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Brands In Depth: LAQA & Co. at Birchbox

November 22, 2014

On Friday, a group of fellow NYC bloggers and I got the chance to check out LAQA & Co.’s holiday collection at Birchbox SoHo. If you remember correctly, last year, I begged Birchbox to open a brick & mortar because their pop-up shop in Chelsea was so great.

Looks like my wish was granted (ha!).

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Have You Heard of LAQA & Co.?

Founded in September 2011, LAQA & Co. started when a couple of thirty-somethings realized that much of the beauty industry was fueled by celebrity entrepreneurs and professional makeup artists. Though not a bad thing, co-founder Nicole Lee assured me, she and her business partner simply noticed that there was a need for artist-driven products.

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An admiral incorporation of social responsibility, a percentage of the proceeds go to young artists. Existing art becomes part of the product packaging, and is then exposed all over the world. The artist for the products I was so generously given is Elena Kulikova.

When choosing artists for their packaging, Lee and her team need to make sure that it “pops and looks good on a box,” says Lee. Any packaging design aficionado can tell you that artwork isn’t necessarily always “translatable.”

As for what works for LAQA & Co.? “Really ‘graphic-y’ designs that are fun and playful,” Lee reveals. Each of the products has a different work of art, but the key is balancing the elements. In order to look good together, they have to balance each other out, not unlike a smokey eye and a nude lip.

For an upcoming collection, LAQA & Co. co-founder Nicole Lee divulged to me that she’s in talks with a Greenpoint artist who will create different looks for each product.

Bloggers, breakfast, and beauty products at Birchbox. Perf.

Bloggers, breakfast, and beauty products at Birchbox. Perf.

Checking Out Their Products

Makeup from LAQA & Co. is great for the girl on-the-go: a no fuss, no muss collection curated by customers. Using feedback on social media, the brand releases products in colors they’re sure their consumers will love.

The products are made with convenience in mind. The Fat Lip Pencil Fiver is no exception.

The product is easy to apply, highly pigmented, and leaves a glossy finish. In their usual set, the colors include Toots, Doppelganger, Jammy Bastard, Shambolic, and Palate Cleanser. They have the convenience of a pencil, but the pigmentation of a full bodied lipstick. Their Fat Lip Pencils also include shea butter – perfect for moisturizing in the cold winter months.

As an added bonus, I was able to nab Siren Song (in place of the shade “Palate Cleanser”), a rust/burnt red-orange with red undertones made exclusively for Birchbox.

“The 90’s trends are back,” says Birchbox’s Senior Manager of Brand Development Deepica Mutyala, and Siren Song is the perfect shade to not only be on trend, but also match the changing leaves.

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Coming up this spring, as per my Twitter prediction, are LAQA & Co.’s Cheeky Lip Pencils. The dual-purpose product produces a matte finish, almost Benetint-like. I had a chance to test it out and I’m eagerly anticipating its debut in spring!

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Their nail polish dries glossy. Check out those gorgeous colors:

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LAQA & Co.’s Tuxedo Nail Pen is the perfect stocking stuffer. One side holds glossy black nail polish, whereas the other holds a matte black formulation.

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Searching for that holiday party lip? Try that classic red lip that you won’t have to fuss with. LAQA & Co.’s Palate Cleanser is super pigmented, and it stays on while you mingle.

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Above, my friend and makeup artist Meagan McGraw is wearing Palate Cleanser. Funnily enough, Meagan and I used to work at Sephora together. I was SO thrilled to see her. She’s an amazingly talented makeup artist, and a wonderful teacher.

Overall, I truly have high hopes for the growing makeup line. I look forward to seeing LAQA & Co. add more to their range over the years. Keep an eye on these guys.


Disclaimer: Thanks to Birchbox and LAQA & Co. for your generosity. I’m excited to doll myself up this holiday season!

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My Life, School

Makeup at the Museum of the Moving Image

November 15, 2014

On Friday night, I headed over to Astoria, Queens with a friend to visit the Museum of the Moving Image. Only one twenty-minute M ride later, and we were there.

For my college’s PR term/final project, groups of students were assigned to create proposals for smaller NYC-area museums. Prior to this, I didn’t even know the place existed.

Let me just say, I’m so happy I checked it out.

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First of all, there was free admission (on Fridays between 4 and 8), and taking into account getting there ($5 or so round-trip on the subway), that price simply couldn’t be beat.

I didn’t research MoMI before heading out, aside from how to get there and the hours, and only expected to be there for 30-40 minutes.

I ended up exploring the museum for three hours.

They have so much to offer for people of all ages. I took some photos for my class project’s purposes, but you must head down to Queens and see this museum for yourself. It’s worth it. Personally, I found it far more interesting than MoMA.

