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Packing List: Ecuador!

imageToday, I’m hopping on a plane and heading to Ecuador’s hermoso capital city Quito for a dear friend’s wedding. In addition to comfy walking shoes (I plan to do a lot of solo exploring) and my trusty passport, here are some of the travel must-haves I’ll be stashing in my carry-on: 

1. Oscar de la Renta Something Blue

According to our friends at The Knot, it’s a faux pas to attend a wedding empty handed. With that in mind, I’m packing this timeless scent to hand over to the bride-to-be on the big day. Inspired by the iconic designer’s silk and lace wedding gowns, the refined blend has sparkling notes of mandarin, linden blossom, and bourbon vanilla. 

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The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, a Happy Juice Cleanse, and More

-Charisse

Learn more about the pros and cons of a juice cleanse, with our very own Candice Chan’s personal detox experience.

(Video: YouTube)

Tricks to Taming Wild Brows: Guest Blogger

You could say Melanie Allen knows a thing or two about good hair. As the Marketing Manager and Content Editor of My Best Friend’s Hair—which helps readers find awesome stylists, salons and products—Melanie is particularly knowledgeable about all things ‘do. That’s why this week she’s giving us the scoop on salon etiquette, growing out your bangs, and more. 

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My eyebrows have always been my biggest beauty struggle. My brows are thick, unruly, and downright hard to manage, and I’ve tried it all when it comes to keeping them in check. Here are my favorite tips, tricks, and products to tame even the wildest of brows (and if it works for me, it will work for anyone!).

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My Top 10 Beauty Product Stocking Stuffers: Guest Blogger

Emily Loftiss, of Loftiss Says…, is a style and beauty maven who can take even the worst fashion debacle and make it a winning situation—who else could turn an old, too-small dress into an awesome style find from your own closet?  This week, she’s telling us her top shopping picks for the holidays, her 5-minute trick to scoring gorgeous night out makeup, and more.

Oh, it’s that time of year when you are looking for gifts for everyone from your bestie to your grandmother. Instead of buying her items that might just take up space and leave her unimpressed (mom, I still don’t forgive you for the orange in the foot of my stocking!) check out my fool proof list below. Grab even a few of these and I promise you’ll hit it out of the park!

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1. Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads

This product is magical in every way—it gives you a gorgeous, healthy glow! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to have that golden look. Plus, the packets are perfect for traveling too!

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SRSLY’s Brow Inspirations: Guest Blogger

If you haven’t heard of the online comedy series SRSLY (pronounced “seriously”) yet, let us be the proud first folks to introduce you. If you have heard of it, then you’ll know why we love the two brilliant NYU and Upright Citizen Brigade alumnae behind it. Alexandra Fiber and Danielle Gibson’s short, snappy videos are loosely based on their 20-something lives in New York. The hilarious moments adeptly touch on experiences that many of us have every day. All this week, they’re sharing their beauty inspirations in their typical witty style.

We SRSLY girls take our eyebrows, uh, seriously. We’ve been through the traumatic teenage years of late-’90s over-pluckage, but no more! Nowadays, we can’t get enough of eye-framing brows. Here’s who we look to for brow-spiration on the regular:

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(Photo: fanpop.com)

Lily Collins: Lily might’ve played Snow White in a film, but even in real life her brows are dark as night and super covetable. She makes us want to break out our darkest brow powder and never. stop. applying.

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My Totally Indispensable Beauty Essentials: Guest Blogger

Nothing gets us giddy like a good wedding. Katelyn Koepke Lewis, one of our lovely freelance writers, got hitched this October and we couldn’t resist asking her to share her bridal wisdom. The former PR maven and J-school grad recently went back to her editorial roots, working as a feature writer and editor for Be U Weddings, a Chicago-based blogazine. This week, Katelyn’s sharing her newlywed advice, from bridal beauty tricks that you can use post-wedding to how to pick hostess gifts for your new in-laws.

Take a moment to ponder your makeup must-haves. You might immediately list off a pore-perfecting foundation or that spot-on lipstick shade. What tends to get lost in the shuffle though? The behind-the-scenes preppers that—let’s face it—don’t seem as glamorous (or as fun to dish about) as the chic blush compact you just slid into your purse.

For me, these secret weapon tools: ensure that my eye makeup doesn’t slide off, combat inevitable t-zone shine, breathe more life into my locks, snatch stray hairs, and eradicate zits. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to focus on the more delightful beauty battles, like what color mani I should sport this week. Here are the hidden heroes of my beauty regimen:

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What’s In My Makeup Bag: Guest Blogger

In the fashion world, there’s outfit envy. In the beauty world, there’s makeup envy — and we are seriously envious when it comes to Annamarie Tendler. A genius makeup artist, Tendler covers a wide range of topics on her am. blog, but her The Daily Face posts, which chronicle her day-to-day makeup looks, are our favorite. (FYI: She did an amazing series in October called The Spooky Scary Daily Face, which was epic.) Each day she inspires with a gorgeous new look, and for one whole week, she’s sharing her makeup expertise with lucky, lucky us.

