Blog Archives

Comparing makeup finishing sprays.

I haven’t written much about it, but I’ve been experimenting more with my makeup lately. It’s a fun way to express myself, even at my desk job, and I love trying new products – and okay, I really enjoy watching makeup tutorials. It’s oddly calming!

Loved this one for everyday use.

At first, I was hesitant to spray my face in hopes of setting my makeup and helping it last longer. I mean, that just doesn’t seem right. But, lots of people say it works, and why not try it? It’s taken me months to try multiple brands and types – I like to get a complete opinion! While I tried to test different kinds, I also have to stick to what I like, but who knows, maybe you’ll find one you like or have one you can suggest to me! Here goes…

NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray

This was the first setting spray I purchased. I’ve used NYX products before, and like them, and you can’t really beat the price tag. The bottle looks small, but I usually just need one or two sprays a day and I’m good to go.

Honestly, even with nothing to compare this to, I loved this product. I have always had a problem with my makeup settling into my skin by lunch time, or even fading by the end of the day. This stuff makes my face bullet-proof. Even after a day of work and dance class, my makeup looks good!

I bought this one at Ulta and when I checked the website later, it has 4.5 stars out of 5 – sounds like a winner to me!

Setting spray with SPF.

$7.99 (NYX), for 2.2-oz bottle 

Coola Face SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray

I got this in one of my monthly Birchbox shipment, and it made for a great setting spray while traveling. I used this anytime I was going to be outdoors, including an outdoor protest/rally, a music festival, and outdoor volunteering – all hoping to get a little extra SPF on my face.

It worked fine as a setting spray – it does have a slight “sunscreen” smell, which doesn’t bother me, but I know it’s not for everyone.

It set my makeup, but I’m not sure I would choose this for everyday use unless my job required me to spend lots of time outdoors. It doesn’t take much though, so purchasing a bottle would probably last you awhile.

$36.00 (Coola), for 1.7-oz bottle

Ulta Matte Makeup Setting Spray

Coconut scented!

I get my hair cut and colored at Ulta, and Often used the 20 minutes under a cap to shop (yes, I’m roaming the aisles in a cape, clear cap, with red dye all over the place). I came across Ulta’s makeup line and saw this matte setting spray had a special feature that sold me: coconut scented.

I know it’s small, and really, no one is getting close enough to my face to smell it, but I can smell it when I spray it on and that’s all that matters. The price was great, and it’s on-par with NYX as far as quality.

I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I do wear enough that needs to be looking good at the end of the day. This one does well keeping my makeup in place, while keeping shine under control.

$10.00 (Ulta), for 3-oz bottle

So far, I think the NYX is my favorite, but I will probably keep trying new brands. I haven’t tried any of the aerosol setting sprays, so maybe that’s next. I do have a Smashbox primer/setting spray that I have yet to try (not sure how I feel about 2-N-1 products). But let me know what makeup setting sprays you like to use and maybe I’ll give them a try!

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My pilgrimage to perfume.

Finding the perfect perfume.

For many years, I’ve gotten one of those Sephora perfume samplers for Christmas. I believe they’re available all year now, but for awhile, they were only available during the holidays. If you’ve never seen them, it’s basically a collection of perfume samples from their top 10-12 best sellers of the year. You get to try them all out, and then there’s a coupon tucked inside for a FREE 1-ounce bottle of your favorite one.

It’s seriously an awesome gift! Each year, I take this gift very seriously. I read all of the perfume descriptions, and I try them multiple times before I make my final decision. I know this seems really silly, but I definitely think of perfume as a complete luxury item. It’s not something we need, and it’s expensive. So, I want to get the right one.

Sometimes it takes me six months to make my decision and finally get to Sephora for my free bottle. Having said that, I definitely shattered my hand-selected bottle of Michael Kors’ Very Hollywood during my move to Texas two years ago. It fell off a shelf while I was packing, and despite its thick bottle (which was very pretty), it shattered and it was total heartbreak in slow motion. Ugh. It smelled wonderful.

Anyway, the sampler I got for Christmas in 2015 had some great scents in it, but I ruled my favorite pretty quickly: Burberry’s My Burberry. It has that masculine, wood smell that I love, but with a floral twist.

I went to Sephora… and they were out. Yes, I could have picked another perfume, or I could have purchased a different sized bottle and gotten money off for the 1-ounce freebie, but no. I waited.

I went back a few months later. Still out.

“If it’s on the sampler coupon, then we’re like, always out of it,” the saleswoman told me.

Uh, okay well that makes about zero sense. Still, I waited. I looked for other Sephora locations (you can’t use the coupon online). And waited.

And finally, I randomly stopped by that same Sephora Friday after work. Upon walking up to the shelf, I didn’t see it. But then, in the back, a 1-ounce box. What?!

I picked it up, looked around, and smiled (like a psycho). I walked briskly to the counter: IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE?! I tried to ask calmly, but I just thought it was too good to be true!

“Yep, it’s the one!” she said.

O M G.

I was even more delighted when I got home to open the box – the bottle is so pretty and even has a tortoise-shell cap!

To add a little more sparkle to this situation, she scanned my Beauty Insider card and saw I had a free birthday gift: I chose the Tarte set with the Matte Lip Paint in “Birthday Suit” (already used it and it’s the perfect nude) and the Clay 12-hour blush in “Pink Nude” (haven’t tried it just yet).