Since I went there with 0 expectations, my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw a full hair and makeup section.

I nearly passed out. Makeup used in film and television through time. Here are a few images I took (not even a third of the intricate displays they had) but for the rest you really need to head on down!

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Overall it was a fun night and I definitely recommend it to anyone for an affordable and culturally-enriching outing.

This was such a pleasant surprise. Looks like I need to explore the other boroughs more!

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My Life, Travel

Birthday Festivities in Orlando

November 15, 2014

First things first, let me quote one of the greatest humans of our generation by saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” No, that’s not Gandhi, it’s Taylor Swift.

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Yes, I just turned 22 this week and so far it has been AWESOME. I flew to Orlando, Florida for the weekend because Disney is perfect no matter how old you are.

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I took a car to the airport and couldn’t help but take a picture of the changing leaves.

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Breathtaking views on the plane.

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Landry’s – one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando. My family has been going there since I was a kid.

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WALT DISNEY WORLD. It’s all happening.

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Feeling at home in Epcot’s “Morocco”

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Cute little hideaway. Very relaxing area to sip smoothies and such.

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We managed to book reservations at the Coral Reef Restaurant. It seemed like a long wait for other people in the lobby of the restaurant, but the underwater views are unrivaled.

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My “surprise” little birthday dessert :) I think Disney’s “Celebrating A Birthday” pin may have tipped the waitstaff off.

My friends from UCF (the school I attended for my freshman year of college) came to Epcot to see me. At that point, I hadn’t seen them for almost three years and it really made my day/month/year/life.

It’s crazy to think that we’re all graduating from college soon. Unreal.

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The next day, after some Downtown Disney exploring, my family and I headed back to New York. Upon my return to Manhattan around midnight, my roommates made me brownies, sang me “Happy Birthday,” and blasted Taylor Swift songs until the wee hours of the morning.

Life’s good. I’m excited to see what 22 brings.

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My Life

Makeup for the Girl On the Go

October 26, 2014

It has been nearly a month since I last posted, and maybe that’s because everything is starting to catch up to me.

I’ve been getting sick on and off, the weather is getting chillier, and at times my days go by in a blur. And, I’ll admit, maybe I don’t appreciate my life the way I should.

There’s no magic wand that suddenly transports you into a state of complete bliss.

But, I’m lucky. I work hard, I toil, and things are paying off. Midterms are halfway over (and although this semester has been a little more challenging, I’m doing alright). My internship is providing me with great experience and in some brief moments in time, when I’m not chugging coffee or writing or working, I get to watch the leaves change.

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I get to hear the sounds of New York, and sometimes, this city does sleep (if only for a moment).

In the past two months alone, I’ve done a photo shoot, attended my first blogger event, worked NYFW, met some amazing people, made pumpkin pie at 3 in the morning with my lovely roommates, and I’m putting together my own magazine.

Some days can get dark and stormy, because a person can only chug along so far.

There isn’t a moment, however, when I’m not excited to learn, to be, to explore. With each passing day, I’ve discovered new things about myself and my world.

I’ll be honest – sometimes my beauty routine goes on the back burner.

Recently, I’ve gone grocery shopping without makeup, and even gone to class with little to no makeup. Yes, I’ve gotten remarks like “WOW I’ve never seen you without makeup” and “you look tired” in a tone which makes me feel … not so great, but really, who cares?

Don’t get me wrong: makeup is fun, getting dolled up and painting your canvas is a wonderful creative outlet.

… But, it won’t matter that I’m pretty if I fail my exams.

These days, my routine has been cut in half.

I shampoo & condition with Pantene (it just smells SO good), rub in some Drybar 100 Proof Treatment Oil, throw it in a bun, apply my moisturizer (I swear by First Aid Beauty, always), spot conceal with L’Oreal True Match Concealer, apply a touch of Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara and dab on one of many Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters I have in my school bag.

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Zip bam boom out the door.

It’s okay to take a rest on your beauty routine.

Here’s to the girl on the go.

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My Life

Exploring the High Line

September 25, 2014

As I alluded to in my previous post, I’ve been inclined to “make time” to explore my beautiful city. Recently, a new part of the High Line Park opened up and since it’s right by me, I figured I’d pop in my headphones, sip some French roast, grab my camera and take some shots.

Like the rest of the park, the new section also offers beautiful views of the city and acts like an industrial escape of sorts in good ol’ Chelsea.

Check out some of the photos I took that day (a mix of the old and the new). I need to set aside some “me time” (as cringeworthy as that expression is) and do this more often.

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Years ago, I strolled around these very parts, not knowing I’d one day live minutes away.

I’m considering making a NYC bucket list so I can force myself to get out there more. Enjoyable little moments like these are lost in the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced life.

It’s time to make time.

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