Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation Review + Full Coverage Foundation Routine

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I've mentioned Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation a few times already in different posts, but some of you have been curious to see it in action. I filmed my full coverage foundation routine, which you can find at the end of this post, but I thought I should give you a quick review of the foundation itself. Let me preface this by saying I LOATHE full coverage foundations: I hate the feeling and look of a makeup mask, and before I've discovered Silk Crème I never wanted to go past medium coverage.

The reason I decided to give this foundation a try was because I've heard people raving about it pretty much ever since I've started watching beauty videos. Sure, there are other full coverage foundations people rave about, but this is the only one that still looked like skin to me when I saw it in other people's videos. When I finally tried it at Sephora, I was amazed by the texture: yes, it was creamy and had loads of coverage, but it didn't feel like much on my skin. For what it does, Silk Crème is incredibly lightweight! I also fell in love with the finish of this: I have no word for it other than "velvet"—it's almost matte, but not quite, and it has a very soft quality to it. I ended up going with the shade Cream Ivory.

Now, something you want to know about this foundation is that it definitely oxidizes. I initially wanted to go with a darker shade, but thank the Gods for the sales associate who warned me that this foundation will oxidize and strongly suggested Cream Ivory. She was right: after a few minutes the darker swatch that "matched" me was too dark. I definitely suggest putting the shade on your skin and giving it a few minutes so you don't walk away with the wrong shade.

As far as wear, Silk Crème lasts about 8 hours on me on its own (all day long with powder). I don't have any problems with fading or melting—it just gets progressively dewier in my t-zone and on my cheekbones. When I apply it, it sets pretty quickly and it's definitely not one of those foundations that can be easily wiped off if you have a habit of touching your face. My favorite thing about it though is its lightness and finish—I never feel like I'm wearing a full coverage foundation and it doesn't feel weird or sticky to touch.

If you are a full coverage foundation skeptic like me, give this one a try and tell me if it changed your mind.
Just don't forget to give it time to oxidize!

Check out the video below to see my full coverage foundation routine!
What's your secret for achieving a flawless base?

Products Used:

Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation in Cream Ivory
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Neutral Medium
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent

Check out Wayne Goss' video on this technique here.

Q&A with Lindsay

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This photo is a bit #ThrowbackThursday and it sure looks like the holiday season came early to my blog. I promise, it didn't—I just really like this photo of my friend Lindsay and I from Christkindlmarket Chicago 2012 (a.k.a. the German holiday faire). Now, if you remember my 2014 New Year's resolutions post, I said I was going to keep a journal in the form of this Q&A a Day book. It's a 5 year journal, which has 365 questions (one for every day) and 5 chances to answer each of them. Surprisingly, I've actually been keeping up with it and it has become a little ritual of mine to write in it before bed. I've also given a copy to my bestie so she could join in on the fun. The questions are the most random things: some are silly, some are weird, some of them make you think. Well, Lindsay and I have decided to do a little blogging collaboration and pick 7 questions each to answer on our blogs. Below are the questions I picked and our answers. We had a lot of fun working on this and I would love for you guys to answer your favorite question(s) in the comments below!

Don't forget to check out Lindsay's post for 7 more questions.

1. If you were a literary character, who would you be?

MariannaI thought about picking someone from Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire, but none of these people have particularly easy or enjoyable lives, so I’m going to stick with my original fantasy favorite—The Lord of the Rings and pick Galadriel, the Lady of Light. I’m OK with being an Elf ruler.

LindsayCelia from The Night Circus. She lives in a world of magic and she ends up with her happy ending.

2. What do you want to buy?

Marianna: Oddly enough, I don’t have many MAC eyeshadows (I know, what kind of beauty blogger am I?!) and I have been craving a custom MAC palette full of neutrals, warm browns and a cranberry shade or two.

LindsaySoon Marianna and I will be reunited and go to MAC for a serious haul together, so I’m really excited to buy lots of MAC eyeshadows and have quality time with my bestie.

3. If you had to move to a new city, where would you move?

MariannaIf I were to pick from cities I’ve visited, probably Washington, DC. If I had to pick a random one, for some reason I’m attracted to Zurich and Amsterdam.

LindsayThe place I would pick that I’ve been to before would be Washington DC, and a place I’ve never been to, Toronto.

4. What famous person would you bring back from the dead to have dinner with?

Marianna: Freddie Mercury.

LindsayRobin Williams.

5. What was the last bad movie you watched?

MariannaMagic in the Moonlight. Painfully slow, overacted and very predictable.

LindsayKick-Ass 2. So much unnecessary violence and the story made zero sense.

6. Whose team are you on?

MariannaTeam Petyr Baelish.

LindsayI don't know what drugs Marianna is on, but Team Mother of Dragons!

