Friday, December 26, 2014

Easy Holiday DIY

This might be a bit late but definitely still super simple craft ideas I couldn't pass up sharing. It's also the perfect time to pick up 'holiday craft materials' from your local craft store at a discount!

DIY Snowman Mason Jar 
mason jar
3 black buttons - (any size; varied sizes would be super cute)
10in. of ribbon/fleece
gift tag - (could be purchased or homemade)
hot glue gun
white chocolate/yogurt-covered pretzels - (could be purchased or homemade)

Simply fill the jar with your pretzels, glue the buttons onto the jar, wrap ribbon/fleece around the neck of the jar, and attach the tag. Make it even easier by skipping the tag and just write a holiday message on the lid! Voila!

Waterless Snowglobe
mason jar
3" - 5" small tree (look near the accessories for models / mini villages)
bag of "snow"
hot glue gun

Place the tree on the lid, put the mason jar on top (upside-down) and check to see if the tree sits high enough for your likely. If not, use a few pennies/washers to help add height to your tree (this will be covered by the snow). Glue the tree to the center-bottom of the lid. Spoon in 1/2 - 1 cup of the snow into the mason jar. Screw on lid, shake it up to get some of the snow to fall onto the tree. If you are an overachiever, decorate your tree using small beads.

Happy crafting!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Collection & Review: BITE Beauty

BITE has officially become my favorite line for lipstick. The lipstick crayons are so smooth and creamy, the color options are very on-trend and wearable, and the staying power is realistic for the working woman. I don't have time to be touching up my lips every hour during the workday let alone pull out a lipstick, a liner, and a gloss so these crayons are a perfect standalone product! What's even better, these pencils twist up so no sharpener is needed.

Best BITE Remix: Rhubard (plum rose), Sable* (peachy nude), Winterberry* (deep raspberry), Pomegranate (rich red)
*limited edition

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Collection & Review: Buxom Lip Glosses

Buxom Winner-Takes-All Lip Set (left to right): white russianberry blastcreamsicletrixiechloesophia

Lip Creams: mudslide, white russianberry blastcreamsicle Lip Polishes: dolly, trixiechloesophia, nicole (sample) Lip Gloss: sweet thing (sample)

During Sephora's VIB Sale I picked up a gift set from Buxom that included 6 deluxe sized lip glosses: 3 of the Lip Polish & 3 of the Lip Cream formulas (those w/ the gold tops). I already knew I liked Buxom lip gloss, as I have 1 of each formula and was curious to try out a few other colors. Buxom Cream formulas are my favorite, they aren't sticky, they have that warming tingle to them, and the smell delicious. I'm not a fan of glittery lip glosses so I tend to shy away from the Lip Polish formula since they range from having small micro-shimmers to chunkier glitter, but I do like all of the ones that came in this set. Yes, they are pricier than a drugstore gloss but they last on the lips and have a nice finish. I much prefer them to MAC or Stila glosses. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Collection & Review: NARS Audacious Lipsticks

Bottom: Anita  Middle: Audrey  Top: Brigette 

The packaging of these NARS Audacious lipsticks makes pulling out this lipstick feel like a luxury - it better at $32 a pop!!! The metal bullet has a lovely weight, the lid secures on with a magnetic closure, and "NARS" is embossed on the lipstick itself. The satin formula is more forgiving than any matte lipstick, but I still prep with a lip balm beforehand. 

Left: Anita  Center: Audrey  Right: Brigette 

Anita is described as "antique rose" which is an interesting word choice but somehow works; it is less beige/brown than Barbara and less pink than Anna. I think it's a PERFECT mauvey-nude shade for the Autumn and Winter months. I love pairing this with a comfy white sweater, dark jeans, and brown boots. 

Audrey is described as "red current", but I think it wears more as a dark raspberry and is more wearable than the classic red lip. I would definitely recommend using a lip liner to prevent (minimal) feathering with this one - I use MAC's Half-Red ($16). To dress this down, I wear this color with a high bun, my dark-rimmed glasses and a loose, comfy cardigan. 

Brigette is described as a "nude rose"... when I think of rose I think of a much warmer pink, so I would say this is a more coral-pink with blue undertones running through it. VERY Brigitte Bardot! This isn't a shade I am typically drawn to, but I think it will be an easy way to work corals into my lip collection.

While NARS' Audacious Lipstick line has 40 colors, I feel like there are several tones within each shade so there is bound to be a nude, pink, and red that complements every skin tone... with some wild colors mixed in too. The quality of this lipstick is definitely worth the splurge but I'd recommend going into a Sephora or Nordstrom to try a few on and pick a go-to color that you'll get lots of wear out of.

XoXo, Be Beautiful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Favorite Fall Lipsticks

With Sephora's Exclusive Holiday Shopping Event coming up (Nov 6 - 10), I figured I will do a little mini series of some recent purchases I've made over the last few months so you can pick them up at a discount! This first focus will be on lipsticks that I think are must haves for Fall.

