Sunday, September 18, 2011

Senior Portraits

No. Not that kind of senior. The high school kind!

Today i went to my BFF Tina's house to do her nieces make up because Tina is taking her senior photo.

The last time I saw Jenny we were taking her to the playground, and now she is almost eighteen years old! It is just so bizarre. She has grown up beautifully (you wish you had dimples as gorgeous as hers!), and it was so fun to watch her have her picture taken.

Tina ironed her hair and picked out a dress for her, and I did her face in really soft neutral shades. She seemed really happy with the results, and there is nothing better than seeing someone feel good about themselves.

Right now they're off at Fort Williams getting some more shots, but as soon as Tina sends me the pictures (with Jenny's permission), I hope to share them with you guys.

Also, if you or anyone you know needs senior photos taken, send me an e-mail! I'm sure Tina and I could put together a nice little package that includes hair, make up, styling, a shoot and digital prints. Or even if you just want me to do your make up, hit me up!

We had a blast today!

xoxo Melissa

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Three - Noella's Picks

On this gloomtastic Thursday I am going to talk about some real pick-me-ups, for these reasons: My girly bits are in knots, my face is broken out and I feel about as pretty as a Chinese Crested (see left). So in the spirit of still putting a little effort in, even when you're not feeling so hot, in hopes of maybe feeling slightly prettier, here are a few of my favorite things.

Nothing brightens up my face/day more than using this handy kit. It has four eyeshadows: Wahine (a nice shimmer cream shade, perfect for highlight), Sarong (a metallic peachy/orange/pink that is quite flattering for my baby blues, thanks Melissa!), Coconut (very versatile brown with just a hint of shimmer), and Surf (a matte, BOLD, bright blue that is perfect over my UD Flipside eyeliner). North Shore, (peachy blush, very nice) and Hanauma Bay (bronzer) finish out this set. Now, I would love these colors regardless, but the $14 price tag for all of this is just too good to pass up! What value! And Stila’s quality is second to none. The formulas are smooth, pigmented and easily blendable. The packaging is cute, to boot. I can’t resist anything with a hula girl on it!

This is my favorite everyday lipstick. Trust me, I would wear it EVERY day if it hadn’t been so expensive. I’m savoring it! The formula is very moisturizing and lip softening but it has a much nicer, more “mod” finish than just a lip balm or gloss. The natural pink color is very nude on me, which I like for feeling put together but not necessarily looking all made up. The finish is dewy but not shiny, no shimmer, no stickiness. I will definitely add more of these to my collection in the future!

Sonia Kashuk Eye Make Up Remover 

So this isn’t really a “pick-me-up” except that it makes you happy that you aren’t wiping residual mascara on your nice new white face towel. This is seriously the best remover I have found. It is one of the dual layered, “shakey” kind that has to be mixed up, then applied to a cotton pad. It needs a moment to do its job, but if you are patient and gently dab away, your eye make up will be totally gone. It doesn’t sting, it doesn’t feel greasy, (it’s oil free) and you get 4oz for $10. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Melissa's Thursday Three and Camping Adventures

What do you mean, "it's Sunday?" I know, I know. I am a few days late.

I had to do a bunch or errands after leaving the office on Thursday and fully intended on writing this after, but I was running super behind and by the time I got home I had to rush to get ready to go see my brother-in-law's band, Powers, play their last show ever. Originally I planned to leave after their set, but you know how it is. You have one drink, and that leads to two, then three, and before you know if you're wobbling home at one-thirty in the morning sending obnoxious texts to everyone you know.

I had to get up early on Friday and run around like a headless chicken all morning before heading off into the woods of Hartford, Maine for a few days. Let me tell you, it was COLD. Cold doesn't even begin to describe it. I am a fairly tough chick, but i do not do cold. I had to get up at midnight to pee last night, and the thought of leaving the sleeping bag and blankets made me burst into hysterical tears. I fumbled around in the dark to find my phone, wandered until I found some bars and promptly sent a text to Thomas, who was home in our warm bed with our cuddly kittens.

Despite the frigid temps, I had a splendid weekend of no work, no computers, no phone calls, and no bullshit! I got to spend three days with some of my favorite women. It was a weekend full of good food, good laughs, and good medicine.

So... that is why I am doing this so late! On the bright side, this means you will get two Thursday Threes this week! One from me today, and one from Noella on Thursday!

Keeping in the spirit of things, my Thursday Three will be Three Things to Take Into the Woods...

1. Dr. Bronner's
Dr. B's comes in a variety of scents, but you have got to stay old school and stick with that minty-fresh tingle we all know and love. This is the perfect soap for camping because you can use it in the lake or in a solar shower without worrying about contaminating Mama Earth with a bunch of nasty chemicals. You can also use Dr. Bronner's to wash your dishes and your clothes! Take a minute to check out their web page or look up Emanuel Bronner on Wikipedia. If you have Netflix, put Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox in your queue. Dr. B was a wildly interesting fellow.

