Friday, May 30, 2014

Sunset45 Little Luxuries Beauty and Fashion Boxes

Mary's necklace (left) and nail polish: LAVISH Box  |  Lindsey's necklace, earrings, and nail polish (right): CLASSIC box

This post was a fun one for us in so many ways! We're excited to collaborate with Sunset45 and give you a preview of the fashion and beauty goodies in their little luxuries boxes, and we are also thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to work with Birmingham based photographer Brad Lovell, who shot these lovely images. Brad is a blast to work with! 

Here, Lindsey and I are wearing accessories we received in our Sunset45 boxes, which can be subscribed to on a monthly basis. The idea is similar to Birchbox -- each month, customers pay $30 to receive a fun package of fashion and beauty items in the mail, worth up to $100. Subscribers can choose from a "CLASSIC" or "LAVISH" box of goodies. The CLASSIC box contains items that are more everyday/office appropriate, while the goodies in the LAVISH one are a bit dressier. Lindsey and I are wearing pieces from both boxes in these photos. See the caption of each photo for the Sunset45 accessories -- we've pointed out which items came out of each box. : ) 

We were so excited to open our boxes when they arrived. The 'surprise' aspect is a lot of fun and is an affordable way to incorporate new accessories into your makeupbag and wardrobe each month. Along with the jewelry you see in these images, we also received a bottle of OPI nail polish in each box. The pretty pale pink on Lindsey's nails came in the CLASSIC box, and a gorgeous lilac came in the LAVISH one. We each received a makeup brush in our boxes as well as packets of shimmery hair powder. Some new Sunset45 boxes just arrived and have a completely different feel, so you'll want to stay tuned for those pics as well! 

Earrings and necklace: CLASSIC box

Necklace and nail polish: LAVISH box

Earrings: LAVISH box

Necklace: CLASSIC box

Oh, yes. A little hair flip action. Happy Friday!

Click here to follow Sunset45 on Instagram to see more of the little luxuries boxes and for giveaway opportunities, and also check out more of Brad Lovell's photography here on his Facebook page. 

x, M
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saks Beauty Week: Our Product Recommendations

As promised, Lindsey and I have been testing the skincare and beauty goodies we received at yesterday's beauty breakfast at Saks Fifth Avenue and wanted to share our feedback with you! Beauty Week kicked off today, so you'll want to take notes on these products and get in on the special deals and freebies. : ) 

We'll start with the makeup. Here's what we tested:

Guerlain Terracotta Joli Teint Foundation in Natural (Mary) and in Medium (Lindsey) 
The formula is lightweight but still conceals nicely. The finish is very natural, and we love that it's SPF 20!
*Lindsey wished she had also chosen Natural, which is a shade lighter than Medium

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Highlight Powder
We really like the healthy sheen that this pressed highlighting powder delivers. After applying our foundation, powder, and blush, we lightly applied the highlighter down the bridge of our noses and along our temples down to our cheekbones. Subtle and luminizing. It could also double as an eye shadow.

 Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Babydoll Mascara in Fetish Black
Has good lash-separating and defining abilities. Not our favorite mascara of all time but still a good one. We're currently using Chanel Le Volume Mascara and love it.

LIPS: (faves!)
Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupte in No. 19 - Rose Orfevre (Mary)
The formula is creamy and has a nice pigment. It works just fine on its own - no need for lipstick and liner. This medium shade of pink has tiny flecks of gold in it and is a little sexy. Love it!

 Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in No. 9 - Rouge Laque (Lindsey)
The formula is a little glossy, and it stays in place all day long. This is Lindsey (below) after having applied it 9 hours prior. Awesome!

As for the skincare we've tested, here are our favorites:

Sisley-Paris Creamy Mask with Tropical Resins
(Purifying mask formulated for combination/oily skin) 
Loved this one!! After I rinsed it off, my skin looked immediately refreshed and more radiant overall. It's clarifying, so it will be a good one for summer months. As we mentioned in yesterday's post, we also looove Sisley's Eye Mask. Super hydrating, brightening and luminating. Amazing! Lindsey and I love the immediate gratification of better looking skin and want to try all of Sisley's masks. By the way, we also took home samples of the Radiant Glow Express Mask and will keep you posted on what we think : ). 

Guerlain Eye and Lip Cream
Made the dry skin around our eyes feel wonderfully hydrated. No tightness or dryness. Love that the formula doubles as a lip cream! 

