Why You Should Invest In A Makeup Primer

To prime or not to prime? That is the question; and YES is definitely the answer. While I’ve always been in love with fashion and design, my interest in makeup barely scratches the surface of a full blown obsession. Yes, I do have a vanity littered with little black compacts, more brushes than I know what to do with and enough glittery powder to cover a small village, but getting down in the nitty-gritty of makeup application was never one of my pursuits.

So in all my years of being a girl, why have I just discovered the wonder of makeup primer? I’m not quite sure because I have been getting makeovers at department stores since before I was a teen. Maybe it’s because the salespeople are more interested in selling the newest color palette or cream to prevent aging? Or could it be because you’re not particularly paying attention when they first apply the primer, since you still see a naked canvas (aka: your face) practically begging for foundation and blush. Whatever the reason, I am now addicted to making sure that I always apply a primer before foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, etc. So now you may be asking, why is this girl dedicating an entire blog post to primer? Here are my reasons why:

1. Primer helps smooth your face so your makeup will go on more evenly, smoothing out any bumpy patches. I’ve even noticed that my pores seem to look smaller when I use primer first. Primer basically helps create a canvas for your makeup.

2. It has a sticky effect with your makeup so your face will “stay put” wayyy longer than without primer. Have you ever said to yourself “My face is eating my makeup”? No? Then maybe it’s just me, but I always felt like my makeup would dissolve on my face after about 4 hours. But with primer, it basically clings to my face-Hello, Beautiful!

3. You know those weird eyeshadow creases you get around 2 p.m. in the afternoon? When I apply primer to my eyelids first, I don’t get those awful creases and lines.

Now that you’re super excited about primer, which one should you invest in? I have two favorites: Chanel Base Lumière, Base Èclat Du Tent (Illuminating Makeup Base) and Laura Mercier Foundation Primer “Protect”. I find reaching for the Laura Mercier tube more than the other because the “Protect” version has 30 SPF and I am always trying to protect my skin, since Melanoma runs in my family and I’ve already had surgery to remove it before. Plus, Sephora carries Laura Mercier, while I would have to go all the way to Saks to pick up more Chanel.

Chanel Base Lumière, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Chanel Base Lumière, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Available at Sephora.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Available at Sephora.

Thank you for reading & please comment below if you enjoyed my blog (or didn’t) and if you have any requests/suggestions for future blog topics. 💋

Is the Era of Whored Out Labels Over?

             Do the years of the rainbow Louis Vuitton monogrammed bags and oversized Gucci belts make your stomach churn and retinas burn? I’m talking about that awful era of Paris Hilton wannabes with the fake tans, bleached hair and larger than life designer labels plastered on literally everything. If you’re feeling nostalgic about my previous description, please leave; if not, keep reading.

Remember these?
Remember these? Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

            In the wake of “in your face” branding, I am loving the change towards a more subtle and less ostentatious movement: Bespoke. My move to the West Coast, specifically San Francisco, has opened my eyes to a more relaxed yet incredibly fashionable style. Now I am not knocking brands for having their classic signature designs, I’m just saying that you don’t have to be so obnoxious about it. There is something to be said for wearing a pair of Hermès Corfou sandals because you love the style and fit, not because everyone will look at them and automatically know how much you paid. This Bespoke movement also encompasses companies that do everything customized and made just for you. A small logo or simple stamp, think Givenchy or Lanvin, is even too showy for this crowd. The quality of these products can be just as good, or dare I say even better, than brand names, and you actually have a say in the color, design, leather, exotic skin, etc.

Personally, I love when brands have a certain image or design that only lovers of that brand recognize (the pyramids originally seen on the Hermès Collier de Chien, for example). It’s like being in an exclusive club; only the people in the know actually know.

Hermès Corfou Sandals, available on hermes.com
Hermès Corfou Sandals, available on hermes.com

           While there is something so lust-worthy about those interlocking “C”s and that scrumptious caviar leather, I am starting to lean more towards classic styles than the trendy ones (See the photo below). Chanel’s quilted Cambon bags are a staple in any fashion addict’s closet, but I don’t think that tie-dying them should be something consumers should be persuaded to think is novel or even attractive.