2. Sunblock
Just because it is negative one-hundred degrees doesn't mean the sun isn't out to get you. Protect your skin! Personally I am a fan of the Alba Botanica Green Tea Natural Sunblock. Don't forget to reapply your sun protection throughout the day, especially if you are going to be in water or you are camping somewhere with a lot of open, sunny spaces. Not only can you prevent an ugly, ouchy burn, you will prevent unwanted wrinkles and protect your skin against harmful, cancer causing rays. Remember your sensitive lips! Alba also makes some awesome lip balms with an SPF of 25!

3. Hair Accessories
You can never have too many barrettes, bandanas, hair ties or headbands out in the woods. Not only will you want to get the hair off of your face and neck when you are working up a sweat on a hike or hunting for firewood, but a cute hair barrette or some braids are the perfect way to feel pretty whether you are renting a cabin or roughing it. If you can't shower for a few days, a headband will hide your greasy bangs and a pony tail will keep the oils from getting all over your face. Invest in a good shower caddy, like the EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone Hanging Valet or an L.L. Bean Personal Organizer. This is a great way to carry all of your essentials, and maybe even sneak in a few girly things, without taking up a half of your tent.

xoxo Melissa

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's in My TSA Approved, Quart Sized Ziploc

Traveling is stressful enough without the threat of a surly TSA agent tapping your inner thigh and then confiscating your make up bag. Avoid the muss and fuss by having your shoes already off and your adorable clear zip up neatly packed with the following travel friendly essentials at the ready.

-Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheer SPF30. This oil free formula gives light coverage and great SPF- perfect for laid back, yet radiant vacation skin.

-Mini Coppertone Sport SPF 50. DO NOT skimp on sun protection, especially on vacation! I know you want a tan! But you can’t have one! You’ll get wrinkles on not only your face but your chest, neck, knees etc. 

-MAC Select Moisture Cover. This concealer is ever so portable and easy to pat on any blemishes or under eye circles when you want to look all foxy-mama for a night out.

-Clinique Naturally Glossy. This mascara rules so hard it actually stays put in the water if used sparingly. You know how much I love this. Go buy it. Build it up for sexy times or leave your lashes fresh and pretty for every day. Just don’t rub, as it is not *technically* waterproof.

-Benefit Creaseless Cream in Birthday Suit. Find the Creaseless Cream in the best shade for your skin and buy it and never look back! If Benefit’s shades don’t suit you in that easy-breezy, every day neutral way, try Make Up Forever Aqua Creams which are equally as awesome and come in a wider range of colors. The creamy formula won't budge if you sweat or swim and you can rock nice, glowing lids and bright eyes even whilst traipsing around a new city or whatever mischief you're up to on vacation. 

-Aveda Conditioner. Whichever one you fancy. They come in the most convenient wee bottles and really keep your hair looking fancy even with weird hotel water. I usually take a chance on hotel shampoo and just bring my nice conditioner to save space.

-Aveda Brilliant Damage Control Spray. The only hair product I travel with. Detangles, protects, de-frizzifies, smells delovely. Done.

-Philosophy Purity Made Simple. This cleanser is perfect for travel because it removes make up so effectively in addition to cleansing your face to a nice, comfortable, moisture balanced glow. And it you can buy it in mini size.

-Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. The only shower gel for this ex-hippie. Once you get this Dr's prescription, nothing else compares!

-Contact Lens Solution. You’ll save a lot of room if you don’t rely on this like my blind ass blind eyes do!

This next part takes some tiny jar hoarding throughout the weeks leading up to your trip, (get free samples from Origins, Sephora, MAC, Clinique, then save the jars!) resulting in the freedom to bring ten scrillion skin care products in your carry on! All for the price of **FREE**

Tiny Jar of Clinique Moisture Surge
Tiny Jar of Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer
Tiny Jar of Origins Out of Trouble Mask
Tiny Jar of Origins Modern Friction Scrub
Tiny Jar of Origins Ginzing Eye Cream

With these miniature essentials your suitcase will boast an array of gels and liquids without unnecessary bulk! And wherever you're headed, you'll be looking wicked pretty!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Color Wheel for Green/Hazel Eyes

Final installment of the color wheel series, featuring Roberta's Cinderella-esque good looks and lovely hazel eyes. Melissa uses three simple steps to create this wearable purple look!
Products used:
Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
Kat Von D True Romance palettes in Ludwig and True Love

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Three - Noella's Picks

Hi WPs (stands for Wicked Pretties), Happy Labor Day Weekend! 
This week I’m going to get a little biased and go all AVON on your asses. Yes, I know it was just a matter of time since I signed up to sell, but I am now for real crazy about AVON’s offerings. I treated myself to some “research related” purchases with my first order and wanted to say a little bit about my favorites from the bunch.

Nailwear Pro Polish in Vintage Boutique

Not only is the muted grayish brown color quite chic right now, but the formula also happens to rock. It applied evenly and smoothly, dried quick and hasn’t chipped (yet). A nice, opaque finish after three coats. An added bonus which has recently become trendy in upscale nail companies is “Three Free” meaning that this polish is non-toxic, (made without three known harmful ingredients, Formaldehyde, Toulene and DBP). Also paraben free, this polish is on par with designer ones that cost literally five times as much!

