Beauty

The Ultimate Guy Gift Guide: A Tomboy’s Hack

Struggling with finding the right and non-lame gift for your hubby, brother, or significant other? I’ve got you covered. As a tomboy, I’m in on the pulse when it comes to things guys gush about, and what’s overdone. I’m using my dude-like interests this week to give you a short list of things you may not have heard of when it comes to shopping for your favorite man. It’s even been signed off on by my brother for added peace of mind.

For the Minimalist

If the guy your buying for isn’t much of a stocking stuffer lover, there’s still hope! Instead, opt for things that will integrate into their daily routines by optimizing their time.

Thiel Aurora Home Audio: Give the gift of quality sound this Christmas! If your guy is a music lover, the Thiel Aurora is a must. Expertly crafted to deliver the sound music producers created music to sound like, it’s a huge upgrade to an iHome or even the standard Beats or Bose product. I have the home version (and have had Bose and Beats in the past) and can confidently say it’s the best speaker I’ve ever used. You can choose between the travel-friendly option or the home option depending on your guy’s needs.

MoveWith: If the man your shopping for loves to workout, and also leads a busy life or unconventional work schedule, this awesome fitness subscription app is a winner. MoveWith is offering a 3-month membership for the holidays, so it’s a great way to try it out. The best part? It’s less than $8 per month, bringing the net cost under $25. Once logged into his account, he will be able to choose from a variety of workouts from HIIT, running, yoga, meditation, and much more. All the workouts are doable most anywhere, even in their own home! You’re giving a gift of power to control his own workouts without fighting with his current professional schedule.

Cool Gel Memory Foam Pillow: Getting great sleep is always in style. If your guy hates gifts, give him something that he can use every single day! I have this particular pillow along with my Tempurpedic one and love it. It’s a staple for summer months in the city when the weather is unbearably hot.

quip Toothbrush: Great smiles are also always in style. If you haven’t seen this techie hipster toothbrush on social media yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth the hype. Several of my male co-workers have one of these and can vouch that it’s a great choice. This won’t take up tons of counter space in his city apartment either like Sonicares, so it’s easy to integrate for a minimalist.

Native Union Leather iPhone Wallet Case: This is practical and GQ as hell. This makes a great gift for any guy, and it’s only $50!

The Morph Collapsible Foam Roller: This takes up little to no room at home, and is a killer travel companion, perfect for someone active that travels or hates having extra gadgets taking up space around the house. It’s easily stored on a bookshelf or under the couch for easy storage.

For the Active Outdoorsy Guy

Would you guy rather spend his time amid the great outdoors than a fancy meal or drink out? These picks will up his game when it comes to his expeditions and how he documents them.

DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal For Smartphones: DJI is the leader when it comes to killer tech like drones, etc. If he loves making videos to document his travels, this incredible piece of gear is a must. It stabilizes video content while you run or hike, making for some killer content! It fits all phones universally, so it makes an easy fit for everyone. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require a ton of practice to get it going. It’s easy to pack too.

North Face Base Camp Duffel: The most universal and rugged bag on the market. This bag is not only resistant to tears, it’s also waterproof, making it a solid investment for travel, backpacking, and all outdoor sports. My brother has several of them in various sizes, and it’s one piece of gear that has proved it’s worth over the years. If it can withstand military deployments, countless BASE jumping expeditions, and more, it will deliver for your guy too! If he has a lot of outdoor toys, opt for the bigger option here and here.

Glossier Invisible Shield: Guys need skin care too! If you guy hates applying sunscreen because of the terrible smell, this one is bound to do the trick. It’s small too, so it’s easy to pack into his daypack or ruck. It makes a great stocking stuffer! This has been brother approved as well, so if you’re worried it seems girly, it’s not.

Smartwool Running Socks: Trade out his cotton socks for a killer wool upgrade, that will help him stay blister free during workouts and work.

For the Extra Guy

We all have an extra AF GQ gentleman in our lives. These gifts are guaranteed to impress their elevated sense of style and efficiency!

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candle: This was a gift for one of my previous relationships, and I can say it was very well received. The scent of this particular candle gives off a very classy yet masculine aroma, making it a killer piece for someone who entertains or simply likes to retreat to an extra-luxe man cave. No guy will actually buy it themselves, but when given as a gift, it’s been rated as a killer pick.