So, yeah – how perfect! This is my Monday motivation for you to persevere – even when it comes to perfume (ha)!

I still have my sampler set from LAST Christmas to tackle, but that’s a whole ‘nother adventure.

A sunless, summer glow.

I’m getting bronzed, without the sun!

That’s right, I’ve been trying SO many different kinds of sunless tanners and bronzers ever since I got home from Vegas. I’ll be honest, I have always loved laying out in the sun. Even in high school, I’d lay out in my backyard (no pool present), complete with Sun-In in my hair (which looked really terrible) just to get that summer glow.

I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve all of the sudden become super sun-conscious… Maybe a little but my recent obsession with a sunless glow is more about getting a good, even color (with no tan lines), and about time – it takes soooooo long to get a nice color and even though it’s fun to relax by the pool, sometimes there’s other things I’d rather be doing.

I used two sunless tanners during the winter months around the time I had dance performances, one was a gradual self-tanning lotion with added bronzer, which I liked but didn’t find I got much color from it, and I also used a foam – this gave great color but had a very strong tanning smell, and was hard not to get streaks, even using a tanning mitt.

Self-tanning Tan Towel.

So, the ones I’ve listed below are what I’ve used recently – some are self-tanners, some are just bronzers (the color washes off), and some have added firming because… cellulite.

Tan Towel – I’ve used this product before, but it had been awhile (I actually got a sample in my Birchbox a year ago), until I saw a pack of five in a clearance bin for $4!

If you’ve never used these, they are basically like a Wet Nap, but obviously have self-tanning agents.

The cool thing about these is there’s no need for a tanning mitt, and one towel is enough for face and your entire body. There is a slight scent, but it’s light and pleasant.

The tanner applies clear (which means you have to remember where you’ve already applied), but the color begins to appear with just a few hours. The color has always been streak-free for me, and looks natural. These are a win & especially great for travel.

Organic sunless tanner.

NKD SKN Gradual Glow – I’ve seen this product on Birchbox.com and at Ulta, but was able to get a sample size on clearance (are you noticing a trend here?).

My first attraction to this product was that it’s organic, and even at full-price, it’s affordable.

Once I started using it, I realized it’s got quality ingredients – including aloe vera and vitamins – it makes for a really nice moisturizer and my skin felt healthy after using it just a few times. You can use this product on your face and body which is a bonus.

The color goes on clear (it’s a white lotion), and has little-to-no scent. I will say I didn’t notice a huge color difference when I used this, and I got about three applications from the sample.

On one hand, this is good because you don’t have to worry as much about messing up. On the other hand, it’s not good if you’re looking for deep color overnight. Perhaps continual use of this product would get richer after several back-to-back application.

However, this same brand has other sunless products, including tinted tanner and mousse, so those may be worth trying.

Tanning + firming.

Jergen’s Natural Glow – After I used up my clearance rack finds, I needed to keep up my tan, so I picked this one up during my weekly grocery run.

It was $8 for a pretty big bottle, and it says it helps to firm  skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (I’m always looking for these types of things).

I got the “Medium to Tan” color in hopes of getting dark (or I guess as dark as you can get with sunless tanner). The scent is very light and pleasant.

The directions on the bottle suggest using this instead of a daily body lotion, because it is a gradual sunless tan. I haven’t been using it every day, but I put it on at least four times a week.

After two weeks, I can say I look pretty tan! The consistency of this lotion is pretty thick, which makes me feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin. I use this all over, and have tried it with and without a tanning mitt (doesn’t make much of a difference either way). A few times I got a little much around my ankles and toes, but a quick scrub and it was evened out.

“foundation” for your entire body.

Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm – I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have always been insecure about my legs. Below the knee never tans well, so it looks weird with tan thighs (large ones, I should add) and white shins and feet.

As a makeup junkie, I have always dreamed of basically “foundation” for my entire body so I could just look glowy and hide all of my weird skin issues. So you can image how difficult it was for me not to jump up and down in TJ-Maxx when I saw this product on the clearance shelf (I know)! This “Beauty Balm” has so much going on, you just have to see the official product description:

A high performance treatment body enhancer with SPF20. Transform the appearance of arms, legs and decollate – you’ll see a difference instantly. Skin looks smoother, feels firmer, and is totally flawless. Powerful moisture magnets such as jojoba oil, soy amino and hyaluronic acids relieve dry skin keeping it hydrated and radiant. Marine extracts optimize skin rejuvenation for smoother, suppler, more radiant looking skin. MIRACLE SKIN TRANSFORMER SPF20 BODY contains the M3 Complex; designed to improve the look and feel of skin – all over: Hydrate – Dry, rough skin on legs, arms, and decollate feels incredibly softer, smoother and hydrated. Enhance – Leaves skin looking younger, brighter and totally luminous.

That’s right – it’s a bronzer/illuminator (it does have a shimmer), with an SPF, moisturizer, AND a firming lotion! The only thing that would make this product better is a sunless tanning agent. However, this is nice to slap on over your sunless tanner for an instant glow. And when you shower, it comes off.

