May 29, 2014


Recently, I have been on a bit of a foundation kick, maybe it's the change in weather? Not sure, but hunting down new foundations has lead me to beauty counters a few too many times, which ultimately, has me leaving the stores with more than what was intended. This past weekend I acquired a few goodies, some purchased because I actually (sort of) need them. What normally happens when I overbuy on a whim is that I'll pick up an assortment of things that I will not use and end up not liking. This time ( *pats self on back) I did a decent job of picking up things that haven't been put down since their induction into the stash. 

My original mission begun with tracking down the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville, which for some reason, has been like trying to buy the new iPhone a week before Christmas. Finally, I spotted one left on the shelf in Sephora and snatched it up, and let me say this stuff was worth the hunt. It's that good. My undying love for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders continues, and with a half used Diffused Light, I decided it was time to try out another shade. The shade Dim Light  is a peachy beige powder that is ultra flattering, and I find it does an amazing job of blurring out imperfections, and if layered, can even be used for adding a bit of natural warmth to the skin. 

Another item I have been tracking down is the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade, which has been sold out in every single color for months, but has finally landed in my hands. I have to say, I like it. I am not one for an overdone brow look, but I do like a polished brow and I regularly fill in my sparse areas. I really do not like the painted on brow effect that some people have been using this to achieve - even shaving off their natural brow tail to paint one on with this (WHAT IS THAT??)? Some things I will never understand. However, I only need the tiniest bit of this stuff to have my brows looking done and staying put all day…it's even waterproof.

Last but certainly not least, a jaunt into MAC, drawn in by their new Alluring Aquatics Summer releases. While most of it was sold out, I managed to get my hands on the Extra Dimension Blush in 'Sea Me, Hear Me' who's texture reminds me of the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush - a hard bouncy cream that applies like powder. The color is beautiful, the shimmer in the pan doesn't really pick up on the skin and it looks healthy and natural on the cheeks. The other item I picked up from the collection was the MAC 127 Split Fibre Face Brush, which is designed for light pickup of blush, bronzer, and other powder products. I have been in the market for a blush brush for awhile, and although I own a few, none of the them have won me over yet. I think this one is a winner, as it's super soft and allows for seamless blending and layering. The last item I picked up was not from the new collection, but is the classic MAC Fluidline in Dipdown, a flat espresso brown. I wear thin liner with a bit of a wing a good portion of the time, however, sometimes I find black a bit harsh during the day, so this brown one is the perfect alternative. 

Have you picked up any must share products recently? I must know...

May 28, 2014


Having a hard time staying awake this week after an almost four day weekend? Yep, me too. It's already hard enough getting myself out of bed in the morning but the past two days have been worse. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining about having more time off, I just miss the weekend extra right now and it's raining…

Enough of my complaining, onto the solution for my tired eyes. I picked up the First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy about a month ago on a whim in Sephora, and we have become quite close friends since. This is an all around awesome product, it is an under eye treatment that smooths, depuffs, and brightens those dark circles that make you look tired. What I love about this stuff is that not only is it an instant fix (its metal applicator soothes and cools to depuff and the pink color brightens), but it also contains anti-aging properties for improved results over time. Since I started using this in the mornings, I find I use a lot less concealer, which results in a smoother finish with no caking or creasing. 

After I apply my First Aid Beauty Eye Duty and then my base, I don't find the need for too much concealer, except for brightening purposes. I always find myself reaching for my favorite Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer for this purpose, as it is super pigmented but not at all drying or overly thick. I especially like the look of this concealer under the eyes when layered on top of the First Aid Beauty product, as it makes it appear even less noticeable. Since trying out this duo of circle-fighting wonders, I have to say I haven't really been reaching for anything else in my stash, at all...

May 27, 2014


Summer lip releases draw me in and I'm all over them like white on rice. But really, though. I think that the easiest way to perk up your look for Summer is by switching things up in the lip department. I find myself reaching for much more color during the warmer months, and I recently picked up a few more lippies, both bold and wearable, to toss into the seasonal mix. Here are my thoughts on this mini lip haul: 

YSL Babydoll Kiss & Blush in 01 Fuchsia Desinvolte // The most complicated of the group; this bright little lippie was made for summer lovin'. I would best describe this as a creamy pigment in a whipped formula that makes for easy layering. I find the finish to be matte but slightly more moisturizing and glossy than any others I own (it doesn't dry down fully like a liquid matte lipstick), which also means it will not be going near my cheeks. This stuff does last for a long time on the lips but also transfers easily. Word of advice: try not to let your lips touch anything that you don't want turning hot pink. 

MAC Lip Pencil in Spice // A classic neutral lip liner shade that will stop your neutral lip products from traveling outside the line. I picked one up just as a lip-insurance policy. 

Clarins Lip Balm Crayon in Creamy Pink // This is the most natural looking product here, and is perfect for any occasion, especially if you have dry lips. This shade contains no shimmer, just a sheer wash of color and shine that instantly perfects the look of lips. If you are a fan of the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, you should definitely add these on your list to try out. 

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Dynasty at Dusk // I find that pink/coral shades with a slight golden shimmer (not flecks of glitter) are often the most flattering of the summer gloss spectrum. I love subtle coral shades all year round but they look especially lovely with a bit of a tan and the sun shining. This non-sticky gloss smells like cupcakes and has a slightly sheer color coverage, which I like. It's one of those - one swipe and done sans mirror... 

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Lovelight // This is such a nice shade for everyday, peachy enough to be noticed, but not too in your face. The formula hugs your lips in a somewhat thick buttery texture with just the right amount of shimmer and a little bit of shine. Bonus: compared to other glossy lipsticks, one application of this stuff lasts for hours.   

