Tools of the Trade #9: Liven Up Your Projects with CG Textures

Tools of the Trade

In my first year of design school, my instructor introduced me to the best stash of free textures I’d ever seen. To this day, whether I need a snippet of antique wallpaper, a massive expanse of sand or a page out of a weathered book, my first stop is CG Textures.

With over 100,000 assets and counting, the site is a treasure trove for designers and best of all, most of the smaller sizes can be downloaded for free after you’ve registered. CG Textures has made it possible for me to spend less time searching for hard-to-find textures and more time designing. And I hope it will do the same for you, too.


Ink drop image: CG Textures.
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The Mecca of Custom Lipsticks: Bite Lip Lab

Bite Beauty Lipstick

When I found out that Bite Beauty offered a customized lipstick mixing service at its New York City flagship, it seemed like the perfect indulgence after a long weekend of teaching. After reading multiple glowing reviews about the custom service, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

Trekking through Nolita, we came upon a matchbox-sized store with a five feet tall lipstick illustration covering its entrance.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

Once we’d stepped inside the glossy white walls, lipstick techs outfitted in pristine lab jackets left me with the sneaking suspicion that I’d just entered a mad scientist’s laboratory…dedicated solely to the art of lipstick.

Against the back wall, a massive floor-to-ceiling portrait of a model with heart candy puckered in her mouth took my attention. Bite is made in small batches of food grade ingredients but beyond the highbrow formulations lies a subtle playfulness that comes across in its ads.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

As you can imagine, the customized lip color service is very popular and even on a Monday afternoon, there was a substantial line. I promise you, the experience is worth the wait, though (and there’s a gourmet chocolate shop tucked away next door if you need to kill some time).

Bite Beauty Lipstick

The process for procuring a custom-made lipstick color goes like this: once you’re seated, a lipstick tech consults you on what lip colors you usually prefer. I told mine that while I love red and orange hues, I shy away from pinks completely. From there, he began precisely scooping small amounts of lipstick out of big, flat plastic pots and mixing them by hand until he got just the right hue.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

Once the lipstick was on, I felt that it was a little too intense. The deeply pigmented red left me feeling more like Snow White and honestly, a bit too costume-y for my everyday life. Kat, Gala and June gave it the thumbs-up though and as I thought about it more, I realized that I didn’t own anything quite like it. Realistically, I didn’t need another neon-hued orange or soft neutral in my lipstick arsenal; this was something completely fresh.

Luckily, I found out that Bite offers their custom lipsticks in two formulas; the original, which is densely pigmented and then a lighter, glossier option. Since I wanted to get my wear out of it and not just save the shade for special occasions, I chose the lighter formula.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

What I appreciated about the process is that it never felt rushed, even as the store filled up. The techs expertly brushed on their mixtures, handed us oversized white mirrors, answered any questions we had about the formula and fine-tuned the color further based on our responses.

Bite Beauty Lipstick

Once your color has been finalized, the tech scrapes “lipstick bullets” off of a stack of cooled cookie sheets and, with black latex gloves on, blends the final formula (if you want to see the process in action, Gala made a mini video). And then, onto my favorite part: they ask you what fragrance you’d like added to the concoction. There are four options to choose from including peppermint, lavender, cherry and superfruit. After some debate, I finally settled on cherry because it reminded me of old school chapstick.

I watched my lipstick mix being carefully poured into a mold which was placed on a cold plate and less than 10 minutes later, I was being handed a package with my name handwritten across a tiny label. How’s that for service?

Bite Beauty Lipstick

As we finished up, the results spoke for themselves: we all had very different outcomes that completely suited our preferences (and personalities). Bite custom lipsticks run $28.00 and I highly recommend this experience, especially if you’re looking for a fun way to spice up your beauty routine. Up until now, I’d considered custom-blended lipstick a luxury but for the care and craft that goes into these, I think it’s worth every penny.


All photos: June Cochran
Location: Bite Beauty, 174 Prince Street, NYC
* Note: I was not compensated by Bite in any way, I just think this is a service you should know about!

The Week In Pictures: 7.12.13

The Week in Pictures

For most of the week, I took it easy. Realllly easy. After close to two weeks of nonstop traveling, I was glad to slip back into a regular routine and reevaluate my priorities. Time away from the people you love and the place you call home tends to give you some much needed perspective. I had a lot of time to talk to both Kat and Gala about what matters most and why “I’m too busy” is never a valid excuse when it comes to spending quality time with the people you love. Because of that, I barely snapped any photos this week, instead choosing to focus on what was going on in the moment with family and friends.

Over the 4th, we took a super long walk up through the West Hills (if I had the budget, I’d live up there). Portland has the best summers — long, dry and for the most part, not too humid (hey, I was just in New York and we have nothing on them!) After that, we had a barbecue in the back yard but I won’t lie, I was tempted to crash the neighbor’s party as soon as I heard Don’t Stop Believin’ cranked at top volume.

The Week in Pictures

My desk is cluttered with mementos from Minneapolis and New York and other odds and ends at the moment. I went a little nuts in the photo booth at The Smith and Kat’s expression says it all. Haha! I also picked up some postcards, MAC nail polish in Morange and a new notebook in Minneapolis.

The Week in Pictures

I’m really proud of Joey’s latest piece he just wrapped up of Sharon Tate. He painted it for his friend’s movie premier in LA and it’s been so cool to watch his progression as an artist.

The Week in Pictures

Of course, when we were taking photos of his painting, Rocky walked through nearly every shot! He always has to be the center of attention. Do your pets do this too?!

