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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.

Fresh Friday: Sud Magnolia.

Pretty bottle, beautiful scent.

Pretty bottle, beautiful scent.

This week, it occurred to me that I’m only a few weeks away from having lived in Austin for six months! Can you believe it? It has really flown by. But, I can say that I am finally starting to feel like things are falling into place.

I’m learning my way around, finding my groove, and meeting some cool people. My job is still challenging, but I’m getting there, and I’m learning things every day, which is exactly what I wished for. I am excited to see what the next six months have in store.

So, what does the next six months have in store for this blog, and YOU, my dear readers? Well, lots of fun, awesome, new things! I’m starting work on my second online course. Haven’t heard of the first one? Well, in December, I published a complete online course for Beginning Bloggers (details & discount code here), and it’s been a decent success.

I want to keep building courses to support bloggers, online business owners, and fellow social medialites. So, be on the lookout for course #2 in the next few months, which will be focused on blogging best practices.

I also have a goal to write and publish another book – whew, big goal! But, it’s been done before (check out all three of my books here), and I’ve got so much info swirling in my brain for this next one. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.

And of course, I’ve got all sorts of awesome advice to offer you, adventures to share (there will be some good traveling this year), and as always, stories of love, loss, and finding my way as a Singleton at 30… soon-to-be 31 year old.

I’ve been toying with the idea of offering a monthly newsletter for you guys (by subscription), which would have the same type of content you see on the blog, but exclusive to the newsletter, and probably more secretive, given that I know my boss or guy-of-interest wouldn’t be reading it. It would also contain exclusive deals and offers. That’s a big possibility – if you’ve got ideas or dreams about it, just let me know! I aim to please, folks.

But today, I’m here to offer you a new scent profile, because I’ve been spritzing on Sud Magnolia by Atelier Cologne aallll week! From Sephora.com:

A completely unexpected experience inspired by ingredients from regions where water and sky become one, Sud Magnolia is a floral and fresh fragrance with notes of magnolia from Louisiana, bitter orange from Seville, and atlas cedarwood from Morocco. The sharp tang of citrus blooms into a grand floral celebration. The woody drydown is reminiscent of antebellum elegance and nights of warm abandon.

This warm floral fragrance is exclusive to Sephora. It provides the freshness and elegance of a cologne, but is designed to provide lasting fragrance on the skin.

Notes: Bitter Sevillian Orange, Pomelo from Florida, Blackcurrant, Magnolia from Louisiana, Bulgarian Rose Absolue, Indian Saffron Flower, Atlas Cedarwood from Morocco, Sandalwood, Musk.

Style: Sophisticated. Refined. Romantic.

See? A perfect scent for my Louisiana ladies! It combines the sweet scent of magnolia with warm cedarwood, and the freshness of citrus. Kind of makes you hungry, right? I felt like every time I sprayed it on I could pick up different “angles” of the scent – and that’s why I’m really considering this to be my new favorite scent. It’s so unique!

I’m so ready for the weekend, per usual, and I’m excited to kick off a week-full of fun blogs right before the holiday we’re all dreading (or is it just me?). Don’t worry, it’s all fun and games at TBL. Until Monday, y’all be well.

Fresh Friday: Velvet Orchid

Give it here.

Give it here.

Yeeeeehaawwww – here we are, yet again, on another fine Friday! The good news is you’ve made it through another week… and I have no bad news because it’s FRIDAY.

Between work and dance classes, the weeks seem to fly by pretty fast, but the weekends speed right on as well. This weekend, I’m really looking forward to getting my hair cut and colored, which is the usual routine for me, but I’m thinking about changing it up a little.

Hair envy.

Hair envy.

I’ve been considering a little bit of a shorter look, that captures my natural wave some (see: Khloe Kardashian). If you’re following me on SnapChat, you probably have noticed that I haven’t blow-dried or used any hot tools on my hair in months. I pretty much gave up trying – I like my natural wave, and straightening it is usually a waste of my time.

