April 18, 2013

Review: Maybelline's Falsies and Mega Plush Lash mascaras

Oh my goodness! I can't remember when I started writing this post but I know it was at least March or earlier. Overdue much? I had mentioned my two mascara purchases a while back and never got around to reviewing them because I kept forgetting to take a picture of my results. Well I've finally gotten around to it and I'm not even sure if it was worth the wait (if you were waiting. that is!).

Now, let me preface this post by saying I don't have very full lashes to begin with; they are long but sort of sparse and difficult to curl. Here is a picture of my lashes without any mascara.

The first mascara I tried was Maybelline's Mega Plush Lash, a part of the Volume Express line. The purpose of this gel-mousse formula is to provide supple volume to lashes. While the formula made the application simple, it was too thin and the wand seemed very flimsy. I applied one coat in the picture below and the results weren't significant. Overall, not a bad product, but you could find better drugstore mascaras.

The second mascara I tried was the Maybelline Falsies. Both of the mascaras I picked up were from the Volume Express line because volume is my main focus for my lashes. This product not only promises volume but also added length to the ends. I definitely liked this formula better than the Mega Plush because the consistency was more on the dry side and the wand was sturdy. The volume didn't meet my expectations but the length was delivered as promised.

Overall, both mascaras were mediocre. For $6.99 it's not a terrible product, but for the time being, I will stick to L'Oreal's Volumnious False Fiber Lashes mascara. Have you tried any of the new Maybelline mascaras?

April 16, 2013


I can't help but to feel sad today. The Boston Marathon tragedy is on my mind. It was heartbreaking to see the 8 year old girl who died, participating in the marathon in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary. My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and families of not only yesterday but every tragedy we've faced, and sadly continue to face daily in some parts of the world.

It's so easy to sometimes forget all the blessings around us when our lives are so busy. I admit I'm guilty of this. Today, take a moment to say a prayer, call your loved ones to tell them you love them, and be thankful to have lived another day.

April 14, 2013

The Striped Tee: 3 different ways!

With only 15 days left for my No Shopping Challenge, I've put together 3 outfits with my absolute favorite item of clothing - a basic striped tee. They can be easily transitioned to fit any occasion with the right accessories. A striped tee is an essential in my closet because it is so versatile.

As far as the challenge goes, it's become easier to not think about shopping when work and party planning occupy most of my time. I do have a few key pieces in mind that I'd like to add to my wardrobe, but nothing that can't wait. On a side note, I've become a lot more creative with my outfits (layering, accessorizing, etc.) to make the most use of the clothing I already own.

This look below is great for a casual look or even to run errands. Effortless yet put together.

The next outfit I came up with is daytime but a little bit dressier - perfect for a lunch or day out.
Striped daytime chic

And this last outfit is a nighttime look - same shirt but the blazer and pumps make it more appropriate for an evening event.

Nighttime Striped
Splendid Striped Tee | Zara blazer | Christian Louboutin pumps
C.Wonder bangles | Topshop Jeans

April 11, 2013

Guest Post: Love Zahra

I stumbled upon Love Zahra a few months ago and I'm so glad I did. It has become one of my daily reads! Recently Zahra asked me to go a guest post on her blog as a part of her Meet the Blogger series. I had so much fun with it. Head over to Love Zahra to check out my post and learn more about her blog. Hope you love it as much as I do!

April 8, 2013

A Confession...

There's no doubt in my mind that I can label myself as a borderline shopaholic. I say borderline because I wouldn't go to extremes to own an item (refer to Confessions of a Shopaholic for an example), but I like to own nice things and stay on top of the trends. This isn't only limited to clothing, but accessories, jewelry, home goods, stationary, gadgets...you get the idea. So for the month of April, I've challenged myself to no shopping (besides essentials - groceries, toiletries, etc.).

Let's go back to the beginning. This all started when I added three more pairs of shoes to my collection last weekend. As I started organizing to fit these boxes in (let me preface by saying I live in downtown Chicago, I have very limited space), I found not only so many pairs of shoes I forgot I owned, but also clothes. Once in a while it may be nice to find something in your closet that you didn't remember you had, but when you find over 10 items that you weren't aware you owned (and with tags!!), that's not okay. So this is where my brilliant idea of a No Shopping challenge for the next 30 days came into play.

This is the start of my second week and so far so good, at least I like to think so. I have had a few breaking points, but nothing I can't handle. I admit I did browse a few stores this weekend and even fell in love with a few pieces (keeping my fingers crossed they're available in May!). Now, I'd like to clarify that I don't have a serious problem. I do work very hard for and like to spoil myself at times, but the purpose of this challenge is to utilize my current wardrobe more than I have been. I want to build my wardrobe more for quality instead of quantity. This may be a silly challenge to some, but it's not as easy as it seems. Conveniently, I lost my basic white long sleeve t-shirt this week...