MONTBLANC Card Holder: For a slim wallet option, this piece delivers. It’s bougie yet practical and will last for years to come. It’s under $150 as well.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone: If you guy is a techie, this one is one hell of a gift. While on the pricey side, it’s a solid investment for guys that travel a lot or like to do lots of cool things outdoors. It does take a learning curve, so if they’re a gadget head, it’s perfect. I got the chance to play around with one in Moab with the guys, and have to say it’s freaking cool AF.

Porthole Alcohol Infuser: This is a killer gift for the top shelf liquor loving guy, as you can infuse literally everything from truffles to herbs for a twist on home cocktails. Give this to the guy that loves to host! This also works for iced teas and any other drink you can imagine, so if they’re not a big drinker, it’s still a solid gift. For a more price friendly option, try this one instead.

GoPro Hero+: This is a great starter GoPro for anyone looking to take their videos to the next level and right around $200. You’ll get 1080p video at up to 60fps, and connects via WiFi or Bluetooth. For an extra $100, set him up with the full starter pack of accessories!

Cyber Monday: The Beauty Hack

Black Friday’s down, and you’ve likely conquered the majority of your holiday haul. If you’ve been fending off your personal wants this weekend, Cyber Monday is the perfect time to scratch that itch. I’m talking to you, fellow Sephora Rouge-heads. Being a personal indulgence, it’s a perfect time to nail down some serious #selfcare. Am I right? This year, I’m breaking down the best of beauty by age. This ensures you’re getting the maximum return on investment on each product.

All the sh%t you need, none of the sh%t you don’t. Sound like a less guilty pleasure now?

20-somethings

Ladies and gents, these years are the golden years when it comes to our skin, so it’s important to lay the proper groundwork. These picks will ensure your skin remains as healthy as possible.

Glossier Super Pure: If you get nothing else from the Supers collection of serums, Pure is the way to go. From college parties to our first jobs, life can treat our skin a little rough from bad diets, alcohol, and stress. The good news? This serum does it all. 20% off sitewide!

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint: your twenties are your years to live boldly, but likely not on just as bold of a budget. This luxury beauty brand is super reasonably priced without any sacrifice to the product. While I haven’t tested it personally, I can say the word on the street from Sephora makeup artists are that it’s legit AF. Cyber Monday is the best time to grab it too.

Too Faced HangoverRx & Beauty Blender Sleep Set: OMG THIS SET. Take it from a gal who likes to socialize: this sh%t works. Whether you’ve had 4 hours of sleep or still haven’t kicked that hangover, it totally refreshes your skin. I sampled it as a joke in Vegas one year and was hooked ever since. This set includes their new version, the spray, and it’s divine AF.

Glossier Invisible Shield: If you aren’t using sunscreen, you are going to hate yourself in your 30’s. Save on the future botox bill by laying the proper foundation now. I love this new addition to their collection: it plays well with makeup and doesn’t smell or feel like crap. Buy it for 20% off today.

30-somethings & beyond

These are the years for you to “get your shit together” when it comes to skincare. Each of the following is cherry-picked by me based on the reputation of the brand and their performance on myself and others I know.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening & Depuffing Eye Contour Cream: I couldn’t be more impressed by Sunday Riley. I’ve used both Good Genes and Luna over the past year and have noticed a drastic difference in my skin. I have high hopes for this one. What if it sucks for you? No sweat: Sephora’s got you with that killer return policy. No buyer’s remorse! It’s a no-brainer.

Glossier You Fragrance: If you’ve spent the better half of your 20’s fighting (and losing) the battle when it comes to finding the right perfume, I got you. Glossier has body slammed the beauty competition again, this time with fragrance. This scent works with your own skin, making it different for every person, yet completely universal. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. At 20% off, it’s a great way to try it out.

Cover Girl Outlast Lip Topcoat: Once we hit our 30’s, our lips just don’t seem to hold color as well. I swear by this product for all my lippies that have trouble sticking around past appetizers. This drugstore product is one hell of a gem. Take 40% off all Cover Girl at Ulta today.

Serious Skincare Insta Selfie: This primer is the absolute sh%t. Fine lines? Gone. Want to wear no makeup? Also a go. My skin has never looked better makeup or no-makeup. It’s 30% off sitewide too, so pick up some of their A Defiance line too for an extra boost in anti-aging!

ALL HANDS ON DECK

Consider these picks the Cyber Monday equivalent of the obnoxious media emergency announcement: Read. HEED.

