A Skincare Affair with Fresh, Caudalie and Sunday Riley

Let’s take a step back into 2008. President Barak Obama was making his way into office, Beyoncé released the epic feminist anthem, “If I Were a Boy,” and I was getting my first pimple. Dun. Dun. Dun.

At 13 years old, you can imagine my first pimple seeming like the end of the world. How would that boy in my class like me with a zit the size of Texas on my forehead?

I’m happy to say that not only have my priorities changed, but so has the condition of my skin. I’ve, of course, had my ups and downs through my skin journey. I’m grateful for all my humps in the road because it forced me to learn more about skincare.

With my finicky skin, I’ve developed a fascination with ingredients and how they meet different skin concerns. Also, as an avid reader I’ve always been a sucker for a good story. That’s why my visit to the Sephora Tysons Corner Mall was so special.

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I was invited to sit in and join reps from Fresh Beauty, Caudalie and Sunday Riley for an in-store pampering event. This included a custom mini-service, which included a double cleanse from one brand, mask from a second and a treatment and moisturizer from the last. I also got the chance to have story times with all of the reps from each of the brands. If it’s not obvious, I immediately jumped at the chance.

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I began my pampering session with Fresh from Sales and Education Coordinator for Fresh, Laura Arzate. Fresh is an amazing brand that uses a lot of natural ingredients, like seaberry oil, sugar, sake and more! Laura was incredibly sweet and started me out by testing my skin to really gauge my skin type. To my surprise, she marked my skin as “normal/dry.” I always thought I was just oily!

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The story of the brand is pretty amazing. It all started in their OG apothecary store in Boston, “Nuts about Beauty,” where they created and sold a number of natural beauty products, including their famous oval soap. Also, with some research, I found that the founders, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, were the first to use sugar as an exfoliant! (Now we see sugar as an exfoliant for our face, lips and skin! Talk about a revolutionary innovation!) They’ve always been very passionate about skincare rituals, which shows with their lines that they’ve come out with to today. One bar of soap turned into some of my favorite products, like the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask, Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment and more. This year, Fresh is celebrating 25 years of innovation.

We went into the double cleanse, where she started off with the Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil. She explained that she wanted to get my skin clean, without stripping my natural oils, which is why this was perfect. It really helped to cleanse my face and give me some (much needed!) hydration.

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Then she finished cleansing with the Soy Face Cleanser. (Did you know that Soy Skincare was first introduced in 1999?) Soy is rich with anti-oxidants, which are said to soften skin while maintaining elasticity. It’s also good for sensitive skin because it contains cucumber and rosewater, which are calming and soothing ingredients for your skin. I’m interested in trying this one out some more because I had a weird reaction several years ago when I first tried it. When we tried it this time around, I didn’t see any breakouts or irritation, so that’s a definite plus!

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I scooted over to Caudalie, where we went into exfoliating my skin. I learned more about the brand from the rep, Amy Schaeffer! The story of Caudalie begins in France with a couple. What you would be surprised to learn is their products are very eco-friendly. You won’t find any preservatives or animal by-products. I even got to learn what the deal was with the grapes. Apparently in 1993, they met with Professor Joseph Vercauteren, who shared his amazing discovery. A special nutrient, called phenolic compounds, that were extracted from grape seeds, which are significantly more effective than Vitamin E. (In case you don’t know, Vitamin E is great for reducing wrinkles, nourishes, lightens dark marks and much more!)

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Over at Caudalie, we went into their Instant Detox Mask, which I have to say, I really love. It contains clay, but I didn’t get that tight, drying feeling that I’ve experienced with others. This has to do with the grape seed in it! My skin felt very soft when we got it all rinsed off. (I’m definitely going to purchase this for myself soon!)

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We finished off with a couple spurts of the famous Beauty Elixir, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. (Here’s where you can get the elixir with the special 20th anniversary packaging.) If you haven’t tried it yet, I’m going to advise you to immediately go into your nearest Sephora and try it out. I immediately fell in love with the toning spray because of its minty scent.

