Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts


A few of you requested more beauty-related content on Design Darling and, while it's admittedly not (yet) my area of expertise, I'm excited to try out a few new-to-me products and services and bring you the best of what I find!

First up is Paintbox Nails, a chic-as-can-be manicure studio in SoHo that specializes in nail art. Now I'm normally not a big fan of nail art (some of the designs I've seen remind me of the little flowers I requested during manicures circa age seven) but Paintbox has a range of designs that are more minimal and sophisticated than anything my elementary school self would have sought after. I brought my Design Darling summer interns, Mary Claire and Taryn, during an extra productive work week and it was such a fun way to celebrate! 

The decor inside is to die for: bright white walls, navy leather banquette seating, and modern fixtures that are a serious step up from my usual neighborhood nail spot. And the manicurists were super friendly and had lots of advice on which colors and designs would look best. The three of us wound up choosing three different looks — I imagine it would take years to get through their full range of options!

I got navy and white colorblocking, Mary Claire got lavender with a pink stripe, and Taryn got coral with a white stripe. I think I'd get something more subtle next time but it was fun to try something a little outside my usual pink and red comfort zone!

(Side note: how hilarious is this candid of Mary Claire and Taryn? I trained them well ;) I am going to miss these two SO much!!!)

A close-up of my manicure (worn with a cameo ring from Sweet & Spark!). Have you ever tried your hand at nail art? Would you give Paintbox a go? You can book an appointment online here!


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Have you ever done anything to enhance your eyelashes? I don't have short eyelashes per se but I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of lengthening them a little! (Side note: why are long lashes always wasted on boys?) I really want to give Neulash a try but I've also heard good things about Latisse and Revitalash. (I was searching online last night and found an overwhelming number of choices!) Do you have any suggestions on what you've tried and what's worked best for you? I'll keep you posted on what I decide to try!


A few favorite beauty inspirations at the moment... Bolder brows, long lashes, healthy skin, pale pink lips, and a subtle cat eye. I'm trying to do my makeup every morning (even when no one but me will see it...) because it really does make me feel just a little bit more put together. Here's what I'm swearing by these days:

*images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


My mom and I popped into Nordstrom when we were up in Rhode Island for Thanksgiving and had a lot of fun sampling perfumes (thank God for coffee beans...) and a few beauty products. Marc Jacobs Daisy is already in my rotation but we both surprisingly really liked Katy Perry's Killer Queen fragrance (a similar floral scent — I'm so predictable!). The bottle is super unique and truth be told I kind of have a girl crush on her after watching her documentary on Netflix. I decided to create a little wishlist of color-coordinated items that would look extra pretty sitting together on your countertop or dresser. Pink, orange, and a little sparkle... Yes please! Shop the post below:

*This post is sponsored by Nordstrom, a site I genuinely love and shop. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Design Darling possible!


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Is anyone else just totally overwhelmed this week?! This is the craziest time of year for my business which means less sleep, lots of cardboard boxes all over the apartment, and working overtime to make sure everyone gets their holiday orders on time. Most days I forget to eat lunch until it's dinnertime, let personal errands like grocery shopping and dry cleaning fall by the wayside, watch unread emails and text messages pile up while I work... But I truly wouldn't have it any other way. This is my first Christmas season in New York and I intend to make the most of it! My favorite diversion of all? Retail therapy, of course. Say it with me: one for you and two for me! ;)


When it comes to makeup and skincare, there are definitely some things I deem worth the splurge. For instance, this tinted moisturizer will change your life and I literally get separation anxiety from this magic tool when I travel. But there are a few things I'm content to pick up at the drugstore — I'm totally the girl who stocks up on chapstick at the checkout counter then goes home and puts one in every bag, clutch, wallet, etc. Here are a few cheapie finds that work just as well as their $$$ counterparts:

The small (3.5 ounce) size will last you months if not years. I put it on my lips every night before bed but I've found it also works wonders on dry hands come winter.

I don't wear lipstick often but, when I do, I love this bright pink shade. There are so few shades I feel I can really wear as a redhead that, when I find one I like, I buy multiples!

The colors look pretty sitting on my bathroom counter and the brush makes for an even application and longer looking lashes every time. 

I use it with my Clarisonic every night. I refuse to spend money on something I'm quite literally washing down the drain and this leaves my skin feeling super soft.

I've always been pretty good about wearing sunscreen but lately I've been keeping an extra tube of this in my bag to apply to my hands before gel manicures. Better safe than sorry?

An inexpensive exfoliator that works all over... I'm sold.

I wasn't so sure how I felt about putting olive oil on my lips but one swipe and I was addicted. The texture is amazing but I'm seriously obsessed with the smell. I have made all my family and friends try it and the verdict is always the same: Must. Have.