I’ve never been one for the new-fangled, nubby, uniform, rubbery mascara wands, but I wanted to give this a chance. Whaddya know-- It’s great! I’m left clump-free, rocking demure, featherlike lashes. And no smudges even though I sweat like a sow in heat, (*pause* for mental image of Noella wallowing, panting in the sun-baked mud, very much as a sow would). I’m very stubborn about new mascaras and I don’t like to waver from my two Clinique favorites. I like this one though, and I will delight in using it as an every day staple.

So, besides this lip gloss’s supreme shine and lovely scent, I could basically kill a man with the packaging. So that’s an added safety feature. I’m not kidding around here, it’s literally the size of an Oscar Mayer Wiener (My baloney has a first name…). So part billy club, part cosmetic, hmmm are we onto something here, Avon? Maybe next it will be a switchblade eyeliner? Kidding aside (It's HUGE), this is a highly pigmented, shiny, un-sticky gloss. The wand is honestly so massive I could easily paint the house (2 coats) and that makes it a little clumsy to apply. I'll live though-- I still really recommend it.

Avon's products so far seem to be the poster children of affordable quality. Though the packaging isn't as sleek or sexy as some of my favorite brands and I am still an Avon beginner, I look forward to trying more bits and letting you all know what's what! 
Want some Avon delights of your own? has all the products I've mentioned and waaay more!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Color Wheel for Brown Eyes

Second installment of the wicked pretty color wheel looks Melissa masterminded! Thank you to gorgeous Jessica for being our guinea pig. This looks works with Jessica's brown eyes to create maximum *pop* and flattery. Products used:
MAC Naked Lunch
Urban Decay Vegan Palette- Smog/Twice Baked
Kat Von D Ludwig Palette - Leather
Benefit Bad Gal Brown

(Noella Note: iMovie can be really beastly sometimes and so on it's behalf I want to apologize for the abrupt ending of this video. It's sorry it's so hard to use and I'm sorry I don't know how to use it :o)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Color Wheel Woes and More Love for Double Lines

Noella has been working hard editing and uploading the color wheel videos we made over the weekend. She rocks! As does her wonderful husband Nick who allowed us to kidnap his camera for the evening.

The lighting in my dining room is not that great, and I don't feel that the looks and colors transferred onto camera very well. A lot of the dark shadows show up on screen, but the colors are not very visible. Apart from that, we had a lot of people over (as you may have heard), so I felt nervous and mumbly and kind of sloppily rushed my way through application. I'm not very happy with myself or the results, so I will probably make some new color wheel videos in the future.

I believe there is a double liner video taking up space on Nick's camera as well, so that may potentially pop up in Wicked Pretty's future. I know I have mentioned this a million times already, but I love double liner! It is so quick and easy, and bright liners are totally in right now! I especially love the Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Liners, which I have also mentioned a million times. They're just so gorgeous! The colors are vibrant and the sparkle is not over-powering at all. It is exactly that, sparkle. Not chunky glitter that threatens to flake off onto your cheeks over the course of a day. These things are so highly pigmented that you won't even have to correct any blemishes in your first line. The Stila liner will cover them right up with brilliant color. Try using your bright liner along the bottom  lash line as well. Follow up with a color that matches your first line along the waterline, or mix things up by adding a complimentary third color. Have fun with it!

xoxo Melissa

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Color Wheel for Blue Eyes

Hello Wicked Pretties! This is the first of Melissa's series of looks using the color wheel. Don't ask me how she got such a famous/talented model for this video--must have been expensive! The products Melissa used were:
Stila Wonderful in Waikiki Palette
MAC Coppering
Kat Von D Ludwig Palette
Benefit Bad Gal Brown

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Melissa's Thurday Three

Much like last time, I wanted to make my Thursday Three into a video. But after work I had to run some errands, then make dinner, then clean all my brushes, then watch Colbert, and then laugh at Anderson Cooper for an hour.

With that being said, Wicked Pretty is having a video shoot tomorrow with some of our beautiful friends, so keep an eye on the blog and our YouTube page this weekend!

Melissa's Thursday Three...

MAC Wonder Woman palette in Defiance
Okay, so maybe this is so last season, but whatever. I remember talking to one of my dude friends, who happens to be a huge comic book nerd, when I mentioned something about MAC. He was like, “Oh. I think they’re the ones who are going to be making a line of Wonder Woman makeup.” What?!!! Amazing! So I patiently stalked the MAC website, just waiting and waiting for them to release the line. I actually didn’t end up buying much, as tempting as it was. Truth be told, I didn’t really dig most of the colors or palettes, but the awesome packaging was too hard to resist. I did, however, fall head over heels for the Defiance palette. Shiny! Pretty! I just had to have it or I was going to die! I ended up using the thing one time before it went in ye olde train case and hid under some of my more neutral, frequently used palettes. That is until this week. Don’t you love rediscovering things you already own? Its like that album you haven’t listened to in a year, and when you pop it in you wonder, “Why the hell don’t I listen to this every single day of my life?!” Defiance is like the cosmetics equivalent of So Tonight That I Might See

Dollface is the perfect name for this shade, because that is exactly how it makes you feel. I just want to throw on some Victorian garb and take my place on that shelf in your grandmother's house where she keeps all her porcelain dolls. I think this is a lovely color for any skin tone. It’s soft and rosy, and it really helps even out redness. I was afraid of blush for a long time, on account of my rosacea, but that was before I realized how much it can help hide rosacea. Dollface is gorgeous and it is definitely my new go-to.

