The New Essentials | Current Favorites | Beauty + Travel

Lately, I've given in to the temptations of Sephora a bit more than I probably should. Between full-size products I've purchased, samples included in orders and even products I've randomly grabbed at the drugstore, I've found some new gems that have been on high rotation in my beauty routine. Since my life is always chaos more or less living out of my FJ Cruiser caravan with how much I am on the road for work or traveling on vacation, many of these products are geared towards packability, making this post a perfect fit to consider as we enter summer vacation season. Pro tip: click the pictures to shop! Enjoy! 

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe's Watermelon Sleeping Mask first came to me as a Sephora sample. I thought it would be a gimmick. My stupidly hydrated (and yes glowing) skin the next day told me I was wrong about that. Long story short, you need Watermelon Glow in your life. If you are living that carry-on-only life like me, you'll be happy to know there is a travel size to bust that post-flight dry dullness. 

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance 

This post could alternatively be titled the glow edit. For me, I gravitate towards lighter weight, products in the spring and summer to achieve that natural dewy look. This Laura Mercier Radiance primer does just that. It has a slight tint and provides a natural glow plus offers outstanding lasting power for foundation. I wear this primer both layered under foundation as well as on its own as it provides a lovely boost to my natural skin. Multi-functional, quick makeup products are a must when I travel--Laura Mercier Radiance goes in the bag every time! 

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat 

To be honest, I am not completely sold on YSL Touche Eclat as the "holy grail" cult classic that some swear by. However, I do find myself reaching for it a lot for two reasons. First, convenience and travel. The packaging is sleek, easy to use, and not messy (since the product is all contained), making it perfect for purses or TSA approved zip-loc bags. Second, it is subtle and lightweight. As I mentioned before, I do not like wearing heavy makeup during the warmer months--particularly concealer. Touche Eclat provides a light, glowing (I know, I know) coverage. Maybe it will reach cult classic status for me after all. 

Pravana The Perfect Brunette 

As the more observant amongst you may have noticed, I am no longer a blonde! I've gone back to my roots (sorry for the oldest pun in the well-worn book), and am now trapped in that sometimes awkward phase of the blonde to brunette process where the newly darkened locks can be a bit unpredictable. For me, this manifested in a horrifying red, brassy tone starting to come through about a week after the initial dye job. Luckily I found Pravana Perfect Brunette products. Just like blondes can use purple toned products to keep their shade icy, brunettes can avoid that uncomfortable orangey red from sneaking in by applying the teal-toned Pravana suite of products. I have the shampoo, conditioner and hair mask. I only use the mask once a week because this stuff REALLY works! I already have broken my own carry-on lifestyle rule to bring these products with me on vacay, they are that good. 

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask

I grabbed this Garnier Moisture Bomb mask while cruising through Wal-Mart picking up last minute supplies for my trip to LA. "Moisture bomb, hmm...I could use a bomb of hydration on my face after a morning of travel," I thought to myself. Impulsively, I threw the mask in the cart, and subsequently into my suitcase. Cue me the next day, on my balcony overlooking Hollywood Hills enjoying an instant skin refresh. Garnier Moisture Bomb masks are a traveler's best friend. The mask is refreshingly cool on the face, and the clean up is easy--simply remove the sheet and massage any remaining product into your skin. Another pro-tip: apply mask in your Uber while en route from airport, and freak out your driver, bf, or anyone around you. 

FYI, if you are interested in my ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS OF ALL TIME click here for that (obviously) still relevant list! 

Kansas City Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 | My Modeling AND Media Blogging Experience!

It's crazy to think it was just one year ago that I did my first Kansas City Fashion Week (or KCFW from here on out)! Coming into this season of KCFW, I really felt comfortable and at home around everyone and in the venue--even more so than seasons before. Overall, this season felt really relaxed with less stress, pressure and nervousness for the shows. One reason for this is that I split my fashion week time between modeling and doing media/blogging. I covered media Wednesday and Thursday nights, then walked the runway Friday and Saturday! Keep on reading for more details and photos of my KCFW experience. 

The Venue

 Guests take their seats by the European Style runway at The Grand Hall 

Guests take their seats by the European Style runway at The Grand Hall 

The most important part of any story is arguably the setting; KCFW action was set at The Grand Hall at Power & Light in downtown Kansas City. While this venue is smaller than the traditional Union Station venue, the beautiful architecture, upper mezzanine views (seen above) and unique "European Style" runway are always a cool experience. I've always thought this event space (available for rent) would be a great option for a Kansas City wedding reception! 