Narssisist Wanted Eyeshadow Palette: All my NARS ladies, you know the drill. Newbies? Grab your wallets. This will be guaranteed to sell out, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Limited edition king of all neutral palette? It’s a Mike Tyson: a done deal. Grab or face buyer’s remorse. Still not convinced? It’s a $200 value for $59. GO.

ghd Nocturne Flat Iron Set: If you’ve been itching to ditch that old CHI, now’s the f&%in’ time. I’ve owned a ghd for 8 years now, and it’s still going strong. My hair looks and feels better in comparison, and this set pampers you with a cute storage bag and extra products for nearly half the retail price of just the iron. Go fetch!

Huda Beauty Obsessions Eye Palette: Also a cult must have. The new Mauve palette is the perfect neutral palette for day and night, and perfect for you ladies looking to kick it up a notch from the basic scale. Plus it’s less than $30, meaning it will go quick.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette: Okay I know, I am going ape-shit on palettes today, and honestly, this one deserves the lineup as much as the others. This is an all around, one-stop shop for your makeup needs. Fellow lazy gals? This one’s for you. One palette for your entire jet set. It’s 50% off at Ulta today, online only.

Black Friday: The Hacker’s List

Hey hey, my fellow online shopping night owls! We’re a few hours post dinner, and now settling into our strategy for tomorrow. Am I right? If you’re overwhelmed with options, or simply a procrastinator, it’s okay, I’ve got a quick game plan for ya.

I love the thrill of Black Friday for the same reason I love video games: the thrill of the chase. However, I also love the opportunity to use strategy to make it as painless as possible. If you’re shopping from your laptop tomorrow, I’ve got you boo: to help you not only maximize your savings but also earn maximum rewards back too! In?

Before You Shop: Pro Tips

Rewards Credit Cards

If you have rewards credit cards, Black Friday is the time to use them! I do all my major shopping hauls on my airline credit card to earn rewards for new trips, perks, etc.

BUDGET. BUDGET. BUDGET.

How many times have you all felt mega buyer’s remorse? Me too. Don’t worry about it, instead be proactive about it. I like to set an overarching budget for all gifts and distribute from there. It’s super helpful and actually helps weed out the fluff and subsequent remorse.

Use Discounted Gift Cards

This is one of my best-kept secrets. Did you know that millions of dollars in gift cards go unused? Do you wish you could sell your gift card for cash? You can. For less. I often pick up (and sell!) gift cards to places I don’t use, and vice versa. Raise is a SUPER safe discount site, and if you don’t believe me, take it from the experts: they’re backed by Accel Partners.

Go Time: My Picks

Significant Others & Family

I believe in the power of quality over quantity when it comes to holiday shopping, as I find I use a well thought out gift more than just a few of my favorite stocking stuffers. Even though the price tag might be a little bit higher, it’s bound to be a thoughtful one that will last for many years to come!

Theil Audio Aurora

This is for all your music lovers or a great gift for your significant other or family. I had the pleasure of meeting the team at Thiel this past month, and after chatting with their CEO I couldn’t be more pumped to watch them disrupt the home audio vertical. Their product is meticulously engineered to deliver sound exactly as music producers worked hard to create, in real life. I couldn’t be more blown away by mine, and stay tuned for a full post about it later as I begin to test it out to learn the tips and tricks for you.

Sale runs until Sunday, and use BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to get 25% off.

Valentino Rockstud Wallet

Here’s your chance to score the hottest style of the past few years at 40%. Net-A-Porter is one of my favorite places to shop for designer items, as the deals are fantastic!

Net-A-Porter’s sale runs through Sunday, take up to 50% off sale items, no code needed.

Sam Edelman Velvet Lace Up Bootie

Loved my black tie up booties from my New Mexico trip? Look no further! This pair is only $80.

Besties

Prada Metallic Wallet

I’ve been getting so many questions about my silver Saint Laurent mini wallet, and I found this similar option for you. Guess what? It’s even under $200! Give this as a gift to your fashionista bestie, or snag one for yourself!

Touch XL Dimmable LED Makeup Mirror

Have it. F&%in’ lurrvvv it. It’s under $50 and makes a great investment into optimizing your space in your apartment as far as beauty goes.

Google Home

I’ve gotten the chance to play around with this at work, and I must say I’m impressed. This baby is on sale at Nordies, which means you can score a killer gift with an even better loyalty reward. On sale, it comes to less than $80. Remember to use your triple points day, especially if there’s more in the cart!

Swell White/ Calcutta Gold Insulated Bottle

These and Bkr bottles are my number one holiday gift this season! I love the price point, as it’s perfect for just about everyone.

