the music is half the reason a horror movie is so good and so scary.

I’m a sucker for a good remix. (J to tha LO: The Remixes is legit one of my favorite albums. Don’t judge me, you love it too). So what happens when the terrifying tunes we know and love get switched from a minor to a major key? YouTube user Muted Vocal had just that idea in mind, changing up the key to some of the classics, including The X Files, Halloween, and Saw.

To me, The X Files and Saw themes sound like they belong in a video game. Halloween is still pretty terrifying, but in a light-hearted, uplifting sort of way (is that even possible? No idea.) The Exorcist sounds like a holiday song. A Nightmare on Elm Street sounds like an ’80s Brat Pack romantic comedy.

What do you think of these reworked horror classics?

xo A

Horror Themes: The Remix!

REVIEW: Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes Mascara

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only bring a few things with me, I’m pretty sure mascara would be one of them. I’m obsessed with it. There is nothing cooler than seeing your eyes pop with the flick of a wand. It’s an every day staple and gives every look that needed finishing touch — from the smokiest eye to no makeup at all. It’s truly the greatest makeup product — so easy to use and looks great on everyone.

I’m not loyal to any one specific mascara, but over the years have found my go-to brand is Maybelline. I’ve tried higher end brands, from Dior to Sephora, and none do as good a job as Maybelline. That pink and green tube is ubiquitous to beauty lovers and there’s a reason a new tube is sold every 1.7 seconds (OMG!) — it’s the best of the best. Because of that, I make a beeline for the Maybelline section when I’m running low on mascara.

The latest one I’m loving is Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes Mascara. At first, I was skeptical of the need for an ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ lash mascara, but now I’m hooked. As someone who rarely ever used mascara on my lower lashes (I always felt it was too raccoon-y with eyeliner), I’m now convinced. The two separate tubes are genius and I especially like the one for the lower lashes. It’s not at all clumpy and gives a hint of color to the lower lashes, so they’re a bit more defined. 

The top lashes are also voluminous and fluffy without flaking or smudging, which is perfect for a dramatic eye look or a more natural one. I use Blackest Black and do several coats, like I do with all mascara. I like my lashes to really pop.

The mascara is obviously inexpensive and can be found at national drugstores and beauty chains. My only gripe is that I feel you may get a little less product due to the upper and lower lashes having separate wands and tubes, but I’m not complaining. In my glammed up eyes, Maybelline has done it again!

xo A

REVIEW: Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes Mascara

UNPAID INTERNSHIPS: YAY OR NAY?

I read an article this morning that claims around 40 past and present interns of Dualstar Entertainment Group (otherwise known as the media and fashion juggernaut company run by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) are banding together to sue the twins for “failure to pay” wages or college credit for, what they claim, were “grueling hours spent on tedious tasks.”

In the New York Post, one former intern at the Olsen brand The Row, details her experiences working under the brand’s head technical designer:

“She was very demanding,” Lalani recalled. “I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. E-mails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night.”

Lalani claims she was hospitalized for dehydration because of the job’s demands.

“It was like 100 degrees outside. I’d just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats,” to Row factories, she said.

The Canadian native put in 50-hour weeks “inputting data into spreadsheets, making tech sheets, running personal errands for paid employees, organizing materials, photocopying, sewing, pattern cutting, among other related duties,” according to court papers.

“The head technical designer was like, ‘Go get my Advil. I need this and this because I’m feeling sick and I have this meeting,’ ” Lalani said.

“When we weren’t doing something, they’d be like, ‘Organize the buttons in the back by color code.’ You’re cleaning. You don’t get a set 15-minute break. You just go with their crazy flow. You just [got] caught up in the pressure,” Lalani claims.

“You’re like an employee, except you’re not getting paid. They’re kind of mean to you. Other interns have cried. I’d see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff.”

The suit says the interns should have been paid minimum wage with overtime because they were doing the same types of jobs as paid employees without receiving academic credit.

Ethical issues with unpaid internships are nothing new — it has been a hot-button issue for the past several years. Earlier this year, publishing giant Condé Nast settled to the tune of $5.8 million with former interns as far back as 2007 who filed a similar class action suit as the one now faced by the Olsens’ company. That suit managed to shut down the entire internship program at Condé Nast.

In college, I had two publishing internships, including one at Condé rival Hearst. In fact, I specifically went to NYU because of the internship connections I knew I could get with NYU on my resume. As someone who always wanted to work in magazines, there was no better place to go to college than New York City, the publishing capital of the world. Getting those internships similar to the ones now under fire was my single, solitary goal going into college.

I was very fortunate in many ways: for one, I did not need a paid internship. I was lucky enough to have enough money to survive as a college student in New York without being paid a stipend and with working part-time on breaks and holidays. Many of my peers were not so lucky, having to juggle full-time school schedules with interning and part-time jobs for income.

I was also very lucky to have two very good internship experiences. I did not have the horrible experience that many apparently have at some of these fashion houses and magazines. I worked hard, learned a lot, and was very appreciative for the experience I received at both places. And yes, I did receive college credit. NYU’s journalism department was fantastic in protecting me in that way.

I really can’t say a bad thing about my time interning. Would it have been nice to be paid? Sure. However, looking back now, and reading more about this as these issues come to the surface, I do think interns should be paid at least a stipend for their time. At the time, I treated interning as a way to learn and pay my dues, to prepare me for a real-life career in publishing. There were great perks, from the swag table, to cool parties, and the ability to see firsthand how huge publications, the ones I’ve spent most of the years of my life analyzing and reading cover to cover, are created. Sometimes, money is not the most important thing.

However, I’m horrified now to see how woefully ignorant I was just a few short years ago. I didn’t REALLY realize that many of my fellow interns, possibly at the same publications that I was, were being so horribly mistreated. It makes me sick inside to think that classmates, peers, and friends, could have been working insane hours, being yelled at, being denied the right to a break or downtime.

I hope that this is only the beginning of a change in the internship system — not just in New York, and not just in fashion or publishing. I hope we set the bar higher. We need to. One day, when my future daughter comes to me and tells me she wants to intern for a big fashion company or glossy magazine, I want her to be respected and treated as an equal. Equality will never go out of style.

UNPAID INTERNSHIPS: YAY OR NAY?