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