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Beauty Meets 2015's Biggest Pop Culture Moments

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
2016 is almost here. I'm pretty much feeling like this about it:

Nevertheless, I fully intend to enter the new year quite content with how 2015 went down and hopeful for what's to come in 2016: personally, professionally and in pop culture. I don't believe in resolutions, but I do believe in reflections. Pop culture had so many outrageous, fun and memorable moments  this year, and I was inspired to pair up a few key moments with some of my favorite beauty items.  Why beauty? Because becoming VIB Rouge this year was definitely a personal highlight/crazy moment of self-acceptance knowing how much money I spend at Sephora...

Zayn Gave Us a Reason to Whip out the Waterproof Mascara
Betrayed. Concerned. SAD. Man, I don't care if I'm 30 years old. I was all up in my feelings when it was announced Zayn was giving 1D the deuces. How would the gang go on? How would we go on? Sigh. After a pretty stellar release of Made in the AM, it seems the foursome is currently on "hiatus," promising not to be gone forever. We'll need an even stronger mascara if that is the case.

Beauty Counterpart:
Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula

In addition to lengthening lashes, this mascara boasts staying power, even through "rain, sweat, humidity & tears." Perfect.     

"The Dress" Escentually Tore Us Apart
When I heard about "The Dress," I started laughing. I mean, it was very clearly black and blue. Right? When the majority of the people I knew IRL hissed it was actually white and gold and that we could no longer have a conversation if I didn't think otherwise, I knew our world was in the process of a meltdown. Now the actual dress is a distant memory, but we can always remember the object that tore apart friends, families and distant acquaintances on the internet.

Beauty Counterparts:
Team #BlueAndBlack, this one's for you:
Giorgio Armani Armani Code Pour Femme

And for the #WhiteAndGold believers...I've got you, too. (Even if I still don't agree with you.)
Elizabeth and James Nirvana White

Drizzy Took Over our Ears, Lips, etc.
What a time to be alive and a Drake fan. Most would say 2015 goes to Adele, and numbers-wise, sure. But we've got to give the clap & the prayer emoji to Drizzy. He got buff. He headlined several major music festivals. He released two albums, If You're Reading This It's Too Late and What a Time to be Alive with Future. Let's not forget the singles, including the ubiquitous "Hotline Bling" and two diss tracks specifically crafted for Meek Mill — one of which is nominated for a 2016 Grammy (!) Tom Ford even named a now sold-out Lipstick from his Lips & Boys collection after Aubs. It'd be too obvious to call out that lipstick as our beauty counterpart, so I think it's all in the foundation: skincare.

Here's your "Started wearing less and going out more" starter pack.

Beauty Counterparts:

For the face:
When 10:00 PM Sheet Mask

Refresh and hydrate with this mask before you hit the clurb.

For the décolleté:
Moroccanoil Body Buff

Rejuvenate that chest so you can feel your best.

DJ Khaled Nailed It 
One of the more positive things to come out of 2015 besides #LoveWins and Cookie Lyon was, surprisingly to all of us, DJ Khaled. He inspired. He motivated. He told us what to eat for breakfast. He warned us about "they" and I can truly say I've never felt more blessed up than when I watch his Snap story. His effervescence and Snapchat-savvy even scored him a New York Times profile. Major       .

Beauty Counterpart:

butter LONDON Nail Lacquer in All Hail The Queen

What better way than to ride to success than with glittering gold nails?

The Force Awakens our Dark Side
So many things to love about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Shout to Rey and BB-8.) For both newbz and die-hards alike, this blockbuster has been a topic of conversation, and for good reason. For those, like me, who were digging Adam Driver's performance and feel a weird sense of connection with the Dark Side, check out my picks for perhaps my favorite beauty trend of the year.

Beauty Counterparts:
Dark lips for days.

