current favorites: style, home, skincare, & tech

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

\\ Style //
It's been getting colder around here as we get farther into autumn and closer to winter. I've been wearing my Dakine Kylie Beanie on a few chilly nights out, since it's fleece lined and super warm. The faux fur pom adds such a fun touch to a classic piece of outerwear, too.

One of the staples in my wardrobe this fall has been American Eagle Flannel Boyfriend Shirts. I bought three last year (they still have the yellow one - my fave!) and I just put in an order for another last week (the red one). They're unbelievably soft and look great over t-shirts and under crew neck sweatshirts. 

\\ Home //
I love to read, so when I saw that Origin by Dan Brown (same author as The DaVinci Code) was released, I snapped it up. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like it will be another good one, delving into the origin of life, who we are, and where we come from. 

While browsing through Target a few days ago I spotted this Buffalo Plaid Throw Pillow and thought it would add a little bit of winter cheer to my living room. I love that it's plaid felt on one side and off-white shearling on the other. 

\\ Skincare //
A minimal skincare routine has been my go-to lately. I've noticed on days that I use Pixi Glow Tonic my skin seems to be at it's best - more radiant, clear, and balanced. I'm almost out, so I'll definitely be repurchasing this soon!

\\ Tech //
Occasionally I'll get bored and download an app/game to occupy my time. I've been having fun with the Covet Fashion app lately. The game gives you style challenges and you use designer clothing to style a look to complete the challenge. Fellow players vote on the looks for each challenge and you can win prizes to use in future style challenges if you score well enough. My husband likes to refer to it as my "dress up game"...I guess that's pretty accurate haha.

The CaseApp custom phone cases* that I designed (see full post here) have made me so happy every time I look at them. I'm using the case featuring my dogs at the moment, but I'll probably switch to the white rabbit in a few weeks to switch it up. I love how personal they each are to me; plus they were so easy to design. You can use the code LAURAA20 to get 20% off through December 16th!

Agnes stepped in to be my photography assistant for the day:

I hope you all had a nice weekend! On Friday I went snowboarding for the first time this season. I was a little rusty on the first few runs, but was getting back into the swing of it by the end. Let me know anything you've been loving lately that I should check out!

winter flats

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Plummeting temps call for a wardrobe shake up. I'm craving luxe details like velvet, embroidery, and pearls to liven up my shoes for a new season. I love pairing a statement flat with a pair of jeans and comfy sweater. It's such a quick way to look like you've put more time into an outfit than you really have. I've been reaching for flats a lot more than usual lately for work, too. I can dress down there most days, so when I don't feel like wearing heels, a special pair of flats make feel like I'm still dressed up, in a way. Peruse through my wishlist of winter inspired flats that can shake up your shoe game!

1 // Glamorous Red Embellished Bee Loafers (sale!)

2 // Zara Flat Patent Finish Shoes with Metal Band (sale!)

3 // Modcloth Talking Picture Oxford Flat in Metallic Trio

4 // Steve Madden Kast Studded Loafer (sale!)

5 // Steve Madden Hugh Velvet Bee Mule

6 // Zara Fringed Moccasins with Studs (sale!)

7 // Stradivarius Pearl Detail Loafer (sale!)

Don't forget to enter the CaseApp giveaway* in my last post - you can enter through Sunday night and a winner will be selected on Monday! [Giveaway has closed]

CaseApp custom phone cases + giveaway! [closed]

Monday, November 20, 2017

Personalization is very important to me. I like finding one of a kind art for my walls and making updates to my house to make it feel more "me". When it comes to my phone case, I like it to be as unique and special as possible. I've worked with CaseApp previously so when they contacted me to see if I'd like to design a couple of new cases, I jumped at the chance. The last case I designed turned out beautifully so my biggest struggle now, was deciding on two new designs!