Media Meet + Greet 

While not the most "glam" event on the KCFW schedule (no red carpet here, guys!), the media meet & greet is one of my favorite events of the week. I find myself interacting more frequently with folks on the models/designers end of the fashion spectrum, and it is always really nice to switch gears and mingle with some bloggers and influencers. The media event always allows for that! This year we had a private shopping event at Kindred boutique, accompanied by mimosas (yay!) from Cooper's Hawk Winery and treats from Dolce Bakery! Photos above are by Larry Levenson. Thanks for the great shot of my twin Pam (@sideofglam) and I! 

KCFW Wednesday Night | Media Night 1

Wednesday night of KCFW--kick off night!! The first night of shows always has a unique energy. Everyone is excited to get the week underway, many of the designers showing the first night are new and hungry to launch their collections, and there is a sense of entropy as everyone rushes to pull it together for the first night. 

Prior to this season, I had only experienced Wednesday nights as a model. Attending the shows as media was very different, yet still held many of the same vibes for reasons described above. The night started off getting ready with fellow media pass holders + friends, Pam (@sideofglam) and Kelly (@fashionbyfreeman). Pam and I inadvertently wore the same outfit concept with the monotone outfits with a pop of fur--fur being practical since it was cold and rainy weather! This was the first time going out with my new dark hair. It took awhile to get used to it so I was still in an awkward state of emotion! I wore a strapless jumpsuit by Planet Blue (similar), faux fur by LPA (which is BACK IN STOCK !!), heels by Marc Jacobs and carried Saint Laurent

Standout Collection: Schyline 

 Roberto Carlos Photography

Roberto Carlos Photography

While all the collections were incredible, Schyline stood out for me the most. With flowing garments in shades of ivory and navy, I wanted to reach out and touch each piece as it glided past. Anyone who knows me knows I love something both visually and tactilely pleasing and Schyline definitely hit the mark on this with gorgeous pieces that were obviously high on wearability and comfort. 

***For all of the nights I attended as media, I do not have personal photos that do the collections justice as the European runway (unavoidably) makes getting a great shot hard for the audience. This means I had more time to enjoy the shows, but less of my own pics. ***

KCFW Thursday Night | Media Night 2 

Thursday was another fabulous night of fashion and friends. Thursday KCFW vibes are always kind of laid back; we are all in the flow, and it's the calm before the storm of the weekend rush. I find it so fascinating how each night of KCFW has its own personality and feel. 

I loved pushing the boundaries with Thursday's outfit. I'm a huge proponent of stalking more expensive pieces until they go on super sale (if you're that committed, it's worth a buy!). This set by Fleur du Mal is an example of me practicing what I preach--I watched it for over a year until it became affordable! I was a little hesitant to wear the matching bralette as a top, but with the leather jacket it was perfect! KCFW is a great place to push fashion boundaries and try wearing things out of your comfort zone. The jacket is my favorite piece of all time by Cabin + Cove, long necklace by Georgina Herrera, shoes by RAYE (on mega sale + my go-to heel), and I carried the Alexander Wang Diego bag in leopard (I FOUND one for sale--and they sold out everywhere!). 

Standout Collection: House of Pamela Renee 

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I was already enjoying the chill Thursday vibes and having a great time at KCFW, but when House of Pamela Renee's signature runway song began to play, a huge smile broke out on my face. Not only did the song bring back great memories of walking for Pamela last season at Union Station, but I knew I was about to see some impeccably crafted designs. To say I was not disappointed was an understatement. The warm tones, vintage inspired prints and rich textures were speaking to me in a big way! House of Pamela Renee always incorporates designs for both men and women in her collections; being a huge fan of menswear on women, I could see myself wearing styles from both the mens and womenswear pieces (like the coat above!). 

