What I’ve Bought Lately

What I've Bought Lately

I vaguely recall posting something a few months ago about trying to save more money…perhaps by spending less? But when it comes to beauty items that I can’t live without, all bets are off. So when I ran out of my beloved Stila foundation over the weekend (thanks to the pretty new packaging that makes it hard to tell when you are running low), I had to make an “emergency” trip to Ulta.

While I was there, I couldn’t help but pick up another tube of L’Oreal’s Voluminous Mascara (if you haven’t tried this yet, it is seriously amazing!). The creamy formula will give you the longest, thickest lashes of your life. You can thank me later!

And since I finally figured out how to properly get that soft-wavy look with a curling iron (thanks to this post), the Triple Sec 3-in-1 texturizing spray from Dry Bar was a must (and came highly recommended by the salon at Ulta). I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but here’s hoping that for the price, it works magic.

If we can change the subject for a minute, I must tell you about the lace-up flats from Old Navy. I saw them in the store about a week ago and decided while waiting on the checkout line that I didn’t really need them. Fast-forward one week, and I had major #FOMO, so I returned and scooped them up on sale. Now, all is right in the world and I am looking forward to sporting these blue beauties.

What have you purchased recently?

The (Seriously) Last-Minute Gift Guide

The (Seriously) Last-Minute Gift Guide

So here we are…down to the wire. In T-minus four days it will be Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. Don’t despair (I say this as a reminder to myself as well). We are getting dangerously close to the point of no return when it comes to online shopping and having your presents wrapped and under the tree in time. With that said, plenty of retailers make shopping in-store a breeze. If you have a long list, I would suggest hitting up Target, Ulta, Sephora, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, and Gap for all of your gifting needs. I was at Gap over the weekend, and their inventory (combined with the sales!) made for easy shopping. The plaid shirt above was a recent purchase of mine, and given how soft the fabric is and how affordable the price was, this gift is a no-brainer. Of course, the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick set (bonus points: it includes the glitterazzi top coat) is a gift that is hard to beat.

Regardless of what you decide to purchase for your loved ones, it is crunch time. I hope this last-minute gift guide (along with this one and this one) have helped you out this holiday season.

Stay sane and happy shopping!

Birthday Buys

Birthday Buys

As my birthday month concludes, nothing makes me happier than opening the last of my presents (even if I did gift them to myself). If you follow me on Snapchat and Instagram, you may have watched as I opened my Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchase from Anthropologie — the Letters in Lights earrings set. Yes, I have been on quite the earring kick lately!

But that wasn’t the only thing I bought myself this month. On a recent lunchtime visit to Target, I stocked up on lots of sweaters. If you haven’t been there in a while, I highly suggest you go. I purchased a cream cowl neck Mossimo sweater that I will be buying in however many other colors it comes in. It’s that cozy – trust me! And since Mossimo can do no wrong, there may have been a cardigan…a burgundy long-sleeve shirt, and another oversized sweater that also found their way into my winter collection.

On the beauty front, what would a month (or a week be!) without a stop at Ulta? Naturally, I ran out of my beloved Stila Smudge Stick in Lionfish (still using that one and still love it) and with the holidays coming, I was in desperate need of a new nail polish. Insert Chick Flick Cherry from OPI — the perfect shade for the winter months (and a nice alternative to red).

Thank you for indulging me as I celebrated my birthday month!

Fall Beauty Buys – Part I

stila star light star bright highlighter palette

I have been on quite the beauty kick lately. It’s amazing how a new lipstick (or highlighting palette) can get me excited for the upcoming work week. Lately, the object of my affection has been Stila (surprise, surprise!).

stila star light star bright highlighter palette 2

I thought I had to wait months before the launch of Stila’s new Star Light, Star Bright Highlighting Palette…but I was wrong. When I stopped at Ulta last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see the palette in stock — and now in my beauty bag. I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘Didn’t you just buy a bunch of highlighters from Laura Geller?’ Yup, I did. And while I have enjoyed them, something about this Stila palette proved irresistible. Perhaps it was that the palette contained three shades: Transcendence, Kitten, and Bronze. Or that all three of the highlighting shades could be worn separately. But what sold me is that I could blend them together in one simple stroke for the perfect effect (I’m all about quick and easy).

I’ve been using the palette for about a week now, and it not only brightens up my complexion but also my morning routine. I love how it accentuates my cheekbones and gives me a subtle glow — which helps when you can’t get up on time and are scrambling to get out your front door on those kinds of mornings!

While I wish I could say I stopped after this purchase, on a separate visit to Ulta I was powerless to resist scooping up Stila’s Naturally Nude Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set. Stay tuned for a future review and to see the gorgeous trio of shades in action!