CaseApp* gave me the opportunity to design two items, either a custom phone case and a laptop skin, or two of either. On their website you can use one of their lovely designs (Galaxy is one of my faves) or create your own. After a few days of playing around with designs on CaseApp's easy to use design section, I finally decided on one glossy colorful case featuring my darling doggies and one matte black and white case with a tribute to Alice in Wonderland's white rabbit - still one of my favorite stories, even as an adult.

The cases are perfect and turned out exactly as I had imagined them. The pictures are crystal clear and will be very eye-catching. They fit snugly onto my phone and are a durable, thick material. Being able to design a case that's uniquely mine made it that much more fun to create!

CaseApp was kind enough to allow me to host a giveaway for one of you to win the chance to design your own custom phone case or laptop skin, too! Enter below by following me on Instagram and Bloglovin. I'll randomly choose a winner in one week and contact you via email if you've won. Good luck and be sure to check out CaseApp for some design inspiration!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

life update [I'm still here!]

Monday, November 13, 2017

Helloooooooooooo! (echo) Well, I hope I not talking to a big empty room here. I know I've been gone for pretty much an eternity in blogging time (5 months - yikes). It was a combination of many things that led to this absence. I got super busy at work, spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, have been doing improvements on my house, etc. More than anything else, though, I fell into a blogging rut. I don't get as amped up about makeup as I once did (see here). I've pretty much just bought some refills of mascara, concealer and whatnot over the past few months - nothing else really, so I wasn't sure what to talk about since this is primarily a beauty blog. I did get more active on my Instagram over the summer, trying to post daily OOTD's as much as possible. I'll be doing more fashion and lifesytle posts going forward, alongside my usual beauty topics, so I hope you are all in for a slight shift in focus. 

I have found a few beauty products that I've been using like crazy lately, though. I tried a new mascara, L'Oreal Lash Paradise. It's a fiber brush wand, which is not my usual - but I love it! A couple of coats do wonders for my sad lashes and it stays really well on my bottom lashes without smudging. Leaving that mascara to shine on its own, I've been leaving the rest of my eye bare (who am I?) and going for a warm cheek instead. I swish The Body Shop Honey Bronze mostly on the cheeks and temples and adding Laura Geller Boysenberry Blush (similar) for a warm pink-mauve semi-matte finish. If I don't do any other makeup for the day, I'll at least do my brows (since mine are barely-there), so I've been reaching for the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer. It's not the absolute best brow product I've ever used, but it's pretty good for adding color, dimension, and slight hold and it's quick to apply which I really value. 

During my time away from the blog, I was also trying to get a little healthier. Through portion control and better food choices I've lost about 15 pounds and feel a lot better about how I look and how my clothes fit. I've bought some new clothes, including a pair of Steve Madden Breakup Booties (similar) that I can't stop wearing. They go with just about anything but I especially love wearing them with dresses. They definitely remind me of something Cameron Diaz would have worn in Bad Teacher, which I seriously love. 

Aside from being busy in my personal life over the last few months I've also been taking some time to relax and chill out and have found a few shows and movies I'd highly recommend. I just finished a quick binge of Stranger Things 2 (#bitchin) and thought it was great (and now am facing another long year until season 3). I caught the movie Mr. Right playing one day- it's from a few years ago with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell and was such a good comedy with some romance and action. She's at her quirky best in it so if you're an Anna Kendrick fan you won't be disappointed. One of my friends recommended The Sinner to me and I watched the 8 episode miniseries in just a few days. It was an absolutely gripping mystery about a woman (Jessica Biel) who murders a stranger at the beach in front of everyone there (including her own husband and son) for no apparent reason at all - she can't even explain what happened. The story evolves showing the audience more of her history and what's happened to her over the past few years that led to the incident on the beach. It's amazing and I'm now recommending to everyone I can. You can find it on demand on the USA network if you have that channel. 

Thank you all for sticking with me! I'll be hosting a giveaway very soon, so keep your eyes open for that!

summer cheek trio

Monday, June 5, 2017

For as long as I can remember eyeshadows have been my number one weakness. I have too many an abundance of eye palettes and can't resist browsing for more. However, lately my passion has been blush, bronzer, and highlighter! There's something about cheekbones that sing when the light hits them that has my heart right now.

