What’s in a Name?

If you have a blog or know a blogger, you know that coming up with a catchy blog name can be tedious, stressful, and downright impossible. I read about 1.5 million tips on how to name a blog, most of which only added to my level of anxiety over making a decision. I knew I wanted it to be tied to myself and my content, but “Laura Ferdinandt’s Beauty and Lifestyle Blog” didn’t really roll off the tongue. Here were some other front runners:

  • BeeYouTiFul (people would constantly spell that wrong)
  • Listen To Meeeee! (I mean, that one’s kinda good)
  • Laura Loves Lovely Looks (no way. that one is terrible)

Clearly, I wasn’t really coming up with Grade A titles. If you take a good look at my life, I haven’t been very good at naming most anything important to me. My first car was a small black sedan named “Little Black”. I named two of my favorite stuffed animals from my childhood “Hound Dog” and “Clown”. Any guesses as to what type of stuffed animals they were? #mystery #CIAlevel


Pictured (left to right): Clown. Hound Dog.          Not Pictured: Brown Bear.

After much deliberation, I finally settled on Secrets from September. Why, you ask? Well, I was born in September and I like sharing secrets. Beauty secrets, to be exact. And everyone loves a little alliteration, or at least that’s what all of those blog tips told me.

This title may not be the easiest URL to type into a search bar (www.nordstrom.com was already taken, dammit). It may not provide a punny hint as to the contents of my blog. It may not evoke feelings of euphoria in everyone who reads it. But let’s all just be thankful that I didn’t name it “Blog.”

Blogging 2.0

Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all this time you’d like to meet.

My name’s Laura and I suck at blogging. (That was Adele’s first lyric version. I wonder why she changed it…)

Looking back at my blog, you’d think I joined a hippie commune or something eight months ago and completely disavowed the internet. But alas, I just stopped making blogging a priority. Recently though, I have been pushed encouraged by some friends to dust off the old keyboard and get back in the game. So this is my recommitment to you, my seven readers, that I will try my hardest to write more, diversify my content, and generally fill your eyeballs with Pulitzer-worthy writing.

With this Blog Reboot in mind, I thought I would start out by sharing with you another little reboot I’ve been working on. Since moving into my apartment almost two years ago, I have loved decorating and redecorating it over and over again. The vintage of this apartment, along with its close proximity to some of the cutest antique and vintage stores I’ve ever been in, have really helped me find my personal style and hone in on what makes me happy.

About three months ago, my mom brought over some old pictures and knick knacks to see if I wanted any of them. As I sorted through her pile of goods, one photo caught my eye:

IMG_7006This is a picture of my mother’s grandma, Theresa. I don’t think it’s possible to have a more beautiful portrait! It’s feminine and striking and delicate and looks like it was made for my apartment. It also reaffirms that I was indeed born in the wrong decade. Instagram’s got nothing on the portrait art from the early 1900s. I snagged the portrait and started brainstorming how to feature it in my sunroom (aka makeup room). Fast forward a few months and a few amazing Christmas gifts later, and voila!

IMG_6999Every single item in this picture brings me joy. Many of them serve a function (#somanybrushes), but some of them simply evoke a feeling of nostalgia, remind me of a good travel memory, or serve as a memento of a casual afternoon stroll through my chosen city.

I suppose if I look closer at my reason for taking a blogging hiatus, it’s that I didn’t feel like my blog was deep enough. It seemed a bit vapid and shallow, both words I hope no one ever uses to describe me. But in the past year of learning more life lessons than I will ever be able to count, I realized one thing in particular: don’t shy away from what makes you happy. Don’t be ashamed if it’s something small that brings joy, just be happy you’ve found it.

So while my greatest joy comes from the people I love and the experiences I have, I’ll happily use this blog to share some of the little things that bring me joy. And who knows. Maybe those little things will someday add up to something big.


This eyelash mug is everything. So was my first trip to Temecula with friends.


300 brushes. Because, beauty blogger.


I snagged this vintage fan in Bozeman, Montana. After a rewiring tutorial from my dad, we got it to work again! The books were found at an antique store in Northern Wisco. And there’s no better place to brunch with your BFF on her birthday than Sea & Smoke in Del Mar, California.

Wine Delivery? Yes, Please.

What a lovely package to come home to!

What a lovely package to come home to!

The internet knows me better than I know myself.

I have an ad blocker installed on my computer (thanks to my BIL Karl). This ad blocker greatly improves the state of my pocketbook, since my life before it included lots of tempting little sidebar messages from Nordstrom, MAC, and Zappos. I thought I was safe from the temptations of retail world. Au contraire, mon frare. Twitter got me, and it got me good.

