Glam holiday makeup guide

With party season in full swing, it may seem impossible to choose a makeup look because there are so many glamorous options out there. So, I scoured magazines, blogs and social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram for this year’s hottest beauty trends, and narrowed down the six best products. Whether your style is luxe, edgy or anywhere in between, these holiday must-haves will definitely kick any outfit up a notch. On your next Sephora or Ulta run, be sure to snag one or two of these goodies for the makeup lovers in your life—after all, it’s the season of giving.

Pat McGrath Labs Metalmorphosis 005 kit: Because no one does beauty quite like renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath, her limited edition Metalmorphosis 005 kit is at the top of my list. In a choice of four metallic finishes (silver, gold, copper or bronze), this kit truly lights up any complexion. No matter which you choose, you will be able to create a multitude of looks with a cream pigment, a pressed powder pigment, mixing liquid (which liquefies pigment) and a double-sided marker in black. Metalmorphosis can be used for a conventional highlight (think: cheekbones, browbones and cupid’s bow), or as a statement-making New Year’s Eve eyeshadow. $60, Sephora


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Makeup Revolution Iconic 3 Redemption eyeshadow palette: These shimmery, champagne-inspired colors are sure to brighten your eyes this season. Makeup Revolution’s 12-shade palette creates romantic eyeshadow looks that flatter every skin tone and eye color. Use one or two shades for a natural, daytime look, and add drama with darker hues for an alluring evening look. $7, Ulta

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NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen: Velvet is one of this season’s chicest looks—so, why not put it on your lips? This velvety lip cream applies with the ease of your favorite childhood gloss, but packs a ton of sophisticated color. Create an eye-catching date-night ensemble by pairing Copenhagen, a rich oxblood shade, with neutrals like black, white, gray and denim to channel that impossibly stylish model-off-duty charm. $5.99, Ulta


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MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte lipstick in Ruby Woo: Ruby Woo isn’t just a red lipstick; it is the red lipstick. For a standout lip color that never goes out of style, look no further. This jewel tone is bold enough to set you apart from a crowd of red-lipped ladies, yet classy enough to wear to the most formal of this season’s events. $17,


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NARS Hot Sand multipurpose illuminator: What would the holidays be without a little shimmer? This multipurpose illuminator works on eyes, face, lips and body, so you can glow from top to bottom. The sultry hue gives you a natural post-vacation glow without any sun or surf, and its sleek design makes this product super easy to toss in your purse as you run out the door. Day or night, Hot Sand will give you a soft, sun-kissed sparkle wherever you need it. $39, Sephora


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Milk Makeup Face Gloss: For the girl that struggles with intricate eye makeup, Milk’s Face Gloss is for you. Apply a coat to your eyelids for an unexpected, high fashion sheen. While eyeliner and shadows can be tricky to work with, this gel formula applies in one easy swipe. Not to mention, it is packed with vitamins that nourish the skin, so after continued use, you will glow without makeup. $20-$36, Sephora

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How to beat wintertime colds

No one enjoys getting sick, and most of us cannot afford to be off our A games, either. While a healthy lifestyle keeps seasonal sicknesses to a minimum, sometimes the inevitable happens. Although I am by no means a healthcare professional, I am a total pro at quickly getting rid of pesky wintertime colds. This time of year more than others, sniffling, congestion, sore throats, body aches and fevers are relatively common (hence, the common cold), so I gathered four of my most effective tips for ditching these symptoms almost as fast as you can catch them.

Liquids: At the risk of sounding like a mom, I can’t underestimate the importance of drinking a ton of water, especially when you’re sick. Hot tea is also a great option because it soothes a sore throat (adding honey, one of my favorite superfoods, heightens teas soothing benefits). Cold pressed juice, which is packed with essential micronutrients, hydrates and nourishes your body simultaneously. If you find it difficult to drink enough water, you can snack on fresh fruit like grapes and melon, both of which are packed with water, vitamins and fiber.

Healthy diet & vitamins: Eating right is a top priority for me even when I’m not sick because it keeps my body healthy and strong. Fruits and veggies give your immune system a boost while hydrating you. However, because the body does not store protein, it’s important to eat two servings, or six ounces, of the macronutrient daily, according to WebMD. Protein is essential in the body’s creation of healthy new cells, so skipping servings of it may prolong a cold or weaken the immune system.

“Good” fats, like those that come from avocados, beans, nuts and plant-based oils help the body absorb other nutrients, while complex carbs provide you with long-term energy. My favorite seasonal source of complex carbohydrates for the wintertime are sweet potatoes. With a little Earth Balance soy-free vegetable spread and a sprinkle of coconut sugar, a baked sweet potato makes a nutrient-rich lunch or dinner.