While trying to spend less (the eternal struggle) I shopped my stash and put together a cheek combo that is perfect for summer. I've been wearing it all the time and love the way these three products play together. First I start with a generous swish of The Body Shop's Honey Bronzer in Shade 3 with a large brush on the back half of my cheeks and continuing it up along my temples and forehead. It's a subtle bronze that's just enough color to warm up your skin, especially if your still sporting your "winter" complexion, like I am.

I used to apply highlighter last, but I've changed it up to apply it before blush and I love how it seems to marry the products a bit better this way. I go in with a fan brush and lightly apply Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal to the apples of my cheeks, up along my cheekbones and slightly up my temples and browbone. Opal gives a less intense sheen than my typical go to, Champagne Pop and it's a little more golden in tone, which pairs beautifully with my blush of choice.

For a warm wash of color, my hero blush has been Benefit Coralista. (Now that's really shopping my stash, since that was the first non-drugstore makeup purchase I ever made!) I concentrate it on the apples of my cheeks and blend it back to diffuse the color slightly. It's a wearable coral with a hint of sheen that when paired with Opal reminds me of a sunrise on a warm summer morning.

This trio is definitely my go to right now. I love how the three products work so well together. Let me know what makeup combos you're loving, especially with the weather getting warmer. Something about spring changing to summer always makes me want to shake up my makeup and get out of the repetitive rut I inevitably end up in!

brows: top shelf picks & one epic fail

Monday, May 22, 2017

I have a rocky history with my brows. Like many others who lived through the 90's, I overplucked them in my teens, which took many years to grow back and fix as an adult. I also have naturally light brown brows that are sparse in areas. All of this makes doing my brows a top priority in my makeup routine to make me feel more complete and pulled together.

Each morning I equip myself with a brow pencil, tinted gel, or a combo of both to get the job done. If I'm going for a quick fix, then Benefit's Gimme Brow is perfect. It's a tinted gel with fibers in it, so it adds a little oomph to my brows while still keeping them natural.

If I'm going for a little bit more definition I'll fill in the sparse areas with NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown (a great dupe for Anastasia Brow Wiz!) and then set it with NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Blonde. This combo makes them more defined than it would just with Gimme Brow, but it's still soft and not too perfect.

For more full on makeup looks, I'll reach for a similar but slightly darker combo of Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown and the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Brunette. Making them it a bit darker helps to balance out heavier makeup looks, especially smoky eyes.

Ok...onto the fail. As you can tell from the above I'm a huge fan of NYX brow products. Buuuuut, I tried the Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Medium Brown and within 30 seconds of applying it, the color changed from brown to orange. I'm not exaggerating - it was like clown brows. At least I wiped it off and re-did them that day with a different pencil so I didn't end up leaving the house looking insane. I haven't been that disappointed with a product in a long time.

Let me know what your favorite products are for improving your brows! Are you more of a natural or perfected brow person? I go more natural 90% of the time, but I always like how it looks when they're more perfected, too. 

spring refresh

Monday, April 24, 2017

With the weather warming up and the days getting sunnier, I'm getting inspired to spruce up my closet. A few new pieces go a long way to make everything feels refreshed and ready for spring and summer.

A new watch is one of my favorite things to treat myself to. I'm a collector of Fossil watches and this lovely Fossil watch (on sale!) caught my eye. The pairing of the gray leather band and mother of pearl geometric face make for a unique accessory that goes with just about anything.

A couple pairs of versatile shoes are always a welcome addition as the season blooms. These Steve Madden sandals in Rosy Suede caught my eye as a chic take on the slide trend. They could be dressed up or down easily and I could see myself wearing them to death this summer. For a slightly dressier option, I love the look of these suede Nine West slides. The light purple (bordering on heather gray) is so fresh, especially with the subtle metallic strip peeking out of the block heel.