I might be a makeup artist, but I don’t wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis. Here is a look into my makeup bag; the 13 products I wear most days or take with me when I go away. With these items I’m covered for any situation, casual or fancy.

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Necessary Objects: Guest Blogger

Dedicated to “what’s in your closet and on your vanity,” Samantha Fodrowski’s blog, Closet Vanity, couldn’t be more perfectly suited to our interests. This week, the busy blogger is lending us her talents and musing on some of our favorite topics like the fashion-forward red lip and au naturel makeup.



There’s a whole lot more to beauty than blushes, eye shadows, and lipsticks. Though I do occasionally apply my makeup with my fingers (who doesn’t love finger painting?), there are tools of the trade that make application, organization, and skin care so much more manageable — and fun!

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Guest Blogger: We Heart This Dishes Grown Up Beauty

This week, we’re lucky to have Stef and Tyna, the ladies behind We Heart This, as guest bloggers. Their two-year-old site covers everything from adorable new pint-size clothing lines to advice on how to start a book club, plus super useful and candid beauty advice. This week they’ll be blogging about grown-up beauty (and no, you don’t have to stop wearing glitter when you turn 30 — or 40). And what better place to start than with their must-have products?

Tyna and I both hit a very big milestone recently: We turned 40. Gulp. While it hasn’t been quite as dreadful as I feared (no one has kicked us out of the Macy’s Junior Department or ripped Teen Vogue from our hands), we have come to the definite conclusion that our beauty must-haves are very different than they were ten years ago. With that, we bring you 10 Must-Haves for Grown Up Girls.

Stef’s Must-Haves

1. Perfume: It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing — full face and dressed to the nines or no makeup, big sunglasses, and ratty jeans — you better believe I’m wearing perfume! I always opt for an exotic scent with a sultry base like Bond No. 9 Chinatown to ensure that no matter what the outfit, people will notice the woman who smelled so good!

2. Nail Polish: A manicure is the easiest way for a Grown Up Girl to stay on trend  without looking like she’s trying to be something she’s not (i.e. a teenager). Deborah Lippmann and China Glaze are my favorite polishes and right now I’m loving pastels like China Glaze Sea Spray, a baby blue with pearl.

3. Exfoliator: I’m addicted to scrubbing. Nothing ages you like dull, flaky skin. I have a medicine cabinet full of exfoliators, from peels to microdermasion creams, and I love them all.

4. Hand Cream: Sure, you spend countless hours fighting wrinkles on your face. Maybe even on your neck. But what about your hands? During the day, wear a hand cream with SPF and at night, slather on something heavy duty. Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Hand Treatment has an herb-y scent and a rich, soothing formula.

5. Lip Gloss: If all else fails, there is always lip gloss. (Otherwise known as ‘a girl’s best friend’). With warm weather just around the corner, I’m happily reaching for my favorite burst of color: coral. Illamasqua Mistress is such a bright coral, it borders on orange — which you will be wearing this summer, I assure you!

Click to read Tyna’s Must-Haves

Tyna’s Must-Haves

6. SPF: There are a lot of options out there (tinted moisturizers, foundations, and even powders now have SPF) so there’s no excuse for skipping this one (looking your way Stef!). My favorite tried and true skin protectors: Drugstore mainstay Oil of Olay’s Complete SPF 30 Defense and Tarte’s Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20.

7. Tweezers: It’s no surprise to see laugh lines or crow’s feet creeping up on me, but what’s with the hair? As I get older I find new hairs—in places they don’t belong—almost every day. A high-quality pair of tweezers is a necessity to keep these rogue hairs in check. I recommend Tweezerman for their precise tips, lifetime guarantee, and free sharpening policy.

8. Magnifying Mirror: Just like every woman should have a full-length mirror to see how an outfit looks from head-to-toe, so should she have a quality magnifying mirror for the face. This mirror will be essential in makeup application (especially for those who wear glasses), seeing stray hairs and of course, for gazing into as you contemplate love and life.

9. Eye Brightener/Concealer: The delicate eye area is the first area to show signs of age, stress, or tiredness. And believe me, people notice. Dark circles under the eyes or redness on the eyelids can overshadow (heh) a stunningly made up face or distract from a killer outfit. Depending on your needs, prep the eye area (after eye cream, natch) with a light-reflecting under eye concealer (I’m loving Fresh’s Supernova Radiance Brightening Pen) and/or an eye shadow primer — Alexandra de Markoff’s Disguise for Eyes is the best I’ve ever used.

10. A vanity (or a dedicated space to prep): For some it’s a car, a couch, or a refrigerator, but I felt like a true grown-up the day I purchased my vintage art deco vanity. It doesn’t need to be an actual vanity, but every woman needs her own dedicated space (free of distractions and safe from little hands) to prep, primp, and ponder.