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in Blackmail

Makeup Revolution Amazing Lipstick in 100% Vamp

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Bull Chic

Trust Fund Beauty: Your Newest Nail Addiction

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
In middle school, I mixed my own nail polish. Things that were lacking during this time: a scientific lens and poor ventilation. (Shout-out to Mom for instructing me to crack the windows.) While it was a flop-tacular experiment, I remember feeling so inspired by the seemingly limitless colors, finishes and packaging. It was then I uncovered my first beauty love in nail polish.

Currently, I'm a girl who has anxiety over chipped polish and spends more hours per week than I should admit daydreaming about what my next nail look will be. While a couple of truly great polish brands exist, it's rare you find one that really hits the nail on the head in every sense.

But girl, trust. I've found it. Say hello to Trust Fund Beauty. I stumbled across their Instagram page and between gasping over the gorgeous colors and laughing at the so-damn-true memes, I felt like I uncovered my nail varnish kindred spirit. It was like finding a great brand and a new friend.

Here's a quick snapshot of all of the YAS-es this brand boasts:

•  They are proudly 7-free. That means no: parabens, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin.
•  Read: TFB is non-toxic.
•  Are they cruelty-free? Yep, they sure are.
•  Currently, they offer 45+ highly-pigmented, unique colors.
•  What's in a name? Everything with TFB. Each shade is paired with a cheeky, pop culture-inspired moniker, like "$12 Latte" and "I Wore It Better."

The first shades I purchased, L to R: Rich Girl Wasted, I Can't Even, Bitch Please, Classic Cash & Resting Bitch Face

It all ties back to founder Samara Granofsky's vision to "bring out the rich bitch in everyone." Also a self-proclaimed polish addict, Samara understands the desire for killer colors and unique flair. She was kind enough to give me a few minutes of her time to chat, and our interview taught me that TFB is, legitimately, a reflection of her naturally-hilarious, spunky nature. Check it out!

What was your first TFB shade and what is the story behind it?
"Do You Know Who My Father Is?" I thought the name represented our brand and the colour is a classic pink.

In your eyes, how is TFB different from other nail polish brands?
We are 7-free and have developed a brand personality. I just think we push the boundaries a bit and have a cohesive brand identity. 

Tell me a little about your creative vision for TFB.
Everyone thinks it is super fun and easy naming polish colours. You can always come up with a handful of good ones, but then it gets harder. I get my inspiration from my life and friends and even some of our customers... We are also expanding into other beauty products!

Where do you get your inspiration for new colors?
I will always have "season appropriate" colours, but then I will throw in a curve ball with some of the shades. Like "Bye Felicia" that is an electric purple for fall. 

Tell me about your process for managing the TFB Instagram — which is literally the best account!
I just post what I feel like - lol. No method to the madness. It gives an insight of who I am and why the brand looks like it does. 

Any mani tips my readers may not know?
It is not a tip that they wouldn't know, but MAKE SURE YOUR CUTICLES ARE DONE! (Editor's note: GOOD LORD, YAS.)

What is your #1 overall beauty tip?

And, finally: who are your favorite "It" Girls right now?
I honestly do not have one. Besides my English bulldog, Molly. She is the baddest bitch I know.

Have you tried TFB yet? Let me know what your favorite shade is!

An Open Letter to Clueless

Sunday, July 19, 2015
Dear Clueless,

Your birthday is one of the few I don't need Facebook to remind me about. That in and of itself says a lot. Today marks 20 years since your release and that leaves me feeling crazy-nostalgic, a little buggin' and quite proud.

Anyone who knows me knows Clueless is my favorite movie. It's almost a part of my identity. "That's Angél. She loves pop culture, GIFs, cats and Clueless."

via Paramount/Everett Collection

There has been so much media coverage celebrating you. How can I best do it? Offline, I'm preparing my outfit, which includes one of my various Clueless tees, and of course I'll spend 97 minutes engrossed in watching you for what feels like the 500th time. For purposes of this blog, it's not necessary to recap how insane the clothing was. (I've already done that, and everything I wrote then remains true today.) The beauty looks? Flawless. Recounting your iconic quotes is something I do on a frequent basis and don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

I decided the best way to show my appreciation and celebrate you is to share exactly why I appreciate you so damn much, 20 years later.

