Au Contour :: Lessons in Beautification

29 Apr

NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips
NYC and PARIS Fasion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Beauty Tutorial, Contouring, natural eyeshadow, bitten lips

While I have always been a lover of beauty products, when it comes to applying makeup, I am far from professional. I went through my Orange County “makeup girl” phase at a very young age, wearing entirely too much of it. I’m talking blue shadow up to my eyebrows and enough glitter to blind a man. I’ve tried many different looks (keyword being tried), like smoky shadow, cat-eye liner, bold lip color, you name it.

But long gone are my clown face days and now I manage to a stick to pretty lazy reasonable beauty routine. I’ll either go mostly makeup-free or wear some tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush, and the occasional lip color, you know, on special occasions.

But let’s face it (no pun intended), if applied properly, the smallest amount of makeup can make a world of difference. Even if the purpose is to look like you are wearing none at all, creating contour and adding a little glow is the way to go, my friends. Clearly we all want to look ravishingly beautiful from the moment we wake up in the morning, but let’s be real, sometimes au natural just doesn’t cut it…

So, when my new French friend and amazing makeup artist, Alisha, offered to teach me some tips / tricks, and share a few of her favorite products, I simply couldn’t refuse! Whether it’s contouring (a technique I have tried time and time again, with unsuccessful results), proper eyeshadow application, or achieving that “bitten lip” look, this talented lady knows what’s up. So be sure to follow her very addictive Instagram @alishamakeuparis for helpful tips and tutorials galore.

Now, here you have it — my first beauty guide! I wanted to go for a look that was natural and glowy…whimsical, if you will. And I really love the way it turned out. Thanks to Alisha, here is a step by step lesson and a little menu of must-haves to help get the look:

GIMME MORE CONTOUR:

  1. Moisturize skin with a skin refresher or finishing mist, followed by a smoothing primer to prep your face and help makeup last longer. (MAC Prep + Prime Mist :: Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer :: Elf Foundation Brush)
  2. Use a brightening concealer under eyes and to cover up dark spots, before applying a light cover of foundation with a brush or your hands. Follow up by tapping with a sponge to create a smooth, clear result. (Benefit Erase Paste N°1 Fair, Sephora Perfecting Conceler Brush #20, Make Up For Ever HD Foundation N125, MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC15 , Sephora Pro Foundation Brush #47, beautyblender Original Sponge)
  3. Contour the face with a cream or stick foundation, using a brush to play with shade areas and add structure (focus on the hollow of your cheeks, the center of your forehead and chin, and lightly on both sides of your nose’s bridge). Take another brush and move in a small, circular motion, blending the the bronzed areas. (Tom Ford Foundation Stick in Toffee, ELF Foundation Brush, Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush)
  4. Apply a rose colored blush to the apple of your cheeks, smiling while you do it so you can see where they really stand out! (Bare Minerals Rose Radiance Powder)
  5. Using a large brush apply a transparent finishing powder all over the face, followed by an illuminator and / or highlighting powder to accentuate the cheek bones, on the upper side of your cheeks and at your temples. (MAC Prep + Prime Mist, NARS Copacabana Illuminator, Too Faced Candlelit Glow Highlighting Powder)

TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES:

  1. Start out with an eye primer, to extend the life of your shadowed lids. (YSL Eye Primer)
  2. Cover your closed eyelids with a beige matte shade and then use a dark brown matte color at the end corners of your eyes to accentuate. Finish it off with an iridescent taupe color all over the lid. (MAC Handwritten Eye Shadow, Sephora Crease Shadow Brush #73, MAC Satin Taupe Eye Shadow, Sephora Powder Shadow Brush #60)
  3. Apply a brown or deep purple to your lower lids using light strokes and minimal powder and then a touch of gold or silver ad the corner of your eye and just below the brow. (Urban Decay Naked2 – Tease and Half Baked or Verve shades)
  4. Shape and define your brows, using a thin brush and dark powder, or a brow shaping kit. A little bit of brow gel will seal the deal. (Benefit Brow Zings Brow Kit, Youngblood Eyebrow Brush)
  5. Last but not least, apply a couple layers of mascara to your upper and lower lashes. Don’t forget about the inner and outer corners of your eyes. (Bourjois Volume Ultra Black Mascara)

JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF BITE:

  1. First and foremost, moisturize your lips to make sure you’re starting with a smooth surface. (Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment)
  2. Apply red lipstick, using your finger, to the center of of your lips only and blend a bit. (YSL Pur Couture)
  3. Optional: Find a hottie to kiss (by now it shouldn’t be too hard), to keep that bitten look lasting all night long!