KCFW Friday | Munelle de Vie  

Friday signaled the shift in my KCFW experience from media mode to model mode! Munelle de Vie was the amazing designer (and friend!) I walked for on Friday. Munisa, the beautiful woman behind Munelle de Vie, had a killer vision for the runway. Our makeup was very glowy and fresh while our hair was more of a grunge style, which perfectly complimented her femme-street collection. I always enjoy when designers go the extra mile with styling and unique beauty looks. During the runway, Munisa encouraged us all to walk as if we were "walking the city streets with our headphones on." For me, this was yet another layer of direction to perfectly set the mood. With all these elements coming together perfectly, I was not even nervous when I hit the runway, which surely helped embody the laid-back yet statement streetwear line. Thanks for having me as part of your Munelle de Vie team, Munisa! SHOP ALL MUNELLE DE VIE HERE (you know I will be)!

KCFW Finale: Saturday 

Whether you are an audience member, model, designer or staff member, finale night of KCFW is always exciting and glamorous. However, this year was even more thrilling for Georgina Herrera's team as we were the finale designer on the finale night! To live up to the hype, Georgina developed a complex choreographed runway complete with never-before-seen on the KCFW runway, box risers for the models. This created an interactive runway/gallery experience for the audience--and also a lot of panic amongst the models who had to climb the boxes in heels! Putting my mountain-climbing skills to work, I took my place on and off the boxes, walking to a constant chant of expletives running through my mind, all the while I managed to maintain the high level of slay that Georgina's collection requires. It will not surprise the reader that I--and the rest of the team--breathed a huge collective sigh of relief and triumph once we completed the runway and wowed the crowd! 

We all deserved a beverage after killing that runway...lucky for us, it was KCFW After Party night! 

 Photo:  Kenneth Levine  | KCFW After Party 2018 | Venue:  R24 Studios  | Host:   LiV KC  

Photo: Kenneth Levine | KCFW After Party 2018 | Venue: R24 Studios | Host:  LiV KC 

In keeping with the spirit of KCFW, my velvety after party look included pieces from some of my favorite Kansas City designers! The emerald jumpsuit by Andrea Marie Long Designs is from the KCFW A/W17 runway, gold earrings are by KC's own Janesko, shoes are by Raye, and I'm carrying Luana Italy. The bracelet is vintage, but sourced right in KC at River Market Antiques! 

Thanks Kansas City Fashion Week for another great season! If you want to be part of KCFW next season (as a designer, model, spectator, volunteer, etc), like the KCFW Facebook Page and keep an eye out for castings and tickets! 

Kansas City Fashion Week Rundown

It's crazy to think that one year ago, I didn't know Kansas City had a fashion week. Times have changed and I had so much fun getting to experience the epic production that is Kansas City Fashion Week both as a model and as media for Luna Elise. This will be a long post, but if you're in the same boat I was last year and don't know much (or anything) about Kansas City Fashion Week, definitely read on to learn all about the hard work, fun and talent that goes into making this event possible. 

Sunday: Kendra Scott Kick Off Party

 Photo: Larry F. Levenson

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

The week got started in the best fashion possible--shopping, champagne and sweet treats. The Kendra Scott boutique in Leawood hosted us, and Dolce Bakery provided delicious food. A proceed of all sales went to the Kansas City Fashion Council (giving us an excuse to shop). The best part of the event was getting to meet and chat with KCFW staff, photographers and fellow bloggers who we would be seeing all week. I'm pictured above with fellow fashion blogger, Bella Lightner. Check out her blog here. 

Monday: Media Meet & Greet @ Fortuity

 Darrin Hackney Photography

Darrin Hackney Photography

Another night of getting spoiled with sips, snacks and swag. This event was held at the downtown KC Fortuity warehouse (the one with the insta-famous "Kansas City I'm So In Love" wall). While the swag bags from Dior Beauty and Lee Jeans were amazing, the best part of the evening was meeting fellow bloggers in the KC area. The wine by KC Wineworks was great too--I'll definitely be checking out their new downtown winery soon! 

Tuesday: Bubbly & Bowties 

 Photo: Larry F. Levenson

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

I had been looking forward to this black tie event ever since I modeled for the promo shoot (yes, that was my hand in all those ads, haha!). Invite a large group of fashionable people to a black tie event and the styles are going to be incredible. I loved seeing all the amazing gowns and interacting with designers. This was the most-attended event so far, so it was fun mixing with everyone before the following runway show days. 

