Category Archives: Beauty

Smile Brilliant for the Holidays

There’s no doubt that the holiday season always brings the opportunity for reunions, parties, gatherings – it doesn’t stop. With each opportunity to get together with old friends and spend time with family, also come endless photo opportunities.

What will make your selfies stand out? White teeth.

I’ve always been a proponent of teeth whitening. I’ve been drinking coffee since the age of 2 (yes, you read that right) and I love my red wine, so a little teeth whitening (I’ve used Crest White Strips a few times) has been necessary, so with the holidays right around the corner, I was so excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me to try their whitening trays.




How it works: Smile Brilliant sends you everything you need in an easy kit. It comes with molds to take impressions of your upper and lower teeth, which you make and send back to them. After about a week (so quick!) your whitening trays arrive and are custom molded to your teeth.

Once your trays arrive, you fill them using syringes of whitening gel. You can use them anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours per day, depending on how much time you have. They also provide desensitizing gel to put on for about 15-30 minutes after. I only used it the first couple of times I whitened, and it helped with any sensitivity. It’s also recommended to remineralize your teeth and prevent any staining. (Check out this video which illustrates how the whole process works.)






My experience: I saw results after my first 3 uses. I tended to whiten for at least an hour each use, followed by the desensitizing gel. I definitely experienced a little teeth sensitivity at first, but it definitely calmed itself down. I also did experience a little gum redness, but that too worked itself out. Overall, Smile Brilliant was great. I love that the trays are custom, and that your trays are molded to your teeth. It’s also much less messy than a traditional white strip because the whitening gel goes right into the trays!


The best part? You can win your own Smile Brilliant kit by clicking this link to enter.

You can ALSO get 5% off your order by using code: successonstilettos when you check out.

Dress accordingly,

Annie Signoff


*This post was sponsored by Smile Brilliant, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Run, don’t walk! Sephora sale!

It’s that time of year, ya’ll. The Sephora sale AKA early Christmas. 20% off EVERYTHING on the site is no joke.

The sale is currently open to all VIB Rouge members through today (use code 20ROUGE) until 11/7 and open to all other VIB members from 11/11-11/14 (code 20VIB).


In light of the sale AND a conversation I had with my awesome brow magician (Hi, Wendy! – seriously, ya’ll she works wonders, go see her at Sia Spa) I wanted to share some of my tried and true beauty products from Sephora (in no particular order).


  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector – I have this powder highlighter in two colors (Champagne Pop and Opal) and I use one EVERY day. Not only do they give an immediate glow, but it really lasts. I also have this liquid highlighter that I use a lot as well.
  • Laura Mercier Radiance Primer – I’ve blogged about this before, but I use this under my foundation (or mixed with my foundation) whenever I want my skin to really glow.
  • Sephora Collection Luxe False Lashes – I first purchased these lashes for my wedding (thanks, Shivalicious!) and I immediately became a believer. They price tag can be a little scary BUT they’re so worth it – I wore the same pair for almost a YEAR. They just recently wore out and I’m going to purchase my second pair.
  • IT Cosmetisc Superhero Mascara & Benefit Roller Lift Mascara– I use these two mascaras in combination (I apply IT Cosmetics first and then Benefit to lift) and I love what they do for my not-so-naturally lengthly lashes.


  • Urban Decay Vice Lipstick – I have UD’s lipsticks in a ton of colors, especially the mattes. They’re not dry, which is great for me because I seem to have perpetually dry lips.
  • UD 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil – I use this pencil to tight line my eyes every. single. day. and I cannot recommend it enough. They truly do glide on SO smoothly. It’s unlike any pencil liner I’ve ever used.
  • Sephora Collection Ink Gel – This cheek tint came in one of my Play! boxes and I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love it – I use it for everyday AND on days when I just throw it on over a BB cream.
  • Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – Probably my favorite lippie to wear. Perfectly matte, not over-drying at all. The colors are SO vivid. My personal favorite is ‘Armageddon’ which will make even the palest person (me) look bronze (ie here)
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – Like the Kat Von D, I have this in quite a few colors and I love them. I especially love Cruella, Rikuguen and Never Say Never).