Double Liner
This spring, Urban Decay and Stila both came out with some super bright, fun liquid liners. Generally I am a neutral or classic black kind of a gal, but these things are way too gorgeous to resist. I desperately covet Urban Decay’s liquid liner in the color Woodstock. I have that shade eye shadow pan, but it’s not the same. Maybe that will be my next cosmetic purchase. I think I look a little weird when I wear a colorful liner on its own, so I have been doubling up! A line of black along the lash line and a thin line of something bright above it for some pop looks really nice. There are also a few color combinations that I have been liking a lot. Like Urban Decay in Smog along the lash line with Stila’s Electric above it, and Urban Decay’s Retrograde with a line of Stila’s Bora Bora. Apparently double lining is in right now, so give it a try! And please ignore my poorly groomed brows.

xoxo Melissa

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Four Simple Steps to Nicer Skin

The most important part of any beauty routine is skin care. It doesn't matter how much makeup you use or what type of foundation you buy if your skin is a mess. Obviously some people have been more blessed in the skin department than others. Trust me though, even those girls with seemingly flawless skin have something they struggle with.

I have personally never struggled with acne. Not even during puberty or as a teenager. I never, and i mean never, wore make up when i was a teenager. When I did get a pimple, the whole entire world might as well have been ending. I remember my first pimple very clearly (no pun intended)...

I was about nine or ten. I know that seems young for zits, but I was cursed. My mum was at work and her roommate was watching television in the living area. I was in my bedroom, probably making believe that I was Lydia Deetz or putting all five-million of my Pixietails in my hair or something, when I noticed a little red bump on my shoulder. Hmmm... curious. So I sauntered on into the living room screaming, "Anne! Anne!!!!! There is something on my shoulder!" She took one look at it and calmly brushed it off saying, "Oh, jeez. It's only a pimple."


I stormed back to my room, threw myself on the bed, and screamed and cried hysterically for hours. So what if I was a melodramatic child? Shut up.

And that is how it continues to go today. My skin stays clear for three weeks out of the month, and then when my visitor arrives, she brings a friend. An intrusive, uninvited friend who makes herself at home right on my face.

I know. Boohoo. Poor Melissa and her clear skin. But oh, my dear readers, there is a trade off. Let's start off with the fact that I am highly photosensitive. Seriously. When I was a little girl I couldn't even play in the sun for more than ten minutes without hopping on the express train to puke-ville. I currently have permanent sun damage on my left arm and part of my chest, all because I thought, "Meh... I'm going to be in the car and I only need to make it to the Boston toll. I can just put on sun block when I get there." Boy, was I wrong. So while my darling father walks around with his Seneca blood, and my dear mum looks like a bronzed, Italian goddess, I am left looking like Wednesday Addams. When I was in elementary school, people even called me Wednesday. It probably would have hurt my feelings if I wasn't such a weird kid.

So apart from making paper look tan, the older I get the worse my rosacea gets. A lot of people comment on my rosy cheeks. They all think it's just precious. "Oh, look at you. You are strawberries and cream! How Pretty! Oh, you look just like Snow White!" You know what?  I don't feel like Snow White. I feel like Raggedy effing Ann. I might as well pull out a tube of Russian Red and draw two giant circles on my face.

So you see, there is always something. And if you are blessed with effortlessly flawless skin, well, for starters your are probably in elementary school, and if you are not... well, it will catch up with you. I don't care if your face feels like a fluffy bunny sleeping on a baby's behind. Take. Care. Of. Your. Skin! This is not something you need expensive lotions and potions for. 

Here are four super easy, super cheap (or free) things you can do every day to promote clear and healthy skin...

UNO: Drink water.
I'm not talking about sipping the same bottle of water all day either. I am talking the recommended eight + glasses a day. I don't care if you have to get up five-hundred times to go pee. I pee all dang day. Just ask my co-workers! But drinking this water will help hydrate your skin and your body. It also helps flush toxins from your body, which is awesome for your skin and good for you in general. I drink two glasses immediately upon waking as part of my Ayurvedic routine, but that's another story.

DUE: Wash Your Face Before Bed
Ladies... Gents... Do not go to bed with your make-up on. Wash your face even if you don't use cosmetics. Do you know what kind of grimy crap creeps its way onto your beautiful mug during the day? Toxins, dirt and germs. Oh my! Going to bed with your foundation on can clog your pores, and it won't be pretty. Leaving your mascara on can cause your lashes to break. Not to mention your pillow case will look like Dr. Rockso spent the night. C-c-c-clean your face!

TRE: Wear Sunscreen and Moisturizer with SPF
I know you want to look like Snooki, but if you keep frequenting the beach and the tanning beds, you're going to look fifty by the time you're thirty. Not only will you have to walk around looking like Leather Face, you will also increase your chances of permanent sun damage and melanoma. Protecting your face from the sun will cut down on break outs and keep you looking younger longer. I even use sunblock in December.