Thanks again to Alisha, for working her magic and sharing her wonderful tricks of the trade! I know I felt like a total babe when I hit the town after this, and can guarantee that you will too if you follow these simple-yet-effective steps. Go on, give it a whirl!

Life Is A Party

24 Apr

NYC and Paris Fashion, Personal Style, Travel blog: Fashion photo shoot, Nicole Miller editorial, hand-painted t-shirt and pants set
NYC and Paris Fashion, Personal Style, Travel blog: Fashion photo shoot, Nicole Miller editorial, hand-painted t-shirt and pants set
NYC and Paris Fashion, Personal Style, Travel blog: Fashion photo shoot, Nicole Miller editorial, hand-painted t-shirt and pants set
NYC and Paris Fashion, Personal Style, Travel blog: Fashion photo shoot, Nicole Miller editorial, hand-painted t-shirt and pants set
NYC and Paris Fashion, Personal Style, Travel blog: Fashion photo shoot, Nicole Miller editorial, hand-painted t-shirt and pants set

I’m certainly a fan of celebrating for the sake of celebrating…being young, wild and free. I am inspired by the concept of weightlessness – it is something I strive for. I want hold on to what’s light and let go of what brings me down. To remember to stop and appreciate at the little things…those fleeting happy moments we all to often let pass us by.

I had a meeting today with a woman who has lived in Paris all her life. She told me she always wonders what it would be like to see this magical city for the first time…while crossing over the Seine on her way to work or walking through one of the many beautiful gardens in springtime. And then she asked, with genuine interest, if I would tell her what it feels like for me to experience Paris for the first time. I was moved by her sincere curiosity.

We all too often take things for granted, big and small. Perhaps it is meeting someone new and forgetting their name (because you weren’t actually listening) or being too rushed to stop and take in your surroundings. That person you disregarded could end up being the love of your life and that view you skipped over may be a place you’ll never get to see again. I want to learn to absorb fleeting moments and engrave happy memories into my mind…each and every one of them.

Things aren’t always easy, but we are capable of searching for the bright side. Look for the silver lining. Enjoy. Learn how to fly.

Last but not least, forget not the wise words of Winnie the Pooh…

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon”.

*head to toe: balloons from Balloon Saloon, INCREDIBLE one-of-a-kind, hand-painted ensemble by Nicole Miller (such a pleasure to wear), Rebecca Minkoff D’orsay pumps

Photography by Jono Bernstein // shot at Sandbox Studio

Shop Nasty Gal

A Whole New World

18 Apr

New York City and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kung: The Fifth structured hat, Kung Katharine  Shower Flower Silk blouse, feminine tailored trousers, strappy sandal, leather paper bag clutch
New York City and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kung: The Fifth structured hat, Kung Katharine  Shower Flower Silk blouse, feminine tailored trousers, strappy sandal, leather paper bag clutch
New York City and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kung: The Fifth structured hat, Kung Katharine  Shower Flower Silk blouse, feminine tailored trousers, strappy sandal, leather paper bag clutch
New York City and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: The Fifth structured hat, Kung Katharine  Shower Flower Silk blouse, feminine tailored trousers, strappy sandal, leather paper bag clutch

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” John Keats

Day two, out and about in Paris, and I must say…I have a feeling this city just might suit me. I won’t be ignorant to the fact that there will certainly be an adjustment period — being so far away from family and close friends. But I am settling in to my adorable apartment with my wonderful roommates, meeting new people, exploring, and trying hard to start learning the language (yes, I moved to Paris without knowing French).

To be honest, I thought I would feel very uprooted at the beginning, but it’s exactly the opposite. It just feels more…my pace. It feels oddly comfortable, in a pleasantly surprising way. Of course the adventure has only just begun, but I’m very inspired and more excited than ever to share this journey! Something tells me it’ll be a good one.

*head to toe: The Fifth Label felt hat, Kung Katherine Shower-Flower silk blouse (similar style here), Marie Turnor leather “paper bag” clutch, Topshop wrap-front trousers, Kelis Dagger Lupita sandals

CLICK BELOW TO SHOP THE LOOK!

