Sonia Kashuk's Latest Treasure + Vacation Makeup

Vacations are good for the soul. A much necessary break from everything. While Carla was in Vegas for her sister’s wedding, I was in San Francisco. After a day in wine country and a few more spent sightseeing, shopping and eating, my battery is on its way to being recharged. As most vacations go for us beauty girls, we tend to spend quite a bit of time packing our products (usually bringing way too much). Now that I’m back, I can confirm that, once again, that exact scenario happened. Some things will never change. I wanted to give you a glimpse at the makeup I used on vacation and rave about the makeup bag that you need to run to Target to buy immediately. Meet the Sonia Kashuk Completely Organized Bag.

Let me try to quickly breakdown how amazing this bag is. Seriously, I could probably give a 50 minute lecture on the function of this bag. A black nylon makeup bag (the staple of ALL staples) with maroon lining, featuring a front exterior zippered compartment and pouch, two back exterior pouches, an interor with a zippered compartement and SIX side pouches that fit blush, eye palettes, powder and lipstick galore. And it’s $14.99. This bag can do no wrong. I marvel at its wonder. Oh, and it’s only $14.99.

These are the products I used every single day on vacation. I brought along Stila Stay All Day Liquid Foundation & Concealer, in shade Light, which like its other “Stay All Day” counterparts, wears flawlessly for hours and hours (and hours!) The concealer hidden in the cap works on both blemishes and under eyes, so the 2-in-1 option was great for travel. For eyes, I kept it bright and low maintence. Just a pat of bareMinerals Well-Rested Face & Eye Brightener to perk up my undereyes and double as a highlighter (more to come on this – I think it’s magical!), a swipe of Youngblood Cosmetics Eye-Illuminating Duo to brighten under the browbone, lower waterline and inner corners and NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates and Maybelline The Falsies to give the lash line some oopmh. I dusted Jouer Bronzer in Suntan in the “3” shape on each side of my face and tapped MAC Blush in Legendary from the Marilyn Monroe collab on my cheeks. For lips, I’m having a MAJOR Fresh Berry Sugar Lip Treatment moment. It might be fav Sugar of all. It brightens my face in a very subtle way, and it was perfect for walking around sunny SF with the SPF 15.

Sometimes a simple routine is the way to go!

Update Your Makeup Bag with Emilie Sloan Bags

Emilie Sloan English Rose Makeup Bags

Recently I attended the launch party for local brand Emilie Sloan’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Actress Charlene Amoia was on hand to host the event held at local shop Curtsy Bella, a gorgeous store you have to visit if you’re ever in the Seattle area. I’m a sucker for beautiful prints and the Emilie Sloan line is all about taking those beautiful prints and creating great, functional tote bags and accessories. I wish I would have discovered this line sooner, now I’m curious about what prints I might have missed. 🙂

Emilie Sloan has a wide range of bags. If you’re looking for a great travel bag, she has it. This Weekender bag is going on my shopping list in the English Rose print. If you’re looking for a wristlet that has room for your iPhone and your lipstick, she has it. This Wallet Wristlet is right up our alley, isn’t it? The line also has crossbody bags, coin purses and makeup bags all available in the same gorgeous prints. If a print is not your thing, don’t worry, the line also has solid colors for a more timeless look.

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The Makeup Bag Sale of all Makeup Bag Sales: Stephanie Johnson Friends & Family June 7-12

One of our besties as far as makeup/travel/purse bags go is definitely Stephanie Johnson. Her bags are more than just somewhere to put your makeup swag, but a stylish accessory (case in point: the ALEX Sparkle Clutch). They bring new meaning to fashion and function. And now, they’re all on sale — a pretty bad ass one at that: 40% off from now through Tuesday, June 12.  
Malibu MINI pouch
I’m having a major crush right now on the “Malibu” Lemon collection right now.  The bright crinkly patent packaging, sapphire blue liner and gold ‘S’’ studs make this more than just a simple bag. The details are incredible. The Large Flat Pouch serves as a great clutch for night time and the Mini Pouch fits so much more than the “mini” name would lead you to believe. It lives in my purse and helps free up all of the clutter (a.k.a. lip gloss) that litters the bottom of my bag!

To take advantage of this epic discount, visit and enter promo code ‘sjfriends’ at checkout.

Remember when we peeked in Stephanie’s makeup bag? If not, check it out here now!