Bkr Bottle

This is a great way to earn mega points back for your rewards at Sephora, or Nordies! While there isn’t a dedicated sale, the payoff you get in your direction is a killer compromise.

Black Friday Quick Browses

Because efficiency, I’ve also rounded up some of the most popular retailers we shop at today under one list for a quick easy link into each of their sale pages. Browse and choose on your own accord right from the site!

Glossier: 20% off site wide! Go fetch.

Carbon38: 30% off sitewide with HOLIDAY38

Bandier: 20% off everything.

ASOS: 30% off everything with EPIC30

Nordstrom: extra 20% off sale items

Sephora: Special edition and limited edition value packs galore! Plus. Bkr bottles. Because VIB Rouge.

All Saints: up to 40% off everything. My favorite retailer ever for sweaters and jackets.

Missguided: 50% off EVERYTHING.

SHOPBOP: 75% off sale items, and 30% off full price items sitewide.

Revolve: 50% off selected items.

Nordstrom Rack: extra 30% off clearance.

QVC: $10 off your first order with TEN4U, major deals on electronics and homeware

Now, go grab a glass of wine and settle into your Black Friday shopping sesh! I’ll be updating this list along the way with items I got and new stuff released tomorrow.

Photos by Rachel Radcliffe Photography

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus Sale: Insider Tips

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus sale is here guys! If you’re not super familiar with the details yet, don’t sweat it. Today’s post covers everything you need to know. For starters, this sale gives you a blanket discount on everything site and storewide (the percentage off depends on your loyalty level). During this time of year, I stock up on holiday gift sets and invest in bigger purchases. Before I get to that, let’s break down the important details.

Holiday Bonus Sale FAQs

The Beauty Insider Holiday Bonus sale runs from today through the 15th at midnight.

VIB Rouge & VIB: you receive 20% off your entire purchase at checkout, with 20FORVIB / 20FORROUGE.

Beauty Insider: you receive 15% off your entire purchase at checkout, with INSIDER15.

Most important tip? This IS THE TIME to grab those pricier items that never go on sale.

Not sure where to start? Keep reading. I’m breaking up this season’s roundup into easy to shop categories, depending on the type of holiday or personal shopping you’re geared up for this week. Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, or yourself, there’s some amazing products and tools out there that you don’t want to overlook!

Gifts for our ladies

For the wonderful women in your life, there are some serious gems this season! Across beauty and skincare, the items below are ones that are not only universal crowd pleasers but great investments.

Peter Thomas Roth 24k Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Hydra Gel Eye Patches: I’ve raved about these so many times on my Instagram stories, and there’s a reason I use these weekly, THEY WORK. These are a great gift for mom, and any friends that are stepping into the anti-aging skincare game.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: Another product that I love beating the proverbial dead horse over. This essence makes my skincare work harder, and my beauty products sit better on my skin. It’s also a lifesaver during the winter months, keeping my skin hydrated due to its magnetic properties with our season serums. Try it with a mini bottle for under $100, it lasts for at least 6 months, using it every day.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Dazzling Lights Lipstick: Best lipstick ever, hands down. I have a matte version (this one is satin), and I adore it. It has an incredible amount of pigmentation, and this limited edition version is a killer holiday gift for any lady in your life! With the sale price, it brings it down to around $30.

Drunk Elephant Volume 3 Set “Let’s Dew It”: I raved about this earlier this week, and this is seriously such a perfect winter gift. If you’ve never heard of this brand, even better! It’s gotten rave reviews from the reigning beauty experts at Allure Magazine as best of beauty. Grab this set for all your skincare loving ladies!

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial: Not sold on the full set? This is a must instead. Literally the best mask on the planet right now. I took home a sample when this was released earlier this year, and went back to buy the full bottle the same week. It’s won all sorts of awards, and I’m totally on board.

Ren Skincare Perfect Canvas Skin Finishing Serum: This primer changed my life. It will change yours too. Even if you aren’t a total makeup junkie like myself, it just makes your skin look better. Wear it bare-faced or under a full holiday party face for a serious game-changing look.

Keranique Deluxe Hair Regrowth Treatment: If you’re following along on my Instagram stories, you know I am about four months into this whole set. After years of pulling my hair into wet buns in the military and years of ponytails teaching group fitness and training clients, my hair was thinning. This stuff has completely changed the game, and I am forever grateful. My part is thick again, and my hair is growing in stronger. Have a friend or family member struggling with the same issue? This is a must.