As a reminder, with a beauty purchase of $75 or more, you get to take home a complimentary bag of beauty goodies. So splurge! : ) 
Happy Thursday!

xx, M

Necklaces (top and bottom): The Huckleberry Station | Ring (bottom) designed by Jess Leigh of Jess Leigh Jewels
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saks Fifth Avenue Beauty Week

Today, Lindsey and I had the pleasure of attending the third annual beauty blogger breakfast at Saks Fifth Avenue, where we and other bloggers and beauty fanatics were invited to sample and play with some amazing beauty goodies to kick off Saks' nationwide Beauty Week event. Starting tomorrow, Saks customers who purchase $75 or more in beauty goods will receive a special goodie bag containing items from the cosmetic line they purchased from. The event lasts a week. We each took home a cute bag of goodies to test, which was chocked with skincare samples by Guerlain and Sisley as well as makeup by YSL, Laura Mercier, Chanel, and Estee Lauder.

(Please excuse the iPhoto snaps, by the way!)

At the event, we tested two facial masques by Sisley. These were, hands down, our favorite products we tried. Both the Eye Contour Mask and the Black Rose Cream Masks were gloriously hydrating. Our skin felt quenched and immediately looked more radiant. Felt absolutely amazing on. The eye mask was fantastic. It deposited a sheer highlighted glow that looked healthy and made our skin sparkle. Only a dab is needed around the eye area, so the 1.6 oz tube would last forever. We also took home samples of the purifying mask, shampoo, and after-sun care tan extender and will let you know what we think : ).

Our top Guerlain picks were the Precious Lights Concealer and the Terracotta Sunless Tanning Gel. The concealer is very lightweight and has a soft brush tip which the formula comes through, like a pen. It looked very natural and concealed our bumps and undereye circles beautifully. Love it!! As faux glow junkies, we were immediately drawn to the self tanning gel, which smelled very fresh and feminine (not at all like your typical self-tan scents) and wasn't orangey at all. The color is buildable and can be layered to achieve a deeper glow. The Terracotta Bronzing Powder is also stellar and looks very natural. Lindsey prefers the matte compact. I love both the matte and shimmer formulas. We also took home samples of Guerlain's eye and lip cream and face serum. We will fill you in after we try them!

Finally, the Bond perfume counter is always a treat for us when visiting Saks. Testing these fragrances is literally an adventure. Lindsey's go-to has been Washington Square and mine is Chinatown. We are both in the market for a brand new one... always fun to mix things up. The current contenders are Success, Lexington Avenue, and West Side. : ) Throughout beauty week, there will be a special buy two, get one free deal going on at the Bond counter.. How fabulous is that?!

And finally, just for fun, here is what we wore to the event... 

My top is by Alice and Olivia and the cherry skirt is by BCBG. My adorable ring (left index finger) was designed by Jess Leigh of Jess Leigh Jewels. It is a vintage button turned ring. Love! Check out her new website here. The studded heels are Schutz. Lindsey's dress is by Opening Ceremony

xx, Mary and Lindsey

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Kismet Cosmetics Naked Gypsy Lipstick

Every woman should own a great shade of nude lipstick. We're loving this new shade called Naked Gypsy from Kismet Cosmetics, which delivers a gorgeous veil of barely there color. It has a teeny hint of pink in it, which is pretty and flattering. Such a stellar everyday shade. Love! This one is great for toting around in your purse -- it matches everything and is always appropriate. We love it paired with a natural smoky eye, as Lindsey is wearing here. Also looks amazing with heavier, more dramatic shadow. The formula is buildable, so apply with a light hand for sheer color, like Lindsey's. For a creamier, more pigmented look, build the color with a couple more swipes. Like the other fab shades in Kismet's Velvet Collection, this one is moisturizing and long lasting. As I mentioned in a previous post, Kismet is my go-to marathon lipstick. It doesn't wear off. It's gripping capabilities are pretty amazing. If you hate reapplying lipstick, this formula is an absolute must! Definitely one of the best long lasting lipsticks I have ever used. Click here, here, and here, to see us wearing other hot shades from Kismet that we love!

Gorgeous! Check out Kismet's Velvet Collection here. And you MUST try the Opulent Bronzing Lotion, which gave our legs gorgeous color and even made them look more toned! See for yourself here

x, M

Lindsey's top and shorts: Free People | Heels: Nine West | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Bangles: Shals | Watch: Michael Kors | Sunglasses: Ray Ban
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Friday, May 16, 2014

How-To: Perfect Occasion Makeup

In this post, we'll share with you one of our go-to makeup looks. This is a no-fail palette that is appropriate for all occasions and flatters everyone. You'll want to have this one in your arsenal. Birmingham-based photographer Kate Tully of Tully House Photo shot these gorgeous images, which highlight Lindsey's makeup beautifully. Thank you, Kate! :) Read below to see how to get Lindsey's look.