Anita took my Audacious lipstick virginity - and every second blew my mind! The quality of these lipsticks truly are something to be raved about. Superb pigmentation + creamy satin/matte finish - the drying effect = luxurious lips. I really love how these wear throughout the day - they don't wear off patchy and leave that crusty Frazzled-Science-Teacher-look behind (no offense to those periodic table loving teachers out there!). This shade is the perfect every day shade for the modern girl in the non-Summer months (very work appropriate). There are definitely a wide range of shades in this line and I wanted to try one of the more bold colors too. While Audrey looks like a warm red-maroon in the tube, it has a berry pink undertone on my lips. It's a nice update to a classic red lip that makes it a bit more wearable, even in the daytime. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wedding Accessories

Apologies for taking the past 3 weeks off. Our wedding was on October 11th, we left for our honeymoon on October 17th for 9 days, and spent the days between at work. I plan to dedicate a few upcoming posts on recapping some of my DIY wedding projects and planning & design decisions that I believe contributed to being so relaxed and truly enjoy our wedding day.  Now onto the part that gets us girls all giddy...

After visiting a few bridal boutiques, I ended up finding my dress at David's Bridal (a later post will follow about the details of the dress). That's also where I found this grey Vera Wang sash that worked perfectly - I loved the softness of the tulle flowers and the hint of sparkle. The band itself gave a subtle separation between the fitted sweetheart bodice and the full tulle skirt - I loved how the contrasting grey highlighted my waist while giving the illusion of it being much slimmer and went well with our wedding colors (grey/navy/white)!

I found my wedding jewelry at Macy's and my shoes at Nordstrom's Rack. I knew I wanted to wear my hair down (or mostly down) and the focus to be on the shape and movement of the dress, so I wanted my accessories to be simple and comfortable. I love the modern-vintage style of the jewelry, the crystals gave enough sparkle without looking gaudy.   

earrings: Carolee  bracelet: Carolee  shoes: Badgley Mischka

It was when I found my shoes that I can hands-down say was THE turning point from "anxious and a bit uncertain of all the design choices", to "excitement for the day to come when I got to put on my dress and see everything come together". I had pinned these exact same shoes on my Pinterest board with no intent of ever being able to afford them for myself but thought I could find a dupe. When I saw them sitting on the shelf in Nordstrom Rack at the very discounted price tag of $84, the clouds opened up and the angels started singing!!!

What makes them even more perfect is that I had already *thought* I found my wedding shoes already which I wore when getting my dress altered (these). Yes, they are VERY different than the Badgley's, it is incredibly difficult to find silver or white heels in stores that don't look like stripper heels. When I got home and discovered they were the exact same heel height, I was ecstatic!

I opted to skip out on a purse because I figured whenever I needed to retouch my makeup, I could escape to the Bridal Suite. So that's how I chose to style myself, I'll write more about my dress once I get some pictures.

XoXo, goodnight beauties.

Items mentioned in this post

Vera Wang Crystals & Organza Flowers Sash - sterling - $148  $39.99 on sale now  
Badgley Mischka Pettal Pumps - white satin - $255  $84 @ Nordstrom Rack 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Belated Friday Favorites

The Short Version

1. Filmstar Bronze & Glow by Charlotte Tilbury - $65
2. Bad to the Bronze Color Tattoo by Maybelline - $7 $5.24 with Ulta's Buy 1 Get 1 50% sale
3. Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo by BedHead - $22
4. Gold Cuff Bracelet from Loft - $19.50  $11.70 with current 40% off sale
5. BB Cream (combo/oily) by Garnier - $13

The Long Version

I read SO many reviews before pulling the trigger and ordering Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze & Glow online. I stopped by a few Nordstrom's to swatch it on my skin, but none of the ones near me have CT counters yet. I've been looking for a good powder highlighter, and then it seemed like this product became popular very fast on YouTube, it was just begging to be in my collection. Nordstrom's has a good return policy so I figured if it didn't blow my socks off, then I'd just return it. It is SO luxurious! The bronzer is very subtle and so luxurious! It gives your skin that supermodel, I've-been-rolling-in-sands-of-the-Bahamas-for-a-photo-shoot warm glow. You need to have a soft hand with the highlighter but it blends beautifully and has a golden-y sheen.

When I want to look like I tried but don't like it, I reach for my Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, no brushes needed! I apply it with my ring finger, blend it out, then dip into the pot once more and apply another layer right on the outside 1/2 of my lids.

I reach for a dry shampoo for my 2nd day hair, there's no way I can go more than 1 day without it. While there are some decent drug store options, I always pick up a few bottles of Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo whenever Ulta has them on sale for $9.99! It's the best I've tried at ungreaseballing my hair and it has a yummy scent.

I picked up this Gold Cuff Bracelet at Loft when they started their 40% off everything sale and have been wearing it at least 3 times a week since.  (Honestly, I never buy ANY accessories from Loft if it's not steeply discounted, I just don't think they carry the quality to be worth the price.)  I like how this bracelet has a substantial weight without being over the top and it's opening is small enough that I don't have to worry that it will fall off.

Since my skin as been clearing up and looking surprisingly decent, I've rediscovered by love for the Garnier BB Cream - specifically the one for combination/oily skin (even though I have dry skin). I find the formula of this one to be better. It's light, moisturizing, covers up redness/discoloration without looking like you are wearing makeup. Tip: If you ever find a foundation to be too thick or goopy, add in a bit of BB cream to thin it out. 

XoXo, Stay Beautiful.

P.S. Wedding countdown = 7 days! 