May 25, 2014


If you read the Part 1 of this series, your skin should be properly prepped and conditioned for any summer ensemble you may feel like tossing on. Now you are ready to kick things up a notch, and by kicked up I mean adding a little color to that pasty white-ness you're probably rocking, as am I. While I like things a bit bronzed every now and then, I do not believe in tanning outside, it makes my skin feel tight and dry and then a few days later it brings every blemish out to play (gross, I know). I am also very picky when it comes to self-tanners, as the majority that I have tried make me look like I rolled in a weird orange mud and left it to stain my skin.

 I tend to stick to what I know works in this department because ain't nobody got time for orange streaked skin that sticks around for four days or so. Some of the only products that I can promise you will not create this result, no matter how pale you are, are the St. Tropez Everyday Body Moisturizer and the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. If you are looking for a more gradual and less obvious option go with the Everyday Body Moisturizer, as this is a moisturizer that builds up a bit of color each day until you have just the right amount of natural glow. On the other hand, if you have somewhere special to be and want a faster-fix, go for the Bronzing Mousse. The mousse is almost like a tanning stain, and I find it to be really convenient because you can see where you are applying it. 

Overall, I find the moisturizer to have a longer lasting result, but the mousse will produce a much darker stain, yet still does not give an orange effect. When using a self tanner, reach for a tanning mitt to protect your hands from the telltale oompa loompa marks that will remain if you do not. I use the mitt from the St. Tropez line which I believe has been reused more than ten times and can be washed without any issues, making it worth the investment. For best results when using any tanning products, try following my Part 1 tips for 'Summer-izing" your skin, because a smooth base makes for optimal product adherence.  

May 23, 2014


Summerize….is that even a thing? Well, now it is - and it means preparing your scaly Winter skin to be seen by the public eye. I don't know about you, but my limbs have been in hibernation for quite some time at this point and I think that this may be the weekend to bring them out. I have to admit, my legs are in no condition to be seen sporting short-shorts or romping in a bikini, but there are some quick fixes that can be made to have them looking ready in a pinch…

In the shower I go, with my Lush 'Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub,' a sea salt and mimosa-infused light scrub that's not too abrasive - think of it as an exfoliating super-cleanser that softens and revives dull skin in no time at all. An added bonus is that it doesn't cover you with that thick water-resistant oily film (like scrubs tend to) after use that feels just plain unnatural.  To me, a film that doesn't allow your skin to absorb water droplets, certainly doesn't plan on letting a thick moisturizer in either, so this scrub is perfect. 

Post wash, enter my favorite moisturizers EVER; Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Whipped Body Butter and Lush Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion. Not only do these make your skin smell like a piece of pound cake with butter slathered all over it, but they make your skin feel baby soft. The Kiehl's cream is thick and rich, similar to the actual consistency of butter, and leaves a dewy feeling on your skin for some time after applying for a dose of super nourishment. On the other hand, the Lush offering is great when you want to slap on something soothing and run out the door without worrying about being left with greasy stains on your clothes post-rub down. My skin literally drinks up the Lush lotion so quickly and is left with a lingering slightly fruity vanilla scent (think; fresh vanilla bean yogurt with kiwi slices), but I like the Kiehl's for an intensive overnight treatment. 

Now that your dry skin has been whisked away and your favorite moisturizers saved the day, can you guess what's next? Check back tomorrow...

May 22, 2014


Good news! We can finally discuss this upcoming Memorial Day weekend; you know, the little break that we have all needed so badly. I have been counting down the days until this weekend, and yes, I actually have the countdown app on my iPhone and all. Tomorrow at 12:30 I will be running out the door of work and off to spend the weekend on the lake, and I cannot wait. Seeing as it is only a little longer than three days, I was battling myself on what beauty products to bring, and how much is too much for this long laid-back weekend. I think I settled on a reasonable amount that has got all of my potential beauty scenarios, covered. 

So, I opted to bring the basics, the necessities, and a few extras. Into a medium sized Kate Spade makeup bag, I tossed my fail-proof favorite base products, which include the Revlon Skinlights in Bare Light, Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation with SPF 15, and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. To apply these products I opted to bring my Beauty Blender, as it is a nice 'do it all' option that takes away the need for three separate brushes. However, for my Hourglass Ambient Light Powder, which I use to set my makeup, I did add my Sephora Airbrush Powder Brush to the stash to ensure a light and natural application. 

I also thought about what items I would need that could offer some versatility, and take my look from 'barely there,' to a more complete one. For this, I would always recommend bringing an eyeshadow stick option, for which I chose the Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes in Fuller Fudge. These eye sticks can be worn sheer for just a hint of smudgy eye definition, or layered on for a more intense nighttime look. This is where the eyeliner options come in; I tossed in Benefit Badgal Waterproof Eyeliner, a rich black, perfect for tight lining and even creating a smudgy wing on the upper lash line, as it also has an amazing silicone tool on one end. Then for a daytime lining option I grabbed Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Crave, a mushroomy shimmer-less taupe great for some barely-there definition. I then grabbed my favorite mascara and a multitasking brow product, the Revlon Brow Fantasy, as it has your gel and pencil down to one product. We don't want to be too high maintenance, ya know? Of course, no look is complete without a done lip, for which I love the layering and staying power of this YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in shade 19. 

I think that this is a well balanced bag of options, that doesn't leave you missing products, but also doesn't have you overpacking. All that's left product-wise are a few skincare essentials for which I think a good moisturizer, cleanser, and makeup remover should do the trick. Follow these tips and you will be all set beauty wise to enjoy your weekend, relax, and look great doing it. 

What are your beauty essentials for a relaxing mini-break? Any multi-taskers that I should know about? Enable me!

May 20, 2014


With shorter work weeks just around the bend and a long weekend coming up this Friday, I can finally catch up on some much needed sleep. This has been quite a draining Spring filled with long weeks, short weekends, and absolutely no breaks thrown in for good measure. It is about time that we all catch up on some sleep, have some "me" time and enjoy the nice weather that took so long to arrive. Since I have been sleep deprived as of late, I have been experimenting a bit with some shadows that help to fake the awake look. While lackluster skin is a telltale sign of being run down as well, dull and lifeless eyes really drag down your overall look. I have a few shades in my stash that I find myself reaching for whenever I need an extra boost of healthy glow. After all, who needs sleep right? 