While scrolling through my feed the other night, my eyes latched onto a story about some MIT grads who are changing the wine world. I love educational stories! I love wine! This story was clearly written for me! Basically, these wine pioneers have combined their mathematical know-how with everyone’s love of wine. By answering a quick, six-question survey, these geniuses will figure out your taste buds and provide a selection of unique, hard to find wines that are right up your alley.

At first I treated the quiz like one of those ridiculous Facebook quizzes that claim to tell you what state you belong in or which “Friends” character you are or some other, non-scientific craziness. Soon, though, I found myself totally sucked in! They took my six answers and totally figured out my taste buds. Crisp, citrusy whites from New Zealand or South Africa; complex, smooth reds from Argentina or Australia. Obviously, I had to sign up so that I could test it out and share my opinions with you. {You’re welcome.}

So, here’s what happened after I signed up: Bright Cellars (the MIT genius wine-o company) hand selected several wines that are hard to find at the local grocery store or corner market. I then got to choose the 4 I wanted in my first box. They wrapped them up in adorable packaging and sent them by way of carrier pigeons or drones or FedEx. The wines got delivered right to my door in only 2 days, which was completely unexpected and totally necessary (a girl can never be out of wine).


Could this packaging be any cuter? (Clearly, I’m a Chandler.) The sticker reads, “There comes a time in the day when no matter the question…the answer is wine.” #truthtime

I can’t wait to crack open the selections for this month. Bright Cellars chose for me a cabernet/merlot blend from South Africa, a Chardonnay from Southeastern Australia (they promised it had no oak, so I went for it), and two Savignon Blancs (my total favorites). While I normally would shy away from trying out products that DSC00022are hard to find, I feel like wine is a bit of a different beast. I love trying new wines, but I am not afraid of leaning on my old standbys when needed. Most of all, I am excited to have some wine selections to add to my repertoire. Who knows, maybe I will even become a Chardonnay fan! (My mom would love that.)

If you’re anything like me and you like trying new libations, I would highly recommend that you check this company out. Click on this link to get your first box of 4 wines for only $30! That’s a complete steal! And just think, you’ll never be empty handed if a friend (me) invites you to a last minute BYOB picnic in the park (anyone free Tuesday?)! You can keep your membership going and get a new shipment of bottles delivered to your door each month, or you can cancel at any time. Bright Cellars is shaping up to be the subscription box of the century. Cheers!

Dramatic Neutrals: New Year’s Eve Makeup Tutorial

Well, I bit the bullet. Many of you wanted a video tutorial, and now you’ve got one! This look showcases my favorite fall/winter eye shadow palette, the Lorac Pro Palette. I love this palette because it combines all the colors I love in the winter time. It’s highly pigmented which means you don’t have to use a lot of product; it blends very easily which means you don’t have to be a pro to use it; and the results range from subtle to over-the-top. Check out the video and leave your comments below for any future looks that you might want me to do. (Side note: The video is flipped which means the words appear backwards – sorry. I know how to fix this but I didn’t have 100 hours to do it. UGH technology!)


Products used:

  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation (color: 3.0)
  • Maybelline Age Rewind (color: Brightening)
  • Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (color: Translucent)
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
  • Benefit Rockateur Blush
  • Benefit Gimme Brow (color: Medium/Deep)
  • MAC PaintPot (color: Painterly)
  • Lorac Pro Palette
  • Kat Von Dee Ink Liner (color: Trooper)
  • Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara
  • MAC Creamsheen Lipstick (color: Fanfare)

Brushes used:

  • Beauty Blender
  • Laura Mercier Concealer Brush
  • Morphe G3 Foundation Brush
  • Real Techniques Powder Brush
  • Sonia Kashuk Blush Brush
  • Morphe M433 Blending Brush

Bridal Makeup: Neutral Classics

Classic beauty

Jess Burbey’s fall wedding had all the makings of a romantic, classic affair. The bridesmaids wore  beautiful shade of a dusty navy and Jess’s dress had a little bit of bling, a little bit of lace, and a whole lot of style. Jess wanted her makeup to accentuate her bright blue eyes while also echoing the classic simplicity of her wedding style. I concentrated on creating depth and dimension by layering smokey grays and blacks into her crease and corner while lightening up her inner corner with soft peach hues and my favorite MAC pigment of all time: Naked. We popped on a few lashes, added a subtle winged eyeliner (per her dad’s request), and topped off the face with coral blush, contour powder, and a delightfully mauvey nude lipstick. The final look gave her the perfect mix of neutral and pop, which is just what she wanted!