Like many others I was (overly) excited about the Victoria Beckham for Target collection. I may or may not have woken up at 3 a.m. to order it order it online for fear of it selling out. No shame. I've been a fan of hers forever (since childhood and the Spice Girls years, really). Having bought a few pieces from this collection, I thought a few of them would be great recommendations for spring. The blush dress with the Alice in Wonderland-inspired white rabbit touch on the collar has my heart. Looking for something with more a punch? The orange drop waist dress is the ticket. The quality of these pieces was impressive, too - the materials and attention to detail did not disappoint.

Colorful, fun makeup has been calling my name recently, so it's no surprise that the tarte Make Believe in Yourself palette is at the top of my shopping list right now. Some of those magical colors make me happy just looking at them and would definitely push me out of my comfort zone. Hydrated lips are a necessity year round, so for spring it's a nice treat to pick up this Burt's Bees Lip Balm in Pink Grapefruit. The scent is a refreshing take on a classic moisturizing balm.

My busy time at work just ended so I actually have free time again (best.feeling.ever.). I started taking the dogs for walks and I'm looking forward to working on the house again. We've started painting all the doors and trim so I can't wait to finish that and see the house transformed. One change can definitely make a big difference!

kat von d: alchemist holographic palette

Monday, April 10, 2017

Duochrome, holographic, unicorn-inspired. I'm into it alllll lately. All of these type of products are making me so much more excited about makeup than I have been in the last few months. I love products that can be used in multiple ways, so the Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette is right up my alley. 

It can be used as cheek and face highlight, eye shadow, shadow topper, brow bone highlight, inner corner highlight... I could keep going... The pans are unassuming. Each of the four looks like an off-white at first glance. In reality they are a blue, green, purple and pink that pack a punch. Alone they can be a gorgeous but subtle holographic wash of color. I love using the pink shade as a cheek highlight and any of the shades on the inner corners of my eyes. It's fun and unexpected, but not overpowering. 

They really come to life when you layer them over other shadows, though. I swatched them each over a black shadow to show off their beauty and dimension. I'd love to layer the purple over a gray cream shadow or the green over a brown. The possibilities are endless, really. Get creative and have some fun with these. I definitely have - I've been so excited to reach for these when I get ready in the morning!

Let me know if you've tried this or any other products that you've been loving lately!

the minimalist everyday face

Monday, April 3, 2017

Trying to get out the door as quickly as possible is a daily struggle for me, especially lately. I've been reaching for the same lineup of products that I barely have to think about while applying. They're a tried-and-true gang that's here to stay for a while in my top drawer. In a world filled with contouring, baking, and Instagram-perfect looks, this is more of a minimalist's daily face.

Base: bareMinerals Bare Skin Serum Concealer // One of those products I've grown to absolutely love since purchasing (and will definitely repurchase). It's a medium coverage concealer that is smooth and easy to blend because of the serum in it. The packaging becomes a bit of a mess since it oozes out of the seal without fail every time you use it. 

Cheeks: Becca Mineral Blush in  Flowerchild & Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop // aka the cheek duo of dreams... I can't even express how in love with this pairing I am. The blush might be my favorite of all time. (Strong statement!) I dust the highlight on my cheekbones first for a little dimension and top it with the peachy pink blush. It gives such a healthy color and slight sheen to your cheeks!

Brows: Benefit Gimme Brow // An old favorite in a new formula. This is the first time I've tried it since they redid it and I like the better than the original. It's a little drier than before which makes it a bit easier to control and build up.

Eyes: Ardency Inn Modster liner in Lilac & Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara // The liner is the extra piece for days when I have a spare minute. It's a subtle color boost for both my face and my mood in this pink-purple shade. The mascara is a cult fave for a reason - it's fantastic. Easy to build up without any flaking or smudging throughout the day. 

So clearly those new year's goals aren't going as planned... I'm still here; just been lax of late since work has been busy for the last couple of months. I'm hoping to be posting more often again - I miss it! Thanks for sticking around!

what still excites me about makeup

Monday, January 23, 2017

After writing primarily about beauty for three years, I've come to the realization that it takes a lot more than it used to to get excited about beauty products. Don't get me wrong, I still love it, but now that my collection has grown to encompass almost anything I could ever need, I'm not as willing to add more to it unless it's worth it.