Happy shopping! 

Annie Signoff

Bloggers, Bubbles & Blowouts – a night at SIA Spa

Who doesn’t love to be pampered!? Seriously, there is NO better feeling than a blowout, mani/pedi or facial. Whenever I get something like this done, I always leave with a little extra pep in my step. Feeling a little bit more confident. Whatever it takes, right? As a women who has a full time job and a blog and a family, finding those moments is SO important. Which is why I’m so excited to invite you to a super fun event with the Thread Cincinnati ladies:

What we’re doing: Join us for an evening of mani/pedis, blowouts and/pr Dermaplane treatments! Plus champagne, so you really can’t go wrong!

sia spa 3

I’m so excited to check it out next week, and I hope you’ll join us!
 I’m definitely booking a mini pedicure and mani and will probably try a blowout (my first!!!).
While the salon is blocked off for the event, they recommend reserving a time so you’re not waiting. Give ’em a call at 513-985-0777.
See you on Tuesday!
Annie Signoff

Beauty Talk: Staying Power

While packing for a work trip earlier this week, I got to thinking about the makeup products that have true staying power. You know what I’m talking about, the go-tos that you purchase time and time again.

In fact, I had to make a Sephora run last weekend to replenish a few of my favorites. Since its been awhile since we last talked beauty, I wanted to share a few of my favorites! This post mostly focuses on foundations and primers, with a few fun extras at the end.


  1. Laura Mercier Radiance Primer – I’ve posted about this one before, but I absolutely love love love this primer. I don’t have the most ‘radiant’ skin naturally (does anyone, really!?) so I love to wear this when I want my skin to actually glow. I’m wearing it under my foundation in this post from New Year’s Eve.
  2. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weighless Ultra Definition Foundation – whew, that’s a mouthful. This is my everyday foundation, and what I’m wearing in 95% of my blog posts. I love it because as a twentysomething, I don’t need super thick foundation, but I definitely want something with enough coverage to improve my skin without feeling heavy. This is absolutely that foundation.
  3. Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment – No, I don’t have ‘acne’ but I do have hormone-induced breakout-prone skin, so I love that this primer actually has salicylic acid in it. I do have combination/oily skin so this gets rid of any excess oil before I even put my makeup on!
  4. Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion – Any and all of the shades of this amazing eye primer I highly recommend, especially if you’re a fan of the UD eyeshadows which dust very easily. Eyeshadow looks more vibrant and stays ALL. DAY. This is not a drill. I’ve even had my eye makeup last through a workout before (hey man, sometimes a girl is in a hurry).
  5. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment – So this is advertised as a ’24-hour primer’, but I usually use this as a BB cream. It’s got killer coverage…it’s enough that it can be worn by itself (I do this on lazy days or in the summertime when I want a super-lite makeup) or under foundation. I wear it under my foundation (apply before primer!) on a day-to-day because of the SPF 30.
  6. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue – I love this not-quite-foundation-not-quite-BB cream. It’s super moisturizing, so I don’t recommend wearing this one with any other foundations, but it’s great for achieving that dewey-skin look.

On another note, I popped into Sephora last weekend (mostly for some of these must-purchase items) but I also found quite a few amazing lipsticks I wanted to share. The Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks are all on huge sale right now:




Top to Bottom: UD, Matte Venom, Matte Bittersweet, Bad Blood, YSLRouge Voulpe #9 

What beauty products do you purchase time and time again? Share!

Dress accordingly,

Annie Signoff



Best Beauty Buys: April

Can you believe it’s already May!? *insert Justin Timberlake emoji here*

I wanted to share some of my favorite beauty products from this month. Some are tried and true faves that I’ve repurchased countless times and some are new products. If you live in the Cincinnati area (it’s only available in certain markets, currently), I highly recommend subscribing to Sephora Play! It’s only $10/mo and I’ve already gotten quite a few products I really really like and it’s only my second month.