While this may seem like an obvious tip, adding a bit of an illuminating shade on the eyes can give you an instantly awakened look. Popping on a bit of nude, seashell, or even silver (anything that has a light catching quality) will help to open up the eyes when coffee isn't doing the trick. I have four that I keep on constant rotation for this exact purpose and find that just a bit makes a big difference. Keep in mind though, with shades like these less is more, as too much of a chalky and shimmery look will accentuate puffy eyes and make you look washed out.

Take a bit of a shade like Stila Kitten on your index finger and tap lightly into the inner corner of the eyes and sweep a bit on the lid, making sure to go in with a more matte shade in the crease as to set the eye further back. I love Nars Eye Paint in Interstellar as a highlight when dabbed on top of a brown shade, Chanel Illusion D'ombre in Emerveille for an all over sheer wash of seashell, and Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Sugar Frost as a super long lasting inner-corner highlight. All of these are amazing as they give you the bright eyed look without making you look like you're back in your pre-teens with glittery eyes. Always a plus!

What shades are your go to for helping you look more awakened and fresh when you just can't catch a break? 

May 19, 2014


I know that I have spoken quite a few times about my skin type, my concerns, and products that I rely on to keep it happy, so if you fancy a read see here and here. In a nutshell, my skin is mainly normal to combination, so it is oily in parts and dry in others and I get the very occasional breakout. That being said, I attribute my rare flare-ups to consistent and thorough cleansing and moisturizing and using fewer 'acne treating' products. Listen up - if you get a blemish twice a month or so, stay away (far away!) from using products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on a daily basis, as you do not have acne

What you can be doing to keep the blemishes to a minimum, is having a few products on hand strictly for preventative measures. The best thing you can do for your skin is to keep it simple, treat only the troubled spot(s) with medicated products, and use a toner with astringent properties. My favorite toner to help keep my skin calm without any drying effects, is the Lush Tea Tree Water. This stuff is amazing and has become such a crucial part of my skincare routine, as I find it just brings my skin back to its happy place and brightens up dull skin. This toner contains a bevy of skin-loving ingredients including grapefruit for its free radical fighting antioxidants, tea tree to reduce skin-sensitivity and kill bacteria, and juniper berry which is a natural antiseptic and stress-reliever. On the off-chance I do wake up with a breakout, I always rely on Origins Super Spot Remover which contains caffeine to instantly combat redness and calm skin, and the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which uses both benzoyl peroxide and LHA in one, for a quick spot clear up effect.  

After I treat a blemish I usually need be out in public looking normal, pronto! I cannot recommend any better covering duo than the Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer topped with the Bare Minerals Multi-Tasking Concealer in Summer Bisque for that extra staying power. I promise you that stippling in the Sensual Skin Enhancer with a Real Techniques Detailer Brush allows for a barely noticeable and super long lasting finish that will not have you reaching back for touch-ups. Trust me, try this and you won't trust anything else to cover up what shouldn't be seen. 

What do you rely on for healing and concealing anything that pops up on your skin unwelcomed? 

May 18, 2014


While my olive skin tone tends to shove me in the opposite direction of pink toned-products, lately, I have found it to be just the opposite. The sheer prettiness of the shade now has me wondering why it had been so frightening to me previously. I think that the few bad experiences I have had with pink- toned shadows, lipsticks, and other items had me feeling quite iffy about the color in general. But why? Pink is the natural color that your skin blushes when you're embarassed, out in the cold, or a bit burned from being in the sun for too long. It is obviously a shade that occurs in real life, and therefore, when used properly, is one of the most flattering. After a bit (or a lot) of playing with pink makeup lately, I have found a few ways to wear it so that you can get the most from it without looking like Bozo the Clown. 

Starting with the base, I would steer you toward only using pink in a sheer wash of brightening color, such as the Benefit "That Gal" Primer. This primer looks pink when cranked from the tip but blends into the skin without leaving a trace of color, just an overall glow. I also like that you can use a dab of this primer later during the day on cheekbones, as both a makeup refresher and shimmer free highlighter. For that 'fresh from the gym' flush on the cheeks I love a tiny swirl of the super pigmented Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Natural Flush, which has a 100% natural look to it due its lack of shimmer. 

For lips I find that creamy pink shades tend to be more dulling to the complexion (anyone remember Mac Snob?), but a stain or glossy swipe of pink will add a nice bit of color in a juicy, healthy way. For a pink stain I really like the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain in Lovesick, a long lasting, moisturizing shade of magenta. One of my go-to products for a glossy pink lip is the YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in shade 9, which is pink without being too girly and also smells amazing. 

I find that the hardest place to use pink is in the eye area, because sometimes products are too sparkly or too bubblegummy, and end up making the entire complexion look ruddy. The best way to use pink to your advantage on the eyes, is to use a seashell shade with a hint of shimmer and dab it slightly above your pupil on the lid, or right near the inner corner of your eye. My favorite pink eye product to use in a hurry has been the Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow in Pink Lagoon, as it has a malleable texture that makes it easy to work with. This way, your whole lid is not pink, but instead, the result is an illuminated and fresh look like you are lit from within. 

What are your favorite ways to wear pink makeup? Have you ever been afraid to use pink products as well? 

May 17, 2014


While most of the makeup that takes up permanent residency in my stash tends to be higher end, there are a few items from the drugstore that are keepers for sure. I have tried countless products in my years as a makeup hoarder and I feel like I have finally come to be able to decipher the makings of a good product. Here are five drugstore products that I find myself going back to time and time again:

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover // While oil induced versions of mascara removers work quickest, I can certainly live without the greasy film that blurs my vision and causes breakouts after. This stuff is the best, without doubt, oil-free eye makeup remover that I have ever come across. It works the exact same as a bi-phase makeup remover with oil in it, only leaves you without the slicked feeling and is perfect for sensitive skin. 