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After that, I finished off at Sunday Riley for some treatment and (Apparently much needed!) hydration! I got to learn about Sunday herself and her story when building her brand from Jennifer Hatton. (AKA the girl with perfect skin.) I thought it was so interesting to learn about how involved Sunday was with all creating all the products in her line. Sunday isn’t only the CEO of her brand, but she’s the formulator of her products!   Talk about total #BossBabe.

(Also, they just released the Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream on Sephora.com for Rouge members ONLY, so check it out while you have the chance!)

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During story time, Jen treated my skin with some classic products. We started with the Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Tone. She used this specifically for me because I did explain that I tend to get pretty oily in my t-zone. It transforms from a green gel into a very thin and lightweight water oner that is said to help with tightening pores, clarify and remove oils. Looking into the ingredients, I understand how it’s going to do all of that. It contains Bentonite Clay, which mattifies, while the green tea and marshmallow soothes the skin. (Yeah, marshmallow!) I did like how lightweight it was so that was a definite plus!

Because I still have some issues with breakouts and texture here and there, went in with the U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil. I do advise you to be careful with this because though it’s a phenomenal product, it does contain Salicylic Acid, which, in some cases can cause dryness and peeling, especially if you overuse it. In case you want to try it out anyways, get a sample from Sephora and test it on a small part of your neck for a couple days. This should give you a better idea of if you’re sensitive to it!

We also went into the C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum with is basically the Beyoncé of Vitamin C’s. (I refuse to apologize for all my Beyoncé references.) This is perfect for lightening your dark marks and brightening your overall complexion. When she first applied it to my skin, I immediately smelled oranges, which I’m a big fan of. I’m also a fan of the glow that I got. I’m definitely interested in testing this out some more in the future!

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Last, but not least, we went into the Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream. It’s perfect for brightening (I sense a trend!) your complexion, which we could all use during this crazy Virginia weather. (I’m convinced Mother Nature just said screw fall and skipped right into winter.) It’s a thin consistency and absorbs very nicely into the skin and keeps you hydrated. I left Sephora extremely hydrated!

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All in all, I had a fantastic time during the Skincare Affair at Sephora Tysons Corner and would totally jump at the chance to go again. That’s why you’ll definitely see me on Saturday, December 9 during the Beauty Circuit with Hourglass, Fresh and Living Proof in Sephora Montgomery Mall! Will I be seeing you there?

Have you all tried out any of these products? I’d love to get your thoughts on them! Let me know in the comments!

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Double Up (On Your Mascara, That Is!)

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To this day, most everyone that I’ve come in contact with has commented on how large my eyes are. I’ve gotten everything from “They’re so big and beautiful,” to “Can you close your eyes a little bit? They’re freaking me out.”Middle school was a great time.

Because of this, I wanted to close my eyes off because I thought it would make me better. Cue a thirteen-year-old Kat with black liner smeared all around her eyes. Granted, it did close my eyes up, but let’s just say I won’t be going back to that style of makeup anytime soon.

Fast forward to present day, I rarely line my inner rim with black. In fact, I love accentuating my eyes and drawing more attention to them. And what’s the best way to draw attention? Mascara, of course!

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Everyone has their preference on mascara, but I’m here to give you a simple tip to getting the best lashes of your life! All you’ll need is a lengthening mascara, as well as a volumizing one.

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Start off with your favorite volumizing mascara as usual. My favorite at the moment is the L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise, which I got during my time at Beautycon this summer. You’re going to do one even coat, ensuring all your lashes are coated.

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After allowing them to dry for a bit (Not full dry!), you’re going to follow that with your favorite lengthening mascara. I’m using the Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Push Up Drama Angel mascara, which is my favorite overall mascara. The wand is everything you need if you want length!

While applying, make sure your wand isn’t heavily coated when applying to your lashes. This is going to help you prevent clumps, while separating the lashes evenly. It’s also going to give you that length that the L’Oreal mascara didn’t!

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After that, you should see that your lashes are defined, but separated. Though it may seem like a lot of work to use two mascaras, but I promise when you do it, once, it’ll be a breeze!