Wednesday: Coco & Illia Runway Show

 J. Santiago Photography

J. Santiago Photography

After successive nights of parties, the real show started on Wednesday. I shifted into model mode with an appearance on KC Live with designer TR Brown, then rushed to the Power and Light Building for my noon call time with Coco & Illia. I would be lying if I said the day wasn't long, but it was well worth the preparation time. Bellus Academy took charge and made sure every detail of our hair and makeup was perfect (special thanks to Miss Jessica!). Coco & Illia are a duo of designers fresh from Stephens College, and their designs brought an edgy yet playful street style to the runway. Red sequins, purple satin, dramatic lace-up pieces and mesh looks dominated the Wednesday night runway. The debut collection, Blackout, will be available for pre-order soon, so make sure to follow Coco & Illia so you don't miss out!  As for my experience--I was glad to get my first runway under my belt as I was a little nervous! Wednesday left me confident and ready to take on the rest of the week. 

Thursday: Media Day at KCFW

 Bo Flores Photography

Bo Flores Photography

 Lexy Covinsky for Roger Figueroa

Lexy Covinsky for Roger Figueroa

 Noelle Manica for Amanda Casarez

Noelle Manica for Amanda Casarez

 Nina Monzón for Madyssen Jean Designs

Nina Monzón for Madyssen Jean Designs

 Shelby Smith for Lee Jeans

Shelby Smith for Lee Jeans

While Thursday was technically a "rest" day for me since I didn't have a runway show to walk in, I started the day with an early hair and makeup call time for a TV spot with Georgina Herrera. Fellow model Tmara Hepburn and I modeled Georgina's jewelry on Univision--a Spanish-speaking channel! This was followed by a much-needed nap, an even more needed happy hour sushi date with my friends, and then it was back to the Grand Hall to watch the Thursday night shows! Highlights of the night for me were Roger Figueroa, Amanda Casarez, and Madyssen Jean Designs. Roger Figueroa's models seemed to glide down the runway to slow electronica in edgy, androgynous designs and Lady Gaga-inspired jewelry. Amanda Casarez spun her very wearable pieces into an eclectic mix of knits, oriental inspired up-dos and gilded makeup. Madyssen Jean Designs showed a line of boudoir inspired pieces embellished with wistful love quotes, engendering a dark romance in the collection. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Lee Jeans injected energy into the set as models showed the newest range. I absolutely loved attending KCFW as media, and seeing how other models handled the runway made me even more prepared for the following days.

Friday: TRBrown Runway Show

Friday's procedure was almost the same as Wednesday's--noon call time at the Grand Hall. Hair and makeup were underway, again by Bellus Academy. Tiffany Brown, of TRBrown Designs, was presenting a collection of 70s inspired clothing, so our hair was teased to the heights and mod makeup was applied with upper and lower dramatic lashes creating a Twiggy-esque effect. We had some fun during the afternoon shooting our full looks around the Grand Hall with KCFW photographer, Eli Stack. With the complex hair and makeup and the shoot, before we knew it, it was showtime. I had the privilege of opening the show for Tiffany. The crowd response to her collection of rich colors, deep furs and upholstery fabrics was phenomenal. It was the biggest response a runway show got all week! It was surreal to walk with people cheering and commenting on all sides--and keep a straight face. I was so proud of Tiffany and can't wait to see where TRBrown goes in the future! 

Saturday: Georgina Herrera Runway Show

 Eli Stack Photograpy

Eli Stack Photograpy

 Ryan Swartzlander Photography

Ryan Swartzlander Photography

"Ohhh, you're walking for Georgina?? Congrats, we love her!" Was the response I unanimously got when I told people who I was walking for this season. Their response was appropriate. Georgina Herrera, of MCK brands, is one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. Plus, she is also extremely talented and knows how to put on a show. Her collection of big, bold jewelry stood out perfectly against simple black and white dresses. The runway set-up (although giving us some trouble in rehearsal!) was perfect to showcase the jewelry. The models had several stops, turns and poses along the runway, so all of the audience had the best chance to see the detailed accessories. Walking for Georgina was a perfect way to top off my KCFW experience! Check out her collection here!

An enormous thank you goes out to the KCFW staff! I can't say it enough, so thankful to be a part of this great experience! To learn more about Kansas City Fashion Week and for updates on future model castings and tickets, visit their website and like the KCFW Facebook page

A special shout out to all the photographers whose work has really only just begun as they edit all these images: 

Atherton Photography

Ryan Swartzlander Photography

Larry F. Levenson Photography

Eli Stack Photography

Bo Flores Photography

Fabutainment 

Kenneth Levine