Olivia Palermo from "The City" Hair & Makeup Inspiration

I've admired Olivia Palermo since the first season of "The City" for her great sense of style, gorgeous hair and flawless makeup. Polished is the best word I can use to describe her. My jaw dropped at the gorgeousness of the outfit she wore when she first went to the Elle magazine offices on last night's season 2 premiere- stunning. Sporting sun-kissed locks this season, she continues to have hair I think a lot of women wish they had. I'd love to know how she styles it- it has just the right amount of volume, toussle and bounce to it. The curls are defined, but not fussy. I also wonder if she has extensions, since her hair seems too good to be true (especially after going lighter, which typically causes damage). Someone told me the other day that my makeup reminds them of the way Olivia wears hers. While I certainly don't think I look even close to as polished as she does, I realized that we do wear makeup in a similar way. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to her "look." She seems to line her eyes with dark brown liner (like I do- I use MAC fluidline gel liner in "Dipdown") and she always has bronzed skin with pink blush on her cheeks and soft, pink lips. I love certain celebritiy makeup looks because they remind me of the colors I like to use and the looks I try to achieve. I even used a gorgeous photo of Hayden Panitierre that I ripped out of a celebrity weekly to show my wedding makeup artist, and she replicated the look for me (the one below is smilar to, but not the exact photo I used).
Kate Beckinsale's makeup always impresses me. She looks so fresh and her skin always glows, even when she is not super tan. She also seems to be a fan of the dark brown liner and pink, glossy lips. Then then of course, there is my beloved Cheryl Cole, who's makeup (and hair) I covet so much that I am determined to somehow find out which products she uses. I may have to hit up some British tabloids at the bookstore...after all, there must be a UK equivilant of "US Weekly." Rachel Bilson's makeup always looks perfect- and I read somewhere that she usually does it herself! I notice she tends to stick to a more classic look- black or brown lined eyes, soft cheek color and pink lips. Which celebrity's makeup do you always find yourself admiring? I can think of so many more examples, including Rachel McAdams- always stunning no matter how her makeup is done. Leave me a comment and let me know who's makeup style you covet most- and who's reminds you the most of how you do your own makeup.

xoxo,

Veronika

Self Tanners: My Favorites and Reviews

I used to work at a tanning salon...for more years than I'd like to admit. Now I know better, and am 100% against tanning beds and wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when I am out in the sun all day. Tanning beds not only ruin your skin, but increase your melanoma cancer risk by 75 percent, if you use tanning beds and sunlamps before 30 years of age, according to this recent report by the CDC.

75 percent- such a scary number. I haven't used a tanning bed since moving to Houston almost 3 years ago. I just don't have an interest in aging my skin and increasing my risk of getting skin cancer. I am so passionate about this subject, that I preach to anyone that will listen. With tanning beds out of the question, I had to look for other options to amp up my porcelain pale skin. I find that having a tan evens out my skin tone and makes me feel thinner and more toned. So instead of using gross, carcinogenic tanning beds, I hit the bottle.

I have found several self-tanning formulas over the past few years that have become weekly staples for me, and I will list my top picks here, so you too can achieve a gorgeous tan without harming your skin.

My number one choice for special events is to get a professional airbrush tan. I go to Kristy at
Body Brushed in Houston. Her price in unbeatable at 35$ per tan (plus tip, of course) and she uses one of the larger airbrush "guns"- the ones you are actually supposed to use for a tan, versus the tiny airbrush guns some places use that are more suited for makeup application. Tell Kristy Veronika sent you- she will take great care of you, I promise! She is located in the Galleria area at Tranquility spa.

Favorite Self Tanning Products
:

1. Clarins SPF 6 Tanning Milk
I use this creamy formula on my face only, and apply it after washing my face, before bedtime. Upon waking, my skin is infused with awesome, but natural looking color. Don't forget your neck!


2.
Xen Tan
I actually got a sample of this product from the wonderful ladies at The Knot. It is a formula with the consistency of a lotion that is totally scary in the bottle-dark gray. The first time I saw it, I thought it was expired because of the color. Turns out, this formula gives an incredible, deep tan, with a brown/olive look to it (more of a "real" tan look). It also smells devine- like vanilla, which is incredible for a self tanner. You have to be careful with this formula, and wash hands in between applying to areas of the body, but other than that, it is a wonderful formula and pretty easy to use...but I would recommend this for more advanced at-home self tanning use.