In 1995, I was in fifth grade (holy s...) and the only things I really remember about being a 10-year-old are winning a medal for an essay I wrote about D.A.R.E. and dressing really terribly. Seeing the film once turned into twice, thrice and as soon as it was on VHS (cringe), dozens upon dozens of times.

There was a comfort in it. I felt like I was a part of the crew. The characters were so fleshed out, so brilliantly; and although I may not have been a Betty from Beverly Hills (or even yet a teen), the core personality traits, character quirks and drama the gang faced transcended location and time.

Nostalgia is fun. But so many movies that bring those fuzzy feelings of yesteryear don't necessarily translate in 2015. Even less contain the same magic of capturing a generation in such a way that it still feels relevant decades later. I believe that's partially because your brilliant director, Amy Heckerling, positioned so many key things about the movie — technology, slang, music and fashion — of their time. Each of those categories is such an important part of today's culture and you nailed them.

Taking a moment to celebrate the core of what makes you, you: Cher.

Yes, she was a flighty, naive rich girl. But she also was likable as hell. (Alicia Silverstone playing the part definitely helped, too, with overall incredible casting.) She was kind-hearted, genuinely caring about others. She had no f's to give about how she was supposed to swoon over the lazy boys in her school, or when Tai and Di taunted her for being a virgin. GIRL POWER. She was the most popular girl in school, but didn't mind potentially having her "stock plummet" to help Tai achieve her own popularity. She didn't put up with Amber trying to bite her style and kept doing it better. Above all else, she loved all of the people in her life for who they were. Cher became happiest and her best self through helping and loving everyone around her. There's an incredible lesson in the character she portrayed.

Amy Heckerling recently told CBS News, "You can have emotional intelligence, and you can have some sort of heart intelligence and I think that might be more important in some ways." Oh, the heart you have, Clueless. It overrides any "fluff" nay-sayers might call out about you.

Thank you. Thank you for providing me so many laughs. Thank you for inspiring me to love fashion. Thank you for showing me I can love said fashion and also be a bad bitch. Thank you for showing me the power of friendship.

I look forward to watching you for 20 more years.


Clueless: What It Was & What It Became

Saturday, July 18, 2015
This was my first Facebook status update of 2015:

I wasted no time ringing in the new year to recognize that my favoritest of favorites had a special birthday this year. I've basically been celebrating all year, but am excited that tomorrow officially marks its 20th anniversary.

Though so totally '90s, you've likely been hearing about this anniversary across media outlets — and there's a reason for that.

I chatted with David Fannon, EVP of  free movie and television streaming platform Popcornflix to get his industry take on Clueless' impact 20 years later.

Were there any movies in 1995 that were slated to be icons/big hits that seem to be overshadowed by Clueless' long-term success?
1995 was a great year for film: Toy Story, The Usual Suspects, Braveheart, Heat, Se7en, As Good As It Gets. There were also some really great cult classics, like Kids or Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming; although neither were box office successes, they were both great glimpses into youth culture. I think the reason Clueless stands out over those is just how colorful and exuberant it is. It’s witty and insightful, sure, but it’s also ridiculously fun. That speaks to audiences in a big way. 

Is it fair to say this was the first real "teen" movie of the '90s? 
Looking back at the early teen movies of the '90s, one that stands out to me is Dazed and Confused. But that movie is so steeped in nostalgia, it works in both ways: it’s a movie that teens now can relate to, as well as to adults who were those '70s teens. But Clueless is so successful just by being grounded in its time and place, and because it really knows who those teenage kids are, what their voice is. I think that’s why it’s such a standout of the decade.

Considering the Beverly Hills setting is out of reach for a majority of its audience, why do you think the movie resonated with people? (e.g. Molly Ringwald in the '80s may have seemed more relatable on the surface.)
I think regardless of the location, high school is high school. Every high school has cliques, they’re inescapable. The reason the film hit home to so many people is because you can picture someone you know in at least one of the characters. You might not all have a Cher, but you’ll still have the popular, bubbly blonde.