Tell me: what are your favorite drugstore beauty buys? Most worthwhile splurges? Let's hear it!

P.S. Pop back over for an exciting announcement this afternoon!!!


My beauty game is pretty straightforward: concealer, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, blush, mascara. If I'm headed out, I'll add a dash of eyeliner and on rare occasions go for a pink lip. What about you? Bold lip? Fresh-faced? Smoky eye? I'd love to know your go-to look and how you switch it up day vs. night, work vs. weekends, etc. Do tell!

P.S. I added a few fun baubles to the boutique today!

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I have a funny question for you today but it's one I'm actually quite curious about. But first, a confession: I cannot paint my own nails for the life of me! Painting with my left hand is not pretty. Plus my very favorite indulgence (as I admitted here!) is to go to the nail salon and get a mani/pedi. And I always, always stick to pinks and reds...
You'll find all these Essie colors right here but my current favorites are Fiesta, Geranium, and Mademoiselle. Tell me: (1) what's your favorite nail polish color and (2) do you paint your own nails?!

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I have a question about lipstick. Bloggers and celebrities wear it daily and I think the well-placed pop of pink or red can do wonders. But when I wear it myself, I feel... I don't know, a little over the top? Number 86 on my 101 in 1001 list was to find the right shade of red lipstick for me which, thanks to a trusty Sephora employee, turned out to be NARS jungle red. But I wear it very infrequently and sometimes even put it on and take it off before leaving the house! Am I crazy? Tell me, do you wear lipstick on a daily basis? If so, which brands and hues do you swear by?

*images SephoraJamie Beck, Wall Street Journal

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I don't know about you but cosmetics and skincare are just not my specialty. Ask me what dress to wear to dinner or which pillow looks best on your sofa and I can come to a decisive conclusion in seconds. But reading beauty recommendations in a magazine makes me completely overwhelmed. There's blush, bronzer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundation, highlighter, lip gloss, lipstick, mascara, moisturizer, toner... Which brings me to the question: how much makeup do you wear?
I'm usually a blush, chapstick, and mascara kind of girl... on a good day. But I received a sample of NARS tinted moisturizer when I bought my Clarisonic Mia (which I highly recommend) and I loved the way it made my skin look and feel — less pale, more smooth, and not too heavy. Added bonus: I was discussing makeup with my friend Sarah and she confessed that she loves NARS for its pretty packaging as much as I do.
Now because I've tried the sample I'm debating ordering the full size but I really have a hard time splurging on beauty products! But then I see makeup tutorials by some of my favorite bloggers and think I must be missing out since everyone has at least a ten-step morning routine and looks way more put together than I ever do. 

So tell me: how many of the blush / bronzer / eyeliner / eyeshadow / foundation / highlighter / lip gloss / lipstick / mascara / moisturizer / toner / whatever else I'm forgetting categories do you touch upon? What's your morning and evening regimen? And how did you go about discovering your can't-live-without products?

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*Images one / two 

Oh, Essie...

My very favorite thing to do with my mom and my sister is to treat ourselves to manicures and pedicures at a nearby nail salon. There's nothing special about the salon but it always feels indulgent to spend time chatting and walk out with pretty polish on our fingers!

Of course I ask every time, "Which color should I get?" and nine times out of ten I wind up reverting to one of my tried and true favorites. Jelly Apple is my winter red (a little darker), Clambake my summer red (a little more orange), Fiesta for summer pedicures (perfect peeking out from my favorite sandals), and Fiji the perfect opaque pink. What are your go-to colors?

My New Favorite Toy

Thanks to all of you who shared your favorites on this post, I have found the curling iron of my dreams. Following your recommendations, I immediately ordered the Hot Tools curling iron (1 1/4" size) and subsequently fell in love.

It heats up almost immediately, works quickly, and costs a mere $34. Seriously?! The hair tool of my dreams cost just $34?! I wish someone had told me ages ago. Get yours here and watch this tutorial if you need a little help refining your technique.

And because you were all so helpful with my last beauty dilemma, here's another for you. Do any of you use Clarisonic to clean and exfoliate? I've heard rave reviews but the $119 price tag is a bit steep for my liking. If you've used it, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Cheap Thrills

I love to shop and I like to think I'm pretty good at it. I love the feeling of scoring a great deal or finding an inexpensive product that works just as well as a pricier alternative. When it comes to my beauty regimen (which I've far from perfected), I'm all about a good drugstore find. Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive basics:

Origin biotin pills, $2.49 (A recent hair growth recommendation from Ashlina!)
Neutrogena ultra sheer sunblock, $8.99 (Dries fast and leaves skin super soft!)
Aquaphor healing ointment, $6.99 (Perfect for chapped lips come winter!)