Products mentioned in this post

Filmstar Bronze & Glow by Charlotte Tilbury - $65
Bad to the Bronze Color Tattoo by Maybelline - $7 $5.24 with Ulta's Buy 1 Get 1 50% sale
Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo by BedHead - $22
Gold Cuff Bracelet from Loft - $19.50  $11.70 with current 40% off sale
BB Cream (combo/oily) by Garnier - $13

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Home Hack: Duvet Burritos for Dummies

Do you ever put off putting your duvet cover back onto your comforter after you wash it just because you dread the process? I've tried hanging it over my banister or standing up on my bed, risking decapitation from the ceiling fan, and shaking the heck out of it while dancing to Taylor Swift's Shake it Off. I've tried staring at it really hard and wishing it into its covering with my Alex Mack special powers. I usually just end up drinking an second glass of wine and sleeping under a plain, uncovered comforter.

Follow these 5 easy steps so you can enjoy your glass of wine, in your freshly made bed, with your adorable little fur baby, and watch TV shows that I'm too embarrassed to admit on the inter-webs.

1.  Lay your freshly washed & dried duvet cover inside-out on TOP of your comforter with closed end nearest to you and open end furthest out of reach

2.  Begin to roll your comforter and duvet cover like you are making a burrito - this does not have to be tight or perfect. Roll to the end

3.  Turn the duvet right-side out.  Reach inside the corner of the duvet cover, grab the respective corner of the comforter and wrap the duvet around the burrito. 

4.  Do this to both ends. 

5. Unroll your burrito. Place cute puppy on top and VOILA!  Hassle free duvet-stuffing: complete!

Are there any home hacks that you have discovered that are life changing? 

Be More Beautiful

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beautiful in the Nude!

Warning: none of the lip products I'm going to mention are a true "nude". I have medium-light blonde hair and fair skin with a pink undertone which means nudes with a bit of pink is necessary.

My Top Picks 

First of all, the formula of the new NARS Lipsticks is everything its made out to be, they are so creamy and pigmented that one swipe on the lips is all you need. There are a few nude shades, from which I picked Anita - it gives me enough color that it didn't wash me out, but has enough of a brown undertone to be my version of this new 90s / Kylie Jenner lip trend. The price tag is the one this that is deterring me from purchasing another one for now, as I'd really like to try the new Maybelline Mattes to see if they are a dupe. This is the deepest nude of the mix. 

In one of my first blog posts (see it here), I hauled this NARS Lipstick in the shade Cruising.The formula of these is so creamy and glides on beautifully. This shade isn't shiny, but it does have a natural sheen and the pigmentation isn't totally opaque (which is why I find myself reaching for this the the day time more than any of the others). This is the best every day daytime nude.

I can't say enough good things about FRESH's Sugar Lip Treatments. These are the most luxurious treatment you can do for your lips and still look good doing it. Petal wears more like a brown-y pink on me, while Tulip is a nice natural pink that is slightly brighter than your natural lip color. While these are insanely moisturizing, they can get very soft, very quickly so don't leave these in a hot car.

Unless you are living under a rock, you know about how matte lips are all the rage! I have found it to be an impossible mission to find a matte formula that isn't drying, until I found BITE Lip Crayons. I still only wear this on days when my lips look GOOOOOD (I can guarantee that by using the LUSH lip scrub and then coating my lips in the FRESH Advanced Lip Treatment before going to bed the night before). This product is so natural you can EAT it! No joke!  

Last but not least, the most budget-friendly of the bunch.  I love the slight minty aroma of the Tarte Lipsticks and the light, can't-feel-it weight of the formula that I love reaching for Angelic Nude. Check out the Tarte lipsticks, the range of colors is so great and the packaging is the cutest!

I love pairing any of these with Charlotte Tilbury's lip pencil in Pillow Talk or IT Cosmetic pencil in Buff Nude.

And the Honorable Mentions go to...

BITE Lipstick Duo in Lychee/Musk. What's better than one but TWO nude lip colors in a petite, cute little package. This was one of those little things in "The Green Mile" at Sephora (that's what I call all those minis at checkout - somehow something always jumps into my basket. Both shades are very wearable. 

I was disappointed in...

Retsina by BITE! So many YouTubers talk about this lipstick, I was very excited to find a beautiful nude. NOPE! It looks like concealer on my lips. This is definitely going back. (Although I'll probably look to trade it in for another shade, as I really like the formula.)

XoXo, The Nude Edition.

Products mentioned in this post

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita - $32   
NARS Lipstick - Cruising - $26   
FRESH Sugar Lip Treatments - Petal & Tulip - $22.50  
BITE Matte Lip Crayon - Leche - $24   
Tarte Lipstick - Angelic Nude - $16
BITE Lipstick - Retsina - $24
BITE Lipstick Duo - Lychee/Musk - $12
Charlotte Tilbury's 'Lip Cheat' lip liner - Pillow Talk - $22
IT Cosmetic lip liner stain - Buff Nude - $20

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites

The Short Version

1.  OMG! Foundation Brush by It Cosmetics' for Ulta
2.  Angled Blush Brush by ELF
3.  Lip Liner Stain in Romantic Rose by It Cosmetics
4.  Coral Lip Glow by Dior
5.  Honey Bronzer #3 by The Body Shop

The Long Version

Before now, I've always used my fingers, the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (can only be found in a set), and makeup sponges. (Disclaimer: I have yet to try the REAL beauty blender. I just ordered my 1st one that should be coming any day now.)  I've always found other foundation brushes' apply liquid foundation in a very streaky and thick fashion, until I took Tati's recommendation and tried the OMG! Foundation Brush from It Cosmetic's new brush line for Ulta. The synthetic bristles are very densely packed. Although I do find that it's not as soft as I'd like, perhaps after I wash/condition it a few more times, it'll soften up - but the end result is so gorgeous that I still love it. I can't wait to try more brushes from this line! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday's Fab Five

Welcome back to my five favorites of the week!  Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to post anything all week - work, meetings with our wedding vendors, and wedding projects have kept me very busy.