3.
L'oreal Sublime Bronze Lotion, Gel
This formula gives great color. The
gel takes really long to dry and smells awful, but the price (it is available at most drug stores) is unbeatable. Be careful with both formulas on hands and feet, if you use too much (like I have, many-a-time) your feet will look like oranges.

4.
L'oreal Sublime Bronze Airbrush
I like this self-tanner because the airbrush is easy to use, doesn't need to be rubbed in, and dries quickly. The color is definitely not as dark as some of the other formulas, but I like to use this when I need to "touch up." I also like to use this to self tan my feet, no matter what product I am using on the rest of my body, because feet are better off with a light coat of airbrush self tanner than trying to get them perfectly even using a cream or lotion formula. I also like this for the face, though I typically use it only on my body. The smell isn't great, but like all L'oreal Sublime products, I can deal with the scent because the price is right.


5. Banana Boat Airbrush Self Tanner I tried this one recently when the L'oreal was sold out- and it wasn't bad. It gets an "A plus" for its fruity scent. I wasn't particularly impressed with the color results though- I knew a product this yummy smelling couldn't possibly give awesome color though, so I wasn't expecting much. This would be a good choice for someone who wants light color.

6.
St. Tropez Self Tanning lotion
I used this formula for quite some time and it is excellent- gives a "just spent a week on the beach in the Caribbean" look...however, it is pricey. This formula, much like Xen Tan's is really dark, so you have to be careful when applying and wash hands in between. Another option is to use gloves, but I typically find that just washing your hands really thoroughly works well. If you'd like to splurge on a great self tanner, this would be a top choice. I remember my bottle lasting really long. I also liked to use this product, mixed with my daily moisturizer to tone its intensity down a bit, on my face. And finally, my thoughts on gradual self tanners- personally, I would rather only have to self-tan once a week so I don't have to deal with the smell. Gradual tanning lotions do smell a bit better, but since you have to apply them daily to build color...it just seems like a lot of work to me. I'd rather use a stronger product and have a tan that lasts 5-7 days.


VS Model Marissa Miller's tan is perfection.

VS Model Miranda Kerr's ever-so-coveted glow

Carmen Electra's pretty facial tan- love the makeup here, too. A perfect complement to her glowing tan skin.

Hair & Makeup: September Wedding

I realized that I completely disregarded discussing the products I used for the "September wedding" look, so this is a follow up post to the post below, because a beauty blog isn't a beauty blog without a breakdown of the makeup and hair that polished off the entire look.

Makeup:

Face:
MAC studio finish concealer (the one in the pot)
MAC Studio Fix powder in C3
NARS "Laguna" Bronzer
LORAC blush in "Desire"

Eyes:

MAC eyeshadows in "Retrospeck"(on the lid) and "Satin Taupe" (crease)
MAC pigment on inner corner of each eye (layered over Anastasia highlighting pencil in "Sand")
MAC Fludiline Gel Liner in "Blacktrack" on the top and "Dipdown" on bottom
Bonne Bell eyeliner in "Black Ink" on waterline
DiorShow waterproof mascara, with CG LashBlash mascara layered over it
Anastasia brow pencil in "brunette" to fill in brows

Lips:
MAC Dazzleglass in "Baby Sparks" layered over Sephora #15 lipgloss (a gorgeous, perfect pink)

Hair:

To style my hair, I washed with volumizing shampoo, applied Garnier Fructis XXL volume thickening mousse to my roots, and Morrocanoil (love) on my ends. I blowdried with a round brush (just the top and crown- I let the underneat part dry naturally) and put velcro rollers in to set the shape of my hair and give lasting volume. I ended up sleeping in the rollers (hard to picture, but not uncomfortable at all).

I woke up, gently removed the rollers and applied my makeup. Then I used my 1" CHI ceramic flatiron to make soft waves in my hair (away from the face). I decided to wear extensions for this occasion and used a 1 1/2 inch curling iron to curl the extensions. This gave the hair pretty good texture since the two types of curls were a bit different.

I complete the look with some soft-hold hairspray and a clip-in hair flower on the side of my hair.

xoxo,
Veronika.

Canadaland Shopping Spree

I am officially back from Canadaland (more specifically, Toronto). I am happy to report that immediately upon deplaning, I headed to Yorkdale mall and had a successful shopping trip (only I would get off of a plane and go straight to the mall when arriving in another country).