From Paris With Love

15 Apr

New York, Paris, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: A Little American Girl in Paris

There is but one Paris…the French air clears up the brain and does good — a world of good.” – Vincent van Gogh

Well, it’s official, I’VE MADE MY WAY TO PARIS! If you’ve been reading my recent posts or following along on Instagram, this move likely comes as no real surprise. But, at the same time, booking a one-way ticket (basically out of the blue) back in January, does happen to be one of the more spontaneous decisions I have made to date. Sort of surreal…living the perfect apartment in the loveliest neighborhood, with my beautiful friend, Celine. I am very excited for this next chapter, and anticipate it being an interesting one, to say the least. 

This is the first major decision I have made on my own; completely independent of anyone or anything else that might sway me. That may come off as selfish, and perhaps it is…but it’s my turn to be selfish, for fuck’s sake. I am extremely sensitive, admittedly reliant on others, and it is time I did something solo for a change. 

WHY AM I GOING? So many people have asked me this.

My answer has consistently been, “Why not?”. I am healthy and kid-free, with a very hungry spirit. I have an independent digital marketing practice that I’ve worked very hard to build up over the past year and a half. I know now that the only way I truly thrive is by maintaining a certain degree of weightlessness…so fortunately the route I’ve chosen (for now), allows me the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.

I also know that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Nobody knows what tomorrow might bring, so I have made a personal commitment to try and make the most of my life; go where I want to go, see what I want to see, and do what I want to do. I want to experience as much as possible. 

I am fortunate to have a family that is emotionally supportive and friends who have had my back through and through. I am even grateful for the naysayers who think I “won’t last” or “am just being ignorant and dramatic”. 

Fucking watch me bitches. I love a challenge. If there is anything that is going to give me that extra push to accomplish whatever it might be I have set out to do, it is having people tell me I cannot do it. I’m proud to call myself stubborn in that way. 

There is a difference between running away, and making a conscious decision to take control, own your choices, and live…sometimes half-blind, without knowing what kind of chaos or magic might come your way. That’s the fun part.

It has been a breathtaking, stunning, torturous, 3.5-year roller coaster for me. I’ve been faced with a few less than desirable situations and dealt with them…I’ve become braver and stronger than I ever thought possible because of it all. I have some wildly hilarious stories and unbelievable memories. I have had my heart broken and I have fallen in love in New York City. I have fallen in love with New York City. I have a family in NY, and I didn’t make the decision to leave (for now) because I cannot deal or because it got “too hard”  (even though it is pretty damn hard). I did it because I think I can improve my quality of life by stepping out and trying something new.  

So, there you have it, I am throwing caution to the wind, crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best. At the end of the day, I will be able to say I lived in Paris , and I don’t see anything wrong with that. 

Shop Nasty Gal

White Heat

29 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kelsi Dagger Spring Shoe and Handbag Campaign, strappy heel sandals, feather skirt, denim jacket
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kelsi Dagger Spring Shoe and Handbag Campaign, strappy heel sandals, feather skirt, denim jacket

I really connect with the writing of Anais Nin, and these words in particular are certainly striking a chord at the moment…

I try very hard to be an optimistic person. I think that, for the most part, I am. I look for the good in people and I see the good in things. I am frequently disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised. Occasionally I feel really sad for no reason. And when I do, I feel guilty about feeling sad. I say things I don’t mean because I am angry for the “wrong reasons” (or maybe they aren’t even wrong!?). I also have this tendency to, at times, make decisions without fully thinking them through. Though I have to commend myself for being pretty good at picking up the pieces when I do break shit…perhaps “well seasoned” would be a better way to put it.

I am highly emotional and extremely rational, but rarely both at the same time…something that creates an internal conflict. Not only that, but it also causes a lot of problems when it comes to the “normal” people in my life who I LOVE. You know, the people who are not in full rebellion against their own minds.

I think maybe my heart beats harder and faster than it should, and my thoughts are very busy running a race with no finish line. There are times when I try to do everything and feel as though I’ve accomplish nothing, which tends to result in that fun little thing called debilitating anxiety. At the same time, I might wake up the next morning, ready to conquer the world. So much wavy fluctuation and frivolous fighting – all of which is ignited by this internal “white heat”.