Do you double up on your mascara? Let me know some of your favorite tips on getting your best lashes!

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Three Things We ALL Love – Wine, Women & Shoes!

This Sunday from 2-5:30 p.m., you have the opportunity to attend this year’s Wine, Women & Shoes, at Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump.

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Ladies, what are your plans for this Sunday? As good as a day in, watching Mindhunter on Netflix sounds, I have something better for you! Even though Mindhunter is a totally epic Netflix show.

This Sunday from 2-5:30 p.m., you have the opportunity to attend this year’s Wine, Women & Shoes, at Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump. And you’re in luck because tickets are still on sale!

In case you don’t know what Wine, Women & Shoes is, it’s a fashion event that helps raise money for nonprofit partners. Funds for Richmond’s event will help support Bon Secours Forensic Nursing, who’s nurses collect evidence from victims of physical violence, including sexual assault and human trafficking. They do a lot of other amazing things, so definitely look them up!

While supporting a truly amazing cause, you can sip on some of the finest wines (Served by Shoe Guys!), shop the latest trends and bid on super amazing auction items! Trust me when I say, you’ll definitely want to place a bid on at least one item!

If you’re still here, and I’ve convinced you to come, tickets are still on sale! You’ll also get an awesome swag bag! I’ve seen a peek from Christina Dick and there’s some incredible items from Sydney Lester, Elements Beauty Shop of Carytown and much more!

Will I be seeing you this Sunday? Let me know, because I’d love to say hi and chat during the event!

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Everything I’m Ready for This Fall

The fall trends that I’m super excited for.

It’s finally that time of the year again. The temperature is about to drop, PSL have taken over and the leaves are changing. I decided that the best way to jump into the new season was to make a post of all the things I’m so excited for.

Sweater Weather

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If there’s one thing that you should know about me, it’s that I love sweaters. Possibly a little too much if you ask my mother. She’s actually tried to ban me from buying any more sweaters. (Which undoubtedly failed.) I just ended up taking her sweaters, which she has started to hide from me.

Sweaters are an absolute must, especially for fall. There have been thousands of articles published on sweater weather so I won’t delve too deep into it. Just be prepared for several new sweaters to be featured on the blog. (Just don’t tell my mom!)

Fall Makeup Trends

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Recently, I’ve spent a lot more than I probably should have on makeup in Sephora, but it’s only because I’m so excited to get back on trend. I love the look of a smoked out lid, paired with vampy lips, much like I did here. Fall is the time to pull out your metallics and sultry tones, so rest assured to see me rocking these a lot. Some other trends you should look out for are fresh face with bold lips, monochrome looks and burgundy lids.

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To get this look, I used my Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette – Rose Gold Edition. “Dubai” is the perfect fall lid color. My lip is the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color in “Infatuation.” It’s super creamy and comfortable to wear!

Scarves

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Even though it might not look like it, scarves come in at a close second to my sweater collection. They add a finishing touch to any look, while keeping you warm and cozy during those cool, fall night outings with friends. I’m a big fan of blanket scarves because I can easily drape it around my shoulders for a poncho effect.

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The one I have on here is a blanket scarf from Forever 21 and it’s only nine bucks! Thank goodness for their deals! (Similar)

The Decor

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I know this may seem a little silly, but I’m obsessed with every item that remotely resembles fall. I’m so ready to bring out all my mugs, filling them to the brim with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Believe me when I say, starting today, I’m gearing up to drink at least one cup of cocoa a day. Add a little cinnamon and nutmeg for a touch of spice. Even if I’m actually drinking water in this picture. It’s all smoke and mirrors, guys.

Leather

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It’s now socially acceptable to wear leather jackets and you better believer, I’m so prepared! They add a little edge to every outfit, like this. I tied my shirt and paired it with high waisted pants and cut out ankle booties. Leather and faux-leather jackets are so accessible that you can find them at every price point.

What trends are you excited for this fall? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below.