Spoiler alert: My next post will be about a few of my wedding projects...

Upper-left: Mugsy & Lucy  Upper-right: Formula X in Impeccable swatch  

The Short Version

1. My puppies! - they make me smile even on the bad days! :) 
2. Running in the morning! - natural stress reducer + fresh morning air + cardio = Bridal sanity
3. X Formula Nail Polish in Impeccable - one coat to a gorgeous summer-to-autumn transitional color
4. Flowerbomb fragrance by Viktor & Rolf - a beautiful sweet, floral, feminine fragrance 
5.  Full-on Lip Polish in Dolly by Buxom - the semi-shear mauvey-nude pigmented lipgloss

The Long Version

Like I said above, now that we are 3 weeks out from the wedding, I feel like this is the first week I have started to feel true wedding-anxiety. Every time my mind begins to wander and think about my "wedding to-do list" I start to feel a bit overwhelmed. This is where my first 2 favorites have been my zen! You have to be completely soul-less if your heart doesn't melt when you come home and your doggies just are SO incredibly happy to see you. The companionship and snuggles I get from my two little ones eases my anxiety. Mugsy is a 3 1/2 year old Shorkie (ShiTzu-Yorkie mix) and Lucy is a 1 year old Pomapoo (Pomeranian-Poodle mix).

On that same page, for the past 2 months I have committed myself to waking up (at 5AM!) and running in the mornings, typically 4-6 times per week. In no way am I a runner AT ALL, which is exactly why I wanted to try to force myself through the pain to like it. And I do! I started off at running 1 mile at ~11min. pace... and now I'm up to running 4.5 miles some days at a 9:30 min. pace. I feel more toned all over, I have more energy in the mornings (so much so I sometimes even SKIP coffee), and I'm more happy with myself. I still watch all the Real Runners pass by me, but I'm proud of myself for just getting out there and moving. If I can do it, ANYONE CAN!

Finally, onto the stuff you care about... I got this Flowerbomb rollerball in my 1st haul I posted here. I love this sweet but not fruity sweet, but more floral-sweet (not at all grandma-style) that is super feminine and addicting. Sample next time you are in Sephora and let me know what you think.

As will everyone else, I am looking forward to Fall. I think this nail color is a gorgeous mauve-y, neutral shade - it's called Impeccable. It looks much darker on the Sephora site, it looks very nice on my light skin tone - enough of a color but coordinates with my undertone. I find these Formula X polishes are so opaque they only require ONE COAT and they dry in ~5 minutes! LOVE IT! I find that over the past month that once I take it off, I reach for the same exact color and reapply - it's that good!

Disclaimer, I had NO idea that this was a supposed 'cult favorite' until I went to find the link for y'all. I don't know if that means I'm totally not-unique or if I'm perfectly on-trend (let's go with the latter). This Buxom gloss in Impeccable is a beautiful, sheer wash of warm, mauve-y, nude that is perfect to throw in your purse - you can wear it over any lipstick or on it's own. It looks glittery in the tube, but trust me when I say the little shimmers are so itsy-bitsy that they give a sexy pout to the lip (no flashback to the body-glitter-90's). Side note: you could get the so-called "special edition" version for the same price here, which I don't see any difference other than some minimal writing on the lid in cursive.

Have you tried any of the other Buxom glosses that you absolutely LOVE?! I'd love your recommendations! 

XoXo, Stay Calm (& beautiful)

Products mentioned in this post: 

Buxom Full-on Lip Polish - Dolly - $19
Formula X nail polish - Impeccable - $10.50
Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb rollerball - $29

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Does every girl get that "special feeling"?

"Special feeling" eh?  Ah... I have sparked your interest now haven't I? Is she really going to be writing an entire post about orgasms?!  No worries, it is not about the Big O.  :)

Yesterday, I picked up my wedding dress from alterations and I left in tears.  I went by myself for the initial alteration and wanted to pick up the dress by myself too, with the intent on wanting it to be a surprise for everyone. I put the dress on and the alterations were exactly what I expected... it fit well, it's a really pretty dress, but something didn't feel right. I didn't get that "feeling" that they say everyone gets when they put on their wedding dress. 

It might be anxiety of the wedding being only 4 weeks away setting it. It might be my perfectionist ways showing face. It might be Hollywood and all the reality TV I watch causing me to have unrealistic expectations. I was expecting for a Cinderella-like Fairy Godmother transformation, maybe some glitter miraculously to begin falling around me, some mice in shirts to help me put on my shoes. There was no bibbity. No bobbity. Just boo (hoo)!

Thanks to my fabulous friends who I had over last night. They asked me to put my dress on after they heard about my concerns. And their words of support completely changed my entire perspective! I'm not saying that it's about what other people think, but sometimes it helps to get hear it from them to remind you why you chose the things you did in the first place.