Clueless was a springboard for many of the young actors. Is there any actor/actress you can imagine having a different career trajectory if he/she was not in the movie?
Without Clueless, I don’t think Paul Rudd would’ve been taken as seriously in the world of romantic comedies.

And, above all else: why do you think Clueless is such a cult favorite 20 years later?
I think that both the concept and the humor are timeless in its specificity. They really nailed how teens talked and it created a whole new lexicon that still fits in today. It’s very conscious about what it was and what it was trying to do. It’s never trying to reach the lowest common denominator. It’s just a smart and fun movie that hits a bullseye in the writing, the acting, the editing. It’s too alive a movie to be seen as just a relic or a “time capsule” to a past decade.

Well said, David. Well said.

3 Things I Learned by Not Wearing Mascara for 7 Days

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Recent times have opened my eyes to a new fact about myself: I wear a lot of mascara. In the grand scheme of things, my beauty collection is not too crazy and can fit snugly in within a tray atop my dresser, even though I am a card-carrying Sephora VIB member. The reality is, mascara has become my must-have and I love trying the latest formulas and crazy spoolies. (It should be noted I'm quite a loyalist to Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies and their patented "Spoon Brush.") 

Once upon a time, I never touched a mascara tube. I am #blessed to have dark, fairly long, fairly thick eyelashes and I just didn't see the need. About three years ago, presumably after watching hours of Jaclyn Hill tutorials, I decided to add it on to my routine. My eyelashes looked even darker! Even fuller! I looked awake and just a bit more glam, even if I wore very little makeup.

A super-scientific poll (AKA me doing an informal survey on social media) found that 36% of my friend group said their number one beauty product is mascara. (For context, the runner-up was eyeliner at 12%.) It was then I realized, I'm not alone. Yay!

So what's wrong with this obsession, you ask? "I'm hoarding 27 mascara tubes right now!" you exclaim. I ain't even mad at you, boo. But the concept got me thinking.

If you Google "make-up free experiment," you'll receive hundreds of thousands of results. But what about mascara specifically? It seems like a security blanket for so many ladies, myself included. Thus, I wanted to embark on the most adventurous of adventures: tucking away my mascara for a *gulp* entire week.

Here are a few things I learned through this "experiment." Spoiler-alert: I survived.

Lesson #1: I don't need it.

On day one of the experience, I felt pretty good. It was one less step in the morning. (Caveat being, my makeup routine is short and sweet to begin with, but having one less step means a couple additional minutes to sleep, so HAY.) Another bonus: no flaking at the end of the day. I know not all mascaras flake, but I tend to rub my eyes semi-frequently (thanks, allergies) which can trigger flakes and/or those terrible raccoon eyes. In the evening, I was free of both. I liked it.

I was under the impression that if I needed one cosmetic product, it was mascara. But living without it for seven days, I realized concealer was a bit more of a necessity.

Lesson #2: I didn't turn into a monster

I had predetermined notions that all my coworkers would shake their heads at me in shame and inquire why I looked "so tired." It never happened. I can't say for sure no one noticed, but I can say they didn't coil into a ball, shielding their eyes from the burn. And when I revealed to a few friends my experiment afterward, they said they didn't really notice.

On day two, I began noticing my lashes felt a lot softer. Pro! But of course, it couldn't be that easy. That day, I planned to swing by a beauty event, and I started to panic. I couldn't go in there without my trusty mascara. I contemplated applying just ooooone coat. Resistance won and I was proud.

Bottom line: Others don't notice as much as we do.

Lesson #3: Skincare really is supreme.

I've become semi-obsessed with skincare in the past year, trying a cocktail of cleansers, moisturizers, serums and oils to find my perfect regimen. My skin has become a little more troublesome in the past couple of years, including breakouts and dry patches, on top of the fact that it's sensitive. Slowly getting my skincare game on point, I've learned what may seem obvious: make-up is more of a nice-to-have than a must.  Gorgeous eyelashes are nothing without healthy skin. When my skin behaves, I don't even necessarily feel the need to wear make-up at all. It's all about that glow, girl.