Initially, I was a bit disappointed (by H&M for example, where the only item I really loved was a coat I didn't need). My faith was restored however, when I was swept away by some gorgeous ruffly, frilly bras , a beautiful sleep dress, a sexy french teddy and a cozy cable-knit style robe that is as soft as a bunny, and these girly lace panties- all from La Senza (now owned by US mega lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, which probably explains why La Senza's lingerie has improved in style).

I also got the lovely bag below, from Jacob. I have been searching for a larger clutch with a chain shoulder strap for awhile now, and at 38$ CND, this bag was a true steal. I used it at my cousin's wedding over the weekend and it fit my camera, cell phone and makeup essentials, with room to spare for car keys and a few other items.

I also got a new fall purse from Aldo. I just wanted something simple that did not cost a fortune. I wish I could include a photo, but the website does not have one. It is black and had some gold hardware. Pretty simple. I think it looks more expensive than it is, which is a plus. I always try to purchase bags that
look like they could cost more, but don't.

I also picked up a couple of items from Costa Blanca including a long, black v-neck sweater that looks perfect paired with skinny jeans, and a pretty black flowy top that could be dressed up or down, and would look fab tucked into a pencil skirt.

While I was in town, I also hit up the MAC counter (can't leave a mall without my fix) and I saw the new Dazzleglass Creme lip glosses. It was love at first sight. I plan to pick up "My Favorite Pink." I am also absolutely loving the model they used for their new "Style Black" collection. I've already asked 2 MAC artists which products she has on her lips (a perfect pink, IMO), and neither of them could tell me exactly which lipsticks and glosses were used...so the search continues. I also may get one of the minzeralize eyeshawdows from this collection, called "Cinderfella," a black with silver shimmer that can go on sheer, or more metallic when applied over eyeliner. I imagine it would make a gorgeous smokey eye.

As far as clothing goes, the wedding had a gap, so I wore a more conservative outfit to the church, and a fun party dress to the reception.

Church Attire:
Dress: Papaya (the second pic shows the dress when I wore it to another wedding...it has a sort of ruffle/layered look to it)
Cardigan: Jacob
Wrap Sweater: Zara
Shoes: Jessica Simpson collection
Bracelet: Regina B
Bag: Jacob

Reception Attire:
Dress: Papaya (they seriously have some adorable dresses)
Tights: Mini Fishnets- H&M
Bracelet: Regina B
Hair Flower: Forever 21

Something that was fun for me when dressing for this wedding was mixing a ton of textures. It wasn't intentional at all, I just packed extremely lightly and only had so many items to work with. I thought it was fun to mix the frilly pink dress with mini fishnets to amp the outfit up for the evening, and I also loved layering two different sweaters (a cardi and a wrap sweater) for the ceremony, since I didn't bring a jacket. It was layering with a purpose!

More to come this week, and thank you for reading <3

xoxo,

-Veronika




Review: Anastasia of Beverly Hills Eye Brightening Pencil in "Sand"

Every December, I tune into the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show for an hour of awe at the bouncy, shiny hair, crazy long legs and toned bodies that strut down the runway in gorgeous embellished lingerie and fluffy angel wings. What I always take away with me is how striking and pretty the makeup is from these shows. Particularly, I want to discuss the way the model's eyes seem to glow as if a halo is surrounding them (like Heidi's in the photo below).


In my desperation to mimic this look (but make it "daytime appropriate") I searched far and wide for a product that could give my eyes a glow that says "I had 8 hours of sleep and a yummy vanilla latte this morning." I tried Benefit's "Eye Bright" pencil and I found it to be too matte and chalky looking.

Then, while returning the brightening pencil at Sephora, I discovered Anastasia of Beverly Hills' eye brightening pencil in "Sand." This pencil is a gorgeous soft, sandy pink that glides on effortlessly. The main difference between Anastasia's pencil and Benefit's is that Anastasia's is shimmery, and thus reflects light, opening up the eyes and giving the entire eye area a glow (can you tell I am obsessed with glowy-ness, if that is even a word!?).

To achieve glowy eyes, I use the pencil on the inner corner (or "inner v") of each eye. Sometimes I use my finger to blend it out a bit underneath that immediate inner eye area. Then, I apply liner and mascara. For special occasions, I will dust an iridescent, shimmery powder on top of the pencil for extra staying power and a more intense glow.