Indulging in sweets or fried foods is extra tempting when you are feeling under the weather, and treating yourself has the power make you feel somewhat better emotionally (it’s called comfort food for a reason!). There is nothing wrong a little indulgence now and then, but remember: moderation is key. Make sure you are still getting all the essential nutrients you need from other foods (taking vitamin supplements is a quick and easy way to meet these needs, especially when your appetite may be lacking).


Frozen, my favorite bath bomb from Lush, in action

Rest: While everyone enjoys a lazy day from time to time, being cooped up in bed or on the couch for days becomes boring rather quickly. Rest, which includes a break from the gym, is super important when it comes to beating seasonal illnesses like common colds and fevers. In fact, lack of it actually suppresses the immune system.

When you get restless, allow yourself to enjoy a book, magazine or your favorite television series (hello, Netflix!). Or, take the time to deep condition your hair, exfoliate your skin, do a face mask or even relax in a hot bath with your favorite bubbles or bath bomb (the steam really helps open up your sinuses and revive you). A little self-care goes a long way, so you will be refreshed instantly.

As your recovery begins to speed up, consider tackling a small chore or two that you’ve been putting off; being productive can definitely help you feel better all-around.

Freshen up: Something as simple as opening a window, relaxing on the porch or going for a short walk will almost immediately have a positive effect on your mood. Staying in a stuffy room or apartment can make you feel equally as congested, so a change of scenery and some fresh air will likely quicken your recovery. Similarly, changing your bed sheets, tossing out your toothbrush, taking a shower and changing your clothes will rid both you and your space of nasty germs and bacteria.


November favorites 2016 (fashion, beauty + lifestyle)

Because I am super loyal to most of my go-to products, I don’t always feel the need to update my favorites month-to-month. Over these past 30 days in particular, however, I discovered several noteworthy fashion, beauty and lifestyle goodies that I cannot wait to share with my readers (aka you!). Between the change in seasons and my recent transition from undergraduate to grad student, both my personal style and day-to-day beauty routine have changed considerably. So of course, I have a few fresh, new products that make getting ready each morning a painless process.

With the exception of some statement pieces, my style lately has been simple, clean and modern. These six favorites really reflect this newfound look, and I know I will be using them for seasons, and in some cases, years, to come.


American Apparel High-Waist Jean in Medium Stone Wash Indigo: After months of drooling over so-called “mom jeans” via Tumblr and Instagram, I finally caved and bought a pair myself. I scored these bad boys for 15 percent-off on a weekend trip to Manhattan earlier this month, and I have been wearing them pretty much non-stop ever since. Mom jeans pair just as well with vintage t-shirts and cozy knitwear as slashed and torn boyfriend jeans do, but their thick fabric makes them way more appropriate for cold weather. $90, American Apparel

ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lip in My Jam: Glossy lips are way sexier than matte lips in my opinion. While I normally go for a natural or satin lip during the day, I love getting glammed up and wearing lip gloss for a night out. NARS lip gloss in Orgasm has been a long-standing favorite for almost a year now, but after receiving a discount code from ColourPop, I decided to try something new. Tight Fit, with its warm golden hue and ultra sparkly finish, instantly caught my eye. Plus, the amount of product is a total steal for the price. $6,

Bali Body bb cream: Like most 20-something women, I aim to look presentable on a daily basis. But, I absolutely hate heavy foundations and appearing unnatural or overly made-up. Bali Body’s tanning oils are total skin savers during the summer months, so I was ecstatic when they debuted a bb cream earlier this year. This product acts as a moisturizer, sunscreen and anti-aging cream all in one, as the website description suggests, while it provides skin with dewey coverage. Its natural ingredients (or “skin food” as Bali Body refers to them) also improve skin’s health over time, so complexions glow without any products. $29.95,

Pacifica cactus water micellar cleansing toner: While I’ve never had problem skin, it gets a little oily from time to time, and just like anyone else, I’m not immune to the occasional blemish. So in the midst of a stress-induced breakout, I picked up micellar cleansing toner by Pacifica. This three-in-one cleanser, makeup remover and toner rids the skin of dirt, oil and other pollutants. It doesn’t require any rinsing, and it leaves skin feeling hydrated and fresh like no other product I’ve tried before. Micellar water has been a favorite among Parisian it-girls like Jeanne Damas for a while, and now it is finally becoming popular stateside for both its convenience and its gentle ingredients. $12, Ulta

Lush Brazened Honey fresh face mask: Because I’m a total face mask junkie, I had five empty containers from Lush that I was able to redeem for a free one. I decided to try Brazened Honey for the first time, and I instantly fell in love. As soon as I rinsed this sweet-smelling mask off with warm water, my skin was noticeably softer, smoother and less oily. The ground almonds in this product gently exfoliate skin, while natural clay acts as a deep cleanser by pulling out dirt and impurities. Over the past year or so, I’ve tried almost every fresh face mask Lush has to offer, and Brazened Honey delivers by far the best results. $8.95, Lush