L'Oreal Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow // One of the best eyeshadow formulas out there, period. My favorite shade is Bronzed Taupe, as it is one of those one wash wonders. If you are in a hurry, you can dip your finger in the pot, and just a tiny amount will cover your lid and blend seamlessly in no time. The formulas of these are silky smooth, produce no fallout because of how compact they are, and last all day without creasing. Shadow, solved. 

Revlon Photoready Skinlights // One of the best illuminating primers I have yet to discover that can do the trick without the the sparkly mess. I would say that this one is the drugstore dupe for the Dior Glow Maximizer, but slightly less shimmery. I like that it is almost undetectable under makeup but blurs imperfections just enough so that you don't have to go in heavy handed with your foundation. 

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms // I love matte lipsticks when I decide to go for a bold lip and these have the added benefit moisture. Nothing is worse than a matte and crusty pair of smackers when you are trying to rock that statement lip. These solve the dry lip problem and the range includes a spectrum of everyday and bold shades to choose from. 

L'Oreal Mascaras // L'Oreal makes awesome mascaras in general, and whenever I don't feel like being spendy, I pop into the drugstore and choose one from their stocks. Right now I am loving the Miss Manga mascara for its bendy wand and volumizing nature. 

What are your drugstore must haves? 

May 15, 2014


A mirrored vanity tray resides on my dresser stocked with my "favorite" perfumes, although, sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It almost seems as if that tray is overridden with perfumes that have seen their final days, and that rarely get chosen to be spritzed. I have never really found "the" perfume for me, therefore haven't ever been very loyal when it came to a scent, so they pile up collecting dust in the tray. I do have a few that I always go back to, because they are comforting to me and just smell fresh  or feminine. I have only ever repurchased two scents out of all that I have tried, one of which is the Aqua di Parma Blu Mediteranneo  Fico di Amalfi. Fico di Amalfi is an uplifting scent, whose smell is reminiscent of a walk through a blossoming garden filled with lush lemon and fig trees in Positano on an Italian Summer getaway. While I love this scent still to this day, the problem that I found was that it was too seasonal for me, and I only tend to reach for it in the warmer days due to its carefree aura. The other was Prada Candy, a much more sultry and enticing scent, that to me, is a sophisticated twist on a classic vanilla laced with caramel or something deeper and more rich. I love this scent as well, but find it too heavy for the summer time. 

Enter, Diptyque Volutes, a light but woody scent that is unique and versatile. Think of this scent as sexy, but not trying too hard to be, like a French woman who has that bed head hair. This is a complex fragrance that can be interpreted differently by each wearer, with top notes of tobacco, honey, and iris, all of which are detectable at different times throughout wear. It also has hints of pepper, hay, saffron, and myrrh, as if you were on a ship crossing through Pacific waters to trade these precious goods. I am no fragrance connoisseur either, this is just a scent that leaves lingering aromas as if you were transported back in time, just as Diptyque describes. I think that because this is so complex, it works well with any season, warm enough for the winter and light enough with hints of florals for the Summer. I think I have found the scent for me, I have a feeling this one won't be collecting anything but compliments. 

Do you have a scent that you feel is versatile enough for any time of the year, have you found "the" scent yet?

May 14, 2014


Recently, I was rummaging through my nail polish stash to pick out a mani color, and out of the couple hundred shades sitting in front of me, shades of blue seemed to be taking up the most real estate in the nail cupboard. Strangely enough, blue is the one nail polish color (other than nude) that stays consistently on my nails throughout the year. Personally, I see blue nails as the new neutral, and it seems that the recent polish trends for this current Spring and upcoming Summer, would agree with me. There is something quite polished about a blue manicure when your nails are kept on the shorter side and well-groomed, because nobody wants to see long blue claw nails. No, no...

The shade families within the blue range that I am partial to tend to reside either in the periwinkle/powder blue, or the aqua/sky blue groups. I find these colors to be the most universally flattering and they are just noticeable enough to make a statement, without being neon. Here, I chose some of my all time favorite blues, and by the brands that I feel do the hue best. If you are looking for the perfect blue milky polish, look no further than the likes of Essie - no brainer, Deborah Lippmann - she always creates unique "it" shades, and Chanel - for their trendsetting offerings. From Chanel I love Sky Line and Coco Blue, which may both be limited edition, as many of their shades are. From Deborah Lippmann I love this periwinkle shade from their Spring collection, called 'Blue Orchid', which also made it onto Oprah's favorites list this season. Essie's Spring lineup, which I believe has a current home on drugstore shelves, has a great creamy brighter sky blue shade that you shouldn't miss, named 'I'm Addicted.' Some other shades I love include Deborah Lippmann 'On the Beach' - a riviera blue cream that looks great with a tan, Essie 'Boxer Shorts' - a periwinkle pulling almost lavender, and Nails Inc Gel Effect in 'Regents Place' - a cornflower blue reminiscent of that old Crayola crayon color. 

Now that I have shared my love for blue hues, are there any good ones that I am missing that you would be so kind to share? Comment below!

May 13, 2014


With the weather finally warming up, parts of my makeup routine have been changing to follow suit. During the Winter my skin was dryer and in need of a much heavier formula when it came to bases. But, when the temperatures increase the amount of products I slap on my face decrease so that I don't run the risk of a melty face. I find that this applies more to when I am outside, but if I am going to be at work all day I can still use some of my heavier products, just with a lighter hand and a tad more powder for setting. 

I really don't like having to sacrifice my foundation altogether just because the weather is warmer, so I have a Summer base squad I call in for days where the air is heavy. The first product two products I adore for a drier summer day, and they are the Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer. I find that while both of these products are much more moisture rich than my other picks, the Nars offering gives a more foundation-like coverage and a dose of brightness to the skin. What I like about the Laura Mercier base, is that I find the lasting power to be a bit better as it is a bit tackier in texture allowing it to adhere to the skin. Bear in mind you may need to use a second product (concealer) to cover any pesky blemishes or bags as the coverage is more on the sheer side. 