So, what grabs my attention?

High quality formula // If I swatch something and am immediately impressed, I'm more apt to buy it. When I use a product and it blows me away, I'm also more likely to buy it in more shades, like I did with the Ardency Inn Modster eyeliners. I tried this one in Lilac and was so excited about the formula that I bought it in Black and Coffee, too. It's a smooth application that doesn't budge and with the countless eyeliners I've tried over the years, that's a rarity. 

Unique colors and color combos // My makeup stash has so many basics built up, especially when it comes to eyeshadows, that special color combinations really call my name when I'm shopping. The Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette was one of those palettes. I love all of the reds, pinks, and oranges and didn't have anything like it already, which is why I felt justified when I ended up buying it. I feel the same about a lot of the Kat Von D products I've bought, like the Rust Quad or the Ink Liner in some fun shades.

Finishes that I've never seen before // Some of my favorite recent purchases have been highlighters that excited me more than a highlighter should. The Milk Makeup Holographic Stick is one of the most used in my collection, nowadays. The prismatic, yet still wearable, color is stunning - I slap it on day or night for any occasion and love how different it is to anything else I own. I bought the KVD Alchemist Holographic Palette since it had intrigued me from the moment I saw it. I'm glad that I went for it, because I'm completely in love with it now. I'm planning on doing a full review soon, but for now I'll just say that it's a subtle quad that packs a punch and is incredibly versatile. 

A great deal // I'm sure some of you fall into this one - you've had your eye on something for a while that may not be the most groundbreaking item, but if the price was right, you'd get it anyway. I'm still a sucker for a good deal. This happened recently when the Urban Decay Naked Smoky was 50% off, so I snapped it up. I may not need it and the shades I probably already have in some form within my collection, but I love Naked palettes, so why not at that price?

After all of the purchases I've made over the years, there are some things don't get me to buy anymore, as they once did. I don't get sucked into buying something that limited edition unless I truly love it. I don't buy something based on packaging (even though sometimes it's realllly cute). And I won't buy something just because it's hyped up unless it's truly great and something that I honestly want. What about you - what makes you want to buy makeup when there's so many products to choose from?

2017 goals

Monday, January 9, 2017

I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. I never make them. Even if I do, I break them within weeks which is pretty defeating. With that being said, this year I'm going to set some achievable goals for the year, rather than life-altering resolutions. 

Blog goals

Be more consistent with my posts // If you're been around here for a while, you know that at times I can go for a few weeks without posting anything. I'm not intentionally trying to be a lax blogger, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Rather than making an unrealistic resolution for myself of posting multiple times a week every week, I'm going to push myself for a realistic goal of once a week posts, but not missing a week like I sometimes have. 

Improve my photos // I invested in a DSLR camera a couple of years ago and I have some of the basics down, but I really want to teach myself how to get the most out of it. More than anything else I want my pictures to be sharper and to improve the composition of each one. So many blogs that I read have such stunning photos, which is really inspiring me to up my own photo game. 

Personal goals

Learn to cook a few basic meals // If making mac-n-cheese out of a box counted as cooking, then I'd be set. But it doesn't, unfortunately for me. My goal this year is to learn to make a few basic meals without burning or undercooking anything. I'll probably look to Pinterest for some meal inspiration, but if you have some recipe recommendations please leave them in the comments. I'm lucky I'm married to man who can cook.

Purge unused junk // I'm finally to the point where I'm tired of hanging onto things that I don't use. I want to get rid of anything I don't wear, things I'm planning on using 'someday' (but never do), and other junk that's just sitting around taking up space and cluttering up my house. I feel like this goal would make me so much happier day to day, so I really want to follow through with it.

Now comes the hard part of getting started on all of these and sticking with them. What are your goals this year? 

Helloooo from Instagram

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