Gifts for our men

Men’s beauty has made some serious gains this year in the grooming department, and it’s not all frivolous. The following picks are guaranteed to be loved by all of the men in your life and will save you from settling for the usual tie or alcoholic gift.

Jack Black Shave & Kiss Set: Holy OMG smooth. I actually tried this lip balm myself during a Beauty Studio consult, and it’s hands down one of the best balms on the market. This shave cream is also pretty amazing according to my male family members. I got the guys in my family hooked with samples earlier this year. It’s even under $20!

The Art of Shaving Four Elements of the Perfect Shave Kit: This brand was a gift to my brother years ago in college, and I must say it’s still a top performer these days in terms of men’s skincare. It’s under $30 too.

Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20: Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN. I preach about it all the time because it’s important. If your guy isn’t into the skincare thing or botox, this stuff will save them on fine lines and wrinkles, and keep their skin healthy.

Personal Splurge Musts

Let’s keep it real: it’s better to splurge smart. We are all guilty of picking up things for ourselves too, and that’s totally okay! If you’re in the market to make a big change in your beauty routine, this is the time to do it. Is your hair dryer on its last legs? Still on the fence about that new tool? Take the chance this week. These prices make it justifiable.

Dyson Blown A OUAI Set: I don’t really go for overly expensive tools, but some are just worth it. If you have a Dyson vacuum, you know what I’m talking about. This set is also paired with one of my favorite lines for haircare, OUAI. I’ve tried the hair oil and soft mousse and OMFG. Seriously. This dryer will literally blow yours out of the water.

GHD Platinum Professional Performance Styler: The best brand for flat irons hands down. I have owned one for nearly 10 years, and have replaced it only once, just due to the fact that I wanted a newer model. These things never die, and what’s better? Sephora’s returns guarantee you’ll love it. If it dies or isn’t for you, they’ll take it back, no questions asked. How’s that for return on investment? This goes for anything you buy here.

Clarisonic Mia Skin Perfecting Starter Kit: This is a great value and way to get yourself or someone else a leg up on their skincare. It’s totally changed the surface of my skin and makes my skincare serum investments even more effective.

Under $100 Musts

La Mer Creme De La Mer: This product is truly revolutionary when it comes to moisturizers. I always have the smallest jar which is under $100 and lasts for ages. It’s a quick fix for chapped lips during ski season, overnight masking, and all over your face for the winter season.

Jo Malone Limited Edition Candle Set: NEWS FLASH! If you’re not aware that Sephora now carries Jo Malone, cat’s out of the bag. This gift set is perfect for friends, even split it up and add them in as stocking stuffers or a part of a whole personalized gift set. Pick up the full sized candles too here: Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Peony & Blush Suede, or the Red Roses Travel Candle are front-runners from the line.

Tom Ford Lip Color: Also a mega must. This lip color is comfortable to wear and the colors are to die for. I am obsessed with the Dark and Stormy shade for fall and winter!

Armani Lip Maestro: Literally the best lip product on the market in my opinion. This creme lip stain doesn’t budge at all and is still comfortable to wear. I used it for my last two photo shoots, and am now hooked on the nude color every girl needs, 500.

Jury still out? Shop the sale directly here, and make your own picks.

Holiday Beauty: Mastering The Seasonal Glow

Hi guys! I know, it’s been a minute, and I’m spilling the reason why now.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, excitement and work have been at an all-time high and it’s been overwhelming, but in the best way possible. Why’s that, you ask? Well, I’ve hinted at it before, and this week, I’m letting the cat out of the bag: I am moving to New York City after the holidays! My lack of posts recently has been due to me orchestrating my move out of the amazing Marina apartment that has been my home for 5 years here this past weekend, while simultaneously taking on new endeavors in my professional career in technology sales (which sparked the move!). I’m also super excited to take my blog along on this adventure and have so much exciting content to share with you along the way. As always, follow along on my Instagram stories for clips of my real life and journey behind the camera!

…back to business now.

Holiday Beauty.

I fucking LOVE holiday beauty: the special edition makeup palettes, glitter, and bold lips and dark nail tips speak to my soul. I also love adding in my staple pops of neon where appropriate. This week, I wanted to give a shout out to the phenomenal glow of Fenty Beauty. I’ve been wearing it since September, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Highlighters were at the forefront of the original collection, and it was my first purchase as well. Highlighting is also going to be HUGE for the holidays this season (insider secrets from my fave beauty contacts). If you haven’t jumped on board just yet, now’s the freaking time.

