I'm Sold on the Glittery Goodness of Sonia Kashuk's All Out Glam Brush Set

If after reading this post, you are on your way to Target to pick up this Sonia Kashuk All Out Glam Brush Set, I apologize for the spontaneous urge to shop. The closer to Christmas we get, the idea of going to Target gets that much more stressful. But I’d bare a midnight-on-Black-Friday-type-crowd for this set. Six sparkly brushes + a boxy clutch that fits my iPhone, lipstick and other party essentials for $24.99 makes this one amazing value.  A mix of face and eye brushes, three in each category,  would fit perfectly into any woman’s brush collection. I especially love the domed point brush for concealer, and the powder brush is so soft and fluffy — the perfect size to apply just the right amount of color to cheeks. Also, every time I use it, the sparkles make me very happy. Glitter wins every time.  Bottom line? Don’t miss out on this one.

Stephanie Johnson Friends & Family Sale December 8-12

We were pretty happy when we opened our email this morning to see a Friends & Family sale happening at Stephanie Johnson. These makeup bags are the best! Especially at a 40% discount. The Lima Purple Essentials are one of our holiday gift picks this year! Gifting beauty is so much fun — take a makeup bag, fill it with some beauty goodies and travel essentials (face wipes, lip balm, q tips) and you have a complete package.

Stepahnie Johnson’s sale goes through Monday, December 12. Check it out!

A Few of Our Favorite Things…Animal Instincts Edition

Happy Thanksgiving-eve, all! I’m so thankful for Thanksgiving, truly. Turkey, sides (really, I can’t just pick one camp) and of course, Black Friday preparation. I OWN my love of Black Friday shopping. I could write a thesis on how it’s actually one of the best days to shop all year. Stores are prepared for you! That said, I will not be a midnight shopper, but likely a 6am shopper. We’d be interested to know where you stand on the issue. Now, onto this week’s holiday gift picks!

  1. Amika Leopard Mini Ceramic Styler – Usually mini hair devices are major flops in the performace department, but not this styler from Amika. It’s essentially the same as their full-size version, just mini. It uses the same infrared heat and negative ion technology, and heats up to 400 degrees. Perfect for travel! Is that matching carrying case not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? The price is GREAT too at $25. Available at Sephora.
  2. Zoya Feel Collection – During the holidays, I’m all about sparkle, shimmer and rich colors on my nails. But come January, I want some warm and cozy neutrals to match my post-holiday mood. I would love to see any of these neutrals from Zoya’s new winter “Feel” collection in my stocking! The sampler would be a great buy so you can divide up for gifts (and keep a shade or two for yourself!) Available at Zoya.
  3. Madewell Furry Earmuffs – Adorable AND cozy. These are impossibly cute, and practical. Sadly, they are also getting hard to find. They’re sold out on Madewell.com, so if these are on your gift list too, find a store stat! Available at Madewell for $39.
  4. Stephanie Johnson Lima Purple Essentials – These are among the best makeup bags ever! And I’m enamored with the faux purple python finish of this collection. The ML Traveler is my go-to travel bag, and a gift I love to give. Available at Stephanie Johnson, $42-$82.

We’ll be back next week with more gift ideas. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and a “good luck” if you too venture out on Black Friday!

Get Personalized Jewelry Recommendations with Jewelmint

Recently I was asked to give JewelMint a try, a members-only jewelry club started by fashion icon and actress Kate Bosworth and stylist Cher Coulter. JewelMint chooses top styles for you based on a fashion personality and style quiz you take when you sign up. Based on your answers, JewelMint will show you their pick in the site’s showroom. In the showroom you can mark options as favorites or remove them letting JewelMint know why you dislike the piece. This helps JewelMint refine the pieces that they show you as options. Don’t like the style options you’re seeing? You can re-take the quiz at any time and get a whole new set of options in your showroom. Also, each month new jewelry designs are added.

Had I not been asked to try JewelMint, I don’t think I would have ever signed up for it on my own. I’m glad I was given this opportunity because the jewelry surprised me with its quality. I was also surprised with the presentation with each piece. It comes in a box with a bow around it and when you open it, it is thoughtfully presented with a little background on the specific piece. I loved this because it also makes a piece totally gift-able.