With that said, I have come up with some simple rules for myself for any future purchases to make the most out of my wardrobe:

The item should....
1. Be able to be worn at least 3 different ways.
2. Be able to transition to at least 2 seasons
3. Be able to transition from day to night (day = work)

I always steer towards classic pieces anyway, but I would like to wear my trendy pieces more than just one way. So, in my upcoming posts, I think it will be fun to introduce some wardrobe basics every girl should have in her closet along with taking items from my closet and pairing them in different ways.

Do you ever find yourself "shopping" in your own closet? Would love to hear if you've engaged yourself in a similar challenge.

Thanks for reading as always!


April 1, 2013

Tom Ford Beauty

Last weekend, a stylist and friend at Neiman Marcus arranged a lunch at the Zodiac room accompanied with an in-depth introduction to Tom Ford beauty. The presentation was very thorough with two live makeovers. The most important fact that stuck with me was Tom Ford actually went to school for architecture which explains his emphasis on symmetry and contouring in his products. You can also see Tom Ford's background in design reflected in the beautiful packaging; retro-inspired by the 1930's and 1970's.

We were first introduced to the fragrances. Most of them are gender neutral which could justify the price as it is pretty high. I did like most of the scents we sampled - they ranged anywhere from leather to wood to tobacco. They will also debuting new scents soon so be sure to check those out.

The skincare line was very basic which could be a hit or a miss. There was only one face wash which tones, purifies, and cleanses in one. My only concern would be the lack of variety as one type of face wash won't necessarily work for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

The next few products in the skincare line were the moisturizers. I was very impressive with how lightweight they were and how well they absorbed in my skin when testing it out. The eye cream and primer were also hydrating and soothing to the skin. The only caveat with the moisturizers is that they don't include SPF.

Some of the other products I wanted to try for myself were the hydrating lipsticks, highly pigmented gel liner, and the bronzing powder. All in all, I did like the idea behind this beauty line, but it is pricey. They are definitely investment pieces. I'd love to hear if you've tried any products from this line.

March 27, 2013

Wishlist Wednesdays

Lately I noticed I've been posting a lot about beauty and product reviews. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share my love for baking. Although I've been baking here and there, it hasn't been anything too significant. I have a huge project coming up so I can't wait to share all the goodies with you soon! To make up for the lack of baking, I've dedicated my wish list to beautiful additions I would love to have in my kitchen...especially the reversible measuring cups. Brilliant!
1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Life has gotten a little bit busier and I think I've signed up for too many projects for any sane person to handle. =) While I get adjusted to this new schedule of mine, you may not see daily posts. I hope to get back into the routine of things very quickly!


March 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Coffee at Dollop in Streeterville. For all of you coffee drinkers, I highly recommend it. The coffee is strong but so delicious and here's the best part - they serve it in real teacups! The shop has an urban feel to it and you can find plenty of people studying or simply hanging out and grabbing a casual bite to eat. 

Tea at Zodiac in Neiman Marcus

Introduction to Tom Ford beauty.

Cake pops for a Ready to Pop baby shower!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

March 23, 2013

Weekend Inspiration

I love the idea of sequins downplayed in the day. Hope you have a great weekend!

March 22, 2013

Makeup by Mehwish Khalid

I had the opportunity to take time out and ask my friend Mehwish Khalid, a successful makeup artist in Chicago, a few questions.We discussed how her career came about and some of her favorite products and upcoming trends. I always love hearing what people do for a living, especially something as fun as makeup!

What made you start doing makeup?
It has always been a passion of mine, but I didn't take it seriously until one day when I helped a friend out with her wedding events, and I had so many girls come up to me asking me to cover their events. That night I realized that I have all my life to study and work, but I will never have a chance to follow my passion and actually make money while doing it. So I pretty much put pharmacy on hold and went to makeup school instead...and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Did you have any formal makeup training or is this something you just picked up?
Yes, I went to a makeup school and have a state certification, however, I feel that it is definitely an art that you learn on your own.

How do you stay up to date on makeup trends?
Watching runway shows, browsing through magazines, reading up on celebrity makeup artist's blogs.The best way is to see what the general public is wearing and leaning towards, as they are the ones that determine what trends will actually be hot.

What spring makeup trends are you anticipating?
Minimal face makeup - bold lip colors paired with subtle eye makeup, and I am also anticipating bold dramatic lashes to be a hot trend this spring.

If you were on a stranded island, what would be the one beauty product you would like to have with you?
Tinted moisturizer with SPF...oh and if I can take one more product, mascara!!

If you could do makeup on any celebrity, who would it be?
There are a few I would like to work on, but if I had to choose one it would have to be Mila Kunis.