The particular color I got was pretty dark, so I mixed it with some regular body lotion to thin it out a little. I was worried the color would rub off on my clothes, so I only wear it on my arms or legs when they’re going to be “out”, i.e. with a tank top or a skirt. I really love the way it makes my skin look!

Tinted, firming spray.

Hide & Glow Sleek – I have been a huge fan of Bliss Spa products, especially their “Fat Girl Slim” line, where this product can be found.

I’ll admit, I bought this product thinking it was a sunless tanner, but upon reading the directions before I sprayed it on, I found it’s a bronzer/illuminator, but it also offers firming qualities.

Nonetheless, I sprayed it on my legs before wearing a skirt to work one day and I loved it. It’s very light in texture, not sticky, and offers a subtle glow.

I think this would be great for travel or even for an event wear you just need a quick hit of bronze (because I do!).

It’s a little pricy, but it’s a product you can’t really screw up, plus it is clinically proven to firm skin! The scent is very light, as is the shimmer. There are two color options, so you may really be able to get some rich glow from it.

I’d love to know what sunless tanning products you’ve tried and loved (or hated)! Bring it on, summer!

Comparing cosmetic primers.

What’s the best primer for you?

Over the last few months, I have been testing several different primers under my daily makeup to see which one I like best.

Primers seem to be all the rage, given that basically every cosmetic brand has one – but how are we supposed to know what’s going to work for us? Because I have a Birchbox subscription, I have been able to sample three great options that I’m going to share with you here, today!

But first, what the heck IS a primer? The Huffington Post offered a great, simple explanation: Makeup primer is a base for foundation or face makeup that allows it to go on smoother and last longer.

Primer can come in the form of sprays, gels, creams, and even powder. While most users apply primer prior to applying tinted moisturizer, concealer, and/or foundation, it can also be worn alone.

I have been applying my primer after my moisturizer, but before my concealer and foundation, which seems to work. The three primers I want to share with you today are all creams and gels. Personally, I’m not sure I’d trust a spray or powder primer.

Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer – Sephora Collection

Smoothing primer.

According to Sephora.com, this is a makeup primer that perfects the appearance of skin and prolongs the wear of foundation. This primer softens the appearance of imperfections, prolongs the wear of your foundation, and keeps you looking flawless longer.

Infused with hydrating ceramides, this formula moisturizes and smooths, while protecting with antioxidant-rich vitamins E and A.

This product is not tested on animals, and does not contain parabens. This primer can be used on the eyes to smooth and enhance wear of eyeshadow.

This product is dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, and comes in an airless pump bottle for freshness.

This is the primer I’m currently using, and I really like it. It goes on very smooth, and leaves a matte look that feels very soft and light on my skin. It’s clear, so you don’t have to worry about which shade to choose.

$29.99 for .5 ounces 

Prime Time – Bare Minerals 

Prime Time!

According to Ulta.com, this primer helps to combat enlarged pores. Uneven texture. Flaky dryness. We’ve all had complexion problems. That’s why we created Prime Time, which prepares your skin for seamless coverage with bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation. Apply it first for the smooth, evenly textured complexion you’ve been waiting for.

Benefits:

Combats rough patches, flaky dryness, fine lines, excess oil, uneven texture and enlarged pores so that your foundation goes on flawlessly.

Extends the wear of your foundation, keeping you looking fresh for longer.

Soothes and nourishes with plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins C and E.

Free of preservatives and irritants so that your skin feels great.

Silky formula glides on without any stickiness.

For Christmas, I got a sample pack of Bare Minerals makeup – I’d never tried it before and the kit contained this primer, the mineral veil foundation, an eyeshadow duo, and a lip gloss. I have quickly come to love all of it!

This primer is very, very similar to the Sephora mentioned above: it’s clear, has a gel-like consistency, and offers a smooth, matte finish. While in some stores, it is a little more pricy than the Sephora brand, it takes about a pea-size drop to cover the entire face, and has a very light feeling.

$19.30 for 1 ounce

Radiant Primer – IPKN New York

Radiant primer.

According to Birchbox.com, great foundation requires, well, a great foundation. This creamy SPF 15 primer creates a smooth, radiant canvas for makeup, refining pores and enhancing skin tone. And thanks to the blend of nourishing fruit extracts and shimmer pearl powder, your skin will glow whether you’re wearing this under foundation or under nothing at all.

This was the first primer that I tried and I loved that it was lightly tinted. I have red areas on my skin and blemishes that I’m always trying to cover up, so why not start building the mask with a primer?

I also appreciate that it has an SPF! The only reason I didn’t make this my favorite was because it has more of a glossy finish – and I prefer the matte. However, if matte isn’t your thing, this is a great starter.

It’s light, great for the skin, and could be worn alone. And it’s got a great price!

$22 for 1.3 ounces. 

I am still trying additional primers, so perhaps I’ll report back with something even better! If there’s one you’re using that you love, tell me about it in the comments.

Fall wedding guest looks (I don’t need).

Love the mustard skirt.

Love the mustard skirt.

A few months ago, I was invited to be a +1 at a fall wedding. I quickly said yes, as it was a guy I really liked, and I also realized that I’ve never been asked to be a serious +1. Sure, I’ve gone with girlfriends and guy friends, but never as a real date.