For those extremely humid days where a bit of a 'sweatshache' is inevitable (gross, I know), I suggest either the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint, or the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation. The Jouer base is a unique one, where it does feel dewy on the skin, but also mattifies at the same time. It is sort of one that you will have to try out for yourself to fully understand how it works, but the coverage is more medium than light like that of the Nars and Laura Mercier. I know that the Tarte offering has been causing a bit of a buzz right now in the beauty world, and rightfully so. I find it to be very versatile, as it can be worn either sheer or built up to an almost full coverage. This product is also the most mattifying of the bunch, yet still manages to look natural and never cakey. 

So - which do you think you will be adding to your base entourage during these upcoming warmer months? If you have a different suggestion entirely, please comment below, as I am always up for trying new ones! 

May 12, 2014


I spotted these Dior Addict Fluid Sticks of the future a few months ago on the instagrams of various bloggers, and since then have been on a serious mission to try them out. I finally found them at my local Dior counter about two weeks ago, and although the last thing I needed was another lip product, this was one of those I couldn't miss out on. I gravitated toward a shade somewhere in the middle of the range, called Rieuse, which is a not too bright but definitely not too muted coral. I will let you be the judge on this one,  because nobody knows what will suit you better than you, after all

I would describe the formula as being similar to that of the YSL Rouge Pur Couture gloss/stains except that these are a bit more moisturizing and have a bit of a jelly texture. I think the pigmentation is really there and I like that you can layer it on to become bolder without it looking too gloopy, like I have found with some other products. In terms of staying power, I have to say I was impressed. I used just a swipe of this on my upper and lower lip around noon, had lunch and some drinks (it was the weekend after all) and by dinner time it was still there. Not only was it still there, but what I was most happy about was that it hadn't gravitated toward the outline of my lips and it was still evenly coated throughout.

My one recommendation when it comes to wearing these is to let it be the center focus of your makeup. I think that while it can be subtle, I looks much more fresh and like a pop of healthy color when it is worn with a minimal makeup look. What I used for the above look consisted of a primer, a light dose of foundation, some concealer around the eyes, a tiny bit of highlighter in place of eyeshadow, a helping of mascara, and a tiny bit of blush on the upper apples of the my cheeks. I found that it was the little bit of blush (I used Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy) that made all the difference because it stopped the rest of the face from looking too flat, while at the same time, tying back to the lip color. 

So, how do you guys feel about these - are you dashing out the door to pick one up or will you pass them up? Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

May 10, 2014


Saturday is the perfect day to have the "less is more" mantra when it comes to makeup. I have to be honest, I do still like to rock the basics because, well, I look better when I do. I think everyone can benefit from slapping some paint on the ol' barn if you know what I mean. So here are the products that I used to create my Saturday face 'du jour.'

When I don't want to think too much about my base I will reach straight for my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (HG!) as it gives a pretty flawless coverage and is the closest shade to my natural skin tone that I have ever found in any foundation. I tend to skip the under eye concealer as I do get more sleep on the weekends, so the bag situation isn't as brutal, but it really depends what I am doing that day. Just for some reassurance, I use the Makeup Forever Super Matte Loose Powder and tap it in with a fluffly brush around my t-zone. One thing I do make sure to do no matter where I'm going is fill in the sparse areas in my brows using the Anastasia Brow Wiz in the shade brunette. Trust me, I know that I have very thick eyebrows, but I find that it almost makes it worse when you have sparse areas, as they become so noticeable. 

I do like to use a small bit of shadow on my eyes because I find that it brightens the entire face, especially if you go in lightly with a champagne or neutral shimmer. For this I used the third shade from left in the Clinique All About Eyes Palette in Neutral Territory 2, which is named "light shade of neutral territory duo." What these shadows are lacking in the creative name department, they make up for in their buttery smoothness. To finish off the eyes, I have been loving the defining clump-free finish of the L'Oreal Telescopic Extensions mascara. 

Then, it's onto lips and cheeks! This is where I like to have the most fun, as I am a true lip product hoarder. That being said, I do tend to gravitate toward a product that can add some juicy moisture and color in one shot. I really like the formulas of these Almay liquid lip balms; I can honestly say other than makeup remover I have never tried anything from the brand, but I am impressed. I have the shade Cantaloupe Cream and it smells of cupcake frosting (can you tell I am hungry?) similar to that of the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors. The last step I take is just to add a teeny, tiny amount of a natural flush to the cheeks using the Clinique Cheek Pops in Plum Pop. For non-blush lovers like me, these babies are quite the perfect compromise, as the hyper-pigmented formula (is it cream, is it powder??) allows you to control the application so well. Et voila - that is my face done.  

What products do you guys use on the weekends for an easy-peasy but always chic look? Beauty lovers - join the conversation!

May 09, 2014


I don't know about you guys but I feel like I am missing a limb when I leave the house unarmed with my essentials. It's sort of like taking out an insurance policy for your face; you need it, you know? Whether I am running out the door to work in the wee hours of the morning, or going out with friends later, there are certain products that I rely on to have me looking halfway presentable. I usually like to store my beauty and other random bits in a small makeup pouch that can fit in whatever my bag of choice is that day. I have five products and one brush here, and believe me, that is not a lot to carry when they can tidy up your entire look. I can even testify that I have gone from no makeup, to a fully done face with these products alone. Start throwing together your own "take everywhere"essentials; I promise it saves major time. I chose these products by thinking about what items I actually need by category. Here is what made the cut:

For Brows // Revlon Brow Fantasy pencil and gel, a two-in-one that covers you for both filling in the sparse areas and locking strays in place. For some this might not be an essential, but for me and my scar-gashed eyebrow, it most definitely is. I have my younger brother to thank for that...