For this week’s look, I also wanted to showcase a fall-friendly color scheme outside of my usual go-to’s and settled on a cool toned burnt orange at the heart of it. This tone is everywhere right now, and these two deeper matte and metallic tones on the bottom row of the Natasha Denona palette are just incredible. It paired so well with Fenty’s Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal Killawatt Highlighter.

I’m also rounding up my top picks of limited edition holiday beauty sets and colors from my favorite retailers below, so you can snag them before they sell out!

My Holiday Must-Haves

Fenty Beauty Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter: This thing is a cult fave for a reason! This glittery and tinted version got me hooked. I am obsessed with the Garnet one for the holidays!

Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette: Hourglass has paved the way for strobing, and this special holiday release has several darker hues that will be perfect for seasonal parties.

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette: I LOVE Huda Kattan, and have been obsessed with her lashes for years. This palette definitely does not disappoint either. There are so many ways to create your own personal burnt orange or red for the holidays this season!

Natasha Denona Holiday Eyeshadow Palette: Natasha Denona has created an unbelievable product when it comes to her eyeshadows. They aren’t dried out or hard to work with like some shimmery shadows. Instead, her formula is unmatched when it comes to blending. This one’s also under $50, and I used colors in the Aeris #2 palette here!

Becca Apres Ski Glow Face Palette: Holy OMG! These gorgous wintery hues are perfect for illuminating your fall and winter face.

Drunk Elephant Volume 3: Let’s Dew It Kit: You really thought you’d get out of here without a skincare recommendation? Not a chance! I am obsessed with Drunk Elephant, and now for the holidays, you get a kit of travel sized product to try out for yourself at a lower price point! I can honestly say my skin looks and feels better after using this hydrating kit over the past month as the temperatures have dropped.

Outfit Details

Tie Dye Adidas Shirt, URBNVTG

Blouse: Something Borrowed Shirt, ADAY

Hat: Faux Leather Pom Pom Cap (OLD), Forever21 (similar here)

Watch: Apple Watch 2 in Rose Gold, Studded Band by Bezels & Bytes

Shoes: Star Patch Patent Leather Platforms, ROMWE

Makeup Details

Primer: Perfect Canvas Serum, c/o Ren Skincare

Foundation: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Fenty Beauty in 210

Highlighter: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

Contour: Match Stix Matte Skin Stick, Fenty Beauty in Mocha and Rum

Eyes: Lila Eyeshadow Palette, Natasha Denona

Lips: Lip Color, Tom Ford in Bare Peach

HairHair: AIR DRY IT Undone Styling Creme, c/o L’Oreal

Photos by Shannon Righetti of Shandru Photography

What’s In My Bag: Fall Edit + A Life Update

Alright guys, settle in for a long, juicy one.

Fall is in full swing, and just like seasons, our beauty and fashion choices shift. Needless to say, it’s been a challenge chasing the needs of my skin with the fluctuating temperatures lately! As cooler temps start to approach, it’s super important to start strategizing your own personal skincare routine. It’s also even more important to take a moment to re-center after a season of summer travels. I also found it therapeutic this week to reset, recenter, and get creative after this past season’s dust settled. This week, I’m coupling my personal seasonal shift with my product shift, hand in hand.

Many of you may not know that I also balance a career in technology sales alongside my creative space here. That said, it can be freaking insanity for your skin and life balance. That goes for many of us, blogger or not. If you’re in a slump when it comes to figuring out how to balance your passions and work schedule at the same time, I want you to know that you are not alone, and there’s a solution.

Detox for fall.

Before you roll your eyes assuming this is a basics buzzword, hear me out. Detox is the yang to our personal yin. When you stop feeling guilty for your splurges and accept the balance you seek, only then will you be able to design your own life balance. Knowing your personal limits, whether that be 12 hour work days or 2 drinks at happy hour, gives you the power to realize your potential and also what hinders it. Crazy, right?  Failing will teach you a lot. Don’t be afraid of failing, just use it to your advantage.

I learned this past year that I needed a serious balance check, in work and life. Putting all my love and labor into a professional outlet and personal relationships that did not genuinely love me or support me back was toxic. When you take a step back to stop and suck the blockers out of your immediate surroundings, you find yourself again. When I say you, here’s what I don’t mean: your social image, who your friends are, what your body type is, or even the style you prefer to rock. Instead, I’m talking about what ignites your soul and what defines your values. Detox all the way to your soul, and re-edit.

