Destination Inspiration: Saint Tropez

    I'll admit that I became familiar with Saint Tropez Bronzing Mousse before I had ever heard of Saint Tropez, France. Once I did, it became obvious that the self-tanner was aptly named.  The "Tan", as we know it today, became en vogue when fashion's elite, such as Coco Chanel, began flocking to these fabulous locations during the holidays and would come back with beautiful bronzed skin.

You can mimic the look of "just got back from holiday," with a deep self-tanner. Check out my post, Top 4 Self Tanner Tips, to see how to get the best use from today's Destination Inspiration product, the Saint Tropez Bronzing Mousse.

Father's Day: Man of a Thousand Faces

In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to share a film, Man of a Thousand Faces, that my Dad gave me a couple years ago. 

When I graduated college, I had no idea what I wanted to do (does that sound familiar?).  My parents, sensing my misdirection, suggested that I should start a career in makeup and I couldn't believe it. I was thrilled that they wanted to support me in something that was wholly different from the education I had just spent the past four years curating.

My makeup career began by attending Makeup First, here in Chicago. While I was in school, my Dad presented me with this movie: Man of a Thousand Faces. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift, because he could have handed me any number of beauty or makeup related items and called it a day, but he didn't. He gave me a gift that would mean something to me because it meant something to him. Like most dads, my dad is not overly familiar with beauty or makeup, but he loves classic (and new) movies. It is often our conversation topic.

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Our conversation about films leads to broad discussions about politics, religion, or society and culture. (Sometimes, it's merely idle gossip about Jackie Kennedy). Never once were these discussions ever makeup related, so it meant everything to me when he presented me with this film as a way to start a conversation about my fascination and appreciation for makeup. Now, I always point out makeup techniques and tricks when we watch or discuss films. My dad is my reference for period looks, LOL.

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The film fascinated my dad because the star, Lon Chaney, a makeup artist, could turn himself into any just about any character, including the Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, from a small makeup case. My Dad really went into a lot of detail of the plot of the movie before I actually sat down to watch it, which took some of the anticipation out of the film, so I won't spoil the plot any further.  It's an exciting film that any makeup artist or enthusiast will enjoy.

Happy Father's Day!!


Top 4 Self-Tanning Tips

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   It's  June, which in my book means that it is officially summer. My favorite challenge of summer is achieving the ideal, healthy, glowing tan. Growing up, I spent a lot of time outdoors, so I never even thought about "tanning" as a past-time, or even a verb for that matter. It was just something that happened. As I got older and had less time for sundrenched activities, I missed that sun-kissed look that said I had an active lifestyle.

   When I was 13, I pleaded with my mom to let me go to a tanning salon, but she dismissed me. (My parents are the type of people who don't even bother to blend sunblock into their skin, opting to let it sit on top like an actual barrier between them and the sun). Thankfully, this timing was around the advent of over-the-counter self-tanning products. I've been using these products since that age and have (almost) always been pleased with the results that left me with the golden skin-tone I desired. My first self-tanning product was from Neutrogena and was a foam pump and I honestly haven't received better results from a self-tan product since it. Alas, it was discontinued, as most favorite products are. Still, at the beginning of every summer, I add self-tanning to my weekly routine so I have a radiant, active look all season long, even if I still don't find time to be outside.

   Here are my Top 4 tips for achieving an even application of self-tanner, whether it's a foam, gel, or lotion product:

1. Buff, before You Bronze 

Whether you are aiming to get your tan au naturale or from a bottle, it best to give yourself a decent scrubbing first. Not only does this ensure that you will get an even application of sunless tanner, but it will also give your skin a healthier appearance as well as give your tan longevity. Try dry brushing before you shower, bringing all the strokes toward your heart. 

Body Brush, The Body Shop

Shower Scrub, Aveda

2. Grab the Gloves

I use to think that people who wore vinyl gloves (like the kind your dentist wears) to apply self-tanner were amateurs. WRONG. It leaves your palms free from developing the tan and it has this strange effect of giving the most even application. This is probably due to the fact that the formula isn't drying out on your palms as you rub it in. It will stay wet on the glove until it is blended into your skin. Just don't over rub. 

Vinyl Gloves, Walgreens

3. Use a Brush to Blend

A makeup brush is ideal for blending self-tanner into those areas of our bodies that are the stuff of self-tanner nightmares. You will get a lighter application using a brush to apply self-tanner on areas like your hands, elbows, knees, and toes. 

(Extra Tip: You can also use the makeup brush to apply self tanner like you would your contouring products, leaving you with truly no-makeup definition.)

Makeup Brush, Sephora

4. Don't Sweat It

I know that so many people swear by applying your self-tanner before bed and then waking up to a fresh new tan. But, because you can sweat when you sleep, it advisable to apply your self tanner a few hours before bed and then wash it off. If you absolutely insist going go to bed in your self-tanner, try some baby powder. Just sprinkle a little all over yourself to help absorb moisture. If you are pressed for time, try an quick-developing formula self-tan product. 

Express Tan, Jergens



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Summertime is vacation time, when we travel near and far to relax and spark new inspiration into our monotonous lives. The places I've been (and even some that I haven't) are constant inspirations to me for beauty. This summer, I'll be posting series of inspirations from common and exotic destinations to inspire your beauty wardrobe this season, even if you never get farther away than your own backyard. First stop, Miami. 

When someone says the word "vacation," I immediately think of Miami. I'm biased because Miami was my family's vacation spot for about seven years when I was growing up.  Unbeknownst to seven-year-old me, we stayed in one of the most classic Miami hotels, the Fountaine Bleu. I remember I use to pretend like it was my personal palace (by our seventh visit, that belief wasn't so delusional). I would drink virgin lime daiquiris and swim in the pool all day, before joining my parents for a dinner and colorful show at the iconic Cocobana Room.

My most recent trip to Miami was over Memorial Day weekend and they closed down so many streets in South Beach that I had to walk nearly ten blocks just to get to the only Uber driver available at that time. There were hundreds of people, friends and families. I'm not sure if I got a glimpse of how Miami locals dress, or if it was tourists' perception of how people dress in Miami, but there was a lot of skin.  And who came blame them? IT WAS HOT. Well, it actually felt quite nice coming from a city that had just reach 60 degrees a week before I left. But, it was humid and the air was thick, which means there was a lot of perspiration and you wanted a lot of breathing room.

There were times I felt I was melting, but my makeup held up pretty well considering I'm more accustomed to less tropical weather. I decided that there was no way that I was going to be able to stop the sweat, so I opted for lighter coverage foundation and spot treatment with concealer. I wanted my makeup to still look even and blended when I had to dry myself off (the forehead, in particular). Luckily, the Miami weather had my skin looking hydrated and healthy, so there wasn't a terrible need for a lot of base.

Other than the dreaded humidity, a big beauty inspiration that I get from Miami is pastels. I grew up in a nice mid-western suburb and if you did too, then you will understand the shock and excitement you experience when you see that in another area of the United States everyone has painted their homes green, blue, and pink. Good choice, Miami. Those homes are classic Miami to me and I drive by them on the way to any hotel.

Destination Inspiration makeup this week is the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade (above) because it has all those same pastels (blue, green, pink) that blend together to give a white-gold sheen, so you'll have the look of dewy Miami skin, in Miami or not.