QUATTRO: Get Your Z's
If I practiced what I preached, I wouldn't be up writing this right now. When you are tired, dark circles form under your eyes. When you are really tired, say like you are lucky to average four hours a night and you have been living this way for like, oh, fifteen years, you get dark circles, bags and wrinkles. I speak from personal experience when I say no amount of ice packs or eye creams will help you once you have reached the point of no return. When you are well rested, it shows.

Now, quit reading this and go take a nap.

xoxo Melissa

Fun with Fine Hair

When I was 13 I had a quite bushy, chia-pet-esque head of hair. A lot of it. Where did it go? In recent years I have felt like I have had scalp peeking through all over my head and I watched as my pony tail’s diameter shriveled to the point where I needed to buy little girl hair ties.

So what can be done?  Well, Nioxin can be done. It’s not going to give you Sofia Vergara hair, but it will make a difference you will notice. Along with fine-friendly styling products, you can be on your way to Pantene commercial body and bounce.

Nioxin is a brand of hair products designed to encourage hair growth, stimulate your scalp and rehabilitate your precious hair follicles. The basic kit comes with three products based on the condition of your hair. Whether you have natural or chemically treated hair (colored, relaxed), medium/coarse or noticeably thinning hair, there is a specific kit for you.

I use kit #3, for normal to thin chemically treated hair. Start with the shampoo and conditioner (the pepperminty conditioner makes my scalp tingle oh-so-pleasantly). Then follow with the sort of “serum” you spray directly on your scalp after your shower. This treatment, paired with Nioxin’s Intensive Therapy Recharging Complex vitamins taken daily, made a difference so lovely I would dare call it dramatic.

The hairs in the shower drain have gotten sparser until a few days ago I was left with only a few of Nick’s chest hairs stuck to my toe as I felt around for the usual clot of my fallen strands. My hairdresser noticed a difference and I have even upgraded to adult sized hair ties again. I can still (literally) pin my hair into a bun with ONE (1) bobby pin, but I promise, this is an improvement.

Nioxin is by no means my favorite shampoo for overall shine, body, manageability etc however I will continue to use it a couple times a week, alternating with Aveda Color Conserve or my favorite, (though it was waaay too expensive to repurchase) Alterna Caviar. The vitamins however, will remain a daily staple. I am trying a bottle of biotin tablets (Nature’s Way brand from Target) in lieu of the Nioxin brand which are quite on the pricy side and biotin is a main ingredient meant for hair, nail and skin health. I have to say, though my skin is nice and smooth lately, I am beginning to see little hair dolls in my drain again…we’ll see…

The only other advice I have for those with cornsilk soft, wispy-fine locks is: blowdry! A spritz of Aveda Brilliant Damage Control protects my hair from the heat and gives it a generally frizz-free finish. Many root boosters and “bodifying” products still leave my hair weighted and limp by the end of the day, so I say less is more. Blowdrying is a sure-fire way to make the most of what you’ve got!

If you are feeling extra saucy, for a special occasion or daily if you’ve got the time, a couple of large hot rollers to the crown of your head will even further the illusion that your hair is thick, bodacious and wicked, wicked pretty ;o)


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quick Review: Origins Out of Trouble

Do you have delightful hormonal breakouts like I do? Turns out, most women deal with their hormones playing a game of duck duck goose on their face every once in a while. For me, it's every month.

I try not to cry myself to sleep over these spots, as there is very little that can be done to thwart them entirely. You'd think putting all of this time and attention into my skincare would result in a flawless, glowing countenance every day-o...but no...wrong-o. Enviromental factors like mega humidity (welcome to Maine!), a dry spell, sun damage and pollutants in the air can all cause break outs, even if I am a diligent face washer. Throw hormones in the mix and my chin = doomed.

Remember that your face is always changing due to these day to day variables. Skincare has to change along with it to keep everything balanced and clear.

Origins Out of Trouble is a 10 minute mask that is pretty much your best friend when it comes to these vicissitudes. It has helpful ingredients like sulfur (which helps dry and clear blemishes), camphor (which calms down inflammation of any kind) and zinc oxide (which helps absorb excess oil). 

So spread this clay-like goo on your problem areas, wait about 10 minutes and voila! world peace has been solved...on your face. Seriously though, once you rinse (I use a warm washcloth and gently massage-never scrub!) you'll find your mug feels refreshed, smoother and just plain lovely. The real miracles happen overnight though. I've given up on every other acne spot treatment since I discovered Out of Trouble. Just a dab overnight on any 'hot spot', budding blemish or blemish I couldn't help but pop, (I know, I know I'm a bad person), and once more, voila! in the morning the redness has been greatly reduced, the spot doesn't feel hurty anymore and Noella can face the day. The pricetag is steep but the tube will last you FOREVER. 

(NOTE: If the price tag makes you want to puke, a very close contender for Out of Trouble is the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask which can be found at drugstores for under $5. The differences I noticed are smell, (Out of Trouble = Camphor and Mint Julep = toothpaste) and drying (Out of trouble = mildly drying and Mint Julep = mega drying). For a fiver, the Queen Helene is a great tool to have in your kit, even if you don't use it as a full face mask. I like to use it on particularly ugly blemishes overnight or on any spots that pop up on my chest, arms or shoulders, (I call these bumps chest-ne and arm-ne, respectively).