Chanel's New Spring/Summer Collection. Photo from their most recent email.
Chanel’s New Spring/Summer Collection. Photo from their most recent email.

             I fully understand that twice a year (Printemps-Été/Automne-Hiver), brands need to come up with something new and alluring, but maybe take a look in your history books and bring back old styles or colors rather than throwing things together and serving it on a platter as if it was designed by the gods. I think it’s rather insulting that we are expected to place these brands on a pedestal and have them look down on us, mere minions.

                Now don’t take my criticisms to say that I am taking all my Chanel bags and burning them at the stake. Rather, the opposite. I covet anything and everything Vintage because the quality is unrivaled. The only brand that has not shifted to machine stitching and conveyor belts is Hermès. By keeping majority ownership within the Hermès family, they could ensure quality control within their factories.

Hermès Leather Workshop, Photo Taken By Alfredo Piola.
Hermès Leather Workshop, Photo Taken By Alfredo Piola.

          With that being said, I am not going to lie and say that I am throwing out all my things with labels on them; I am just learning how to master the art of dressing without looking like a label whore because I have been there, done that. Now that I am in my twenties, I want to perfect the understated plain t-shirt, blazer, dark wash jeans, bright pumps and Céline phantom bag look. As the days of those rainbow Louis Vuitton belts and bags fade farther away, I think the world is ready and primed for a new wave of beautiful and bespoke fashions; and in this new world, there will be NO more “Juicy” written across my butt, thank  you very much. 💋

3 Things Every Bride Should Know

Every girl dreams about this day. The day she gets to look like a princess and have all eyes on her in a big white dress. As a former bride, and many, many times a bridesmaid, I have had an incredible amount of insight into weddings. Here is my short list of the top 3 things that I believe are essential to ensuring that you have an unforgettable and beautiful day.

My sister's invitations to her wedding at the Duke Chapel on July 5, 2014.
My sister’s invitations to her wedding at the Duke Chapel on July 5, 2014.

1. Invitations are important!

Make sure you allocate part of your wedding budget to your invitations. Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse into what the big day will be like for your guests. Those envelopes will be shredded as your invitees excitedly get to your (hopefully) beautiful invitation. I have seen some absolutely incredible invitations, and I have seen some absolutely horrendous ones. When in doubt, KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie). A little bit of bling is okay, but going all out with sequins, sparkles and rhinestones is incredibly tacky and reminiscent of something from “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”. Unless that is the look you’re going for, do NOT do it. And to answer your question, yes, I have seen invitations like that.

Second, make sure your invitations have at least some weight to the paper so it doesn’t look like you printed it out on your home printer. And speaking of printers, DO NOT PRINT IT OUT YOURSELF. Unless you are a planner and have a special printer, your ink will smear! Please girls, leave your invitations to the professionals. I cannot tell you how awful it would be for your family and friends to get your invitations and accidentally smearing all your ink because you tried to take the “cheap” way out. And again, I have seen this numerous times and it’s just awful.

On your invitation you should include the actual time of the ceremony, wedding date, location of the ceremony and attire. If your ceremony and reception are in different locations or your wedding is a destination wedding, always include enclosure cards with information such as driving directions, local hotel accommodations, reception location/time.

Lastly, and I cannot stress this point enough, PROOF READ YOUR INVITATIONS. Make sure your parent(s) name(s) are spelled correctly, as well as the last name of your groom.

Actual enclosure card from the invitations to my wedding in Paris, France on June 15, 2013.
Actual enclosure card from the invitations to my wedding in Paris, France on June 15, 2013.

2. Picking A Photographer!

After the party has winded down, your dress has come off and you’re enjoying your newly wedded bliss in the honeymoon suite, the only thing you will have that captured the beauty and excitement of that day will be your photos. Picking a photographer is arguably one of the most nerve-wracking and important parts of your big day. Your wedding pictures will last a lifetime and you will want to put them up all around your home, not to mention show them off on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

When researching, make sure you read everything (blog posts, customer reviews, etc.) you can about the photographer- do not just book the cheapest option on Groupon, ladies, because there is probably a reason that they are offering 75% off their services. When you finally decide on one, see about planning a 30 minute pre-wedding consultation or meeting in person before the big day. That way you will feel more comfortable around him/her on your wedding day, plus this will give you the opportunity to discuss angles or things that you might be a little insecure about.