I was sent a variety of pieces to play with ranging from earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets in different styles and you can really see that each piece is handmade. It’s also unique and affordable, I didn’t see the same type of pieces I see at the same price range in different stores. Affordability is key though, how often do you see on trend, handmade pieces retailing for $29.99?

 JewelMint has given me a promo code to share with all of you! To get 50% off your first purchase, just use PGIRL50 during check out. This is valid for new members only and expires 10/31. Are you joining? I saw go for then come back and let’s chat about the pieces you hauled. 😉

Look What's In My Vacation Makeup Bag

Vacations are awesome. Packing, though, not so much. I’m a chronic over-packer, especially when it comes to makeup! Not a surprise, is it?  My intentions are to pack lightly, but somehow it never really turns out that way. But how awesome is my makeup bag? I missed out on all Target Missoni in Chicago (and online), but I found this bag at my parent’s Target in Wisconsin. I totally love it.

Fits a ton, right?  There’s even several slots for brushes, but i opted to bring those in a separate roll. Instead, I use those pockets for my eyeliners, mascara and lip gloss. While I stashed many lip products and eyeliners in this bag, I tried to keep the core simple. For my face, I’ll be relying on Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm. I’ve got some concealers, and my new fave Bobbi Brown Skin Mineral Foundation, if I need a touch more. And since Paris is one of the stops on my vacation, I made sure to pack my NARS Pleasures of Paris Eyeshadow Palette. It’s got pretty much everything I need — including my all-time favorite “all-purpose” eyeshadow, Abyssinia!

I officially have about 24 hours before I leave, so I may try to pare this down somewhat. But, I can’t make any promises!

Makeup Bag Lust: The Makeup Clutch

As much as I love my makeup, I might like the bags I keep it in more! There’s just something so thrilling about a pretty makeup bag with pockets and pouches to keep me organized. And for as many as I have sitting in my closet, there’s just nothing like a new bag to make you feel great. So when I saw The Makeup Clutch made by Chicago-based designer Jessica Constable and Elizabeth Dehn (Beauty Bets herself!) I was instantly smitten!

It combines function and organization with style, and the end result is one chic clutch. The fact that it is called The Makeup Clutch tugs at my makeup-bag loving strings. The exterior is a nautical-inspired ivory twill and the interior lining features Elizabeth’s signature turquoise.

The Makeup Clutch can be yours for $30, available exclusively at ElizabethDehn.com. I think this would make a great gift, especially if you stuff it with some beauty goodies and perhaps a Sephora gift card!

What's in My Bag? Downsizing for Summer

After several seasons of carrying a heavy purse, I decided that for summer I would take a lighter approach. While I love my big bags, quite honestly, they can be straining on the shoulders and lugging them around can be a workout. True story: I went to my Doctor about four years ago because I was having chest pains. At the age of 25, I thought I was having signs of a heart attack. Typical hypochondriac behavior, I suppose (guilty!) Well, it turns out I wasn’t so crazy. No, not a heart attack but the pain I was having was similar and it was caused by carrying a heavy purse. If you’re interested, here’s the medical mumbo jumbo on this condition, which affects mostly women and is very treatable. The Rx: lighten your purse!

I spotted the Melie Bianco Jane bag and knew that it would be the perfect summer purse. I loved the structure and neutral taupe color, and I love it even more in use.

Melie Bianco Jane in action

I love being “handsfree” with the crossbody, and even though this purse is tiny, it still fits everything I need. I had to make a few sacrifices, but I’m considering it doctor’s orders. The interior of the bag has a zippered pouch and two inserts that just scream “fill me with tubes of lipgloss.”

It all fits...very carefully, though!

This may look like a lot, but I assure you, it all fits.

  • Boscia Blotting Linens:  We stockpile these in every scent – this is the Rose.
  • Ahava Dermud Hand Cream: This tube was actually in my January Birchbox. I use it often, and there’s still some in there! I love this for the purse, because the twist-off cap eases any spill concerns.
  • Sephora Electric Safari Pouch: This is a perfect makeup bag for small purses. I put Band-Aids, contact drops, a few brushes and powder in here.
  • Pangea Organics Lip Balm: Another Birchbox sample! They come in the best scents and are so soothing – this is Italian Red Mandarin with Rose.
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy: I’ve been using this one a lot lately. I swap out my lip products frequently with this bag, as it doesn’t allow me to hoard a dozen!
  • Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster in Glisten: These glossy pencils are so lovely. They give lips a dewy look, and Glisten is the perfect summer peach shade with a touch of coral.
  • Bobbi Brown Face Touch-Up Stick: The most useful thing ever for the purse. I use this constantly.
  • Benefit Porefessional: My second tube of this self-proclaimed “miracle” product. Can’t be without.
  • GoSmile Touch-Up Ampoule: Now that I’ve whitened my teeth, these Touch Ups are essential for mid-day polishing.

