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!

Straight from the NYFW Runways: A Pop of Mint for Spring 2013

Photo Credit: StilaBeauty via Instagram

If the makeup at Rebecca Minkoff’s spring/summer 2013 show is any indication, mint is coming back in a big way for beauty next spring. I just breathed a huge sigh of relief. I am not ready to see pastels go away, and I’m hopelessly in love with all things mint. Stila Cosmetics, led by Pro Artist Sarah Lucero, created the Rebecca Minkoff beauty look, and gave us a sneak peek at the new mint Stay All Day Liquid Liner launching for spring. What do you think? We are LOVING the peek of mint in the corner, and can’t wait to wear this look next season! In the meantime, we’ll try the peek of color in the corner with a deeper shade for fall, like burgundy or purple!

Stila In the Know Eye Shadow Palette + September Challenge

The folks at Stila recently reminded me, via their new ad campaign that I spied on several pages during my HOURS of reading September issues, to “Makeup Your Own Rules.” So how about this? For the entire month of September, I am going to “challenge” myself to use one palette of eyeshadows: the Stila In the Know Eye Shadow Palette, a new , but permanent, launch from the brand’s 2012 collection. I say “challenge” because is it really? We think no. More or less, this is normal behavior. We recognize it as such and even exhibit it ourselves from time to time, but our love of variety often has us switching things up daily.

Far left: Smudge Stick in Halfmoon. Top, L-R: Air, Wind, Desert, Clay, Earth. Bottom, L-F: Driftwood, Fire, Rain, Smoke, Ebony

But, I’m making my own rule for the month. After just one look at the 10 gorgeous earth-inspired shadows in Stila’s In The Know palette, I knew this was going to be one of the easiest makeup commitments I’ve made. In fact, it’s the reason I’m making this rule. These shadows are the silkiest matte shadows I’ve ever felt, and consistently so from the lightest to darkest shades. I’m not interested in anything but CONSTANT use. Gorgeous skin-toned beiges, soft browns, charcoal grey and the aptly-named  orange “fire” are all perfection.

Any other makeup commitment phobes out there ready to settle down for September? Let us know!

The Seven Beauty Products of Summer

As I flipped my Boston Terrier 2012 calendar to August last week, I realized that summer is kind of winding down. Can you believe it? I may have shed a tear at the thought of summer Fridays coming to an end. But then I smiled at the idea of cooler temps. And then I read that this July was the hottest Chicago’s had in 57 years and I realized that the temps likely aren’t going down anytime soon. Now? I’m in “embrace it” mode. Time to live in the moment and appreciate all of the things there is to love about summer. For us, it’s paying special homage to seven products that are so unbelievably summer.

Hawaiian Tropic SPF 30 Lotion Sunscreen is such a nostalgia product, but the “sun safe” version. It’s got a protective SPF 30 (option to go up to 50 or down to 12 in this variety) and perfectly captures the essence of the tropics. Bonus points for the moisturizing formula, which keeps your skin looking and feeling smooth while beach/pool-side.

Wouldn’t be summer without self-tanner. The surprise hit for me this summer is Tarte Maracuja Self-Tanner. The applicator mitt is both handy and stylish, and the formula is top notch. About as scent-free as you can get and impossible to mess up. I couldn’t get a streak from this if I applied this half-asleep. For a really impressive (and believable) bronzy hue, I apply this as the follow-up to my beloved Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Body Pad. Doubling up is the way to go, people!

Stains are a must in the melting months, lest your blush just fall off of your face in three hours. Stila Passion Fruit Lip & Cheek Stain, launched with the brand’s summer 2012 collection, is the perfect summer color. It’s a pinky coral that leans more orange, less red. With just a few clicks to lips and cheeks, it brightens up the entire face. Bonus points for the fact that the formula includes actual passion fruit extract!

Bath time and hot summers don’t quite click, but a girl still needs to relax in the bath.  My sanity needs tubby time (+ wine).  I swap my candlelight in for something fresh and summery and lower the water temperature by several degrees. The absolute perfect summer candles are from Slatkin & Co., available at Bath & Body Works for major sale right now. I’ve peppered the refreshing orange blossom and jasmine Beach Cabana scent throughout my home.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow is the best thing to happen to my eye makeup this summer. There’s 12 colors — a mix of matte, shimmer, light and dark — and each one is completely waterproof. They just do not budge. If it’s in the Aqua line, you know it’s going to last. I’m obsessed with shade 20E, a pearly taupe, that looks especially phenom on the lower lash line.

Proof that beauty bloggers know everything. Our pal Beauty Bets raved about Coola Mineral Face Tinted Rose Essence SPF 20 and I picked up a tube right away. And all I can say is WOW. The rose essence is such a nice addition and the formula makes my skin look great. On those 95 degree days, this is really all you need on your face.

I stockpile bars of LUSH Buffy come summertime. It is by far my favorite product to use in the shower in the warmer months. It is part moisturizer, part exfoliator and smells like a fresh vat of shea butter. Skin is left polished from the ground rice, almond and beans. The exfoliants are so fine, that it reminds me of sand. This product just oozes summer.

Your turn! What beauty products define the summer season for you?

Stila Friends & Family Sale May 29-June 3

Now is as good a time as any to explore some of Stila’s new summer hits! Now through Sunday, June 3, Stila’s Friends & Family Sale is going on. Enjoy a 20% discount and free shipping on all orders. May we recommend the new Liquid Luminizers (in Kitten, obviously!) or the new Passion Fruit Crush Lip & Cheek Stain? Just enter code FRIENDS12 at checkout to snag the 20% discount!