For Face // Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen in Milk can be your all in one base product. It works as a highlight, under eye concealer, and blemish cover-up. I also love their shade array, as they are light enough for us pale skinned gals to have options. To cut grease (gross, I know) and add some extra staying power to that concealer, I carry the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer powder in the lightest shade N-10. The coverage is light and natural, but I find it diffuses imperfections pretty well which is perfect for mid-day touchups. The packaging is also quite convenient for on-the-go, as it has your mirror and brush sorted as well. 

For Eyes // I don't usually need extra mascara at any point throughout the day, so I'll skip out on that. What I do like to have is a versatile brown cream shadow, like the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze. What's great is that these can be used as your lone eye product. I love buffing it out with my Mac 217 brush on the upper lid for a more finished look, and smudging it into my lower lash line with my fingers for extra definition. If you find you need liner for a little somethin' extra, you can also reach back into the bag for the Revlon Brow Fantasy, as the brow pencil works the same way for rimming the upper lash-line.

For Lips // If I am only bringing one lip product, my choice is always a moisturizing balm or lipstick in a perky nude or pink. As much as I love the idea of a bold lip, if I am in a hurry or applying my makeup somewhere like a train or car (or anywhere public) it's just not realistic for me. Plus - I will sacrifice color for a healthy moisturized lip look any day. Right now my resident bag lippie is the Bite Beauty Lush Lip tint in Watermelon. I love that this leaves a juicy tint even after the initial glossy finish wears away. For me it's sort of a no-brainer lip product. Think - nouveau chapstick.

Are there any amazing do-it-all products that you can clue me in on? How about multi-tasking staples? Share below!

May 08, 2014


I know that we are just getting to know each other here, but there is something you should all know about me. Confession: I am a skincare addict. I know it may seem a bit self-indulgent, but ever since I have started taking better care of my skin, it has returned the favor. Patience and hard work are key when it comes to healthy skin, just as they are with everything else in life. I know that everyone is looking for a miracle product to come in and solve every skin issue they've ever had, but it is all about finding what works for you, and being gentle. 

One of the ways that I have found works well to keep my skin clear and bright is exfoliation. While this may seem obvious, this used to be where I was most confused in terms of understanding my skin. I would go in with rough scrubs and beat up my skin. I guess I thought the harder I scrubbed those little grits into my skin the better they would work. Boy, was I wrong. My sensitive skin would be red, super dry in some patches, and break out more than it had before. I was actually causing my skin to do the opposite of what I wanted it to do. Overdrying the skin causes it to produce extra sebum to make up for the loss of moisture, leading to more breakouts. I still use an old fashioned exfoliating scrub now and then but in a much more gentle manner. I find that using natural and chemical exfoliants instead of manual exfoliants works best for me. They help remove the top layer of dead skin cells that could collect in your pores (and clog them) and also promote cell turnover. The products that I have really been enjoying lately seem to contain a lot of fruit enzymes, lactic acids, AHA's and BHA's.

My favorite chemical exfoliant is the Dr. Dennis Gross alpha beta peel pads - which I find very gentle, but very effective. My sensitive skin has never turned red or burned from using these, but occasional use (once or twice a week) has definitely helped even out my skin tone and texture. In place of using a scrub, which is a product some people use more regularly, I now love the Peter Thomas Roth Peel Gel Exfoliant, which is one of the coolest products I have discovered recently. You apply it to dry, clean skin, rubbing the gel in circular motions, and it somehow physically lifts the dead cells off. I like a product that you can see working, and with this you can actually feel and see dead skin balling up . Sounds weird, but it works.

I also have two masks that I use in rotation just to ensure that things are nice and bright. After testing so many, I have stayed loyal to both the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask and the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. These particular products use papaya enzymes and lactic acids to promote skin cell renewal. I like the Ren mask if I am going somewhere special, as I can see a difference right away in my skin. It looks healthier and much more polished directly after use, whereas the Elemis one is a bit more gentle, so results take a bit longer. That being said, if you have drier, more sensitive skin I find that you can use the Elemis one more often without it causing irritation.

What masks or treatments to you use to keep your skin from getting congested and dull? Would love to hear from you!

May 07, 2014


Yesterday, I showed you my favorite methods to create a smooth base for brights. Today, I wanted to round up my top lip products for bright Spring lips as of late. I have quite a few bright matte lip colors in my Muji stashed makeup collection, but as I was going through my drawers I noticed a common theme. I have a lot of blue-based bright pink matte lip products. I guess I am always drawn to these colors, seeing as I have olive skin there is something that can be very life-draining about certain corals. I have to be very careful when it comes to brights. I've always wished I had that English rose skin that seems to work well with almost any color. It's totally unfair that my brother got that part of the genes - the blue/green eyes and all - while I'm stuck with the olive-skinned Slovak/Italian mixture that comes from the other half of my family. 

Now that my rant is through, let me get onto telling you about the products that are featured here. The product on my lips today is Mac Impassioned; one of the few corally neon's that I actually like on myself. Aside from this color, my other picks include some shades that I find suit almost any skin type. At the top left is Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage which is super thick and pigmented and very matte. I might even suggest doing the apply, then dab, and apply again method - as this product is one of those that you don't want to overdo it with. But, when applied well, and especially with a tan, it is one of my all time favorite bright pinks. My next pick is the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Diva - a much sheerer matte candy pink that pulls almost purple. I like that you can layer this one, and once you have it on you can touch it up without having to worry about precision too much. On the other end of the price spectrun is my favorite drugstore matte of the moment - Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in shade Showy Flamboyante. In my eyes, this is also the drugstore dupe for La Diva. These are one of my favorite drugstore lip products in general; they have great pigmentation, are more hydrating than some other mattes, and have a nice mint scent. My last bold lip pick comes in the form of a liquid lipstick, and is the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Riviera. It's a beautiful orange red with incredible staying power - in fact, I could barely get it off even when I wanted to. 

What are your favorite bold matte's as of this Spring? Any that I might want to test? 