For my delicate face though, nothing beats Out of Trouble. For it's natural ingredients, gentle problem solving and small miracle working, I love it. 


Friday, August 19, 2011

For the Love of Stila

My friends make fun of me for "endorsing" products a lot, but I can't help it. In a world where everyone is trying to sell you something, and that something is usually of a cheap quality and overpriced, it's important to recognize quality when you see it. Stila is quality on every level.

Stila is actually responsible for my foray into the world of cosmetics. Some years back, their famous, "Kitten," eye shadow was my first ever prestige purchase. If you are new to Stila, it should be your first purchase, too. Ever since then, I have been obsessed.

Stila 101:

Jeanine Lobell founded Stila in 1994 and named the company for the Italian word, "stilare," or, "to pen," because, "every woman’s makeup should be as individual as her own signature."

Later the company changed hands when it was bought out by Estee Lauder who owned the company for ten years until it became a Lynn Tilton company in 2009.

Stila's official website states, "Stila's goal is to help every woman celebrate her own unique beauty; to look and feel like the best version of herself; and to have fun doing it."

Stila releases a new line every season, as well as specials throughout the year. In the past they have teamed up for some really fun collaborations, like Barbie loves Stila, Stila loves Derby Dolls, and most recently, Stila loves Roxy.

Stila offers quality, highly pigmented, wearable products that look gorgeous and last all day. They aren't just long lasting on your face, they are long lasting in general. They really give you some bang for your buck.

For example, I have been using the same Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner pen since September, 2010. That is almost a full year of using it darn near daily, and it is still going. My MAC Penultimate was dried out in less than a month.Don't get me wrong, I really love MAC, but the Penultimate does not compare. I have also tried the NARS Eyeliner Stylo, and again, I adore NARS, but it just doesn't measure up. I have Stay All Day in black and brown, and they just released some new colors, including a lovely, dark green that I am just dying to get my hands on.

Here are a few of the things that make Stila really special...

1. The Stila Girl

Instead of models, Stila products and advertisements feature the Stila girls illustrated by Caitlin Dinkins. The drawings I have included in this blog are only a few examples. This leads us to the next thing...

2. Packaging

Okay, so I know that packaging doesn't effect the product, and maybe it is just because I have worked in marketing for a few different companies, but I adore Stila's packaging! Its like when you hear Tom Morello on the radio. No matter what band it is you instantly recognize his sound. Stila is like the Tom Morello of cosmetics. You can spot a Stila palette from across a crowded room. Packaging is the perfect segue into #3...

3. Ethics and Responsibility

Stila's packaging consists of recyclable cardboard and aluminum, many packages are biodegradable, and compacts and palettes are refillable so as to create less waste.On top of all that, a ton of their products are made from local sources in efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Stila's cosmetics are cruelty free and never tested on animals.

4. Customer Service

Stila actually cares about you. All bazillion of you. Their customer service is crazy amazing. If you contact them, they will return your calls, letters, or e-mails. Even if you just want to say, "Oh hey, Stila. I think you rock!" Last Christmas they were really busy and behind on their orders. As a result my shipment arrived one day late, which is no big deal to me, but did not go unnoticed by them. My package was full of extra goodies because they wanted to show that they were sorry. What?! If you google Stila or look them up on YouTube, you can hear a ton of other stories about how awesome and attentive their company is. They truly go above and beyond.

I could probably go on and on forever talking about each individual product, their awesome sales, and a plethora of other things. Instead I will give you a peek at a few items from my personal Stila collection and recommend just a few essentials...

 (Please ignore how incredibly scratched up my dining room table is)

If you are new to Stila, and even if you're not, here are a few of their items that i recommend the most...

My Top Five Stila Picks

If you have been following Wicked Pretty thus far, you will know that I have already raved about this foundation. I am pretty sure this formula was created using magic. It is so light that you won't feel like you have anything on your face at all, and at the same time, the coverage is outstanding. It is also buildable, so you can add more onto those pesky red areas and it will blend flawlessly. 

2. Eye Shadow in Kitten

Kitten is Stila's best selling shade for a reason. This gorgeous champagne contains just the right amount of shimmer, which makes it easy to use for both neutral and made up looks.

As i mentioned above, I have been using the same pen almost daily for about a year now, and it is still not done. Seriously, what more do you need to convince you to run out and buy this eyeliner right now? I love classic black, but the dark brown is my favorite. These pens go one super smooth and do not come off until you want them to.

I'm super fair, so bronzer either makes me look like and Oompa Loompa, or like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. But not the Stila Sun Bronzer. I love, love, love this product. It is perfect for contouring and does not look dirty on light skin.  

5. Lip and Cheek Stain in Mango Crush

This product is amazing. I have a few colors, but Mango Crush is by far my favorite. The color is buildable and you can use it on both your cheeks and lips. My lips are naturally pink, so one coat usually does me. When it dries i amp it up with Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten. (That was my way of sneaking in an extra top pick. I love the Kitten Lip Glaze and use it almost every day, with or without the Lip and Cheek Stain.)