I also had the joy of working with several of her bridesmaids, many whom I know from past weddings I have worked on. I love it when ladies come to me with an open mind because it allows me to stretch my creativity and create a look that is unique for each person. These lovelies were willing to try any look I suggested and walked away looking glamorous and happy!

Thanks, Jess, for making this experience such a great one from start to finish. Best of luck to you and Frank in your new adventure as a married couple!

A few of Jess's bridesmaids

A few of Jess’s bridesmaids

Summer Beauty Favorites

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 10.24.13 PM

Summer is my favorite time of year for makeup. Well, I also love autumn. And spring is pretty awesome, too. Basically, I like every makeup season except winter (we’ll get into that later). But summer might be my favorite of all, mostly because it’s a chance to experiment with color, brighten everything up, and break some rules! This summer was a game-changer for my makeup routine because I found a few new products that have become complete favorites. The best news is that most of these items can transition right into fall! Let’s jump right in to the descriptions of my new lovers.

  • Benefit gimmeBROW

    Benefit gimmeBROW

    Benefit gimmeBROW

I have a love/hate relationships with eyebrows.  For one thing, my eyebrows are really, really skinny to begin with. That means that the full brow trend just doesn’t work for me. Also, I tend to dislike massively drawn on brows. Most of the time I think they look fake and draw too much attention to the brows instead of the rest of the face. However, I am of the belief that strong brows can really make or break a makeup look. Brows do lots of important things to help frame the face, so it’s important to consider them when doing the rest of your makeup. So since I don’t like drawn on brows and since my brows are nothing spectacular, I needed a product that would allow me to emphasize my brows without going overboard. Enter the miracle product that is gimmeBROW. This delightful invention is perfect for gals like me because the fibers in the product actually make your brows appear thicker. It’s kinda like putting mascara on your brows (sounds gross, but it is super effective). I find that it helps to provide more bulk to my brows, emphasize them slightly, and allow them to blend in with the rest of my eye look without looking ridiculous. Best of all, it only takes seconds to apply and it is basically fool-proof! The teeny-tiny brush makes the application process simple and less intimidating than trying to draw on eyebrows with a pencil. Benefit gimmeBROW retails at $22 and comes in 2 shades, light/medium and medium/deep. I use medium/deep and find it works perfect for my hair color. You can find Benefit products at Ulta, Sephora, stand alone Benefit stores, and most department stores.

  • Becca Mineral Blush in Damselfly
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Becca mineral blush & SigmaF40 brush

Summertime is my favoritetime for blushes, and I found a bunch of new ones this summer that I have fallen in love with. Topping the charts, though, is this Becca mineral blush in the color Damselfly. Why is it the best of all? Well, to start with, the color is a perfect mix of coral and peach (super warm toned and bright for summer). Secondly, it has a tiny bit of shimmer in it, so it gives the skin a beautiful glow. It isn’t too much glitter, though, so you won’t feel like you’re 14 years old. Most of all, the staying power can’t stop won’t stop. This blush lasts forever on my cheeks! There’s nothing like applying a blush in the morning and still seeing it before you wash your face at night! It’s a bit on the pricey side ($32) but the quality is such that you get a big bang for your buck. You can find Becca blushes at Sephora (insider hint: they are ALWAYS sold out at the stores, so you might have to go online to get these beauties).

  • Sigma F40 Large Angle Contour Brush

Why do I love this brush? Let me count the ways…ONE: the bristles are super soft and pack a punch! One dip in the product and you have enough blush to cover your whole cheek beautifully. TWO: the white bristles are so easy to see the color of the blush you used last. That’s important for me because I try not to mix different blush colors on one blush. Since I can see the color of blush easily, I never accidentally use the wrong brush for the blush of choice for the day. THREE: The shape is perfect! The angle on the brush makes blush (or bronzer) application a breeze because it contours perfectly to your face. FOUR: The quality bristles are soooo easy to clean! Enough said. You can only buy Sigma brushes online (unless you live near the Mall of America). You can visit sigmabeauty.com to purchase the F40, along with dozens of other brushes that most people consider to be superior to MAC brushes, and way less expensive!

