Can’t Live Without Makeup: Daily Essentials

This Summer was filled with back to back commitments.  I’ve managed to fill in every spare second with visits with close friends and trying out new local restaurants.  What I haven’t been great with, however, is ear-marked!  No worries though, long flights and non wi-fi locations have left me with piles of magazines with turned down pages and as we head to Fall, I’ll be preparing posts in advance to be sure you’re getting your daily fill!

All the travel also forced me to minimize my daily essentials to only what I absolutely need, which is always a challenge for me.  I listed below some of my favorite products, and although I definitely like to switch things up, I know I’ll be ok if these items are packed in my purse!

Can’t Live Without Makeup (in order of how I apply):

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream $38

Smashbox Photofinish Luminizing Facial Primer $38

Laura Mercier Moisture Supreme Foundation $43

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit $33

*I like how this one has two colors – not all skin tone is the same and it’s also useful when you’ve gotten some Sun or in my case a faux tan 😉

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation $28

Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights $30

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush $25

Stila Eyeshadow Trio $28

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner $15

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara $19

LORAC Cream Lipstick $19

Tory Burch Dash Large Brigitte Cosmetic Case $75


Tarte Cheek Stain – Ten

Tarte Cheek Stain – Ten ($19) is 100% one of my favorite products.  It’s paraben free and has countless skin nourishing ingredients, but the thing that makes it literally a must have is the color.  It’s without a doubt the perfect pink.  I use it on my cheeks almost every day and cannot get enough of either blending it or using it alone as a lipstick.  The consistency is perfect for a long lasting, smudge proof pout.

Buy this now!  You won’t regret it!!


I have pale skin, so my foundation, bronzer and blush are important to me.  Blush especially adds life to the complexion, which becomes necessary (especially when I’m waking up too early to feel like I have any energy).  I like to have a variety of hues on hand, as I’m a big fan of blending/layering.  This is especially useful as you learn to contour your face and enhance your best features.

My All Time Favorite Blush Options:

NARS Blush in Orgasm $28

Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Palette $45

Cargo Blush in Catalina $29

Benefit Dandelion Blush $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star in Rose Diamond $44

NARS Cream Blush in Penny Lane $28

Stila Custom Color Blush in Sheer Pink $20

LORAC Blush in Desire $20

Loreal True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Baby Blossom $11.49

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Frisky $25

LORAC Baked Matte Satin Blush in Plush $24

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural $11.99

Sephora Sale!

I’m a sucker for a bargain and Sephora is having quite the sale right now.  They’re featuring tons of great deals on their new re-furbished website, including great giveaways.  I like to shop at places that provide quality product, but also throw in special perks like free swag and discounted goods.  Becoming a V.I.B. (Very Important Beauty Insider) is very much recommended.  I pretty much get extra perks with every order!

Picks all under $25:

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Set of 5 $22

Sephora Collection Hot Hues Baked Eyeshadow Palette $7

Ultraflesh Panthera Black Magic Ultimate Jet Black Eyeliner Collection $20

Super by Dr Nicholas Perricone First Blush Brightening Serum $24

Sephora Collection Hot Hues Neon Lip Balm $3

Sevin Nyne Tanning Mist $17

Dior Diorshow Mascara in Mitzah $14.50

Faux Glow

My makeup education is always evolving.  Because of my upbringing, attending an all-girls school for most of my life mentioned here, I didn’t have much experience with a wide variety of looks.  It was basically what I put on Monday-Friday (practically nothing) or for the weekend (still nothing… social lives in the suburbs of Baltimore are hard to come by… or maybe just for me?  Yikes.).  I always loved experimenting, however, and was enamored by the models in fashion magazines.  I remember one night I decided I would master the smoky eye, being as careful as possible trying to imitate how the makeup artist’s did it.  I probably went through an entire bar of face soap erasing my attempts that would more so make me eligible for Clown College rather than Marinello.

Through the years, however, and by being introduced to coed classes in College, I learned how to highlight my features and look appropriate in public.  Even now, I take a Saturday night, once and a while, stay at home to try out new colors and products.  This still sometimes ends in disaster, but the point is to have fun with your looks and not be afraid to add a new step to your daily beauty regime.  One suggestion?  Experiment on a day/night where you won’t be rushing to an event.  I have 100% been the girl who was 30 minutes late because I was scrubbing the season’s hottest color – deep purple (made me look like the time I dressed in Goth for Halloween) – off my lips.  Oops!

One way I’ve found to enhance your look (especially at night) is by using luminizers.  Anything to give your face a healthy glow, while making you appear sun-kissed and full of life.  Some of my favorite products like these include…

Tan Towels $27/10 towelettes: I can’t live without these after a suggestion from my friend Heather, which unlike the other products, I put on before my makeup.  They enhance your skin tone and are really easy to put on evenly – they also come in bigger sizes to cover your face and body.  photo from

Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing Primer $38: I’ve been a longtime lover of the Photo Finish Collection over at Smashbox and although it instructs to put on under foundation, I love the look I get when I dab it over my cheeks and forehead after I’ve finished my makeup.  It gives you an even and subtle golden pop.  photo taken from

Tarte Ten Cheek Stain $19:  This was the first product I experimented with that has more uses than a blush, but in the pink family, instead of golds and browns.  I love how it gives you a good amount of color, without being overwhelming.  I spread this on my cheeks (sometimes my lips too!) and rub it in to give a shimmery, warm highlight. photo taken from

Curious by Britney Spears Perfumed Shimmer Stick $7.49:  First of all, wipe that look off your face.  B. Spears is amazing and this product gives you skin like the famous scene in Toxic.  See picture below… enough said.  photo of product taken from, photo of Britney taken from

MAC Strobe Cream $15:  The Strobe Cream is one I’m more inclined to wear in the day, because it goes on a little brighter than most of these, but it’s still a great buy.  It really improves the look of your skin and balances out uneven skin tones.  photo taken from

Smashbox Baked Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst $30: This is actually called a blush, but to me, it’s an all-over essential.  I use a powder brush and dab it on my face and neckline for a noticeably sun-kissed glow.  photo taken from

*I used to put as much bronzer/luminizers all over my face to try to get a golden look, but have learned to use these only on my cheeks and T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and then use a lighter, pressed powder like this one above the cheeks and along the jawline to create an illusion that your skin is more vibrant and you even appear skinnier!

Other Glow Enhancing Products I’m dying to try:

all photos below taken from

Nars The Multiple Stick $39

Benefit High Beam $26

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star $44

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum $32

Benefit Watt’s Up! Illuminizer $30

Edward Bess All Over Seduction Cream $38

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener $19

Givenchy Le Prisme Blush Bucolique $56

Guerlain Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer Highlighter $41

Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer $22

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Power Duo $29

Lorac Oil-Free Luminizer $28

Guerlain By Emilio Pucci Illuminating Powder $59

Givenchy Mister Radiant $37.50