If we took a peak in your makeup kit, which brand would we see the most of? 
Probably Mac

What would be your holy grail product for the following:
Foundation: Armani Luminous Silk
Powder: MAC Mineralized Skin Finish
Blush: NARS Orgasm
Mascara: Dior
Eyeliner: Maybelline gel eyeliner
Lipstick: MAC Pink Plaid for a softer tone and Rebel for a statement

Will you be following the bold lip trend?

Be sure to check out Mehwish's webpage or 
Facebook page to learn more about her and her work!

March 14, 2013

Review: Garnier Ultra-Lift Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream

I admit I didn't start using eye cream until the last few years. I always thought of eye creams as a remedy, not prevention, for dark circles, wrinkles, etc. Naturally, to prevent that, I had to switch up my current regimen of washing my face with a gentle cleanser and applying a water-based moisturizer to my entire face.

It wasn't until I started using an eye cream that I noticed the benefits of it. I first started out using Perricone MD High Potency Eye Treatment. When I recently ran out of this product and couldn't find a replacement in stores, I decided to give a drug store brand a try. After several walks through multiple aisles, and about 5 eye creams to choose from, I decided to narrow it down to Garnier's Ultra-Lift Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream.

One of the top reasons this product caught my eye (no pun intended!) was because of the packaging. This product is packaged in a glass pot instead of a tube. This is great in so many ways because you can get more out of your product. We've all dealt with cutting the tube packaging to get the last bit of the product...or maybe that's just me? A little definitely goes a long way with this product so you can always put back any excess cream taken out.

After washing my face and moisturizing, I apply a tiny dollop on my lid and under my eyes and dab it on. The key is to not rub in the product as it absorbs in your skin overnight. Not only does this eye cream contain SPF15, but it also does not leave a greasy residue like some other eye creams I've tried. This makes it perfect to use in the day before applying your makeup.

I've been using this product for about 5 weeks now and I have only good things to say about it. I can see definite improvement in hydration, texture, and brightness. What is your favorite eye cream? Have you tried this product? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought. Leave me comments below!

March 13, 2013

Wish List Wednesdays: Army Chic

Some things I'm loving right now: striped tees, army green, and a pop of color. This look reminded me of a trendy yet comfortable outfit for the airport. I'm in a vacation state-of-mind, it's been one long month. Hope you're surviving the week...Happy Wednesday!
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March 11, 2013

Bachelor Sean Finale

It was only fitting to write a post dedicated to the Bachelor since the finale is today. I started watching the Bachelor the first few years it premiered and then took about a 5 year break and started up again with Emily Maynard. Now that this season is coming to an end, I realized how much I enjoy watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette, mainly for the fashion. Most of the girls on the show are fashionistas, but can you blame them - they're on national tv.

These are some of my favorite looks from this season. Lesley M and Sarah were my favorites.

I'll admit, I already found out who was going to receive the final rose before the season even premiered...thanks Reality Steve! I knew I was still going to follow Sean's journey so it didn't make much of a difference to me, except I paid more attention to the 'winner' throughout the season. I think the finale dresses are more anticipated than the winner itself. This year, Catherine and Lindsay chose very similar metallic dresses except for the color. Both dresses look great and not too prom-ish.

Hope you're ready for the finale. I'll be blocking out 3 hours of my night to watch with my girl friends. On a side note, rumors say Desiree might be the next Bachelorette. Will you be tuning in?

March 7, 2013

Rachel Zoe Fall 2013

Last night was the premiere of The Rachel Zoe Project. I remember being obsessed with this show several years back when it first debuted. Last season wasn't as exciting as she was juggling pregnancy and dealing with Brad leaving Team RZ. This season, Rachel is back with a bang (and bangs, literally)! She's got a new collection out and besides just seeing her as a stylist, we can also see her as a designer. It's interesting to see both sides of the spectrum.

In the first episode of the season, Rachel shows off her SS2013 collection. While attending the Oscar de la Renta show, she mentioned as gorgeous as his collection was for occasions, it wasn't meant for everyday women. I couldn't agree more. Personally I would rather invest in pieces which I could make more use of rather than one piece I can only wear once, maybe twice. I thought her collection was chic and effortless. The details, especially her use of tassel accessories, made the collection that much better. If you know me well enough then you know I'm a big fan of bows and tassels - they can make even the most boring of outfits fun.

Clearly, Rachel Zoe has received positive feedback and accepted as a designer. She debuted her Fall 2013 collection several weeks ago. Her color palette consisted of tans, greys, whites, and navy. I loved how each piece could be worn in multiple ways. I also feel it's important that clothes can be worn for work, which in this case they can be, since most of us spend the majority of our day in the office. As ready as I am for spring...is it Fall yet? I can't wait to see these pieces in stores. What did you think of her SS13 and Fall 2013 collections?