The other items are the purse usuals, wallet, phone, bus pass, keys, headphones, hair ties, etc. The sunglasses always rest on top, because that’s always the item that never wants to fit but that I refuse to be without.  Amazingly, it all fits. Turns out, downsizing doesn’t have to be inconvenient!

Ten or Less: EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki

EcoTools are among my favorite makeup brushes, budget or high-end. I especially have an affection for their face brushes — the Bronzer Brush and Retractable Kabuki are absolute must-haves in my book. So my love for EcoTools newest brush, the Bamboo Finishing Kabuki, was probably destined to be. For $7, how could it not?

This is the kind of brush that was made for display on a vanity. It stands up on its bamboo bottom and the two-toned taklon bristles fan out, basically begging you to sweep them across your face. It’s name is apropo as it is really is an ideal finishing brush. A last step for me in my daily makeup routine is to sweep a highlighter across my face — Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nude as of late — and this brush sweeps the perfect amount leaving me with a flawless finish.

If you too are a fan of EcoTools, I think you’ll love this brush. I spotted it at my local Walgreens last month, so check there first!

Ten or Less: Sonia Kashuk Shimmer Cosmetic Case

During my usual browse through the beauty aisles at Target, I stumbled across the most adorablemini-makeup bagfrom Sonia Kashuk. This new “Shimmer” bag collection from Ms. Kashuk has a bit of a rock and roll edge with the metallic on the outside and a nylon brown interior, which makes it very easy to keep tidy. This is the perfect purse-sized bag to tote around — I store my powder, aspririn, Tide To-Go pen, face blotters and some other odds and ends in here. It even features a little pocket on the inside, which is an added bonus to keep smaller items.

This bag was a steal at $5.99 and each piece in the entire collection is available for under $15. I’ve got my eye on the Frame Purse next!

Holiday Glamour and Sparkle Go-To Products

I love a little sparkle and glamour around the holidays, and have been favoring a very simple eye look that incorporates both.

  • NARS Etrusque Eyeshadow – This may be the most perfect gold eyeshadow ever! It was released with NARS Holiday collection and I can’t get enough of it. I like to pat this all over the lid for a sparkling eye.
  • Lorac Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eyeliner – This liquid liner is easy peasy to use — it’s smudgeproof, waterproof and has that flexible tip that makes application simple. Thin line, thick line, lower and upper lash line — this does it all. AND I love that if I get some on my eyelashes it doesn’t make them sticky and clumpy and affect my mascara application. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?
  • MAC Pearlglide Intense Eyeliner in Black Swan – I was very happy to see that MAC included new Pearlglides in A Tartan Tale. These are one of my favorite eyeliners across any brand — they don’t move or wear at all during the day! Black Swan is an intense black with silver shimmers and it makes a mean smokey eye. Love this — just don’t get it on the waterline (ouch!).
  • YSL Faux Cils Mascara – This mascara is legendary, and for good reason. It gives extraordinary length to lashes, really giving it that fake lashes look. I use a few coats to really glam up the eyes, but it truly does its business in just one.
  • Tarte Limited Edition Gold-Toned Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler – Tarte’s Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler is my current go-to eyelash curler, and when I saw this bedazzled gold version for the holidays I squealed with happiness! It’s the same amazing curler, but the purple sparkles make me feel special. I picked up a few for stocking stuffers after Thanksgiving, but sadly, it’s sold out now.

(L-R) MAC Pearglide in Black Swan, NARS Etrusque, Lorac Front of the Line PRO (three different lines)

I’m also loving big chunky jeweled necklaces. The one above I bought at Ann Taylor Loft earlier this year — they have a ton of really cute options. It’s definitely an easy way to glam up a simple black dress or even a t-shirt and jeans!

What’s everyone else loving for holiday beauty? Do tell!

Disclosure: We received a sample of the Lorac Front of the Line PRO, YSL Faux Cils and NARS Estruque (but we also purchased the NARS on our own as well!)