the beauty blog

Fashion

  • Bridesmaids' Dresses: the Unexpected and Inexpensive

    Bridesmaids' dresses have been having their own revolution the past three years. First came the "mismatched but goes together" trend, and now we're seeing patterns and even white dresses! 

    Now is a great time to score some retail steals, so I put together a little collection of dresses I think would be great for bridesmaids (or wedding guests!). From Garden Party to an Urban Loft, I have you covered. All dresses are less than $100, with a few coming in at under $50 (the 2nd dress is on sale for $35, y'all!).

    Where to find the dresses!

    1. H&M

    2. J Crew

    3. Banana Republic

    4. Zara

    5. Urban Outfitters

    6. Anthropolgie

  • My 5 Minute Face

    I've become known as the Makeup Artist with a really soft, natural style. I have the same style in real life! When I started at MAC way back in 1995, I was constantly told to put on more makeup (which didn't usually happen). If I have a hot date or a big job, I'll spend about 30 minutes on my makeup. For everyday, though, I spend between 5 and 10 minutes-I've gotten my makeup routine down to a science, and now you can, too! 

    Beautiful skin is about 5 times more important than the other steps put together, so that's where I focus the majority of my time. Since my skin is pretty dry, I like to prime my face with an intensive moisturizer, which I let sink in for about a minute before I start with foundation. I love CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. It only runs you about $12 and can be found at any drugstore or supermarket.

    The next step is making your skin look beautiful! I prefer a somewhat dewy look (rather than matte), which I find easy to achieve with a CC Cream, a creamy concealer and a Beauty Blender. If you don't have a Beauty Blender, I suggest stop reading this and buying one, stat. Don't settle for an imposter-there is some kind of voodoo magic in the original. With a moist sponge, I apply 2 or 3 light layers of CC Cream. I love the one from Gorgeous Cosmetics. I then use my Missha Concealer (it's about 6 bucks y'all!) and make about 5 dots directly from the tube around the crescent of my undereye and pat with my fingers to blend. 

    Now that you've taken two minutes to even out your skin, you want to enhance it with a few different powders. First, I set my foundation with Banana Powder and a big, fluffy brush, concentrating especially on my undereyes. I then take a blush brush and highlight the top of my cheekbones with a light pink or a peachy-pink blush. I take that same brush and contour my face lightly with bronzer. I like a little shimmer in my bronzer, especially in the winter, like Laguna from Nars. 

    Two areas left to finish-no sweat! On my eyes, I take a few quick swipes with a cream eyeshadow stick from my lash line to the crease of my eyelid. I play around with different colors, but I've found that rose gold looks great on everyone, like this one from Laura Mercier. On top of that, I take a fluffy eyeshadow brush and a medium brown shadow and work it into the crease. Give your eyelashes a really good curl and use a few generous applications of mascara to your upper lashes and a light coating to your lower ones. 

    Playing around with lip color is super fun, and I switch mine almost daily, so I'll just tell you how I got the soft nude lip in the picture above. For longevity, I like to start by filling in my entire lips with a matching lip pencil. For this look I used In Synch from MAC. I then used a sheer, peachy-nude lipstick from Lipstick Queen right from the tube!

    There you have it, my friends! A quick, yet polished look for everyday good-lookingness!

    Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!

    Love Always,

    Erica

  • Thrifting 101

    Anyone that knows me knows I love a deal. Thrift stores are my happy place! With a little patience and some knowledge of designers, you can put together a high-end outfit for a steal. The two outfits I put together here were under $20--including the shoes! The peach dress is Helmut Lang, the white leather jacket is Nanette Lapore and that fabulous trench is Elizabeth and James. Retail, I wouldn't have gotten out of the store for less than $1000. 

    Tip 1: Be reasonable

    Make sure what you buy isn't in need of repair. Chances are high that you're never going to get to it. Shop for well-made clothes. I steer clear of anything that was inexpensive to begin with or is made with cheap materials like "pleather" or polyester. Also, don't buy anything just because it's a good deal. If you're not excited about it...resist!

    Tip 2:  Shop smarter

    One of my favorite places to look when I walk into a thrift store is the discard rack outside of the dressing room. If someone else thought it was worth trying on, chances are good that you'll feel the same. The rack that hasn't been put out on the floor yet is also worth a look as it hasn't been picked over. I also like to do a scan of any rack before I start looking through it. The white leather jacket I bought was almost literally calling my name. Don't spend much time looking through t-shirts and tanks-they're not worth it.

