The RAEviewer - A blog about luxury and high-end cosmetics
TheRAEviewer.com is the journaled resource hub for luxury and designer cosmetics, all falling under RAEview beauty umbrella. TheRAEviewer.com features in-depth product reviews, photos, swatches, and video tutorials.
As some of you may have heard in my Evening Skin Care Routine video, I am in esthetician school and have been rather preoccupied learning about skin and practicing facials. As much as I am obsessed with skin care, it is exhausting to be a 30 year old in school for five days a week for 8 hours a day. That’s why I look forward to nights out more than ever!
I actually make the effort to dress up and put on a full face of makeup now since I’m in scrubs and bare-faced most of the week. I’m also still shedding my winter weight which means a lot of sweaters and even more dresses. Nordstrom recently started carrying one of my favorite dress brands, Reformation, so I splurged on the Butterfly Midi in Venezia — a sweet yet sophisticated mini floral print. I fell instantly in love with the vintage-inspired silhouette, particularly the décolletage-highlighting neckline.
Reformation dresses are impressive in quality and flow beautifully, but do check out brands like Ali & Jay and Bardot for more affordable options that are equally pretty and offer an impressive selection in prints, sizes, and lengths. I luckily didn’t have to hem this dress because the flounced skirt of the “midi” length stops right at my ankles, but I highly recommend starting your night out search at Nordstrom early so that you can take advantage of their alterations department!
I was hesitant to order a dress so expensive sight unseen being that it’s an online exclusive, but the fluttery feminine sleeves won me over. Reformation's dresses tends to run on the smaller side, so I sized up to a size 2 and it’s still a bit snug around the rib cage. It is, however, more comfortable than I expected since my arms have full mobility. Petite women like me, 5’0 tall and fluctuating at my heaviest around 115 or less pounds currently, are generally advised against wearing large print patterns or prints whatsoever because they can overwhelm our frames. This dress, however, has a botanical print that is whimsical without leaning bohemian, and I don’t think it is visually distracting at all!
Now I’m a traditionalist when it comes to heels because I mostly own pumps, but I really wanted to try something trendier. My friend Rachel, the Beauty Professor, raved about the Steve Madden Camille Clear Sandals, so I figured they would be a good investment for summer outings. They are so versatile and the block heel makes them both stable and comfortable! I normally wear a 5.5 in most pumps so I ordered those online first but went to #nordstrom to exchange them for a size 6. My toes are slightly longer than my big toe so sizing up gave them ample room without hanging over, and the clear straps subtly elongate the look of my legs in shorts and skirts.
One thing I’m rather gutted about since starting school is that I no longer maintain acrylics or even gel manicures, although seeing how sadly damaged my bare nails had become the first couple weeks were tough. It is a blessing in disguise; they are able to breathe and recuperate for a few months plus I found a solution to temporarily dressing up my nails without mess. Nordstrom recently started carrying Static Nails so on special nights out, I have been using press-on nails instead!
I kept my expectations low, but they really are perfect for dates and weddings or just a feminine pick-me-up. They’re offered in multiple shapes and colors and finishes which keeps things interesting! I do think the Pop-On Reusable Manicure Set in Sugar Floss Stiletto shape and length is much more wearable and manageable straight out of the box. This is all preference, but I rarely get my nails done longer than 1/4 inch past the end of my fingertip for maneuverability’s sake.
Plus, the pink-nude Sugar Floss color is so flattering, with just a hint of translucency that makes the set look convincingly natural. 24 reusable nails in twelve different sizes per hand are provided, so I’m able to create a short set and a longer set by trimming and filing.
It took me approximately 15 minutes to cut and file the black Conjure set which is sold out everywhere. The glossy black nails are edgy but after gluing them on, I laughed because they looked like Halloween claws on my petite nails. This set has nails that are not only longer, but wider as well, which is not ideal for my extra narrow nail beds. I kept the right hand’s nails extra short and super round for the ease of contact use and skin care application, but I filed the left hand’s nails to a pointy oval shape at a length I normally get my acrylics to show versatility in this post. It was quite a massive reshaping so application to end took about one hours. Removal is quick with a hot water soak, and these nails can be easily reapplied with more glue, and even painted.
Nails are sort of a given on nights outs, but I hesitate to accessorize due to my tendency to lose things. Thanks to my twin sister, however, I’ve been converted to Kendra Scott! I have been known to have a strong preference for (overpriced) designer costume jewelry but I have to say, Kendra Scott is new go-to brand for earrings. People randomly drop me compliments whenever I wear them, and I have to admit, the quality is consistently good and the price point very reasonable.