So, we’ll see. I’m pretty open to trying new things, and I’ve always been able to trust my stylist to give me a cut/color that’s going to flatter my skin and face shape. In other words, my hair future is in her hands.

Speaking of Khloe, has anyone been watching her new show, “Kocktails With Khloe” on FYI? It started last week and although I don’t watch “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”, I was pretty anxious to check it out, given that her first guests were Brandi Glanville and Snoop Dogg.

It has an interesting format: the set is a mockup of her home, and it’s supposed to seem like she’s just having people over, talking and drinking (and playing drinking games), instead of on a stage for a talk show. I don’t know if it will get a second season, but so far I kind of like it.

Aside from just dancing my booty off (give my new favorite song, “Wut” a listen below) this week, I’ve been wearing this week’s scent: Velvet Orchid by Tom Ford. According to Sephora:

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid is an oriental floral that evolves the carnal grandeur and seductive power of the iconic Tom Ford Black Orchid into an uber-feminine fragrance lavished with notes of cool citrus, dramatic petals, suede accord, and vanilla. Rich, spicy, and intensely floral, it evokes a warm exotic garden. The slim and elegant bottle is enhanced with bold vertical texture and the signature brass nameplate.

Notes: Orange Blossom, Hyacinth, Jonquil, Cattleya Leopoldii Orchid, Suede Accord, Vanilla Tincture.
Style: Lavish. Dramatic. Seductive.  

This scent is DEFINITELY feminine. So, if you’re getting sick of me featuring scents on here that have a masculine site, today is finally your day! Between the petals and vanilla, it’s a soft scent, but not so soft you don’t notice it. I’d definitely give this one a whiff the next time you’re in a department store – it’s different (in a good way)!

So, there you have it! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to keep up with me this weekend, and I’ll see you right back here on Monday for another fun week! Cheers!

 

Fresh Friday: My Burberry.

Who doesn't love an add with Cara Delevingne in it?

Who doesn’t love an add with Cara Delevingne in it?

It’s FRIDAY! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week, so it’s been a struggle to keep up with work, dance, and well, all the other writing shenanigans I’ve got up my sleeve, but I freaking made it!

Monday night was the first OFFICIAL dance practice for my performance at the end of next month, and our group (the Video Vixens) were informed that we’re dancing to two songs, and one of the songs is a remix of Ludacris’ “Get Low”. Umm, YAS!

Despite feeling like absolute shit, I banged out a pretty good practice and am looking forward to learning another section of the dance next week. This week, I also discovered FM is replaying episodes of Dexter, so why not re-watch them all? Nothing cheers a girl up like seeing her favorite serial killer analyze blood spatter.

I cooked (and ate) all of my meals from Green Chef this week, and I’m looking forward to today’s delivery, which includes ingredients for Greek flatbread. Green Chef clearly knows the way to my heart!

And of course, there’s today’s scent profile: My Burberry! I’ve been wearing it all week; frankly, it’s my favorite kind of research, and I absolutely LOVE this one!

According to Sephora.com:

Inspired by the trench coat and its heritage of British design and craftsmanship, My Burberry captures the fragrance of a London garden after the rain. The scent is a contemporary British grand floral and features a delicate heart of rose woven with an unexpected touch of geranium leaf.

Notes: Sweet Pea, Bergamot, Geranium, Golden Quince, Freesia, Patchouli, Rain-Tipped Damask and Centifolia Roses.
Style: Effortless. Personal. Timeless.

Notice the mix of the masculine (Patchouli and Bergamot) with feminine (Freesia and Roses) – this is my favorite kind of mix, especially when it comes to fashion and style. Leave it to Burberry!

What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’m hoping to get well, while continuing my adventures at the Laundromat. I will probably go on a food truck adventure, and I’m definitely planning on crafting some of my famous homemade Valentine’s Day cards – if you want me to mail you one, PLEASE send me your address to holly@thebitterlemon.com – I already have a decent list going, but I would love to add you to it! Catch all the crafting on my SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – see you there!

Fresh Friday: Tory Burch.

All the pretties...