Given that was wedding is in the fall, and in Indiana, I quickly started looking up ideas on what to wear. Sure, it would be chilly out, but not quite cold enough to constitute tights, so I needed something chic (the bride is super gorgeous and sure to have quality taste) and of course, sexy.

The guy and I have since stopped talking, so I have no need for these looks anymore. However, some of them were so adorable, I had to share. If you’re going to a fall wedding in the coming months, maybe you can snag one of these looks and tell me how it goes!

Of course, the look you choose depends a lot on the time of day of the wedding – day or night wedding – and the location, an outdoor look will be different than an indoor one. But I’m all about finding a fabulous coat!

So, I saw a lot of these looks (above) with the flowy, tule skirts and a more fitted top. I know these are more fun and whimsical than sexy, but I love them! I especially love the gray and taupe on the far left; I would never dare to wear white to a wedding, but if you know the bride well enough, I saw do YOU.

I’m also glad to see some cute pumps here – love the beige, and of course, the metallic ones, too. Of course, I found some great clutches, too – check out these detailed ones.

Love this!

Love this!

Given that I will find any excuse to wear sequins or sparkles, this look (left) was my top choice. I am definitely a fan of choosing what you want to show vs. what to keep hidden, and this look balances that perfectly – shows off the legs, accentuates curves, but hides the arms.

I probably would have gone for more of a beige shoe, to keep the focus on the dress. Here’s a cute gold dress I found, that has back detail and shows off the arm – if you’re into that (I’m self-conscious about my upper arm). I also found a cute black dress that is long-sleeved, but just has sequin detailing, instead of solid sequins.

Too afraid to go all out with the sequins? Understandable. You could still wear a sparkly pencil skirt, or any skirt, and then pair it with a simple, plain top, and/or a jacket that will tone things down a bit. Here’s a longer pencil skirt that comes in silver or dark green sequins, and I also found a floor-length gold sparkly skirt that would be SUPER chic!

Structured & chic.

Structured & chic.

I stumbled across these next two looks (right), which are both more structure, but look incredibly cool, and I think you could wear either one at a day or a night wedding, depending on how you did hair and accessories.

Given that we’re all voting for Hillary this November, why not give a nod to her pantsuit look with this chic little number? The pants hit the floor, so simple shoes would work, and I love the way the hair is styled in this picture. You could also go for a colored blazer if it’s an outdoor wedding.

The dress? I really just love the blazer-like neckline and sleeves, and the gold belt. It looks really put together, minus the massive bag she has. Always go for the clutch – the giant bag looks more like an office look, and weddings are not for work.

So, there you have it – some fall wedding looks for guests. Maybe I’ll still get a sequined dress for myself and hop on over to a martini bar with a friend. It’s been a minute since I’ve been to a wedding – it seems as though everyone is already married. But, I’m a fan of weddings, mainly because there’s cake and champagne involved. So, cheers to fall weddings!

Beach beauty.

Capture the glow.

Capture the glow.

I’m heading to the beach TOMORROW, and yes, this makeup junkie is not leaving home without her stash of cosmetics. I know what you’re thinking – ugh, don’t be THAT girl at the beach.

In all truth,  I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach wearing makeup, but I think I’ve just reached a point wear I don’t really feel comfortable going without it. And, if it helps my case at all, I’m going to a music festival, where there will be thousands of people, shirtless dudes, and selfies. That’s more the reason why I’m choosing to wear makeup.

But, I will also say that, after digging through my stash, I found lots of products that will be appropriate for the sun and sand – I am not going to wear my full face; I just want to even out my skin and appear very glow-y. So, here’s what I’ve packed, my beach-friendly makeup:

Silky Sheer BB Cream (tinted) with SPF 30 by L’Oreal – I’m using this instead of concealer and foundation. L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare introduces its first-ever BB facial broad spectrum sunscreen. It protects skin with a patented UVA/UVB filter and evens skin for a healthy tinted complexion. This multi-acting formula is infused with powerful antioxidants vitamin E and white grape seed to help keep skin healthy and youthful-looking.

Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 by COOLA – This unscented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural rose hip oil which is rich in free radical fighting vitamin c. Naturally calming evening primrose and flax seed oils deliver abundant omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural shea butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector plankton extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.

Brightening Illuminator by Cynthia Rowley – This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It’s an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes.

Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos by Cargo – This sweatproof, weatherproof blush has been tested by the make-up artists for Dancing with the Stars on the latest live tour. Water resistant blush stood up to hours of dancing. This long-wearing formula withstands moisture so you don’t have to fuss with re-application. Specially formulated with a unique silicone-coated powder that provides better adhesion to the skin and withstands water.

Eye shadow duo in Beach & Bridge by Cargo This duo of two highly pigmented eye shadows takes inspiration from the sand, water, and foliage found on the coast. Use Beach on the lid and Bridge in the crease.

Shimmer eyeliner pencil in black by E.L.F. – The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look. Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.

Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink by Wet n Wild – Illuminating powder in four harmonious shades can be used individually or together on face, cheeks and body for a luminescent radiance.