Mamma Chia Chia Squeeze vitality snack: I strongly believe that beauty comes from within, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for me. Whether I’m grabbing a Chia Squeeze pouch as a light post-workout snack or sipping on one to ward off a pesky wintertime cold, Mamma Chia quickly and easily provides essential micronutrients. My favs are the Green Magic and Mango Coconut flavors. Grocer’s and health food stores


Funky florals for fall

Spring and summertime florals are tacky and played out; there are few fashion faux pas worse than appearing as though you were dressed by your 6-year-old self. For this reason alone it seems that most fashion gurus are afraid to rock the whimsical pattern no matter the time of year. When done correctly, however, florals have the potential to look more sophisticated than childish–even during the chilly fall and winter months when there aren’t any actual blossoms in sight.

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Taking cues from Ready-to-Wear collections such as Valentino Fall 2013, Giambattista Valli Fall 2015 and Gucci Fall 2015 (shown below), I decided to experiment with funky, retro-inspired florals this season. By and large, all three designers arranged their floral prints vertically, which streamlines the body and allows the pattern to appear ultra sleek–far from tacky or immature.

While Giambattista Valli opted for muted pinks and warm yellows reminiscent of the 1960s, Valentino chose to put bold red and mint green on black backdrops, along with white accents for additional contrast. Dusty rose, soft blues and beige tones ruled the runway at Gucci, and borrowed-from-the-boys suits brought structure to flowing fabrics and delicate details.


When cold weather hits, chic, runway-inspired florals add depth to dull and tired pieces; as Giambattista Valli’s collection exemplifies, mixing prints can definitely work in your favor. This year, I invested in a pair of burgundy ankle booties with a bold floral pattern and a 2-inch heel.

For a funky feel, I love to mix fall and winter florals with striped and cheetah print pieces, as well as different textures like chunky knitwear and fishnet stockings, but for this low-key look I paired the floral booties with a fuzzy black sweater dress.


To keep warm despite mid-50s temps and a strong wind chill, I layered sheer black stockings underneath. Then, I polished off the look with my absolute favorite blush choker from ARE YOU AM I–it is the perfect piece for adding a feminine touch to any outfit. While I’m always in favor of a clean, bare face (especially during the daytime), sexy, smoky eyes and a glossy lip could easily take this ensemble from the classroom to date night. Whether the event is casual or dressy, a low, polished bun adds elegance to any outfit; the effortless twist I tied my hair in definitely cleaned up my look, while a loose style would have made it appear messy and, again, childish.

Oversized sweaters and sweatshirts are a huge trend this season, so the chunky floral boots totally help set my style apart from the crowd. On the other hand, the luxe look of the nearly all-black outfit plus the thick velvet choker cancel out any outdated vibes brought about by the flowers. (However, I would classify the pattern of the boots as “grandma’s couch chic”.)

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Is Playboy the new Vogue?

Is it just me, or has Playboy’s content been more eye-catching than Vogue’s lately? Not only does the gentlemen’s magazine feature hotter, more talented models than the fashion mag, it consistently contains more unique, more interesting and more thoughtful images. For the past couple years, Vogue, on the other hand, has played it safe with social media it-girls posing as models, and boring, predictable photoshoots.

Playboy has come a very long way from celebrating primarily heavily made-up models with bleach blonde hair extensions, fake tans and silicone implants in the early 2000s. Today, the Beverly Hills-based enterprise recognizes natural beauty and real talent in more innovative ways than almost any other magazine on newsstands. Vintage-inspired images with dreamy, sun-drenched glows that embody the publication’s SoCal spirit trump studio lightening and tacky bra-and-panty combos for which it was once famous.

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Model Cenit Nadir photographed by Jean Pierrot

Women in high-cut one pieces and string bikinis line Playboy’s pages, as well as its website and social media accounts. Retro sunglasses, old-school t-shirts and lingerie-like blouses look impossibly fashionable against backdrops of old-school cars, crystal clear swimming pools and lush palm trees. Still, Playboy’s sexy history is more alive than ever; models rock bedhead, cheeky tan lines and sultry makeup (however, it’s now modern and minimal instead of cake-y and unnatural). Implied nudity and up-close booty shots are simultaneously quirky and sensual, while Playmates like Camille Rowe and Kelly Gale bring their own personalities and one-of-a-kind beauty to the magazine’s covers. It seems Playboy focuses more on the art and the emotions that its images evoke, while Vogue focuses on clicks, views and sales.

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Model Beate Muska photographed by Asher Moss