The mind is a powerful, miserable, confusing, beautiful thing. But at the same time, I think we are all wired a certain way for a reason…and that tangled web of wires is what makes us unique. It’s the fucked up quirks, internal battles, acknowledgement of weaknesses and strengths, etc. etc. that ultimately build character and make us who we are. I hope I am on to something here…

*photography by Jono Bernstein // photo from the Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn spring campaign

Rainbow In A Snowstorm

23 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends

In 23 days I will be leaving New York and moving to Paris. Everyone I tell keeps asking me why I made this drastic, somewhat random decision. My answer is “Why not?”. I have been in New York City for a little over three years now…maybe I will come back, maybe I wont. What I do know is it has been the most amazing, difficult, eye-opening chapter of my life. The first real chapter. I also know there is no sense in making long-term plans, because life is insane and will basically never, ever roll out how you expect it to.

I am completely overwhelmed by excitement, nervousness, sadness and joy. This is the first time I have truly thrown caution to the wind and made a decision that was 100% my own.

I have weaknesses aplenty. One of my most significant struggles has been learning to thrive in a, often times, vicious environment as an independent, single woman. I have grown significantly, but I have always had a hard time making choices on my own. I hate being by myself. By nature, I tend to find myself feeling lonely more often than most people I know.

Fortunately, I have an amazing group of friends (these two included — mad love Erica and Stacey) who have helped mold me into the stronger person I am today – a person I am actually proud of. I know that, no matter where in the world I am living, they will always have my back. I am very lucky…no reason to feel lonely.

NYC has taught me so much about myself and the person I, one day, hope to grow into. I have crashed and burned, and then learned to get back up on my fucking feet…to view every single “negative” experience as a lesson. I have learned to see the silver lining. And for me that practice alone is actually golden.

I caught up with a close friend recently over brunch, during which he told me he had distanced himself because everything felt broken. He has been having a really tough time (I think it has been a tough winter for a lot of us, unfortunately). But instead of sitting there and throwing some never-ending pity party, he decided to share with me his turning point  — I found it to be simple, inspiring, and tremendously beautiful…

He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had looked up at the sky. But then then one day he did…maybe to check and see if it was still there, or because he was starting to forget what the sun looks like; perhaps he just decided to allow himself a quick time-out from negative energy that was consuming him (an energy that so many of us, myself included, have a tendency to give entirely too much power). Whatever the reason, he did look up. And when he did, making this conscious decision to free himself from a trap that is much easier to fall into than it is to escape, what he saw was a small break in the clouds. It was really tiny, but it was there. And then he saw a RAINBOW.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that keep us going…like remembering to look up at the sky. Think of the endless possibilities. Of “infinity”. Think of what life could be if we just took that extra effort to make a few small adjustments. 

Life is really crazy, isn’t it? This is why I have decided to be a little crazy with it. To take insane, impractical risks and get used to rolling with the punches. Some things can be controlled, and other things cannot. All I know is I don’t want to be on my death bead wishing that I’d done something I could have, but passed up out of fear.

Like I said before, New York has changed me a lot. I have myself to thank for some of it, my experiences to thank for other parts, but most of all, I have my friends and family to thank. These are the people who have taught me the most valuable lessons, reminded me what is actually important in life, and provided endless love and support along the way.

Even though I don’t always like being “by myself”, fortunately I now know that I never really have to be. This is a sense of security that breeds bravery, courage, and personal growth. So, I will go to sleep each night thanking my lucky stars, and do my best wake up every morning and look up for that break in the clouds. Some days I will see a rainbow, others it may be too tough to find…but I can continue to move forward because, even if I am standing in the middle of a snowstorm, I know I am not standing there alone.

*photography by Spencer Kohn

Shop Nasty Gal

May Flowers Always Line Your Path

19 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through. (Irish Blessing)

If you can’t tell by now I spend a lot of time reading and am somewhat obsessed with poetic phrases. Here is a fun little gem (or…pot of gold?) I came across — decided it would pair perfectly with my very green ensemble, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Better late than never, right?!!

I have really enjoyed reading the “Irish Blessings”, as I find them to be particularly wise, to to the point, and positive. Sometimes we need to stop and take a second to appreciate the beauty in simplicity.

I am not a religious person, so to speak, but I certainly believe in karma and blessings, and try to take time each day to acknowledge just how lucky I truly am. I have endured waves of negativity, doubt and even depression many times, but found that the more challenges life throws at me, the more I’ve been able to adopt an optimistic outlook, overall. At the end of the day, we are dealt the cards we are dealt, can only control so much, and beyond that, life is whatever you choose to make of it.

So here is to happiness for all and loads of four leaf clovers!

*Photography by Jono Bernstein at Sandbox Studio // Darling London blazer and trouser set, Daniel Wellington watch, Tokyobay studded bracelet