My Tips for the Bride for the Final Fitting:

  1. Bring some hair ties/pins & all of your bridal jewelry with you.  Of course you are supposed to take all your undergarments and shoes with you that you'll be wearing the day of , but it helps to be able to see the entire look. You'll find out now whether you want to swap out your earrings or change your hairstyle you had planned originally. Let your hair down, pull it half up, pull it all the way up, pull it to the side - see what silhouette looks best now that you see everything together. 
  2. Only YOU are going to see the small things. While you are walking down the aisle, everyone is going to be looking at you and those clear buttons they had to add for the bustle will be completely invisible to anyone else. That back-fat you think is spilling over your dress is non-existent to others. That extra inch you wanted to lose in your waist is inconsequential to what kind of happiness you are going to experience on that day.
  3. Take someone with you. It helps to have an extra set of eyes to make sure the alterations were done correctly. Even more importantly, it's nice to have someone there to tell you how beautiful you look. I am my own worst critic, so let someone give you positive feedback! You are beautiful! Let yourself feel beautiful! 
  4. Smile! There is no better accessory than a big smile (CORNY... but true). Let yourself wear a big smile in those 360 degree mirrors, your body will immediately release natural mood-improving chemicals throughout your body. (Read more about the benefits of smiling here and here.)
Once your hair is done, your makeup is done, and you get the butterflies of it being your special day, you are going to feel amazing! I know that picking up my dress has made me feel like I am READY for this wedding to get here already! Best wishes to you on your day! 

XoXo, Feel Beautiful!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday's Fab Five

I was wandering through the beauty counters at Nordstrom's last week and met this fabulous gentleman, a self-proclaimed "skin care guru". After spending time picking his brain, getting a mini-makeover, and listening to his recommendations, I am a total follower. He is the skin-whisperer! This week's Fab Five includes one of his recommendations, I'm sure the other will be highlighted as well once I receive it in the mail (it was out of stock).

The Short Version

1. Clear Days Ahead Salicylic Face Cleanser - a gentle cleanser perfect for those with combination skin
2. Super Spot Remover by ORIGINS - this zit fix is heaven sent 
3. Michael Kors Mini Lexington in Rose Gold - a petite and sleek day time watch in the trend of the year (rose gold)
4. Naturally Pretty Eye Shadow Palette by It Cosmetics - my go-to eye shadow palette that I use every day!
5.  Lip Cream in Mudslide by Buxom - the perfect 'your lips but better' color in a pigmented lipgloss

The Long Version

After listening to my skin concerns, Nordstrom's "Skin Guru" knew instantly what product he was going to recommend to me, Philosophy's Clear Days Ahead Cleanser. I expressed to him that I'm always challenged with finding a powerful enough cleanser that will battle my acne (cystic and the more common whiteheads) that didn't completely dry me out. I've been using this for 2 weeks today and I've seen a dramatic improvement to my skins texture and clean pores.

On a side note, if you want to get the best recommendations for products for YOU and YOUR skin, I recommend you look for a "Beauty Stylist" (I think that's what he was called) in your local department store. They don't work for any single product line and will pick and choose from the best products that work best for you. There's nothing that makes me feel more pressured than sitting down at one counter and having the beauty rep try to sell me on everything from makeup to skincare and fragrance. Very rarely is everything from a single line going to work perfectly for what you need.

Staying on the skincare train, this Super Spot Remover is indeed SUPER! Even though I feel like the Philosophy cleanser is doing a great job, those 1 or 2 pimples that sneak through can be treated with this. Make sure to apply this JUST to the spot of concern because it has some serious drying power.

This has been my favorite watch for the past few months. Typically 5 days out of the week, I wear my Michael Kors Mini Lexington in rose gold. The face and band of this watch are petite and feminine, making it perfect for a day time work-appropriate look. I also like the look of mixed metals, so I'll layer a gold and/or a silver bracelets on the same wrist. I swap this out for my larger gold Lexington on days I want a bigger statement.

Since I proclaimed this as "The Best Palette" a week ago, I haven't reached for anything other than my Naturally Pretty Palette. I want all the shadows I need for a single eye look in one palette, I don't want to have to pull out a separate highlighter, and then pull out another single shadow for my crease blending color - this palette HAS it ALL!  All of the shadows are so buttery, blendable, and beautiful; Warmth, Soulful, and Mocha are my favorite shades.

Leave your lip pencil, lipstick, and gloss at home. The Buxom Lip Cream in Mudslide is a gorgeous pigmented gloss that is the perfect rosey, your lips but better color with no glitter in just a single swipe. Just like all Buxom lip products, it has a minty, tingly, plumping effect.

XoXo, Stay Beautiful.

Products mentioned in this post: 

Clear Days Ahead Salicylic Face Cleanser by Philosophy  - $21
Super Spot Remover by ORIGINS - $15.50
Michael Kors Mini Lexington in Rose Gold - $195  $127.50 on Amazon
Naturally Pretty Eye Shadow Palette by It Cosmetics - $42
Lip Cream in Mudslide by Buxom - $19

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Prime Yo' Face

I am a victim of dry skin, acne bumps, uneven texture, and enlarged pores - making me the perfect candidate for primer!  Lots of people see primer as an unnecessary extra layer of product on their face. I see it as an extra step that I do when I want my makeup to sit nicely on my skin and stay all day. (Including my commute and workday, I need my makeup to last for at least 9 - 10 hours.) So... Primer, get on my face! To help aid in your journey to find a good primer, I am going to share with you some of my favorite and not so favorites that I've tried.

