Kevyn Aucoin The Mascara. This stuff is the best! I only use it on the weekends or if I’m going out (because I’m cheap!). I used to call it "husband getter mascara" because I thought it made my lashes look so beautiful. (I use CoverGirl LashExact during the week -- the one with Queen Latifah on the ads.)
Are you reading Smartypanties? If not ... trust me, you're missing out! The gorgeous Katie Berwitt is behind its fabulosity, and she strives to bring beauty and fashion lovers all the best deals and info on all the latest and greatest products. Plus she's the nicest person to boot -- and I can say that without question, as she and I grew up together and have known each other for about 15 years! Read on to discover Katie's favorite shampoo, the eyeliner she can't live without, why she started Smartypanties and so much more!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m from Cleveland, OH! Great place to go back and visit but I’m too young to live there now. I went to University of Michigan, Go Blue! Then to New York Law School. My friends couldn’t believe I went to law school, I was real deal Elle Woods. Even I can’t believe I did it. It all happened so fast, one day I lived in Chicago, a young college grad dreaming of doing PR or working for a magazine and the next thing I know I was in a dead-end job paralegal-ing. Anyway, it’s one of those things you hate while you’re going through it but have fond memories of. I met some amazing people and feel like I learned more in 3 years than I had in the rest of my life. I’m a lawyer now (recently admitted! Wahoo! Feel so bad for those studying for the bar right now. Good luck on the July Exam!). So, by day I work in children’s advertising, making sure it’s safe for kiddies, by night I’m Smartypanties!
How did you first become interested in beauty?
I worked for AEFFE in NYC during college, they rep brands like Jean Paul Gautier, Moschino and Alberta Ferretti. I spent my summer talking about $900 shoes pretending I thought they were worth that price. Yes, the clothes were amazing (though even with a steep discount I could barely afford a belt) but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel like I was helping anyone, hell, I was working for a company where the employees couldn’t even afford the clothes. No joke, the girls got a certain amount of clothing a year but they all had to hock it on Ebay to make rent!
But while high end fashion isn’t affordable, luxurious beauty products are usually at least within my paycheck’s reach. I think that’s why I really got turned on to beauty products. Beauty products for me were like the quick fix I could afford. Unlike a Sex and the City goddess, I could NOT afford Jimmy Choos -- but I could afford the same makeup! It’s called the Lipstick Effect -- you see a look, you slap it on and, voila! You’re gorgeous, instantly gratified and happy (and about $495 richer than if you bought some Choos!).
I am addicted. My vanity table looks like the M.A.C counter. I always do my friends’ makeup and I love it. Not that my friends aren’t beautiful without it but it’s so fun glamorizing someone! For a while I even thought about trying to be a makeup artist ... but somehow settled on being a lawyer instead ... hmmm ... still wondering if I should rethink that decision.
Why did you decide to start your blog?
Growing up I was always taught the value of a dollar. I wasn’t left for wanting much but I wasn’t spoiled. I always appreciated what I had. I was taught balance -- splurge on some things -- but I was also taught the value of finding a good bargain. The hunt became half the thrill of shopping for me -- finding the same look as couture for a fraction of the price. I was always the girl who everyone asked, where did you get that top and lots of the time I was embarrassed to say some cheap-o store like Forever 21 or Old Navy. I used to be humiliated about it when my friends would look down their noses at me for shopping at these places but as I got older I began to embrace it (and think they were silly for paying full price!). I’m not condoning only shopping at those places but I have learned to mix and match expensive with inexpensive. The other day I wore my Chanel bag with a dress from Strawberry. In this economy there is no reason every girl shouldn’t be armed with the same knowledge.
I started my blog to make bargain shopping more chic, less freak. Any idiot can pay full price at Saks! Not our girls though! Similarly, I can’t stand buying expensive beauty products and being disappointed. I thought hey, if I write about stuff I like or HATE, then other chickies won’t waste their money on it like me. Or they’ll learn about the best kept secret.
I love the name of your blog! How did you come up with it?
Well, I wanted a name that would encompass me talking about everything I know (or at least that I think I know). Something cute and girly that had staying power. Originally I wanted to call it Recessionista.com but am so happy we chose this instead because how sick of the word recessionista are you? I couldn’t believe the name Smartypanties wasn’t taken! So I snagged it and the rest is history!
What have been some of the highlights of having your blog?
First, I’ve met some amazing bloggers at different events I’ve been asked to attend. My fave event was for Sam Fine’s DVD release where I got to meet Vanessa Williams. I’m a huge Ugly Betty fan so for me I was in heaven.
I also have learned about some great products that have become my favorite by some lesser known brands (cue Morris Organics).
What are your top 5 beauty essentials?
1) Yves Saint Laurent Oil Free Foundation. It fills in every pore I have. Sam Fine (makeup artist to Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams, and more) recommended this to me. I will never deviate from this again!
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Best quick-dry top coat ever. It seriously dries your nails before you could have the chance to mess them up -- even if you’re a klutz like me!
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit. Any pimple, any size, this will have you covered. It’s the one with concealer on the top and then a little powder at the bottom. I put it on under my makeup. Trust me, it’s incredible. The only concealer I’ve ever used that I can honestly say makes a huge difference.
5) Morris Organics Under Eye Cream and Body Lotion. It’s paraben-free and practically all organic. I even use the eye cream as a face cream. Made with avocado oil, it boosts collagen production in the skin and doesn’t make me break out at all.
What brands can you simply not live without?
M.A.C -- I love their colorful eyeshadows. I love using them as under-eye liners. They really make my eyes pop.
Bobbi Brown bronzer and blushes are to die for.
Whole Foods 365 Shampoos/Conditioners. They’re amazing. They are unpolluted and simple and keep my hair shiny and silky. The Grapefruit scent is my fave.