  1. NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in ‘Rikugien’ – the prettiest dusty rose. I highly recommend it.
  2. Sephora Collection Colorful Ink Cheek Gel – Hello Summer perfection. Since the weather turned warm, I’ve been using this in lieu of a powder blush. It layers great with my Becca illuminator. Success on Stilettos: April '16 Beauty Buys
  3. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in ‘Champagne Pop’ (and Opal) and the liquid version. Both are amazing. In the summer I like to layer the liquid under the powder for a super glowy look (I’ll be posting a tutorial on this coming soon).DSC_0500
  4. Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment – If you follow me on Snapchat (username: annelw) you saw me try this out for the first time last week. Not only does it go on like outer space war paint (added perk) but I actually thought my skin felt firmer after using it. I’ll definitely be purchasing the full size version.
  5. Clinique pep-start eye cream – I’d been looking for a morning eye cream that doesn’t require me to store it in the fridge (pure laziness) but that I can still ‘feel’ working and that would lightly moisturize my dry under eyes. (Seriously the ONLY part of my skin that’s dry.) This definitely did the trick.
  6. Laura Mercier Radiance Primer – You want glowing amazing skin? USE THIS. Need to combat dull winter skin? Use this. Want dewey and bright skin in the summer? Use this. ‘Nuff said.


So there you have it – my favorite beauty products from April! Try ’em out!

What are your favorites? Have you tried any of these?

xx -A

Beauty Talk: Masks + Face Washes


I’ve been wanting to do a post about my favorite masks for awhile now, but never got around to putting my favorites in one place. One of my favorite things to do is head to Sephora and try new products – so I figured I’d share which ones have stood out for me over time.


I have combination skin, and am always trying to find a blackhead/clogged pore solution. I also have moderate redness (nothing major, just undertones) that I’m always trying to counteract and these definitely help with that:


  • caudalie instant detox mask – I love using detoxing mask, especially when I’ve been traveling a lot. Not only do your insides sometimes need a detox (hot water with lemon, ya’ll!) but your skin needs it, too. This one brightens and tightens and my skin is definitely less oily and my pores are definitely tighter after use. I apply for 15-20 minutes.
  • Origins clear improvement charcoal mask – LOVE this for when my pores are looking particularly gnarly (lovely, right?). I put this baby on once a week or once every other week, and it absolutely helps clear my pores. I apply this one for 15 minutes and rinse by washing my face.


  • glamglow youthmud tinglexfoliate treatment – I use this once a week to combat aging. Yes, I’m only 25, but I recently realized I’m at the age where I need to take preventative action. Plus, sitting in front of a computer/iPad/phone/TV basically all day, doesn’t help in the wrinkle department. I LOVE this mask because it goes on black, but as it dries, turns a green/grey (pictured above) so you KNOW when it’s ready to rinse off.
  • glamglow supermud clearing treatment – I use this 1x/week (or every other week) but especially when I’m having breakout issues. I have lots of tiny blackhead problems around my chin, and this really helps extract the gunk.


  • glamglow flashmud brightening – This one is GREAT for brightening your skin. When you first try it, you’ll need to use it daily for 3-4 days, then once a week after that. I can’t recommend this one enough
  • glamglow powermud dualcleanse & gravitymud – I admit, I haven’t tried the Gravitymud yet, but it’s supposed to peel off, and let’s face it, that sounds super fun try try #amiright!? I love this dualcleanse mask as a weekly detoxifier, too (although if you use the Caudalie, you don’t need both).

Face wash favorites:


  • glamglow youthcleanse daily exfoliating cleanser – I use this baby for my morning facewash. It takes some getting used to, because you actually apply it to your skin dry and add water as you wash to make it foam, but I definitely recommend it.


