Monday, July 25, 2016

Summertime Sandals

Each summer, I take advantage of the opportunity to reinvent my look. It's one of the things I most look forward to doing as soon as the temperatures start to rise. While people typically associate the springtime with fresh starts, I consider summer to be a time of rejuvenation and renewal. Sunshine has that sort of effect on me. It's also when my favorite items of clothingplayful rompers, ripped denim shorts, off-the-shoulder tops and easy, breezy dressesare finally appropriate to bring out of hiding. Lately, I've been searching for the perfect sandal to complement my casual summer looks: something that will add height, but won't be too formal for those scorching, sun-speckled days and lazy, languorous nights. Here are a few of my favorites—number six is under $30!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Matte Neutral Lip Colors for Summer

If you pull the curtains on my extensive collection of lip colors, you may be perplexed by what you uncover. Sorting through hues that range from mauvey nude to nudey mauve, you may think my sheer glosses and pigmented lip stains all look the same. Indeed, I am a hoarder of neutrals both in my beauty arsenal as well as in my wardrobe, and while I have collected a few deep plums and merlots that I play with on occasion, I still go back to the nudes and neutrals that never fail.

For the last few seasons I have embraced a fully matte makeup look, using true browns and baked bronzes to highlight my medium-toned olive skin. My glossy and satin lip formulas have also taken a back seat to the collection of matte lip colors that I have amassed of late. Timeless yet trendy, I am drawn to their velvety finish and dramatic impact no matter what the hue.

The trick to finding the perfect neutral lip color is to find the closest match to your natural lip color. For me, it's a—you guessed it—classic mauve hue that plays with the dusty rose undertones in my cheeks. After experimenting with a few different formulas, I've narrowed it down to the most flattering and fun shades that will be in rotation all summer.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain - Marvelous Mauve

I can't stop raving about Sephora's Cream Lip Stain formula! After nearly finishing my tube of the "Blackberry Sorbet" hue last fall/winter, I knew I had to spring for another color in the line this season. The Sephora formula has a gorgeous mousse-like consistency that glides on easily and precisely. The color is a light yet rich mauve that requires only one coat to give it a polished look. For $14(!), this is, in my opinion, the best beauty product for lips on the market.

Jouer Lip Créme - Pêche

I can't say this was the most flattering lip color on my olive skin, but I knew I had to try this pastel peach when I saw it in the bottle. The color has a fresh-squeezed, sorbet-like hue that would look amazing on someone with fairer skin and lighter hair. I applied a couple coats to my darker natural lips to achieve an opaque color and filled in the gaps with a pink lip liner. The formula sets pretty quickly, but the pointed applicator ensures precise application, so you're sure to get it right with very few swipes.

Jouer Lip Créme - Orchid

I was pleasantly surprised that the cool tones in this purpley pink color actually worked well with the warmer tones of my complexion. Like the "Pêche" color above, this hue is more playful and probably more appropriate for someone with fairer skin, but it brightened up my skintone and let me play with a color family that I've been nervous to try. I'm going to give purple a chance this season!

Jouer Lip Créme - Pétale de Rose

Ah, the tried and true rosey mauve. When I first applied this color, it took on a brighter pink hue, but as it settled, it developed (or oxidized) into a warm, true mauve with grey and blue undertones. The formula is also very smooth and buildable, but does dry quickly like the other Jouer lip crémes. I am obsessed with this lip color and think it will become a staple in my collection.

Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer - Petal

My first foray into lip color started with experimenting with lip pencils. I have to admit I was influenced by Kylie Jenner's lip color obsession when she rediscovered the MAC "Spice" lip pencil that we 30-somethings first discovered while playing in our older siblings' Kaboodles (guilty) in the '90s. Because it allows you to create a precise line and appears less dense than liquid lipsticks, a lip pencil is a great way to add color without making too dramatic of a statement. Sonia Kashuk's Lip Definer in "Natural" is my go-to (the perfect neutral lip pencil in my opinion), but the "Petal" hue boosts the cooler tones in my lips and adds a bit more of a pink punch.

Colourpop Lippie Stix - Cami

Colourpop lip products have been touted as less expensive and almost identical versions of the Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits and matte lip products. In fact, hundreds of beauty bloggers have tested the claims that Colourpop products are Kylie Jenner Lip Kit dupes. I haven't tried the Lip Kit, but I know that the Lippie Stix are highly pigmented, easy to apply, and come in the most appealing colors. The best part is that they're about $6 for a lip product with that lasts through an entire meal and can be layered with other Colourpop Lippie Stix for a custom color. I'm a huge fan of this neutral mauve pink.

Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color - Mauve

I first saw this stunning lip color on a bridesmaid at a wedding and had to know what it was. Luckily, the makeup artist who had chosen the Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color shade was sitting at my table! I ordered the lip crayon as soon as I woke up the next morning. It comes in a twist and click tube and has the most gorgeous velvety finish when applied.

Other products used for this look:

Elcie Cosmetics - The Glow Enhancer
Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Foundation
Jouer Cosmetics bronzer 
Jouer Cosmetics blush
Lorac Light Source Illuminating Highlighter in Moonlight
Lorac Pro Palette in Cream, Mauve, Sable and Espresso
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner in Espresso

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Beauty Products for Flawless Skin

True life: I'm obsessed with skincare. I've been so interested in it lately that I've even been considering starting my own line of products to satisfy my ever-expanding set of needs! Crazy, right? Between the sheet masks that I've been collecting like a crazy person and the lengths I go to to protect my skin from harsh environmental factors, it's safe to say it has become a priority to preserve the quality of my complexion, especially throughout the scorching summer months. Here are five products that I haven't been able to live without this season.

Jouer Cosmetics ~ Daily Repair Treatment Oil
Having just turned 30, I have become acutely aware of every line, discoloration and dry patch on my face. I recently woke up to dryness around my eyes and on my forehead and wanted to treat my skin to a majorly hydrating experience. This product worked like a charm. After washing, I applied the oil and kept it on all day. It kept my skin feeling hydrated and looking fresh without appearing too oily. My skin looked so healthy that I didn't even want to apply foundation and kept my skin natural and bare until evening.

As a lover of all sparkly things, I couldn't help but be drawn to this magical, lightweight dry oil. I dig its antibacterial and anti-aging properties, but also that it works to prevent excess oil production. I've started using it on cleansed skin just before applying my foundation, but have found that applying a few drops to my foundation makes it go on more smoothly and adds a subtle sheen. It absorbs quickly and leaves skin looking healthy and smooth. Don't be alarmed by how shimmery the product looks in the bottle. When applied to the skin, it leaves the most subtle glow that radiates all day.

Believe me when I say this product is LIQUID GOLD. I have never been so attached to a skincare product or used so many bottles in my life. It helps that the manfriend used to work for the company that manufactures EMK products. I first tried it when he brought it home for me to try one day. I was instantly hooked and can't imagine leaving home without applying a layer to my skin before moisturizing. It has evened out my skin tone, reduced the fine lines on my forehead and given me a glow that I've never had before. I use it day and night, just after cleansing on dewy skin. It absorbs immediately and allows for moisturizer to soak into the skin more easily. I often skip moisturizer at night and apply this serum and wake up with the most luminous skin.

I've been pretty loyal to my Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, but saw this one on a Target run one night after work and was drawn to its all-natural ingredient list and its promise to remove makeup. At first, I was turned off by the very "green" smell, but became hooked when I realized I only needed a tiny amount of product to remove every speck of makeup from my face (does that ever happen?!). The best part is that it makes my skin feel fresh and firm. It's made with kale, seaweed and blue seakale, as well as mangosteen and coconut water. I'm hooked and now limit my exfoliating cleanser to weekly use.

This product has been the darling of the beauty world lately, so after scouring the web for the best face mist around, I decided to go with the Avène Thermal Water. Though I was searching for something with a more robust ingredient list (something with rosehips or lavender), I went with a product that seemed tried and true. It's a great mist for a mid-day pick-me-up when makeup starts to feel a bit stale on your face. I use it right after cleansing and just before moisturizing to give my skin a bit of extra moisture to better absorb the products I'm about to apply. It's also a great product to refresh dry skin that can feel parched on a long flight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lori's Rustic Italian Bridal Shower in Los Angeles

Some days I think I should give it all up and design pretty events for a living. Then I think of everything it took to plan my sister's rustic Tuscan villa theme bridal shower—all the late, late nights, the nitpicking over the rose varieties in the centerpieces, and all of the handiwork it took to make everything look personal and customized—and I think…nah. But I'm so proud of how this event turned out that I thought I would share some of my favorite details. More about the event and vendor info below.

rustic italian olive oil branch bridal shower wedding outdoor flowers centerpiece

rustic italian olive oil branch bridal shower wedding outdoor mirror calligraphy escort card table

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rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor oval halo diamond engagement ring
rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor
rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor cake

rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor

rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor

rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor invitation

rustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor centerpiece flowersrustic italian olive oil bridal shower wedding outdoor

The party was intimate and special. The guest list of 45 closest friends and family was the perfect size to allow for one-on-one time and memorable moments. Deciding on décor was a no-brainer, considering the venue lent itself to the rustic, Italian countryside aesthetic that we were hoping to achieve. Because of the olive/olive oil theme that I was trying to achieve, I filled the space with as many olive branches as I could, adding them to the centerpieces and DIY-ing a hand-tied bouquet of branches for the bride-to-be's chair.

