Take 5 for Beauty {Nikia’s Picks}

Nikia's Take 5 for Beauty

This week’s “Take 5” features the lovely Nikia Jefferson’s personal favorites. Nikia is a fellow Chicago Fashionista – her blog, Chitown Fashionista, is a fantastic resource for everything & anything a local style lover might want to know about!

In Nikia’s words:

1. Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer -This tinted moisturizer has great coverage, hydrates my skin and provides sun protection. I can now store away my foundation and rely on this to give me a smooth look without feeling heavy on my skin.

2. Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in “Brandi”– I practically live in this lip gloss. “Brandi” made me a pink lip color believer and has proven to be a great neutral. It has plumping power (which I absolutely don’t need), but that initial tingly sensation is a small price to pay for such an amazing color. And to be quite honest, I kinda like it.

3. L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter – I use this mainly as a nighttime face moisturizer and it leaves my skin hydrated and soft. Yes, it’s a bit pricey at $40 a tin. But a little goes such a long way. Plus, this multi-purpose product can be used on hands, feet, elbows and anywhere else that needs some extra TLC.

4. Belli Anti Blemish Face Wash – I started using this wash during my pregnancy, due to its lack of harmful ingredients. Now, six months after giving birth, it’s still in heavy rotation. It’s an effective cleanser and the lemon scent always leaves me feeling refreshed. This is perfect for anyone looking to address acne-prone skin and blemishes…no baby bump needed.

5. Relax + Reign Orange Peel Scrub by Dirt – I first spotted this locally made scrub at Dose Market. Then a friend gave it to me as a birthday present and my life was forever changed. Sure, it’s a great smelling exfoliant. But it’s the essential oils that takes this scrub to a whole new level and turns a regular shower into a mini spa experience.

Thank you, Nikia, for letting us glimpse into your beauty routine!

XO

Get Shopping {Madewell is coming to town!}

Madewell comes to Chicago

Listen up, Chicago: If you’re, like me, a fan of Madewell’s laid-back & fun style then you’re in luck. The brand is finally opening a store in Chicago next week! Yay!

Head to 932 N. Rush Street next Wednesday, April 3rd, for their opening day. Madewell staff will be handing out 150 mystery gift cards ranging from $10-500 starting at 10am to kick off the day! I suggest getting there early so you can score big and get your shop on.

Above are a few of my favorite Madewell things for Spring. How amazing are those leather bags…and don’t even get me started on those minty green sunglasses!!

XO

It’s DIY Time {Easter Egg Mania}

DIY Easter Eggs by Miss Renaissance

DIY Easter Eggs by Miss Renaissance

DIY Easter Eggs by Miss Renaissance

DIY Easter Eggs by Miss Renaissance

DIY Easter Eggs by Miss Renaissance

Hello hello, Lovelies! I hope you had a wonderful first Spring weekend.

Speaking of Spring, Easter is almost upon us…and even if you don’t officially celebrate Easter, decorating for Spring is always more fun with some pretty eggs, right? I decided to go all the way with my Easter Eggs this year – and all the way for me naturally means tons of metallics, tons of glitz & my favorite Washi Tapes!! You can use hard-boiled eggs for this, or you can blow out your eggs first. I blew them out this year, because I’m planning to display these for a few weeks & maybe even use them again next year. If you’ve never blown out eggs, this video tutorial explains everything (it’s simple once you do an egg or two.)

K, so here’s the DIY Scoop: For the metal-leafed eggs I like to use  Mona Lisa Speedball Metal Leaf. It’s not too pricey, comes in different metal shades & it’s easy to use. Simply spray your eggs with a bit of spray adhesive (much easier than the gooey adhesive you need to paint on with a brush!), wait a few minutes for it to get tacky & apply the metal leaf carefully by hand. All you need to finish it is a super soft brush (I like to use a big make-up brush) to press the metal leaf into place an BAM – amazingly shiny eggs! To create simple patterns on the metal-leafed eggs like I did, just use a strip or two of Washi Tape & remove the tape after you’ve finished leafing – the contrast between the white egg shell and the shiny metal is really stunning! Oh, and if you’re planning to keep these eggs for more than one Season, I recommend spraying them with a sealant to protect them for the future. If you want to learn more about the basics of metal leafing, this video is super helpful.

For the Washi Taped eggs, you can let your imagination run totally wild. I picked my favorite rolls of tape and cut them into triangles, thin strips & small rectangles to create fun & modern patterns. The tape sticks really well to the egg shell – it’s super fast and easy! For some extra dimension, I added a strip of fabric ribbon to one of my Washi eggs…just use any fabric/all-purpose glue you have lying around to attach the ribbon to your eggs.

Happy DIY-ing! I’d love to hear about & see pics of any egg projects you guys come up with.