Make Mine a Double…Sasha Rhett Interchangeable Watches + Straps

“Thanks, it’s Sasha Rhett.” Four words that me and Emily uttered constantly while sporting these watches with colorful and textured interchangeable straps. Totally for the ADD crowd, let us tell you. Endless options. Sasha Rhett was created by a Harvard grad named Alexandra Daum. Between Birchbox co-founders Katia and Hayley, the Harvard Baseball team (a.k.a. Call Me Maybe boys) and Sasha Rhett we think Harvard might just be the birthplace of awesome.

“While I love color and prints, I love classic silhouettes as well. Women today demand a lot of their fashion purchases. They want items that serve multiple functions within their wardrobe, and of course they want high quality and affordability. With Sasha Rhett, you can buy a novelty watch in your favorite bright color for fun and swap it out for a neutral tone for maximum practicality.” – Alexandra Daum, founder of Sasha Rhett

I have a Sasha Rhett bracelet (you can see it here on my wrist with these Goody Double Wear hair ties), and I love how simple it is. Perfect for the minimalist jewelry types. We were curious about the adorable watches, and tested out the Rose Gold Round and Stainless Steel Rectangular, changing straps nearly every day because we could. Next to lip gloss, a watch is something I’m almost always wearing. Emily, too. Her left wrist is always adorned with the a classic Cartier with a thin black leather band. The Sasha Rhett Stainless Steel Rectangular timepiece is actually quite similar.

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Part Jewelry + Hair Accessory = Goody Double Wear

I’m a minimalist with accessories. Occasionally, I’ll wear a statement necklace or fun cocktail ring, but most days it’s a watch and hairtie around the wrist. Always a hairtie around the wrist. Which is why I’m absolutely loving the neck and wrist accessories from  Goody Double Wear that moonlight as jewelry. Part ponytail holder and/or headband depending on product and part accessory with a textured metal band. Did I fool you? They look like bracelets, right? I love piling them on, and of course, I still have my trusty Twistband on my wrist as well. You can never really have enough hair options on your wrist as a female. It’s like my security blanket!

What’s even more fun is the Goody Double Wear Headwrap Necklaces. They come as a duo, one silver and gold, and I wear these constantly. When my hair is tied back or when its down, too. And a lot of times, I have no intention of wearing them as anything but jewelry. In fact, I’m wearing them in this Revlon video that way.

These are a must on your next trip to Target! 

P.S. The orange bracelet in the wrist shot is from Sasha Rhett. We are really excited about her line of bracelets and watches that come with interchangeable straps in varied textures and colors. Review to come soon!

The Hip Hugger, saving you from the unfortunate "peek a booty"

Every lady has her secrets when it comes to beauty, but I feel it is our duty as women to help one another out. I practically hold weekly seminars at work shouting the best beauty products and secrets to getting a believable (faux) tan at a budget price (Jergen’s Natural Glow Express, always). But I’ve been keeping one secret to myself. It’s time to share.

Meet the Hip Hugger. Have you met this ingenious contraption before? It should come as no surprise that the brains behind the Hip Hugger are none other than Hollywood Fashion Secrets, makers of fashion tape and my personal favorite, the Velcro staps that make your pants look good in boots.

There is nothing worse than ill-fitting pants. I have a few pairs of jeans that infamously ride down or stretch and two clips of the Hip Hugger and BOOM! – fitting like a glove and not messing with the rest of my outfit situation. Flowy tops make this contraption that much more convenient, although, you can get away with wearing a more fitted top, too. The Hip Hugger at $8.99 sure beats an expensive tailoring bill.

And now you know my secret…. (so does TSA…I got wanded a few times because I forgot to take it off)

Fond Memories of the Trapper Keeper? You'll Love Laura Mercier's Custom Artist Portfolio

I’m always going to be that 12-year old girl who loved shopping for school supplies every year and had the coolest pens, stationery and girly binders, ala Trapper Keeper style. I mean, really, I’m still that girl. If it was socially acceptable for an almost 30-year old woman to carry Lisa Frank stationery, hell, I’d consider it. Which is why the new, and limited edition, Laura Mercier Custom Artist Portfolio for Home & Away really speaks to me. It’s about the size of a Trapper Keeper in this awesome pewter snakeskin case and filled with removable mesh cosmetic bags, brush organizer and custom compacts to hold your Laura Mercier eye, cheek and products.

 If you’re into organizing, I can’t see how you wouldn’t love this! I saw it at Saks over the weekend and was impressed. To celebrate the launch, Laura Mercier is also introducing a limited edition “Portfolio Animation” collection to give you plenty of inspiration to fill that Portfolio up!

