Miss Renaissance

Category Archive: Beauty


Take 5 for Beauty {Alison’s Picks}

Take 5 for Beauty - Alison Fraker's Picks

The Take 5 are back! Yay! This week, Alison – fellow blogger & great friend, shares her favorites with us:

“1. Jouer Highlighter in champagne. I use it instead of blush when I don’t want to look like I have anything on at all. Perfect color for
adding just a little something-something, but not too much.

2. Aesop B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel. This is pure skin happiness. Try it once, it will change your life. Never travel without it.

3. Sugar Lychee by Fresh. It’s my favorite scent. Light and sweet, perfect combination. I wear it all year!

4. Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in always red. Shhh…let’s keep this one a secret, it’s that good!

5. Nars Skin Nourishing Eye Cream. This eye cream is the best. It makes me look like I got my full 8 hours, even when it was really more like 5!”

Thanks so much for your secret beauty weapons, Alison!!



Take 5 for Beauty {Manicure Edition}

Astrowifey's Take 5 for Beauty

This week’s special “Take 5” features my favorite nail artist Ashley – aka Astrowifey! She is an incredibly talented woman…her skills are truly amazing. She can transform nails into individual works of art on demand. Here are her favorite nail products (get your credit cards ready – you’ll want to take her advice and add a few of these products to your nail drawer!)

In Ashley’s words:

Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover & Nail Prep Zoya Remover Plus is the only nail polish remover I turn to! It removes just about any color in a heartbeat, while still managing to be gentle on the nail, and even offering nourishing properties with its formula. It also preps your nail plate for polish so that your polish lasts longer. If a client has dry cuticles that are cracking from the winter months, this is the remover that is gentle enough for them to handle comfortably.

Floss Gloss lacquer in “Stun” Photos just don’t do this lacquer justice. Stun by Floss Gloss is literally the best glitter polish I have ever tried. Just two coats and your fingertips will be blinging just like the bottle. There are tiny pieces of holographic glitter pieces in the lacquer, which catch the light for noticeable nails. If I want quick nail art, I will polish my nails with any base color and create an ombrè effect by polishing just a little bit at the tips, and then going back for a second coat more toward the nail tip to cause a gradual glitter look. If you’re a nail art novice, you can ditch the ombrè and use a fine paint brush to create half moons or trace the cuticle line with this glitter for a quick nail look.

CND Solar Oil Solar Oil is amazing! In winter months (and all year round for that matter) your nails need some extra love, and Solar Oil nourishes dry cuticles with ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E. This oil is dubbed the “manicure in a bottle” because if you don’t have time to polish nails, just give them a quick buff and rub on Solar Oil and you are good to go. They come in mini bottles as well, which are perfect for your purse. I recommend leaving a small bottle next to your bed so you will remember to apply on a daily basis for strong and nourished nails.

OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops These are my life savers! I cannot even explain how many times on photo shoots or at events I used these drying drops. These drops dry polish to the touch in just 60 seconds, and completely in 5 minutes! If you are running out the door with wet fingertips then these are a necessity. The drops also have jojoba oil and Vitamin E so it also nourishes while drying.

NCLA’s Nail Wraps If you are in a hurry for a event or meeting and have not had time to get a fresh manicure, make sure you put your best fingertip foreword with these nail wraps by NCLA. Remove any traces of chipped polish with Zoya’s Remover Plus, apply some CND Soil Oil on your cuticles, prep the nail with a swipe of Remover Plus again to remove traces of oil on the nail plate, and stick on these nail wraps to have an impressive manicure in under 5 minutes. Nails are a fun conversation piece and these wraps come in a large range of styles that will impress just about anyone.”

Thank you so much for letting us in on your professional secrets to fab nails, Ashley!!



Take 5 for Beauty {Nikia’s Picks}

Nikia's Take 5 for Beauty

This week’s “Take 5” features the lovely Nikia Jefferson’s personal favorites. Nikia is a fellow Chicago Fashionista – her blog, Chitown Fashionista, is a fantastic resource for everything & anything a local style lover might want to know about!

In Nikia’s words:

1. Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer -This tinted moisturizer has great coverage, hydrates my skin and provides sun protection. I can now store away my foundation and rely on this to give me a smooth look without feeling heavy on my skin.

2. Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in “Brandi”– I practically live in this lip gloss. “Brandi” made me a pink lip color believer and has proven to be a great neutral. It has plumping power (which I absolutely don’t need), but that initial tingly sensation is a small price to pay for such an amazing color. And to be quite honest, I kinda like it.