Lip Balmer in Mint with SPF 15 by Mission Skincare – With powerful sun protection and a long-lasting, vitamin-enriched formula, MISSION Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 is clinically proven to lock in moisture for up to 8 hours. It can withstand some of the harshest environments, so you know it can handle your busy lifestyle. Our Mint Lip Balmer contains natural moisturizing ingredients that keep lips feeling smooth and soft, whether you’re in the heat of competition or out on the town.

See? Nothing too heavy; I still want to look natural, and most of these products have an SPF. I am most excited to try the products by Cargo – I’m really curious about the water-resistant blush, and the Beach & Bridge eye shadows are so pretty!

I will also say that 75% of these products came in Birchboxes I’ve gotten over the last few months. Not familiar with Birchbox? It’s a monthly subscription, and for $10/month, you get a box of high-end samples (usually 5-6 samples) that are picked just for you, based on a profile you create.

I look forward to getting the box each month, and as you can tell, I love being able to try products I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. And, if you buy the full-size product, you earn points and can use the points for cash toward more products (I used points to get $20 off my Clarisonic brush). Check out Birchbox here.

Alright, I should probably go finish packing. But don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! See y’all right here, tomorrow!

My (material) love life.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Valentine’s Day is two days away, and I’m single, very single. I don’t even have a crush and I ALWAYS have a crush. I mean, I’ve still got John Mayer, so no worries there. So, what does a single girl LOVE on Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you what:

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I treated myself to the “starter kit” when I got a coupon for the Birchbox store. The face wash itself is kind of like Noxema (hello, 90’s!) in texture, but it gets off ALL my makeup. I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. So, the other part of this system is the muslin cloth you use to remove the cleanser: it’s gentle, but exfoliating so it really gets things clean. Try Birchbox to get exclusive Liz Earle products!

Origins Active Charcoal mask – I use a mask at every night. I am really trying to up my skincare regimen, and I love trying different things to see what works. My latest purchase is the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins. I get blackheads on my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows, and I use this at least once a week to (hopefully) dry up the suckers.

Green Chef meals – It’s been about two months since I signed up to have organic ingredients delivered right to my doorstep each week. I really love this service more than I expected! The ingredients are always fresh, the recipes are things I’ve never made before, and they are easy to make, but it still feels like I’m cooking. I rarely have to go to the grocery store, so it saves me time, and it even cuts back on my food costs since I’m not loading up my cart with unnecessary purchases. Want to try it? You can get 4 FREE meals using my code! I’d love you know what you think.

Ban.do Drink Sleeve – “Fries Before Guys” is my life motto. I love fries, and fuck it, I’m putting them first in my life, forever. Calories be dammed. The cool thing about Ban.do, is that aside from having all sorts of bad ass goodies, they also have free downloads on their website. So, I promptly downloaded a “Fries Before Guys” phone wallpaper, so I won’t get it twisted. Ever.

Amazon Prime – Who doesn’t love free two-day shipping? It makes me want to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon (and I probably have). But, I also enjoy watching free videos (such as seasons of The Newsroom), streaming music, and getting free Kindle books. It’s a pretty great deal, and another excuse for me to avoid public shopping situations. Are you sensing a trend here? Try Amazon Prime for 30 days, for FREE, and see how awesome it is!

ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – This crazy, cool lip balm adjusts to your unique pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect, just-for-you hue. It also contains mango seed butter to hydrate and protect lips. Another perk? It boasts a lovely minty scent. I like to keep this in my desk drawer at work, because I know I can slather it on before a meeting, and without a mirror, it looks perfect!

DW Home hand-poured candle in Sun Bleached Denim – “Fresh hints of brushed cotton with bright bergamot, zesty lemon, and herbaceous greens over silver sage leaf, earthy patchouli, and cool woody musk.” Holy hell. I don’t know why this is called “Sun Bleached Denim” because it smells like a fine ass man stepping out of a hot shower, and he can’t find his towel ANYWHERE, and I about fainted when I got a whiff of this thing in T.J. Maxx. Get this candle, like, now. It is everything fantasies are made of.

Dexter reruns – A few weeks ago, I discovered FM is airing old episodes of Dexter, in chronological order. Record series. Get popcorn. Binge. Drool. No second thoughts. Who doesn’t love a sexy Mr. Morgan battling crime in his unique code so we all can sleep at night? Count me in.

Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Funny name, but seriously awesome! Each scent uses the power of smell to hack away at your problems: from relationships to struggles at the office, just hit the shower with this stuff. I’m currently using “Liquid Freud“, which smells of mango and coconut, and aims at calming. Next? I’m getting “Bathing with Sharks” to boost confidence in the boardroom. The bonus? It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and is never tested on animals.

SkinnyGirl Popcorn – I have a love/hate relationship with popcorn, but when I saw SkinnyGirl popcorn at the grocery, I wanted to try it. I got the “Sea Salt and Lime” flavor, and it is unique and delish! The box is filled with mini bags, which are good for a low-calorie, delicious snack. I’ve seen ads for the “Rosemary and Olive Oil” flavor, but haven’t seen it in-store yet. I cannot wait to try that one!

…And there you have it; all of my lovely favorites right now, just in time for Heart’s Day. If you’re coupled and have something fantastic planned, hey, I’m happy for you. If you’re single, head up, and pop some bottles (See: my complete guide to bubbly). Me? I’ll be at dance rehearsal for a good chunk of the day. This year, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating strength, and being okay with my #CatLady life! See y’all right here on Monday! xoxo

Nail a wine-inspired lip.