Look for it this March and April at Laura Mercier online and counters.

Beauty VIP of the Week: Stephanie Johnson ALEX Sparkle Clutch

I’ve been carrying something really girly and pretty around lately, in my new favorite color, sparkle. The ALEX Sparkle Clutch, part of the Ibiza Collection from Stephanie Johnson for spring 2012, is the way to tote around beautiful makeup. I did some traveling for work the earlier part of this week, and the ALEX housed all I needed and more. Emphasis on the more. I can’t not bring extra!

The ALEX Sparkle Clutch comes in three covetable colors – blush, berry and turquoise. All of which are the perfect makeup bag, or, as the name suggests, a clutch. How perfect would this be for a night out? The shingle-style sparkles are a party in a bag. Stephanie has made something that could stray youthful into a sophisticated and elegant bag.

I was instantly drawn to the blush color. It reminded me of Essie’s A Cut Above nail polish from the Luxeffects collection (a close match, right?) I love the traces of gold and the deep purple lining. I kinda love everything about this bag, which is why it’s this week’s Beauty VIP. As for what I put in the bag, here’s a peek:

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Snowstorm Survival: Balms, Boots and Acessories

Today is like a weatherman’s Christmas. Winter’s been in a holding pattern, and while I’ve been enjoying “fake Spring,” I knew it was only a matter of time. Today is is that day. People are absolutely giddy in Chicago (seriously, especially the weathermen). The snow is a hot topic of discussion, and it’s actually nice to see people excited. Usually at this time, everyone’s SAD is coming on strong (mine included). In honor of the first real snowstorm of the season, we’re presenting our tips for survival. Top-line, stuff.

Snowstorm Survival Tip #1: Stuff the coats of your pockets with balm. Specifically, Fix My Skin balms, which contain 1% hydrocortisone, meaning they heal in addition to moisturize. Wind, snow and cold absolutely ruin your skin, and there’s pretty much nothing Fix My Skin can’t treat. I’ve been using the Healing Balm (stick version) on my lips and the pot on my knuckles and cuticles to combat dry skin, but these are also useful to have handy in the event your skin has an allergic reaction to a product.

Snowstorm Survival Tip #2: Wear cute  winter accessories. Listen, we’re buried under layers of parka, fur-lined hoods and other lothing. The least we can do is have some fun. These Kate Spade “Hi-5”  and air quote mittens fit the bill perfectly. And, they are now on sale at Nordstrom.

Snowstorm Survival Tip #3: Opt for warm and water-resistant footwear. Do not mess around with Uggs or Hunters in a snowstorm. The former will not keep your feet dry and your feet will freeze in the latter (yes, even with the fleece liners). I recommend investing in a serious winter boot. Sorels are the way to go. If you also like to snowboard or ride a snowmobile why not get something from Up North Sports. They have a wide range of pro footwear that will serve you well for years to come.

Snowstorm Survival Tip #4: Keep your pants fitting like they’re meant to.  Hollywood Fashion Secrets Boot Straps might be the most functionable tool I’ve encountered. They’re actually a winter staple. Really, anytime you wear boots. Just adjust the velcro around the hem of your pants (I do a roll-up since most pants are longer on me) and slide your boots on without any unflattering bunching.

How’s the weather by you? Let us know your snow survival tips!

Brighten Up With Neon!


It’s that drab time of the year when the snow has lost its luster and the magic of the holidays is now a distant, faded memory. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching for spring to arrive – warmer weather, longer days and of course, Spring 2012 collections. Although spring is still a few months off I’m already ditching my winter greys and beiges and injecting some color back into my wardrobe and makeup routine. The spring trend I’m looking forward to most this year? Neon!

To avoid looking like an extra in Jessie Spano’s “Hot Sundae” music video, gradually introduce neon into your look with a bold accessory such as a belt or bag and work your way up to a bright blazer or blouse.  And when it comes to makeup it is possible to rock the neon trend without feeling like the little girl who got into mom’s 1989 makeup case. Nail polish is always a safe way to try a new trend without the commitment and I’m loving the colors from Bobbi Brown’s “Nudes and Neon” collection – they are fun without being too loud.

Check out the neons I’m loving right now and get ready to kick the winter blues to the curb!

Clockwise from top: Deborah Lipmann Nail Colors; Adia Kibur Chain Link Necklace; Lip gloss from Bobbi Brown’s Neons and Nudes collection; Madewell’s Serpentine Skinny Belt; The Fluoro from Cambridge Satchel Company; NARS Blush in Gaiety