Nordstrom recently ran an online-only Kendra Scott promo so I jumped at the chance to receive a third pair for free! I chose a classic — the Tessa Stone Stud Earrings in Iridescent Drusy/Gold — to wear to school. Then I selected a fancier evening pair — Circe Drop Earrings in Lustre Glass/Gold — to match the Venezia dress, and the promotional pair is another lustre glass drop style with silver hardware but more casual. Personally I love translucent touches and have since the ‘90s so I felt it was only appropriate that the earrings matched my footwear selection! When it comes to accessories, shoes, makeup, and outfits I prefer to take a holistic cohesive approach (including matching hardware) to keep my look visually appealing especially if I plan to take photos for Nights Out.
Again I apologize for being away so long, but as school becomes more manageable, I’ll be back full time to share everything I’ve been learning. Even though my heart will always be devoted to the luxe brands I’ve used my entire life, I have been researching and testing the best in affordable skin care. I truly believe good skin should be accessible to all, so I hope you’ll allow me to help you guide through the madness that is beauty nowadays.
Last but not least I am wearing my favorite new everyday lipstick by Charlotte Tilbury called Bond Girl and my clutch is new from Senreve, called the Aria Belt/Convertible Bag. Many thanks to @Nordstrom for sponsoring this post and allowing me to share some new favorites!
This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.
With the holidays in full swing, I wanted to share my gift guide a bit earlier this year. Normally I shop last minute because I’m always swamped starting Thanksgiving week with cooking cleaning and hanging on to my sanity in general, but I decided no procrastinating this year! "Adulting" is so much more fun when I can browse and compare prices online and get all my shopping done in my pjs -- no long lines or throwing elbows or circling for parking. I’m actually looking forward to wrapping up the gifts this season, but before I share what I bought and what I recommend, here are some shopping tips!
Since I’m four months away from turning 30 and my life has changed so much in the last two years, I have started thinking differently about gifting as well. I still choose with the person in mind, of course, but I almost always go the more conservative route with skin care and personal care items that actually need to be repurchased regularly. If I want to make it an extra special treat, I will choose a luxury brand for the element of surprise. I think the way I shop for gifts now shows how much more I pay attention and listen to my loved ones’ immediate and regular needs/wants.
Nordstrom has some of the best skin care sets between $50 and $200 this year, but my top pick is the Sunday Riley Face to Face Kit. This 4-piece set is priced at $49! It features useful crowd favorites that amount to a $70 value and can be split up into stocking stuffers or for gift bags. All four products have proven track records with me and my friends who are pretty picky when it comes to skin care. My favorite of the bunch lately is the C.E.O. Serum, but Good Genes reigns supreme for most.
Sunday Riley is one of my favorite brands because it appeals to all ages and all genders in the goal of achieving healthier clearer skin. Her formulations are gentle but efficacious, and these aren't tiny samples so you can get a real feel for each product. There are bigger more visually impressive sets but I think this is an all-around winner that should be at the top of your radar.
A beauty tool that I discovered recently while wandering around Nordstrom is the rather fancy and beautiful BeautyBio Rose Quartz Roller. After using it for a month now, I think it makes a fabulous gift! It might be confusing to some because the concept is an old Asian one and recently made trendy thanks to social media but it works. This roller can be used on the face neck and body to de-puff, which is why I keep mine in the fridge and sometimes freezer.
I love it in the mornings when my face is swollen, an easy and refreshing pre-makeup ritual that I look forward to. The (cold) pink stones boost lymphatic drainage and eases muscle tension in my jawline, neck, and temples. I would not skimp and go with cheaper models because it’s the weightiness and larger size and single piece stone construction of the BeautyBio tool that makes it more useful and versatile. Any smaller and I would only be able to use it on my facial contours only. I bought this Rose Quartz Roller knowing it might be a waste of money and sit in a drawer but it's actually worth the price tag and comes in a lovely box.
Now, the mister has been great about adapting an official skin care routine upon my advice, but his beard care and grooming products are something that I neglected. Lately I see this men’s category as an equivalent to women’s base makeup, and this sort of pampering will change your man’s daily routine for the better.
The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Soap with Bowl is a very traditional approach to shaving that is stylish and. I like watching him use the pure badger brush to foam up the bar into a dense creamy lather. My boyfriend is so impressed by it he never skips a shave anymore! It’s expensive but made in Italy with quality non-drying ingredients plus the keepsake wooden bowl is refillable. If you know any men that enjoy experimenting with products, try gifting the Art of Shaving Shave Oil as well.
It doesn't seem like a natural step but the oil is a game-changer in every aspect, and those are his words. It helps prevent redness and ingrown hairs and makes that dreaded five o’clock stubble much less abrasive against my sensitive skin. I chose the unscented version since I wasn't sure how he'd feel about a Shave Oil to begin with but next time I will repurchase Sandalwood to match the soap. The men in our lives deserve to be indulged and have soft smooth skin too!