All the pretties…

I am SO, SO happy today is Friday! This week at the office was a doozy, and I’d be lying if I haven’t been emotionally drained sorting out my own emotions simultaneously – you ever have weeks like that? I’m really looking forward to a weekend on the couch, only emerging for trips to the nearest food truck.

For Christmas, one of my best friends got me the Sephora Liquid Luxuries Perfume Sampler… it’s a gift she usually gets me, and it’s one I really look forward to every year. Not only do you get to sample 15 wonderful perfumes, it comes with a coupon to get the full size bottle for the perfume of your choice (provided it’s one of the samples).

I take this very, very seriously. I spend almost all year sampling the perfumes and deciding which one is going to be the right choice for the full size bottle – I just picked out my full size perfume from last Christmas, in September! It’s such a great gift and I want it to be perfect! So, yes, I’ve got a slew of new perfumes to present to you.

Starting with… Tory Burch!

According to the Tory Burch website:

The first fragrance from Tory Burch captures classic elements in unexpected ways. Feminine and tomboy. Easy and polished. Floral peony and tuberose blend with crisp citrus notes of grapefruit and neroli — anchored by earthy vetiver. A bright and complex mix in a super-chic glass bottle with a signature fretwork top.

Notes: Neroli, Grapefruit, Cassis, Bergamot, Peony, Tuberose, Jasmine Sambac, Vetiver, Sandalwood

I do like how complex this perfume is, with the combination of floral and wood. I like it a lot. The only thing I’d say is that I haven’t noticed this lasting all day. It’s not a deal breaker for me, because sometimes I like to mix it up if I’m switching from day to evening. But I know that’s a big deal for lots of people.

Maybe if you did the body wash, body lotion, AND the perfume, you’d be smelling of Tory Burch all day long… I’ve always wanted to have a whole set like that, but I just don’t have it together enough yet (#goals).

I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend – follow me on SnapChat (OrangeJulius7) to join me on my couch, and I’ll see you back here next week with posts on homemade dog treats, how you stack up according to the number of sex partners you’ve had, and organic facial products, among other genius gems. Bye y’all!

Fresh Friday: Juicy Couture.

The original Juicy Couture.

The original Juicy Couture.

Howdy! I’m so happy that it’s Friday, per usual, but there’s something actually interesting about this Friday in particular: I have the weekend off! WHAT!? I’m really happy that my retail job is giving me the weekend off, given that I’ve worked my little booty off this week.

So, once I get off work today, I’m running home and jumping for joy! I’ve got a fun weekend planned, and you know I’ll be sharing all the details with you right here.

Anyway, it’s probably a good time to let you know that my perfume stock is running rather low. So, I’m honestly not TOO sure how many more “Fresh Friday” posts I’ve got in store. But have no fear, I’ve got a new idea for Fridays, so be on the lookout for that coming shortly.

Today’s Fresh Friday is all about Juicy Couture — the original scent — by Juicy Couture. Dare I say it? But, Juicy Couture is the king of cohesive scents. I cannot think of any other brand that’s got as many fantastic smelling scents as Juicy!

However, the original is quite fantastic. It’s got no extras, no added flowers or musk, it’s just fabulous.

According to Sephora.com, “Never afraid to stand out in a crowd, Juicy Couture captures the cheeky boldness of a girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. Juicy Couture smells like Couture with a blend of water hyacinth, princess lily, and sweet caramel.

Pam and Gela wanted every girl to have her own Juicy Couture, so they made a fabulous line of fragrance essentials adorned as only Juicy Couture can—some with charms and trinkets, and all in the most beautiful bottles and jars you’ve ever seen.”

Some notes you can find in Juicy Couture are: Watermelon, Mandarin, Pink Passion Fruit, Marigold, Green Apple, Water Hyacinth, Crushed Leaves, Tuberose Absolute, Wild Rose, Princess Lily, Tuberose, Caramel Creme Brulee, Vanilla, Precious Woods, and Patchouli.

Yum! Definitely a scent to be worn all year, for every occasion! I hope y’all have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here Monday!

Fresh Friday: La vie est belle.