XO

{All images by Miss Renaissance.}

Weekly Color Inspiration {Crafty Reminiscing}

Cross Stitch Mani

Cross Stitch Wall Art Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 1.49.14 AM

Cross Stitch Furniture by Charlotte Lancelot

Cross Stitch Furniture by Charlotte Lancelot

We all know by now that I’m huge into crafts….all crafts, even the old-fashioned types. Well, one rather “traditional” crafty craft is currently having a renaissance of sorts (pun totally intended here), yay for Cross Stitching!! Who remembers their older female relatives cross-stitching cheesy patterns for hours on end?!

I love the modern take on the old trend that’s popping up in the arts & crafts community, so I asked my nail guru Astrowifey to re-create an abstract cross stitch pattern on my nails this week (click my mani image for a closer look.) She used a regular nail polish as the base (Essie Smoking Hot), and different acrylic shades for the pattern. I love the result, it’s modern, whimsical, and gives a nod to old traditions. What do you think about the trend?

XO

{Images via here, here & here.}

Currently Baking {French Macarons}

Easter-inspired French Macaron IMG_7472-5 IMG_7477-6 IMG_7510-9 IMG_7546-13 IMG_7571-16

Easter-inspired French Macaron

IMG_7596-18

Easter-inspired French Macaron

The French Macaron…such a delicious but fickle beast! They’re beautiful, highly addicting, but also hard to perfect at home. In my experience, depending on the weather (i.e. random levels of humidity), the quality of ingredients used, the type of food coloring added, and even depending on my mood that day, macarons can either turn out beautifully or fail miserably. I remember learning how to make these little suckers back in my pastry school days, and even seasoned French Chefs still mess these up every now and then.

This being said, I love a challenge, so I decided to try my luck at some gilded & pastel-colored macarons at home – Easter is almost upon us after all! I made several batches in different colors, and some turned out better than others, but overall I’m happy with the outcome – they look fun, glittery (everything is better with glitter), and they taste amazing!

I like using Martha Stewart’s tried & true recipe – find it right here. If you want to get a little crazy, you can find the gold dust & edible glitter here & here.

I dare you to make a colorful batch of macarons this weekend…and let me know how they turn out!!

XO

{All images by Missrenaissance.}

Take 5 for Beauty {Jen’s Picks}

Take 5 for Beauty

This week’s Take 5 comes to us courtesy of Jen Pinkston, the fabulous LA-based Stylist/Blogger & all-around awesome Lady behind The Effortless Chic. I recently contributed to Jen’s “Jet Set” Series (check out the post here), so she was sweet enough to return the favor, despite her crazy schedule – she’s currently traveling through Australia/Bali!
In Jen’s words:
“First of all, I have to tell you that I am writing this post from Melbourne, Australia and I told myself that if a product wasn’t important enough to pack with me to Oz, then it wasn’t allowed to be included in this list!  I have to admit I am actually pretty fickle when it comes to beauty products as a whole. I end up with a lot of different things from gifting suites, red carpet events and holiday gifts from vendors.  I feel terrible wasting them so they accumulate under my sink and I hop from product to product trying to use them all up!  This said, if I go out of my way to buy something specific over and over then I truly love it!  These five products definitely fall into that category!
1. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant:  This product is the equivalent of getting a facial, but without the appointment and hassle. I use it a couple of times a week and it keeps my skin feeling extra smooth!
2. Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Souffle Body Cream: This is the beauty obsession that has been around the longest for me. In high school my friend Desiree and I would go to the Saks Fifth Avenue in Austin– this was before they had Barney’s or Neiman Marcus– and each purchase this.  It was before I could afford to splurge on clothes or shoes so this was my extra special purchase whenever I had extra cash.  It smells so delicious and leaves your skin super soft!
3. Toothy Tabs by Lush Cosmetics:  I was on a work trip to Puerto Rico last year and realized in my packing haste that I had forgotten my toothpaste!  Luckily my friend Emily has packed an extra pack of these.  I thought they were so weird at first but I swear your teeth feel like you have just left the dentist office after you use them!  Plus, there are no preservatives, aluminum, or artificial ingredients like normal toothpastes.
4. Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo and Conditioner:  This is another product that I started using in high school, then experimented with others over the years, and have recently come back to.  It keeps my hair super blonde and moisturized and isn’t nearly as expensive as some color shampoos.  If you’re blonde, you have to try this shampoo!
5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose: I think this is every girl’s favorite lip balm.  As much as I would love to be a lipstick every day girl, this product keeps my lips moist and gives them a hint of color without the upkeep of heavy lipstick.”
Thank you for these awesome tips, Jen!! The Lush”Toothy Tabs” got me super curious…
XO
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