The verdict? I still think mascara is the bee's knees, but I've gone from wearing it absolutely every time I step outside to semi-frequently. And now, for the cheese: In the end, it's about what makes you feel good, whether that is mascara and lip gloss or a face full of make-up. Sometimes taking the step back to change up what is familiar can help provide some perspective.

Be sure to let me know your must-have beauty product and if you are willing to try giving it the boot for a week.

Oreo Goes Pop

Saturday, July 11, 2015
This week, I discovered iconic, tasty AF cookie brand Oreo is launching Oreo Thins. Though word on the interwebs is that they taste just as delightful with less guilt (read: calories), my skeptical side is showing.

You've been good to me, Oreo. You have a rockstar social media team, created the blessed flavor that is Birthday Cake and all-around, seem like good people. Cut the crap, Oreo — don't cut the creme.

Don't worry, I've brainstormed a few alternatives you can try. You're welcome in advance.

Beverly Hills Bubblegum

An ode to Clueless, this flavor tastes like Bronson Alcott High with a dash of a stick of Carefree gum. Bonus: it comes with a fluffy pen.

Ariana's Donut Surprise

Can you really blame Ariana Grande's affinity for donuts? Sure, she licked donuts that were meant for people to buy. But really, those donuts should have been covered up to begin with (#justsaying). and shouldn't we be worried about bigger issues, like crime, murder and Taylor Swift? It's okay, Ari. These Oreo cookies are packed with the flavor of frosted chocolate donuts - sprinkles included. You may lick them all you wish.

Love Wins

It's only right to create an Oreo in celebration of last month's SCOTUS verdict. The creme, shaped like a heart, filled with edible glitter. Sickening, no?


A special showcase of emojis that are misunderstood but well-loved anyway. We all know the girl with her hand up is sassy, not an information desk person; the girls in black with ears are dancing, not the Japanese equivalent of Playboy Bunnies and the alleged "high fives" are absolutely praying hands.

Orange is the New Oreo

Black cookie and orange creme? Old news. Orange truly is the new black, as evident by the addictive Netflix series. Let's flip the script and get an orange cookie with black creme.

Drake: Buff Edition

While everyone was making fun of Drake for being emo, he was busy pumping iron. Touché, Drizzy. To commemorate, this Oreo would take the Double Stuf concept to a new level. Packaged in a cookie dough wrapper, the Oreo is 95% creme, bookended by two cookies. 

Oscars Beauty Going Up on a Tuesday (And Beyond)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The club may not be going up tonight (at least not with the frigid east coast temps), but your beauty game can. Taking inspiration from this Sunday's Oscars red carpet, check out my favorite tips and products to keep your look award-winning.

Skin that Wins

Let's face it (pun only slightly-intentional): great makeup is nothing without a great canvas. Skincare is the MVP when it comes to beauty and the most important investment you can make. Although you should always visit your dermatologist and determine the right skincare for your needs, these A-list options are worthy of incorporating into your regimen.

1 / Vertere Refining Treatment Cleanser, $42,
Vertere combines clinical strength and luxury care, and touts being the "first and only" skincare brand created to improve the appearance of aging, blemishes and dark spots with one regimen. The product line is non-toxic and hydroquinone-free and they are not tested on animals — major plus! The Refining Treatment Cleanser aims to not strip the skin of moisture, which can aggravate blemishes and wrinkles.

2 / Regenica Replenishing Crème, physician-dispensed (learn more here)
A good night's sleep is the best beauty trick in the book. It also offers the opportunity for skin to repair itself, so choosing the right overnight moisturizer is key. The Regenica Replenishing Crème hydrates skin and helps reverse signs of aging, featuring proprietary MRCx™ next generation growth factor technology to signal skin’s natural repair and renewal mechanisms.

3 / SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, $135, Sephora
Basically, if it's good enough for Emma Stone...

FourFiveSeconds to Pinterest-Worthy Hair
Sometimes, being in the middle gets a bad rap. But, as this year's Oscars proved, the middle part is back and better than ever.