Musings of a Blogger

Sag Harbor, NY

Today is supposed to be 91 degrees in my part of the world, which all but guarantees that I will be spending the day at the beach (catching up on emails and pondering blog topics, of course!). As another summer week seemed to whiz by, I’m left with a certain satisfaction of all that I have accomplished in the last few days. I finished each day with a checked off to-do list, new goals in place, and a decent sense of direction for the remainder of the month. So, I deserve a beach day, right?

Here’s a short breakdown of my week:

The week started out a bit rocky. After performing an upgrade on my iPhone, my beloved Calm meditation app (which I have been using daily for over two months) suddenly wasn’t free anymore. I loved my nightly guided meditation, so you can imagine how upset I was when I tried to use the app before bed one night and it was locked. Fortunately, I found another meditation app to take its place. I’ll soon be sharing more about my meditation journey and the apps I use!

I changed up my routine a bit and went to a Tuesday evening kickboxing class. Why is working out at night so much harder? Anyone else feel this way?

By Wednesday I was beyond sore, but mustered up enough energy to make friends with the new lawn mower, a Honda purchased from Home Depot. I admit, mowing the lawn is one of my least favorite activities (or it became one years earlier, when I was attacked by yellow jackets who had burrowed in the ground and were on the defensive after I mowed over their home! #grownupproblems). But this time, I felt a certain sense of achievement after mowing the lawn.

On Thursday, in an effort to reward myself for performing said manual labor mentioned earlier, I stopped at Ulta (you know where this is going) and picked up a new foundation and skincare products. Since I’m still hunting for a lightweight summer makeup, I did a little research before heading to the store. With reviews in hand, I made my decision and can’t wait to try my new liquid foundation. Look for a preview on my Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil). A review will come to the blog soon.

And here we are at last — it’s Friday. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Stealing the Spotlight: Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme

Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme

Ladies, we all would like that signature Kylie Jenner pout…without the needles. Am I right? While I love recommending products to you that I have tried and used, this week’s Stealing the Spotlight is a little different.

A quick backstory. Since high school, I have been slightly obsessed with the luscious look of full lips. At the time, DuWop made a product called Lip Venom that was all the rage. I was excited to try it — and it actually worked. Fast-forward to last week, when I relentlessly searched for the modern day equivalent of Lip Venom.

After scouring the internet and reading tons of product reviews, I decided to try Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme. It had earned top spots on almost all of the lists I saw. And the only negative thing anyone had to say was that if applied under the lip line it could irritate the skin (read: resulting in redness). So off to Ulta I went and $28 later walked out with a new product to love. Or so I thought.

Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme

{Before & After}

I waited until the morning I was going out to meet a friend for breakfast to try the product on my lips (mistake number one). I knew if it worked well I would want to share the news with you all, so I took before and after photos. But shortly after application, my lips felt very tingly (which is a normal side effect). I waited ten minutes before snapping the “after” photo, and as you can tell, the product did little to enhance the volume of my lips. I started to feel a numbness above my upper lip (in the philtrum area) and below my lower lip and got nervous, so I tried to wipe the excess product off. By the time I went out to meet my friend, I felt like I had been to the dentist and had Novocaine. It was an unsettling feeling, and not one that I would want to repeat.

I’m sure my reaction was an isolated incident, and I tell you this story not to scare you away from lip plumping products (if that’s your thing). But this experience taught me that instead of wishing for what I don’t have, I should be grateful for what I have. And after examining my lips (and applying lots of moisturizer to them!), I realized they are fine as they are.

Have you tried Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme? Are there any lip plumpers you would recommend?

Stealing the Spotlight: Smashbox Lipgloss Set

Stealing the Spotlight:  Smashbox Lipgloss Set

{From left to right: Orchid||Disco Rose||Superstar||Pout||Coraline}

Nothing makes me happier than finding new lipstick and gloss. So you can imagine my excitement when I spotted a lipgloss set from Smashbox with five new-to-me shades. And then saw that they were only $20 (valued at $80). How fast can you say “sold”?!

Since it’s fall, I’m all about soft pinks, deep plums, and reds, which were generously represented in this collection. I have plenty of lipsticks to carry me through until spring (that’s a hint to myself that I should refrain from buying any more). But I tend to shy away from lipgloss due to the tacky nature and the frequent need to reapply. However, when it’s from Smashbox I can overlook these shortcomings.

Stealing the Spotlight:  Smashbox Lipgloss Set

{Left: Orchid || Right: Disco Rose}

While these aren’t the full-sized versions, the tubes offer enough product to get you started. The set contains the following shades: Orchid, Disco Rose, Superstar, Pout, Coraline. I can already tell you that two of the colors have received a lot of wear. Any guesses which ones they were? If you said Orchid and Disco Rose, you’d be correct.

All of the shades go on fairly sheer, so be prepared to apply a double coat for maximum coverage. You could even wear the gloss over a complementary lipstick shade to add some sheen to your pout.

Did I mention that this set would make a great gift for the holidays?