May 06, 2014


I'm rolling in the warm weather welcome wagon this week - and I've been celebrating by breaking out some bright matte lippies. With the Spring collections having launched about a whole two months ago now, I'm patting myself on the back for lasting this long. But, being the eager beaver that I am, the first chance I got, I slapped on my favorite hot pink on my way out the door and was pretty sure it was lookin' good. And it was; it was all fine and dandy until I landed under a fluorescent bathroom light, staring into the face of the driest looking lips ever. Let's just say - lesson learned. Never again will I apply a perky matte in a hurry, no no. Instead, you shall expect to find me scrubbing and prepping my lips to baby soft perfection.

I rely on three different scrubs to whip my pucker back into shape whenever it starts looking tight, dry, or cracked. My first and oldest favorite is perfect for the on-the-go girl, and it's the The Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub. This is such a good product in that it's simple, and works quickly. It is essentially an oil infused sugar scrub that is loose in the tin and smells amazing. If you are out-and-about you can pinch a bit out of the tin, buff it into your lips, and lick it right off. It even leaves a balmy feeling after from all the jojoba and essential oils that are left on the lips as a result. The Fresh Sugar Lip Polish is another really great scrub. Although, I would say this one is better suited for a bathroom application complete with warm washcloth - as it is much more emollient and messy. That being said, it gives your lips a deep pamper and is more like a balm and scrub in one; I find that scrubbing it off with a washcloth gives an even better finish.

While these two products are amazing, there is a much cheaper alternative to doing this yourself. And even though I own both of these scrubs I still choose to make my own sometimes, as it is nice to add whatever you like to your mixture. However, the simplest and most effective way is to add some brown sugar and olive or almond oil into a bowl (jojoba or coconut oils are also great) and mix them together. Be careful to add small amounts of oil at a time as the mixture starts to get soupy pretty fast. In terms of application of this, I would say it's more similar to Fresh's scrub in that I like to use it with a hot cloth in my bathroom.

Any of these three methods are a foolproof way to get baby soft lips quickly so that you can get to applying your favorite Spring lip color. I would love to know if any of you have any other lip scrubs, DIY or purchased, that you can't live without. Comment below!

May 05, 2014


Let the "ooh-ing and ahh-ing" commence. The Nars Matte Multiples are a well-hyped and long-awaited release from one of my all time favorite brands. I know that this is not the first review that has been written about this do-it-all release, but I wanted to pick up a shade or two and do some real-life testing before I gave you the down low on this product. The Matte Multiples really cover all the bases in terms of lips, contours, and cheeks. I tend to find 'Lip & Cheek' duo products either too sticky for the cheeks or too drying on the lips, so even if I love the colors, the formulas don't usually agree with my skin. These babies, on the other hand, are different. 

When these hit my local Nars counter, I couldn't resist the urge - they had to be mine. So, out I ran to the store, and as expected, they were too stunning for me to narrow my choices to just one. I ended up walking out with both Siam (left) and Laos (right). I have had my eye on these two colors ever since I spotted them starring in an Into the Gloss  editorial pre-release.  Siam is a super-pigmented orangey red  that I thought would fall more into the 'night-out' lip category for me. Laos is a rosy coral that, in my mind, had already taken the spot as my new perfect blush shade. Per usual - I jumped to conclusions - I had it completely wrong. I find that Laos looks amazing tapped into the lips with a balmed-up base and results in a 'my lips but better' look. Siam (you little gem) gives a beautiful, uplifted flush to the cheeks if you are careful in your application. I used a stippling brush, even dabbing it on the back of my hand first to remove the excess. If you are wondering which shade to purchase, I would say - go big or go home! Grab yourself a Matte Multiple in Siam for that 'I've been toasting out in the sun a bit too long' glow. The summer is just around the corner, after all...


May 04, 2014


What kind of beauty lover would I be if I wrote about this past month's makeup favorites, and left skincare out to dry? A very bad one, indeed. Because, although makeup adds that little oomph and makes you look like a better version of yourself, looking good really does start with taking care of your skin. I have never had bad skin per se, but I have gone through times when my skin wasn't in tip-top condition. During college I often forgot to take off my makeup at night, or put moisturizer on in the morning before class and it was beginning to show. It looked tired and dull, and broke out more often than it ever had before. Now that I have adopted a skincare routine, I can chalk up those lackluster skin days to the fact that it was angry at me for my negligence. Of course, my skin is still not perfect today at all, but it is much happier and less temperamental now that I take good care of it. That being said, I am not too loyal to specific skincare products, but I do have a roundup of ones that I know will whack my skin back into shape if ever the need arises. Here is what I have been loving this month:

Cleansers // I have really been enjoying the Mario Basescu Orange Cleansing Soap in the mornings. I bought this, and while it doesn't work for night because it doesn't remove makeup very well, it is great for a softening, soothing, and refreshing treat in the morning. In terms of cleansers that do remove that heaping of mascara, there's the Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser. I really love this cleanser and would recommend it to anyone who has normal to combination skin for a nightly cleanse. It takes off makeup well, refreshes, and doesn't dry out the skin because of its bevy of natural ingredients. Bonus!

Moisturizers // Here is where my skin can be the pickiest. I own stocks of moisturizers, and while I like so many of them, my skin tends to have a mind of its own. The worst part is my skin will then get tired of those products and I will have to switch again - quit it with the games! However, this month my skin seems to be loving the Ren Vita Mineral Day Cream, as it is a great one to bring my skin back to its happy place if it is dry in the morning and what not. At night time I have been using a new addition to my skincare wardrobe - the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins. This product has really been evening out my skin tone and making it feel softer and happier come morning. I have a few discolorations and marks from old blemishes that I find it has helped lighten noticeably in just two weeks. I believe it has something in there to speed up cell turnover and I will keep using it a couple times a week at night in hopes that it keeps on doin' its thanng.