What are your favorite drugstore buys?

Merci, Misikko!

I was so flattered when the hair care site Misikko reached out and asked if I'd be willing to review one of their hair dryers on Design Darling. I've vented several times before that my hair is the bane of my existence so I was extremely excited to try to turn that around! Misikko generously gifted me their best-selling HANAair Professional Hair Dryer and surprised me with a host of other goodies including Bobbi Brown make-up brushes, an eyelash curler, and Paul Mitchell shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Christmas came early!
I'm no pro at blow drying (no seriously, I'm the girl who went to class with wet hair) but I loved the way this made my hair feel! They say it's something about ionic technology that conditions your hair and reduces static electricity (the enemy of anyone with frizzy hair), but all I know is my hair felt shiny and soft — a look I've never achieved without a hairdresser on hand. I've also always associated blow drying with an hour long commitment for my unruly mane but I seriously sailed through it in twenty minutes on the high setting. Finally the encouragement I needed to stop leaving the house with wet hair in the dead of winter refine my technique! ;) Thank you, Misikko!


I'm granting you a reprieve from the vacation chatter with this: let's talk about hair. Mine is red. It's naturally curly and I always wanted it straight. So my freshman year of college, I had it chemically straightened for the first time. At first, I loved it. It was easy to manage and so much less maintenance than my natural texture. After a while, however, there were split ends and pieces that just felt fried no matter how well I conditioned them. Not to mention the fact that my hair grew in curly at the roots but remained straight everywhere else (not pretty). So then there was the cost of upkeep: we're talking $700+ every few months. Forget about it.
I resolved to stop getting my hair chemically straightened and get regular trims until it went back to its natural state. Eventually, however, the half curly and half straight look got to me and I had no choice but to chop it to just above my shoulders and let it all grow in curly. I let a stylist convince me to try the Brazilian keratin treatment to supposedly reverse the damage the chemical straightening had done and, while it felt great for a few weeks, there are still pieces that had more chemicals in them and are still straighter than the places where it's grown in curly. And again, $300 every few months to make it feel shiny and new? Not on my (non-existent) budget.
Now my hair is shoulder-length and mostly curly with the exception of a few pieces in the front where the stylist clearly doused my hair with chemicals to keep them straight longer. It's frizzy, especially in the summer humidity. I wear it in a sloppy bun in the daytime and occasionally curl the ends (while straightening the roots) when I go out at night. This might be as close to its original state as I'm going to get it, but still I'm not happy with the outcome.
I stumbled upon this picture on Pinterest the other day and instantly recognized it as what my hair would look like in a perfect world. I want my long hair back and I want it tame, frizz-free, and all other kinds of perfect. That's not too much to ask, right? Now clearly I need your help. Products, techniques, tools to make my crazy frizzy halo of hair look like the above. And if you have any similar stories, misery loves company. Ready, set, go!

Olivia Palermo For Tibi

I'm liking what I see in this sneak peek of Olivia Palermo's campaign for Tibi. I love the versatility of her long bob; it looks great whether it's in a bun, loose waves, or blown straight. And the clothes! Oh, the clothes...

Signature Scent

No. 74 on my 101 in 1001 list is to find my signature scent. Doesn't that seem like something every young lady should know? I feel silly for not having one and never replaced my last bottle when it ran out. Of course it seems like a fairly frivolous task but in reality I imagine it might be rather daunting. Tell me, what is your preferred perfume?
{picture from Rue}

Pink & Floral

I love the versatility of this soft pink. It electrifies the delicate embroidery worn by Vanessa Paradis in her campaign for Coco Chanel and steals the spotlight in the peony centerpieces of this table setting. Paired with fair skin or khaki chairs, anchored by dark eyes or wood accents, its bubblegum hue transitions from cosmetics to interiors seamlessly.

Fresh Face

This photo of Leighton Meester in InStyle stopped me in my tracks. Doesn't she look stunning? Her makeup is my idea of perfection: glowing complexion, subtle eyeliner, long lashes, and a pretty pout. This brings me to two items on my 101 in 1,001 list:

47.  Find my makeup must-haves.

78. Find the skincare regimen that works best for me.

Tell me, darlings, do you have any recommendations for products you simply can't live without?

Roberta Roller Rabbit

i've been on the lookout for the perfect cosmetic case and i'm convinced that i've found it in this delectable option from textile maven roberta roller rabbit. isn't the pattern divine?
it was love at first sight when i stumbled upon this beauty in people style watch. i adore the contrast of my beloved pattern and the striped handles!
i apologize for the triple dose of the line's iconic big cata print but i think these delightful placemats would provide the perfect foundation for a summery tablescape. don't you agree?

p.s. roberta roller rabbit... try saying that three times fast!