Happy shopping!

Playtime! Stila Smudge Crayons

I am in my heart still that little girl that loved coloring with crayons and getting new notebooks and pens. Which is why Stila’s Smudge Crayons are the coolest thing on the makeup block right now. They bring out the tween in me (which was not even officially a term when I was one!)

Stila does eye makeup really well. They consistently release top notch products. Think about just the smudging alone: Smudge Pots, Smudge Sticks and now the Smudge Crayon. It’s everything in a pencil: gel-based primer, shadow and liner. Indulging the 11-year old in me is a bit of “playtime” with each use, as in about 45 seconds to smudge around the lid before it sets. And once it does, it’s waterproof and crease-resistant.

L-R: Rose, Pink Violet

The shades span the spectrum with a jet black and gorgeous navy blue, but I’m especially partial to the pink shades Pink Violet and Rose. Of course I’m going for the girliest shades in the Stila Smudge Crayon box! Both have a pretty pearly finish and I can’t resist smudging them all over the lid. The best part is they last for like 100 years on the lid (that might be an over-dramatization).

Exclusive Stila Travel Palettes and Beauty Deals at Nordstrom Rack

I enjoy a good trip to Nordstrom Rack. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I find a good score (my most recent being a pair of Paige jeans for 70% off!). And I like checking out the beauty finds, naturally. We have two downtown locations in Chicago. The newest one off of Michigan Ave. is also the inspiration of a Stila Travel Palette, one of three exclusive to Nordstrom Rack.

Majestic on Michigan Avenue
Pretty colors, right? The names are even cuter, and so very Chicago, with windy, midway, pier and skyline as the eyeshadows. The convertible color is also aptly named “magnificent.” Majestic on Michigan Avenue joins Fashionable on 5th Avenue and Ravishing on Rodeo Drive at Nordstrom Rack stores right now. They’re rounding out their beauty section with exclusive beauty deals, so these are only available at the Rack. You can snag them for $10 a piece.
Maybe it’s just the resident in me, but I am totally digging the color theme in this palette. The sooty neutral shades remind me of fall, which is the BEST season in Chicago.

Cyber Monday Beauty Deals

Just when you thought you did enough damage to the wallet on Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals start rolling in! The sheer volume of sales and promotions is straight up overwhelming, but there are some fabulous buys to be made. Here are the deals that caught our eye.

Amika is offering a special Cyber Monday deal to its Facebook fans — a whopping 40% off! Amika stylers are AMAZING, as is their Oil Treatment (see our review here). This deal does not come around very often, so this is one to act on a.s.a.p. Visit Amika on Facebook and become a fan to access the promo code.

June Jacobs is offering 40% off all products through Monday, November 28. I’m totally eyeing up the new Perfect Pumpkin Enzyme Polish, and its powerhouse list of ingredients. Another must have? The Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Masque – check out our review on this Beauty VIP.

This one is technically not a Cyber Monday special, but it’s too good not to include. By Elizabeth Dehn‘s The Serum is buy one get one half off through Sunday, November 27. This fits beautifully with the “one for you, one for me” mentality that I am guilty of when holiday shopping! But, seriously, The Serum is heavenly. The gift of healthy, glowing skin is something every woman wants in her stocking, no?

Josie Maran is offering 25% off through end of day Monday, November 28 with code giveback at checkout. Plus, free shipping on orders of $25. I love to give the travel sized Argan Oil as a gift, so will be stocking up!

It’s baaack! Stila‘s cyber Warehouse Sale is coming, beginning Monday, November 28 through Friday, December 2. Our advice, check it out early to take advantage of the best deals. Prices will be up to 80% off.

Kate Somerville is offering 30% off with promo code HOLIDAY2011 through Monday, November 28. Obviously, you need to pick up some Exfolikate. Another Product Girl fave is Kate’s Cytocell Dermal Energizing Treatment, which is a crazy effective innovation!

Happy shopping!

Ten or Less: Stila Deals on

Happy almost-weekend everyone! We’ve got news to share of some fantastic Stila deals. Seriously, these are too GOOD to pass up! Stila Smudgestick Liner for $5? Kitten One Step Primer for $10? Yes, and yes. These and more Stila products are for sale at — just scan the sale page! May we recommend the Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer? We love this with Coconut Crush on the lips and cheeks and a dusting of powder on the t-zone. Simple beauty at its best!

New! Stila Natural Eye Shadow Palette for Fall

The new Stila Natural Eye Shadow Palette is one of my favorites for fall. The first thing that came to mind when I got my hands on it was that this is practically Stila’s answer to Urban Decay’s Naked palette. While it doesn’t have as many shades, it is still a good response and in someways, better.

The shades in this palette are Bare (matte ivory), Kitten (shimmering nude pink), Bliss (matte nude), Sunset (copper shimmer), Sandstone (matte neutral brown), Champagne (pale gold shimmer), Gilded Gold (bronze with gold shimmer), Luster (deep gray with gold shimmer), Night Sky (slate blue with silver shimmer) and Ebony (matte black). The palette also comes with a full sized Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Damsel (matte chocolate brown) and a look book with tips and tricks. This palette has a good neutral range of eye shadows and a few shades to kick things up a notch.

Continue reading New! Stila Natural Eye Shadow Palette for Fall