Treatments // In terms of skin saviors I tend to come back to Kiehl's a lot. I find that their products are simple, light on the false promises of marketing jargon, and just work. Before bed if my tired eyes need a boost, I use the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and when I wake up I find them to feel soothed and more comfortable. You know when your eyes feel drained? This still seems to inject that plumpness right back in without the burning sensation some eye creams have for sensitive skinned gals. For stressed skin that needs to be kicked back into line - and stay there dammit - the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer does just that. Just don't mistake this for an acne product, as it's not, but I do find that it keeps my skin happy - therefore, clear.

What products do you rely on to keep your skin happy? I am always on the hunt for new ones to try.

May 03, 2014


Better late than never! I wanted to make sure that I got this post out there, because the month of April has been a great makeup month. I have discovered so many new products, and rediscovered some old favorites as well. This month was a bit exciting because it was finally Spring, so out came the colors. I normally focus more on a fresh base and a pop of color on the lip when it comes to an everyday Spring look. I love shadows but I have never been one to place the color pop there - I am a neutrals gal at heart. 

Recently I have been lightening up my base from my usual, heavier, Winter foundations. I picked these three products (top photo) because I have been pretty loyal to them this month. I have been loving the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, and have only been swapping it out occasionally at night for a product with a bit more coverage. I use the shade Alaska and it has been working perfectly with my super-pale olive toned skin - especially when I use the Chanel Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating base (mouthful right there) mixed in or as a primer. I am not sure how this product works and I am not going to make any attempts, all I know is it is magic! You won't find any unwanted shimmer here - just pure, radiant, milky-complexion bliss. For days when I have pesky bags or blemishes, in comes the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer to give a natural looking dose of extra coverage. This is the perfect Spring base and gives the skin such a healthy look. 

I have been reaching for some brighter lip colors as well this past month, and rely on them for an overall pick-me-up. I usually use a different lipstick/color almost everyday, but this month there were some clear-cut favorites. During the day my lip-time is spent split between the YSL Rouge Pur Couture in shade 6 - a peachy nude lip enhancing color, and the Dior Addict Fluid Stick in shade 373 Rieuse which is the most amazing textured liquid lipstick. For nights I have been bringing out the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Diva - a blue based bright matte pink that looks amazing with a fresh face and a neutral eye. 

What were your favorites this month - old or new?

May 02, 2014


I can tell you without exaggeration, that my product "to try" list can never be fulfilled. Every time I tick a box and pick up a new item, or 6 off the list, it seems another 10 make their way on. Vicious cycle, let me tell you. Between all the blog reading I do (I am a sucker for a rave review) and the new releases lining the aisle caps of Sephora, - I just can't escape. I always end one purchase by making a mental note that I need to come back out to get this, or that.

Alright, enough - onto the good stuff. So keeping with the oil trend that has been on a continuous rise, I picked up the L'Occitane Amande Shower Oil from Sephora. Let me tell you, from just one whiff I can tell that this little guy and I are going to have a very delicious-smelling and smooth relationship. Is it sad that I am super excited to shower this weekend just so that I can use this? In my own defense, it is the little things that we need to appreciate in life.

For awhile now I have been eyeing up the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki brush with my greedy little perfect-complexion-seeking eye. I think that I will really love this one judging by the rave review it received from Amelia Liana on her blog, Liana-Beauty. The way that this brush applies foundation is similar to that of the Real Techniques Buffing Brush - you know - that swirling and buffing technique that creates a second-skin like finish. The bristles are much more compacted on this brush and I'm hoping that means an even more airbrushed result. I also have been meaning to pick up the Real Techniques Blush Brush, as I find no negatives to owning their tools in your kit - purse friendly and great quality, win-win.

My love of neutral shadows continues with yet another nude-ranged palette. I have never really gotten into Clinique shadows before and figured that this launch was a good way to begin our relationship. Let me tell you - I am ohh so glad I did. A total dream upon first swipe, it is hard not to want to eat these up, as their texture is just so buttery-smooth.

And what's a purchase without some base and complexion enhancers? To make sure I ticked this box as well, I snapped up an Elemis Papaya Enyme Peel to help ensure a brightened base. I rely a lot on fruit enzyme peels, BHA's, and AHA's to keep my skin looking bright and clear. This one also contains a soothing dose of Vitamin E and a hit of antioxidants to get that extra boost of healthy radiance to your skin. For quality assurance purposes on a more cosmetic level, in comes the Stila One-Step Correct, a three in one serum that contains color correcting "moisturizing brighteners" for flawless looking skin. I will report back with full reviews after I have tested long enough to know for sure where I stand on these purchases. 

May 01, 2014


I wake up pretty early on a daily basis (excuse the tired eyes) so I need products that work, and fast. In a sea of so many products it's hard to find what works for you; your skintype, your schedule, and even your budget. That being said, a lot of the products that I love tend to be on the pricier side, but I also find that I don't go through items that quickly. Saving where you can, and where the pricier version isn't always necessary is the way to go. 

The above look is something I will use in many variations as my go-to for a long lasting (8 hour work schedule, anyone?) face that looks like I give half a damn. A swipe of my First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy helps my eyes to look more awake, especially because of it's cooling metal tip. A dollop (or two...) of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation, covers, looks dewy enough, and most importantly - lasts through the day. The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla is then used under my eyes in that famous 3-dot motion and tapped in with my ring finger if I'm in a rush.

I then do my brows with the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette, filling in sparse areas (damn you, scar!) lightly and giving them a quick brush-through with the spoolie on the other end. For a one wash eyeshadow, I have been loving a swipe of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in the shade Slate as sort of a base and shadow in one. It really helps bind the next step, which is my Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. I tend to rely on this product more times than not for my kitten-flicked liner looks. I know some of you would say that this type of liner isn't for people on the go, but years of practice has got my hand pretty steady. Here comes the product where I haven't found one that I am loyal to, and therefore will forgo expensive versions sometimes: mascara. Here I used the L'oreal Paris Voluminous Original, which I actually have been loving for a more natural look. Last, but certainly not least, comes a light dusting my unsung hero: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light. What do you think of this look - do you have go to products that work for everyday makeup? I would love to know, comment below!
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