Well, she looks stunning.

Well, she looks stunning.

It’s Friday and — I’m not sure if I’ve ever said this — I have the day OFF! So, if you’re in the mood to binge-watch The Real Housewives of Orange County and/or join me in a beach chair on my roof for some tanning, then come on over.

I’m here all day.

Today’s Fresh Friday scent has interesting little story. The bottle came in my Sephora sample pack I always mention. So, I’ve worn it a few times over the past five months. However, the little bottle (very cute, I may add) has NO indication of what the scent is called or who made it.

So, I had to dig up my little guide-book that came with the box to find out. And lo and behold: it’s La vie est belle by Lancome.

According to that little book, “The inspiration is “Life is beautiful” captures the daring spirit of the modern woman. The Notes are Iris pallida, patchouli, orange blossom, and jasmine, with a sweet gourmand blend. The impression is addictive; crafted to make you irresistible, sex appeal by design.”

Frankly, I’m still developing my opinion on this one. Every time I take a whiff, I smell something different. Truthfully, it’s got a very nostalgic smell. It smells like a stereotypical perfume. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but when I think of perfume, I think of those old school bottles with the squeeze-pump, and that’s the scent I would think would be in one of those.

Nonetheless, it’s light, but it has character. It’s also a long-lasting perfume, so it’d be great for day wear.

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic day, and weekend — if you’re interested in Southern cooking, one of our local favorites, Jay Ducote from Bite and Booze, is competing in Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star,” which premiers on Sunday! Check it out! See y’all back here on Monday…

Fresh Friday: Miss Pucci. 

 

 Happy Friday, everyone! Is it just me, or have these weeks been flying by lately? In a way, it makes me happy (I’ve got a beach trip approaching), but I am struggling to keep up with all of my deadlines. #WriterProbs 

Deadlines and time aside, I am shocked I’ve had more than 30 Fresh Fridays, yet I haven’t mentioned a fragrance I’ve worn for years: Miss Pucci by Emilio Pucci. 

Every year for Chritmas, one of my best friends gives me Sephora’s perfume sampler box. It has 10-12 of their bestsellers (in mini sizes) and it comes with a coupon to get one of the featured scents in a full-size bottle! It’s such a great gift! 

The first year I got it, it had Miss Pucci in it, but I couldn’t decide between that and Michael Khors’ Very Hollywood. Well, after a very serious decision-making process (I think there was a Venn diagram involved), I went with Very Hollywood. 

But I still loved Miss Pucci. I used every drop of my sample bottle and the following Christmas, I hoped it would be in the sampler box… It was! I tried to maintain objectivity when selecting my full-size bottle (I really do take it seriously, I’ve yet to decide my bottle from Christmas 2014), but I got Miss Pucci and never looked back! It’s such a fresh, versatile scent. 

As said by Sephora.com, “Youthful, fresh, and seductive, Miss Pucci is undeniably modern while opening a window to the retro Pucci lifestyle of vibrant color, perpetual motion, and sun-soaked destinations. This sparkling musky floral comes alive with the elegance of magnolia and the lightness of Sicilian winter lemon, playfully blossoming to heart notes of Turkish rose and seductive Comoros ylang-ylang. 

Its base lingers on woody Texas cedar, powdered iris from Florence, and the delicate sensuality of white musk.The bottle, created by Parisian designer Ora Ito, uses kaleidoscopic ribbons of color to playfully tie together feelings of freedom, sophistication, and beautiful style that belong to the quintessential Pucci girl.”

Texas cedar? You had me at yehaw. 

Miss Pucci features Notes of Sicilian Lemon, Turkish Rose, Comoros Ylang-Ylang, Tunisian Orange Blossom, Arabian Jasmine, Texas Cedar, Florentine Iris, and Musk.

I hope you’ve all got a fantastic, relaxing weekend planned! I’ve got work to catch up on, but don’t think I wont be watching my fair share of trash TV including (but not limited to) the Bruce Jenner-Diane Sawyer Interview, the season finale of Secrets and Lies, and Intervention.