The Short Version

1.  POREfessional by Benefit
2.  Feel the Moment Anti-Aging Ultra Hydrating Sensory Awakening Primer Serum by It Cosmetics
3.  Skin Renew BB Cream by Garnier
4.  Pores No More by Dr. Brandt
5.  Prime Time Primer (original & brightening) by bareMinerals
6.  Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass
7.  All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay

The Long Version

1.  POREfessional by Benefit - this has my trusty, go-to primer for a few years now. It's lightweight on the skin, helps smooth things out, and isn't that silicone-y type texture. My makeup definitely stays in place and looks better for several hours longer than when I don't use this. 

2.  Feel the Moment Anti-Aging Ultra Hydrating Sensory Awakening Primer Serum by It Cosmetics - I discovered this product when I was in Ulta last week and have been reaching for this instead of my Benefit one every day since. I find it to be more moisturizing on the skin, but it sets quickly enough that you don't feel like your foundation is going to take a slip n' slide right off your face. I also like the fact that it has "serum" in it's name so I feel like it's going to have long term effects (this could be a total marketing scheme but I'm gullible enough).

3.  Skin Renew BB Cream by Garnier (I wear light/medium) - This is the most budget conscious product that I've found works. While it's not a standard "primer", it's a BB cream and they claim to replace your moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, concealer, and foundation. It never actually fully replaces any of those well enough for me to use just this on a daily basis; my personal goal is to get my skin all fixed up so I can one day though.  Hey! We all can dream! I prefer the oil-free formula and it provides enough moisture, with a slight smoothing of my skin tone, and doesn't clog my pores.

4.  Pores No More by Dr. Brandt - I did not like this product. I don't like the silicone formula, I found it to do nothing to improve the look of my crater pores, and it felt really slimy on my skin. Thank goodness I only has a trial size of this, I will definitely not be buying the full-size.

5.  Prime Time Primer (original & brightening) by bareMinerals - Again, this was another primer I did not like. It too has a slimy texture. I felt the brightening formula make me sparkle like a Twilight vampire. Another thing I didn't like about this product was the packaging. It is in a hard plastic container with a pump, so when you get to the last 1/4 of the product, it's difficult to get out and it's hard to control the amount of product with the pump.

6.  Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass - I've gone through a few trial sizes of this; I pick it up every time Sephora offers it as one of the 100 point rewards. I like how luxuriously this feels on my skin, it really leaves a smooth, satin-y finish - it better feel like liquid gold considering the high price tag! I haven't brought myself to buy the full size simply because I'm  still loving my other primers (#1, #2, and #3) and the trial sizes last forever.

7.  All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay - If you have read this far, clearly you are interested in extending the longevity of your makeup. This setting spray is a game changer!  If I had to choose between starting with a primer or finishing with this setting spray, hand me the spray! It's super easy to apply (spray 3-5 sprays about 8 inches away in a "X" formation and then a "T'" formation, or just go crazy with it!). There is another formula for oil-control (De-Slick) and another for dry-to-combo skin (Chill).
BIG DEAL ALERT: Online at Sephora you can get two 4 oz. bottles (typically sold for $30 per bottle) for $39!!!

Remember, when using any primer, a little goes a long way!  A pea sized amount (or less) is all you need for your entire face. 

Products mentioned in this blog

POREfessional by Benefit - $31
Feel the Moment Anti-Aging Ultra Hydrating Sensory Awakening Primer Serum by It Cosmetics - $38
Skin Renew BB Cream by Garnier - $10
Pores No More by Dr. Brandt - $45
Prime Time Primer (original & brightening) by bareMinerals - $24
Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass (1oz) - $54
All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay - $30

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Best Palette w/ Swatches

I have a new favorite palette! IT Cosmetics' Naturally Pretty Palette is so gorgeous that I walk into the bathroom just to open and look at it. The formula of these shadows and the colors far surpass my Naked2 and Naked3 palettes - they are just so much more buttery, beautiful, and not glittery. I picked mine up at Ulta, but I'd recommend ordering it off IT Cosmetics' website and use promo code INSIDER to get 20% off sitewide.

The website says all the shade are mattes, but I think they wear more like a satin. If you dip your brush in your color and then in the Transforming Pearl shade, it becomes more shimmery (I noticed it tends to dilute the color a bit too). I'd recommend tapping your brush into the shadows rather than swirling it, as these shadows are incredibly soft so swirling would create a lot of fallout.

A few looks I've tried so far:
Rosey Neutral Eye - Warmth (crease) + Soulful (lid) + Mocha (outer-corner) + All Heart (lower lash line)
Purple Smokey Eye - Violet (crease) + Soft Light (lid) + Iconic (outer-V + along top/bottom lash line) + Sheer Joy (brow bone + inner corner)
2-Shadow Coral - Soulful (lid) + Sunset (outer 1/2 of lid + crease)

I am yet again very please with the quality of IT's products. The one negative I have is that the outer packaging is like a soft pink suede type of material, which I can imagine is going to get and look dirty very quickly.

Spoiler Alert! On the bind of the palette it says Vol. 1, which means they are planning on coming out with at least one more! ... or it's just a cruel, cruel joke.