In my case, I told my photographer, Rya, that I can’t stand looking at my arms (despite having a strapless dress) and that the bump in my nose gives me heartache (it was broken in the fourth grade by a stupid boy). Getting those things off my chest allowed Rya to make sure that we planned which side I would stand in pictures, tips for  posing and practicing how to arch my back so that I looked tall(er) and slender(er). Yes, this conversation was awkward, I mean who wants to complain about the way they look, but I am SO grateful that I expressed my insecurities to her because she was able to make me look like a million bucks on my wedding day and I cannot thank her enough.

I love this photo that Rya took on my wedding day in front of La Tour Eiffel.
I love this photo that Rya took on my wedding day in front of La Tour Eiffel.

3. Hair and Makeup!

Unless your best friend is a professional makeup artist and hair stylist for the rich and famous, do yourself a favor and dish out the dough for a professional to come and “glam” you up the morning of your wedding. You will want to spend the day drinking mimosas, giggling with your best girl friends and not having to worry if you forgot your foundation brush or your curling iron just imploded. Even if your close friend wants to help you out on your big day, it can be awkward if she goes a little heavy on the eye makeup or if your up-do looks more frizzy than beachy waves.

With a professional, you can explain exactly what you want and there’s no pressure if you tell them that you want something fixed or changed. Whereas with a friend, it can be hard to say that. Now that being said, I also want to stress that you absolutely MUST have a pre-wedding day trial run of exactly how you want your hair and makeup done. I thank my lucky stars that I did because the girl who was originally booked to do my hair and makeup came for a run through and when she was “finished” with me, I was literally in tears when I looked in the mirror. My makeup looked awful and my hair was frizzy from her curling iron.

I was heartbroken, but luckily our family friend who lives in Paris called her hair stylist (in Paris) and she was able to do an “emergency session”. She artfully arranged my hair in a curled up do for my ceremony (my mantel piece was too heavy to wear my hair down) and on our way to take photos, I quickly ripped out all the bobby pins so I could have soft big curls in my photos in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Oh and for my makeup? I literally walked to the nearest Sephora, found the prettiest girl with classic makeup on and told her I needed a makeover and that I was getting married in 4 hours (no pressure, haha). She ended up doing a fabulous job, and I definitely recommend wearing fake lashes because it really makes your eyes pop in pictures. 💋

Wedding makeup courtesy of Sephora in Paris.
Wedding makeup courtesy of Sephora in Paris.

10 Signs You’re With A Guy in the Tech Startup World

1. You know about new apps before they are even released. (Meerkat, anyone?!)

2. At Tech conferences, you’re the only woman for miles. (This is only place in the world where there’s no line for the women’s restroom, but a huge one for men’s.)

3. You no longer fight about him bringing a laptop/phone/iPad to bed. (“Just adjust the screen brightness, sweetie.”)

4. You’ve learned an entirely new language. (widget, Bitcoin, incubators, excelerators and platforms-no not the shoe kind.)

5. You’ve moved across the country to the Mecca of startups in Technology. (AKA: San Francisco)

6. You know what Test Flight is and you have to download every version of the app before it’s available in the App Store.