This year, I edited everything: my unbalanced lifestyle, toxic relationships, toxic environments, and found the key to designing my true potential. Toss the stuff you don’t need in life: petty hate thrown your way, other people’s surface level opinions of you, and anything that’s not working with you. My vices? Behold:

Marine Collagen Peptide Drink Powder: This shit is gold. There’s a reason the beauty world is abuzz about collagen, boasting the whole inner beauty concept as their marketing. I dig it. It really is the key to building your best you from the inside out. Since adding this HSN gem to my nutritional lineup, I’m looking and feeling like a million bucks. I some of this stuff in my purse and add it to my water before meals or to my gym water bottle. Try it. Tell me your story!

Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack: Best affordable detox mask on the market in my opinion. I go through at least one of these every season, and it’s been a game changer for my skin. I even shared it with my techie male co-workers to prove a point in statistics. Straight and gay men alike dig it, and you should too. Stay tuned for a whole series coming soon: beauty shit even guys can get behind. Yes, beauty for all.

Glossier Super Pure: If your skin sucks due to stressful work weeks or a crap diet of traveling, this serum’s for you. I lean on this for fall post-Fashion Week and summer. We have spent the last few months living life and splurging on food and drinks, so it’s time to get our skin in check.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: This has come to be a staple in my beauty edits. Why? It helps your serums work better, and makeup sit better. It’s pricey and well worth the splurge. As fall sets in, you must think about adding moisture to your skin. I pair this with my Super Bounce serum, and it’s the golden ticket to perfect skin this season and next.

Foreo Play Cleanser: This tiny tool is the shit too. If you aren’t exfoliating, you’re covering your skin with more buildup and making your face a breeding ground for toxicity. I love that this small version is an affordable way to wean yourself into the tool game, and can personally say it gets the job done. I traveled with mine to New York Fashion Week, and it was instrumental in making my skin stay sane amid a nuts work schedule.

Move. On your own terms.

My nuts schedule and normal stresses of life wrecked havoc on my skin, social life, and workout routine. It wasn’t until I started actively making time for myself (no matter where I was) that I was able to find a stride that worked for me. If you feel like you do the same workout trends day after day without anything to really show for it, DITCH it. I’ve found myself reaching for solutions instead of the dream that’s often sold, and it’s been life-changing. That said, I’m not here to shit on group fitness or other creative workouts, I’m just saying find your balance that works for you, your body, and your life. Here are the current secrets to my success:

MoveWith: This amazing San Francisco based fitness technology allows you to do your favorite workouts on your own, and more importantly on your schedule and the way you live. Ever wanted a run coach on your favorite run route around the water or across town? Sick of paying through the nose to workout? Here’s the key to your workout destiny. It’s something I also recommend to my personal training clients and take it from them, it’s the answer to their workaholic lifestyles.

Trigger Point Foot Foam Roller: This piece of gear is one of my best-kept secrets. We are on our feet most of our day, so we need to care for them properly. Between heels, high-intensity workouts, and natural stress, we need to give our feet the recovery they deserve. It’s easy to roll this under your desk at work, at home, and on the go! I keep this in my work and gym bag so it’s easy to incorporate into daily life.

Educate yourself.

I’m a firm believer in continued education, none of our learning is ever really finished. I like to keep myself up to date on everything from fashion, health, history, and technology, as it changes the way we continue to design our future. The more you understand the failures of our generation and adjust, the better of you will be to actually start doing some good in your own life, and out in the world. Here are some of my favorite sources of education:

Reddit: If you aren’t reading on this site, you are behind the power curve. Not everything is gospel here, you have to do your sifting and thinking yourself. It’s a great way to get the buzz on new products, brands, and a pulse on the world. It looks janky as fuck, but once you start bouncing around it starts to make more sense, as you search for things that matter to you. Try it out!

Fat Mascara: I fucking love this podcast. The ladies are hilarious, and the education is real. Listen along on your ride to work, at home, or while traveling! It will give you a new boost of creativity when it comes to your beauty choices, and also get you listening to some of the best in the industry when it comes to learning beauty and making it work for you.

The Balanced Blonde: I love Jordan for several reasons. One, she’s from my hometown, Sacramento, and secondly, she’s such a genuine spirit. If you haven’t read her book, you must, especially if it’s honest life balance you’re seeking. Life is about trials and errors, and finding what works for you, and her personal account and lessons learned are relatable for any of us navigating the world today.