My sister is low-key and a self-proclaimed minimalist, so grand venues and towering arrangements aren’t her jam. If you’re planning—or helping plan—an event, consider the venue when seeking inspiration. Ours was a local restaurant with a magical, verdant outdoor dining space that is surrounded by overgrown hedges that create a canopy of leaves. The venue provided both rustic, wooden tables, as well as white marble ones that sat under a beautifully distressed iron chandelier. We wanted guests to feel like they stepped into the courtyard of an old Italian villa...nestled somewhere in Los Angeles! Because the venue was one of the most “finished” (and most pricey) parts of the shower, I opted to DIY a lot of the other elements—including hand-calligraphing the escort cards and mirrors, gold-embossing the menus, designing the recipe cards, and developing the shower games—and worked closely with the other vendors to capture our vision.

A variety of floral arrangements were meant to give a deconstructed look, as if we had wandered through a garden and arranged the stems in containers as we walked. After contacting a few different vendors, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to work directly with the florist, so I walked into my local supermarket (you read that right) that always brings in the freshest and most abundant blooms and told them exactly what I wanted. I showed them photos for inspiration and explained exactly which flowers would help me achieve the look I was going for at the event. I highly recommend this approach if you’re a perfectionist like I am and want to be involved in every step of the process. The florist was even able to order bundles of olive branches that I had requested. They were added to the bouquets of white roses, hydrangea, and eucalyptus leaves, and accented with curly willow. She even let me take a few bundles with me to decorate the venue. I had chosen the most incredible buttery yellow garden roses that were in stock when I first visited the florist, but when I picked up the arrangements the day of, they were nowhere in sight. Expect this. They were substituted with white roses (which ended up being fine, ultimately), but I was hoping for a bit of that weathered, antiqued hue to add to the arrangements that were placed in different containers (thanks, Target! Yup. Target).

Guests took home bottles of Tuscan herb olive oil and mission fig balsamic vinegar custom designed to fit the theme. It was one of the most magical days and one that my family will remember forever!

Vendor Information: 
Venue: The Villa
Photography: Sanaz Photography
Flowers: Local grocery store
Flower pots: Target
Buttercream and gold naked cakes: The French Confection Co.
Invitations: Minted
Olive oil favors: DASH Oil and Spice
Paper goods: Paper Source and Michael's

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Dressing

romper: Lush | tights: L'eggs boot tights c/o | booties: Nine West "Navajoe"

If you're like me, you've been eating everything under the sun, because...the holidays. Between ugly sweater parties, cookie exchanges and hot chocolate binge-drinking, finding an outfit that flatters your expanding waistline becomes a bit trickier than usual. My favorite holiday look this year is a flirty romper, tights and luxe suede booties that scream Christmas. These tights are built with ribbing in the foot that make wearing your favorite boots that much more comfortable. I can't wait to ring in the new year in this fun and feminine frock! What will you be wearing when the clock strikes 12?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Color Story: Plum

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With each passing year it seems like it takes me longer to break out of my summer haze and face the reality of fall fashion. All it took this time around was a quick stop at one of my favorite designer's outlet stores on my way home from the desert a few weekends ago. In a moment of serendipity I spotted the most beautiful plum-colored suede pumps that reminded me of a Russian love story set in the wintertime. The color was rich and timeless and my inability to take my eyes off of them convinced me that it is the hue of the season. When I caught wind of a particularly plummy polish (Beverly) from Julep, I was inspired to search for other ways to incorporate plum's romantic boost in my wardrobe and beauty regimen this season. How will you wear plum this fall?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lug Sole Trend

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The best part of the resurgence of '90s trends is that I actually have a chance to give them a try. When I was growing up, my parents were a bit conservative and wanted to keep us looking like classic young ladies (a value that I appreciate so much now that I'm older). Though my big sister definitely rocked the floral sundresses, platform sneakers and crushed velvet prom dresses (mmhmm), I was a bit too young to take advantage of the many possibilities that existed at that time. I remember being particularly upset that my mom wouldn't buy me cream-colored canvas lace-up shoes with rubber lug soles and toe reinforcements. Maybe it was because it was the chunky-heeled version that I coveted, but I sure am glad that I can dictate my own purchases now to find out what I was missing out on during one of the best decades in fashion history. Would you rock lug sole shoes in the 2000s?
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