7. Apple wins. Every. Damn. Time.

8. A 3AM bedtime is considered early for your partner. What is sleep?

9. The amount of caffeine consumed in one day is frightening. (Redbull sponsorship, please?)

10. An IPO is the ultimate goal. (And then we start the process all over again.)


Sisterly Love

There no relationship quite like that of sisters. You can be punching, screaming, and pulling each other’s hair one minute and giggling on the floor the next. I have been extremely blessed to have not just one, but two, younger sisters who, despite our differences, I would give my life for. Before I get into the meat of my post, I do want to clarify that you don’t actually have to be blood-related to have that sister bond: you can be neighbors, best friends, cousins, sorority sisters, etc. The bond of sisters is like nothing else in the entire world.

les trois sœurs
les trois sœurs

With that being said, I want to do a shoutout to my littlest sister, Alexandra (aka: Lexie), who is a senior in high school and has just decided where she wants to attend college in the fall. This past year, I feel like our entire family has been holding our breath, waiting for these college acceptance letters and now, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. And I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was living vicariously through Lexie during this period of time because I had definitely repressed the memories of that intense anxiety and stress over the uncertainty of the future. When she was feeling down about a rejection letter, there I was feeling depressed and angry that they didn’t see her potential. Not only is she an AP/Honors student, but she created a service organization and she played FOOTBALL on the high school Varsity team – like HELLO?! How cool is that? I just couldn’t believe that any school failed to see how amazing she is.

Lexie was the kicker for the high school Varsity football team all four years.
Lexie was the kicker for the high school Varsity football team all four years.

Then, as I am doing more research on college acceptances I’m realizing that it honestly is a complete game of chance on whether or not you get in. It is extremely subjective and based on the luck of the draw depending on who actually looks at your application. Now I’m not bashing every admissions office, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a cloud of suspicion as to who gets in and who doesn’t.

Underneath that helmet was a girl!
Underneath that helmet was a girl!

Anyways, I am getting a little bit off topic. As the oldest of three girls, I was the one who had to “blaze the trail” and set an example. I remember getting to college and having zero idea of what I was supposed to do. I never really talked to anyone about what day to day life was supposed to be like. I remember that gut-wrenching feeling of being alone for the first time in my life, and I was absolutely petrified. But I have a pretty good feeling that my baby sister won’t really have that problem. I think the hardest part will be having to reign you in once you get the taste of freedom, to be honest.

Typical Lexie behavior.
Typical Lexie behavior.

In the end, what I want to express is how truly proud I am of you, Lexie. You are an incredibly sincere young woman, with a heart of gold and I know you will excel wherever you go.  Just remember to always keep an open mind, make friends with people with all sorts of backgrounds and stay true to yourself. Oh, and don’t skip class! 💋

My beautiful baby sister.
My beautiful baby sister.

Embrace Your Inner Goat

Now that I have your attention, I am going to explain why you should embrace the idea of being a goat. More specifically, a mountain goat. I came across a tweet last week that said something to the effect, “When all your haters are waiting to watch you fall, be a goat.” And once I stopped hysterically laughing on the plane from this picture, something clicked in me; like a light bulb in my head (rare, I know).

It’s not just that I am a hard-headed and stubborn Capricorn, but my discovery that these animals have an unbelievable ability to scale sheer cliffs. You wouldn’t guess that about them when you just observe them walking around on a flat surface doing whatever it is that goats do. These goats have this, what I definitely consider, “secret” inner strength, and that strength is in each one of us. You never know how truly strong you are until you are faced with the impossible, be it a horrible break up, being fired from a job, failing a class or even having to climb the flat side of a mountain. It’s times like these where you not only look to those around you for support, but you also have to learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going.

I don’t want this post to sound “preachy” or like I’m a know it all, because I certainly struggle with this on a daily basis, but I just want to put it out there that you ARE strong enough to get through the tough times, even if that means falling down every once in a while. Hey, that’s what makes us human! So I hope that anyone who is feeling alone/unsure/scared/etc., will read this and perhaps be inspired to “be a goat” and persevere through the tough times. 💋

It Was Only A Matter of Time

I’ve decided to start a blog. Original, I know right? But seriously, sometimes I can’t fit everything I want to say in 140 characters or less, especially when you count my love for emojis. My goal is to record daily musings, tell funny stories and share my thoughts on the world around me.

Now, I know that what I say/think won’t always be the popular opinion, but that’s what makes me unique and I’ve never been one to shy away from a debate. I hope that this blog will be an outlet for me and that I can connect and engage with people through my thoughts and posts. So, I hope you join me on my adventure in the craziness that I call my life. 💋