Lindsey blended three different shades of Chanel Illusion d'Ombre Cream eyeshadows (we love these!) onto her lids. She started with a layer of Mirage, a shimmery neutral champagne, blended across the lids and all the way up to the brow bone. Next, she applied New Moon, a medium sandy bronze, onto the outer edges as an accent. Then, she blended a bit of Convoitise, a light pearly shade with a hint of gold,  right under the brow as a highlight. She followed with a coat of Chanel Le Crayon Khol in Noir above the lash line as well as the inner rims of her eyes. On top, she traced on some liquid eyeliner and winged it out for a more defined line. Last, she swiped her top lashes with Chanel Le Volume for thickness and drama, and she used Chanel Inimitable Intense mascara on the lower lashes for separation.


Three blushes were used on Lindsey's cheeks. For contouring, Lindsey first applied Chanel Cream Blush in Cheeky onto the cheeks as a base. She followed with two swipes of Chanel's powder blushes on the cheeks. Canaille, a bronze rose shimmer, was applied just below the cheekbones, while Vivacite, a punchy pink, dusted onto the apples.


For an overall glowy effect, she mixed a small bit of Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation with St. Tropez Illuminating Liquid in Or-gold, applying the mixture with a light touch underneath the eyes, down the bridge of the nose, down the center of the forehead, between the brows, and a bit onto the chin.


Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick in L'Eclatante was used on the lips. 

Voila! Ready for anything face.

Hope y'all have a happy Friday and a great weekend! You can check out more of Kate Tully's work here.


Lindsey's dress: BCBG | Earrings: Marc By Marc Jacobs 
Mary's: Necklace: Shals
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How To Create A Colorful Liquid Eyeliner Look Using Shadow

After giving you a lot of Fashion Week coverage on the blog over the last several weeks, we thought it would be fun to do a few new beauty posts (and also show you some of our fun new jewelry pieces -- both necklaces in this entry are from Shals :). This week, Lindsey and I had the treat of being able to work with a fun Birmingham-based photographer, Kate Tully of Tully House Photo, who shot these lovely photos in her studio. Had a blast working with her! In this post, I'll explain how to create a colorful winged cat-eye using eyeshadow and how to amp it up into smokier look in minutes. 

I love the crisp, precise look of liquid eyeliner, which is why I wear it daily. It stays in place all day, and I never have to worry about it smudging or wearing off.  I've found that liquid liner also makes a great anchor when a colorful pop of eyeshadow is applied directly on top...

The effect is sharp and clean and gives the illusion of having used a turquoise liquid eyeliner. 

Here's what I did: 

1) Prime the lids with an eyeshadow primer to prevent creasing and then sweep on a neutral eyeshadow across the entire lid. 
2) Use a dark, pigmented eyeliner pencil to draw a line around the eyes, as close to the lash line as possible. 
3) Next, draw a coat of dark liquid eyeliner right on top of the pencil (top lid only). I used my everyday go-to - L'Oreal Precision Point Liquid Eyeliner in black. 
4) Dampen the tip of a slanted angle eyeliner brush (I love Estee Lauder's) and dip it on top of a pressed powder eyeshadow in a fun, bright shade. Glide it directly on top of your black liquid liner. You'll have to dip several times - you won't cover the black in one clean sweep. Then, apply the shadow on top of the dark pencil liner along your lower lashline. Here, I opted for a bright turquoise by Lancome - their eyeshadows are nice and pigmented. 

I finished the look by lining the inner lash line with a pencil in black and topped my lashes with a light coat of mascara.

To take this blue eyeliner look to a more dramatic level, all I did was apply a shimmery charcoal shade of eyeshadow to my lids, using my finger. I did this in about a minute using Estee Lauder's Pure Color formula in Black Crystals. An easy update!

Shots of Lindsey's makeup (also by Kate Tully) are coming soon! See Kate's Tully House Facebook page here for more of her great work! The necklaces here, as I mentioned are both from Shals. The top one is the Sha style, and the bottom one is the Tal. Happy Wednesday!
x, M

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Monday, May 12, 2014

5 Minutes With Heidi Elnora: BFW2014 Recap & Her Latest Bridal Line

Now that the bustle and excitement of Birmingham Fashion Week has subsided as fashion events have come to a close, I was fortunate to get a few minutes on the phone with bridal wear designer Heidi Elnora, whose runway show was hands down the most exciting moment of the week. The former Project Runway star, who founded and owns BFW, was a delight to talk to - just love her! Her energy and passion for what she does is striking, and her candor is really refreshing. In our brief chat, the busy designer and reality show host on TLC, touches on the dark nature of her BFW show and her newest line of bridal dresses, "Darling". Birmingham-based fashion photographers Rachel and NoahRay Echols kindly shared these striking shots of Heidi watching her show. : ) 


Since unveiling her collection on the final night of BFW, there has been a lot of buzz about the darker nature of Heidi's runway presentation, particularly over the cryptic brides showing off the designs. "It wasn't about zombies or The Walking Dead", she laughs. Instead, she says the idea for the show started with a striking image she had in mind several months prior to BFWof the models' heads being veiled in cheesecloth, with just their lips visible, representing the voice behind the brand.