  • fresh soy face cleanser – I use this at night after taking off my makeup. I like fresh products because they’re generally very light, and this one is no exception.


  • murad skin smoothing polish – this facewash is AMAZING. It’s a heavier exfoliator so if you have sensitive skin, beware, but it works. My skin is so much smoother, less shiny and less oily when i wash with it.

What are your favorites? Please share!

xx -A

Spring Lip Favorites

Spring always seems to ‘spring’ for me when Easter comes and goes. I don’t know about you, but I always find myself reaching for blush colored hues, especially in the makeup department.

I love all beauty products, that’s no secret. Lipstick for me is something I’m constantly purchasing (earmuffs, husband!), especially since Sephora has such a great return/exchange policy (if I don’t love it, I don’t keep it around hoping I’ll wear it.. it goes back immediately!)

So, today I wanted to share some of my favorite Spring lippies: (I’ll be sharing L to R)


There ya have it! My favorite Spring lippies! What are your favorites!? Share in the comments!

Best Beauty Buys: August/September

For the most part, I’ve been wearing the same makeup everyday for a couple years now. But I’ve been trying to branch out lately and that means trying some new products that aren’t just lippies. Here’s what I’m loving lately:

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.56.09 PM

  • becca shimmering skin perfector in opal – the most amazing highlighter. gives your skin the perfect sun-kissed, bright glow. Review coming on the liquid version soon!
  • anastasia beverly hills liquid lipstick in ‘pure hollywood‘ – after what’s felt like the longest search, I’ve finally found the perfect nude lip. as someone who is very fair-skinned, it’s hard to find nude lipsticks that aren’t too brown – this one checks that box.
  • e.l.f. cream eyeliner – and it’s only around $5. yep, you read that right. goes on so smoothly and stays all day. allows me to create the perfect cat eye. at that price – go buy now!

What beauty products are you loving right now? Share!

xoxo -A


Best Beauty Buys: Hair

I’m back on this lovely Tuesday with a much-overdue BBB post! Today I want to share a product I’ve come to swear by in the last month or so. Herbal Essences Wild Naturals Dry Oil Spray.

As a (color treated) blonde, the ends of my hair tend to be dry, and therefore require a little extra love. I’ve been a user of the It’s a 10 Leave-In Treatment for Blondes and Umberto’s Roman Oil for a long time, I’ve been looking for a dry oil to lock-in moisture after I style my hair in the mornings (hello heat!). Enter: Herbal Essences. It’s affordable, smells amazing and DOES NOT weigh hair down in any way, shape or form (I have fine hair so literally, anything can weigh me down, but not this):




Seriously, ya’ll go buy this! Even if your hair doesn’t need added moisture, this is a great inexpensive product to spray on hair after the pool or salt-water to combat the drying effects they have on your hair.

Happy styling!

xoxo -A

Best Beauty Buys: Recent Purchases

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a BBB post, so here we are! I’ve made a few recent purchases from Sephora lately and I want to share a few reviews:

1. Benefit Puff Off! This anti-puff serum is moderately pricey, but totally worth it. I got a sample with my Beauty Insider points and can confidently say I’ll be purchasing the full size when it runs out. I’ve tried a lot of under-eye de-puffers in my life and I think my favorite thing is when you feel a cooling sensation as you apply. This one you definitely can. I love the little iron too, which is metal, so I can only assume this will add to the cooling sensation (the sample-size doesn’t have this feature). And most importantly, I really think my eyes look less puffy.

Image via Pinterest

2. Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. In my adult life, I’ve generally skewed toward drug store brand mascara. (If you’re looking for one, I particularly like Maybeline’s Falsies.) But I’ve literally never been able to apply one kind of mascara and go. It was always one for volume and one for length. Until this mascara. It adds volume and length in two coats. Boom. Definitely worth the dollhairs.

Imagie via Pinterest.

There you have it! Check back next week for more best beauty buys!

xoxo -A