  • Lorac Pro 2 Palette

The Lorac Pro 2 Palette launched at the end of July, and I have been wearing it incessantly since Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 4.24.40 PMthen. Lorac’s new palette features cool toned shadows that are so highly pigmented – just one dip in the pan and your brush will be full of awesome product! The palette has 16 colors, 8 matte (top row) and 8 shimmery (bottom row). I can’t even explain how awesome these colors are – they are so easy to blend together and the shades are unique and perfect for all eye colors. My personal favorite shadows within this palette are light brown, cool gray, nectar (!!!), and mocha. I know that I will continue to use this palette as we get further into fall and winter…I can’t wait to rock the navy and jade shades. If you’re in need of a set of neutral eye shadows, you can’t go wrong with this palette. The colors work effortlessly together and they are long lasting on the eyelid, too. You can buy Lorac products at Ulta.

  • Jouer Matte Moisture Tint

Can I just say, thank God for Jouer? This tinted moisturizer has changed my life forever. In the

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen

summer, I really don’t want to spend very much time on my makeup in the morning. (Let’s face it, there is to much adventuring to do and spending time on foundation is not high on the adventure list.) Tinted moisturizers make the morning routine a breeze because you can apply it in seconds with your fingertips. Why is Jouer matte moisture tint the best in the land of tinted moisturizers? Well, it’s matte, so you won’t get shiny during the day. Really. You won’t get shiny. I have tried multiple tinted moisturizers (also known as BB creams and CC creams) and have yet to find one that can compete with the richness of Jouer. I also really heart that there is SPF in the product, so it helps protect my skin during the summer months. (Disclaimer: if you’re going to be in the legitimate sun for an extended period of time, this will not be enough protection.) I find that I get very good coverage with this product. It covers all of my freckles and sun spots but it doesn’t look like cakey or make me look like I’m a porcelain doll (we’ve all seen people fall victim to that issue). Also, the tube lasts FOREVER! I have used it every single day this summer and have barely even made a dent in it! So while it is a bit more expensive ($38), you won’t find yourself repurchasing it very often. You can find Jouer products at Nordstrom.

  • Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Peach

    Laura Mercier eye basics in peach

    Laura Mercier eye basics in peach

Ladies. If you have blue eyes, stop everything you’re doing and race to the department store to try out the Laura Mercier eye basics in peach. I’m telling you, it’s a game changer. This product is the perfect eye base for any eye look that features warm toned peaches, browns, and grays. Remember how I said I love the color Nectar in the Lorac palette? Well, this is that same color but in a tube! I love that the applicator is a wand because it makes applying the product super simple. All I do is dab a few dots onto my lids and then blend it out with my finger tips. Sometimes I wear this color all by itself, or I often blend a warm toned brown in the crease (such as light brown in the Lorac 2 palette or MAC soft brown). Talk about an easy routine! The orange undertones of this color make blue eyes pop like crazy! While peach tends to be a spring and summer color, I fully intend on using this product all through the winter, too. It is subtle, fresh, and completely unique. My favorite place to buy Laura Mercier is Nordstrom (because Nordstrom is my favorite place to buy anything), but you can also find it at most other department stores as well as Sephora.

  • Elizabeth & James Nirvana

    Elizabeth & James Nirvana in black

    Elizabeth & James Nirvana in black

The land of fragrances is very confusing to me. It seems a little bit like the world of wine tasting to me. Musk? Floral? Oaky? Nutty? Nuget? Vanilla? Sandlewood? (What is sandlewood, anyway?) All of these terms seem impossible to understand. So I can’t really explain to you why it is I love Elizabeth & James Nirvana in black, but I will just say that it’s awesome. It smells kinda masculine but mostly cottony (that’s probably not a thing) and super sultry (also not a thing). It has been my go-to fragrance for this summer because it is unique and delicious but not overpowering. I tend to wear it mostly at night because, like I said before, it’s pretty sultry. Apparently Elizabeth & James created this perfume, along with their other fragrance, called white, to create a new style of fragrancing (again, not a thing). They intend you to mix the black and white fragrances together to make a custom scent. Well, I personally HATE the white one, so that won’t be happening in my life, but maybe I will be the unique one who doesn’t combine the flavors (flavors? that seems wrong). Also, if you’ve never tried roller ball scents, I highly recommend them! Why? They are cheaper! They are easy for travel! They allow you to try out a scent without committing to a huge bottle! Check out Elizabeth & James at Sephora (and try out the white fragrance, too…maybe you’ll love it!).

So…those are my favorites from the summer! I hope this inspires you to branch out and try some of these items, because they are likely to be life changing for you just as they were for me. As we move into the fall, I am excited to break out my darker lipsticks, my smokey eye looks, and my riding boots. Stay tuned for more product reviews in the weeks to come! I promise they won’t all be high-end products. (I’m not sure why these favorites were all prestige cosmetics. I promise I also love the drug store!) Happy Labor Day to you all, and I hope you find a way to drop the curtain on summer in style!