7. What’s your favorite piece of clothing?

Marianna: Oh, that's tough. I would have to go with my Cat Cardigan from Target—it's just too cute!

LindsayFor cuteness, my kitteh cardigan from Target (influenced by Marianna) and for comfort, my new super comfy hoodie from our trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Lorac Pro Palette 2: Review, Swatches + Look

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When it comes to makeup palette shopping, I have to say I'm very selective: unless I know I will definitely have use for all of the shades, I don't buy it. When the original Lorac Pro Palette was released I held off, but this beauty I just couldn't resist. And my dragon approves. I have to say, I think the Lorac Pro Palette 2 is the perfect autumn palette: it has plenty of warm and cool neutrals, but also a few more daring shades to spice up the look (does it get more autumnal than plum purple, navy blue, and dark olive green? I don't think so). All of the colors in here are wearable—there isn't a single shade that makes me think "oh... when would I put THAT on?..." At the same time this palette is very versatile and pretty much perfect for any occasion. I love it!

Mattes left to right: Buff, Lt. Brown, Cool Gray, Nectar, Plum, Navy, Charcoal, Black.

In general, I found the matte shades to be not as buttery as the shimmery ones. Don't get me wrong, they are still soft and silky, but when you compare them to the shimmers they're a bit less smooth. All of these are very pigmented and easy to blend. Don't be fooled by Buff being barely visible—it's just as pigmented as the others, but it's a shade that blends in with my skin tone no matter how much I put on. The only color that felt noticeably drier than the rest is Navy and it also didn't seem to stay on the skin as well as the others—once I started blending it, it sheered out really quickly, so you will need to apply a little extra in order to get the full rich navy blue effect. 

Shimmers left to right: Snow, Beige, Rosé, Mocha, Chrome, Silver, Jade, Cocoa.

All of the shimmers are absolutely stunning in texture and color payoff. I didn't notice any of them being too powdery or having any major fallout—the shades go on smoothly and blend easily. I would definitely suggest picking up a small amount of product at a time, because even the lighter shades are very intense and don't require much building up. 

As I said earlier, this palette has countless possibilities for looks, but today I was inspired by nature around me and the colors of leaves slowly starting to change. I wanted to show you a wearable look that incorporates a non-neutral color, but still remains appropriate for daytime. Of corse, you can tone it down even more, but I like to take advantage of that fact that fall weather makes smokier looks more widely acceptable. Check out the video below for a step by step tutorial!

Have you tried the Lorac Pro Palette 2? What's your favorite look to do with it?

Nails of the Day: OPI Thank Glogg It's Friday!

In my last Nails of the Day post I started talking about OPI's Nordic Collection and I'm continuing with that theme today. This time it's a beautiful maroon shade with pink/purple shimmer called Thank Glogg It's Friday! (kind of ironic that I'm posting this on a Monday, isn't it?) This shade actually turned out to be really difficult to photograph: it can look like your typical burgundy in some light, but the subtle shimmer makes it look very cool toned when it comes through, almost icy. I've never seen a nail polish quite like this one! 

The quality does not disappoint—this shade is perfectly opaque at two coats (take a look at the photo above). It's nail polishes like this that remind me why I prefer OPI over Essie. From nice consistency that's not runny, but not too thick either, to a flat decently-sized brush, to the smooth finish without any obvious brush strokes—I love it all and I think this shade is prefect for autumn and winter. The staying power is OPI's usual: minor tip wear and no chipping for a few days. I originally thought I was going to save it for winter, but now that I've put it on I can tell it will be a favorite for the next 6 months (starting now). I definitely recommend Thank Glogg It's Friday! to anyone looking for a new sweater weather nail polish!

Have you checked out OPI's Nordic Collection yet?

Bath & Body Works Haul | Fall 2014

Well, my friends, it's finally time to share my excessive candle and soap shopping spree with you because fall is here and Bath & Body Works has the most amazing limited edition fall selection. From old favorites to new discoveries, I feel like I'm pretty well set for the next few months. Surprisingly, I managed to stay away from bakery scents and instead went for fresh, apples, and woodsy notes.

What I Bought:

3-Wick Candles

  • Spiced Pumpkin Cider
  • Marshmallow Fireside
  • Autumn
  • Sweater Weather
  • Autumn Night

Gentle Foaming Hand Soap

  • A Walk In The Woods
  • Crisp Morning Air
  • Golden Autumn Citrus
  • Fall Cranberry Harvest

To hear me talk about all of these scents in detail, check out my video below!
Have you bought any seasonal candles yet this year?

If I Stay + Where She Went | Book Reviews

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In my recent If I Stay Movie vs. Book post I promised you a double book review, so here I am, all done with Where She Went and ready to tell you what I think. Overall, I was surprised by the amount of people who preferred the second book to the first one—I was not among them. Though I enjoyed both of the books, the first one was a definite favorite. 