If you have made it through this novel of a post, congratulations and thank you! Now go get yourself some Stila! 

Click HERE to shop Stila Cosmetics official web page.
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xoxo Melissa

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Thursday Three-- Noella Style

There are too many products I love right now to just choose three favorites, but Melissa said "The Thursday Thirty Threes" might get a little long winded so here goes:

This is frankly the Holy Grail of neutral palettes. Urban Decay really outdid themselves with this collection of twelve shadows ranging from light pearlescent cream to smoky, sparkly gray. There are matte shades, satin finishes, shimmery ones…pretty much all you could ask for as a blue eyed gal like myself. Most of the colors are very nicely pigmented and the more sheer ones are easy to build up if you desire. I feel that for practical every day use and even practical getting dolled up and hitting the town this is the only palette I will ever need. The combination possibilities are just shy of endless and you can use these colors for both natural and smokin hot eye make up endeavors.

This has been a recent switch up for me, as the Clinique Superfit Liquid Foundation has been discontinued. I love that it is oil free, has an SPF of 15 and is actually quite good coverage. The benefits do not stop there, however.
This is a make up that claims to improve clarity, even skin tone and correct dark spots over time even without make up on.
 I have been using this for about 2 weeks and I daresay my skin is doing remarkably well! I find that the redness in my cheeks is more easily toned down when I apply it, (this can be attributed to the higher level of coverage too though), and my face overall feels fresh and even the slightest bit less oily. So magic, in my opinion. Clinique's foundations are quality, come in a $#!%-ton of shades and are quite reasonably priced compared to many prestige brands. I think if you are going to splurge on one high end beauty item and one only, it has to be good foundation. It can make or break your face. Harsh but true reality.

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner for Eyes in Flipside

This eyeliner may be one of the top three things that has ever happened to me, (the other two things being sliced bread and Nick). It is the brightest turquoise color, soo-ooo smooth and creamy and these pencils, folks, they stay put. I love having fun with with a bright color in a safe, eyeliner environment.
Flipside can go on top of the lash line in a nice thick flick or it can go on the lower waterline for a subtle pop. It's best to leave other shimmery eyeshadows or liners out when using such a bright product, as that gets a little clowny.
This pencil works as a vibrant base for other bright blue eyeshadows in the event of the need for an electric blue look, (80's night, anyone?) and basically just makes the bluest statement a girl could ask for. When you are feeling frisky and fun, try this!


*Ding-Dong* AVON Calling!

So let's all think back at how cool Peg was in Edward Scissorhands, shall we? Modern woman, Avon lady :o)

Okay so I'll just get to my point: I'm officially an Avon lady!

I'm very excited at the prospect of playing with make up and skin care as a job and I am exceedingly enthusiastic about Avon as a company. They are the oldest cosmetics company in the country (it's their 125th anniversary this year! That means they were established way back in Eighteen-eighty....old...I don't do math)... They do NOT test on animals, and they are the biggest corporate contributor to breast cancer awareness/research in the country!

So if you are interested in learning more about Avon's products, feel like browsing a new brand's goodies or have a favorite product that you need an Avon lady for-- hit up my new Avon website or email me at
Thank you!

Darlene's Kosmetology Korner

So, let's talk about hair! I thought it appropriate to open up discussion on the subject as hair care is certainly part of being wicked pretty. I want to start with good shampoo. We all know if your hair is not healthy you cannot expect the best results. In all my years of doing hair I often said, I wish I could be the holistic hairdresser. Work with your hair, not against it. 

Well, it all starts with good products, and good products are all about pH levels (potential hydrogen). In a nutshell, the pH scale ranges from 0-14. 0 being really acidic and 14 being the highest in alkalinity. Our skin and hair are on avarage between 4.5 and 5.5. Pure water has a pH of 7! If you use products high in alkalinity the cuticle of your hair will swell, open up and allow oils and moisture to escape. In turn hair will become brittle and dry. Using a product that is acid balanced (we want shampoos around 5-5.50) it will actually close, harden and flatten the outer cuticle layers creating smoother hair. If your hair color is fading fast, the hydrogen is probably too high, causing dark hair to lighten.

So how do you know what the pH level of your shampoo is? Well, a few professional companies will state the pH, but most companies do not tell you. You can have some fun and do some testing of your shampoos and lotions with a visit to the drug store. Litmus paper or sticks will give you an accurate reading (we did this in beauty school). 

Unfortunately, most mass produced shampoos are made of the cheapest ingredients and won't list the pH. You can call the company to ask and also let them know that you want this information up front on the bottles! 

If you don't want to bother with this experimenting my advice is the same as I have told my clients for years. Go treat yourself to a duo of shampoo and conditioner from a professional line of products. Use these products exclusively until they run out. Do not use any other products during this trial. Certainly stay away from all those half used bottles of hair care products you have in the deep dark depths of your cabinet. For years the results have been the same... they always come back for more! 

You all know plenty of those professional products (Alterna, Pureology, Redken, Matrix, Paul Mitchell, Aveda, Nioxin, Chi, Bed Head) so wait for a sale and unless you have the strongest virgin, (un-chemically treated) hair I can pretty much guarantee you will notice a difference and you will be ready to learn how to get the perfect haircut...


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Applying the Color Wheel to Cosmetics

Anyone who took elementary school art is probably familiar with the color wheel. If you are not, the color wheel consists of the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and the results of their combinations (secondary colors), which are complimentary, or opposite, to those colors. 

From an artist’s standpoint, it makes complete and total sense to apply the color wheel to cosmetics, especially concerning the eye shadow.

Let’s start by breaking things down:

Primary colors:
Red, Blue, Yellow

Secondary colors:
Red + Blue = Purple
Red + Yellow = Orange
Blue + Yellow = Green

Complimentary colors:
Red = Green
Blue = Orange
Yellow = Purple

Obviously the spectrum of colors is much wider than what I have listed here, but consider this a basic refresher.

So, if you are going to apply the concept of the color wheel to find a shadow that will really make your eyes pop, you will want to choose a shade, or a variation of a shade, that is opposite your eye color…

If you have blue eyes…

As we have established above, the opposite of blue is orange. Obviously you are not going to want to walk around with Tang eyes all day, unless you have darker skin and you can pull it off.

If you have fairer skin, try using a soft, orangey peach on your lids and using a light coral or a neutral color in your crease. Use a white or light peach colored pencil on your water line to make your eyes appear bigger and brighter. I recommend using a chocolate color on your top and bottom lash line to keep things looking natural. Top it off with a brown mascara, or a dark, navy blue. The blue mascara will compliment your eyes as well as making the whites appear whiter. This is a trick that can be used on any eye color, though I personally think it looks best with blue eyes.

If you have darker skin, feel free to be a little bolder in your choices. Vibrant colors will not appear quite as bright on dark skin, so experiment a little. Try a bright orange all over the lid and a burnt or brownish orange in the crease. Use a soft peach to highlight your inner corners and brow bone, as well as along your water line. Choose your eyeliner accordingly. If you are tan, stick with a chocolate brown, or if you have a deeper, darker skin tone, try a thin, black line. Choose a blackish brown mascara to finish the look. 

If you have green eyes…

The opposite of green is red. Again, unless you are into big, bold colors, you’re not going to want to walk around with Crayola lids. For the sake of this blog, let’s keep things, “wearable.”

I love pink eye shadows, but you have to be very careful with them. The wrong shade of pink around the eyes can just make you look like you have been rocking the ganj’ all day, and that is not an attractive look on anyone. If you are fair, choose a soft, baby pink for your lids. Follow it up by mixing a bit of that same pink with a little light brown and work that into your crease. White or a champagne color would make a lovely highlight for the brow bone and inner corners, and a white liner along your water line will really make things pop. Brown and pink make a lovely pair, so use a brown liner along your top and bottom lash lines and finish with a dark brown mascara.

Purples are gorgeous on both light and dark skin. Light lavender for the lid, a medium purple in the crease, and a white highlight will make green eyes sparkle. Try a deep plumb liner on your upper lash line and a soft brown for the lower. You can use the plumb on your lower lids as well, but again, take care or you will look tired and stoned. If you have really dark skin, get bold with your shades. Purples are absolutely gorgeous on women with deep and dark brown skin tones. 

Try the right side of Kat Von D for Sephora's True Love Palette. The color that looks white in the palette actually applies as lavender and is absolutely gorgeous. This palette also features stunning neutrals.

For those with brown eyes…

Brown is not on the color wheel, and is created by mixing secondary colors. As it is an earth tone, or a neutral color, I personally believe that brown eyes are best complimented by other earth tones and neutral colors. All eye colors are. A little bit of shimmer will really make brown eyes sparkle. Choose a soft beige for lighter skin and go darker the deeper your color is. I also love using gold and bronze on brown eyes. Choose a deeper shade or brown or bronze/gold for your crease and highlight with a shimmery champagne. As with the other colors, choose your liner and mascara according to your skin tone; browns for fair skin, blackish brown for tanner shades, and black for deep or dark skin colors.

If you are have dark brown skin, try using the purples recommended in the green eye suggestions. Deep skin tones are the exception to breaking the neutral rule when it comes to creating a wearable look for brown eyes.

No matter what your skin tone, don’t be afraid to play with shades of gold.

Try Urban Decay's ever-popular and widely coveted Naked Palette, or the gorgeous Vegan Palette. The Vegan Palette is on sale for $19 right now. Seriously. It is $17 for one individual Urban Decay shadow. How can you pass up six gorgeous colors, a mini primer potion AND a 24/7 pencil for $19? You can't. Buy it now and you won't be sorry. 

If you have hazel eyes…

If you have hazel eyes, you can probably successfully wear both the green eyed and brown eyed looks. Definitely play with golden shades, as hazel eyes tend to have a ring of gold in the center or gold flecks. If you have light eyes, play around with the blue eyed look as well. Though generally, I think the green and brown eyed looks are going to compliment you better. 

I recommend Benefit's BADgal Brown and Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown to compliment all of these looks.

As soon as I round the troops I will be making a color wheel video using all of the palettes and products listed here, so keep an eye out!

xoxo Melissa