I absolutely love this product, and use it every morning. It is gorgeous for the day (just on the inner v) and for the evening, you can use it to line just underneath your waterline for that coveted Victoria's Secret model look.

If you have any "glowing eyes" tricks, please leave your product suggestions in the comments section!

xoxo,
-Veronika



Beautiful Brunettes!

My hair (color, particularly) has been in a state of change since I was old enough to learn about the orange-hair-inducing "Sun-In" (note: I know better now).

From brown with blonde highlights and red lowlights, to dark brown, to almost black to golden blonde to almost platinum, my hair has been through quite the "tress stress."

I loved the brightness that came with being blonde, but the maintenance (and cost!) was so not my style.

Then, I went dark a-la-Adrianna Lima, and what works for her, unfortunately didn't work for me.

I finally came to my senses and decided to attempt to go back to a (somewhat) natural state. I headed to a new salon with a photo of Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio's gorgeous sun-kissed locks and asked that my drab, dark hair be transformed into a mane of superfine, very blended blondeish highlights with a warm medium brown as a base. Perfection.

Now, I maintain my hair by getting a touch up of highs and lows every 4 to 6 months. Yes, you read that right. My colorist is so geninus, and blends the color so seamlessly, that I can get away with months upon months of roots that are hardly noticeable.

The secret is that he uses the natural color in my roots as my "in between" color, adds tiny highlights and then hand-paints on some brown lowlights for a bit of brightness (randomly). Eventually, it all fades and blends into something that looks fairly natural.

With that in mind, here are some of my favorite A-List brunettes:

Cheryl Cole


Kate Beckinsale

SI Model Yesica Toscanini

VS Model Alessandra Ambrosio

Jennifer Love-Hewitt

Cheryl Cole (a bit darker here)

Jennifer Garner

And, there are many more. I think I could probably do an entire blog just about Cheryl Cole's hair and makeup (always stunning). Which Hollywood brunettes inspire your color? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo,
Veronika.


Best Blushes for "Glowing" Skin

Blush is my "can't leave the house without it" product. When I sweep some gorgeous pink blush on my cheeks, I immediately feel fresh, glowing and awake.

As you can imagine from the title of my blog, I absolutely love and adore blush. But not all blushes are created equal- which is why I'd like to share some of my best blush finds. Not surprisingly, my top picks are all bright
pink hues- I find they give the best results in terms of warming up the skin and creating that "glow from within."

My Holy Grail blush is Desire, by LORAC. Yes, it looks shockingly pink in the pot, I know. However, with the proper application technique on just the apples of the cheeks, it offers what many other blushes don't- a gorgeous sheer pink wash of color with a very subtle highlight to it that creates that coveted "glow" that we all desire, no pun intended. It can be purchased at Sephora for $19. It is also the blush featured in the LORAC Blush/Bronzer Duo in "Hot Flash." My love for this blush runs so deep, that I even had my makeup artist use it on my cheeks on my wedding day. I guess you can say I consider it to be my "signature blush."




A more recent blush love affair is with MAC's "Well Dressed." Described as an immaculate pink satin, this blush is the perfect blush for someone who doesn't typically wear blush. The soft pink works beautifully over bronzer or on it's own, and is buildable. I personally wear it over my NARS Laguna Bronzer (another HG!) just on the apples of my cheeks. I use this blush almost daily, and typically reach for Desire for special events and nights out, because it photographs beautifully.

Then, there's NARS Orgasm blush, a classic and very well-know and loved product amongst beauty bloggers. This warm peachy/pink works well on a lot of skintones, which explains its popularity. I don't use Orgasm as much as my other blushes, but I particularly enjoy wearing this blush in the summertime when I've got a great tan going on (I'll blog all about self tanners in an upcoming blog.)


A recent purchase and pleasant surprise was MAC's "Porcelain Pink" Mineralize SkinFinish. It is a gorgeous shimmery (not glittery, thank goodness) mineral powder that works as a highlighter and as a blush for the evening. I like to use it in the evening to highlight cheekbones, and during the day to brighten the inner corners of my eyes. It is not an "everyday" product, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Other blush favorites are MAC's "Fleur Power" and "Pink Swoon."

Blushes currently on my shopping list are "Desire" by NARS (which appears to be a more matte version of LORAC's), MAC's "DollyMix" and Benefit's "Corralista."

What are your favorite blushes? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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