3. L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter – I use this mainly as a nighttime face moisturizer and it leaves my skin hydrated and soft. Yes, it’s a bit pricey at $40 a tin. But a little goes such a long way. Plus, this multi-purpose product can be used on hands, feet, elbows and anywhere else that needs some extra TLC.

4. Belli Anti Blemish Face Wash – I started using this wash during my pregnancy, due to its lack of harmful ingredients. Now, six months after giving birth, it’s still in heavy rotation. It’s an effective cleanser and the lemon scent always leaves me feeling refreshed. This is perfect for anyone looking to address acne-prone skin and blemishes…no baby bump needed.

5. Relax + Reign Orange Peel Scrub by Dirt – I first spotted this locally made scrub at Dose Market. Then a friend gave it to me as a birthday present and my life was forever changed. Sure, it’s a great smelling exfoliant. But it’s the essential oils that takes this scrub to a whole new level and turns a regular shower into a mini spa experience.

Thank you, Nikia, for letting us glimpse into your beauty routine!



Weekly Color Inspiration {Crafty Reminiscing}

Cross Stitch Mani

Cross Stitch Wall Art Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 1.49.14 AM

Cross Stitch Furniture by Charlotte Lancelot

Cross Stitch Furniture by Charlotte Lancelot

We all know by now that I’m huge into crafts….all crafts, even the old-fashioned types. Well, one rather “traditional” crafty craft is currently having a renaissance of sorts (pun totally intended here), yay for Cross Stitching!! Who remembers their older female relatives cross-stitching cheesy patterns for hours on end?!

I love the modern take on the old trend that’s popping up in the arts & crafts community, so I asked my nail guru Astrowifey to re-create an abstract cross stitch pattern on my nails this week (click my mani image for a closer look.) She used a regular nail polish as the base (Essie Smoking Hot), and different acrylic shades for the pattern. I love the result, it’s modern, whimsical, and gives a nod to old traditions. What do you think about the trend?


{Images via here, here & here.}


Take 5 for Beauty {Jen’s Picks}

Take 5 for Beauty
This week’s Take 5 comes to us courtesy of Jen Pinkston, the fabulous LA-based Stylist/Blogger & all-around awesome Lady behind The Effortless Chic. I recently contributed to Jen’s “Jet Set” Series (check out the post here), so she was sweet enough to return the favor, despite her crazy schedule – she’s currently traveling through Australia/Bali!
In Jen’s words:
“First of all, I have to tell you that I am writing this post from Melbourne, Australia and I told myself that if a product wasn’t important enough to pack with me to Oz, then it wasn’t allowed to be included in this list!  I have to admit I am actually pretty fickle when it comes to beauty products as a whole. I end up with a lot of different things from gifting suites, red carpet events and holiday gifts from vendors.  I feel terrible wasting them so they accumulate under my sink and I hop from product to product trying to use them all up!  This said, if I go out of my way to buy something specific over and over then I truly love it!  These five products definitely fall into that category!
1. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant:  This product is the equivalent of getting a facial, but without the appointment and hassle. I use it a couple of times a week and it keeps my skin feeling extra smooth!
2. Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Souffle Body Cream: This is the beauty obsession that has been around the longest for me. In high school my friend Desiree and I would go to the Saks Fifth Avenue in Austin– this was before they had Barney’s or Neiman Marcus– and each purchase this.  It was before I could afford to splurge on clothes or shoes so this was my extra special purchase whenever I had extra cash.  It smells so delicious and leaves your skin super soft!
3. Toothy Tabs by Lush Cosmetics:  I was on a work trip to Puerto Rico last year and realized in my packing haste that I had forgotten my toothpaste!  Luckily my friend Emily has packed an extra pack of these.  I thought they were so weird at first but I swear your teeth feel like you have just left the dentist office after you use them!  Plus, there are no preservatives, aluminum, or artificial ingredients like normal toothpastes.
4. Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo and Conditioner:  This is another product that I started using in high school, then experimented with others over the years, and have recently come back to.  It keeps my hair super blonde and moisturized and isn’t nearly as expensive as some color shampoos.  If you’re blonde, you have to try this shampoo!
5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose: I think this is every girl’s favorite lip balm.  As much as I would love to be a lipstick every day girl, this product keeps my lips moist and gives them a hint of color without the upkeep of heavy lipstick.”
Thank you for these awesome tips, Jen!! The Lush”Toothy Tabs” got me super curious…