If I Stay

I loved this book! I was very skeptical about the concept at first: after reading the synopsis, I imagined this book to be slow and depressing, or entirely unrealistic. Basically, in my mind, a book about an out-of-body experience didn't sound engaging. Oh, was I wrong... If I Stay is about Mia, a talented 17-year-old cellist, who is somewhere between life and death after a horrible car accident. She must make a choice whether she wants to live or die, as the chapters alternate between the current situation at the hospital and flashbacks to Mia's past.

First of all, the writing is beautiful. It was intelligent and descriptive, but still sounded believable as a voice of a 17-year-old girl. It had a great balance of what I call "literary language" and yet it still sounded natural, almost like a stream of consciousness at some points. I loved Mia as a character because I got a strong sense of who she was right away and the way she saw the world made sense to me. I think one of the strongest points of Gayle Forman's writing is how she manages to give her characters personality even though she tells the story from a first-person perspective: Mia's family, her friend Kim, her boyfriend Adam—I felt attached to them all and that made the story so much more heartbreaking.

Speaking of heartbreak, this was one of the most emotional books I've ever read. I actually had to take a nap after I finished it, because I felt like my day needed a reset after all of THAT. I don't want to call this book a "tearjerker" because that word has some cheesy sentimental vibe to it, but it definitely made me cry more than once. The only thing that really frustrated me (and this is kind of a spoiler, so maybe skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know) is Mia's attitude of "I have no family left". What about grandparents, who she supposedly loves? Kim? Adam? Basically, everyone waiting for her to wake up at the hospital—how can she dismiss them over and over again? And I get it, her immediate family is gone, but she is far from being alone in the world.

Where She Went

This book and I didn't get along very well at first. Somehow I managed to know nothing about it and the first thing that threw me off was that it's told from Adam's perspective. Don't get me wrong, I like Adam, but I was expecting a continuation of Mia's story—her recovery, how she deals with her world being turned upside down, etc. Instead I not only get Adam, but also a "three years later" jump, and I really don't like when that happens—I tend to view time jumps as plot patching for not knowing how to get from point A to point B. Now, later in the book everything is explained and just like in the first book there are plenty of flashbacks, but I still never felt quite satisfied.

So here is the deal: three years later Adam is this rockstar with raging emotional issues. Picture your stereotypical jaded and depressed celebrity: girls, pills, drama within the band, and rocky interviews—that's Adam for you. And apparently Mia dropped him like a hot potato once she moved to New York. Then, surprise: they meet—what a coincidence. Can you tell how "excited" I was about this plot? 

What brought this together for me was, once again, Gayle Forman's writing—just as excellent as it was in If I Stay. And I'll admit, Where She Went grew on me a lot in the second half of it, particularly because Adam's experience with the accident and the way he was reworking his feelings was an interesting angle to see the story from. I wasn't into all of the details about the band, but once the book got on with Mia's story and working through past and present feelings (not a spoiler—you KNOW it's coming), I was on board. If you're looking from closure after the first book, you will not be disappointed—the story gets wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Even though I eventually warmed up to Where She Went, I'm still not entirely sure it was necessary to continue the story this way. The way I see it, If I Stay is a standalone book and can be enjoyed on its own, but Where She Went is definitely a "follow-up" novel that didn't really have a big impact on me. Maybe I'm just not into emo boys and damaged goods stories?

Have you read either of these books? Do you have a favorite?

The Sunday Post: A Late Lunch at E+O

You know how sometimes you just want to go out for lunch, even though there is food in the fridge and there is nothing to celebrate other than it being Sunday? Yeah, that happened to le husband and I today: we tried to convince ourselves to make food, but in the end the desire to go on an impromptu lunch date won (partly because our internal struggle left us hungry at 3pm). We decided to explore a new place in suburban Chicago and went with E+O Food and Drink. This is a cute little restaurant in Mount Prospect, IL that has a bit of everything on their menu: from your regular soup, salad, and appetizer selection, to gourmet entrees, pasta, pizza, and... sushi? Yup, sushi. I guess that makes sense, since "E+O" stands for "Earth+Ocean", but I didn't feel that adventurous. This restaurant is focused on organic and wholesome ingredients, food prepared in "natural harmony", and a casual dining experience that is memorable, "unpretentious and ambiguous". I'm going to have to say they definitely succeed in their goals!

To be honest, this was a very naughty lunch for me since I don't actually eat meat, but somehow I went straight for the Angus Burger with an egg added to it per our server's suggestion. Le husband ordered the same and we both agreed that it was undeniably delicious. Unfortunately, that left us with no room for dessert, so we will have to explore that next time. If you're ever in the area, I recommend giving E+O a try!

Have you been to any fun new restaurants lately? Did you order anything naughty?