1 / Chloë Grace Moretz
Chlo's wearable Oscars hair has enough texture to be interesting, but is simple enough for the every day "It" Girl. Hair stylist Gregory Russell essentially got this look with conditioner, volume and anti-frizz lotion (courtesy of Matrix and Biolage), blowing it out with a medium-sized ceramic brush for body and smoothness.

2 / Zoe Saldaña
Zoe's enitre look knocked it out of the galaxy. I particularly loved her romantic updo, which would be chic with or without a Versace gown. To replicate this look, all you need is a curling iron (or wand, if you prefer) and some bobby pins. Mara Roszak, L’Oreal Paris Celebrity Hairstylist pulled back sections, piece by piece, wrapping them around each other for a low chignon effect. 

3 / Jenna Dewan-Tatum
I am all about the ponytail and this simple 'do resulted in a striking result. Slick frizzes and fly-aways with product like Topganic Design & Sculpture Hair Styling Lotion with Obliphica Oil ($11,, secure into a low pony and wrap a strand of hair around the elastic. You'll be done before you can say "Magic Mike."

Okay, but red carpet hair can't last for days, right? OH, BUT IT CAN! Batiste Dry Shampoo is well-loved by many, and it's no wonder: their innovative starch-based “no water needed” formulation targets excess oil and grease, helping to eliminate it at the roots and not creating more grease in the process.

Batiste Dry Shampoo, $7.99,

Their packaging is stylish and there is an option for everyone from blondes to brunettes, to those looking for nourishing strength and shine benefits, to various fragrances. Stock up on these babies to keep your hair fresh and voluminous on second (or third...or fourth, if you are me) day hair.

Pretty On Fleek
I've sung my praises about Carmex Moisture Plus in the past, and I've become a downright convert. No balm has touched my lips since I started using these little guys, which continue to get cuter packaging!

Carmex Moisture Plus, $2.99, CVS

The Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm line combines the best of beauty and health, with its fashion-forward exterior and moisturizing formula containing aloe and vitamin E. And you don't have to be an Oscar-nominee to express your personal style by coordinating the limited edition designs with anything from outfits to accessories. The clear lip balm provides a natural look that is perfect for anyone’s lips and any occasion. 

Also heed these tips from the experts to recreate some of my favorite looks.

To get Margot Robbie's gorg red lip1 / Bodyography’s Red China Lipstick ($16) and 2 / Crimson Lip Pencil ($13),

Lori Leib, Bodyography's Creative Director shares the simple way to get this bold lip look: line the lips with a red lip pencil and apply a cherry red lipstick. To perfect the lip shape, run a concealer brush with concealer along the outer edge of the lips.

To get Chrissy Teigen's nude eye look:  3 Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Molten in Taupe Craze and 4 / Nude Rush ($7.99,  drug stores),  5 / Maybelline New York’s The Nudes Palette ($11.99, drug stores) and 6 / Maybelline New York’s Lash Sensational Mascara ($8.99, drug stores)

Makeup artist Mary Phillips prepped Chrissy's skin with La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel around the eyes. She blended the Maybelline New York Eye Studio shades and applied a mixture over Chrissy's entire lid. She then applied a taupe shade from the  Maybelline New York’s The Nudes Palette into the crease. Going back to the Eye Studio Color Molten in Nude Rush, Phillips applied the darker shade along the Teigen's lashline, creating an "invisible" liner. Phillips then applied  onto the upper and lower lashes, with a heavier application on the outer lashes, to give them that "bedroom eye" effect. 

P.S. That divine lip color was also a drug store find! Maybelline New York’s Color Sensational Creamy Mattes in Divine Wine ($7.49).

To get Emma Stone's coral glow7 / Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Tulip ($9.99, drug stores) and 8 / Chanel Powder Blush in Angelique ($45,

Fun fact: Makeup artist Rachel Goodwin shared Emma's look was inspired by a rose photo by Tim Walker.

All Oscars red carpet photos via Getty. I only wish I was present at the ceremony and took them myself.