Continue reading “Everything I’m Ready for This Fall”

Products That’ll Never Get Old

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The month of August has been extremely hectic. With a new freelance writer position at Alloy.com and running back and forth between Richmond and NoVa, it’s been a hectic month. With bouncing around from jobs and interviews, I found that I’ve gravitated towards a couple of products for a classic go-to look. I’m sure I’m not the only when I say that I have my fair share of staple products that never get old.

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Let’s start with the base. The Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation has a beautiful finish that leaves my skin looking quite natural, while covering up my imperfections. I was a bit thrown off by the word moisturizing, but I promise it doesn’t leave you looking like an oil-slick.

How to Use:

Before you even think about applying it, make sure you shake the bottle up well to properly It’s a medium-to-full, buildable foundation that is best used with a brush. I wouldn’t suggest using a beauty sponge because it’s a fairly runny foundation, meaning it’ll easily be sucked into your sponge. Opt for a dense kabuki brush to blend it out in circular motions.

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As for the glow everyone loves, I love the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks. They offer you a beautiful dewy look, without looking like you stuck your head in a a bag of glitter. I’m all for a bit of shimmer in my highlighter, but full on glitter isn’t in my everyday routine.

Another oldie but a goodie is the Benefit They’re Real mascara. It’s a cult classic for a reason! Mascara is all about the brush, TBH. The applicator on the They’re Real mascara is great for separating and lengthening, which is what basically everyone looks for in a mascara.

How to Use:

To apply your highlighter, grab a fluffy brush, like the E.L.F. Highlighter Brush, swirl it around your product and dust it on the highest points of your face. (And the brush is only $3!) For a natural-looking glow start towards your temples and sweep it towards the center of your face as opposed to starting on the highest point of your cheeks. It will give you a natural-looking glow.

As for the mascara, apply it as you normally would. I just advise you to never pump the mascara. It will dry out the product quicker.

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The Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper is another cult classic because it’s one of the blackest liners you will ever use. It’s matte as well, so you don’t have to worry about that shine that you get from other liners. A classic wing goes great with any look you may want.

How to Use:

Follow your bottom lash line as you flick the liner up and out towards the tail of your brow. Also never get scared while putting on liner because I am convinced that liner can smell fear. The moment you start holding your breath is when you accidentally hit your lid, making a large, unwarranted stroke.

What are some of your personal cult-classics? Is there anything that you have to have in your makeup kit at all times? I’d love to try it out!

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Monthly Favorites – June 2017

Some beauty favorites from the month of June, along with some tricks to using them.

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The fact that we’re already in July is absolutely crazy to me. I feel like we were just starting the new year, but alas that is not the case. With that being said, the start of a new month means a new monthly favorites!

Last month, it may come as a shock to everyone, but I surprisingly didn’t wear makeup for most of the month. For most of June, I opted for a bit of concealer and highlighter. For that, I used my trusty NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Caramel” as well as the Wet ‘n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in “Precious Petals.”

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Hair

I don’t normally talk about hair because I am absolutely terrible at styling and taking care of my hair. However, I went out of my comfort zone and decided to test out some new products and completely fell in love with the EDEN Coconut Shea shampoo and the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Soft Waves Sea Salt Spray. I found that the shampoo really made a difference in how smooth my hair was, which I was extremely surprised about.

I’ve also been a fan of really textured waves recently, but never really knew how to achieve it. Being the adventurous person I was, I knew I had to find a way to do it. I decided to curl my hair and then I went in with the spray, but not it the way you would think. Instead of spraying it in my hair directly, I went ahead and sprayed it in my hands and separated the curls by rubbing them in between my hands. I immediately got the look that I was hoping to achieve.

If you’re looking to achieve that Instagram-worthy beach hair, I would highly suggest this method.

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Skin

I was so excited to be part of the Splash Vox Box from Influenster. Inside, I received complimentary products, one being the Exfoliating Mud Mask from Tree Hut. I’d never used any products from Tree Hut, so I was excited to try it out. So far, my skin has really been loving this.

It contains charcoal, which you guys know I love because it helps draw out impurities from your skin also helps keep oils at bay. Also the fact that it’s a mud mask means it’s also perfect for those of you with oily skin. Mud helps suck up the oils from your skin, which I’m always looking for, considering I have extremely oily skin.