The Skinny Confidential: I also fucking LOVE Lauryn. She’s very much my cup of tea: ballsy and smart as fuck. Have you ever wanted REAL reviews, real raw shit? Me too. I love her fresh approach to learning what works for you through trying new ways to make the world and products around you work for YOU. She’s my self-confidence muse, reminding me to stay true to myself. It’s also wonderful to spend my day reading and connecting with other like-minded gals through social media. Check her podcast and Facebook group out!

Do fucking YOU.

The sooner you start living life for you, and not the life others create for you, is when you hit your stride. That goes for the world you surround yourself with as well. Strive to fill your life with people and places that support you through tough times, not just the easy parts. I have created this blog as a way to shake up the normal stigma of navigating life, fashion, and beauty, and want to CHALLENGE each of you to TRY adding in one of these picks and pieces from any of my posts and make it yours. I’m not here to tell you how to live, dress, or simply mimic what I put together. The beauty is in the journey of designing how you approach both fashion and beauty. Try. Fail. Learn. Succeed.

Photos by Shannon Righetti of Shandru Photography

The Do’s & Don’ts of Wowder: Tips From A Glossier Insider

So… I know I’ve been MIA on the beauty tips this past season, but for good reason (and the fact that I’ve been living out of a suitcase all month). I’ve been waiting a bit to post a review of Glossier’s new product with split opinions, Wowder, and I’m finally ready to tell my story: the “not sponsored” one. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad one; in fact, I’ll save you the suspense and tell you flat out, I f*&king love it.

However, there are some tricks of the beauty trade that make it even better. That’s what all this time was for. I was doing my blogger homework to make sure I gave you all the tips and tricks you need to know to get the WOW out of Wowder. Why? That’s the thing with the beauty industry. It’s much like anything else in this world that’s a solution for something: it takes a learning curve, and I’m here to be your mentor.

Step One: Targeted Application

It’s okay if you aren’t a beauty blogger or makeup guru, that’s why I’m here to help you. If you’ve ever heard of the makeup term “baking” and was like, “what the hell is that…that’s an Instagram makeup tutorial scam,” hear me out. If you’re simply smearing the brush around on your face, you’ll get an “ok” outcome, but not a perfect one. Before you quit reading and give up, it’s not rocket science, and I’m here to show you why.

Blotting paper: do we wipe our faces with it? No. So why should you wipe your face with blotting powder? There you have it. Baking simply means you are blotting your face with powder, letting it actually target the oil on your skin. Take a thick brush full of fine brush hairs (Glossier even includes the perfect kind) and lightly press and roll the brush over your skin like a paint roller.

I am obsessed with the glowy skin look right now, so I only apply it under my eyes and in the T-zone. Same technique goes for that too. I’ve found that this technique under your eyes works wonders and eliminates that raccoon look you sometimes get if your concealer is a super wet or waterproof one. If that’s a mega issue for you with concealers, welcome to your cure.

Step Two: Priming /Setting Spray (aka my #notsponsored hack)

All my years of being an editorial makeup fanatic have taught me 2 skills: PRIME. SET. Over the past 10 years of trial and error when it comes to doing my own crazy faces, I’ve taken these tips from the Sephora and MAC pros. If you aren’t priming your skin before makeup, no makeup in the world will sit the way you want it to.

I get so much whining about how it’s not fair that I look put together after workouts, and I’m TELLING you. THIS.IS.THE.HACK. I’m not some freak of nature test tube human with perfect skin. It’s totally doable for everyone. It’s just a hunt to find the product that works for YOUR skin when it comes to primers and setting sprays. As a hardcore combo face myself, I need moisture and oil control, so my picks for me are Hourglass primers and Urban Decay setting sprays. It makes my Glossier dewy looks look bomb AF.

You all know I am not one to sugar coat or peddle crap with BS reviews to make a buck, and it’s exactly why I partner with Glossier on their products because they work. If you didn’t already know, I am a rep for Glossier, meaning you can get a little confidence boost when buying Glossier, as I get a first look at the new product and get to tell you like it is. For those of you on the fence because of ROI (return on investment) woes, I’ve got you too: 20% off to be exact. If you’re new to their products, you can get 20% off your first order, and free shipping on orders over $30. Simply shop via my link here, or on the landing page of my blog.

My Glossier Showroom Haul

Wowder in Light/Medium

Boy Brow in Brown

Balm Dot Com in Rose

Balm Dot Com in Cherry

Invisible Shield