Are you a lipstick or lipgloss lover?

Minting it Up

Mojito Mint by Whim

What would a summer be without a new nail polish? It just wouldn’t be complete, right?  Well, fear not. On one of my many Ulta shopping trips (really, I should be banned!) I spotted a shade of nail polish I just had to have. I should preface this by saying that I went into Ulta to pick-up one item (Stila’s smudge stick eyeliner in Lionfish, to be precise, a coppery shade that completes my look), and not in the market for another polish.

But it was love at first sight. Unlike the usual question I find myself pondering when I see a nice color (do I already have this shade?), I instantly knew the answer. Not only did I lack this color, but it didn’t resemble anything I already had in my line-up. Corals and peaches are a favorite summertime trend for me. I probably own about five coral colors that I can only distinguish by the witty OPI name underneath. So buying a pastel polish, in a hue that you wouldn’t naturally find in nature, was a bit outside my comfort zone.

Mojito Mint by Whim Nail Polish

Whim’s Mojito Mint lived up to my expectations, although at first it was looking a little dicey. As you may know from previous posts, I have been a loyal OPI polish wearer for years. I love their colors, the finish, and the durability. When it comes to trying a new brand I am always hesitant, and one that costs $10 for what looks like a minuscule amount of product is usually a deal-breaker. Fortunately, the color, and the fact that it is “Five Free” (does not contain DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Camphor, and Formaldehyde Resin), enticed me enough to give it a try. But the proof is in the polish! How does it go on? And, how does it wear? Well, here is where that dicey comment comes into play. When I first began applying the polish it went on thin and watery. I was afraid that the pretty color wouldn’t come through on my nails. But after a slightly longer drying time between coats, and a second application, which went on smoother than the first, the polish looked as good on my nails as it did in the bottle. And after a week of wear, complete with a trip to New York City and lots of time typing away at the computer, I’m happy to report that the polish has good staying power. No chips to date!

I guess the moral of the story here is: don’t judge a polish after one coat! In all seriousness, I’m happy I splurged a bit and found a beautiful color (and brand!) that I will probably be wearing all summer long. The color is light, refreshing, and screams summer. As best as a nail polish can!

Steil-ish or Steil-eesh?




Ever wander into a store with one specific item in mind and then buy it…and maybe a few other things? That is exactly what happened to me over the weekend. Exhibit A: The Nordstrom Rack. After a beautiful afternoon at the beach, I decided that some retail therapy was in order to complete the day. I had every intention of stopping at Ulta, but I received a tip that the Nordstrom Rack had the Stila skincare products I was desperately searching for at a better price. I rarely shop at the Rack, but after this most recent visit, I’m thinking that I have been missing out.

After securing what I really went in for, I took a stroll around the store. I thought I was safe until I spotted the shoe section. Who doesn’t need a new pair of summer sandals? I was proud of the restraint I had been exercising thus far – I even passed up a pair of Jack Rogers! That was until the mint, studded Zigi Soho’s caught my eye. Normally, these would not be a pair of shoes I would find appealing, as they are edgier than my normal conservative 9-5 attire allows. However, as I went to put them back on the shelf, rationalizing to myself that I had no need for these shoes and would seldom wear them, I looked at the price. For under $25, they were a steal—I had to have them. I concede that this was a splurge (sorry, Suze Orman!), but as I brought them up to the register I already began envisioning wearing them with white skinny jeans or a pair of shorts. Even though they will be reserved for fun summer day trips (or more likely, running around town), I have no buyer’s remorse. I am looking forward to wearing my bright, studded Zigi’s the next chance I get.

So what do you think? Are they stylish or style-eesh?

Waiting for the Weekend


As another weekend approaches, I thought I would share some highlights from last weekend…

First off, it is perfectly acceptable to still be reminiscing about the excitement of last weekend. Not only did we enjoy beautiful spring weather both days on Long Island, but Restaurant Week ended Sunday, and thus concluded my week of fabulous dining!

On Saturday, I was able to make it to one of my favorite spots – West Neck Beach in Huntington, NY for a day of beach photography, and even though I took over one hundred photos, I never managed to capture the shot I was trying for.



A stop at a local boutique in Huntington Village made up for the fact that my photographic eye was a bit shaky that day. In fact my inner fashionista was still working perfectly, and I picked-up what just might be the purchase of the season! More to come on that next week…

After a quick stroll through the Village, a stop at Heckscher Park was in order to see the tulips ahead of the annual Tulip Festival.




On Sunday, I stopped at the Maritime Festival in Port Jefferson, NY, visited a farmer’s market, and had brunch at Sweet ‘n’ Savory – and yes, the cannoli crêpe was as irresistible as ever (for more on one of the best crêpe places on Long Island, see my post from April 25th).


And what weekend would be complete without a stop at Ulta to purchase a new Stila lipstick in a color I have been dying try?

Happy Friday!