On a more personal note: Being on the road this time was particularly hard on my eating habits. For the first time in ages, I came home feeling incredibly sluggish and bloated and that’s a miserable way to be. I’d never done a cleanse in my entire life but there’s a first time for everything — over the weekend I got started and it wraps on Sunday. After 30+ years of eating as many carbs as I’ve wanted and barely glancing at food labels, it’s been a bit torturous but as of today, I’m feeling much more clear-minded and great.

Making a few changes in the way I eat has been really eye opening and I’ll share more on that next week. Bad habits are hard to break but I’m learning as I go about how to he happier, healthier and more present.

Have a super awesome weekend, everyone!

Link Love: 7.11.13

link love

link love


Source: Masha Reva


• Neil Gaiman is taking six months off from social media. Here’s why.

• This post has inspired me to clean up my digital files big time.

• Prince opens up his fridge and you might be surprised by what’s lurking inside. Dunkaroos and yak milk?!

• Scrapbooking always seems to get a bad rap but Elsie explains that it’s more about applying your own style when printing and arranging memories.

• Soon, New York-based businesses will be able to register a .nyc domain name.

• A short, animated look at what’s inside your average cup of coffee.

• 21 signs you’re dating a designer.

• Make the best kale chips you’ll ever have at home.

• This writer wonders if her great grandma is R. Kelly and in the process, manages to laugh in the face of tragedy.

• If you’re getting burnt out on Instagram, VSCO Grid might be the perfect solution. Luke Copping reviews it.

• The New York Times just published an article on my kindred spirits, llamas.

• Jane’s skinny antioxidant ice cream definitely grabbed my attention. I like anything that straddles the line between indulgent and healthy!

Tools of the Trade #8: Creating Custom Palettes with the Kuler App

Tools of the Trade

I just found out about the Kuler app after reading about it on Tamera’s blog yesterday and had to share. As an extension of the popular Kuler website by Adobe, it allows you to upload or snap photos on your phone and then automatically pulls together a palette. You can tweak the colors by quickly moving the dots.

Tools of the Trade

If you’re a total color nerd, there are tons of additional menu options to further customize your palette. Once you’ve pulled together the perfect combinations, you can synch the app with your Kuler account and upload it for safe keeping. If you’re feeling extra smug about your creations, you can also share them via email and Twitter.

Oh, and did I mention that the app is free? And that you can also import photos from the web and Flickr? I’m sensing a new addiction.


App: Adobe Kuler.
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What I Wore: 7.4.13 | Blossom

What I Wore: Blossom

While this dress isn’t really my typical style, it caught my eye while in Minneapolis. I was also feeling that all too familiar desperation set in around this point of my trip because I was really low on clothing options. Whenever I travel for The Blogcademy, over half of my suitcase is always taken up by workbooks and decor. This dress was lightweight enough to roll up and squeeze in!

What I Wore: Blossom

After trying it on, I figured it would be one of those perfect summer go-to pieces. This time of year, I tend to gravitate towards dresses I can reach for when it’s unbearably hot, throw on without a second thought and head out the door. I especially like this dress because the straps are adjustable, the length isn’t scandalously short and though the top is fitted, the loosely flowing bottom balances it all out. With trips to the Oregon Coast and Austin coming up quickly, I know it will get a lot of use.

What I Wore: Blossom


I wore:

Dress, Kimchi Blue
Cardigan, 90s vintage via Buffalo Exchange
Belt, vintage
Zipper heels, Dries van Noten via Ebay
Lipstick, MAC Mineralize Rich in “Lady at Play”

Blogcademy New York and a Peek Inside Patina!

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

The first time I saw the interior of Patina, my eyes grew as big as saucers. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time hunting for treasures at antique shows and swap meets with my dad but I’d never seen anything quite like this place. Exquisitely curated with vintage furniture, telephones, typewriters, books and more, it felt like a setting out of a Brooklyn-based fairytale.

Patina had originally contacted us last year but we’d already arranged the final details for our first Blogcademy and it just wasn’t meant to be. Good things are always worth the wait and this time around, we were thrilled to host our brilliant group of blogcadettes in their magic-making space.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

We kicked off this sixth installment of our workshop over one of the most humid weekends I’ve ever experienced — even with fans and ice cream breaks, it was unbearable at times but lounging on gorgeous vintage couches made the whole experience slightly more glamorous for sure.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

As the weekend builds, one of my favorite parts of the workshop are the group activities where we circle around and chat with women one-on-one about their ideas and goals for their blogs. I love a big idea but I love it even more when they’re scribbling down precisely how to make them a reality. And this group, with teachers, hairdressers, PR agency owners, fashion bloggers and more in the audience had so many awesome insights on how to introduce more personalized content and tweak their brands to better represent who they are.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

Enough of my blabbering! In their own words, here’s what some of our attendees had to say about the experience:

“The Blogcademy is fucking life-changing. I sold half of my wardrobe (no joke) in order to attend and I’d sell the other half and show up in nothing but my undies and black eyeliner ten times over: these women are legit. Their energy is through the roof. Their knowledge is powerful. Their commitment is palpable. And they will give you the necessary kick in the ass you need to own your identity, no matter how scary that might be. Between the sparkles, sea of hair colors, and resounding tribal spirit, I kept waiting for Jessie J to burst through the window on a Tarzan rope belting out ‘Just be true to who you are’. (I wouldn’t put it past these three. I believe them capable of anything). But all in all, whether you have to walk 500 miles, subsist on Ramen noodles for a month, or fly on a broomstick to get there…GO. Stop thinking about it. GO. I kid not when I say it will alter the course of your professional career and, by extension, your life.”

Madelin Adena Smith

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

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