Many years ago, I bought a plum lip pot from Victoria’s Secret (similar item here). It was so dark in the little jar, but when you put it on, it was sheer, yet bold. I used it up quickly, because it was an incredibly luxe gloss that I absolutely loved. Ever since, I’m always on the look out for similar looks that are sexy, yet easy to pull off.

Not to mention, I love wine (check out my complete guide to Merlot), and I am obsessive over makeup (see: How to Rock a Red Lip and/or The Perfect Bold Lip for NYE).

The key to pulling off a wine lip is to pay attention to the other makeup you’re wearing. Many people say that if you want to do a bold lip, you’ve got to mute everything else… not quite true. If you do that, you’ll look like a vampire and/or Wednesday Adams. If that’s not your thing, wear makeup that’s dewy and well, full of life!

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Wine lip hues to try:

Desire Tinted Lipglass by Mac ($18) – Tinted Lipglass is a unique lip gloss can create a high-gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen. Designed to be worn on its own or over a lip pencil or a lipstick, it’s the perfect product for creating shine that lasts. It’s pigmented, very shiny and can impart subtle or dramatic color. It’s formulated with jojoba oil to help soften and condition lips.

Wine Tour Moisturizing Lipstick by e.l.f. Studio ($6) – All e.l.f. lipsticks provide even, natural-looking lip color, without fading or drying out. Each lipstick has been formulated with key ingredients and vitamins to nourish and moisturize lips for a healthy, long-lasting look. e.l.f. Cosmetics offers the best selection of high-quality, affordable lipstick cosmetics.

Shiraz Lip Tint by Wine Country Organics ($7) – This organic grape seed oil lip tint provides rich organic moisturizing with a touch of natural pigment. This 100% natural formula – made with 97% certified organic ingredients – soothes, conditions and moisturizes for soft, beautiful and kissable lips.

Merlot Crème Smooth Lip Colour by Laura Mercier ($27) – Laura introduces a luxurious new lipstick that gives lips the ultimate in colour, texture, and finish. In one smoothing swipe, the creme formula envelops lips in rich colour with a semi-lustrous finish. The cushiony, lightweight texture feels comfortable, while pure Olive Oil and Vitamin E nourish lips. Features an elegant, modern case with a metalized finish. Application technique: Press bullet to lips using even pressure to apply colour on both upper and lower lips; to refresh press lip together.

Divine Wine Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color by Maybelline ($6) Maybelline’s Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color delivers a burst of bold lip color and a surge of creamy texture in make-a-statement shades, for mattes your lips will love to wear!

Copenhagen Soft Matte Lip Cream by Nyx Cosmetics ($9)This matte lip cream is a new kind of lip color that goes on silky smooth and sets to a matte finish. Soft Matte Lip Cream is surprisingly durable and, unlike some matte lipstick formulas, also moisturizing. Delightfully creamy and lightweight, our award winning line just expanded with two captivating new shades. Apply directly to lips, or over lipstick. Apply with lip liner to define outline of lips.

If you’re a wino, like me, and have experience true wine lips after downing a glass a bottle, it’s not really the look you’re going for. To prevent REAL wine lips, make sure you’re regularly exfoliating the lips (try The Lip Scrub). Red wine sticks to dry skin. It’s also a good idea to smear on a little lip balm with olive oil before indulging in a sip session (try 80 Acres).

If it’s too late, and you’re mid-date in the bathroom with wine lips, dap on a dark red hue over the wine-stain and it’ll look like you meant to do it this entire time!

The other part of the problem could be wine teeth. This is not a good look! Avoid getting wine teeth by brushing your teeth before you hit the bar. If possible, sip water between sips of wine. And finally, load up your purse with some Wine Wipes – these suckers are safe for your teeth and will clean up that Merlot mouth ASAP.

So, there you have it – you can master the wine lip in the right way, and avoid the downsides (though they are few and far between) of sipping the sauce.

What’s in my Beach Bag?

All of my beach essentials!

All of my beach essentials!

I had the weekend off, and I don’t have to go into work until 4pm today… I’d be lying if I said my mind wasn’t wondering if I should take an impromptu beach trip, all on my own (it’s just a short, 4-hour drive to Pensacola).

But, I wussed out, stayed in-town, and attempted to be productive yesterday. However, that’s not to say that I won’t be packing the Jeep and partaking in a beach adventure before the summer is over! And when I do, I’ll be totally ready with all my essentials:

  1. Cute beach bag from Mud Pie — As a bag lady, it’s a no brainer that I’ve got some cute beach bags. This one was a gift from one of my best friends and I absolutely love it! It’s big enough for all of my goodies, and even has room for a big beach towel.
  2. #CatLady hat — While on the beach, it’s important to shade yourself from the sun (at least a little), and why not do it while representing your favorite blog?! I’ve worn this hat on Orange Beach, which got lots of photos, and I also wore it to Pensacola Beach, where it was mistaken for a Miranda Lambert “thing.”
  3. Adorable coin purse by Coach — I bought this lemon-poppy coin purse from Coach years ago, as I was packing for a trip to the Virgin Islands, and even before I created this blog. I love tossing it in my beach bag, as it has a keyring for a condo, and enough room for my ID, and cash for pina coladas!
  4. Easy breezy flip-flops — When I’m packing for the beach, I want a pair of shoes that are going to slip on and off very quickly; you know, for that switch from the boardwalk to the sand.
  5. Invisible Protect Sheer Spray by L’Oreal — What did we DO before spray on sunscreen? I love this stuff! I use SPF 50 on my body, and reapply as needed.
  6. Skinsations Insect Repellent by Cutter — If I get bitten by a mosquito, it swells up into a huge welt, and is often painful. Because of this, I’m ALWAYS equipped with proper insect repellent. This Ultra Light spray by Cutter has a pleasant scent and keeps the bugs away.
  7. Oribe Apres Beach Waves and Shine Spray — Is there such a thing as too much beach wave? I think not. This is why I bring my Oribe Spray to the beach to capture the natural, salty texture of my hair, while adding shine and… an amazing scent!
  8. Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil — You may not know this about me, but I color my hair. The last thing I need is for my professionally colored locks to fade in the sun, weeks before my next appointment! This spray protects hair from the sun, including its color.
  9. Replenishing After Sun Hair & Body Wash — Davines has created a body and hair wash that adds moisture back into your skin and hair post-sun exposure. It also works to prolong your tan! I’ve already used it several times this summer, and the scent is addictive.
  10. Hawaiian Tropic Aloha Kiss lip gloss with SPF — You don’t want burned lips at the beach! I’ve never seen an actual gloss with SPF, so I was thrilled when a beach-going friend gave this to me as a gift. Absolutely perfect!
  11. Sun Bum lip balm, in Key Lime — Tastes like key lime pie, all while keeping your lips moisturized and protecting them from the sun with an SPF of 30.
  12. Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum — I don’t like using the spray sunscreen on my face, so this Supergoop! fights any signs of aging, while protecting my skin from the sun, any day of the week.

9/50 Shades: Lovelorn.

Colors, colors everywhere.

Colors, colors everywhere.

Hey there! Just when you thought I’d forgotten about the “50 Shades” lipstick series, here I am with a new color.

I had to dig up a backup for #9 because, originally, I wanted to tell you all about one I’ve been using recently by Victoria’s Secret. It’s their Beauty Rush line in “Melon Out,” and it’s similar in texture to the tinted Carmex I featured in this post.

HOWEVER, upon looking at Victoria’s Secret website (as well as Amazon), it doesn’t look like it’s for sale anywhere, and I’d hate to feature a product on here that you can’t actually buy. I say all of that to say that having tried some of the VS lip products, they’re pretty good for the price.

LOVELORN.

LOVELORN.

Anyway, I’ve got another good color for you this time: Lovelorn, by MAC.

I used to love MAC makeup. Those were the days when my parents paid for things and/or I had no bills, so I could slap down any dollar amount for non-essential items. That day is NOT today, but I did buy this lipstick for a formal I had a few years ago. I wear it on special occasions and it’s been worth the $16 I believe it was.

Lipstick is actually the product that made MAC famous. The “Lovelorn” shade is part of their Lustre line, which promises a semi-gloss finish on the lip. In general, MAC lip products have a nice feel on the lips, a decent scent, and are long-lasting — well worth the money!

What are some products or perhaps experiences you splurged on and it ended up being totally worth it?

Fresh Friday: Cote d’Azur.

His and hers.

His and hers.

Happy Friday, y’all! It has been an incredibly TOUGH week on my end, so if you’re really feeling it today — or if you’re not — I’m wishing you a completely blissful weekend! I’ve got to work a few shifts, but I’m hoping it’ll be sunny outside so I can pull out my beach chair and get my tan on.

Today’s scent profile is Cote d’Azur by ORIBE. I just got this one last week in my June Birchbox! According it it’s package, “Oribe’s signature scent is a sun-drenched blend of Calabrian bergamont, white butterfly jasmine, and warm sandalwood. Worn on her neck, Cote d’Azur embodies the glamour and heat of the fabled destination.”

Wow… sounds fancy.

This is really a unique scent, and it’s light, so it’s perfect for summer. I will say though, that it’s so light, that it can easily get lost. If you wear other scents (a scented body wash or body lotion), you probably wouldn’t be able to smell this over it… it would be good if you’ve got some unscented lotion, or something floral you could layer it with.

I’ve got a busy day ahead, so I won’t keep you! But enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday for another ’round of blogs!

8/50 Shades: Sunset Angora.

Rockin' the Angora Sunset.

Rockin’ the Sunset Angora.

I’m continuing on my journey to discovering the perfect pink lipstick — The One that I can always count on; the one I toss in my purse when I’m on the go and in a hurry to look fabulous. This is not much different than my hunt for the perfect nude nail polish.

My mom is in town visiting this week, and in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, I asked her to help me with this review. She said pinks never work for her — she doesn’t think her teeth are white enough (that’s what I always think when I wear a red lip).

So my mom tried L’Oreal Colour Riche in Sunset Angora (#176). She liked that it was “corally” instead of a true pink, and noted that it was very creamy upon application. Score!

I’ve used two of the Color Riche shades before: Blushing Sequin and Pink Cashmere, both of which were long-lasting and provided bold color.