March 5, 2013

Recent Purchases: Ulta

These are some recent purchases I made at Ulta. I'll be doing reviews on them soon. I've been using the eye cream for a few days and I love it. This weekend was chaotic; productive, but chaotic, and the week seems to be looking the same way which may mean fewer posts.

On a separate note, who watched The Bachelor Women Tell All last night? What did you think? I was hoping Lesley would have a chance to talk to Sean, but I'm not sure he wanted to speak with anyone after Ashlee grilled him. Are you Team Catherine or Team Lindsay?

March 3, 2013

Catching up on Talk Shows

I'm a huge fan of talk shows - Oprah, Kelly Ripa, Jimmy Kimmel, the list can go on and on. I'm always intrigued to see how a celebrity presents themselves and how close to an average person they really are. I finally had the chance to catch up on some shows this week and could not help but blog about the two ladies from the voices of Escape from Planet Earth.

Sarah Jessica Parker was promoting the movie on Live with Michael and Kelly this week. She wore a gorgeous mid-length navy and white striped dress with a blazer and pumps. The blazer could have been tailored a bit, but she carried herself so well that it worked. Confidence is key!

The next star I couldn't get over was Jessica Alba on Jimmy Kimmel. It's no secret that she's beautiful and her style is worth envying, but I never knew what a great sense of humor she has! She's such a great storyteller as you'll see in the video clips below. She painted a clear picture of her hilarious situation. I think I love her 5x more now. *sigh* In case you missed her segment, I've added the clips below for your entertainment! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



February 28, 2013

Recipe: Buttermilk Biscuits

I've had buttermilk left over that I've been wanting to use, but I knew I didn't want to bake a cake with it. I got to thinking...warm biscuits with Trader Joe's Honey Apple Butter came to mind. Perfect after a long day at work and freezing temperatures outside. So, as usual, I turned my tv on to Bravo and got to baking!

Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Mix in the cubes of cold butter...

In goes the buttermilk

Roll out the dough

Don't forget to glaze the tops for that gorgeous golden color

In about 10 minutes you'll have these beauties. They didn't last very long in our house...

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled, plus additional for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together in a ball.

Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into three inch rounds with a lightly floured cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush with buttermilk.

Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

February 27, 2013

Wish List Wednesdays

Snow is in the forecast the remainder of the week which makes me crave spring that much more. I'm obsessed with neutrals and floral at the moment...can you tell? What are some trends you're looking forward to this spring?
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February 25, 2013

Best and Worst Dressed: Oscars 2013

Last night, the Oscars concluded the 2013 awards season. For the most part, the women played it very safe in their dress choices. Even though the dresses were simple, the details on most of them were worth being noted. I loved that the focus on hair and makeup was equivalent to the dress (absolutely loved Amy Adams hair). Some obvious trends included pale colored gowns, shades of red, and a few pops of color and sparkle.

My top pick for last night was definitely Naomi Watts - the dress fit her like a glove. Anne Hathaway's gown was debatable. I loved the cut (minus the darts) and the color on her, but the material was just terrible. It reminded me of gift wrap ribbon. She mentioned on the red carpet she didn't know what she was wearing until 3 hours before the show. I think she could've done a little better since this was such a big year for her. 

Best Dressed

Jennifer Lawrence // Charlize Theron // Amy Adams // Amanda Seyfried

Sally Fields // Olivia Munn // Jennifer Aniston // Kerry Washington

Jennifer Hudson // Salma Hayek // Jennifer Garner // Naomi Watts

Worst Dressed

These women unfortunately did not make wise fashion choices. Although there is nothing wrong with wearing H&M to the red carpet (to each his own), the fabric and the wrinkles on Helen Hunt's gown did not photograph well.  Melissa McCarthy's dress does not flatter her figure the least bit, Kristen Stewart appears to have rolled out of bed, and Nicole Kidman's dress had all sort of beading and sequins on it. Maybe it just wasn't their day...

 Helen Hunt // Melissa McCarthy // Nicole Kidman // Kristen Stewart

What were some of your top picks for best and worst dressed?

February 22, 2013

C Wonder

The one store I've been anxiously waiting to open up in Chicago is C Wonder. I accidentally stumbled upon this store last year while taking a stroll in SoHo with some friends. The store instantly caught my eye - the bright colors, bold prints, and the welcoming ambiance.

The feel was very similar to Henri Bendel, Kate Spade, and Tori Burch...and why shouldn't it be? C Wonder is created by Tory Burch's ex husband, Chris Burch. The line includes jewelry, shoes, apparel, handbags, and home goods. All of these items can also be monogrammed which is my favorite part. For now, online shopping is available, but here's to hoping a Chicago location is in the works!

Some of my current favorites:

Hope you have a good weekend. I'm looking forward to relaxing after a crazy 4 day weekend last week.