Despite how important and useful skin stuff is to everyone, I still haven’t met a woman who doesn’t appreciate a touch of color to brighten her complexion whether her choice is lipstick lip gloss or liquid color. The holidays make it easy to gift useful shades and sets in super fun gift packaging at unbeatable prices, and these MAC Shiny Pretty Things Nude Mini Lipstick Kit and Charlotte Tilbury Matte Liquid Lips Duo are so wearable as well as travel-friendly!
The MAC minis come in orange bullets so they are easy to spot and can be mixed to make custom shades. I think the shades best suit medium to tan skin tones. CT’s lip products are beloved by A-list actresses everywhere, but the matte liquid formulas are great in the winter to prevent smudging or hair sticking accidents. This Charlotte Tilbury Mini Hollywood Lips Duo is universally flattering and can be blended to create a vibrant deep berry color that looks as good with a natural eye as it does a smoky eye.
Almost all women tend to have a strong preference for lip formulas though, which is why I like keeping a quality balm option on hand in case color is a non-factor. The Malin + Goetz Hand & Lip Duo comes in a festive gift wrapped box and hits the ideal price point at a respectable $20. It can be used as an ornament, stocking stuffer, and last minute gift.
I love the Almond hand cream because it isn’t too rich or too fragranced but prevents my dry hands from cracking when my boyfriend and I visit the freezing East Coast. We discovered how much we adored Malin + Goetz via our regular travels with Delta, so now we use the Hand and Body Washes too! My top pick is the uplifting zesty brightening Lime scent whereas my man prefers the more earthy Cannabis fragrance — the brand's bestselling signature.
Last but not least if you really want to treat a beauty junkie in your life, Chanel is always the right answer. During the winter months just a touch of bronzer can totally uplift the rest of your makeup and the Les Beiges Bronzing Powder shade range adds radiance without ending up muddy. I go through a lot of bronzer and believe it when I say I always come back to this in Medium or Medium/Deep because of the silky smooth texture.
Plus the compact’s ivory and black dual colored lid and styling are undeniably unique and handbag worthy making it a winning luxury gift option! If face makeup isn’t an option, then check out this incredible deal that Tom Ford released. This Eye & Lip Gift Set is a warm-toned four pan eyeshadow palette with two lipsticks that comes in a Tom Ford keepsake box for under $100. Highly recommend!!
Last but not least, here is a truly gorgeous Chanel Makeup Brush Set this holiday, but it’s $270 so that would be something to gift to the girl that has everything. It would make a wonderful travel companion since the six brushes included can complete an entire glam look. And that red brush bag is really tempting, isn’t it?
Ultimately my best advice is to be reasonable and treat everyone to the best of your abilities, but don’t neglect yourself. "Adulting" means we give a lot more than we receive so minimizing the stress and being proactive and balanced makes it truly more wonderful for all. I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays xo
I don't know about you, but summer can't come fast enough! I love seasonal transitions because that's just an excuse to try more makeup and revisit oldies but goodies that I don't wear all year round. Summer is probably my most drastically different makeup routine, though, because I pull out all the neutrals and long-wearing products since I get sweaty even if my skin is dry.
Finally I can give the mattifying Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation a fair trial in hot weather which has been often lately here in sunny SoCal! I, on the third attempt, found a darn near exact color match in 180 Warm last week. It is just a bit brighter than my forehead's natural tone when worn alone, but a quick dusting of bronzer fixes that! It's a very photogenic formula and it layers well, buildable to medium full coverage.
My boyfriend tagged along with me on this Sephora trip and he helped me shop for Sephora Collection #Lipstories Lipsticks since I had been seeing rave reviews on Instagram and wow, for $8 they're a steal. We think the packaging and theme for the collection is cute! The formula is phenomenal for the price, pigmented and not drying, lots of variety in finish and color range.
I went in looking for the cream in Tan Lines but I walked out with and fell in love with the matte in Brunch Date which is a perfect nude against my medium kind-of tan complexion. It's not every day that I fall in love with an affordable new product especially because my lips are so finicky so I give both shades two thumbs up!
Now Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner is a cult classic that most of us have tried at one point or another, but I've started wearing it again recently because I like being able to get super close to the lash line. I don't wear such heavy liner looks any more, so I love that the razor thin pen keeps my lines straight. The formula doesn't bleed or transfer which is super important for my oily eyelids.
Now it has taken me years to give this a try, but I just got around to testing the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara because I needed a standard non-waterproof formula to wear during the week, something easy to wash off without pulling out my eyelashes. This formula doesn't flake off and it surprisingly held my curl pretty well. I'd definitely buy it again.
sponsored by sephora
That rounds up my essentials for this summer, what are yours??