I definitely recommend grabbing this palette. When you do, let me know some of the looks you've created? Help me help you Be More Beautiful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday's Fab Five

As I was picking out my top 5 favorites for this week, I realized I was all about quick, simple, and natural.

The Short Version
  1. Buxom Mascara - VERY BLACK, separation, length, absolutely no clumping, 'nuff said
  2. Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow - easiest, bronzed neutral shadow that looks fabulous with no effort
  3. Illuminating Bronzing Powder - a blush and highlighter in one that warms up your complexion
  4. Eyebrow Tint Kit - less than 5 minutes to better brows
  5. Lipstick in Angelic Nude- the perfect nude, creamy lipstick
The Long Version

I got this mini Buxom mascara in my Lash Stash box from Sephora so I could try 5 different mascaras out - it even comes with a coupon to redeem a full-size in my favorite one! It takes everything in my to not want to cycle through the different ones, I'm trying to only have 1 or 2 open at a time. I love how natural-looking, yet volumizing and lengthening the formula is. I recommend picking up these little trial kits whenever Sephora brings it back. Once I get through my mascara stash, I'll definitely repurchase this Buxom one!

I continue to reach for my dual-intensity eyeshadow and "bronzing" powder on a daily basis no matter what makeup look I'm going for. Both of these just add lovely dimension and life to your skin. I keep putting "bronzing' in quotes because there is nothing bronzing about the 2 shades I have - Antigua being my favorite for this season, is a warm pink. I can see myself reaching for Santa Barbara more come Fall.

You blondes out there understand... there is nothing like the feeling after having your eyebrows and lashes freshly tinted. I have such light colored lashes and brows I might a well not have them at all - with this tint kit, I find I need less mascara and feel more comfortable without makeup. WARNING: This product will dye your skin if you aren't careful and only needs a few minutes to develop!!! Don't start folding your laundry thinking you can multi-task or else you'll help up with Donkey Kong brows that you can't fade.

I'm a neutral lip girl, I find them to be girly, pretty, and stress-free (who else is always paranoid that their lip has smudged across their face or on their teeth when they wear a bright lip?). The formula of these Tarte Butter lipsticks (so soft and creamy with a bit of a minty tingle) mixed with this sweet pink shade (great for everyday; very work appropriate) is just the perfect nude lip for my skin tone.

Spoiler alert, I picked up a new eyeshadow palette that has the #1 palette spot... post coming soon.

XoXo, Stay Beautiful.

Products mentioned in this post

Buxom Lash Mascara - Blackest Black - $19
Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder - Antigua - $40
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow - Himalia - $29
Godefroy Tint Kit - medium brown - ~$17
Tarte Amazonian Lipstick - Angelic Nude - $16

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Haul Update & Dupe?!

I posted a few hauls with several products that are new to me and figured and update is due. Two products I can't put down are the Bobbi Brown Illuminating (not-so-bronzing-more-like-blush-and-highlighter-combo) Bronzing Powders. I find Antigua to be much more of a natural every day color, while Santa Barbara is good for when I want to look extra glowy and have more of a look-at-my-sexy-cheeks color (can cheeks be sexy?).  I just wish it was socially acceptable to do mid-day makeup changes so I could wear both every day. 

But wait... you say you want to wear both every day? What if you could?  What if blushes could make love and have babies?  If Santa Barbara invited Antigua out on a date, conversation went well, sparks flew... then badda-bing badda-boom... baby Rose D'Oro from Milani! Okay so it's not a true dupe since it's not one for one, but it is a GREAT drugstore blush that has great pigment and blends out well.  

Moving on... another product that I am really enjoying is the S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum from my Caudalie 500 point bonus gift. I've been putting this on under my moisturizer before applying my makeup in the mornings - it has helped add an extra boost of moisture my skin has really been needing. I'll definitely be adding this to my Loves bin to pick up on another Sephora shopping trip - right in time too as I was thinking I need to add a serum to my skin care routine. Does anyone recommend any other serums?  Along those lines, I notice the Moisturizing Sorbet to be much lighter and mousse-like texture than the Intense Moisture Rescue that will work well when I'm not needing my daily drench in layers of serious moisture.

I don't have an opinion on the NARS pressed setting powder yet. I feel like I'm not picking up any product on the brush to give it a good review. Does anyone else find this to be the case or recommendations for how to fix this?

I make it a point to use my NARS dual intensity eyeshadow and lipstick in Cruising, both can be worked into any makeup look and are a joy to use. I am really enjoying this new found relationship NARS and I have just entered into. I'm glad I got over thinking the products were too glittery, instead they are less shimmery and more glowy.

I'm still giving the ORIGINS spot treatment some time. I've used it on a very large cystic spot on my chin. While I feel like it has helped to reduce the size dramatically (better than any other product I've tried), it may have dried it out the surrounding area way too much for my liking. It may also be because I've been doubling up using this and the Dermalogica spot treatment. Is is bad to layer benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products? 

What's your favorite NARS products?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mini Haul

Okay so to be honest, the only reason I put in a Sephora online order was because there was a 500 point perk that sparked my interest - the Caudalie Instant Hydration Facial kit. I have recently transitioned to using the Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream because I felt like my First Aid Beauty facial moisturizer just wasn't cutting it for my dry skin, so I was wanting to try some of their other products. Within this kit are small samples of their Makeup Remover Cleansing Water, S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum, S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue, and Moisturizing Sorbet.