The last thing I love about this are the small exfoliants that get that layer of dead skin off. If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn’t suggest using this or possibly using this only once a week or every other week because it could irritate your skin.

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Face

When I did go full-faced glam, I opted for my trusty Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer and the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation for my base.

If you buy one of these, I would highly suggest the NYX Foundation because it’s only $14 and it’s going to last you a long time because a little goes a long way. I find that with four drops, I get a fairly nice amount of coverage. I just suggest using this with a brush because a lot of product will be sucked up by a beauty sponge.

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Lips

I have perpetually dry lips, so when I apply something on my lips, it has to be something moisturizing or I’ll end up taking it off in an hour. I found that I’ve really been loving the Kopari Coconut Lip Love as a lip balm. It’s been super moisturizing and I love the fact that it smells like coconuts. Also, I’ve been loving the Revlon Ultra HD Matte LipColor in “Seduction.” Thought it’s matte, I don’t find that it dries my lips out, which I love.

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Eyes

When I did wear eye makeup, I gravitated towards the Huda Beauty Textured Eyeshadow Palette – Rose Gold Edition. There’s not much I can say about this other than the fact that the shades blend out beautifully and they all are extremely pigmented. When you are using the textured shades at the top of the palette, I would suggest using your fingers because you’ll get the best payoff.

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Brows

I have been talking about these two products for so long, but only because I am so truly in love with this combination. The ColourPop Brow Pencil in “Black ‘n Brown” and the Benefit Gimme Brow in “#3” have been my favorite brow combination for quite a while now. The ColourPop pencil is so nice and easy to use because it’s not too thick and it’s easy to get thin, hair-like strokes. The Benefit Gimme Brow helps define the hairs I already have, making everything look more natural.

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Lashes

Lastly, my mascara is the one thing that I found I’ve changed up a lot. Recently, Ive been loving the Maybeline The Falsies Push Up Angel mascara and the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara. I’ve been loving combining the two for long, voluminous lashes.

If you like the voluminous mascara you are currently using, but you’re looking for more length, try layering a lengthening mascara over it. If you’re looking for the opposite, then vice versa. Don’t be afraid to layer it up!

With all of that being said, that is everything that I’ve been loving in the month of June. Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these and let me know what you were loving last month.


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Styling a Men’s Shirt for Father’s Day

A couple Style Collective girls style men’s shirt in a very fashionable way.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, a couple Style Collective babes and I decided to collaborate on a special post. After some deliberation, we determined that we’d all show our unique takes on ins and outs to styling a men’s shirt. Personally, I love men’s clothes, due to the fact that they’re so comfortable. My favorite shirt is a simple black tee from the Forever 21 men’s section. 

To make it even more “Father’s Day” themed, I forced my dad into being my photographer for this post. I think he did a pretty good job, but I digress.

Getting back to business, I went to the Forever 21, inside Springfield Mall to find the perfect men’s shirt, and found myself drawn to this russet men’s button down. (Similar) I can’t say that I have anything like it in my collection. 

I was instantly inspired to pair it with a softer bottom to make the overall look a bit more feminine. I ended up choosing these blush-toned woven fabric shorts from H&M that I’m absolutely in love with. The soft look of the linen gave this a casual feel, which I really loved. The fact that they’re extremely comfortable was just another plus!


I initially was drawn to finish off this look with a pair of nude sandal heels, but at the last moment, I thought against it and opted for these black ones from Versona. (Similar) I really liked the dark contrast of it against the russet shirt and pale shorts. These heels also paired beautifully with the lace bralette I have underneath, which was not shown due to the obvious fact that my dad acted as my interim photographer. If you’re bold enough to try this look, I would suggest to wear a lacy bralette and let a bit of it poke through the partially unbuttoned shirt. It adds another feminine touch to an otherwise casual look.


So before I bid a farewell until the next post, I wanted to take the time to say a huge Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there. Thanks for everything you do! 




Be sure to check out how the boss babes, Kamille and Tracey styled their looks. They’re absolutely fabulous!