The Beauty Holy Grail: The Five Minute Face

I am the first to admit I am NOT a beauty guru. Those girls who can look like they walked straight out of a magazine every morning? More power to ‘em. I’m amazed that I’ve finally concurred mascara and a red lip after all these years. Makeup has just always intimidated me. Sure I’ve gotten those over the counter makeovers and I’ve fallen for most of the “best product ever” articles you read in mags, and even with products piled high in my makeup drawer I’ve never really felt like it all made that much of a difference for me.

And then I met MAKE UP FOR EVER. Truthfully, I’d never heard of the line. You can find it in Sephora. But now that I’m in the know, I’m never going back! I teased the super fun experience I had shooting a video with MAKE UP FOREVER here. Well, today is the big reveal! They asked me to come to NYC and go through a full makeover, hair, outfit and makeup {of course!}… all based on my favorite style inspiration. Can you guess who I picked to serve as my inspirational icon?


Lauren Hutton! I’ve always adored her effortless, sexy-cool style – that she still rocks to this day! In fact I only think it’s gotten better as she’s gotten older. I’d love to look that put together at her age. From the 1970′s all the way to now, Lauren was the perfect beauty icon to have MAKE UP FOR EVER emulate. So I headed out to New York for my transformation – to be captured on video to share with you today! Tadah!!

And while getting glammed up was certainly fun, the best part of the whole experience was walking away with a makeup routine that I actually think will work for me on an everyday basis! It was simple, it was easy, it was fun and most importantly I love how it makes me look – like me…only better.


There were a few key “aha” moments that I took away from Lihja Stewart, MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Director of Artistry. First, that the entire MAKE UP FOR EVER skin line is practically perfect. From the silky, just enough coverage foundation to the light as air powder, perfect pink HD blush, easy to apply bronzer and the most AH-mazing HD concealer I have ever found….I am so hooked!

The look was finished off with what is probably my new favorite find – Mist and Fix. This miracle worker keeps your makeup set and it actually delivers on its promise! I left my shoot all dolled up and went out to dinner nearly 8-hours later with only the reapplication of lip gloss needed. No smudges, no wandering mascara under my eyes. As someone who never remembers to stop for a mirror check, this is the ultimate lifesaver.


get the look: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Another one of the favorite lessons I learned was how easy it is to do a great eye. No straining over an imperfect eye-liner line required. I was terrified when Lijha asked me to replicate what she’d done on my other eye {ha! do you see my hand shaking in the video?!} But with the Aqua Matic eye pencil you can do your entire eye so easily. It was basically impossible to screw up.

The third detail too often forgotten is your eyebrows. Ladies – you cannot neglect them! Do you know how much more awake and fresh a strengthened eyebrow makes you look? Thankfully, MAKE UP FOR EVER has the easiest tools to add a little oopmh to your brows with their Aqua Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector and Brow Seal Eyebrow Gel. I’m never skipping this step again!


get the look: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

And while we added extra flourishes for the video look, {false eyelashes that were actually super comfortable and I loved!} overall I never felt “made-up.” Caking on layers of makeup or trying anything that requires 30 minutes to prep just isn’t for me. Even though we were going for a “camera ready” look, I’ve been having a ball taking the key elements I learned and trying them at home.

Here is the full list of the secret weapons used in my MAKE UP FOR EVER makeover-should you like to do the same!

1.     Face/Body 20

2.     HD Concealer 325

3.     Pro Finish Powder Foundation 117

4.     Mat bronze 40

5.     HD Blush 215

6.     Brow seal

7.     Aqua Brow 10

8.     Aqua Matic 52 & 50

9.     Aqua Eyes 2L

10.   Lashes 157

11.   Aqua Smoky Extravagant

12.   Aqua Lip 2c

13.   Lab Shine S4

14.   Mist & Fix

I have to thank the entire MAKE UP FOR EVER team again for having me. It was a treat to get to work with a cool, creative crew and I left feeling like I could finally do my own makeup – no professional makeup artist required!

image via vogue, quote via glitter inc.

This post is in partnership with Style Coalition and Make Up For Ever. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open! 

Get Fab Skin on the Go at San Francisco’s Can’t Miss Pop-Up

Taking care of your skin is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll feel young, energized and walk with a greater sense of confidence that makeup just can’t buy. We’ve long been obsessed with SK-II {hello, endorsed by Cate Blanchett – how could you not want skin like hers!} so we were really excited to visit the newly opened SK-II San Francisco pop-up studio and try the celeb-fave out for ourselves.

There we got to sample a little taste of luxury, enjoying personal beauty consultations using SK-II’s new Beauty Imaging System. We also go the low down about SK-II’s miracle ingredient, PiteraTM - the secret weapon within SK-II’s skincare.


When you walk into the SK-II pop-up, a sense of calm and excitement instantly comes over you. Set up like a serene spa, you relax in Barcelona chairs, sipping on green tea and munching on {healthy!} snacks, while you await your very own private skin consultation.

The staff are so knowledgeable and will run you through each product, our absolute favorite being the Cellumination line. If you want your skin to be super-supple and dewy, it is a must try! It’s smooth and lusciously creamy, absorbing right into your skin leaving nothing but a gorgeous effervescent glow behind. We were all oohhhing and ahhhhing.

But the real game changer is the ever popular Pitera enriched face mask and Beauty Imaging technology. The best part about the pop-up is that you can walk right in and try both out for yourself, for free! Jessica, our resident beauty-maven, volunteered to be our guinea pig for the day. Rough job right?!


After getting a feel for the ah-mazing SK-II mask {Jessica’s skin seriously glowed after wearing it for only five minutes}, we moved on to SK-II’s hot new technology: the Beauty Imaging System.

It works by taking a picture of your skin and sending its analysis to a screen where you can see the breakdown of your skin’s formula and identify how to improve problem areas. The technology is fascinating- it evaluates your skin by factors like hydration and suppleness. Best part of it all is that once you know how to improve the quality of your skin, they give you a free coupon for an SK-II facial at Bloomingdales or Saks Fifth Avenue- as if pampering your skin for free once wasn’t enough!


SK-II’s pop-up studio is the ultimate pampering experience, complete with the next wave of beauty-changing products and technology. If you’re in the Bay Area, you must experience it for yourself. Your skin will feel ah-mazing afterwards and you’ll want to run home to sample all of the goodies they give you!

The San Francisco SK-II pop-up studio is on 117 Post Street near Union Square and runs until May 23, 2014. For all the fine print on SK-II and their pop-up head here!


original photography for apartment 34 by Ashley Batz 

This post is in partnership with SK-II and Style Coalition. All opinions and thoughts are our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open! 

Perfectly Personalized Makeup!

As I’ve attested many times before, I’m most definitely a beauty novice {apparently no matter how many lessons I get!}. But with my trip to Greece top of mind, I’m definitely looking for ways to look lovely without having to haul 20lbs of make-up half way across the world! Like I’m sure many of you do, I jump at any chance to get tips straight from the pros. So when MAKE UP FOR EVER invited me out to New York to collaborate with their Creative Director on a makeup look designed specifically for me…let’s just say I couldn’t have gotten on that plane fast enough!

This challenge was a really fun one: pick one of my favorite iconic style inspirations and then work with MAKE UP FOR EVER to create both the makeup and an outfit that epitomized my inspiration. I think I’m going to leave you guessing about who my inspiration was, but I thought I’d share a few sneak peeks of the adventure to whet your whistle! Does this give you any clues as to who my style icon might be?


While working with a makeup artist can often be scary {I’m sure you can relate to the bad mall makeup we’ve ALL had applied at least once in our lives}, I was thrilled with my final MAKE UP FOR EVER look. Not only did it feel flattering, effortless and actually totally me {just better!}, it also wasn’t that complicated! I think I really could replicate it at home.


That was due in large part to some of MAKE UP FOR EVER’s ingenious products. My favorite was probably their all new Aqua Matic glide-on eye shadow pencil. That baby was foolproof and made doing up my eye totally effortless. The best insider tip I got was about MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Mist & Fix. You know how you’ll look all fab when you walk out the door in the morning, but by 2pm, you look like you never bothered to put makeup on at all? Their totally lightweight moisturizing mist actually sets your makeup so you still look fresh, even as you head out for happy hour! And it seriously did work. I rocked my makeup when the husband and I went out to dinner in NYC after my shoot, no touch ups required. So sold.


These are just a couple of the many tip & tricks that I’m going to get to share with you – IN A VIDEO – quite soon! But that is to come. In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of my final make-up look!!

apt34-mufe-2 copy


Hope you’re as excited as I am to see the entire transformation in real time!


This post is in partnership with Style Coalition for MAKE UP FOR EVER. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34′s doors open!