There were a few 100 point rewards that coincidentally where products I've been wanting to try... "Add to Basket". I picked up the LANCĂ”ME HD Mascara, Philosophy eye serum, Smashbox Primer. I used coupon "PMDSERUM" to get a very generously sized trial of the No Foundation Foundation Serum - based on MakeupByTiffanyD's recommendation. This free 'mini' size is 0.3 oz, yet the full size is 1.0 oz and sells for $55 - thanks Sephora!

Does anyone else do this, pick their rewards and samples before having anything else in their basket? I looked in my Sephora Loves bin (where I put products that I hear a lot about and want to try at some point) and decided to try the NARS pressed setting powder. I was slightly irritated that I allowed myself to fall in love with the Make Up For Ever HD Loose Powder because it doesn't travel well. I'm hoping this NARS powder works just as well at blurring imperfections... fingers crossed.   

I was recently at our mall that has outlet shops and poked my head in Off 5th because I spotted a beauty counter right inside. Am I the last one to know that Off 5th (Saks Fifth Avenue's outlet store) sells high-end makeup at a 20-70% discount? I found the ORIGINS spot treatment I had in my Sephora Loves Bin based on a recommendation from Zoella. I've recently been using the Dermalogica Emergency Spot Fix which has 5% benzoyl peroxide, while the ORIGINS one has 1.5% salicylic acid. I don't know which one my skin will respond to better, because I didn't know to look for those ingredients before now. I'll let you know what I think about both of these products.

When I saw a display of Bobbi Brown's Illuminating Bronzing Powders, my heart went all a flutter. Could it be... could I find love again?!  In my Oops I Haul'd It Again! post, I had picked up my first BB bronzing powder. I have been wearing Antigua every day since I bought it, so I picked up Santa Barbara, thinking it looked similar to the cult classic Orgasm blush by NARS. Here you can see the two shades next to each other. Antigua is rosey, while Santa Barbara is more pinky-coral with a gold sheen - neither are shimmer, they just have a nice sheen to them. 

I'm looking forward to trying these products and letting you know what I think. I have my makeup trial for my wedding makeup coming up, so I feel another haul isn't far away. :) I'm looking forward to being made more beautiful.

Products mentioned in this post

ORIGINS Super Spot Remover - $15.50  $12 @ Off 5th 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Am I Glowing With Glam? (w/ BIG DEAL)

Bloggers, YouTubers, and just us Normals have our heads spinning with all this talk about GLAMGLOW -  "...designed for exclusive professional backstage use in Hollywood", "'no name' magic mud", "a product just for their actor friends, not for sale to anyone, not for retail to anyone"... Oooo fancy! So you're tell me if I smear this mud on my face I'll be as pretty as those Hollywood starlets with perfect skin ready for an closeup in HD?! 

So is it worth all the hype? I can tell you I have seen some less-than-miracle-level results... but I have seen results! I have dry-to-combo skin that generally has patches of flaky skin but also blackheads, mild breakouts, and the occasional cystic acne (those terribly painful under the skin, sore, swollen lumps that you can never pop and seem to take forever to disappear). Because of that, I have steered away from the YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliate Treatment since I read in reviews about how drying it was and some people felt the tingling experience to be intense and uncomfortable. Even when I've taken a whiff of it in Sephora, the smell is just not pleasant to me. 

First mission, tackle dryness. My GLAMGLOW cherry was taken by the THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment. I use this as an overnight mask (as opposed to the recommended 20 min. mask) and wake up with very moisturized, fresh, and plumper skin and LOVE IT!  It doesn't harden like a typical "mask" would do, the smell is devine, and the color of the product soaks into your skin and essentially disappears, making you not so scary looking to whomever you share your bed with. The packaging seems small, but it will last you several dozen treatments, worth your money!  Mission complete!

Since I had such great experience with the hydrating treatment, I figured I'd leave it up to GLAMGLOW to help me with my clogged pores so I emptied my wallet on the POWERMUD Dual-Cleanse Treatment. My skin just must not be a good candidate for this product, because I have not noticed much of a difference after using this product after nearly a dozen times - at least not $69 worth of results. Call me a tough sell, but I'm just not blown away by the mud-to-oil formula like many of the reviews rave about - it hardens like a mask and then you wet it and it gets melty and oily, what's so magical about that?  I can think of lots of other things that change states when wet as well (e.g. cotton candy, dirt, marshmallows, cats). I find myself reaching for my ORIGINS Charcoal Mask much more. Perhaps I need a more focused treatment that can stand up to my problem skin. I'm going to trust that GLAMGLOW knows their stuff and pick up a sample of the SUPER-MUD Clearing Treatment next time I'm in Sephora. Mission incomplete!  

BIG DEAL! If you are interested in trying GLAMGLOW products and also like to save money, check out  I just saw they have the Eye Treatment and the Tinglexfoliate Treatment available at a highly decreased price! [takes a bow]

Products mentioned in this post:

THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment - $69  $37.99 @ - currently sold out
YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliate Treatment - $69  $36.99 @
ORIGINS Charcoal Mask (1.7oz) - $17
BRIGHTMUD Eye Treatment - $69 $37.99 @

Disappointing Products: