NARS VELVET MATTE LIP PENCIL IN CRUELLA IS MY JAM

I’ve written before about my trials and tribulations with lipstick. I generally hate wearing anything on my lips — glosses are sticky, don’t last long, and ultimately I’ll meet a gust of wind that attaches my hair to my face. I hate the waxy feeling of lip balms. Lipsticks look odd on me and (I know, this is bizarre) I can’t *stand* the smell/taste. So I basically never wear anything.

I especially admire a lady who can rock a red lip proudly and confidently. I’ve never understood it — doesn’t it just come right off when you eat or drink something?!

Well, I finally found THE red lip for me — it’s called NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella. Yes, like Cruella de Vil. Obviously, the name alone had me hooked.

Cruella is a scarlet red, but it’s not too vampy and looks totally great for everyday wear. It lasts surprisingly long for a lipstick, and looks good even as it wears away. It’s matte, but it feels comfortable on my lips without drying them out. It’s a blue-based red, so it looks good on all skin tones (I am fair with a pink flush and find it flattering).

So if you’re afraid of a bold red lip, give Cruella a try! If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will… kidding of course 🙂

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xo A

NARS VELVET MATTE LIP PENCIL IN CRUELLA IS MY JAM

HOLDING ONTO THAT SUMMER GLOW: BRONZER

For us ghostly-pale ladies, bronzer is a very tricky proposition. So many things can go wrong. The color can be too dark, or too orange, the texture can be too cakey, or too flaky. It’s a scary thought, really.

I’ve basically avoided bronzer in the past for fear of looking like an oompa loompa, but I just didn’t realize that all my skin needs is a light, healthy flush of color. You know how good your skin looks after a brisk walk or a, ahem, romp in the hay? That’s the kind of color I’m talking about.

While it’s amazing to get that look naturally, makeup is perhaps the easiest way to fake it (or fake anything, really!). My favorite bronzer is designed for all skin tones, and I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. Until I tried it.

Called Phyto-Touche Illusion d’Été by Sisley Paris, it’s described as “an ultra-gentle bronzing gel-powder which glides on easily, giving a natural sun-kissed complexion to pale skin tones and illuminating tanned skin… Suitable for all skin types and tones. Phyto-Touche Illusion d’Été can be used all year round for a sun-kissed ‘nude’ effect.”

I was initially intrigued by the fact that it’s a “gel-powder” (what the heck is a gel-powder anyway?!) and that it claimed to work on pale skin, too. And when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised that a light application gives my skin a healthy, but natural looking glow. I put it on after my BB cream and any needed concealer, and before blush, and my skin looks even and dewy, without being greasy or shiny. The hint of color is perfect for my pale skin.

I’m more than happy to hold on to the last bit of that summer glow in any way that I can as fall has already arrived. I’m thrilled to trade shorts and sundresses for sweaters and scarves, but don’t want to look like Casper, even if Halloween *is* quickly approaching.

xo A

HOLDING ONTO THAT SUMMER GLOW: BRONZER

I TOOK THE PLUNGE: I HAVE PINK HAIR!

Well, I did it! I’ve been wanting to do it for a LONG time and finally took the plunge — my ends are PINK!

I wrote about some of my favorite looks almost two months ago, and finally decided that I’m ready to think pink. My hairstylist wanted to be sure I *really* wanted to do it, and I’ll admit a fleeting moment of panic came over me when she put the first hot pink swatch of color on my hair, but I *looooove* it and am so glad I finally did it!

I’m now officially a part of the Pink Ladies, and I’ve never loved my hair more!

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What do you think? Here’s another picture that’s not a shameless selfie:

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xo A

I TOOK THE PLUNGE: I HAVE PINK HAIR!

TRYING TO LOVE YOU: FACE OILS

I don’t tend to jump on beauty bandwagons unless I reeeeally feel like something will suit me, because nothing is worse than spending lots of money on a beauty product that’s trendy and hating it. Then you’ve shelled out money for something that will just sit in your arsenal, unused and unloved. No bueno.

I thought I’d be a great contender for a face oil given that my skin (especially in the winter) can get suuuuper dry. Like, flake off all over the place dry (sorry for THAT visual). So I tried a face oil for some extra moisture instead of my usual lotion moisturizer/BB cream.

I tried one of the most expensive on the market and was woefully disappointed. By Sisley, the Black Rose Precious Face Oil had so much promise. It claims to “visibly smooth wrinkles and fine lines, and revitalize the skin for a radiant complexion.”

At $235 for .84 oz, this stuff is EXPENSIVE. (Note that I received it for free, so I thankfully did not shell out the dough for it and likely would not.) But the bottle is absolutely gorgeous and the oil smells amazing, so I was eager to try it.

It’s entirely possible that I’m just the wrong candidate for the stuff given that I’m 25, so anti-aging oils may not be necessary for me. Thankfully, I have no wrinkles or fine lines. But all skin could use some revitalizing and radiance, right?

I applied very little (like, less than five drops) to my clean, bare face. All it did was make me feel extra greasy and it made me break out. I am still prone to breakouts, but this was disappointing. After a few uses (and a few new zits), I found no real benefit. Bummer.

I’ll try again in the colder months as I am always prone to pesky dryness, but for now, the gorgeous purple bottle will sit on my vanity, untouched and unloved.

xo A

TRYING TO LOVE YOU: FACE OILS

PINK EYE SHADOW DONE RIGHT… REALLY!

I know it’s going to sound totally crazy. But one thing I am loving lately is pink eye shadow. I’m serious!

Most people would equate pink eye shadow with looking diseased or ill (or, you know, conjunctival), but when done right, it’s a totally pretty and fresh look.

All it takes is finding the right shade of pink to make your eyes pop and it looks great with a violet, brown, or black eyeliner and mascara. I’m not talking neon pink here, but if that’s your thing, then go for it!

My favorite pink comes in a gift set that my mom got me for Christmas a few years back, called Joy to the Girls by Too Faced (apparently, it can still be purchased on Amazon! Score.) Actually, this palette is my go-to for eye shadows. I love so many of the shades. My favorites are Cookie Dough, Cheers!, and Chestnut.

My favorite pinks in the palette are Too-Too and Spike the Punch. They give my eyes just enough of a pop that looks great for every day, and you can easily build upon the color or keep it on the sheer side, depending on your mood.

I was nervous about looking insane with pink peepers, but when my husband saw me, he said: “you did something different with your makeup. It looks GREAT.” That was all the confirmation I needed for a pop of pink in my routine! I have definite pink undertones in my skin, and it seems to work, so for now I’m loving it.

What do you think about pink?

xo A

PINK EYE SHADOW DONE RIGHT… REALLY!

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

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?