Heidi explained that the mood of her show is an expression of how she feels at this time in her life. "I don't feel perfectly put together right now", the busy designer readily opens up, referring to the busyness of her day to day life. Between designing, running her bridal business, hosting a reality show, and taking care of her two boys, she says it can be very tiring. "At times I feel broken, yet still strong", she adds with cool confidence. That strength was powerfully evident in her bold and dramatic runway presentation, beautifully orchestrated from start to finish. 

Pleased with her BFW presentation, Heidi says watching the show was a very special moment for her. "It's your work, your heart, your soul displayed in front of people. It's honestly a very humbling and proud feeling."

In addition to her fall collection, Heidi blended in looks from her brand new line, Darling, which she showed for the first time. "Darling is a different side of me", she explains. "It's a part of me that has truly strong Alabama roots. It's more organic, more free-spirited, and lighthearted." The designs in her Darling collection, pictured below, are soft and feminine -- flowing silhouettes, sprinkled with sweet lace details and some subtle lingerie influences. Beautiful.

Darling is available in Birmingham at the Heidi Elnora Atelier as well as Flutter Boutique and Soliloquy Bridal Couture

Hope y'all enjoyed getting to know Heidi a little better! 

x, M

Photo credits: 

BFW Runway shots: Rachel and NoahRay Echols
Darling studio shots: Leslie Hollingsworth
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Monday, May 5, 2014

BFW 2014: Makeup + Behind The Scenes

Of all the gorgeous photos snapped throughout Birmingham Fashion Week, the striking images shot by Birmingham based fashion photographers Rachel and NoahRay Echols left an impression on us. Just stunning. This husband and wife team, who kindly shared their work for this post, offer a a glimpse of the "beautiful chaos", as they put it, that played out behind the scenes. Their gorgeous shots offer a more intimate view of the week and also highlight the stunning makeup and hair, which helped set the mood as the designers showed their collections.

One of the most memorable looks was the dramatic eye worn by the models in Anthony Ryan's show, which resembled a mask of rising smoke. Makeup artist Daphne Rush, who worked her magic behind the scenes, said the looks for the former Project Runway star's two lines, Anthony Ryan and ANT by Anthony, represented two very different stages in his life. "Part of our job as artists is to translate the designer's vision onto the models", she explains. "It can be challenging at times, but that's why I love being able to spend one on one time with the designers to learn more about their inspiration." She worked quickly to achieve the black splatter effect around the models eyes, and as soon as the show closed, she sprung into action to transform the looks of the models who would walk again in Anthony's next show in just minutes, wearing very different makeup.

That rush of excitement during those quick change moments, Daphne explains, is one of her favorite parts about being a makeup artist. "Somehow we finish with only seconds to spare and back out on the runway [the model] goes, the audience none the wiser! Sometimes the most magical things happen in those few high-pressure moments!"

The models who walked again in Anthony's second show, ANT by Anthony, were quickly stripped of their dramatic masks for a more natural look: clean skin and a coat of black liner around the eyes.

Another look that made an impression on us was the makeup in Hunter Bell's show. The bold red lip and natural hair looked effortless cool. Daphne, who contributed creative input for this look, cited the makeup as her favorite of the week. Daphne used clear eye gloss on the models' lids - a fun, youthful touch that we love. "Just before the show we lined up all 25 girls backstage and I went down the row assembly line style, poppin' that gloss!"

Another striking look of the week was the pop of white around the eyes of the models in the Leona show. We asked Daphne what she used to get the look. "[It] was achieved by using an opaque white pencil, such as MAC Chromagraphic pencil in White, as well as a frosty white eye-shadow such as Urban Decay Vapor. Combining the two different textures allowed for maximum color impact as well as longevity."

Finally, we must point out the adorable metallic Flash tattoos seen on the Show Me Your Mumu models! While having a drink with co-Mumu designer, Cammy Hebert, after the show, we were struck by the shimmery gold Flash tats on her arms and below her neck. These metallic tattoos were used creatively on the models in her show and glimmered like jewelry. 

We can't wait to experiment with the Flash tats on ourselves. Love these two looks in particular that mimic a silver arm cuff and gold necklace. 

Hope y'all enjoyed these backstage shots! We're obsessed. Follow Rachel and NoahRay on Facebook here and on Instagram @rachelandnoahray for more from behind the scenes. And check out more of Daphne's work here. Happy Monday!
x, M

*All images shot by Rachel and NoahRay Echols
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