    Tip 3: Put in the work

    If you're not patient, thrifting isn't going to work for you-you're better off going to a consignment store and paying a little extra. Depending on the store, I usually spend between a half hour to an hour shopping. I have a pretty full closet(s), so I usually shop without much of an agenda, but it's a great idea to create a list of items you are looking for so you don't get overwhelmed. Thrift stores can do that to you!

    Tip 4: Thrift stores are different

    Stick to the season. Traditional retailers put items on sale at the end of each season, which is when you can score the best bargains. Thrift stores typically only put out seasonal items, so don't expect to find an awesome sweater in July. Also, I like to wear a simple, form-fitting outfit so I can try on clothes over it (the dressing rooms are often lacking!).

    I hope this was useful! Happy Shopping!!

    Love, 

    Erica 

    PPhotography by @teddybphoto

  • Rent the runway!

    Shawn and I poured over the pictures from New York Fashion Week. We keep talking about the trends we love--dark lips, funky braids, sleek and structured updos. We also passed pictures back and forth with comments like, "Um, that is never a good idea" and "So, I keep looking at this, and I still don't understand what's happening."

    I decided that it would be fun if we took some of the looks we thought were cool and transformed them into looks that were more wearable and a whole lot easier to try.

    Enjoy!

    Love, Erica

    From Shawn:

    "Since fishtail braids are all the rage, I wanted to create a wearable look that encorporates these braids into hair that is worn down. And still keeps all the cool. My look is on the left-in the middle is a model (duh) and on the right is singer Nicole Scherzinger.

    To create these braids, section your hair into two parts. If you have long hair, section your hair from ear to ear and pin the top section up. If you hair is shorter, move the sectioning up an inch or two to give you more hair to braid with. 

    Next, grab about a two inch section of hair behind your ear to fishtail braid. This braid only looks complicated! Trust me, you can learn it in 5 minutes by checking out a tutorial on Pinterest or YouTube. Make the braid nice and tight to start with because next, you are going to pull it apart! I rubbed a little Aquage Detailing Creme in my hands, and then I went through the braid and picked different sections to pull apart.

    Then let the rest of your hair down! You could braid one side or both! And remember, this shouldn't look too perfect!"

    "Violet was all over the runways. Both Vera Wang and Derek Lam (the two pictures on the right) showed vibrant shadows with a softer matching lipstick. 

    I applied Mac's Violetta straight from the tube, and then I am immediately blotted it with a makeup sponge (any kind of tissue-based paper can leave residue).

    For the eyes, I grabbed two of my favorite eyeshadows-Love Letter from Kat Von D, which is a deep purple, and Gunmetal from Make Up Forever, which is a metallic light orchid. I applied a heavy dose of Love Letter all over the lid. I then took a fluffy eyeshadow brush and applied Gunmetal in the crease and down to the very inner eye. 

    You could intesify this look as much as you want--use a purple eyeliner and even a purple mascara! I liked how soft the violet looks on it's own with just a couple of coats of mascara."

    From Erica:

    "Who doesn't love a good "faux hawk"? Not Marc Jacobs, he sent a whole troop of beauties down the runway with hair like the picture on the right.

    I actually did the hair on the left for a bridal photoshoot. My inspiration was to create the feeling of a faux hawk while keeping everything soft and pretty. Since this took me some time to do, and I have a few years of on the job experience, I am not going to take you through the steps of this style. Instead, I am going to give you a few tips for the next time you have some time on your hands and a little motivation! 

    In both of the pictures, the hair was taken "up" in a lot of sections--in my look, I used 5 or 6 sections.  This technique is especially helpful when you want to create volume. Because the sections are secured individually, the weight of the hair remains contained in these sections.

    I think one of the key components to creating an updo that looks modern and cool is staying away from "perfect." I love adding texture or emphasizing natural texture. I always start with a working spray like Does it All-this creates stronger curls. For my updo on the left, I quickly curled all of the hair. Once the curls cooled, I used Bb.texture and combed through the sections with my fingers before I started pinning. The first section is actually a french braid which I loosened after I braided to add volume. I like to use a strong hold hairpsray at the end, but I don't like to, um, I will just say "helmet head." That way I can change parts of the updo as I need to.

    Some might call this messy, but to me, this is perfect."