What do you look for when shopping for the right lipstick?

Pic of the Week.

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes & my new python makeup bag (!).

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes & my new python makeup bag (!).

I’ve been wearing Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes all week! My friend Kendra sells Younique and asked me if I’ve ever tried any of the makeup. I hadn’t.

While I’m open to trying new things (I LOVE getting things in the mail, too), I’d heard the Younique products were expensive, and if you know anything about me, it’s that I always go for bargain makeup — Covergirl is… well, my girl.

Wearing two coats of Younique (post-workout).

Wearing two coats of Younique (post-workout).

But, Kendra was kind enough to let me try the mascara… and I am LOVING it. Now, you’ve got to understand my usual lash routine before you can appreciate my week with Younique.

I have pretty good natural lashes. I don’t wear any kind of fancy mascara; it’s whatever I can get on sale. Recently, I’ve been wearing CoverGirl Natural Lash in Black. I usually put on at least two, if not three coats, and sometimes I add a clear waterproof coat (on days my allergies act up).

And before I tried Younique, I was satisfied with the two-three coats of mascara. Now, I will say that I’ve never seen a picture of someone wearing Younique mascara that I was particularly impressed with. The lashes were always very straight and spidery, so I was skeptical.

So, Kendra sent me the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes, which consists of two tubes: one is the transplanting gel and the other is the natural fibers.

Doing one eye at a time, you apply a coat of the gel and before it dries, you apply the natural fibers, and then finally, seal it with another coat of gel.

One coat of this looks about the same as three coats of the regular stuff. I wasn’t totally impressed until I put on TWO coats of the Younique.

You can also put on a coat of your regular mascara, let it dry, and then do the Younique, which is what I’ve been doing. If you use an eyelash curler, I’d say do it between your regular mascara and the Younique. As for the spidery-look (I happen to like the lashes a little thicker), you can avoid it by using a lash comb.

I didn’t have any issues with the fibers falling, and it didn’t feel different than wearing regular mascara. I do have contacts, and it didn’t prove to be a problem.

If you want to try the Younique lashes, they do offer a guarantee, so you really can’t lose! To order from Kendra, click here.

5/50 Shades: Tulip.

Covergirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm.

Covergirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm.

I’m still on the hunt for a great (or a few great) shades of pink to add to my makeup collection — and I recently tried CoverGirl’s Natureluxe Gloss Balm #205 in Tulip. I feel like a majority of the “shades” I’ve tried have been glosses/balms, and I think that’s just proof of my fear to go bold (though recently I’ve rocked a red lip a few times).

Let’s face it, great lipstick is difficult to find, given there’s so many factors involved. I also like gloss/balm because I can layer it with other colors or thicker textures.

While the feeling of the CoverGirl Tulip is good (though not as good as the tinted Carmex), the color is very sheer, and again, there is no flavor! The upside is that the “flavor” isn’t like lipstick (it’s just nothing, really), and you don’t need a mirror to apply it.

Given that it’s still winter, I think a balm is smart — it ads color, while moisturizing your lips and protecting them from cold weather.

In the case of a balm/gloss, I say go for the bolder color, because it’s going to appear sheer on the lip. While “Tulip” is a moderate pink, I think I’ll go for something darker next time so it makes more of a difference.

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This Christmas: go glam.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you all are prepping for a fantastic day filled with love, kindness, and okay, a little bit of glamour. One of my favorite things about Christmastime is having the excuse to pull out my glitter eyeliner, shimmery shadows, and bold colors.

I’ve always loved experimenting with makeup, and opening a few gifts under the tree that assist in my hobby never hurt anyone. Sure, I know you’ve already hit up some holiday parties, but there’s still time to get a fabulous look in for Santa’s arrival, and for the days leading up to New Year’s!

This year, glitter and gold are completely IN when it comes to holiday makeup — hallelujah! NY Magazine has 4 cool ways to wear gold eye makeup, including dusting loose gold glitter on your freshly mascara’d eyelashes (Yes!). Get the look:

Now, I’ve always admired Emma Stone — her style, her movies — so, when she stepped out this winter wearing matte red lips and slightly stained cheeks, I loved her a little more and knew I HAD to steal this look (check out Vogue for the details). Get the look:

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

I have always loved a smokey eye, and I found a great tutorial by Carli Bybel on a Grunge Glam Holiday look. I’ve never gotten into the whole makeup tutorial thing, but she does a really great job. To get the look (shown in the main picture above), Carli used:

 — Rimmel Scandal Eyes Shadow Stick — Makeup Geek Pigment in Nightlife — BH Cosmetics Forever Nude Palette — Katy Perry false lashes in Oh, Honey! — Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Mascara in Black — Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black — MAC Fix — Bronze glitter powder — Nude lip pencil — Buttercup Lipstick by Gerard Cosmetics — NYX powder blush in Pinky — Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

To polish off your look, don’t forget a fabulous nail hue. Elle magazine has 30 cool nail colors for all of your holiday party nail-needs.

Whether you’re going out and about for the holiday, looking fabulous, or you’re cozied up at home (experimenting with your new makeup from Santa), I hope your Christmas is fantastic! I’m looking forward to sharing even more with you in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all!